Diet diaries: how to use coconut oil, coconut flour and coconut milk in healthy treats

By Abigail Donnelly, 25 March 2015

TASTE food editor Abigail Donnelly experiments with sweet treats using coconut products as a part of the low-carb high-fat eating plan she is following.

It’s marvelous when you embark on a new eating plan and you can eat the things you love, and more than you are used to. It’s no secret that I love coconut. I know extra virgin coconut oil has been around for a while, but I haven't really focused on using it in recipes. Since I started following a low-carb, high-fat diet, I’ve used plenty of it. It’s one of the “good” fats and has a pleasant taste and I find it adds a natural sweetness to baking and frying.

One thing I do miss on this eating plan is fruit and something sweet and baked. When I was at the launch of Tim Noakes’s new book, The Real Meal Revolution, I chatted to nutritionist Sally-Ann Creed, who worked on the book, and she mentioned chocolate truffles that she makes and sets into silicone moulds. I experimented with a batch the other day and we all loved them, especially with a cup of coffee.

Cocoa and coconut oil truffles

I mixed good-quality cocoa with some runny coconut oil and a few drops of stevia for sweetness until it got to a consistency you can roll. After I’d shaped the truffles, I rolled them in desiccated coconut and chopped almonds. The coconut oil imparts a lovely creamy texture and flavour. Make a big batch and store them in the fridge in a Tupperware – they keep for ages.

Since we are allowed anything containing coconut, I’m making plenty of Asian-style curries with coconut cream and milk. I start off cooking the process with coconut oil so we get a double whammy of coconut, and add some crunch with chunks of fresh coconut. My family has done really well so far. I have lost 3 kg, my teenage son nearly 2 kg and my husband a whopping 5 kg!

I also like experimenting with coconut flour. It’s got the most glorious flavour and fragrance and doesn’t contain any carbohydrates. On the weekend I was dying for something baked, so I decided to develop some biscuits made with half coconut flour and half almond flour, butter and some stevia. They turned out a bit dry and crumbly, but they went down a treat with a cup of tea. I have a box on my desk. My son wasn’t as impressed; he took a bite and headed straight for the bin!

Abigail Donnelly

Article by Abigail Donnelly

Nothing excites Woolworths TASTE's Food Director quite as much as the challenge of dreaming up recipes with innovative new foods – or the thrill of creating deliciousness on a plate with the humblest of ingredients. With Abi by your side, you’ll be a cooking expert in no time at all.
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