Meet Your Ingredients

Meet Your Ingredients: Coconut Flour

Bowl of coconut flour

This sweet, grain- and gluten-free flour is one of the more temperamental flours to work with, but once you get used to it’s strange quirks, it quickly becomes a pantry staple.

The Basics

Made from dried coconut meat, coconut flour is a natural byproduct of coconut milk production. While one of the negatives can be the price tag, you can easily make your own at home by drying out coconut pulp in the oven, then grinding it to a fine flour using a food processor

Nutrition Overview

Slightly more energy dense than wheat flour, coconut flour is rich in protein, fiber and fat while low in carbohydrate. This low-carb profile has made it extremely popular on paleo and other health-conscious blogs.

A ¼ cup serving of coconut flour contains approximately 120 calories, 4 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, and 16 grams of of carbohydrate.

It’s also an excellent source of manganese, an essential mineral that helps with bone and skin health as well as helps prevent against free radical damage.

How to select

As mentioned above, coconut flour can be pricer, which is why some people choose to make their own at home. But, if you’re short on time or not big into DIY, make sure to buy a good-quality brand (One Green Planet has a great list to choose from).

Coconut flour can be found in most large grocery stores in the baking aisle or with the gluten free products.

How to store

Due to the high fat content, coconut flour can go rancid quickly at room temperature. Instead, keep it stored in an airtight container for 6 months in the fridge or up to a year in the freezer.

How to use in cooking/baking

While I was initially skeptic, from the first whiff of this sweet smelling flour I was determined to love it. However, there was a LOT of trial and error. The key to using coconut flour is to know that it acts very differently than any other flour (including nut flours).

Coconut flour loves liquid. I mean loves it. As a result, a very small amount of coconut flour can absorb a large amount of liquid. Because of this, baked goods with coconut flour are at an increased risk of being overly dry and gritty. To help combat this, you’ll need plenty of eggs when baking.

The eggs play double duty as the whites make up for not having gluten by giving structure to the baked good, while the yolks provide that much needed moisture.

If you’re making something light, such as a cake, it’s a good idea to separate the egg whites and yolks, whipping the whites until they form stiff peaks and gently folding them into the batter. This will help keep your cake or cupcakes from getting too dense.

While it’s best to stick with pre-tested coconut flour recipes in the beginning, you can experiment by substituting ¼ cup of coconut flour for every 1 cup of all purpose flour in a recipe. You’ll also want to add an extra egg for every ¼ cup of coconut flour. If your batter is still too thick, you may need to increase the other liquids in your recipe as well. Again, it’s all about trial and error ;).

Do you have a go to coconut flour recipe or tips for baking with coconut flour?

I’d love to hear! Leave me a comment below.

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