Marks Daily Apple
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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. excellent recipes. The coconut milk bring a wonderful taste,
    got it!
    Thank you

    5recipes wrote on November 7th, 2011
  2. These things taste just like chicken tenders! Only made the healthy way. I put a dab of organic ketchup on them and was just in pure bliss. Got leftovers for tomorrow heheh, these will make for a delicious salad.

    Keaton wrote on November 17th, 2011
  3. I am so glad I found this site; I do not have the health problems that condemn me to alternative flours, but I do enjoy baking and trying new things. I am a recent transplant to guatemala, and in a failed attempt to make coconut oil in my vitamix, I made a big bag of chopped, de-fattened, de-milked coconut meat that I saved in the freezer, knowing I would someday discover how to use it! Now I have some interesting ideas to try.
    As to the weight issue and IF index, I read on a coconut oil site (long ago) that a minimum of 2 tbsp (or something like that) coconut oil a day in your diet will actually help your body process and get rid of your fat somehow, so although it is a saturated fat, it is of a healthy kind. Probably because it is a natural, whole food of the plant variety. Anyhow, interesting facts/theories to look up if you are interested.
    PS, I was using my coconut oil as a moisturizer on face and body, in addition to brushing it on my loaves of bread to give it a shine. I did use it a couple times to grease the skillet for “real” pancakes, and it worked fine. good luck!

    ex-pat and lovin it! wrote on January 12th, 2012
  4. Great ideas! Does anyone know of a good Congo bar or blondie recipe using coconut flour?

    Jenn wrote on January 16th, 2012
  5. Mark, you mention that coconut flour has “10 g carbs (with 9 g fiber, bringing the net carb count to a measly 1)”. When counting daily carb grams, should we be deducting some portion to derive a “net” number? I’m trying to stay under 100 daily grams, as per your suggestion for weight loss. Thanks!

    Beth wrote on February 26th, 2012
  6. We’ve got several recipes on NorthwestCavegirls.com that either are based on coconut flour or contain it including my favorite, Paleo Scones. Take a look http://northwestcavegirls.com/tag/coconut-flour/

    Angie wrote on March 6th, 2012
  7. the coconut bread was so incredibly dry that i was literally choking on it.

    i even made french toast with it to try and salvage it. i ended up throwing it all out. :( i hated wasting that much coconut flour because it is not cheap.

    jodie wrote on March 8th, 2012
  8. I bet Grok would have enjoyed a food processor and an electric waffle iron.

    MichaelA wrote on April 16th, 2012
  9. I found the best place for buying the cheapest best coconut flour out there: http://www.digestivewellness.com/itempage-1525-24-11-1754.html
    only $3.50 per lb!!

    Judy wrote on May 10th, 2012
  10. Just made these coconut pancakes and had to use a couple substitutions but they were a great success! Yum!
    Gotta try the coconut crusted chicken next, that sounds awesome. Thanks Mark, as usual!

    Molly wrote on July 5th, 2012
  11. Has anyone made pasta with coconut flour? I cant find a recipe
    Thsnks

    Jennie wrote on August 15th, 2012
  12. I’m SOOOO excited to find this! I made pikelets (small pancakes) this morning for my daughter but with self raising flour etc etc. I did have a couple and covered them in almond butter and banana and they were awesome, but now that I’ve found coconut pancakes they can be more primal! SO HAPPY!

    Helen wrote on August 15th, 2012
  13. I found an amazing coconut bread in one store, and of course, I wasn’t able to get the recipe. There are ingredients named on the cover, would anyone be able to come up with the amounts? And also what can hold them all together? This is in the bread: organic coconut flour, organic whole coconut, water, salt, and organic raisins (optional). It is gluten free, dairy free, wheat free, oil free and no sugar.
    Thank you.

    Klaudia wrote on September 7th, 2012
  14. This sounds great! I haven’t seen any mention of almond meal on here tho. Best tasting flour ever….I don’t know if you could use it to make a bread, tho. Since I am newbie, my experience with it was making carrot cake, and it makes the BEST carrot cake ever…but you DO have to use some milled flour. So maybe you could make a little loaf of it using milled coconut flour…hmmm.

    Leslie wrote on March 6th, 2013

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