Win A Copy Of the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam


Every year come Passover there is the great dessert dilemma. Do I try to fake the cake using matzo meal, or forgo carbs and make meringues?  A few years back I put out fruit with a dark chocolate fondue, but you can really pull that rabbit out of the hat just once.  Invariably, I would pause on almonds, which are delicious, protein filled, fragrant, and fraught with biblical meaning.  Many scholars believe that Moses’ rod was an almond branch, as was Aaron’s.  It is also believed by some that the staff of the messiah will be an almond branch.

But until recently, almonds eluded me, having found scant recipe resources and remaining confused about how to prepare them. Enter Elana Amsterdam, her blog (Elana’s Pantry), and her book, the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.   Amsterdam follows a year round gluten free diet to help her and her son manage their celiac disease.  She has done extensive research on gluten alternatives and emerges a triumphant advocate of the almond. I reached out to Elana for some more details on her research, choices, and best practices.  She writes, ”I am one of those people that has a lot of fun researching food, products and issues.  While I had always been curious and inquisitive, I truly learned the crafts of research, analysis and writing when I attended Columbia College at Columbia University (I was in the 3rd co-ed class!). I like almond flour because it is tasty, easy to use and super nutritious.  It didn’t take long for me to take a real shine to this product.”

The proof is in the pudding.  And matzo balls.  And vegan pastry cream.  And parve coconut cream frosting (no shortening!). And pancakes. And banana bread.  Amsterdam has come up with amazing, gluten free, generally parve, delicious recipes for year round, but of course are especially useful for Passover. Amsterdam is Jewish, and describes her food philosophy as ‘eco-kosher’.  She admires the work of Arthur Wasko, and tries to maintain an even handed, open approach to food and eating.  ”I think eating is a very personal choice and do not find it to be part of my process to judge how other people eat –it is so very individual.  I do have quite a few different types of people with an affinity for my website –whole food advocates, vegans, etc. My eating choices are shaped by my idea that we are all bio-chemical individuals and there is no “one size fits all” eating plan.  Therefore, I have done a lot of experimentation in terms of eating and my own constitution.  In my 20′s I taught yoga and studied Ayurveda which had a tremendous impact on my views surrounding health and healing.”

When you read her recipes, there are a few common ingredients including almond flour, grape seed oil, agave, baking soda, and dark chocolate.  You will see eggs, but very little dairy.  Occasionally she experiments with coconut flour.  ”All of my cookie recipes are dairy and egg free.  I do this so that more people can partake in the recipes I create –my goal is to make delicious food tasty enough for everyone and for people on restricted eating plans to be able to break bread with family and friends again.  I especially limit the use of dairy in my recipes because many people that are gluten intolerant cannot digest dairy either.”

Elana also advocates for more careful shopping and food choices.  ”I purchase organic produce, wild sea food and organic poultry.  When it comes to poultry, “natural” is really not so great.  ”Natural” livestock is fed pesticide laden food, I do not view this as natural.” All of this comes together in her home kitchen, where she, “make(s) a delicious Shabbos dinner every Friday and we have huge feasts at the Jewish holidays with friends and family.  Recently my son’s Hebrew class came over for Purim and we made Hamantaschen and Shaloch Manos.”  Imagine what this woman can do for her seder, and yours.

Want to win a copy of the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook?  Leave a comment below about your Passover cooking adventures below. Last date for entries is April 4th.  Winner will be notified by email on April 5th.

Recipe – Double Chocolate Orange Torte

Courtesy of Elana Amsterdam

½ cup dark chocolate 73%
½ cup blanched almond flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
3 eggs
½ cup agave nectar
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ cup dark chocolate 73%

  1. Place ½ cup chocolate chips in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground to the texture of gravel
  2. Pulse in almond flour, cacao powder and salt and process until well combined, about 10 seconds
  3. Add eggs to food processor and pulse again, then add in agave, grapeseed oil and orange zest
  4. Pulse all ingredients together until smooth
  5. Remove “bowl” from food processor and stir in second ½ cup of chocolate chips using a spoon or spatula
  6. Transfer batter into a well oiled 10 inch springform pan
  7. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

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33 Responses to “Win A Copy Of the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam”

  1. ramblingirl Says:

    Almond flour has certainly become a staple for my family’s Pesach baked goods. I’m in love with Nigella Lawson’s damp apple and almond cake, which was featured in the Washington Post a few years back. It’s moist and has great flavor and texture. I make it for gluten free friends even when it isn’t Pesach. At some point, I’d also like to try this chocolate and clementine cake––which looks fantastic.

  2. Tovah @ Gluten-Free Bay Says:

    Elana’s blog is such a great resource, especially for people who not only have to avoid gluten but all grains (such as many people with GI disorders or trying to eat low-glycemic). My adventure this year is trying to bake for Pesach without my usual staples of coconut and nut meal, which I can only use in tiny amounts this year because I am temporarily on a low-fiber diet. Oh, and did I mention I’m gluten-free? My diet is much more restrictive than usual, but I’m managing… I just tested out an amazing pesadich banana-cranberry cake recipe that rocked my socks off and I will no doubt be making it again for Pesach.

  3. Nancy Wolfson Says:

    I tried making my mother-in-law’s Iraqi charoseth for the first time this year. More like an apple jam garnished with date syrup and roasted walnuts, It took me three tries to begin to achieve the right consistency! Well, she’s been making it for over 60 years…

  4. Nicole Says:

    I’ve made almond flour cupcakes and muffins, but hadn’t thought about making almond flour desserts for Passover. Usually, I leave desserts to other people. (Any gluten-free desserts are usually macaroons or cakes from a box.) I’m glad to find out about this book, and look forward to sharing almond desserts at Passover in the future!

  5. Jaclyn Says:

    I have never tried almond flour. Now I’m really curious! I am organizing a Hillel seder. We’re going to serve a bunch of different types of charoset from around the world, asparagus, tzimmes, salad, mushrooms, eggplant, kugel, matzo ball soup, chocolate…can’t wait.

  6. S. Says:

    I was just thinking about all the recipes I could make this year with almond flour. Can’t wait to check out the cookbook.

  7. Nicole Says:

    I have a GF Bakery and have been looking to experiment more with almond flour. nicole

  8. Alan Weisner Says:

    Elana’s recipes have come great things in common –
    relatively few ingredients
    farely quick assembly time
    fun to make
    fun to eat.

    And all gluten free, etc.

    What more could you ask for?

    I learned of her recipes from my daughter and have been passing her website and name on to others.

    Happy Passover

  9. Stephanie Says:

    I have only taken part in one Passover meal so far and it was very nice. I am looking at trying Elana’s matzo ball soup, I am not gluten intolerant that I know of, but they look yummy and I like getting away from the grains.

  10. Ashira Says:

    I was so happy to discover Elana’s blog and recipes. I have a child on a gluten free and dairy free food plan and it has been a challenge finding recipes that she enjoys. I am going to try almond flour now. This Passover, she has been able to eat many things including gluten free matzoh, which she is enjoying!!

  11. Karey Says:

    I discovered Elana’s Pantry due to a recommendation from a friend and I’ve used quite a few of her recipes for my son that has egg, dairy and gluten allergies. I’ve enjoyed cooking with different flours and I like that her recipes make small batches so if I want to, I can make them for one son but still make other foods for my other kids with the regular flour and to include eggs. As for Passover…I’ve not ever cooked a Passover meal but I have a dear friend that celebrates and her thoughts and ideas intrigue me enough to want to try it in the future. She uses a “stuffed lamb” (stuffed animal) to teach her kids about Passover as well as implementing other Passover ideas which are really cool. Thanks!

  12. Karey Says:

    I discovered Elana’s Pantry on a recommendation from a friend as I have a son that’s allergic to eggs, dairy and Gluten. I have been able to use good, healthy recipes for him and he doesn’t feel left out. As for Passover, I haven’t ever made a Passover meal but the idea is intriguing and may be something I try in the future. I have a friend that is not Jewish but celebrates with her kids and I think Passover is a neat thing to teach kids about. Thank you.

  13. Katrina (gluten free gidget) Says:

    My attempts at a decent GF Matzoh Ball have been utter, glue-y failures! Elana’s book would definitely help me repolish my tarnished cooking reputation!

  14. Melissa Says:

    I discovered Elana’s pantry website and have enjoyed her blog and recipes. Would love her cookbook as I enjoy the recipes using almond flour.

  15. KatieC Says:

    I have, within the last two weeks, made my first two batches of GF matzo. They turned out ALMOST pretty nicely, but most definitely still need some tweaking to be passable for a non-GF crowd.

  16. Nava Says:

    I have been saving to get this book since I first came across Elena’s site; I LOVE her recipes, they have been such a wonderful resource for us since we went GF. Thanks to her recipes I’ve managed to come up with a bread recipe that I could braid, and am now working on an oat challah recipe.

    As for my Passover cooking adventures, I just made a vegetarian yellow curry to take to a community 2nd night seder in a new synagogue in a new town, so it was vegetarian, GF (for us) and no kitniyot (for the Ashkenazi crowd). It was crazy, but a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to next year (again, in a new synagogue, in a new town!) Next year I think we’ll also attempt our own GF matzah.

  17. Anastasia Says:

    I’ve made muffins with almond flour, but hadn’t thought about making matzo balls or desserts with almond flour for Passover. I’m glad to find out about Elena and her cookbook. I look forward to some wonderful almond flour adventures for Passover.

  18. Elaine Says:

    Would love to learn more about almond flour and Elana’s recipes. Would really love her cookbook!

  19. yoyo Says:

    Thank you for this offer. I have made Elana’s recipe and have love them. thanks

  20. Andrea A Says:

    I love Elana’s blog…her recipes are some of the best I have come across since my son was diagnosed with Celiac a few months ago.

  21. Appy Girl Says:

    Just getting into gluten Free cooking, Hoping it will improve my health

  22. Paulette Says:

    This is the first time that I’ve gone to your site. I got it from Elana’s Pantry. I use her site daily. I especially love her pumpkin souffle. I’m looking forward to your site since I can’t have eggs, dairy, wheat and a number of other things, your site will be a blessing to me. I’d love to win Elena’s cook book. Have a blessed weekend.

  23. Lindsay Says:

    Love Elana’s recipes and they work well for Passover!

  24. Samantha Says:

    I just found your website through Elana’s Pantry. How fun! I can’t wait to try gluten free matzoh balls. I miss them!

  25. Lisa Says:

    What a great article. We love Hazon, and The Jew & The Carrot. I’m excited to start reading Elana’s Pantry and see this cookbook; we had given up on matzo balls for the family member with DH, but with Elana’s help now we’ll give them another try.

  26. Jennifer Says:

    I’m gluten sensitive as well and really want to start using more almond flour. I’d love a copy of this cookbook!

  27. stacey Says:

    I eat gluten, but I can always use more vegan cookie recipes!
    My ongoing Passover cooking adventure is my vegan matzah brei. It varies from year to year, but has almond milk, tofu, and/or banana where the egg would otherwise be.

  28. Melissa Lopez Says:

    I would love to win a cookbook as I am gluten free. Really excited to convert some of the Jewish favorites in to gluten-free!

  29. Alix Says:

    I know I’m too late, but I just wanted to point out that Arthur Waskow spells his name Waskow, with a w at the end, and that there is a wonderful Spanish Pesach cake in Claudia Roden’s Jewish food around the world cookbook (forgot its exact title at the moment). It’s made with almond meal, and then you poke holes in the top and pour a fresh orange syrup over it. I’ve made it for the past few years (not this one) and it was delicious.

  30. Stephanie KL Says:

    Elana suggested I visit your website. She has been creating recipes that have graced our table for some time. Her cookbook continues to be on my wishlist and I would relish adding it to my collection.

  31. Susan Halloran Says:

    It would be such a blessing to win this gorgeous book! Thanks for offering this give-away. Your website is beautiful and informative….I’m new to it, and I’ll enjoy getting acquainted with it.

  32. Manju Says:

    Our family has been gluten free for about an year now, when we discovered my son’s allergies. I would love to get a copy of Elana’s book and try out different recipes

  33. Jody Berkelhamer Says:

    Have been Paleo for over a year and was also struggling with dessert options for passover. Just the other day thought about fruit and fondue. Do you have a recipe for the fondue that you made? I think my guests would be impressed!

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