What is Coconut Flour?
Coconut flour is a gluten-free and grain-free flour that is rich in dietary fiber, which helps support your digestion, heart health, immune system, and weight. Coconut flour is dried, ground up coconut meat. It is great for baking, and making such dishes as chocolate chip cookies, coconut pumpkin bread, banana nut pancakes, pizza and many more recipes!
What Is So Great About Coconut Flour and How Do I Use It?
So just what is this flour that everyone is talking about? Coconut flour is a gluten free and grain free flour that can be used to substitute out traditional grain based flours. This flour is also high in fiber and is a good source of protein. It is low in carbohydrates and is very filling (probably because of the higher fiber content). It is naturally sweet so you don’t need as much sweeteners when baking with this flour. For many of us, this is all great news! I try my best to eat as little grains as possible and avoid sweetening my foods when possible. But coconut flour can be very tricky to cook with. I didn’t realize this until I posted a recipe, coconut flour chocolate chip cookies (pictured below), and so many of you wrote me that your cookies were not turning out. So I want to share with you all a few tips to follow when using coconut flour.
- When using a recipe, different coconut flours have different consistencies and can alter the recipe significantly. It is important to look at the consistency of what you are baking. Lets use my cookies as an example. I use Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour, which is very dense. 2 tbsp was plenty for me to create these cookies but when I posted the recipe, most of you suggested using 3 tbsp of coconut flour. It is important to compare what a traditional cookie dough batter looks like compared to what you have in your kitchen. If the dough is very soft and not stiff, then you probably need to add another tbsp of flour. If it is stiff and firm like a traditional cookie dough then you are fine with the amount of flour you have in your recipe. Try placing 1 cookie in the oven to test the dough to make sure it will hold up. After that cookie is done, adjust the recipe if necessary and proceed with the cookies.
- A little coconut flour goes a long way. For every cup of all purpose flour (grain flour), you only need 1/4-1/3 cup of coconut flour.
- For every ounce (1/4 cup) of coconut flour, you typically need one egg and sometimes you might need more. Coconut flour does not have gluten in it and eggs are needed to keep the product together. Eggs also help the product rise.
- Coconut flour is very dense. It absorbs a lot of liquids. So for each portion of coconut flour you use, you will need to add equal amounts of liquid (water, coconut oil/butter, coconut milk, raw milk etc). So if you use 1/4 cup coconut flour, you will need to add 1/4 cup of liquids or a combination of liquids. Once you add the coconut flour to the liquids, allow it to sit for several minutes to see how it absorbs. If you need more liquids to get the desired consistency, then add more at this time.
- Practice and patients is necessary when using coconut flour. Use a trusted recipe source when baking with coconut flour. Once you get some practice with using this flour, you will find that it is quite easy to use and well worth the efforts.
Where Do I Get Coconut Flour?
There are many places you can buy coconut flour. Most health food stores or local co-ops carry coconut flour but the prices can be a little steep! Keep in mind, you are using much less. Remember for every cup of all purpose flour you only need 1/4 cup of coconut flour, so a little goes a long way when it comes to coconut flour. You also want to buy coconut flour that is not highly processed or sometimes it is called “Ultra White Coconut Flour.” This form of coconut flour is highly processed to look more like all purpose flours. You want your coconut flour to be a slightly creamed color. I have found that it is best to buy my coconut flour on line. I purchase mine from one of these two sources: Tropical Traditions and Wilderness Family Naturals. Both offer a great source of coconut flour that work nicely in all of my recipes.
Coconut Flour Recipes
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