I’m going to be honest: I don’t like the taste of coconut. I’ve had fresh coconut in Central America and I didn’t even like it when I tasted it at that point, so I figure that if I didn’t like it when it’s that fresh, I’m never going to like it. I love the smell of coconut for soaps and lotions and such, but I really don’t like the taste of it. If a baked good has coconut in it, I will be on the other side of the room. The only exception I make is coconut milk: I adore curry, and it is typically made with coconut milk. However, it doesn’t retain the taste of coconut, and that’s what’s important.
But I was still intrigued by coconut oil, which has been receiving a whole mix of reviews by various health experts. In my opinion, even though coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it has some healthy nutritional benefits because it is a real food. I am also fascinated by coconut oil because it is a solid fat (like butter) at room temperature, but it’s also an oil so it can be used in liquid form. Thus, it’s a great replacement for solid fats or for oils in any recipe. That’s pretty neat.
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions sent me a gigantic jar of coconut oil for free to taste and review, which I was quite happy to do.
Recipe #1: Salad Dressing
Combine a spoonful of coconut oil, the juice of half a lemon, some freshly grated lemon zest, a few mashed blueberries (I used frozen), a drizzle of honey, and a pinch of salt. Warm in the microwave for just a few seconds so that it turns into a nice liquid before pouring over a salad.
This was my own creation, but I wouldn’t make it again. It had a lovely pink colour, but it was too “coconutty” for my taste. If you like coconut, however, I’m sure that you would love the taste of this salad dressing. It was decent enough and would be refreshing on a summer salad.
Recipe #2: Vegan Chocolate
Ever since I read about homemade chocolate on Charlotte’s blog, I knew I just had to try it. All you have to do is combine 1 tbsp melted coconut oil, and then stir in 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 2 tsp agave nectar. It’s kind of pudding-like at this point, but if you freeze it, it turns into hardened chocolate in just five minutes! The boyfriend tried it and said that it ranks up as one of the best dark chocolates he’s ever tasted. I’m picky with coconut, so it’s not something I would want much more than a small taste of at a time (but that’s probably a good thing ;)). However, it’s incredibly easy to make and great if you need a chocolate fix! This isn’t the last time that I’ll be making vegan chocolate. Next time, though, I want to try adding vanilla extract; I think that vanilla might be able to mask the coconut flavour.
Recipe #3: Scones
I took a scones recipe from the Light & Easy Cookbook and exchanged butter for coconut oil (a good way to veganize any recipe!). I was incredibly happy with these scones and I will definitely be making them again; they didn’t retain the taste of coconut, but the coconut oil worked beautiful to create an almost-flaky texture appropriate to scones (and there was only 1 tbsp of fats for the entire 8-scone recipe!).
The verdict: coconut oil is a fun fat to use in recipes, though I don’t expect I will be using it very often, simply because of my aversion to the taste.
You can enter to win your own jar of coconut oil by leaving a comment below, telling us about your favourite coconut oil recipe, your tricks for “veganizing” a non-vegan recipe, or your favourite kind of oil to use in cooking. Alternatively, share your opinion on the nutritional benefits or the taste of coconut oil. Or whatever the heck you want, so long as it’s something to do vaguely with coconut oil. As always, I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner unless someone comes up with something really creative/funny/touching. I like creativity, so you will be more likely to win if you add your own personal stamp to the comment. I also approve of silliness.
Tropical Traditions has also requested that for you to be eligible to enter this giveaway, you need to subscribe to their mailing list. The nice thing about subscribing to any mailing list is that if you decide later on *cough* when the giveaway winner has been chosen *cough* that you don’t want to receive newsletters, you can very easily unsubscribe! I like to make my giveaways as easy as possible for you, so please remember to subscribe to their mailing list when you leave a comment on this blog post; it just takes a click of the mouse to unsubscribe in a few weeks if you so desire.
Winner will be announced exactly one week from today, on Wednesday, May 12th!