I discovered Chestnut Flour in the Zingerman’s Bakehouse Cookbook I got from the Munchies Test Kitchen. Farideh was clearing out space to make room for more cookbooks, so I grab this one from the give-away pile. I’m a big fan of Zingerman’s…they were actually one of my inspirations for starting this blog, selling such cool products from all over the world and whatnot.
Anyway, as I was flipping through the cookbook, I landed on a recipe for Chestnut Baguettes that called for chestnut flour and thought it would be the perfect ingredient to share with you for the holiday season.
If you like chestnuts, then this will open a whole new world of holiday baking possibilities. I, on the other hand, HATE chestnuts! There’s something about the flavor that makes my face cringe. But I never let my distastes get in the way of my funky food quests (remember, Ouzo?) because there’s always a way to make them taste better.
Lo and Behold, chestnut flour tastes just like chestnuts. It’s sweet, earthy, and a touch smokey, bringing new flavors and textures to your favorite baked goods. You can add it to virtually ANYTHING that calls for regular flour. If used like cocoa powder, adding just a small amount will add a subtle chestnut flavor. Added as a complete flour replacement, chestnut flour will provide density and heartiness to your baked goods—but, for gluten-free diets, I suggest mixing and matching your favorite gluten-free flours with chestnut flour, as it can be overpowering if you’re not used to chestnut. But even if you don’t follow a gluten-free diet, I encourage you to experiment with and incorporate it into your holiday weekend baking projects!
~*~ Happy Holidays ~*~
About: Chestnut flour is made from roasted, finely ground chestnuts and used often in Italian baking (but don’t limit yourself there). It can be used as a partial or complete flour substitute in baked goods to lend sweetness and density. Low in fat, and high in carbs, chestnut flour is a tasty and satisfying addition to gluten free and regular diets alike.
Varieties: Chestnut flour can be light beige, or dark brown in color depending on where it was produced.
Nutrients: copper • fiber • manganese • protein • vitamin C • vitamin B6
Benefits: lowers blood cholesterol levels • improves bone health • reduces inflammation • may reduce risk of cancer • strengthens the immune system
Calories: 365 per 3 ounces
Substitutes: almond flour • hazelnut flour • rice flour
Where to Buy: the baking aisle of your local health food store or Italian Market.
How to Select: You’ll know you’ve got high-quality chestnut flour if it’s expensive. I got mine from Nuts for a great price, with no compromise of flavor (in my opinion).
How to Use: It all depends on what you’re trying to make, as well as the kind of chestnut flour you buy. It’s as powdery and dry as regular flour and can sometimes be used as a complete substitute in simple recipes like pancakes, pie crust, and pasta. But for muffins, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods, it’s best (safest) to combine chestnut flour with regular or other gluten-free flours. In that case, you can substitute chestnut flour for a 1/4 (25 percent) of flour in a recipe (Ex: 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup chestnut flour). Start by experimenting and incorporating chestnut flour into your tried and true baking recipes, and adjust amounts once you get an understanding of its nature.
How to Store: Chestnut flour is very delicate, making it more subject to oxidation and rancidity. Store chestnut flour in an airtight container in the fridge for 6 months, or the freezer for up to one year.
Make Your Own via The Spruce Eats
What it Tastes Like: Slighty sweet • nutty • earthy • silky • smokey
Suggested Uses: banana bread • muffins • cookies • biscotti • cakes • pancakes & waffles • pie crust • homemade pasta • a thickener for stews, soups, and sauces • coating for deep-fried foods
Necci (Italian Chestnut Pancakes) via Jul’s Kitchen
Castagnaccio (Italian Chestnut Cake) via Food52
Chestnut Pound Cake via The Spruce Eats
Chestnut Flour Ravioli via Snixy Kitchen
Chestnut Flour Polenta via Saveur
Chestnut Quick Bread via Kroger
Chestnut Gingerbread Cookies via Amisa
Chestnut flour is pretty sweet, so decrease the amount of sugar by 10-15% called for in recipes.
~*~ MORE ~*~
What do you know about Chestnut Flour?