One thing about making your own almond milk is that you end up with a lot of leftover almond meal as a result. But even if you're not making almond milk, perhaps you bought a bag of almond flour on impulse that is now hanging out in your cupboard awaiting culinary inspiration. Wait no more! Here are five ideas for using up your stash of almond meal.
If your almond meal is leftover from making almond milk, you have two choices: use the wet almond paste within a few days, or dry it for longer storage. The paste can be thrown in smoothies, mixed into yogurt or oatmeal, baked with granola, or frozen into ice cubes for later.
Personally, I like to dry the almond meal — it makes it easier to store and I think dry almond meal is a lot more versatile. If you have a dehydrator, just spread the almond paste onto a tray and let the dehydrator run until it's dry. In an oven, spread the almond paste onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 200°F for a few hours until completely dry and crumbly, stirring occasionally. If your meal is gritty, you can blend it in a food processor or blender until fine and flour-like. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for a few weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.
Ok! Onto some ideas for using that almond meal! Here we go:
1. Fruit Crumbles: Summer is crumble season! I love the crunch and nuttiness that almond meal adds to fruit crumbles. Just work some sugar and butter into a cup or so of almond meal until it makes a thick paste. Crumble this over your fruit and bake until bubbly.
2. Cookies and Baked Goods: Cookies, scones, and mufffins made with almond meal will have a slightly denser and chewier texture than those made with all flour, but I'll take the trade off! Try subbing some almond meal for a quarter to half of the all-purpose flour in your favorite baking recipes. (Shaking the meal through a fine-meshed strainer before using it also helps remove any larger pieces and keep the flour light.)
3. Crust for Fish, Chicken, and Pork: Panko is so yesterday. Almond meal is where it's at when it comes to a crispy, crunchy crust. (Or even better, a mix of both!) Dip your piece of fish or other meat in beaten eggs, then roll in almond meal. Pan-fry until golden and perfect.
4. Homemade Crackers: Almond meal gives homemade crackers a tender texture and a nutty flavor — perfect for pairing with cheeses and dried fruits for an appetizer. Sub it in for up to half of the flour in your favorite cracker recipe.
5. Gluten-Free "Bread Crumbs" for Casseroles: If you're avoiding gluten and looking for a little crunch for your next gluten-free mac n' cheese or vegetable gratin, look no further. Toss with butter, sprinkle, and bake. Yum.
Your turn! What are your favorite ways to use almond meal?
(Images: Emma Christensen)