Saturday, February 12, 2011

Italian Coconut Balls

"It isn't the flavor of coconut that troubles me, but the texture I feel as if I'm chewing on a sweetened cuticle"
** internet

Whole Foods grocery store. It is a culinary shopping dream. The quality and variety  of the fruits, veg and proteins is mind blowing. It is more expensive than your average grocery ( colleagues refer to it as "Whole-Paycheck" )
However, to me it is well worth the delicious-ness that can be created in the home. Sadly, I do not have on in my home town  and must drive to Atlanta  ( there are at least 4!- couldn't 't you all spare one?) . I usually shop there for a special occasion meal, or when I need to restock my pantry. ( I can only find Neilson-Massey vanilla here etc..) 
I browse the baking/ international sections for unusual items. Here I stumbled upon coconut flour. I though, hmmm never tried it, how do I bake with it?

I know several people ( my hubby included) who like the taste of coconut, but not the texture. Also it is gluten free- and used for allergies free baking, low carb etc. 

I just wanted to know how it tasted and how it "performed" with baking. I love coconut. Some coconut baked products baked have an unusual coconut flavor- a little false from the natural nut, or not strong enough. Coconut extract c'est HORRIBLE! , and I have already discussed the texture problem .
 Here is a groooovy little recipe I found using the flour ..........

The coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm, a plant originally from Malaysia but that had already spread across the entire Pacific Ocean area thousands of years ago. 
The countless stories and legends about palm trees and coconuts in these countries are testimony to the fruit’s importance.
In India, for example, young newlyweds are given a coconut as a present because it is a symbol of fertility.
In Africa, on the other hand, a palm tree is planted a week after a child is born in hopes of a long, prosperous life. 
In Borneo, a ceremony takes place when a baby is born whereby the child’s soul is believed to be transferred to inside a coconut, until the child grows up/  The hard shell of the coconut is thought to protect the child from the dangers of life.

 Italian Coconut Balls -from Academia Barilla


Servings 4

  • 5 oz coconut flour
  • 7 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ oz Italian "00" flour or , all purpose, or cake flour
  • 2-3 eggs ( I used 3- the dough is very dry )
  • 1 pinch salt
  • cocoa powder to taste
  • confectioners sugar to taste


5 minutes preparation + 10 minutes cooking

Mix together the flours and sugar and form a well on a work surface. In the center, add the egg and salt. Mix together until you have a smooth dough.
Then divide the dough into small balls, about ½ inch in diameter. ( I used a melon scoop- because the dough is so dry the balls must be pressed into shape.)
Roll in either powdered sugar
Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
 Bake in a 275°F oven for about 10 minutes.

Since coconut flour has no gluten, plenty of eggs must be used to make up for it. On average, for every 1 cup of coconut flour, 4-5 eggs must be used.  Keep in mind too that coconut flour is a very “thirsty” flour, and soaks up amazing amounts of liquid. So it’s very likely that you’ll have to increase the liquid amount in your recipe depending on what you are making. Follow the instructions on the coconut flour package.  Store in the refrigerator once opened.

 Double 00 Flour 

Here in the US, we categorize flours by how much protein they contain, which directly affects the gluten formation in whatever we're making. They do it a little differently in Italy and other parts of Europe by categorizing flours based on how finely the flour has been ground. Coarsely-ground type "2" flour is at one end of the spectrum with powder-fine "00" flour at the other.
What gets confusing for some of us non-Europeans is that we assume finely ground "00" flour is probably low-protein (like our finely-ground cake and pastry flour). In fact, the protein content of "00" flour can range quite a bit depending on what kind of wheat it's ground from. Most "00" flour that we see in the United States is ground from durum wheat and has a mid-range protein content of about 11-12%, similar to all-purpose white flour.
Besides the level of the grind, the other big difference between "00" flour and all-purpose flour is how the gluten in each flour behaves. The gluten from durum wheat flour tends to be strong but not very elastic, while the gluten in red wheat flour is both strong and elastic. This means that with durum wheat, we'll get a nice bite on our breads and pasta, but not as much chew.
All this said, it's generally fine to substitute all-purpose flour for "00" flour. You'll notice a texture difference if you grew up in Europe or are very familiar with with products made from "00" flour, but all your recipes will still come out just fine.

 The Verdict?? 

Molto! Molto! 

The taste of these where firm on the outside, light, and MOIST inside.  A little difficult to roll based on the dryness of the dough, but they keep there shape perfectly.  I have heard that they could be "brick-like". The taste was exactly what I was hoping for, a nice strong natural flavor, with no texture problems. 

If I wanted to make a very "coco-nutty" cake or cupcake, I would certainly add some of this flour. 

 Variations:  I would omit the confectioner's sugar--

 1. once baked and cooled- dipped into tempered plain dark chocolate 
 2. dipped into flavored dark chocolate with lime, pink grapefruit, orange, or whatever....
 3.  dipped into tempered dark chocolate and rolled in coconut flakes
 4. dipped in tempered dark chocolate and macadamia nuts
-- or a variation of all of the above
 5.  floated in a nice chocolate  creme anglaise!!!


  1. I am really intrigued by your recipe and a huge coconut lover..I have never heard of coconut flour before or had these in our Italian family. I will look for these ingredients would love to try these they look fabulous!

  2. These look so nice, I am a big fan of coconut flour and this recipe looks great.

  3. Claudia- I never had these in my italian american family either! but the 00 makes them authentic ^^ ( haha) but they are very tasty!

    Thanks Stich! :)

  4. I LOVE coconut (I don't even mind the texture of "sweetened cuticle"!). I've never heard of coconut flour. Maybe my local health food store will have it. Definitely sounds like a recipe I need to try!

  5. I've awarded you a Sisterhood of the Blogging World Award. You can find the award on my blog. Happy Valentines Day!

  6. I love coconut treats and this sounds like a delicious one.
    I don't have Whole Foods around, but most of the time my local Wegmans makes up for it and have seen coconut flour there (near the almond/hazelnut/chick peas and other gluten free flours) but never actually bought it. Your cookies make me re-think the shopping list.
    Thanks for sharing. hope you'll have a wonderful weekend