A few weeks ago I considered myself daring for baking with whole wheat flour. I’ve just experimented with almond flour, and it’s not to be missed.
Almond flour is ground blanched almonds. It’s a chief component in macarons, the ubiquitous, filled, colored confections that have replaced designer cupcakes as the upscale treat du jour. Interestingly, the words “macaron” and “macaroni” originate from the same root. That’s because macarons originated in Italy, not France. They traveled across the border with Catherine de Medici in 1533 for her marriage to the Duc d’Orleans, who became King Henry II. Decades later macarons sailed to the New World. A recipe for an early version of a macaron appears in Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, a compilation of recipes that the Washington family brought with them to America.
Back to almond flour. Macarons embody a whole other degree of difficulty since they involve preparing a meringue and a filling, not just a cookie. I started my almond flour experience with a simple orange cake. It was different and wonderful. I will try the recipe with lemons next. Here’s the link: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/3251-claudia-rodens-orange-and-almond-cake. Converting the measurements from weight to volume required help from google but the half pound of ground almonds is about two cups and the half pound of sugar is just over a cup. You don’t have the grind the almonds yourself. Commercial brands like Bob’s Red Mill sell almond flour.