A few weeks ago I saw something intriguing on Pinterest. (To be fair, there is a lot of intriguing stuff on Pinterest. It’s a rabbit hole of intriguing.) It was a tutorial on how to make coconut butter. (NOTE: Coconut butter is NOT the same thing as coconut oil. Coconut oil has had all of the solids removed, while coconut butter leaves them intact.) Now I’d heard of coconut butter before from recipes on various paleo websites, but I’d never eaten it. However, I adore coconut. While it may not be my desert island food (this is probably okay, since there’s a greater possibility of a desert island having coconuts than peanut butter or pizza), I probably eat something coconutty at least once a week. So the idea of coconut butter sounded amazing to me. This morning I finally made it!
The “recipe” is simple: All you need is flaked, unsweetened coconut and a food processor. I got a bag of Bob’s Red Mill for about five bucks. There really isn’t even much of a process, except to blend and scrape down repeatedly for about 20 minutes. You’ll see the progression here:
Coconut butter never really loses it’s grit. It’s the absolute essence of coconut, without the sweetness. I think I could really love this, given time to adapt. A 12 oz by weight bag of coconut flakes made 12 oz. by volume of liquidy coconut butter! (Interesting, huh?)
The plan was to serve this drizzled on pancakes with fresh fruit. Well, the universe has a funny way of screwing with a human’s measly “plans”. The strawberries I’d purchased were moldy. Boo. The good news was I had frozen fruit in the fridge! (I am nothing if not prepared for emergencies.) So next up were the pancakes.
Something I often miss, but never find “worth” the calories, is Nutella. I wondered if I couldn’t make pancakes with a similar flavor profile. Now, I’ll be honest: I grew up eating Aunt Jemima pancake mix. The kind where you just add water. I still love them! But I didn’t think the mix would work well with add-ins, so I went looking for a scratch pancake recipe. I found Old Fashioned Pancakes from Rachel Schultz. Easy enough, and I had all the ingredients on hand. I knew I could sub some cocoa powder for flour without any real consequences, so I switched out 1/4 cup of the flour for unsweetened cocoa powder, and added in chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Easy! Here’s what I came up with:
Chocolate Hazelnut Pancakes
Put flour through chocolate chips into a food processor and pulse until hazelnuts and chocolate chips are ground fine.
Whisk together liquid ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in dry ingredients until a smooth batter is formed.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Pour 2 tablespoons batter into circles and flip once bubbles have burst.
Serving Size: Makes 8 servings.
I topped my stack with a tablespoon of liquid coconut butter and thawed frozen mixed fruit (strawberries, pineapple and mandarins). SO YUM. The Nutella taste was there, if mild, and the pancakes themselves were barely sweet, but the fruit and coconut butter made the perfect combination of toppings.
So what else can you use coconut butter for? I’ve seen it suggested that it just be eaten from a spoon, spread on toast, make vegan mayo, vegan chocolate magic shell, sub it for butter in baking, etc. The one that intrigues me the most? Dipping fresh fruit in it then refrigerating it so it forms a shell. Imagine for a moment, marinating fresh pineapple in a hint of rum, then dipping it in warmed coconut butter and setting them in the fridge. A pina colada in “healthy” format! (Note to self: TRY THIS.) The sky’s the limit!
Have you used coconut butter or made it yourself? Leave me a note in the comments!