Turn Coconut Into Flour: Here's How

A visit to the health food store shelves confirms that anything can be made into flour these days. Even coconut!

A visit to the health food store shelves confirms that anything can be made into flour these days — unusual grains like spelt, amaranth, and quinoa, and entirely non-grain foods like potatoes, garbanzo beans, and almonds. If you’re looking to avoid wheat, gluten, or to reduce your carbohydrates altogether, flour substitutes are an important tool in your arsenal. One of the most exotic — and most unexpected — is coconut.

Coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat after almost all of the fat has been extracted. It’s super-high in fiber — of the 10 g of carbs in a serving, nine of them are fiber — and has a few grams of protein per serving, too. Substituting coconut for grain flour isn’t a one-to-one swap. Coconut flour absorbs much more liquid than wheat flour and it isn’t quite as sticky. Most recipes balance this out by using less coconut flour than wheat flour, and by adding eggs, which help coconut flour bind.

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Coconut flour pancake recipes are all over the internet, and for good reason. The sweet, nutty flavor of coconut flour — and guilt-reducing nutrition profile — makes a perfect match with a little maple syrup. Most recipes use more eggs than your standard pancake batter; you’ll want to add a little cinnamon or vanilla extract to the batter to keep things sweet, but all the protein from those eggs is a great bonus.

Brownies are another great place for coconut flour to shine. A good, fudgey recipe will use very little flour anyway. This makes an excellent treat for gluten-free friends who are tired of feeling like second-class dessert-eaters. Use about half as much coconut flour as is called for in the recipe, and mix it in gradually. No adjustment to the baking time is needed. You’ll have rich, delicious brownies, and only you will know their healthy secret.