Coconut flour and almond flour have both recently become trendy options for those who want to follow the Paleo diet. They are also valuable options for sufferers of celiac disease or people who are otherwise gluten intolerant. While they are both versatile flours, they are not perfectly interchangeable with each other due to the fact that they each have some very specific characteristics. Here is a look at the differences between coconut flour and almond flour in another SPICEography Showdown.
How does coconut flour differ from almond flour?
One key way that coconut flour differs from almond flour is when it comes to its health benefits. The coconuts used to make coconut flour are drupes, not nuts. This is why coconuts and coconut flour are somewhat less nutritious than almonds and almond flour. Drupes are just not as nutritionally dense as nuts. Aside from their nutritional value, the availability of these two grain-free flours is also likely to vary as you will probably have an easier time finding almond flour than you will coconut flour.
Another area where they differ is the respective flavors. The simplest way to put it is that each of these flours tastes like the ingredient used to make them. Coconut flour has a light but distinct coconut taste; almond flour has the buttery nuttiness of almonds. As a result, they are both best used in preparations where their respective flavors are desired.
While they can be used interchangeably to dredge fried foods, both of these flours function differently when used in baked goods like cakes and cookies. Coconut flour is dry and highly absorbent, which means that it will soak up more moisture than other flours; almond flour contains moisture and will therefore not absorb a lot of moisture. Dishes you make with coconut flour will be fluffy but not as crunchy as those made with almond flour.
If your recipe calls for one, can you use the other?
You can use coconut flour in place of almond flour in baked goods as long as you remember how absorbent it is. Using it as a 1:1 substitute will probably cause you to wind up with something dryer and harder than you want it to be. You will need to rework any recipe formulated to use almond flour by increasing the liquids.
Conversely, you should reduce the quantity of liquids if you want to use almond flour in a recipe that was originally meant to use coconut flour. With each of these flours, how much you vary the amount of liquid depends on the specific recipe. For example, you may not need to add quite as much liquid if you are using another flour like cassava flour along with the coconut flour.
When should you use coconut flour and when should you use almond flour?
Use coconut flour when you are making something that you want to have a mild coconut flavor or just a mild flavor. Coconut flour is better for these applications since it does not have as strong a taste as almond flour. Also, you should use it in recipes where you want fluffiness. Another reason to use coconut flour is that it does not usually trigger nut allergies, unlike almonds. Use almond flour in recipes where its stronger nut flavor is more desirable. It is also more conducive to a crunchy texture than coconut flour.