Coconut flour, a versatile, tropical twist on gluten-free baking, packs a nutritional punch while delivering extra depth to the flavor of baked goods. Your initial kitchen experiments with coconut flour will reveal it to be a very different ingredient than standard wheat flour, but take heart. Understanding coconut flour's idiosyncrasies will help you accessorize your tea with a fluffy, decadent, perfectly formed scone that's gleefully gluten-free.
Benefits of Coconut Flour
A flour produced from dried, powdered coconut meat is not only gluten-free, it's high in protein, high in soluble fiber and very low in carbohydrates. The taste is pleasantly nutty and only mildly sweet. As a flour, the coconut's flavor is not strong. Coconut flour also contains lauric acid, a fatty acid with anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
Absorbency of Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is denser than most other flours. For best results, use it to replace up to 30 percent of the other flours in your scone recipe. Since coconut flour's soluble fiber content is so high, it absorbs substantially more liquid than other, less fibrous flours for which you may be substituting coconut. As a result, as you increase the ratio of coconut flour to other flours in a recipe, you must also increase the liquid. As a general rule, add an equal amount of additional liquid for each unit of coconut flour you use.
Eggs and Coconut Flour
For the same reason, you'll need to up the number of eggs -- or egg replacer -- the scone recipe calls for. Additional eggs counteract the heaviness of the coconut flour, giving the scones loftiness and body. Some chefs recommend adding an extra egg for every ounce of coconut flour in a baking recipe, while some suggest that you double the number of eggs. You will likely need to experiment with your scone recipe to determine the best strategy to suit your taste.
Scones made with coconut flour will have a more rustic texture and a less flaky bite. To compensate, add flavorings. Just before you dollop out the dough and put your scones in the oven, you can fold in dried currants, cranberries, orange zest, lemon zest, chocolate chips, blueberries or any other add-in that piques your interest. Since coconut flour has an inherent touch of sweetness, sweet add-ins are preferable to savory. Try serving your scones "buttered" with extra-virgin coconut oil for an extra boost of tropical flavor.
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