Despite the sub-freezing temperatures here in France, my apartment smells like a straight-up tropical island because of all the coconut flour I’ve been experimenting with lately.
This grain-free alternative to wheat flour is made by pressing the water and oil out of the coconut meat and grinding what’s left into a slightly yellow and clumpy flour. Because it’s loaded with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, coconut flour keeps you satisfied for longer without wreaking havoc on blood sugar levels like whole wheat or white flours do.
There’s always a fear that baked goods without added sugar will taste, well, “blah.” But, trust me, there’s nothing bland about breads, cookies, muffins, or really anything made with coconut flour because it’s jam-packed with flavor.
Although pricy, a little goes a long way because it is incredibly absorbent. Do not assume a 1:1 ratio when substituting coconut flour for grain-based flours. Rather, use 1/4 to 1/3 cup of coconut flour per cup of traditional flour. You may also need to increase the number of eggs. To play it safe in the beginning, I suggest sticking to recipes designed with coconut flour as an ingredient.
This is exactly what I did when introducing the superfood into my kitchen.
1. Citrus Coconut Loaf
She Loves Everything has an amazing citrus coconut pound cake recipe that’s not only easy, but also takes advantage of the abundance of winter citrus (think grapefruits, oranges, and lemons) available at the local market around this time of the year. It’s perfect to eat for breakfast, dessert, or really any time in between.
2. Pear Tart with Coconut Flour Crust
When I think of classic French desserts, I automatically picture tarts or more free-form, rustic galettes. The filling varies depending on the region’s gastronomic heritage. In Normandy, for example, apples are the way to go, whereas the Lorraine region specializes in cherry plum tarts and the Vosges region, blueberries. I’ve experimented with apples, kiwis, persimmons, and all kinds of berries. But at the end of the day, I always find my way back to pears.
Worried that the strong taste of coconut flour would over-power the pears and jeopardize the elegant simplicity of this dessert, I was hesitant to try it. After all, tarts are a classic for a reason. To compromise, I decided to refrain from using coconut oil and instead use a more traditional ingredient: organic, grass-fed butter. Luckily, it did the trick.
- 1/2 Cup Butter, melted
- 2 Eggs
- 3/4 Cup Coconut Flour
- Pinch Sea Salt
- Fruit Compote
- 2 Large Pears
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a medium bowl, beat butter, eggs, coconut flour, and salt until well combined.
- Spread dough onto greased tart shell and bake 10-12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice pears and sprinkle with nutmeg.
- Remove dough from oven. Add a thin layer of apple (or apple-pear compote), then arrange pear slices in a spiral formation on top.
- Bake until pears are soft and crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes
3. Coconut Flour Banana Bread with Raw Cacao
When life hands you bananas that ripen faster than you can eat them, do not throw them away. There are endless possibilities when it comes to these naturally sweet (and probably now brown) fruits including the classic banana bread, ice cream, cookies, smoothies, pancakes, and muffins.
This banana bread is a one-bowl wonder. Just mix together the ingredients below, pour the batter into a greased or parchment paper-lined pan, bake for 45 minutes to an hour, and you’re done.
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil or Butter, melted
- 4 Eggs
- 4 Very Ripe Bananas
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 Cup Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
- Pinch Sea Salt
- 1/4 Cup Raw Cacao Nibs
4. Coconut Flax Cacao Cookies
I can’t wait until I go home and make these treats for my family as concrete proof that store-bought brands do not reign supreme in the cookie world.
- 1/3 Cup Coconut Flour
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
- 3/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Eggs
- 1/3 Cup Raw Cacao Nibs
- 1.5 Teaspoons Flax Seeds, optional
- Pinch Sea Salt
- Combine all dry ingredients (coconut flour, cacao nibs, flax seeds, and sea salt) in a medium bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut oil, vanilla extract, and eggs.
- Slowly add wet ingredients into flour mixture, mixing until well combined.
- Transfer equally-sized spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Bake until cookies are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes.