Nuts are a controversial topic in the world of cooking. Schools are becoming increasingly cautious about using nuts in their school meals.
With some schools even banning any nut or peanut products – and more people than ever are being diagnosed with nut allergies into adulthood.
If you have a nut allergy you’re probably more than used to forgoing certain products that contain nuts, and macarons – that have almond flour as their principal ingredient – are no exception.
Almond allergies/intolerances are symptoms that occur after you’ve been in contact with almonds.
The common almond allergy symptoms are an itchy rash on the skin and in the mouth, swollen tongue, stuffy nose, upset stomach, and anaphylaxis.
The latter is the most severe allergic reaction to almonds, as you struggle to breathe and go into shock. If not treated, anaphylaxis can even lead to death.
However, as more and more nut allergies are diagnosed, at home cooks are finding clever ways to get around their nut allergies, and this includes making nut-free macarons.
Nut-free macarons still melt in your mouth and are still deliciously sweet, but are free of any bothersome nuts. Below, you’ll find five creative ways to make macarons without almond flour.
5 Creative Recipes For Macarons Without Almond Flour: Quick Table
|Nut-free Pumpkin Seeds Macarons||N/A||35 minutes total|
|Nut-free Sunflower Seed Macarons||N/A||N/A|
|White Chocolate Cream Cheese Macarons||N/A||30 minutes total|
|Lavender Nut-Free Macarons With Coconut Flour||45 total||3 hours total|
|Black Sesame & Apricot Macarons||208kcal||1 hour 26 minutes total|
Why Is Almond Flour So Important When Making Macarons?
Many people believe that it’s impossible to make macarons without almond flour.
Almond flour is generally considered the most important ingredient when making macarons and even today, most macron recipes online call for almond flour or almond meal.
For the best almond flour macarons, use blanched almond flour. Why? Because blanched almond flour does not have the skin and of the almond.
Plus, it has a smooth appearance that will give the macaron batter a smoother texture and more beautiful color.
Almonds give macarons a chewy, smooth texture and almond flour in particular is responsible for the melt-in-your-mouth feeling you get when you bite into a macaron.
Almond flour is also mixed well with meringue, which helps to make the macaron batter thicker and smoother, which also makes it ideal for piping.
Almond flour also helps to give macarons a more refined texture.
It’s easy to see why almond flour is so important for making French macarons. Still, almond flour can be difficult to find, and are sometimes only available in specialty stores.
Plus, a lot of people have almond allergies which makes it impossible for them to use almond flour in their cooking.
So while it’s undeniable that almond flour has a massive part to play in making macarons delicious, almond flour is just not accessible to everybody, whether because of scarcity or nut allergies/intolerances.
In these cases, people tend to substitute almond flour for things like coconut flour, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
Almond Flour Vs Almond Meal
It’s understandable why people might confuse almond meal with flour.
Almond flour is made with skinless blanched almonds that are ground into a powder until it has the texture of flour.
Almond meal, on the other hand, is made by grinding up almonds that still have their husks which results in a much coarser texture.
Almond flour is high in fats but low in carbohydrates, which makes it a common ingredient in keto and low-carb recipes. Plus, it’s gluten-free which makes it a popular ingredient in gluten-free diets too.
Cooks tend to prefer almond flour to almond meal for baked goods, as almond flour’s finer texture helps food to rise while it bakes.
Swapping out almond flour for pumpkin seeds in your macarons is a brilliant solution if you’re also allergic to other popular almond flour substitutes such as coconut flour, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine it is pretty rare for people to have pumpkin seed allergies.
They are not related to nuts, which makes them a reliable and safe substitute for nuts. However, this isn’t the case if the pumpkin seeds come from a plant that also grows sesame or tree nuts.
Pumpkin seeds can replace almond flour or almond meal in any macaron recipe in a one-to-one ratio.
You can make your own pumpkin seed flour for your macarons by grinding up the seeds in a food processor.
When making macarons with sunflower seeds, you will also need to blitz your sunflower seeds in a food processor – just like with the pumpkin seeds. You will also need to blitz them with powdered sugar.
Process it for a minute until the seeds and sugar are combined well. Then sift the sunflower seed and sugar with a sieve.
The sweet white chocolate in this recipe is mouth-watering when combined with the subtle yet tangy cream cheese and the nutty macaron shell.
For years traditional French macarons have been made with almond flour. Plus, almond flour has a mild flavor that allows it to highlight other, stronger flavors you might want to include in your macarons.
But if you have an allergy, then swapping out almond flour for coconut flour is a great way to enjoy macarons without worrying about allergic reactions.
Coconut flour has a similar texture to almond flour, but coconut flour of course has a distinct, coconutty taste. Therefore, when making macarons with coconut flour, it’s best to incorporate flavors that will complement it.
Coconut is also a great alternative ingredient for those with nut allergies, because it’s actually not a nut. Rather, it’s closer to a fruit.
However, it’s worth noting that people with tree-nut allergies can enjoy coconut without any problems.
But of course, if you do have a tree-nut allergy and are concerned about incorporating coconuts into your recipes, proceed with caution and speak to your doctor.
Using black sesame powder rather than almond meal in your macarons allows the macarons to keep their shape, and it’s pretty hard to tell when you’ve used sesame seeds rather than almond flour.
In fact, the most difficult part of using black sesame powder rather than almond meal is making sure you grind the seeds up fine enough. Your food processor is your best friend here!
You will need to grind the seeds up into a fine powder so that it looks pretty much identical to almond meal.
The buttercream used in this recipe is made with Swiss meringue. It gives the buttercream a super smooth and velvety texture, with a flavor that isn’t too sweet.
This ensures that your flavor of choice can shine! In this instance, the flavor of choice is apricot.
Other Substitutes For Almond Flour
If you don’t have an intolerance to wheat, then wheat flour can make a great alternative to almond flour.
Wheat flour tends to have more carbohydrates than almond flour and is usually fat-free.
However, wheat flour is prohibited if you’re on a keto or paleo diet. It also contains gluten, so is not suitable for those with gluten intolerances.
As wheat flour is a refined carbohydrate it can cause your blood glucose levels to spike. Whole wheat flour also has sugar that takes longer to absorb.
Opting for whole grains such as wheat flour over refined grains like white flour helps you better maintain your energy.
Wheat flour is appropriate for most baking recipes, but you may need to make changes to the other ingredients if you’re using wheat flour over almond flour.
You can buy oat flour at the store, or make it yourself by grinding up rolled oats until fine using a blender or food processor.
Oat flour is a lot lighter than almond flour which can make baked goods fluffy and light and have a mild nutty flavor. Oat flour has a lot more carbohydrates than almond flour and is lower in fat and calories.
Oats are also a great soluble fiber source, and beta-glucan in oats can help to reduce cholesterol. Oats are also believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Oats are inherently gluten-free, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t be contaminated by gluten during the manufacturing process.
This is why if you have a gluten intolerance you should always make sure the oats you buy are labelled gluten-free.
Also referred to as linseed, flaxseed has a nutty flavor and is a great almond flour substitute for baking.
Much like oat flour, you can buy ground flaxseed flour or grind flaxseeds up in a blender and coffee grinder to make flour at home.
Because of its high fat content, it can turn pretty quickly so it’s best to store flaxseed flour in the fridge.
Flaxseed flour is higher in carbohydrates when compared to almond flour. Flaxseed may also have beneficial impacts on cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Flaxseed is also a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that can help with constipation.
More Nut Flour Alternatives
If you don’t have a nut allergy, almond flour can also be replaced with nut flours such as cashew flour, macadamia flour, or walnut flour.
If you can’t find these alternative nut flours in your grocery store you can make your own by grinding unsalted and unflavored nuts in a food processor.
If you’re able to replace almond flour with other nut flours, the biggest benefit is that nut flours have the same fat content and texture to almond flour.
Plus, nuts have more protein and fats than standard oat flour and wheat flour. Plus, a lot of nut flours are allowed in low-carb or keto diets.
Nuts are also packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins, and research has shown that they might protect against cardiovascular disease.
Depending on your dietary restrictions, you can use a wide number of flours to replace almond flour.
Macadamia and walnut flour, for example, have pretty identical nutritional properties to almonds and are great for those on keto or low-carb diets.
Flaxseed or sunflower seed flours are also good alternatives. Meanwhile, if you’re not reducing your carb intake you can turn to whole wheat or all-purpose flour.
When swapping almond flour for any substitute however, you should keep in mind that there will be differences to texture and taste.
You may also have to make alterations to the measurements of other ingredients.
To many baked good fans, the macaron is the ultimate delicacy! But what if you’re a baked good fan with a nut allergy? After all, almond flour is the main ingredient in macarons.
Almond flour is often seen as an essential ingredient in macarons because of its coarse texture, but if you’re unable to use almond flour in your macarons, there are plenty of suitable alternatives.
You can use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, or sesame seeds, or oat flour, coconut flour, or wheat flour to make delicious almond-free macarons!