WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT COOKING WITH COCONUT OIL
(and some KILLER recipe's)
Over the years, coconut oil has had a bad rap, but studies are now finding it has great health benefits and is a wonderful substitute for other oils in your cooking and baking.Because it tolerates high temperatures, coconut oil is a great substitute for shortening, butter, margarine, or vegetable oil. I find that when I bake with it, the resulting muffins, scones, or cakes have a special lightness to them and a slightly sweet fragrance unique to coconut oil. Now it's time to get in the kitchen; here is a quick glimpse into some wonderful recipes we're quite fond of (or excited to try):
• Super Moist Banana Bread - Chez Us
• Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins - Cookie Madness
• Gluten-Free Toasted Coconut Waffles with Maple Cream - Joy the Baker
• Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake - Grist
• Peanut Butter Cookies made with Coconut Oil - Epicurious
• Nikki's Healthy Cookie Recipe - 101 Cookbooks
• Dark Chocolate Brownies - Gluten-Free Goddess
• Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes - Chef Chloe
• Coconut Butter Blondies with Coconut Buttercream - The Food Lovers Primal
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED ABOUT COOKING WITH COCONUT OIL
In liquid form, coconut oil is an excellent substitute for vegetable oil, melted butter or margarine. One cup of solid coconut oil will melt to approximately one cup of liquid.
To use as a liquid, melt coconut oil over low heat and allow to cool briefly. Then use as you would any other oil.
Another option is to place a jar or bowl of coconut oil on top of a warm stove to melt as you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Coconut oil melts quickly.
If using cold ingredients, stir the oil in quickly (and vigorously) so that it does not solidify and make clumps. I rarely have this issue when baking (because there usually aren’t enough cold ingredients to cause a problem). It is worth noting that coconut oil works best when ingredients are at room temperature.
Coconut oil will remain in a solid state when the temperature is below 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
In solid form, coconut oil works well in recipes that require butter or shortening to be cut into dry ingredients (like scones, and pie crusts). Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it makes baked goods nice and flaky.
When softened slightly, coconut oil can be beaten along with sweetener (such as honey or sugar) the same way you would shortening or butter. (I have tried it without softening first, and it worked that way, too. It just required a little patience and persistence.)
Solid coconut oil is also an excellent choice for greasing pans. Scoop out a little solid oil and rub the sides and bottom of the pan as usual. Use any leftover to moisturize your hands and elbows!
Which type of coconut oil should I use? Unrefined (or virgin) is the most beneficial grade of coconut oil. It is minimally processed using very little heat and has a mild coconut scent and flavor (which I rarely taste in baked goods).
The next best is expeller-pressed, which has its scent and flavor removed through a gentle deodorizing process.
The least beneficial type of coconut oil is industrial/commercial grade. This type of oil has been refined, bleached, and deodorized. It has no scent or flavor and is lacking in the vital nutrients present in virgin or expeller-pressed versions.
Coconut oil keeps for two years without refrigeration. Buying in bulk is usually the least expensive option.
Using coconut oil in baking reduces the need for other oils and helps simplify the kitchen. Keeping coconut oil, olive oil, and butter on hand, will covered most of your cooking and baking needs.