Almond has always been one of my favorite flavors. My almost-daily breakfast is a slice of whole wheat toast slathered with almond butter, and my go-to special treat is not ice cream or chocolate, but one of Standard Baking Company’s decadent almond croissants. At the holidays, I even gobble up those brightly colored, stale marzipan fruits no one else will touch.

So it was with delighted anticipation I approached “Almonds Every Which Way,” an entire cookbook devoted to the delicious nuts. Author Brooke McLay doesn’t advocate a paleo or gluten-free diet, but she does offer her recipes as good options for people who follow these diets. Her tone is friendly and informative, never preachy, and the recipes are not complicated, although they assume knowledge of basic kitchen techniques and occasionally require adjusting to work best.

The book’s first chapter has recipes for making your own basic almond ingredients: almond milk, almond butter and almond flour. Since these items can be expensive, this may be helpful for people who use them regularly.

A 16-ounce bag of Bob’s Red Mill finely ground almond flour/meal cost me $10 at Hannaford, and I needed nearly half of it to make McLay’s Mile High Biscuits.

The breakfast, dessert and smoothies/beverages chapters had plenty of recipes that looked good, but for me, were obvious uses for almonds. For more of a challenge, I tested Almond-Chicken Soup, which gets its creaminess from almond butter. It was super simple to put together – especially since I used leftover cooked chicken – and delicious, a recipe I plan to make again, often.

Since I love flaky, traditional biscuits, I was intrigued by McLay’s Mile-High Biscuit recipe. It called for nearly three cups of (expensive) almond flour, baking soda instead of the usual baking powder, butter and eggs, which add some lightness.

I had to make some pretty significant adjustments to the recipe to get it to work, and mine were far from “mile-high” (although I didn’t make the dough as thick as specified); while tasty, were more like a shortbread/scone cross than a true biscuit.

That said, if you cannot eat gluten, they would be a good alternative, and they did go nicely with the soup. I also enjoyed one with blueberry jam and a cup of tea.

ALMOND-CHICKEN SOUP

The recipe calls for a sweet onion, but I used 1/2 a smallish white onion. Instead of cooking raw chicken pieces, as specified, I substituted 8 ounces leftover roast chicken breast, adjusting the recipe slightly.

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 sweet onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast or vegan chicken strips, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups coarsely chopped bok choy

1/2 cup almond butter

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lime

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Place the stock, onion, garlic, sweet potato, chicken (if using raw) and bok choy in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cover, bring to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sweet potato is softened.

Whisk together the almond butter, ginger and lime juice in a small bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of the hot soup broth.

Stir this mixture into the soup pot, add cooked chicken if using, and heat until the soup is piping hot.

Season to taste with salt and pepper (be sure to taste first; between the chicken stock, seasoning on the cooked chicken and almond butter, my soup didn’t need any additional salt). Serve garnished with mint.

MILE-HIGH BISCUITS

Ultimately, these biscuits were good, but I made a number of significant adjustments while making them, which are reflected in this recipe: I needed nearly 1 cup more almond flour than called for. I was careful to use cold butter, which was not specified, and I beat the eggs and honey together before adding the mixture to the dough.

3 to 3-1/2 cups finely ground blanched almond flour plus 2 tablespoons for dusting

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup butter or Earth Balance

2 eggs

1 tablespoon raw honey or agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together 3 cups almond flour, salt and baking soda. Cut the butter in small pieces and mix it in with your fingers. The finished mixture will resemble coarse crumbs.

Lightly beat the eggs together with the honey.

Stir the egg mixture into the flour-butter mixture and combine until a dough forms. Add more almond flour, as needed.

Place dough on cutting board and pat out until 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 9 squares.

Transfer the biscuits to the lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown.