Thursday, June 6, 2013

They Smell Like Ladies Lying in the Sun (Cracking the Coconut Oil Recipe Dilemma)

Posted By on Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 5:50 AM

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Coconut oil is in the midst of a major facelift. Once thought to be among the worst of the plant-based oils due to its high level of saturated fat, it's now being praised by proponents as positively good for you.

It’s all a bit confusing. This piece from The New York Times sums it up nicely, though.

Whatever side you’re on, I think we can all agree that even saturated fats are okay in moderation, right? (Right.) So I was eager to check out this sample of extra-virgin (unrefined) coconut oil that the folks at Carrington Farms sent me a couple of weeks ago. But other than this this recipe for homemade Magic Shell (thanks again, Chubby Vegetarian!), I really didn’t know what else to do with it. Make popcorn? And then suddenly last week, Twitter and Instagram were blowing up with people who love coconut oil. For roasting vegetables, for baking (it's a dairy-free replacement for butter) and, interestingly, blended into coffee.

Coffee? As in, put a tablespoon of semi-solid oil in your coffee? I was dubious. But what the hell, right? My husband had some coffee that was past its prime and on the bitter side, so we brewed some, added the coconut oil, zapped it with the stick blender and tested it out.

Wow. It was good. Really good. I don’t even like coffee and I thought it was good. Blending it in made it frothy like a coffee shop latte (high-powered blending is crucial). And the coconut oil completely counteracted the bitterness. It was smooth and delicious. It wasn't oily at all and had just the faintest hint of coconut (enough to make it smell amazing). The basis for this little test, “bulletproof coffee” as they call it, calls for butter and some other stuff, too, but it’s totally unnecessary. Sure, I could definitely see adding a tiny bit of cinnamon and cardamom to this for a real treat, but for your everyday drinker, the coconut oil is all you need. If you are one who suffers with office coffee, do yourself a favor and get this coconut oil and a stick blender and you'll be set. No more worrying about someone swiping your fancy flavored creamer out of the office fridge.

Note, though, that I didn’t try the coffee with refined coconut oil, which is flavorless. The Carrington Farms coconut oil is unrefined, which means it’s got a more of a coconut flavor to it (though it is mild). I could eat it straight (like a creamy version of the inside of a Mounds bar). When I tried that with the refined coconut oil (which came from Whole Foods), I just felt like I was eating congealed oil (which I was). Not good. Go for the good stuff instead. Save the other stuff for your Magic Shell or muffins.

Another advantage of the Carrington Farms coconut oil is that it comes in a tub rather than a jar, so it’s easier to scoop out. The pleasant, lightly coconutty flavor is perfect for those who like coconut, but not the texture of some forms of coconut. It's like coconut butter, I'd say. It's yummy.

Locally, you should be able to find Carrington Farms organic extra virgin coconut oil at Publix and Whole Foods. You can also buy it online.

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