Archive for: coconut
Coconut oil is a type of vegetable oil made from pressing the natural oil out of coconut meat. It is becoming more and more popular, and is now more widely available than ever before. Like any fat, it has many culinary uses, but because it is a solid a room temperature, it is popular for bakers looking for an alternative to regular vegetable shortening in recipes. One especially popular use for it is in pie crust because the coconut oil can be cut in to a flour mixture to produce a flaky crust.
This Coconut Oil Pie Crust uses pure coconut oil instead of butter or shortening. The coconut oil is a soft solid when it is at room temperature, so it can be cut in to flour easily using your fingertips or with the aid of a food processor. It is important that the oil be at the right temperature (around 70F or so), however, because it will become very hard when it is cold and can start to separate if it is too warm. The finished crust is very tender, similar to a shortening crust in texture, and browns beautifully in the oven. The coconut oil has a definite coconut smell and slight flavor to it when it is uncooked. In the baked crust, you might pick up the tininest hint of coconut if you are eating the top edge of the pie crust by itself (but it is very subtle), but you won’t pick up any coconut in the rest of your pie because any trace of flavor that is left after baking is overshadowed by any pie filling.
The most difficult part of working with coconut oil in a pie crust is rolling out the dough after it is prepared. This is because the coconut oil is very hard when it is cold – so hard that it can be difficult to roll out, as the fat would rather adhere to a work surface or the rolling pin than stay inside of the dough. Pie dough needs to rest in the refrigerator before rolling to allow the gluten in the dough to relax, so you must resist the temptation to skip chilling the dough. The cold coconut oil will warm up more slowly than butter or shortening, so you just need to let your dough warm up more than you normally would before rolling it out and work carefully when you do. You’ll probably also want to use a little extra flour to keep the coconut oil to sticking to things as you work.
In the end, coconut oil produces a great crust and can definitely be a good alternative to butter or shortening the next time you are ready to bake a pie.
Cookie brittle is made by pressing cookie dough into a very thin layer and baking it until it is crispy and can be broken into irregular chunks, just as regular peanut or nut brittle can be. It has a crispy texture to it and a very appealing, candy-like look to it. Cookie brittle is definitely a change of pace from your average cookie – but a very appealing one.
This Macadamia Coconut Cookie Brittle is made with lots of sweetened, shredded coconut and macadamia nuts. The cookie itself is buttery and crisp, but the coconut adds a bit of chewiness to the cookie once you start to eat a piece. The macadamia nuts tie in well with the coconut, lending their buttery flavor to give these a slightly tropical feeling. I used toasted, salted macadamia nuts – partly because I like my mac nuts roasted and salted, but also because that adds a salty element to the sweetness of the cookie dough and the coconut. It is a little bit addictive, especially for a coconut lover like me.
When you start to make this, you will notice that the dough is quite dry, and becomes even more crumbly when all of the coconut and macadamia nuts are added to it. Don’t worry about this, since the dough does not have to be shaped into individual balls. The dough will stick together when it is pressed firmly down onto a baking sheet before going into the oven. The crumbly dough also leads to a crispier and more crumbly cookie brittle, as a wet dough can leave you with too much moisture in your brittle (great for a regular cookie, not ideal for brittle). Bake the brittle until it is golden and firm to the touch for the best results.
Coconut and lime make a great, tropical combination in many different drinks and desserts. They also make a good match at breakfast, even though I’ll admit that it was a drink that inspired the creation of these Toasted Coconut and Lime Scones! The scones are made with toasted coconut and have a warm, buttery flavor to them thanks to the buttermilk in the dough. They’re just slightly crisp on the outside, with a moist interior where you can really taste the coconut. They’re topped with a bright and zesty glaze made with fresh lime juice, lime zest and confectioners’ sugar, which adds some extra sweetness to the scones and turns them in to something special.
It is easy to toast coconut at home for these scones, and toasting the coconut adds a little bit more coconut flavor – as well as a little bit of texture – to these scones. Coconut can be toasted in the oven or on the stovetop, but it can also be toasted quickly and easily in the microwave. I prefer to use sweetened coconut in this recipe because the scone dough itself isn’t too sweet, and a bit of sweetness highlights the coconut more. Fresh lime juice is going to give you the brightest flavor in the glaze. Fresh lemon juice is a good alternative, though I would definitely make the effort to go track down a juicy lime to put these scones together.
You could make these scones in any shape, from traditional triangles or biscuit-cutter rounds, to the slightly more unusual rectangles that I made. I love the clean and somewhat modern look of these rectangular scones, and the added bonus is that they are extremely easy to shape and cut. Whatever shape you make, just make sure that the scones are all about the same size and the same thickness to ensure that they cook evenly.
A cold coffee drink is a great treat on a warm afternoon. Not only does it cool you off, but it will give you a little pick-me-up from the caffeine when you might need it after lunch. I’ve had a mocha-coconut combination in blended drinks before at various coffee shops and wanted to put together a Mocha Coconut Ice Blended drink at home. As a fan of coconut in general, I think that chocolate, coffee and coconut a great flavor combination, and I like that it delivers something a little different than your average coffee drink.
My blended drink starts off with some strong, hot coffee. You need strong coffee (and you can make it with instant) because you want the flavor of the coffee to come through in the finished drink and be able to stand up to the other flavors in here. I also use hot coffee because it is easy to dissolve the cocoa powder and sugar for the mocha base of the drink, though I do cool down the coffee before putting the rest of the drink together. I use coconut milk and shredded coconut in the drink for coconut flavor. You can use regular milk in this recipe instead of coconut milk, but coconut milk lends a little extra richness to the drink and adds a little coconut flavor. If you want to boost the coconut flavor when you’re using regular milk, you can add a few drops of coconut extract.
Even though I recommend measuring the ingredients in one large glass, this recipe makes two satisfying servings in slightly smaller glasses. Serve it topped with whipped cream, extra shredded coconut and, of course, a straw.
Granola bars are one of my favorite grab-n-go snack foods. They’re easy to pack, store well and can give you a much needed energy boost when you’re out and about but aren’t ready for a full meal. Plus, they tend to be a little bit healthier than a jumbo chocolate chip cookie, which is also a favorite treat. Homemade granola bars are quite easy to make and definitely fit the bill for a tasty snack.
These Coconut Apricot Granola Bars with Walnuts have an ingredient list that is very similar to that of regular granola. They start with a dry mix of oatmeal, puffed rice, coconut and flaxseed. Oatmeal gives the granola bars a certain heartiness, while the puffed rice adds a crispy element and keeps the bars from feeling too dense. I like a crispy-chewy combination in a granola bar. Those ingredients are bound together with a simple syrup that adds a little sweetness to the mix, and helps to make the bars chewy. I added chopped, dried apricots and walnuts to the bars, which add another crispy-chewy combination to these bars. The bars are baked slightly to help bind them together a little more strongly and keep them from crumbling as you eat them. If you like a little extra crunch, you can bake the granola bars for a few extra minutes after cutting them into individual bars, too.
I used agave syrup when making these granola bars, which adds sweetness and helps all the ingredients bind together. Agave syrup can be found in most markets these days, but if you don’t have agave syrup, you can use corn syrup or even brown rice syrup in its place. Agave has a nice, neutral flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the coconut or other elements in the bars.