A Word for Nut Allergies

I thought I would offer a tip for those who suffer from nut allergies. While most, if not all, of my recipes contain cashew flour, I realize that not everyone can use that because of allergies. Never fear though, as I still have you covered. Most cookbook authors will tell you to use coconut flour (this cannot be used on a 1:1 basis) or garbanzo bean flour (which makes your baked goods taste nasty), or some silly thing like that. Forget that nonsense, because neither will transfer on a 1:1 ratio for these recipes. I actually discovered the one ingredient that is not a nut at all, and it is cheap and widely available.

Wanna know what it is? Sunflower seeds. Yep–the cheap seed that everyone knows about and can get in any store across the country can be used in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for almond or cashew flour, and it costs about 4-5 times less than either one of those. So why do I still use cashew flour? Preference, mostly. But cashew flour does tend to have a lighter flavor and color, and lends a bit more sweetness to the final product.

Interestingly enough, I discovered this when I really got into grain free baking about 6-7 years ago. (I wrote about that story here.) One time early on in my experimenting days, I ran out of cashews and almonds, and I had little to no money to get more, but I had some sunflower seeds on hand from the food pantry that I thought could work (told you I had no money). Mind you, I had no prior knowledge that this would work as well as it did, because no one was talking about it online at the time. Only in the last few years have people began discussing this.

So, I ground up my sunflower seeds and continued with my efforts. The end product turned out about the same as my products I made with cashew or almond flour, and did not turn green like some people claim it will. The flavor was a bit more hearty and rustic, and I would recommend these more for breads and crackers, but if you want to try these recipes, and you have allergies to tree nuts, this may be something that you can try.

Sunflower seeds, when ground, have the same moisture content and density as almond flour does, but costs less. Cashew flour is just a touch more moist when ground, meaning you may need to add a bit more liquid if you substitute out sunflower seed flour for the cashew flour. And the claim that sunflower seed flour turns your baked goods green? I haven’t noticed that, but some people say it is because of the baking soda reaction…others claim it is the baking powder reaction. I’ve tried both, and I haven’t seen that happen, but feel free to experiment for yourself. At any rate, you now have a way to try these recipes if you are allergic to tree nuts.