Coconut oil is my new discovery. I initially bought a jar of it and it sat in my cupboard for 4 months untouched. I was a bit reluctant to use it but this past week I cracked it open and haven’t looked back. I’ve used it in place of olive oil, canola oil and shortening . Quite simply, it’s magic.
Coconut oil or coconut butter is made from pressing from coconut meat and removing the fiber. Below 80 degrees F it is a solid but it can be heated to very high heat and it will never convert into a nasty trans fat. Coconut oil is made of medium-chain trigylcerides, or MCTs, which is a form of a saturated fat but unlike saturated fat from animal sources , coconut oil has a number of health benefits.
The magic with coconut oil happens in the way the body processes it. Non-MCT fats are easily stored in the body’s cells but MCT’s are not stored in the cells, are easily digested and are utilized in the liver. Immediately after consumption, the liver converts the MCT into energy. And because it’s plant based, there is absolutley, no cholesterol.
In a solid state, it has a faint coconut taste and virtually no smell. When used in cooking there is no taste of coconut left at all so it’s extremely versatile for frying or baking. This week, I’ve used it in pancake batter, spread it on top of pancakes (just like butter just a little more coconutty), and home-made baked yam fries (I used too much and I could slightly taste the coconut flavour).
The ultimate test of a fat is in baking. And I chose to test it in a crumble top for a berry crumble. Normally, I would use shortening or butter. All saturated and all bad for you.
4 cups of berries or fruit
1 tbsp flour (I used soy flour but I don’t think it matters)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp maple syrup (or more if using sour fruit like rhubarb)
1 cup oats
1/4 sucanat (or other sweetener)
4 tbsp coconut oil
Mix fruit, flour, lemon and honey in a bowl and pour into 9″ glass baking dish.
Mix oats with cinnamon and sucanat. Cut in coconut oil with two knives or pastry blender until ‘crumbly’.
Top fruit with oat topping. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.