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Baking with nut allergies

If you're nuts about home baking but your family has allergies finding a substitute for ground almonds can be difficult. Many recipes for cakes and biscuits use ground almonds as they give a moistness and richness to the finished cake because of their high fat content (54g) and low carbohydrate (4g),

Alternatives such as rice flour, semolina and flour from wheat have about 1-2g of fat and more than 70g of carbohydrate, so you will get a very different result if you substitute one of these for ground almonds. Coconut flour is somewhere in between, with around 15g at per 100g.

If your recipe calls for less than half the weight of flour in ground almonds you may get a decent result using semolina. Use 80g of semolina per 100g of ground almonds and add an extra 20g of butter or other fat and a drop or two of almond essence. The slightly grainy texture of the semolina replicates that of ground almonds fairly convincingly and for that reason  is our recommended ingredient for making nut-free almond paste (marzipan).

However if your recipe calls for more ground almonds than flour, it's frankly best to choose a different recipe.

Note: Ground nuts have a different makeup from almost all other flour-type ingredient and are often recommended as an alternative to flourparticularly for coeliacs.