I have noticed that almonds seem to be in just about everything in Luxembourg whether whole, sliced, diced, and chopped or as the flour substitution or addition to pastries especially in the gluten free treats. I’ve seen a variety of ways they are used whether blanched or unblanched and calling it almond flour, almond meal or almond powder which to my knowledge, with the flours, is basically the same thing just different coarseness in the grind.
It seems as if almond flour (a somewhat universal term) has become the go-to flour replacement in the gluten free baking industry. For someone like me who is allergic to almonds this has become a new challenge when looking to purchase a product or enjoy a lovely gluten free goodie in a restaurant or café. The GF pastries are often chocolate which is great since I love chocolate but for some odd reason they almost always contain almonds or almond flour and often not labeled since they aren’t considered one of the 8 common allergy ingredients.
The almond craze has made baking from prepackaged gluten free brands quite difficult and basically forced me to bake from scratch in most instances. I’m not sure why companies feel the necessity to add them. I’ve made plenty of gluten free treats from scratch without almonds and they taste terrific and the texture and quality have been fine. Could it be a cost effective measure? I don’t really know that answer to this. I have read quite a bit about substituting with almond flour to help with the lack of gluten in the GF flour for adhesion when baking but I personally don’t find this necessary.
I get that almonds are nutrient dense and high in protein but it’s just a dessert folks! I believe it’s ok to have a dessert once in a while just for the sake of having a delicious, sweet treat.
A side note: I recently read a few articles that have expressed some concern over the total intake of people who regularly use almond flour. The general consensus is that they are eating way more than a normal serving of almonds when doing this thus increasing their caloric intake. It is certainly something to keep in mind for those who use almond flour and struggle with weight issues.
So, for those with an almond (Fr:amande/Gr:Mandel) allergy like me, be on the lookout for almonds in baked goods in Luxembourg and the surrounding region whether gluten free or not. Oh and dear friends, do enjoy a sweet treat from time to time, it’s the little things that can make life more enjoyable but as always in moderation.