Thursday, 26 June 2014

Coconut butter

There seems to be some confusion about what coconut butter is, and it's my pleasure to clear that up. Coconut butter is not coconut oil. It is not a combination of oils that makes vegan butter for use on your toast or in baking croissants.

Each of these blocks is about 1/2 cup coconut butter.
It's a nut butter. You got it: just like peanut butter, almond butter or pumpkin seed butter, it is just puréed coconut that makes a spreadable butter.

And you might ask why you would bother doing that with coconut, and it's a fair question. There are a few applications that I've found coconut butter really useful in. For one, coconut butter is terribly yummy just spread on your toast or used as a dip for fruit, so it does have some commonalities with other nut butters in that way. But perhaps even more interestingly, it has a lot of the properties of coconut oil, in that it gets really nice and solid when it's chilled. So when you use coconut butter as a base for something like a mock white chocolate, it turns out really creamy, smooth and brittle, much like chocolate is. So my most recent success with it was to make mint-chocolate chip mock white chocolate candies with coconut butter, and do I really need to tell you they were delicious?

So making coconut butter is actually really easy. But you do need a food processor for best results. So if you have one, don't be daunted; the process is actually laughably easy.

So here's what you need:

- A food processor fitted with the chopping blade
- Unsweetened coconut
- A rubber spatula (I use a silicone one like these spatulas)
- Something to store/portion the butter (I use a giant ice cube tray)
- A bit of flat fridge/freezer space

And here's how you do it:

1. Dump your coconut into the food processor and put the lid on.
2. Turn the food processor on and let run for about 5 minutes.
3. Scrape the bowl sides & bottom thoroughly (careful not to slice your spatula!).
4. Put the lid back on and run for 5 minutes more or until very smooth.
5. Pour your coconut butter into a container or molds.
6. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. If using molds, remove and wrap in plastic.
7. Store in the fridge for a month or in the freezer up to 6 months.

This method can be used for any number of nuts, but coconut butter will mold better than most nut butters. When I make peanut butter or what have you, I usually just dump it into a mason jar and keep it in the fridge.

Enjoy! If you have any questions, post them below!


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