Coconut Flour – A Delicious, Nutritious, Gluten-Free Discovery
By Cynthia S Wright
I bought a bag of coconut flour about two years ago but after using some in the recipe I purchased it for, it sat, pushed back in the corner of my cupboard, waiting. I didn’t know what to do with it or if it was even good for me.
Recently, I found a recipe on “Homemade Healthy”, a You-Tube site, for “Coconut Flour ‘Cornbread'”. I bought some fresh flour and tried again. This is my version:
Coconut Flour ‘Cornbread’
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease an 8 inch square pan or a cast iron skillet. Put pan in oven to get hot.
Combine: ¾ c. coconut flour, ½ t. baking powder and ½ t. salt. Stir well.
In a second bowl combine: 6 eggs, ½ c. melted butter and ¼ c. maple syrup.
Stir the two mixtures together till a soft dough forms.
Remove hot greased pan from oven and pour in the dough.
Pat the dough smooth and return to the oven for 20 minutes.
It turned out heavenly! There are many things you can do with it. My dad topped his piece of “Coconut Flour ‘Cornbread'” with maple syrup for a sweet treat. We talked about serving it with honey-butter or cream cheese. We also thought of using it like a shortbread topped with strawberries and whipped cream or perhaps a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sliced mangos for a dessert.
I chose to turn the ‘cornbread’ into a main course by serving a hearty hamburger gravy poured over the top. I am thinking of biscuits-and-gravy, using the “cornbread” as the base. Here is my recipe for the gravy:
1 lb. hamburger, 1 chopped onion, 2 c. chopped celery
Cook over medium high heat until vegetables are tender.
Stir in ¼ c. gluten-free flour till vegetable mixture is well coated.
Add 1 ½ c. water, ½ t. cumin, 2 t. salt, ¼ t. pepper,
½ t. yellow curry paste or a dash of cayenne pepper.
Cook gently, stirring often till thickened.
Add 1 can coconut milk to cream the gravy.
Serve over “Coconut Flour ‘Cornbread'”.
Why should I try coconut flour? Is it good for me? Is it worth the bother? How is it made? These are some of the questions I had as I started learning about this new flour. Here are some of the things that I learned about coconut flour:
- It is gaining in popularity as a healthy addition to the many gluten-free flours that have come out on the market. It is high in fiber, protein and healthy fats and low in sugar, digestible fiber and digestible carbohydrates and has a very low glycemic rating.
Just ¼ cup of the flour has 120 calories, 4 grams fat, 4 grams protein, 10 grams fiber, 16 grams carbohydrates and 2 grams sugar.
The flour is made from the white coconut meat inside the coconut shell or from the pulp left over after separating out the coconut milk. Because it is not a grain, it does not stimulate an auto-immune response or cause digestive problems for most people.
It has high levels of healthy saturated fats in the form of medium chain fatty acids and other fats, which are used to support healthy metabolism and balance blood sugar levels. Studies have also shown that it helps lower LDL cholesterol levels and serum triglycerides which help us have a healthier heart.
It is high in fiber which cannot be absorbed by the body. This is valuable because many of the calories and carbohydrates move through the digestive tract without being digested, acting as a broom to sweep out waste and toxins, which aids in digestive health.
Dried coconut absorbs a lot of water sort of like a sponge when cooked, so you need to have enough moisture in your recipe or it will turn out dry. The food will stay moist for a long time because of the sponge effect.
Although the ‘cornbread’ recipe used straight coconut flour, it is often combined with other flours to balance their strengths. Coconut four has a lot of texture and is heavy, moist, and dense. Almond flour is higher in protein and more flaky, Tapioca and arrowroot are creamier and creates a crisper stronger dough. The bean flours make a softer finished product and are high in protein and other nutrients Rice flour is very low in fat and makes a good base to combine with the other flours. It is fun to experiment with them all or try out a variety of recipes.
I have learned that coconut flour is well worth experimenting with and using often in my diet. It tastes good and can improve my health in many ways, adding variety and interest to the foods I serve.
Cynthia enjoys experimenting with the many grains and other ingredients that are often included in the foods we can store for our future needs. She is working on a website, to help others with their food storage and emergency preparation needs. Come visit her site at http://www.bepreparedplus.com