Mother Nature’s goal for fall is to fatten us up for the cold winter ahead. So she gave us apples and pumpkins…which usually end up in irresistible pies…topped with ice cream. These nostalgic months tempt us with seasonal tastes we’ve been anticipating all year, and there is no reason to deny ourselves. With a few easy substitutions, you can enjoy fall flavors without the unhealthy carbs and sugar.
In our November/December 2021 edition we featured sugar substitutes. Now, let’s consider the base of many seasonal delights, the crust. Traditional recipes use high-carb wheat flour with little nutritional value. Coconut and almond flours are satisfying substitutes and recipes have come a long way in delivering taste and texture. They are also perfect for keto, vegan, grain- and gluten-free lifestyles.
Naturally sweet coconut flour is full of fiber, protein and healthy fats resulting in filling delights packed with nutrients and minerals. It can also be safely used in no-bake goodies. Cooking tips from the Nourished Kitchen1 include: substitute for all-purpose flour at a 1:4 ratio and add one egg for every ¼ cup of coconut as it is much denser and more absorbent; sift before use; beat the flour with egg yolks and the whites separately until they hold stiff peaks, then fold the whites into the flour mixture; add a little tapioca starch for stability.
Almond flour is also packed with protein, fat and fiber. It can be substituted for all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio, but will have a thicker consistency. Baking tips from Sugar-free Sprinkles2 include: add protein powder, xanthan gum or psyllium husks as binders; decrease cooking temp by 25 degrees when converting as it will brown and cook faster than all-purpose flour; let baked goods cool completely to firm up. Most importantly, be sure to use almond flour and not almond meal.
Lauren Del Sarto is founder and publisher of Desert Health and can be reached at [email protected].
References: 1) nourishedkitchen.com/baking-with-coconut-flour; 2) https://sugarfreesprinkles.com/how-to-bake-with-almond-flour/