Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making My Own Coconut Flour

If you are looking for a low carb recipe or something for your Paleo diet, you are almost always going to run across the ingredients almond flour and coconut flour. At first, you look frantically everywhere thinking for sure grocery stores carry such items. Then you realize, not always, and if they do, it's normally really pricey. The only thing I found close to me was Bob's Red Mill Flour I can purchase at Big Lots or, if I have a sharp eye, at Publix or Bi-Lo. I decided, although it is nice to have a back up bag, I really should just make my own. 

This week I experimented with making my own coconut flour. The process itself is really not all that hard. It can be a bit time consuming,  but other than that, it's really easy. The hardest step I found was trying to find unsweetened coconut flakes, dried or not dried. I looked e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, well, everywhere within a 30  mile radius. I'm sorry. I'm not driving 45 minutes to an hour away just to pick up a bag of unsweetened coconut. You can find sweetened coconut flakes everywhere. And you can still use it, but it adds carbs to your meals and unnecessary sugar that causes your body to crave more and more...and, yes, even more. I actually found some unsweetened coconut by accident. I was checking out prices on frozen berries at my favorite grocery store, Piggly Wiggly {"I'm Stickin' with The Pig"..."Local Since Forever"...yada yada}, when I saw small bags of unsweetened coconut, two bags for $3. I was so stinkin' excited!   So I figured it was a small enough amount that I could experiment on and NOT break the bank. And it worked out swimmingly. 

I made coconut flour two ways. Depending on what you have in your kitchen or what kind of time you are working on, you can make your own coconut flour for your meals. And as my daughter says, "Easy peasy, lemon squeezy". 

Homemade Coconut Flour

What's on the bottom is all but 1 cup of Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flour
that I paid around 10 BUCKS for. The top half is all but 1 cup
 of my homemade coconut flour that cost me only 3 to make. 

 Step 1: Drying the flakes 

Method 1: Dehydrator 

  1. Line your dehydrator with parchment paper. If your dehydrator doesn't have hundreds of little slats your coconut can fall through, then lucky you
  2. Spread out the coconut in as much of a single layer as possible. 
  3. Turn on your dehydrator and go about your day. 
This is a small batch and got me a little less than half a cup,
which is fine since most of the recipes I use are right around 1/2 cup of coconut flour. 

When I did this method, I did only one sheet, and it took about 8-10 hours for the flakes to dry. Honestly, if you are going to do it this way, I would prep it, turn it on, and go to bed. When you wake up in the morning, you can quickly grind the flour and make some pancakes or muffins or something delicious. 

Method 2: Cookie Sheet
  1. Turn your oven on LOW, between 170-200. I started mine at 170, but about an hour later, bumped it up to 200, and there it stayed until the end. 
  2. Spread the coconut in a single layer on a cookie sheet. 
  3. Bake for 2-3 hours. After the first 1 1/2 hours, I started checking every 15-20 minutes. You don't want to BAKE the coconut, you just want to dry it. And my experience with coconut is once it starts baking, it can cook FAST. 
This method is ideal if you are going to be home working around the house anyway. I worked in the yard, gardening, while my coconut was drying. I had the windows open so I could hear the timer go off every 20 minutes. It forced me to come inside, check the coconut, and drink some water before heading back outside. 

Step 2: Grinding the Dried Coconut

Now that your unsweetened coconut is dried, the rest of the process takes only about 2 minutes. 

  1. Dump your dried coconut into your blender, Vitamix {if you are lucky enough to have one...which makes me super duper jealous}, or your Magic Bullet
  2. Pulse the coconut. I pulse and then shook the container, then pulsed again. Coconut has oils in it that can cause all your hard work to clump together. So I just shake it a little between pulses to make sure everything stays separated. 
  3. Keep blending until the coconut flakes become a fine powder and then STOP. If you keep going, you can make coconut butter, which I'm sure is delicious, and something I plan on trying next time, but it's not going to help you make your pancakes. 

That's it! Just dry and grind. "Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!" 

I have kicked around the idea of purchasing some dried unsweetened coconut flakes in bulk online. I can use the coconut flakes, not ground up as a flour, to make all kinds of things, such as these Coconut Nested Eggs {see picture below}. I'm just not sure if it will save me money or if it all comes out the same. 

This is really just 1 egg, 1/4 cup of unsweetened dried coconut flakes,
and about 15 minutes of your time. I love, love, love this recipe.
 I made 12 in my large muffin tin. Each family member got two with a slice of bacon,
and the kids fought over who was going to get an additional egg. Win-Win.  

And if you are looking for a recipe using coconut flour, here's one I made this morning for breakfast: Lemon Coconut Flour Pancakes

I didn't have any lemon extract, so these were more "Cinnamon Coconut Flour Pancakes", but after making the batter I realized I could have used lemon zest. So next time....

I served these pancakes with frozen berries, a little LOCAL bee pollen,
and some powdered sugar. On my pancakes, I omitted the powdered sugar
and added about a Tablespoon of homemade whipped cream. Super yummy. 

1 comment:

  1. It would be cheaper in gas for that 45 minute trip than to leave the oven on all night!