Stone Soup is an ongoing quarantine feature in which I come up with a recipe that uses the impossible thing in your cupboard, without making you go to the store or wasting any of your ingredients. Last time, we made caramel from goat milk.
Hello, Sarah! I have a bag of coconut flour and I have no idea how, when, or why I got it. Its presence haunts me! I haven't used it yet because I think if I use coconut flour, I should use it as coconut flour - it smells amazing and I want to preserve that. What should I do with it?
I have: basic baking supplies, coconut milk, an enormous tub of green curry paste if there's a cool savory use out there, dried dates/figs/cranberries, frozen pineapple/mango/coconut chunks, oranges, an endless box of spices, and a one-pound bar of dark chocolate in the back of my freezer. And other items that seem irrelevant!
Okay gang, hang with me for a minute, because we’re going to take a little journey.
This one has been haunting me, because whenever I do research, the entire internet is like “here’s how you substitute coconut flour for wheat flour!” Most resources I looked at emphasized how tricky coconut flour is to work with right before going into recipes that try to use it like wheat flour, which strikes me as similar to people who coop their Australian Shepherds up all day with no exercise and then wonder why they destroy things. Flour substitution is not in and of itself a bad goal, but I really wanted to find a way for Amy to go on a date with coconut flour for itself, on its own merits, instead of trying to use it to make wheat flour jealous right before prom.
So I took a look at the things that define coconut flour. It’s pretty straightforward in terms of manufacturing — you dry some coconut and then you whomp it until it’s flour. It’s extremely low in fat and high in fiber, which probably explains why it acts extremely dry in recipes. This makes it a great fit for one of my favorite, most versatile recipes: waffles! I was so excited to realize I’d cracked the case!! VICTORY WAS AT HAND!!
Except then I followed up with Amy, and it turns out that she does not possess a waffle iron.
Normally this would be a back-to-the-drawing-board moment, but I’m extremely stubborn, so I decided to take this one into the lab. I experimented in ways that some cowards might call “dangerous” or “unhinged,” or even “wildly unethical.” Mad, they called me, when they heard my theories — those fools at the academy — but I’ll show them. Oh, I’ll show them ALL. They’ll see who’s mad when they taste our
Waffle-Batter Funnel Cake
I’d like it noted that “Waffle-Batter Funnel Cake” scans perfectly onto “Alexander Hamilton”. You’re singing it in your head, aren’t you? Me too. Welcome to hell.
Step one: Dry ingredients, assemble! Use half a cup of coconut flour. Add a quarter teaspoon of baking soda to give this batter the lift we’d normally get from the structure of gluten — you’re also going to want that lift to help with the extra liquid we’re adding to compensate the coconut flour’s dryness. Add a pinch of salt.
Step two: Wet ingredients, assemble! Separately assemble your wet ingredients. Use that whole can of coconut milk, including the solids. If you have eggs, beat three of them and add them to the coconut milk. Add half a cup of oil or butter. If you don’t have eggs, substitute some other binding agent — greek yogurt works well here, or applesauce, and I’ve heard good things about flax. Smashed banana works, and you can even use mashed avocado if you fear neither God nor Satan. Whisk in a tablespoon of sugar or honey, too.
Step three: With our powers combined, we are batter! Combine your wet and dry ingredients and eyeball the texture. If it looks a little too thick to be batter-y, you can add more coconut milk to thin it out. I wouldn’t prefer you thinning this out with water, but that’s just a gut feeling I have, not a definitive I-tried-that-and-it-was-bad thing.
Step four: No diggity, you’ve got to bag it up. Did you know that the incredibly perfect, Grammy-award winning 1996 single No Diggity by Blackstreet is a safe-sex anthem about using condoms? Well, now you know. Good job, Blackstreet. There’s a reason they’re the original rump-shakers.
Anyway. Back to batter matters.
Grab a gallon ziploc bag, prop it up in a big glass, roll the edges down, and dump all that batter in. Press out the extra air and zip it up. Snip one corner off. Look at that, you’ve got a piping bag! You’re doing great.
Step five: Heat some oil. Heat up about an inch of oil in a high-sided pan. Put an apron on in case the oil pops at you. If you have a thermometer, you want that oil to get to about 360°F. If you don’t, then just dip the handle of a wooden spoon (or a wooden takeout chopstick, if you have one in the back of your silverware drawer) into the oil. If the oil picks up a steady bubble, you’re in the right zone. If you get a BONKERS bubble, back the heat off. If there are no bubbles, you’re too cold.
Step six: Time to fry. Use your piping bag to steadily drizzle the batter into the oil. You can do a messy, overlapping spiral, or a spiderweb, or a messy squiggle. It doesn’t really matter as long as the batter overlaps itself. You want to use about a quarter of a cup of batter at a time, and only do one cake at a time. Let it fry for a couple of minutes, then flip it over. It should be golden-brown on both sides.
Remove it carefully, put it on a paper-towel covered plate, and bring the oil back up to the right temperature before repeating as many times as necessary to sate your unholy funnel-cake lust.
That’s it! You did it! You made funnel cake! Now, you can top it with all those frozen fruits in your freezer, or with jam, or with powdered sugar. You can drizzle it with honey or goat-milk caramel. Warm up some peanut butter or cashew butter, or melt down some chocolate to pour over it, if you’re feeling wild and decadent.
Oh, and if you want to try this again with regular flour instead of coconut flour, cut the eggs in half, double the flour, and use a little less milk. You can do this with pretty much any waffle- or pancake-batter, and I think you’ll be pretty successful. Those batters are incredibly forgiving of substitutions, additions, and experimentation, so don’t be afraid to try things out! When it comes to waffles, you get extra points for taking risks.
Just the recipe:
Waffle-Batter Funnel Cake
- Combine .5C coconut flour, .25 tsp baking soda, and a pinch of salt.
- Separately combine a can of coconut milk, 3 eggs, and a tablespoon of sugar or honey.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add more milk if it’s too thick. Pour batter into a piping bag and set aside.
- Heat 1” of oil in a high-sided pan, to about 360°F.
- Pipe batter into oil a messy, overlapping spiral or a spiderweb pattern. Fry 2 minutes or until golden brown, then flip and fry 2 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a paper-towel covered plate to cool.
Top with whatever toppings your wild heart can conceive of using.
If you have a pantry dilemma, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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