It's good to continue learning. One new thing each day is an easily attainable goal. Today, for me, it was coconut flour. Coconut flour is very high in fiber, gluten-free, a good source of protein, and has a low glycemic index. Two things I noticed when I began baking with coconut flour. 1)The small quantity of coconut flour used in a recipe. This is because it absorbs a substantial amount of liquid. 2)The large number of eggs used in a recipe. Gluten is absent, so eggs are needed to bind the ingredients together. The takeaway, then, is that coconut flour cannot be subbed for traditional flours cup for cup and more eggs are needed. I decided that it would be best to make a few tried-and-true coconut flour recipes before I attempted to adapt recipes. I headed straight for Elana's Pantry. This chocolate cupcake recipe from her site has few ingredients, but they are well-chosen to pack a powerful nutrient-dense punch. The recipe has found a coveted corner in my keeper recipes file.
Elana uses a food processor for mixing these cupcakes. I chose instead to sift the dry ingredients to remove the chunks in the coconut flour and cacao powder and blend in the salt and soda. The recipe calls for coconut oil. I made one batch with coconut oil and another with coconut butter. Both versions were tender, very moist, and equally yummy. Using coconut butter results in a denser texture which is not a bad trait, just different. The difference between coconut oil and coconut butter (aka creamed coconut) is the fiber content. Coconut oil has no fiber. Suited for high temperature cooking such as sauteing, it is a clear liquid when warmed. Coconut butter is pureed coconut meat with roughly 60% oil, so the fiber remains. Its solids will burn, so it is not suited for sauteing. When warmed, it is thick and creamy. When you first open a jar of coconut butter, it will be thick because the solidified oil forms a layer separate from the pureed coconut meat. Set the jar in a bowl of hot water to soften, then stir like you would a jar of natural peanut butter to incorporate the two again. To liquify for a recipe, put measured coconut oil/butter in a custard cup set into a deep bowl. Pour hot water into the bowl being careful not to splash any into the coconut oil/butter. Stir to hasten the softening. I have concluded that coconut butter and coconut oil each have a purpose. It's good to have both on hand.
Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup cacao powder (Cacao vs cocoa?)
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp baking soda
4 large eggs
¼ cup coconut oil (or coconut butter) liquified/softened*
1/3 cup honey