For years now, almond flour has been an important staple in the test kitchen's pantry. We love to employ it in gluten-free recipes and nutty desserts.
But this is not where the nut-flour train stops. If you’re not yet baking with hazelnut flour, you should be.
Fans of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher gather round!
Hazelnut flour is found in many Italian baked goods, including biscotti and baci di dama. The flour is sweeter and more buttery than almond flour and can make an excellent sub for it in cookies and desserts.
The key is to understand when such a swap is possible.
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What is hazelnut flour?
Hazelnut flour, also called hazelnut meal, is 100-percent nut flour. Because it’s created without wheat or any other grain, it’s naturally gluten free.
Hazelnut flour is made by grinding whole raw nuts to a fine nubbly texture. Like almond flour, it may be blanched before grinding or pulverized with the skins on.
What is the difference between hazelnut flour and almond flour?
Besides having a sweeter, more buttery taste than almond flour, hazelnut flour contains 20 percent more fat and 28 percent less protein.
How to substitute hazelnut flour for almond flour
Given the differences in fat and protein between the two flours, we felt some testing was in order to make sure a substitution didn’t cause problems.
In the financiers and almond cake, a 1:1 swap went off without a hitch. We also loved how the hazelnut flour lent its distinctive, sweet-nutty notes to these items.
Best Almond CakeTo perfect this elegant European dessert, we deepened its flavor and lightened its texture—and did it all in a food processor.
However, in the tart, the switch to hazelnut flour yielded a crust with badly slumping sidewalls that were crunchy, rather than crisp, and crumbled when sliced.
The bottom line: Because hazelnut flour contains more fat and less protein, it adds more tenderness and creates less structure in baked goods. Therefore, it’s important to use it as a sub for almond flour only in recipes where there are other structure-building ingredients, such as all-purpose flour and eggs.
When the nut alone is responsible for setting the structure (as was the case in the tart crust), it's best not to make this switch.
Want to try swapping these two flours for yourself? Give it a shot in these recipes.
Financiers (Almond–Browned Butter Cakes)These buttery, nutty, two-bite treats with chewy centers and crisp shells are a pastry chef's secret weapon. Now they can be yours, too.
Torta CapreseTorta caprese often trades on cloying fudge-like density and one-note chocolate flavor. Leave it to the Italians to whip up a version that's lighter and more nuanced.
Love hazelnuts in general? Try these other recipes.