As the Christmas period has arrived, I have been experimenting with substitute ingredients to create healthier treats for my family. Coconut flour and almond flour are becoming increasingly popular for baking. Here are my experiences using each:
- High fibre
Using coconut flour in baked goods is a great way to add fibre to your diet.
- Slightly sweet taste
The flavour of coconut flour can add extra sweetness to recipes.
- Retains moisture
Coconut flour in recipes such as my Paleo Pumpkin and Orange Loaf creates a very moist cake. I am currently experimenting with a carrot cake recipe using coconut flour so look out for that!
Fewer people are allergic to coconut than other nuts.
I recommend trying Biona Organic Coconut Flour. It’s available in Holland and Barrett for just £3.99 for 500g. As many recipes only require a small amount it is a cost effective option, plus the texture and flavour of this brand are great.
- Retains moisture
As well as being a benefit, the fact that coconut flour holds onto moisture can be a downside. I have tried using it to bake gingerbread and other biscuits but have found the texture too similar to cake.
- Coconut flavour
Although Biona Coconut Flour has a very subtle taste, if the flavour of coconut is not suitable for the recipe, almond flour might be a better option.
- Great for biscuits
Using almond flour in biscuits creates the perfect crunch. I will be sharing the recipe for gingerbread stars on Saturday; they have a crisp outside with a slightly softer centre.
- Subtle taste
I find that the almond flavour is easily masked by other ingredients.
- Versatile – sweet or savoury
Almond flour works well in sweet and savoury recipes. I use it in my Gingerbread Stars recipe, as well as in my Lemon and Rosemary Nibbles, both on the blog soon.
- Higher fat
Almond flour might be preferable for those on a ketogenic diet as it has a higher fat content than coconut flour. However, almonds contain a high amount of omega-6 fats which can be inflammatory when not enough omega-3 fats are consumed1.
- A lot of nuts in one serving
I don’t like to include a large amount of nuts in my diet, click here to read why. When using almond flour, it is tricky to visualise how many nuts you are consuming as they are finely ground. Obviously, you choose to bake and eat a sweet treat for enjoyment rather than because it is the optimal food choice. However, if you have particular goals, being wise as to how many nuts you are eating is essential.
Almond flour is more expensive than other flours. Supposedly, almond flour is more finely ground than ground almonds but when I have compared the two, the only difference I can see is the price. If using in a cake, the very finely ground almond flour might be optimal but in biscuits I don’t think it matters.
Again, an almond allergy is more common than a coconut allergy so using coconut flour might be the better choice when cooking for others.
Generally, I prefer coconut flour as I don’t eat almonds regularly. However, when it comes to baking certain treats, I will choose almond flour. It really depends on personal goals and the recipe!