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Coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut flakes, coconut milk, coconut flour, oh my! It’s all coconut all the time, folks.
It feels like the world has just discovered this brand new amazing thing in the last few years. It’s called the coconut! At one time, coconut was demonized for its high saturated fat content. Remember back in August of 1987 (no? me neither) when the headline of the day was that Taco Bell would be dropping the oh-so-unhealthy coconut oil for frying and switching to…you guessed it….corn oil? Because corn oil was considered a superior health choice. I don’t know if that makes me want to laugh or cry, honestly. But that’s beside the point.
The point is this: coconut is an extremely healthful fruit…er nut…er..seed? Okay it’s actually all three! Which brings me to my next point. As healthful as coconut is, it is equally diverse. There are so many different applications. Consider the aforementioned forms this fruit takes on: oil, butter, flake, milk, flour! All from just one fruit!
Today we’re going to dig a bit deeper into the flour side of things.
Coconut flour has recently taken its rightful place in the spotlight on the stage of gluten-free cooking and baking. It doesn’t have some of nutritional pitfalls that other gluten free flours such as almond flour have. For more on that, you can check out this great post: 5 Reasons to Avoid Almond Flour.
Now, do I avoid almond flour all of the time? Certainly not. But is it my go-to for baking? Nope. Why use almond flour when you can use coconut flour? Whether you’re making an apple pie, thumbprint cookies, bread pudding, or fudgy brownies, coconut flour makes a wonderful substitute for the less healthy (read not healthy in any way) refined white flour. It’s also a pretty great option if you’re dealing with nut allergies.
But like any health food that goes mainstream, coconut flour has been the subject of major price hikes. There are some great brands out there, but they can cost you a pretty penny. The brand that I prefer at my local grocery store costs about $11 for a 16 oz bag. That’s a little too rich for my blood.
By buying coconut flakes, you can kill two birds with one stone by first making your own coconut milk (which is surprisingly easy – check out my Date Sweetened Coconut Milk recipe), and then use the leftover pulp to make homemade coconut flour (which is even easier). But the best part for me is the cost savings.
Care to see the breakdown?
One 12 oz package of unsweetened coconut flakes is $3.19. Out of that 12 oz bag, I can make about 8 cups of coconut milk, and 4 cups of coconut flour. 8 cups of my favorite store bought coconut milk would cost me about $8. So were looking at about $19 for the same amount of coconut milk and flour that I can get out of one 12 oz bag of coconut flakes that cost $3.19!
That’s a huge savings.
And then there’s the added satisfaction of knowing that you can whip up some fresh coconut milk and coconut flour at any time, as long as you keep the coconut flakes in your pantry. That’s what’s so great about #lifefromscratch!
And those little morsels of goodness are great for more than just coconut milk and coconut flour. You can add them to yogurt, salads, or just eat them plain as a snack. Coconut is packed with healthy fats and protein that make it a really filling and nutritious addition to any diet.
So how do you turn coconut into coconut flour? Easy! Just check out the instructions below. After you see how easy it is to make your own coconut flour, you’ll never buy the pre-packaged stuff again!
- Pulp from this Date Sweetened Coconut Milk recipe (or any leftover coconut milk pulp)
- What you will have left after you make your coconut milk is a wet-ish pulp. Spread that pulp onto a sheet tray. I like to line the sheet tray with parchment, just so it's easier to transfer to my food processor. But you can put the pulp directly on to the sheet tray if you prefer.
- Break up the large clumps of coconut pulp and make sure to spread the pulp out evenly on the tray.
- Put the tray in a 170 degree F. oven on the center rack for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, your coconut pulp should be completely dried out, but should not have any color to it.
- Remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly.
- Then transfer the dried out pulp to a food processor or high powered blender
- Blend away until you have a very fine powder. It will just take about thirty seconds or so.
- Store it in an airtight container and pull that yummy goodness out whenever you're in the mood for a delicious baked treat.