Ingredient Spotlight: Coconut Flour (and a Brownie Bite recipe)

Healthy white flour alternatives don’t have to be limited to whole wheat.  If you are looking for a healthy, non-wheat flour, you should look to coconut flour.

What is it?

Coconut flour is is defatted, dried coconut that is milled into a flour.  The texture is similar to whole wheat flour.  You can substitute it 100% in some recipes, but in others you’ll want to experiment starting with replacing about 25%.

What are its benefits?

  • Coconut flour is gluten-free.  This is perfect for people with gluten sensitivities and those trying to limit their grain intake.
  • Coconut flour is also lower in carbohydrates than most other flours.
  • Despite being gluten-free, coconut flour has as much protein as whole wheat flour.
  • Coconut flour is high in fiber. It has 4 times more fiber than oat bran, 3 times as much flour as ground flax seeds, and  twice as much fiber as wheat bran.

You can read more about the health benefits of coconut here.

If you want to create delicious, wheat-free baked goods, you should really try coconut flour.  Even though we don’t have any wheat allergies in our family, I think it’s important to have a varied diet without too much reliance on wheat.  Coconut flour is so healthful; it makes a great alternative to wheat flour.

Since it is Valentine’s Day, I feel it’s my obligation to give you a chocolate recipe.  What is Valentine’s Day without chocolate, anyway?  Here’s a brownie bite recipe that uses coconut flour.  The flour gives it a very subtle coconut flavor that I love.  These brownie bites are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and without refined sugar.

I sweetened them with dates and stevia powder, but they aren’t super sweet, which really lets the chocolate flavor shine through. If your palate is still used to really sweet baked goods, you may want to add a few more dates and/or more stevia.  I rarely bake with stevia as I think it can have a unpleasant aftertaste, but in small amounts I think it works.

Have you ever used coconut flour?  What is your favorite way to use it?


  1. Lisa says

    Maryea, Could you tell me what the brand of Stevia is that you use? I have been unable to find a powdered Stevia at Whole Foods that I like. Maybe like you said it’s the bitter unpleasant aftertaste and maybe if I used it in small amounts like this recipe it would work? We like coconut flour, too. I made some coconut/banana bars last week with it that we all loved.

  2. Lisa M. says

    I love your website! I just found you…saw you posted a comment on weelicious. Anyway, I have a 2.5 year old daughter and one on the way – due on 2/26! Your recipes look fantastic and I can’t wait to try these brownie bites out on the family tonight! Love how they are sugar free and made with coconut flour…thank you Maryea! I will be checking back often! Best, Lisa

  3. Lisa says

    Maryea, Do you think I could use liquid Stevia in these? Or, would it mess up the texture too much? I was going to make these today and realized that I ran out of powdered Stevia. I use it in our green smoothies a lot. Thanks!

  4. Laurie says

    Maryea, I make a similar brownie but mine is not baked. It’s raw. I use dates (usually medjool), unsweetened Dutched cocoa powder (it gives a deeper chocolate flavor to the brownies), the coconut flour (same brand you feature in the photo), vanilla extract, walnuts and hot or boiling water. I just put the dates, cocoa powder, coconut flour and vanilla extract in the food processor and process until the dates are completely broken down and the mixture is very fine. Then I add the hot/boiling water a little at a time and pulse until the mixture comes together and almost forms a ball. I transfer the mixture to a bowl, scoop out the mixture with a small cookie scoop into balls and then roll the balls in finely chopped walnuts, or you can roll the balls in unsweetened shredded coconut if you prefer. I call them “Brownie Balls”. They make a healthy and delicious snack or dessert. I keep them in a covered container in the refrigerator. No need to add any stevia or other sweetener because the dates make them sweet enough.

    • Laurie says

      As well as making the raw brownies with the coconut flour, I’ve just formulated a recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls. They are raw as well, and are a take on the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars. I use medjool dates, unsweetened crunchy peanut butter (I prefer the 365 Organic from Whole Foods), the coconut flour, a bit of vanilla extract, some hot water to help the mixture come together and 70% chocolate that I finely chop up (or you can use whatever chocolate or chocolate chips that you prefer). I just add the dates, peanut butter, coconut flour and vanilla to the food processor and process until very dates are chopped up very fine. Then I add the hot water, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture begins to come together and form a ball. Transfer to a bowl and let the mixture cool off a bit from the hot water that was added in. Then I work in the chopped chocolate, roll into balls and store in the refrigerator in a covered container. Super good!

      • Maryea says

        How interesting that you put coconut flour in them. Sounds great! I have a similar recipe using shredded coconut–it’s a healthier almond joy type bar. I love chocolate+coconut!

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