Low Carb Basics:  Baking with Coconut Flour

Low Carb Basics: Baking With Almond Flour

Stocking Your Low Carb Pantry

Low Carb Bakeware Essentials

What is erythritol?
Erythritol is a naturally-occuring sugar alcohol (polyol) found in fruits and fermented foods.  It can be manufactured by fermenting glucose and is considered to be 60-70% as sweet as sugar.  It is absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine and then excreted almost unchanged in the urine, so it does not affect blood sugar the way regular sugar and some other sugar alcohols do.  Since it is absorbed before it enters the large intestine, it also does not cause as much of the gastric distress considered to be a side effect of most sugar alcohols.  I have tested erythritol numerous times on my own system and it rarely raises my blood sugar, and it has never caused me any gastric distress.

**Please note that I do not include the “carbs” in erythritol in my nutrition facts, because it has so little effect on blood glucose.

Erythritol can have a mouth-cooling feel when eaten in concentrated forms, but in many baked goods, it is diluted enough for this effect to be unnoticeable.  I like to combine erythritol and stevia in my baked goods as I find that they enhance each other’s sweetness and I don’t notice any cooling sensation or unpleasant aftertastes.

Erythritol is sold under the brand names, Swerve, ZSweet and Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Zero, among others.  It can be found at some grocery stores, including Whole Foods, but is much less expensive when purchased online.

How can I sub in sugar for one of your recipes?
As a general rule, I use about 1/4 cup erythritol plus 16-20 drops stevia to equal the sweetness of about a cup of sugar.  However, a cup of sugar has more bulk than my choice of sweeteners so sometimes this will change the texture of the baked good.  If you want to recreate one of my recipes with sugar and you are not sure how, contact me directly and I will be glad to help you figure it out.

What is coconut flour?
Coconut flour is very finely ground dried coconut.  It is extremely dense and absorbs liquids at a much higher rate than other flours.  For this reason, most coconut flour recipes take a lot more eggs and other liquids.  It takes some getting used to when baking with coconut flour and I am still very much in the learning process myself.  But as I figure it out, I will be sure to share it with my readers.

Are almond flour and almond meal the same thing?  
No, not really.  Almond meal tends to be coarser and made from whole almonds, including the skin.  Almond flour is usually made from blanched almonds and is much finer in texture.  They can be used interchangeably, but almond flour will produce a much finer texture for cakes and cookies.  Almond meal is best in things that don’t need a fine texture, like muffins and quick breads.