Everyone talks about the many health benefits of coconut oil (including us in Coconut Oil:: The Hope and the Hype) and I do agree, coconut oil is amazingly anti-inflammatory with heart healthy and metabolism loving fats to boot.
Although we cook with a lot of coconut oil in our house, along with using it for everything from body scrubs to hair oil, I believe the whole food is always better than the part and I am a big fan of the healthy proteins and micronutrients present in the coconut meat. I fell head over heels in love with Artisana’s Coconut Butter, eating it by the tablespoonful. It was a cross between catnip and crack, a seriously expensive addiction. I had to find a better way to feed my addiction and quickly lest I end up in bankruptcy court pleading “broke by coconut butter”.
Seriously people, forget the almond butter, this stuff spread on absolutely everything will make you weak in the knees. I made a carrot “cake” the other day with coconut flour and used this as icing! YUMMMO! There is absolutely no polyunsaturated fats in this either so there is no oxidation and no need to refrigerate it. I am sure it will go rancid eventually, but it never hangs around my house long enough for me to tell you how long it will last before it does. I don’t recommend refrigerating it. It gets really hard and you absolutely cannot get it out of the jar. Occasionally it will separate the oil from the “meat” if you are like my husband and have gotten a little overzealous with the coconut oil when trying to get the coconut butter to “blend faster” but if you make it without a lot of coconut oil it shouldn’t separate unless it gets very hot in your kitchen and stays that way for a long time.
Did you know coconut butter is basically dried coconut meat ground to a pulp? In fact, with a little dried coconut and a high speed blender like Blendtec or Vitamix (my favorite is the former with it’s lovely new Twister jug) you can create a pretty decent facsimile of the stuff in the jar!
Most of the time I make my own dried coconut. It’s not hard when you figure it is just cracking open a mature coconut (the brown ones that resemble monkey balls), relieving it from its water, grating it, and drying it either in a dehydrator or in your oven on its lowest setting. (Mine goes all the way down to 45°C or 113°F) Your coconut will be dry on a low setting (normal ovens only go down to about 70°C or 160°F and that’s fine if you don’t care about it being “raw” and I really don’t think it is an issue) in about half an hour to an hour in a normal oven.
For the purpose of this post, I used a prepackaged bag of coconut flakes by Bob’s Red Mill because most people don’t really want to bother making their own coconut flakes and these are really high quality and NOT defatted. (Most coconut shreds are, in fact, defatted, which means they are pretty useless at making coconut butter unless you want to add back the oil but I really see that as quite pointless and never really very good at the end of the day…..Yes, I have tried!)
Whether you choose to buy coconut shreds premade or make your own at this point you have two ways you can make coconut butter. You can use a juicer like the Omega Nutrition Center with the blank plate and run the shreds through several times until the coconut gets sticky and forms a butter or you can do it the lazy way like me and use your high speed blender. It will get a little warm in the blender but that never bothered me. I use my Twister jug for this and it takes all of about three minutes to get really good quality coconut butter (in the UK they call it coconut cream for all my lovely UK readers!).
For this science experiment recipe you will need about 12 ounces of dried flaked coconut. This is true even if you are using homemade. If your coconut flakes are on the dry side (again do not attempt this with defatted coconut flakes) you can also use a few teaspoons of coconut oil to lubricate the whole process. That’s it. One, MAYBE two ingredients if you have no patience and want to hurry the blending process along.
For equipment you need a high speed blender or a single masticating juicer with the blank plate installed. For our purposes, and because I am endlessly lazy during my pregnancy, we are using the high speed blender.
Take your dried flaked coconut and place it in the jar of your high speed blender.
It’s going to look like….well…. dried coconut flakes. As it blends it will be smaller coconut flakes until it is dust and then…..
You will keep grinding it until it forms a paste. This happens quickly in homemade flakes. Because they really dry the little suckers out in the factory this can take awhile with prepackaged flakes. If you are impatient like my husband you can hurry things along with a little coconut oil but, in all honesty, it’s not really that necessary unless you are using some really dry flakes.
At this point you should see some really sticky gooey “butter” forming. Keep blending until smooth.