The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Coconut flour brownies

Coconut flour browniesMany folks turn to coconut flour when they decide to ditch wheat.  Compared to white flour, coconut flour has about the same amount of protein, but replaces nearly a third of the carbohydrates with good fats.  Coconut flour makes decadent desserts, too, if you like the taste of coconut and don't mind a bit of denseness in the final product.

Of course, if you live in the boondocks like we do, you're not going to find coconut flour in the grocery store.  You might find whole coconuts, though, in which case you can try to make your own.  Here's the method we used to make our coconut flour (and why you shouldn't follow our lead):

I drained out the coconut milk, pried out the flesh, whirred the latter up in the food processor, then baked the meat at around 350 degrees until it was dry.  Mark's mom had sent us a Magic Mill III, and without instructions, I made the mistake of passing my coconut meat through.  The good news is, the mill made fine, fluffy flour.  The bad news is that there was so much oil in the meat that it left a residue on the mill --- I'm hoping that'll clear out the next time we use it, but I can't recommend using an impact mill on unexpelled coconut meat.

To make coconut flour the right way, you'll need to first send the flesh through an oil expeller.  I've hit a bit of a wall with our expeller, but Mark thinks he can convert it to heating with electricity so that smoke doesn't ruin the product.  If he gets that going, I think we could make real coconut flour by first expelling the oil, then sending the coconut cake through the Magic Mill.

No matter how you get it, here's a delicious recipe for coconut flour brownies:

  • Dark chocolate brownie0.5 cups cocoa
  • 0.5 cups coconut flour
  • 0.5 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 0.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or 8 tablespoons if you get the oil out of your flour or use storebought coconut flour)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a small handful of dark chocolate chips

Mix the first seven ingredients together, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a knife comes out clean.  Serves 4 (or 8 if you have self restraint.)

Have you experimented with coconut flour?  I'd be very curious to hear about your technique if you've made the flour at home.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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We have not used or made coconut flour but I have made almond flour. I just used raw almonds and the food processor and it turned out pretty good.
Comment by John Amrhein Wed Jan 11 10:00:13 2012
You could try running some plain rice through your mill to absorb the coconut oil. That's how I clean my coffee grinder, and it seems to work pretty well. Of course, your next batch of flour will have a bit of rice flour mixed in, but I'm sure that won't be a problem.
Comment by Bubbles Wed Jan 11 10:31:22 2012

John --- I've tried the same trick you have with raw almonds in the food processor. They make more of a meal than a flour, I think, which makes them good for things like pie crusts but not so good for fluffier pastries. (Or at least that's been my experience.)

Bubbles --- I tried running some wheat through, and it didn't seem to do much good, but I'll happily try rice too! Hopefully that'll clean the gunk out.

Comment by anna Wed Jan 11 11:55:45 2012

A solution of sodium carbonate (washing soda) in warm water is very efficient at removing oils and greases.

Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Jan 11 13:15:59 2012
The trouble with the mill is that you can't take it apart. (Or, rather, I'm sure you can take it apart, but then it won't go back together.... :-) ) So you can't clean the wheel with anything wet or you'll risk damaging the motor.
Comment by anna Wed Jan 11 14:11:49 2012

I can't imagine a kitchen appliance without some kind of seal between the motor and the wheel. That would be an accident waiting to happen. Most appliances like blenders and grinders allow you to easily disassemble the parts that get dirty for cleaning.

And since it was assembled, it is possible to disassemble it. But it might not be particularly easy. :-) Let Mark have a go at it. Plastic casings these days usually fit together with snap joints. With a small screwdriver or knife blade it is usually possible to open those.

Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Jan 11 16:13:01 2012
He started taking it apart, actually, but decided it wasn't going to go back together right if he took it apart further after he started to open the casing. I can't remember why, but I trust his judgement --- I'm the one who tends to take things apart to "fix" them and then give up on them. (There was this one staple gun.... :-) )
Comment by anna Thu Jan 12 08:28:44 2012

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