The Lowdown on Almond Flour

If you've been on facebook lately, you may have noticed that my raspberry macaron recipe was a success! My friend, Ian Bailey, who has been kind enough to take pictures for this blog, posted a collage of our macaron  photo shoot, and one of the editors at Foam Magazine even instagrammed a shot of the cookies I brought into the office.

But, before I post the recipe and give you all the details, I thought we might spend a minute talking about almond flour. Almond flour is one of three primary ingredients in the macaron shell. It is absolutely essential, yet it can also be very expensive:
  • At my neighborhood Vons, it cost a whopping $9.99 for a small bag.
  • At Trader Joe's, the same size bag costs only $3.99; however, I wouldn't recommend using it for macarons because it will give them a speckled look. While most almond flour on the market is made from blanched, slivered almonds that are finely ground, TJ's almond flour seems to be made from regular almonds -- and they grind up the darker, outside portion of the nut as well. I've used it as a topping for blueberry muffins and it worked great, but when it comes to macarons . . . not so much.
So, what's a girl to do?

The best option I found was to simply make it myself. A bag of blanched, slivered almonds is roughly the same price as the almond flour at Trader Joe's. I bought a bag, threw the nuts in the food processor, and voila: my own homemade almond flour! 

The difference in color between my homemade almond flour (right) and Trader Joe's almond flour (left).

Still feeling unsure? Check out this awesome YouTube video for step-by-step instructions: