It’s not a nut. It’s a seed of the coconut palm tree.
These homely, hairy orbs offer more than meets the eye: at it’s center there is a delicious milky liquid we call “coconut water” and the sweet white coconut meat is shredded, creamed or dried and ground into flour. Coconut oil is also an amazingly healthy fat for cooking or to apply to your skin and hair. Here’s WHY you need to bake with coconut flour: It can turn your fattening breakfast muffin or coffeecake into a healthy high protein, high fiber, gluten-free meal. Here’s WHAT you need to know about baking with coconut flour: you cannot just swap for the same amount of wheat flour. Recipes will require more liquid. Coconut flour expands. Use baking soda, not yeast. Now for a few basic recipes to get you started.
BREAKFAST MUFFIN FORMULA
Combine these DRY ingredients in a bowl: 1/2 cup coconut flour 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt. Optional: 1/4 tsp each of any or all of these spices: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. In a blender, combine these WET ingredients: 4 large eggs and ONE OF THESE: 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, applesauce, yogurt or coconut milk. Optional sweetener: 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup. Blend the wet ingredient thoroughly. All at once, add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to combine. It will become very thick. You will not be able to pour it into the pan. Use a tablespoon to fill muffin tin, lined with parchment or muffin papers. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. *Add chopped nuts, shredded coconut or dried fruits to the batter also if you like. Stir these in last. Recipe makes six regular muffins. Double for a full dozen.
CRANBERRY-ORANGE QUICK BREAD
[cranberry orange quick bread] Combine: 3/4 cup almond flour 1/4 cup coconut flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt. Whisk in a separate bowl: 3 large eggs 1/4 cup maple syrup OR honey 2 tbsp melted coconut oil 2 tsp vanilla 1 tbsp orange zest 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until blended thoroughly. Stir in 1 cup fresh cranberries and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Generously oil a bread pan with coconut oil and add batter (which will be very thick). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until the top has browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
CHOCOLATE ORANGE CUPCAKES
This recipe is an enhanced combination of the two recipes above to make a sweeter and more showy cupcake.
Prepare the quick bread recipe above but omit the cranberries and walnuts.
Separate the batter into two equal amounts in separate bowls. Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to one bowl and stir to mix thoroughly.
Place cupcake papers in the muffin tin. Add one spoon of chocolate batter to each.
Next add a spoonful of orange batter to each muffin.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
OPTIONAL: Top each cupcake with chocolate chips or frosting.