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Flour Girl: Gluten-Free Almond Joy


Olive-Rosemary Bread. (Leigh Lambert -- The Washington Post)

Gluten-free baking is big and getting bigger, with a plethora of cookbooks from which to choose. This one sounded good: Elana Amsterdam's "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook" (Celestial Arts, 2009). As the title implies, all its recipes use almond flour in place of wheat flour.

Amsterdam is very specific about brands, adamantly steering cooks away from Bob's Red Mill almond flour, which is unfortunately the only one I could find in stores. She does list Web sites for ordering. Be warned: Almond flour is not cheap. But if you are a celiac sufferer, it might be worth the purchase.

Recipe Included

The book is a spinoff from her blog, at www.elanaspantry.com. She studied Ayurvedic cooking for three years and applies many of the same principles to her approach. She uses whole food ingredients with a European sensibility.

I sampled three recipes: Chewy Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate Chip Scones and Olive-Rosemary Bread. The cookies were a bit flabby, the scones were dense and moist, yet not very "sconey." But the quick bread was a pleasant surprise: a nice, dense loaf perfumed with herbs that would be great for sandwiches.

I'm not sure I would make those three recipes in lieu of the "real things," but I'm always glad to have some items in my repertoire that will answer special needs with good taste. Now I'm curious to try other recipes that call for almond flour, and seeing as how I ordered a five-pound bag of it, I expect I shall.

-- Leigh Lambert

Olive-Rosemary Bread
Makes 1 loaf (about 12 slices)

MAKE AHEAD: The bread needs to cool for 1 hour before serving. It can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for 3 days.

Adapted from Amsterdam's "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook" (Celestial Arts, 2009).

Grapeseed or vegetable oil, for greasing the pan
1/4 cup blanched almond flour, plus more for dusting the pan (see headnote)
3/4 cup creamy roasted almond butter (available in bulk in many health food stores)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/4 cup powdered arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped
Leaves from one stem rosemary, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)

Position an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Use the grapeseed oil to grease a 7-by-3-inch loaf pan, then dust lightly with almond flour.

Combine the almond butter and olive oil in a large bowl. Use an electric hand-held mixer to beat on medium speed until smooth, then add the eggs and agave nectar; beat until well combined.

Combine the almond flour, arrowroot, salt and baking soda on a large sheet of wax paper or parchment paper, then add to the almond butter mixture in several additions, beating on low speed until thoroughly combined.

Fold in the olives and rosemary, then transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake on the bottom oven rack for 45 to 55 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour before serving.

Per slice: 185 calories, 5g protein, 7g carbohydrates, 16g fat, 2g saturated fat, 53 mg cholesterol, 215 mg sodium, 1g dietary fiber, 1g sugar

By Leigh Lambert  |  September 10, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl , Recipes  | Tags: Flour Girl, Leigh Lambert, gluten-free, recipes  
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Comments

Elana doesn't seem to have a "Contact Me" link, but someone should inform her that almond flour can be found far cheaper than her sources; for example Hughson Nut, who can be found via Google.

Posted by: Bartolo1 | September 10, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I love baking with almond flour! It's a love leftover from a brief dabble in the "low-carb lifestyle." That didn't last, but some of the recipes I came up with back then are still my go-tos. My FAVORITE is this ridiculously quick and easy chocolate almond torte. I make a mini version that's just perfect for 2 people and can be made in the oven or even (if you're really craving chocolate cake pronto) in the microwave! Feel free to skip the orange zest if that's not your thing:

http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/2009/01/flourless-chocolate-orange-almond-torte.html

You'll be surprised by how wonderfully fudgy and rich it is.

Oh and btw, I usually buy almond flour from this website called nutsonline. The prices are pretty great and they deliver within a day or two on the east coast.

Posted by: AlejandraRamos | September 11, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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