The benefits of almonds and almond flour are given here, along with a recipe for the new American biscuit-made with almond flour-to comply with multiple popular diets, currently present in America (gluten-free, keto, paleo, etc., and plain good eating). This 20-minute biscuit is exceptionally light and moist, a great alternative treat.
The Origins of Almond
Almond, the seed of a plum-like stone fruit, or drupe, is the world’s largest tree-nut crop. This nut is a close relative of the plum, peach, and cherry, with its stony shell. California is now the largest producer of the cultivated almond, Prunus amygdalus, which originally came from western Asia. There are also several dozen wild or minor species. 1
Facts about Almond Extract
As an aside, the nutty flavor of both almonds and its flour are not at all like the strong and distinctive flavor of almond extract, which is derived from bitter almonds; strong almond flavor is found only in wild or bitter almonds. 2
Our “pure” almond extract is made with aromatic benzaldehyde-from bitter almonds. It, however, is without the cyanide that accompanies it in these almonds themselves. On the other hand, “natural” extract usually contains benzaldehyde produced from cassia bark, while “imitation” almond extract contains benzaldehyde synthesized from pure chemicals. None of these three extracts resemble, in flavor, the nutty sweet taste of the domesticated almond, or its flour. 3
Health Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are a power-packed food with their high content of antioxidant vitamin E and low levels of polyunsaturated fats, giving them a relatively long shelf life. Their great, low-carb, sweet-tasting flour has an abundance of health benefits. 4
This nut and its flour are high in protein and fiber, rich in manganese, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus, as well as its above mentioned strength in vitamin E. This last is a group of fat-soluble compounds that act as antioxidants in our bodies, thus preventing free radicals from doing damage, such as accelerating aging and increasing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Lower rates of Alzheimer’s are also linked with vitamin E intake, in several studies. 5
One ounce (28 grams) of almond flour provides 35% of required daily intake of vitamin E, while the same amount provides 19% of the RDI of magnesium. There is some evidence that the addition of magnesium in our diets results in improved blood sugar control, reduced insulin resistance, and lower blood pressure. 6
Magnesium is known to possibly help control blood sugar and improve insulin function. Being low in carbs, yet high in healthy fats and fiber, baked goods made with almond flour also have a low glycemic index; thus, they release sugar into your blood slowly to provide a sustained source of energy. For these two reasons, almond-flour-treats may be an answer to people struggling with type 2 diabetes and weight conditions. 7
There is some evidence that almond flour may help reduce the bad LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure (studies along this line are inconsistent). In this way, almonds may lower risks of heart disease. 8
This Biscuit May Aid Sleep
Finally, this nut may promote good sleep, because of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin present in them, as well as their high magnesium content, which also may improve sleep quality. The magnesium purportedly reduces inflammation and the hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep. Studies, however, are inconclusive; but some find almonds, on an empty stomach, before bed, are beneficial. I like to eat one of these biscuits, several tablespoons of raw almond butter, and a glass of cold almond milk, before I retire. 9
How I Went from Obese to the Perfect Weight
It seems that most Americans are concerned about their weight and diet for one reason or another. When I go into the market place, it seems most of the people I encounter are obese. My heart breaks for them, as I once was caught in 226-pound body, as well. Everything I did to lose weight-over several decades-failed.
I constantly resolved anew, to exercise for twenty minutes a day, three times a week; walking, however, brought so much pain to my heavy body that I couldn’t stick with my regime. Today, my challenges have been reversed. Now, I choose to lay down my beloved aerobic walking, in order to first prioritize my responsibilities, in any given day. I walk as time allows, which takes great discipline for me, with my passion for this exercise. Wow! How things have changed.
Likewise, my 226-pound-body effortlessly and naturally melted away to a perfect 130-pound-frame, wearing a size four and six. For me, this all came about when I finally let go and let God, as the saying goes.
It all started on October 2, 2002, when I suddenly had to stop a medication; its replacement came with the promise of a side effect of decreased appetite. With great anticipation, I started what I thought was to be my miracle drug; three months later, however, during a doctor’s appointment, I discovered that I was six pounds heavier.
At that moment, I admitted total defeat, for there was no hope for me in the natural realm. Crying out to God for help, I truly let go; I was inspired to tell the nurse that in the future I was going to close my eyes when she weighed me, and for her not to tell me what the numbers were. We did this for several years, and my clothes-size slowly, but surely diminished. Indeed it wasn’t me, but our Father who performed this miracle.
Today, the scales of life have changed. Now with my active, vibrant life, I need to count my calories to insure I am eating enough to maintain my weight. How pleasant is this problem.
We know that life can bring change, sometimes big, when we surrender our will; thus, we need to always be on our toes, expecting the best, which actually opens the door for the Omnipotent One to manifest good in our lives.
This biscuit promotes both health and pleasure; it is indeed good. Enjoy its simple preparation, as given below.
- Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking (New York: Scribner, 1984. 2004), pp. 505.
- Ibid., 506.
- Ibid., 506.
- Ibid., 505.
Almond Flour Biscuits Yields: 8 biscuits. Total prep time: 20 min/ active prep time: 6 min/ baking time: 14 min.
Scant 1/4 c heavy whipping cream, soured with 8 drops of lemon juice from squeeze ball (Organic cream is important for health; Trader Joe’s carries this for $3.29/pt. Regular sour cream will also work, though not as healthy.)
1 c almond flour (Costco has the best price on this-$12.99 for 3 lbs, or $4.33/lb. It is also available in bulk at our local New Season’s for $9.99/lb.)
2 tsp baking powder (With finger, press powder in measuring spoon, as you hold it over the bowl, to get rid of lumps.)
1/4 tsp salt (Himalayan, pink, or Real Salt is critical for optimum health; a fine grind Himalayan salt is available at Costco for $4.95 for 5 lbs.)
1 tsp konjac root powder, or similar ingredient (Konjac root powder is available on-line; it promotes softness in baked goods.)
1 lg egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place cream in a medium (cereal) bowl and squirt about 8 short squirts of lemon juice from lemon ball over surface. Let sit for 4-5 minutes; you will be able to see the curdled cream when you tip the bowl to the side (see above photo).
- In a med/lg bowl, stir all the dry ingredients together.
- Lightly beat egg into bowl of curdled cream; then, add this liquid mixture into almond flour. Stir until all moisture is incorporated. Note: dough will be quite wet; see photo.
- Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spoon dough for 8 biscuits on paper. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until light golden brown (see photo at top of recipe). Remove from oven and cool on pan. These will store well in the refrigerator for a number of days.