Since going gluten-free, I've had lots of fun expanding my arsenal of flours. My latest discovery? DIY sunflower seed flour. I discovered "sun-flour" while developing my recipe for Fruit Crumble with Oats & Dates and have started using this wonderful ingredient in other baked goods, too.
Rich in protein and fiber, sunflower seed flour is mildly sweet and nutty, yet neutral enough to use in many baked goods. It can be good substitute for almond flour, which is pricey, not to mention off-limits for those of us who have nut allergies. I have used it in the aforementioned crumble as well as breads. Nut-free macarons are on the to-try list.
I haven't seen sunflower seed flour or meal available for sale (have you?), but it's easy to make at home. Simply grind raw (or soaked and dehydrated) sunflower seeds in a food processor, coffee/spice grinder, or high-performance blender such as a Vitamix. Pulse until the sunflower seeds have a flour-like consistency and avoid over-grinding, or you may end up with sunflower seed butter. Periodically sift the flour through a flour sifter or fine-mesh strainer and repeat until all the seeds are finely ground. One cup of sunflower seeds makes about one cup of flour.
Nut and seed oils can go rancid, so it's best to make the flour as needed or store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Note: When using sunflower seed flour in a recipe with baking soda, you may notice tiny green specks in your baked goods. This is a result of chemical reaction between the two ingredients, and it's perfectly safe to eat.
(Images: Emily Han)