Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Baking with Coconut Flour: 2 - Brownies

As I mentioned in my first post about baking with coconut flour, it's quite difficult to find basic recipes that are similar to wheat flour recipes. Although coconut flour can be used for it's gluten-free properties it's more commonly used by those on a 'paleo' diet, who have given up all forms of grains, as well as dairy and processed foods (often including refined cane and beet sugar). This means that anyone on a 'paleo' diet who still wants to bake has to come up with viable alternatives to most people's baking staples such as flour, butter and sugar, which makes it hard to find recipes where just the wheat flour has been substituted with coconut flour. It's made more difficult because recipes using coconut flour need a higher proportion of liquid, as the flour is very absorbent; this is often solved by using more eggs, but liquid fats and sweeteners are often used too.

Still, the internet is a vast place, and I eventually found a recipe for chocolate brownies (on Bob's Red Mill site) that didn't stray too far from the sort of recipe I would usually use. It used a mixture of vegetable oil and butter, ordinary sugar and cocoa and chocolate chips for the chocolate hit. A 20 x 20cm (8 x8") tray of brownies only used 60g of coconut flour compared to 100-160g of flour in other recipes I've used. The recipe also used 4 eggs, compared to the 2-3 usually used in the same sized tray. I left out the optional nuts, as I wanted to get the full effect of the coconut flour flavour when used with chocolate.

The recipe was really quick and easy to make, as everything could be mixed with a spoon in one big bowl. As the recipe used cocoa, then stirred in chocolate chips, there wasn't even any chocolate to melt.  I baked in a 20 x 20cm tray as I like deep brownies. Here's the ingredients, converted to metric weights: 75g softened butter, 75mls (5 tablespoons) sunflower oil, 200g light muscovado sugar, 4 eggs, 60g coconut flour, 50g cocoa, 175g plain chocolate, roughly chopped (or chocolate chips).

I was quite pleased with how these brownies came out. They were more cake-like in texture than the perfect brownie - moist but light and a little crumbly, rather than dense and chewy  - but had a good chocolate flavour. I thought that I could taste the coconut flour when the brownies were freshly made, but that seemed to fade over the next few days. I'm not sure whether someone who disliked coconut would notice the flavour or not! This recipe is definitely worth making again when gluten-free baking is needed, although I'd also like to try a recipe with melted chocolate, to try and get a more chewy brownie.


Phil in the Kitchen said...

From my very limited experience with coconut flour so far this is the sort of recipe that seems to work best. They do sound very moreish. I love the coconut and choc combination but I agree that the coconut seems much stronger in flavour when fresh.

Suelle said...

Interesting that you've had the same experience with the flavour 'fading' Phil!

Anne Szadorska said...

You have reminded me I have a neglected bag of coconut flour in the cupboard! I am too scared to try it despite convincing myself I must buy it (with gold bars ;-)) but I must persevere and not waste it!

Your brownies sound lovely and easy to make, they have risen nicely too :)

Snowy said...

Not had any experience of using coconut flour. Sounds interesting, and the brownies look good.