Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
27 Mar

The Many Uses of Coconut Flour

A barrage of comments to our post on low-carb thickeners confirmed that while coconut flour is terrible for thickening sauces, it does serve other purposes. Our last post on a Primal flour – almond meal – went over well, so I figured the time was ripe for a look at coconut flour.

Coconut flour is simply dried, ground up coconut meat. Most likely you’ll be buying it online or from a specialty grocer, like Whole Foods or a food co-op, but you’ll occasionally come across highly processed, ultra-white coconut flour. Stay away from this. The good stuff will be like actual coconut – slightly cream colored, rather than bone white. You can make your own at home with a food processor, but without a grain mill you’ll probably have issues getting a “floury” consistency. If that’s okay with you, have at it.

Whether you’re making your own or buying it pre-made, always make sure your coconut flour is unsweetened. Pretty much all that you’ll come across is unsweetened, but it’s always worth it to make sure.

Apparently, defatting is one of the major steps in making it, so coconut flour doesn’t have much of the delicious, hearty coconut fat left over. It’s too bad, but understandable when you realize you’re dealing with a dry flour designed for baking. That’s pretty much my only qualm with coconut flour, as everything else looks good. According to my just-bought bag of Aloha Nu organic coconut flour, 2 tablespoons of the stuff contain:

1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat)
10 g carbs (with 9 g fiber, bringing the net carb count to a measly 1)
2 g protein

Those are pretty great stats, especially when compared to the glucose-boosting powers of “normal” flours like wheat or white. Less hearty than almond meal, but also less heavy and closer in texture to the other, forbidden flours (if that’s what you’re going for). Coconut flour can be used to bake, but be forewarned that it’s very dry and doesn’t stick together well (hence its uselessness as a sauce thickener); avoid this problem by adding eggs to the mix, which allows it to bond and form batter. I’ve also had success using it in a light egg batter for fried coconut chicken. I’d assume it would work equally well for shrimp or fish.

Okay, onto a few recipes.

Coconut Bread

I’m not a big baker, but I can appreciate those who are. For those budding Primal bakers who still miss bread, why not try to make some with coconut flour? Slightly sweet and fairly light (as opposed to the denser breads made with almond meal), this coconut bread should do the trick.

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1/2 cups ghee (or butter)
1-2 tablespoon honey, depending on taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup coconut flour

Method:
Preheat your oven to 350. Whisk it all together, or blend in a food processor until all lumps are gone. Grease a bread pan with butter or coconut oil and pour your batter in. Bake for 40 minutes.

If we split it up into six servings each slice will, according to FitDay, have:
30.9 g fat
13.2 g carbs (9 g fiber)
8.35 g protein

Coconut Pancakes

Drizzle these with honey and berries, wrap up some bacon and eggs for a Primal breakfast burrito, or just eat them plain. These things are incredibly easy to make.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)

Method:
Mix these ingredients and let them sit for five minutes. Oil or grease up your pan and heat over medium heat. Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter for each crepe, allowing each side to brown before flipping it.

Without accounting for toppings or cooking fat, FitDay says the whole batch amounts to:

37.2 g fat (20.9 g saturated)
42.2 g carbs (19.4 g fiber)
30.6 g protein

Coconut Crusted Chicken

This doesn’t even require an ingredient list. Simply take your chicken pieces (or shrimp, or fish), season them with salt and pepper, dunk them in an egg bath (just scrambled up raw egg), then dredge them in coconut flour, then back in the egg bath, and then coat with dried coconut flakes. After that, it’s just a matter of frying them in oil (use coconut) or sautéing them in some butter. Crunchy, delicious, and low-carb.

Any Primal bakers out there with good tips or recipes? Let me know in the comments section!

Photo Courtesy of Netrition.com

Further Reading:

Primal Energy Bar Redux: Making a Better Bar

Smart Fuel: Coconut

Primal Pie Recipes

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I bought some organic coconut flour at Vitamin Cottage, and used it to make lemon-poppyseed mini muffins today.
    I am so happy with this recipe that I will make the larger size next time. Anyone can find the recipe at Elanaspantry.com . Search “coconut flour recipes”. She also has a gf cookbook that is getting rave reviews…from myself, the press, and lots of my friends. The Gluten Free Almond Flour cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam.
    Cyn

    Cyn wrote on December 13th, 2009
  2. If you use dessicated coconut in the pancake recipe, it turns out much richer.
    Even going half flour/half shredded would be an interesting change.
    :)

    Nona wrote on January 31st, 2010
  3. I LOVE coconuts and am glad I found this info! I am definitely trying these pancakes tomorrow morning for Easter. They sound yummy! By the way, you CAN make your own coconut flour at home. You do need a few simple tools. You need to of course drain the water, and keep it (always!) then seperate the meat from the shell. Add the meat into a food processor and process until it’s pretty much shredded. Add in all of the coconut water and process until it’s sort of fluffy looking. Then you will need a milk bag (cheep and useful for many other things, like almond milk). Pour the coconut mixture into the milk bag and “milk it” until it is completely dry. The milk that comes out is now your delicious coconut milk nad the pulp left over is going to be your coconut flour. You then need to dry out the pulp. I use my Excaliber dehydrator at 105 degrees to keep it “raw” but you can use your oven set at the lowest temperature as well. It only takes a short while, dependng on the temp, so keep checking it. The pulp basically needs to just be completely dry. Next, place all of the dry pulp back into a clean processor and process until it breaks up and resembles “flour.” Stick it in the freezer or use immediately. So good and best of all, you get the tastiest coconut milk as well! Hope this helps! Enjoy!

    Kristi wrote on April 3rd, 2010
  4. A bit late in the day, but a variation on these that I’ve been making comes from Barry Groves – Almond and Parmesan Pancakes.

    This is a sort of thick pancake that is useful as it can be used for many things and is easy and quick to make. Parmesan is expensive, but supermarkets sell similar, but much cheaper cheeses.

    1 large egg
    1 tbsp ground almonds (almond flour)
    1 tbsp grated Italian cheese (Parmesan type)

    Mix all together and fry in lard or butter.

    Each pancake serves 1

    More details on his site:
    http://www.diabetes-diet.org.uk/basic-recipes.html.

    I also tried a varient using egg whites and double cream, it works but is not as good. (I had whites left over from making ice-cream).

    Derek wrote on June 6th, 2010
  5. I made the Coconut Pancakes and the Coconut Crusted Chicken. Both were awesome. Great post!

    Changes wrote on July 25th, 2010
  6. You CAN make coconut flour, I did it just the other day BUT I did it first by making coconut milk by taking the unsweetenend, raw, organic coconut meat I bought in bulk and put that in a bowl with HOT water and let it sit for about 30 min. I put the contents of the bowl into a muslin bag (cheesecloth should work too) and squeeze out the moisure. What you get is a high fat coconut milk. You can get one more “milking” out of this by repeating the process. The second squeezing results in more of a skim milk. I put it in the fridge and I got the most lovely coconut oil!!!! I took the squeezed coconut meat and put it in my food dehydrator and then put it in a coffee grinder and made flour within a couple of minutes. Perfect! It’s work but makes for some cheap coconut products.

    brenda wrote on July 30th, 2010
  7. Anyone have a made-with-coconut flou muffin recipe r?

    GAYATRI wrote on August 29th, 2010
  8. Could this recipe be used as a tortilla? Or does anyone have a coconut flour tortilla recipe?

    Kara wrote on September 4th, 2010
  9. Would this work as a gluten free substitute for regular flour? My son is allergic to gluten and it can be trying to find things he can eat.

    john wrote on October 12th, 2010
  10. Two words: Fruit Cobbler

    Anyone try it?

    Tiffany Young wrote on November 3rd, 2010
  11. Hi, just thought Id share a cheap source of coconut flour with you. I’ve been round every health food place in town with no luck, but I looked on google and found this at a 1/4 the price of the most common brands. I used their spices in the past and they were ace, just hope this is the same.

    http://www.natco-online.com/acatalog/info_coconut_flour.html

    Spence wrote on December 11th, 2010
  12. Definitely, what a splendid site and informative posts, I will bookmark your blog.Best Regards!

    Virgil Perkoski wrote on December 29th, 2010
  13. The pancakes are amazing!! So close to “real” pancakes!! Mmmmm!!! But I was just wondering to what extent I should be using coconut flour, and making these pancakes. Do they have a lot of sugar? Is the flour itself (say, if I were to crust fish with it) fatty like almond flour? I’m trying to stay slim while still enjoying tasty treats every now and then. Any suggestions or knowledge on the coconut flour?

    Courtney wrote on January 25th, 2011
    • I used the coconut flour for fish the other night and honestly, coating the fish in spices (garlic powder, onion powder, minced onion, salt and then frying it in coconut oil) worked a lot better.

      Wendy wrote on January 26th, 2011
    • I use coconut flour everyday as a porridge kind of like oatmeal and I find that if I use less I accually gain weight once I up my intake to at least 2 times perday my weight starts to come down, I have experimented many times doing this to see if it was just something I was imagining and now I know for sure it helps keep my weight under control and does not affect my blood sugar. I don’t know if its the fiber or what. I find that it also helps me to feel fuller much longer and I have energy with it. If I eat just eggs and bacon in the morning and don’t have my porridge I am accually much more tired and feel foggy.

      For the porridge I just use, 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp flax meal, 1 tsp sweetner, some cinnamon and about 1/8th to 1/4 cup almond milk, then I pour some boiling water on it for the consistency I want and its ready.

      Reminds me of cream of wheat. I am sure not everyone will like this but I love it. Also you can cook it if you like or add coconut milk. I just make mine like this because it is so much easier and hits the spot for me.

      Liz wrote on February 6th, 2011
      • Thanks Liz. I am going to try your porridge. I will probably add a few nuts.

        Sharon wrote on February 6th, 2011
      • Yum!! This sounds like a great recipe. I am going to try this tomorrow morning. Im a sucker for oatmeal and of course that is out of the question therefore I am going to try this.

        Thanks for sharing!

        Lorri Martin wrote on March 30th, 2011
  14. Coconut pancakes (i.e. pancakes made without real flour) will never be pancakes. They are pancakes’ awkward, evil, slightly deformed, red-neck cousin. They’ll never taste as good as pancakes. Period.

    I remember what pancakes tasted like. They tasted like Heaven. A small slice of Heaven that God placed on this earth just to piss us off. Just like doughnuts, muffins, toast, pasta, rice, beer, milkshakes, and all the other tasty sh…stuff… that we won’t eat anymore. He’s sick like that. He likes to torture us with stuff that’s clearly bad for us……but that tastes oooh so goooood. I guess if I ruled the universe, I’d mess with us too. But, I digress.

    Anyway, stop making it sound like we’re lucky to be eating coconut pancakes! Coconut pancakes are what Yoohoo is to chocolate. It’s what methadone is to heroin (I imagine). It’s what masturbation is to sex (oh, yes I DID!!). It’s what being a Kansas City Royals fan must be like (OH, YES I DID!!!). It’s for when the real thing just isn’t an option. So, just accept that coconut pancakes are better for you than real pancakes and be done with it; don’t try and pretend that people who eat pancakes “don’t know what they’re missing.” Here . . . . THESE are what real pancakes are like:

    http://clintonstreetbaking.com/

    Look at ‘em. LOOK AT ‘EM. All fluffy and delicious. Kind of makes you think: “if these are bad for you, why did God make ‘em so damn tasty??” (for answer: see above).

    Anyhow, here’s my coconut pancake recipe. They suck………I would know; I eat ‘em all the time.

    (makes about 4 cakes)
    Take 1 tablespoon of coconut powder (actually, I use just a little bit more than a tablespoon, but not much more) and mix the powder with some cinnamon and about three pinches of kosher salt (so it’s all incorporated). In a separate bowl, crack two eggs and add about two tablespoons of heavy cream or coconut milk. Beat that with a fork until its nice and creamy yellow (like you were making scrambled eggs). Then take about 1/12 to 2 tablespoons of butter and melt it in the microwave (should take about 25 seconds). Add the melted butter to the egg mixture and stir. Then add the powder/cinnamon/salt mixture to the egg mixture. It doesn’t mix very well at first, but just keep at it and it will all blend together (you’ll have to scrape the walls of the bowl a bunch of times). Make sure you mix it till it’s pretty smooth. These aren’t like real pancakes (see above). The batter should be smooth and almost a little runny. If it is thick and lumpy like pancake batter, the cakes will taste all gritty. These pancakes come out thin, more like crepes.

    Get a non-stick pan nice and hot (I usually put the pan on the burner before I start mixing the ingredients and keep it on medium). Then just poor the batter in and cook on both sides. It’s usually a couple minutes on each side. Generally, I add a pad of butter to each cake after I take them out of the pan, just to keep them moist. I also cook an egg or two and add it on top.

    Add whatever you like; they’re still not pancakes.

    (I realize that this is just a slight variation on the recipe in Mark’s post, but, in this instance, the thinner and fattier the cake, the better, in my opinion)

    By the way, I am allergic to nuts so I can’t really comment on the coconut pancake recipes that use almond meal, etc……but, I will anyway: I bet they taste better with real flour. And, even if you’re right and they don’t……too bad: I can’t have them, so they don’t count. If you think that is unfair, feel free to give me a call at the number listed below and we can have a civil discussion on the topic.

    1-800-YOUR-PANCAKES-SUCK

    Ok, I’m joking (and a bit jealous). I’m sure they’re delicious (seriously), and it’s great that you found a cool alternative (oh and congrats to the guy who won the contest – I liked the video). Just gettin’ a small laugh at your expense. All in good fun. We cool.

    Mr. T

    Mr. T wrote on February 16th, 2011
    • Hahahahaa….I laughed so hard at your post. Thanks.

      Wafaa wrote on March 12th, 2011
  15. For loads of great coconut recipes I can hihly recommend Bruce Fife’s book “Cooking with Coconut Flour”. I’ve tried several both sweet and savory recipes and they are all fantastic! He does use sugar in his recipes, but gives also lower sugar versions with stevia. What I do is I replace the amount of sugar (in the lower sugar version) with an equal amount of erythrithol and then add some stevia. Works every time.

    eurogal wrote on March 3rd, 2011
  16. I made the coconut bread twice. The first time I baked this recipe was last night and I just got done baking the second one. My husband and I absolutely LOVE it. It definitely satisfies our carb craving. I added 3 tablespoons of honey in the second batch and it tastes just a tad sweeter. Reminds me of corn bread. :) Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    Lorri Martin wrote on March 4th, 2011
  17. Dear Mark,

    I was nosing around a mainstream nutritional website (http://nutritiondata.self.com/) looking at a measure they called “IF” (for “inflammation factor”) for various foods. I put in kale, which came up with a nice positive score of 257 (which was meant to indicate that it was highly anti-inflammatory). Pleased with myself (as I eat alot of kale), I began looking at their IF for other foods I liked to eat. I was a bit puzzled when I looked at IF for coconut and raw coconut products (which are supposed to be our good friends). These IF scores were very bad, often worse serving for serving than the IF for cakes, pizza, ice creams, etc. For example, for “coconut milk, raw (liquid expressed from grated meat and water)”, the IF was -498 (large and negative); for “one cup of coconut meat, raw”, the IF was -225. In contrast “one large (67 g) doughnut, cake-type, plain, chocolate-coated or frosted” the IF was -173 and for “(1/8th of an 18 oz cake) 64 g Cake, yellow, commercially prepared, with chocolate frosting” the IF was -135. Shocked, I looked a little at the explanatory material for IF, and found that it penalized foods high in saturated fat. What do you think about this? Is this IF measure way off the mark scientifically or is a cup of coconut meat really as inflammatory to our bodies as a quarter of a Sara Lee chocolate cake?

    Thanks,
    Eric

    Eric wrote on March 26th, 2011
  18. don’t use egg replacer if you can help it. The commercial one has sulfites in it, leavening agents and potato starches, which are so bad for you. Want to get a wrecked liver like mine? Eat sulfited foods. Enough said.
    I can’t tell you enough how horrible it is to eat and then have your heart start racing and have trouble breathing.

    RM wrote on April 27th, 2011
  19. I’m looking to buya grinder for nuts and flour, any recommendaions? Thanks in advance.

    I actually made some chocolate fudge brownies with the coconut flour adding an equal amount of water to the mix. They went down a treat! Loving thre recipes /

    Sassie wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • i have heard vitamix or blendtech are the best.

      Fonda LaShay wrote on August 16th, 2011
  20. This is fantastic stuff! Loving all the contributions! Been looking for recipes to start getting into coconut flour more.
    Thank you all and I look forward to trying them!

    Katrina wrote on August 1st, 2011
  21. made the bread today… hate to say it but not a big fan of the flavour of this. Disappointed I didn’t like it knowing it’s so much better than other breads… oh well

    Katrina wrote on August 1st, 2011
  22. HAI
    I AM A MANUFACTHER FOR COCONUT POWDE AND RBD COCONUT OIL IF YOU NEED BULK QUANTITY GIVE ME A CALL ARE MAIL ME DO GOOD BUSSINES WE ARE INDIAN COMPANY.

    M.MURUGAN wrote on August 4th, 2011

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