Coconut Butter + Chocolate Hazelnut Pancakes

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:

IMG_20150407_180944007

Chocolate Hazelnut Pancakes

IMG_20150407_083209173The Dry

  • 1 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 4 servings dark chocolate chips

IMG_20150407_173301701_HDR

 

The Wet

  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

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!

Pinterest Food Hacks That Actually WORK

Does it look like I'm going to smoosh this in your face?
Does it look like I’m going to smoosh this in your face?

Pinterest and I have a love hate relationship. There are days when I can spend HOURS pinning things I’ll never try. Then I’ll go weeks without touching the thing. But in creating boards for A Measured Life, I found a few super neat kitchen tricks I just had to try for myself (and for you, of course, dear readers). Here are the ones that worked:

The Garlic Peeling Trick

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Dude. I was so freaking surprised this actually worked. It was amaze. I used a Mason jar for mine, because that’s what I had. I stuck the entire head of garlic in the jar, unadulterated, screwed on the lid, and shook vigorously. The first shaking broke up the head into separate cloves, but they were still covered in their papery skin. So I poured out the contents of the jar, separated the cloves from the “chaff”, and stuck the cloves back in. Again, I shook vigorously, for maybe 15 seconds. Poured out the contents again. Half the cloves were peeled! So I separated those out, and returned the remaining cloves to the jar for an additional shake. Yes, okay, there were a few cloves I had to peel by hand, but only a few, and the skins were looser so it was easy to do. Total elapsed time? Less than 2 minutes. No joke. This WORKS! I planned on using a lot of garlic this week so I just stuck the peeled cloves back into the jar and stored them in the fridge until I needed them. Bonus: no garlicky fingers!

The Speed-Caramelizing Onions Trick

http://paleotable.com/2012/11/caramelized-onions/
Image courtesy of http://paleotable.com

I am so impatient. Seriously. Recipes that require standing over the stove for 30 minutes or more stirring? SCREW THAT! Steel cut oats? Pshaw! (I solved the stirring problem by making it in the oven.) Risotto? Never! (Uhm, made Farro Risotto a few weeks ago. I am a liar.) Polenta? Instant! (Also a lie, I do make regular polenta but I hardly ever cook it as long as recommended, because reasons.) They SAY you can make caramelized onions in a slow cooker but if it burns while I’m at work I do not want to have to try to scrape burned onions out of the crock. So what’s a girl to do? Apparently, use baking soda! I caramelized an entire large onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in less than 10 minutes by using a pinch of baking soda. Now I didn’t measure the baking soda, but next time I’ll use less, because my onions kind of disintegrated, but they were totally CARAMELIZED. Like, dark, delicious brown goodness with that almost-burnt sugar smell. I was using them in a prune spread for a galette, so it was fine they were basically paste, but holy crud did it work!

The Pomegranate Seeding Trick

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I love pomegranate seeds, and I found this delicious sounding recipe for a quinoa bowl with spiced sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pomegranate seeds, so I bought a freaking pomegranate. I toyed briefly with the idea of making my husband seed the pomegranate for me before I got home from work, but I figured I would check Pinterest first, since I knew I was writing this post. Basically, you cut the pomegranate in half, hold it in your hand cut side down with your fingers spread so the seeds fall through your fingers, and whack it super hard with a spatula. I’ll admit, I was skeptical. IT WORKED. Exactly like the tutorial. Yeah there were a few seeds left at the end, but seriously? It took me maybe 3 minutes or so. And it was mostly mess free, although you can see I put down paper towels as protection, and I absolutely took off my white sweater before even attempting this.

So not one, not two, but THREE tricks I learned on Pinterest to save time and effort! Have you discovered any tips or tricks on Pinterest?

Want to see it on my board?
Follow A Measured Life’s board Food Hacks That WORK (Tested by Me) on Pinterest.