I grew up learning that nuts were high in fat and calories and to be avoided if one was trying to watch their weight.  In our house (of all girls) nuts were only seen at Christmas time and they sat in a large bowl, in the shell.  Having to crack them open tended to reduce the number eaten at one time.  Of course, we now know that nuts are more than just fat and calories.  They are good for your heart, a good source of protein and fibre. They can been eaten whole as a snack; sliced, slivered, pieces or as ground nut flours in recipes.  There are nut butters, nut pastes and even nut cheeses.  A very versatile food, they are packed with good nutrition.  It still stands that moderation is key…ounce for ounce nuts contain a higher number of calories and fat but we are encouraged to include some in our diet.

One of my favorite nuts is the almond.  One ounce (about 23 whole almonds) provides 6 g protein, 4 g fibre and 13 g of a heart healthy fat.  Almonds also contain vitamin E and calcium (75 mg/ounce).  It appears the calorie content is in question but it is somewhere between 130-160 calories per ounce.

Here is an example of a recipe made with almond flour.  The cake has a subtle ginger flavor, is very moist, very rich, very delicious and just happens to be gluten free. What more could you ask for?

Flourless Ginger Almond Cake with Apples

60 ml          Unsalted Butter
4                Apples, peeled, sliced, (we recommend gala or pink lady apples (~1 3/4 lb/800 g))
80 ml          White sugar, first amount
750 ml        Ground almonds (also known as almond flour or almond meal)
10 ml          Ground ginger
6                Eggs, separated
350 ml        White sugar, second amount
30 ml         Fresh ginger, peeled and grated
30 ml         Demerara sugar, lightly packed

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Butter a 10 inch spring form cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
3.Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add apples and toss with 80 ml sugar (first amount). Cook gently, stirring until
apples are coated with butter and softened, and juices are syrupy, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
4. Combine ground almonds and ground ginger. In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and 300 ml sugar (reserving the remainder 50 ml),
with an electric mixer.
5. Beat for 2 minutes or until very pale and thick. Add in grated ginger. Stir in almond and ginger mixture and half of the apple mixture,
including juices. Beat egg whites until stiff, slowly adding the remaining 50 ml of sugar until thick and glossy. Fold into the almond mixture.
6. Scrape batter into the prepared pan, decorate top with remaining apples and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
7. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, covering the top with parchment paper after about 50 minutes to keep the top from getting too brown.
A cake tester inserted into the centre should come out clean.

The original recipe was from the Globe and Mail Newspaper and was stated for 8-10 servings. We feel it should be for 16 servings.

California is one of the largest producers of almonds and the Almond Board of California has a great website chock full of information including recipes.  To learn more I recommend visiting http://www.almonds.com/health-professionals/nutrition-and-research/landing