Coconut flour is becoming a popular “alternative” flour in the world of gluten-free/grain-free baking. I use it often, but it took me a while to figure it out. My very first grain-free baking experience went horribly wrong when I incorrectly assumed you could sub coconut flour for almond flour in a 1:1 ratio. Nope. Can’t do that. Those poor cookies never stood a chance, and were promptly tossed in the trash due to their crumbly, dry nature. It was as if I had just eaten a spoonful of flour straight from the bag. Not exactly pleasant. So I next decided to actually follow a recipe that had coconut flour in it, in the proper ratios, and voila! It has been a staple in my kitchen ever since.
But what exactly is coconut flour? It’s essentially the byproduct of creating coconut milk. When the milk is squeezed from the flesh of a coconut, the meat can then be dehydrated and ground into a flour. Because of this, coconut flour is nutrient rich: Fiber galore, plus protein, a little fat, and minimal net carbs.
When buying coconut flour, look for the organic, cream colored kind. You definitely do not want to get any that has been bleached. I always stick to Bob’s Red Mill.
Be warned, however. As I mentioned above, coconut flour can be rather tricky to work with. It most certainly does NOT work as a 1:1 ratio substitute for other flours. Coconut flour is highly absorbent, which means not only is it typically used in small amounts, but it also requires additional moisture (usually in the form of eggs). I’ve read that in most recipes, you need at least 1 egg for ¼ cup of coconut flour. Therefore, my suggestion is if you are going to experiment with a recipe using coconut flour, do your research on what the typical liquid to flour ratio looks like, and also consider including an additional flour such as almond meal (or sunflower meal, or sunbutter as I often do). Good luck!
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