Coconut Muffins

Muffins for the coconut lover —  whole wheat, low sugar, part organic

Coconut is big in our kitchen and garden. With six coconut palms we have all the coconut we can handle, plus some, so thinking about coconut recipes happens often. This week I found a recipe from Australia for coconut bread that came with high praise for renowned Sydney restaurateur, Bill Granger. I adapted the recipe with my usual changes: decreased the sugar and used whole wheat flour. And I used coconut oil instead of butter. Then I turned the loaf into muffins. I can’t help myself — I have to fiddle with every recipe. Coconut muffins are especially good warm out of the oven, or sliced and toasted the next day.

About twice a year, our coconut palms are trimmed. This is a bonanza, as we eat coconut meat, drink coconut water, make coconut milk, freeze coconut, cook with milk and meat, give them away — do everything we can to deal with over a hundred coconuts. One year we cut down a coconut palm that was too close to the roof and causing damage with the falling nuts. You’ve heard of hearts of palm? Well, there is nothing in the food realm to compare to hearts of coconut palm. It was like eating ambrosia. I am considering planting more palms just to be able to harvest the hearts.

If I have the urge for fresh coconut water when Russ isn’t home to open one for me, I struggle with the machete to open one myself. If you only know coconuts from the grocery store, you might not know that each nut has a thick, tough husk of fiber enclosing it, which has to be cut away before the top can be lopped off. If this urge occurs during the summertime, when our humidity is in the 80-90% range, I’m soaking wet and desperate for a cold shower by the time I get it open. And wondering why I had to open this thing in the first place. One swallow of the cool, refreshing, invigorating nectar of the gods … I could go on and on like this … reminds me how much I love coconut water. Someone just told me she uses a wine opener, the kind with the spiral screw to pull out a cork. Screw in the opener. Pour out the water. This is genius! Now I’m eyeing our coconuts to see which will be the candidate for the first wine opener opening.

Coconut Muffins makes 12-18

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups (400 ml.) organic milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups (400 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Sri Lanka (true) cinnamon
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (2.3 oz/.66 grams) organic sugar
  • 2 cups ( 7.5 oz./200 grams) organic, unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml/100 grams) melted organic coconut oil
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. F. (180 C.). Oil muffin pan or use  paper muffin or cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.
  3. Sift flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Stir in sugar and coconut.
  5. Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients until just barely combined and a little bit of dry flour is visible. Don’t over-mix.
  6. Quickly blend melted coconut oil into batter. Again, don’t over-mix.
  7. Divide batter among muffin cups for 12 large muffins or 18 medium ones.
  8. Bake about 25-30 minutes, or until muffin tests dry with a wooden toothpick.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes in pan. If you want a bit of sparkle, sprinkle tops with coarse sugar, then move muffins to rack to cool. Best eaten while warm.


The paper muffin cups in Mexico are larger than those I buy in the States. If you have standard cupcake papers, make 18 coconut muffins.You will get 12 muffins if using the larger, Mexican muffin papers.

Mexico imports its cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicam), also known as “true cinnamon”,  from Sri Lanka. This is different from the ground cinnamon, known as cassia  (Cinnamomum cassia), found in US stores. Cassia is a hard stick, and can not be ground in your spice grinder. True cinnamon is soft, rolled bark, and can be ground in a home spice grinder (read “recycled coffee grinder). It is described as being sweeter and more delicate in flavor than cassia. It is also lighter in color. The two are similar, but can be distinguished. Apparently the US Food and Drug Administration does not make this fine distinction, and ruled that cassia can be labeled and sold as cinnamon in the US. Look on the label of your cinnamon container. It should tell you which one you really have. And look for Cinnamomum zeylanicam, the true cinnamon,  next time you shop.

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29 thoughts on “Coconut Muffins

  1. I had to try your coconut muffin recipe. They were delicious. We are both coconut lovers also. Some of your other recipes sound delicious too. I hope you are not being affected too badly by hurricane Bud.

    1. Hi Angie,
      Aren’t those muffins good! The Coconut Chocolate Cake is a favorite, too.
      We are getting a little rain, but not much. On the satellite map, it looks like Bud has already disintegrated into a tropical storm. We hope it brings some rain to very dry northern Mexico.
      Good to hear from you ~~ Kathleen

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  4. Lorin Johnson

    I can’t wait to try these. I wish I had some of your good coconut to put in them, but I can pick some up in Portland next week. The candied ginger sounded good as well.

  5. Darlene

    Your coconut muffins look terrific. My next search will be for coconut oil. I so glad that you tinker with your recipes. Most good cooks will experiment until they find the best recipe that suits them perfectly. These recipes are then used, loved, and passed along for others to appreciate.Thanks Kathleen, for all of the tips and wonderful recipes that you have given us.

    1. Thank you, Darlene. You should be able to find coconut oil at a natural food store in your area. Cooks and bakers are tinkerers, fiddling with recipes until they are just right for their tastes. You are more than welcome. I know you are making some of my recipes.

  6. Kathleen, these look wonderful! I always use less sugar, when I bake and get organic whenever possible too. I have been soooo into coconut lately…that and ginger…seem like I put crystallized ginger in everything, and this weekend I was going to make some Toasted Coconut Ginger Blondies. I have made coconut bread before and I want to try yours next.

    I have been using coconut oil ever since I won a 32 oz jar of organic virgin coconut oil, and 32oz of coconut cream concentrate ( I love to eat that on my toast in the morning it not very sweet at all) from Tropical Traditions. I also just received my order of coconut flakes (unsweetened) 2 lbs. So you might say I am on a mission to find good coconut recipes to use these in. What luck that I meet up with you. Wahoo!!!

    1. You just gave me a great idea to add crystallized ginger to these muffins the next time I make them. I love ginger, too. And you sound like a fellow coconut aficionado. I probably eat coconut in some form every day. I have never had coconut cream concentrate … I wonder if I can make some. I’ll have to try it.

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  8. Yum- this recipe sounds great! I will be converting it to gluten free, but that should be easy. If you are interested in a couple more coconut recipes, I have 2 posted on my blog- a Coconut Cake that you make in your blender and also a Coconut Mousse. Both are in the dessert section and both are serious coconut flavor!
    Thanks for posting this muffin recipe- I can’t wait to try it!

  9. Kathleen, these look so good! I am a huge fan of anything coconut, I guess here’s one more recipe for my “to bake” list. I am currently away from home, but will be doing some catching up when I return.

  10. Margann

    We just moved to Mexico, and have coconuts growing in our yard too. Did the coconut oil come from your own coconut? If so, how did you get it?

    1. No, we buy coconut oil. I tried cooking down shredded fresh meat to extract the oil, but it was so much effort and time in proportion to the small amount of oil produced. I learned that it is the very mature coconuts, the ones that are completely brown on the exterior, that have oily meat and are used to produce oil. We harvest our coconuts before they get that mature, when the meat is still tender and sweet. We now buy coconut oil wholesale in 5-gal. buckets, repackage it, and sell it at a local market. Coconut oil is very healthy and we eat/cook with it every day. Here’s a link if you want to know more about it.

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