Toasted Coconut Ginger Blondies (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


Would you think it strange if I told you that diabetes has made me a better cook? Or at the very least, a more creative and resourceful one? If not for my blood sugar issues, I would never have begun searching out alternatives for flour and sugar with which to satisfy my sweet (and carb) tooth. In my searches, I have come across so many amazing websites and blogs and been introduced to such a wonderful variety of foods that I might have overlooked otherwise. To think that a few short months ago, I knew nothing of coconut flour or how to bake with almond meal. How things change! I might go so far as to say that I enjoy cooking and baking even more now, because whole new worlds have been opened up to me.

I don’t remember where I first came across a recipe including coconut flour, but upon searching further, I stumbled upon the Tropical Traditions website, devoted to all things coconut and other organic products. They have an extensive recipe collection, some posted by the company owners and many posted by the customers themselves. There appears to be no end of creativity to be found with various coconut products. One recipe in particular caught my eye, the combination of ingredients sounding unique and intensely flavourful. I bookmarked it immediately and have been going back to it every so often, wondering how best to low-carbify it.

The original recipe was already gluten-free. Although GF and low carb don’t necessarily go hand in hand, I do find that gluten free recipes can provide me with a good jumping-off point. People following a GF diet get to use real sugar (those lucky dogs), although a lot of them are health-conscious enough to use less refined alternatives like raw honey. And they can use other flour alternatives that are not diabetes-friendly, like rice flour and cornstarch. But I like GF recipes because they find ways to make up for the lack of gluten in the recipe that I can then incorporate into my own version.

So I finally gave this one a go. I made up my own low carb, gluten free “baking mix” with almond meal and coconut flour as the main ingredients. I replaced the brown sugar with erythritol and stevia extract. When I looked up the nutritional content of crystallized ginger, I knew I had to cut back on that, so I added some ground ginger to the dry ingredients to up the gingery flavour. When I’d put some of my ingredients together, the batter was too dry and stiff so I increased the amount of liquid (almond milk, in this case) and added an extra egg. And as always, I crossed my fingers as I popped it in the oven, hoping the results wouldn’t let me down.


The Results: Mmmmm, good stuff! A dense, moist bar with a nice gingery bite to it. The combo of ginger and toasted coconut is really delicious. I wasn’t sure it was going to work, as the bars rose a lot in the oven and I was afraid I would end up with something more like cake. But I took it out of the oven when it was a little underdone and let it sit until it cooled. It “depuffed” and I ended up with the texture I was looking for.

My only complaint about these is not flavour or texture-related at all, but visual. Baked goods made without any sort of sugar don’t brown up the way things made with sugar do (honey, agave syrup and all of those alternatives count as sugar in this sense). Next time I might consider adding a tablespoon of molasses to the batter to give it a browner colour without adding too many extra carbs. Molasses and ginger go so well together, I think it would also intensify the ginger flavour.

Toasted Coconut Ginger Blondiesadapted from Tropical Traditions

3/4 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut flour
2 tbsp vanilla-flavour whey protein powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1.5 tsp ground ginger (add more if you don’t put in any crystallized ginger)
1/2 tsp baking powder
12 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup almond milk
16 drops stevia extract
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped fine (optional)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 7×11 inch pan with butter or vegetable oil (this is an odd size of pan so if you go with 8×8, you will need to bake the bars a little longer).

Whisk the first 6 ingredients together in a medium bowl. If you are adding crystallized ginger, add to these dry ingredients, breaking up any pieces that are sticking together.

In a larger bowl, beat melted butter and erythritol together. Beat in eggs, almond milk and stevia extract until well combined.

Add dry ingredients to wet and beat until combined. Spread in prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with shredded coconut.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until the top is set and the coconut is toasted. Let cool completely in pan. Cut into bars.

20 servings. 8g total carbs, 2 g of fiber per serving. 5g of carbs per serving if you subtract erythritol.

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  1. Deborah Dowd says

    With diabetes in our family I am always looking for low carb sweets. I have ever tried coconut flour, but I will now!

  2. says

    These look delicious.. I love anything coconut and I love gluten free tasty treats! Thank you for this great post!

  3. Nicole@ The Dirty Oven says

    Wonderful post. I love reading about gluten free treats. I have never tried to bake with them myself, but am now inspired. The coconut and ginger combo sounds devine. Thanks for sharing.

  4. healthy mamma says

    excellent! not only are they beautiful, but healthy! I feel ya with trying to get GF baked goods to look pretty, but I think these look great! I adore coconut flour!! What is erythritol?
    I really appreciate your thoughts on your experimenting. The good and especially the tips you've learned from the not so good!

  5. Miss Lucky Piggy says

    i love the recipe and especially the pics, so tempting, i must try it one day, thanks for sharing :-)

  6. The Urban Baker says

    this is a great recipe. my friend's daughter was just diagnosed with insulin resistance and i am going to make these for her. i am in the process of developing some recipes for them. i am going to pass this along to them. this looks yummy delicious! glad i found you!

  7. The Urban Baker says

    ps. me again. can you forward me the link to creating nutritional and fact info for each recipe. i have searched and searched, but haven't found what i am looking for! thanks

  8. laquillen says

    Thank you SO much for the tip on where to find coconut flour. Whole Foods has every kind of flour imaginable – now that coconut products are all the rage I hope they'll stock it. But until then, I am seeing far too many recipes calling for coconut flour. Online ordering it is!! And the squash casserole is fantastic. Try it and let me know what you think!

  9. Jelly Shot Test Kitchen says

    why have a regular blondie when you can have one made with coconut and nut flours? looks dense and absolutely decadent!!!

  10. Mama Chicken says

    these look delish – I've been experimenting with coconut and nut flours, and this is definitely on my list!

  11. Anonymous says

    Hi, I have just made these and coming from Scotland I have never heard of blondies before, so I checked out the list of ingredients and I had all of them so I made them this morning OMG they are so good, the ginger and coconut are wonderful together, I had a jar of crystallized ginger given to me at christmas and it so nice in this. I did think I would never use it as I am Diabetic but I will now. I an on my own so I thought I might try and freze some to see how that would work as I didn't want to cut the recipe down some times it won't turn out as good so here's hoping it's ok as I wouldn't like to spoil it. Thank you so much for all you amazing recipes I have the new cookbook low carbing among friends and I love all the recipes in it my next one to try is walnut chocolate chip blondies. Thanks again.

  12. Sarah W says

    Just wondering about the brand of Whey powder you used in this recipe. There are so many brands it does get to be overwhelming. I’m also interested in your low carb baking mix. As a new type 1 this is really intriguing. Off to whip us some blondies.

    • Carolyn says

      I usually use Jarrow as both their unflavoured and their flavoured varieties are GF and have no artificial sweeteners.

  13. Sarah W says

    Thanks for answering about the Whey powder, I’ll be looking it up. Early in this post you mention you own blend of “baking mix” This is something we really miss as a family. I couldn’t find your recipe on your site. So could you share it.

    • Carolyn says

      Hi Sarah. In this post I am referencing the original recipe on Tropical Traditions, where they refer to their baking mix. Since it’s quite high carb, I just worked out my own version specifically for this recipe. So it’s not that I have one myself, but if you are looking for such a thing, I suggest you check out Splendid Low Carbing by Jennifer Eloff as she has several variations of bake mixes she likes to use.

  14. karie says

    I just made these for my fourteen year old daughter who is battling candidas. Your blog has been a Godsend to me!

  15. Megan says

    I made these just yesterday and they were absolutely delicious. I did run into a significant problem though, I used an 8×8 pan and probably baked them at least 35-40 minutes and they were still very gooey and not only in the center. I assume they arent supposed be? Or are they? I am new to baking with coconut flour and almond meal so not sure the kind of texture they are supposed to yield and how to tell when things are done and whatnot. And how much longer did you mean when you said to add time if using an 8×8 pan?

    • Carolyn says

      This is a very old recipe of mine so I am not really sure, but I’d be checking on them every 5 minutes until I thought they were done. As long as they were still tasty, that’s what matters most.

  16. Sarah W says

    Di you have a link to the specific brand of granulated erythritol? I have looked on Amazon but all I see is the powdered version. Thanks so much.

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