Coconut Flour: Coconut Almond Cupcakes

Lately, we’ve been going coo-coo for coconut flour. Coconut flour is milled from coconut meat after the oil has been pressed from it. It’s used as a substitute in baking and cooking in place of wheat flour to make gluten-free goodies. It’s a low-glycemic flour with a very high fiber content. The saturated fats in coconut oil were vilified during the anti-fat years, but they’ve enjoyed a resurgence in respect due to suspicion the oils in coconut may in fact be good for us.

We’ve decided to begin experimenting with coconut flour because it’s a low-glycemic food. We, like almost everyone in the world, love sweets. We’re all hard wired to want them. But we’re also aware of the many health issues associated with a diet rich in sugar and refined starches (high-glycemic foods) and the effects they have on our health as we age including diabetes and heart disease, just to name a couple. These bad guys are at the top of a list of hundreds of aliments caused by a diet full of high-glycemic foods and deficient in dietary fiber. So we’re trying harder to improve the fiber to digestible carbohydrate ratio with our current food choices. It’s simple! We want our cake, we want our cake to be extremely delicious, and we want it to be reasonably healthy…is that too much to ask?

There aren’t many cookbooks out on the market describing all its uses and most of the google results seem to be linked to gluten free and/or vegan baking resources. So far we’ve had great success with pancakes but the recipe still needs a few more tweaks before we publish it. The recipe that follows was a great success with the help of Gluten-Free Cupcakes, 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour by Elana Amsterdam. If you’re looking for something definitive, we recommend Cooking with Coconut Flour: A delicious Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Alternative to Wheat by Bruce Fife, N.D.

Although typically available in health food stores, coconut flour is being stocked on more and more grocery shelves and is widely available on-line. We buy ours from Rainbow Market in San Francisco. Bob’s Red Mill sells an organic coconut flour online and in a number of grocery retailers.

Thanks to all that water-absorbing fiber, baking with coconut flour requires using extra liquid (eggs work especially well) to keep the end product from getting too dry. The effect makes coconut flour a good “volumizer,” so don’t be surprised if your recipes yield more of whatever you’re making.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Coconut Almond Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting

3/4 cup Almond Flour
3/4 cup Coconut Flour
1/2 cup desiccated Coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup agave syrup
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut oil melted and cooled
1/3 cup yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Using baking spray, spray each of the 48 individual muffin tins lightly, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour and coconut flour with the desiccated coconut, salt, and baking soda. Whisk to combine.

In a medium-mixing bowl, add the agave syrup, eggs, and coconut milk. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Add the coconut oil and yogurt, whisk again until combined.

Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until there are no white streaks of flour.

Using a small cookie scoop, evenly disperse the cake batter among the 48 cupcake tins. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the muffin tins; top to bottom and front to back, after each four minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from the tins. Place on the wire rack and cool completely, 30-45 minutes, before frosting.

Ganache Frosting

8 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee
pinch of salt

Using a large bowl, prepare an ice bath. In a medium sized bowl, which will fit into the large bowl, add the chopped chocolate. Heat the cream on the stovetop until starting to boil. Add the cream to the dark chocolate along with the instant coffee and salt. Whisk until combined, 20-30 seconds.

Using a handheld mixer, place the medium bowl of chocolate on in the large ice bath bowl. Being careful not to get water into the chocolate, beat the chocolate over the ice bath, starting on low for 2-4 minutes or until thicken and slightly lighten in color. Quickly add the whipped ganche into a pastry bag and decorate the cupcakes.

Do not let the ganache cool or it will firm up right away. If this happens, place the bowl of chocolate over a bain maire to slightly melt the chocolate. Start to beat the chocolate again with the handheld mixer, and place back on the ice bath until the consistency of frosting.