Many people follow gluten-free or paleo diets that rely on alternative flours like coconut and almond flour. Using coconut flour and almond flour together can be a great way to boost nutrition and texture in your gluten-free baked goods. However, these two flours have some key differences that impact how they should be used.
Yes, you can use coconut flour and almond flour together when baking. However, some adjustments will need to be made to account for their different properties. Here are some quick tips:
- Coconut flour absorbs a lot more moisture than almond flour. Use more liquid and less coconut flour than a recipe calls for if swapping with almond flour.
- Coconut flour has no protein or gluten, while almond flour contains some protein. You may need to add eggs or other binding agents when using coconut flour.
- Coconut flour has a sweet, coconutty flavor. Reduce other sweeteners in a recipe accordingly.
- Start by swapping about 20% of the almond flour for coconut flour and make adjustments as needed.
- Adding xanthan gum or guar gum can help improve the texture when using coconut flour.
Coconut Flour vs Almond Flour
Coconut flour and almond flour each have a unique nutritional profile and texture that distinguishes them from traditional all-purpose flour and from each other. Understanding the differences between the two helps ensure successful results when using them together in baking.
One of the main reasons people use alternative flours is for the nutritional benefits they provide over regular wheat flour. Here is how coconut and almond flour compare:
|120 per 1/4 cup
|160 per 1/4 cup
As you can see, coconut flour is lower in calories, fat, and carbs than almond flour. However, it provides nearly 3 times as much fiber. Coconut flour consists entirely of fiber since all coconut meat has been removed.
Almond flour has a bit more protein than coconut flour. It also contains significant amounts of healthy fats. While coconut flour has no gluten, almond flour contains a small amount since it is ground from whole almonds.
The texture of these two gluten-free flours also differs:
- Coconut flour – Extremely absorbent and dried out. Has no gluten.
- Almond flour – Medium moisture retention. Has a slightly grainy texture with some gluten.
Coconut flour absorbs far more liquid than almond flour because of all the fiber. This can result in dry, crumbly baked goods if not accounted for. Meanwhile, almond flour has some binding ability thanks to the almond proteins and gluten.
These texture differences mean you can’t substitute coconut flour 1:1 for almond flour, or vice versa. However, using them together can provide a moist, tender crumb with good rise. Let’s look further at how to adjust recipes when using them together.
How to Substitute Coconut Flour and Almond Flour
When swapping coconut flour and almond flour in recipes, you’ll need to adjust for moisture absorption and binding ability. Here are some tips:
1. Start with a 20% substitution
As a general guideline, substitute 20% of the almond flour called for in a recipe with coconut flour. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups almond flour, use 1 1/2 cups almond flour and 1/2 cup coconut flour.
This ratio takes into account the absorbency and texture differences between the two flours. Replacing more almond flour than this can make the end product too dry or crumbly.
2. Adjust liquids
When using coconut flour, add more liquid to account for how much moisture it soaks up. Aim to increase the liquid by about 1/4 to 1/2 depending on how much coconut flour you use.
Eggs and water work best. For every 1/4 cup coconut flour, add 1 extra egg or about 2-3 tablespoons water. If a recipe is already moist, start with smaller amounts of added liquid.
3. Watch for dryness
Due to its absorbency, coconut flour can make baked goods dry if too much is used. Signs of dryness include a crumbly or cracked texture.
To fix this, you can continue adding liquid 1 tablespoon at a time until the right consistency is reached. A splash of non-dairy milk or oil can also help improve moisture.
4. Consider binding agents
Coconut flour has no gluten, so you may need to add a binding agent to help hold recipes together. Eggs are the easiest option. For every 1/4 cup coconut flour, plan on using 1 extra egg.
If avoiding eggs, xanthan gum or guar gum can help bind coconut flour recipes. Start with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon and add more slowly as needed.
5. Adjust sweeteners if needed
Coconut flour has a naturally sweet and coconutty flavor. You may be able to reduce the amount of sugar or other sweeteners in a recipe when using it.
Taste batter and adjust sweetener amounts slowly. Reduce sweeteners by 1-2 tablespoons at first when using 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut flour.
6. Let batter sit
After mixing up batter using coconut and almond flour together, let it sit for 5-10 minutes before baking. This gives the coconut flour time to fully absorb moisture and prevents tunnels or air pockets from forming.
7. Make adjustments
The exact amounts of liquid, binding agents, and sweeteners needed will vary between recipes. Don’t be afraid to tweak a recipe as needed to achieve the right consistency and flavor.
Take notes so you remember any adjustments needed the next time you make a particular recipe.
Example Recipe – Coconut Almond Flour Muffins
To demonstrate how to use coconut and almond flour together, here is an example muffin recipe:
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
- 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and milk.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Let batter sit for 5 minutes.
- Scoop batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow muffins to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
This recipe uses a 20% substitution, replacing 1/2 cup of the almond flour with coconut flour. Extra eggs help bind the batter, while the additional milk provides moisture.
The honey balances out the coconut flavor so the muffins aren’t overly sweet. Letting the batter rest before baking allows the coconut flour time to absorb the liquid.
Feel free to add mix-ins like fruit, nuts, or coconut flakes too. Enjoy your freshly baked coconut almond flour muffins!
Tips for Baking Success
Here are some helpful tips to ensure your baked goods turn out well when using coconut flour and almond flour together:
Use precise measurements
Since coconut and almond flour behave so differently, it’s important to measure precisely. Use a kitchen scale for the most accurate measurements.
Sift flours first
Sifting the flours helps remove any lumps and improves consistency in the final product. It’s especially helpful with coconut flour which tends to clump.
Use room temperature ingredients
Cold ingredients like refrigerated eggs can cause baked goods to come out dense and unevenly cooked when using gluten-free flours.
Gluten helps provide structure when developing dough. Overmixing gluten-free batters can make them dense and even gritty. Gently mix just until incorporated.
Check for doneness early
Gluten-free items cook faster than those with wheat flour. Test for doneness 5-10 minutes early and watch closely to avoid overbaking.
Allow time to cool
Letting baked goods cool completely allows them to firm up for the best texture. This helps prevent crumbliness when cutting or serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why use coconut flour and almond flour together?
Using a mix provides the best of both ingredients. The coconut flour lightens the texture while almond flour keeps things tender. Combining them allows you to use less coconut flour so baked goods aren’t too dry.
What’s the best coconut flour to almond flour ratio?
A good starting point is 20% coconut flour to 80% almond flour. For example, 1/2 cup coconut flour to 2 cups almond flour. Adjust moisture and binding agents as needed.
Can you use only coconut flour?
Yes, but you’ll need to use significantly more moisture and binding agents. Coconut flour recipes also call for a lot less flour than normal, like 1/4 cup for 12 cookies.
Should you add xanthan gum?
Xanthan gum or guar gum can help mimic gluten to bind recipes with coconut flour, improving the structure. About 1/2 tsp per 1 cup of coconut flour is a good starting point.
What can you make with coconut and almond flour?
All kinds of baked goods including muffins, cookies, scones, cakes, breads, and more work well with a combo of these two flours.
Coconut flour and almond flour each have unique properties but work well together to create amazing gluten-free baked goods. By adjusting the moisture, binding power, and ratios, you can end up with light, tender baked treats.
Start by substituting 20% of the almond flour called for in recipes with coconut flour. Add extra liquid and binding agents as needed, and tweak sweetener amounts to account for the coconut flavor. Letting batters rest before baking gives the best results.
With some experimenting and note taking, you’ll be able to create the perfect gluten-free recipes using coconut flour and almond flour. Your friends and family will be impressed with your delicious and nutritious creations. Enjoy the flavors and textures you can achieve with these versatile alternative flours.