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The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam

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Updated March 27, 2010

The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam
© Elana Amsterdam
The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam, was one of the biggest surprises I’ve had since I started to manage this celiac disease website. I chose a few recipes to try and the results were fabulous.

What Makes this Cookbook Stand Out

I love Elana’s blog – Elana’s Pantry – and her stories about how she develops her recipes with the assistance of her young sons, but I was always a little skeptical about her ingredients. Instead of the “usual” gluten-free flours, Elana’s recipes are based on blanched almond flour. Instead of processed sugar, she uses agave nectar or stevia. And she uses other things I wasn’t used to and didn’t have in my pantry, like grapeseed oil and arrowroot powder. I was afraid her baked goods would all have the flavor of sweet almond macaroons. I needn’t have worried. I tried her chocolate chip scones and couldn’t believe how good they were. My gluten-free husband has been asking me now to make them every other week. (Elana has given me permission to reprint her chocolate chip scones recipe here.)

What Kinds of Recipes Are Included?

Her recipes aren’t confined to desserts – she’s got instructions for salmon burgers and turkey burgers, pizzas, quiches, chicken fingers – dozens of recipes, overall. I tried her easy recipe for eggplant parmesan (also reprinted here), which made enough for dinner for two plus a few lunches during the week.

Why Almond Flour?

So why does Elana stay away from gluten-free grain flours and use blanched almond flour and her other nontraditional ingredients instead? For a complete explanation, visit her website, but in brief, she says: “Unlike other alternatives to wheat flour, almond flour is moist and delicious.” Also, she says, “…almond flour is far superior to other flours in terms of taste, nutrition and ease-of-use.” On the topic of ease-of-use, those chocolate chip scones are one of the easiest baked desserts I’ve ever made.

Elana also points out that almonds are high in vitamin E and in monounsaturated fats, which help reduce the risk of heart disease. They’re also high in magnesium and potassium. In addition, they appear to “decrease after-meal rises in blood sugar.”

What Do You Need to Get Started?

The only disadvantage to The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook is that you probably don’t have the ingredients on hand, and they’re not cheap, especially if you go looking for them in your local store. Elana recommends buying the ingredients online to save money, and she provides links to her favorite suppliers. Personally, in order to test some of her recipes I only needed to buy almond flour and grapeseed oil; once I had those, I was able to find plenty of recipes required ingredients I already had on hand.

The Bottom Line

I was truly astonished at how tasty Elana’s food is, and how easy to prepare. I consider this user-friendly cookbook to be one of my greatest discoveries since I became gluten-free more than 10 years ago. Buy it for yourself or your favorite cook, gluten-free or not.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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