Coconut flour is quite the diva. It’s the Gordon Ramsay of flours. You can’t substitute it with any other flour. Try to, and your baked goodies will throw a hissy in the oven. This is because coconut flour demands alarming quantities of liquid in comparison to plain white flour.
I’m prepared to put up with coconut flour’s shenanigans because it makes a really great alternative to gluten or grain flours (hello paleo, hello coeliac). You won’t beat this flour’s fibre content either, ringing in at a whopping 42% (bye bye, haemorrhoids).
Extra bonus? You don’t even need to cook it.
Coconut flour works balistically well in this recipe, alongside cashew nut butter and a platoon of seeds. You can make great ‘cookie dough’ with it too, by combining the flour with some maple syrup, chocolate chunks, and nutbutter. No need to cook. Just roll into grenades and taunt the children into thinking it’s junkfood. They’ll love it.
The 2014 version is here which still knocks us sideways, like a puppy who ran into his birth brother. The 2016 ones are more wintry with orange zest, sea salt and creamed coconut.
1 cup (140g) dates, chopped
Just under 1 cup (100g) of milled flax or milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup (55g-65g) coconut flour
1/2 cup (75g) raisins
1/2 cup (140g) almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew nut butter
Up to 1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup or agave (honey doesn’t work)
3 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
2 tablespoons goji berries
2 generous pinches of sea salt flakes
zest from 1 unwaxed orange
100g bar of 75% dark chocolate
1/2 block of creamed coconut (only 1 euro in specialist Asian grocers)
Handful of goji berries or dried mulberries
Some raw cacao nibs
Blue cornflowers (for a touch of Mary Poppins, but you can’t taste them)
In a food processor (a simple fork and a temper will also work), combine all the base ingredients until gorgeously gooey.
Spoon it out over a parchment-lined shallow tin. The perfect size tin is a 20cm x 25cm rectangular one, a little larger than the traditional 20cm x 20cm square brownie tin. I place another piece of parchment paper on top of the base mixture, pressing down firmly with my fingers. Once the base is smooth, you can ditch the top piece of parchment. Chill in the fridge.
Meanwhile, slowly melt the chocolate and creamed coconut in a bain-marie. This is basically a pot of simmering water, 2.5cm in depth, with a heatproof bowl sitting on top where a lid might otherwise have gone. The contents of the bowl will gently melt from the steam of the water underneath. The trick is not to let the water boil or let the bottom of the bowl touch the water underneath.
Smother the chilled base in this coconut and chocolate ganache. Parachute a couple of goji berries, cacao nibs, mulberries and blue cornflowers on top for colour. Refrigerate overnight. I doubt you’ll need an alarm clock to wake you up in the morning.
This weekend with The Sunday Independent, you’ll find my final Sugar Feature. Diets suck. That’s why I don’t do them. And guess what? I’ve never been so healthy or so happy. Once you master how to turn your pesky sugar cravings into a nutritional slam dunk, you’ll be levitating with satisfaction!