Cranberry Lemon Coconut Muffins

As much as I love baking, I am not a baker like I am a chef. One of my favorite excuses when my baked goods don’t come out right is, “I’m a Chef, not a baker,” which is true- I went to school for Culinary, not Pastry- even though we did quite a bit of cake and pie creation in school, I am definitely not a pastry chef. Still, I adore baking. There is something oddly comforting about the exactness of baking proportions; as they say, Baking is a science, Cooking is an art. As science-minded as I am, there are some aspects of baking that still throw me off. My latest? Coconut flour.

I have baked with coconut flour before. Here, and here, for example. They’re both good recipes, but neither is going to win any beauty awards. Baking with coconut flour is a whole new realm, as the proportions of flour-liquid-eggs, etc are completely different than any other flour out there. So of course, baking with it terrifies me.

But I wanted to learn. Because as much as I adore my beloved almond flour, I wanted to branch out and get my coconut flour on. It’s a great, grain-free, high-fiber, low glycemic and slightly less allergenic alternative to almond flour, plus I bought two pounds of it for $5. No more excuses.

Coming up with this muffin recipe was no walk in the pastry park. But I think the proportions I have come up with work well, the muffins are fluffy and moist and not too dense, and the flavor- fresh cranberries and lemon for a sweet tang is right where I wanted it to be. I think- no, I know- this is my first real coconut flour success, and possibly the start of a very good floury friendship.

Cranberry Lemon Coconut Flour muffins
Makes 10-12 small muffins

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch allspice
pinch cloves
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
1/2 cup raw honey, melted
6 large free-range eggs, beaten until frothy
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup fresh cranberries (alternately, you could use 1/2 cup dried)
zest of one lemon
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or grease a 12-cup muffin pan (these muffins tend to stick).

2. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut flour, sea salt, spices and baking powder. Set aside.

3. Blend together eggs, coconut oil, honey, vanilla and lemon juice. Slowly blend in coconut flour until fully combined. Do not overmix.

4. Stir in cranberries, lemon zest and walnuts if using. Spoon into muffin liners, about 3/4 the way full. Bake for 30-35 minutes until slightly golden on top and firm.

Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, finish cooling on a wire rack.

Coconut flour: Have you baked with it? Any tips for the terrified, like me?