What is Coconut Flour?
If you are living gluten-free, you've probably come across coconut flour when looking over some recipes. It is known for its naturally sweet and delicious flavor, and it is made simply by grinding up dried coconut meat. Because it holds in both water and fat, it keeps the items you bake moist for a longer period of time—important because "moist" isn't usually a way you can describe gluten-free food!
The Benefits of Coconut Flour
Besides being safe to eat if you can't use regular flour, coconut flour is known for how healthy it is. It is low in digestible carbohydrates and high in protein and iron. It is high in fiber, which means your tummy will be full after eating less.
It is high in lauric acid, a healthy fat that promotes the immune system and even healthy skin. It is also high in manganese, which is good for your thyroid, your nervous system, your bones, and your sugar levels.
Coconut flour is generally regarded as hypoallergenic, since very few people are allergic to coconut. Even some people with irritable bowel syndrome have said that they can eat coconut flour without having any stomach problems as a result.
Tips for Cooking with Coconut Flour
Although coconut flour has many health (and taste!) benefits, it is like a sponge when it comes to absorption. Most recipes will only call for about ¼ cup of coconut flour. And even that amount can still result in a very dry product if it isn't balanced out with liquid.
For reference, check out this recipe for coconut flour banana bread - just a small amount of coconut flour is used and a lot of eggs.
Also to counteract how dry coconut flour is, and to provide some structure to the dish, recipes will often call for using a lot of eggs. If you don't eat eggs, you can use a substitute like ground flaxseed, chia seed and water, or arrowroot and tapioca starch. Or, if you do eat eggs but don't want the fat and calories, you can get away with only using the egg whites.
Find out more in: How to Bake Practically Anything Using Egg Substitutes
It is also best to work with a recipe that calls for coconut flour—just substituting coconut flour for another kind of flour can get kind of tricky.
If you like crispy cookies, you should use a combination of coconut flour and another kind of flour—using only coconut flour results in soft and chewy baked goods.
The best way to store coconut flour is to keep it in an airtight container in your freezer.
10 Delicious Uses for Coconut Flour
With all of these benefits, you'll no doubt want to give coconut flour a try. You have many recipes to choose from—the light flavor of coconut flour means it works just as well as a coating for fish as it does when it is used for baked goods.
You can also try….
- Sprinkling some in shakes and smoothies, or even in water, to add fiber, protein, and taste
- Using coconut flour as a thickener in soups, gravy, and sauces
- Coconut flour in your baking—bread, muffins, cakes, and cookies
- Coconut flour in pancakes and waffles
- Been awhile since you've enjoyed crackers? You can use coconut flour to make some!
- Coconut flour to make sweet, moist, and delicious corn bread
- An egg bath followed by a dredging in coconut flour and a coating of coconut flakes to make delicious fried chicken (or fried shrimp or fish). (For the full coconut experience, fry the chicken up in coconut oil!)
- Using coconut flour as a sweet way to thicken up frosting
- Using coconut flour to make potato pancakes
- Using coconut flour in casseroles that might call for a bit of flour
Coconut flour is nutritious, delicious, and useful for a wide variety of dishes—and once you try it it's sure to become a favorite in your gluten-free kitchen.
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