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Where in the World is Carol?

Carol's in the kitchen, cooking up recipes for her next cookbook and www.CarolFenster.com

Watch for Carol on "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," a PBS-TV show airing on your local PBS station during 2017-2018.

Have You Tried Coffee Flour?

At our house, the whir of the coffee grinder is a familiar sound. My husband, also known as “Latte Larry,” is an expert at making coffee lattes. For the best flavor, he prefers to grind his own coffee beans just before “pulling” an espresso shot. 

Chocolate Banana Bread with Coffee Flour

Chocolate Banana Bread with Coffee Flour

My morning coffee routine is also precise. I grind the coffee beans fresh just before I make my coffee using the old-fashioned “pour-over” method, which brews a single cup at a time. I savor every sip.

Now that summer is here, we are drinking cold-brewed coffee on ice with a splash of NutPods dairy-free creamer. Then, there’s the coffee ice cream in my freezer and the brewed coffee that I add to my baked goods to accentuate the chocolate flavor. I even enjoy coffee-flavored candy.

Given the above, I guess you could say we are coffee aficionados at our house. 

COFFEE FLOUR

So, when I heard about coffee flour I was excited. Then I accidentally found Baker Josef’s coffee flour at Trader Joe’s, so I just had to have it.  In my nearly 30 years of gluten-free cooking, I’ve worked with just about every gluten-free flour on earth so coffee flour was destined to be my next experiment.

WHAT IS COFFEE FLOUR? WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?

 You may not realize this, but coffee beans actually grow inside a coffee fruit on trees (see photo).

Coffee Cherry

Coffee Cherry

I once toured a coffee farm on the Big Island of Hawaii and was amazed at how beautiful the coffee trees are. They sort of resemble cherry trees. In the past, the pulpy fruit (the red part in the photo above) that surrounds the coffee bean has typically been discarded. But some really smart folks realized if this pulpy fruit is dried and pulverized it can then be used as flour in baking.

What does coffee flour taste like?  The package describes it as a fruity, roasted flavor.  I’m not sure about the “fruity” part but there is definitely a “roasted” flavor with undertones of coffee.  And, I’m not sure that simply tasting ground coffee fully prepares you for the flavor of a brewed cup so tasting coffee flour isn’t a good predictor either. I think it’s the blending of the subtle coffee flavor with the other ingredients that make it worthwhile to use coffee flour in our food.

For an interesting history of how one company came to make coffee flour, go here.

HOW DO YOU USE COFFEE FLOUR?

The most obvious way to use it is in baking. Experts recommend substituting 10-25% of the flour with coffee flour.  For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups of gluten-free flour blend, then replace anywhere from 3 Tablespoons to 8 Tablespoons of the gluten-free blend with coffee flour.

Despite this recommendation, my advice is to first try the lowest amount (3 Tablespoons) and see how it works for you. The high fiber in coffee flour means that it absorbs more liquid than our usual gluten-free flours so you may need to add more liquid (perhaps 10 to 25% more liquid) for proper batter texture. Also, too much coffee flour might significantly alter the flavor of your baked items. As with many things in life, too much of a “good thing” isn’t good.

But which baked goods? I would suggest using it in recipes that you are already comfortable with rather than trying a brand-new recipe. So, I looked at my own recipes to see which ones might work. Coffee flour is dark brown, so I would avoid using it in light-colored foods. Since chocolate and coffee pair well, I started with my chocolate recipes and offer one here, with the coffee flour measurement included:

Chocolate Banana Bread with Coffee Flour

By Carol Fenster

This small, but mighty recipe is very versatile because you can use whatever add-ins you like and vary the fruit juice―both of which are very good for you. There are lots of flavors going on here: chocolate, banana, coffee, cinnamon but this recipe gives you a chance to try coffee flour and see how you like it. For a no-sugar-added bread, omit the tablespoon of sugar. Enjoy!!

1 small ripe banana, mashed

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/3 cup prune juice or pomegranate juice

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon coffee flour

7 tablespoons gluten-free flour blend (see below)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

Add-ins

1/2 cup gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup each finely chopped nuts, raisins, coconut, and dried cranberries (make sure total equals 1 cup)

[1] Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Lightly grease two nonstick 3 ¼ x 5¾-inch mini-loaf pans.  

[2] In a medium bowl, beat together the mashed banana, egg, juice, and oil with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended.

[3] With the mixer still on low speed, beat in the coffee flour, flour blend, cocoa, sugar (if using), cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt until smooth. Stir in the add-ins. With a wet spatula, spread the batter evenly in the pans.

[4] Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with only a bit of melted chocolate on it), about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, remove the bread from the pans, and cool completely before cutting. Makes about 5 to 6 small slices per loaf.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend

1 ½ cups sorghum flour or brown rice flour

1 ½ cups potato starch (not potato flour)

1 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

Whisk the ingredients together and store, tightly covered, in a dark, dry place.

Here are some other recipes to try:

[1] Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies http://www.carolfenstercooks.com/index.php/2014/10/chocolate-refrigerator-cookies-quick-decadence-100-quick-glutenfree-recipes/

[2] Pumpkin-Chocolate Marbled Loaf with Orange Glaze http://www.carolfenstercooks.com/index.php/2017/01/pumpkin/

[3] Chocolate Cake with Almond-Coconut Crust  http://www.carolfenstercooks.com/index.php/2011/02/chocolate-cake-with-almond-coconut-crust/

[4] Chocolate Brownies  http://www.carolfenstercooks.com/index.php/2012/04/chocolate-brownies-glutenfree-decadence/

[5] You could also try coffee flour in hearty breads or muffins. Or, in smoothies, truffles, puddings, and mousses. In flourless recipes, I would use this rule-of-thumb: for every serving use ½ teaspoon of coffee flour and make sure it’s thoroughly blended into the ingredients.

[6] Here is a measurement tip: In the Chocolate Banana Bread recipe above, I placed 1 tablespoon coffee flour in a ½ cup measuring cup and then added the gluten-free flour blend on top and leveled it off with a knife. This automatically gave me 7 tablespoons of gluten-free flour blend and with the tablespoon of coffee flour already in the cup it automatically equaled 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons.

THE BENEFITS OF COFFEE FLOUR

Nutritionally, coffee flour can be a powerhouse (see Nutrition Facts here www.coffeeflour.com).  But it also a matter of how much you consume, which isn’t a lot in baked goods.

However, environmentally, coffee flour uses up a product that would ordinarily be discarded into rivers and it also provides financial payback for the coffee-growers. For the gluten-free community, it provides more variety and some wonderful taste experiences.

Although the bag of coffee four is not labeled gluten-free, it was found to be gluten-free by www.glutenfreewatchdog.com

 

 

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