Spark Some Joy

There is a certain joy that sparks inside of me when I am able to make something from scratch. And it is a double spark if I can beat the price it costs to buy it already prepared.

Years ago, before coconut butter was a thing and available at Whole Foods, I ordered a jar of Nikki's Coconut Butter Vanilla Cake Batter online. Priced at $12.99 for 12 ounces, I found it cloyingly sweet, but wanted to reap the health benefits of coconut so I secretly tossed it in smoothies and was grateful when the jar was finally empty.

Once I realized coconut butter is merely one ingredient--unsweetened shredded coconut--I knew I had to make it myself. This desire to make everything from scratch is a third generational problem. It started with my great-grandmother on my mother's side. Oma was a pistol who raised (and slaughtered) her own chickens and grew her own beets. She taught me to love being in the kitchen creating dishes that nourished in many ways.

My family had a cherished annual tradition of making hundreds of dozens of cookies for holiday gifts. This custom eventually landed in my solitary hands and I have kept it going--in my own special way. Though my culinary creations are constantly changing each year, there are always one or two gifts that rise to the top and make them worthy of year-round production. Cowgirl Granola was a spin-off of 2008 holiday gifts while the coconut butter I made last year for a select few friends is still garnering inquiries and delights.

Packed with omega-3's and MFA (medium-chain-fatty-acids), you can add a dollop of coconut butter to your smoothies, hot coffee or tea. You'll never know it's there, but it will add a touch of sweetness and richness you'll immediately appreciate and you'll soon feel satiated.

Because several friends mentioned to me how much they loved the coconut butter--one friend admitted to stashing the jar in a random place in the kitchen cabinets so she could keep it exclusively for herself--I keep thinking of a 2.0 version--toasted coconut butter to add depth of flavor and brilliant caramel color.

While the coconut butter was an excellent entry level attempt, the toasted version is something else entirely. Rich in flavor that reminds me more of almond butter than coconut, slather it on bananas, add a dollop to a smoothie, dip apples into it, spread some on toast, grab a spoonful for a quick burst of energy or simply to kill an inevitable bout of hanger (hunger + anger).

In one bite, I think you'll agree to the wonders of toasted coconut butter. As I ponder its simplicity and utter decadence, I think Marie Kondo would approve.

Looking for more ways to use this versatile ingredient? Check out Clotilde's blog where she offers a curated list of ways to use coconut butter.
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ingredients-fine-foods/20-divine-ways-to-use-coconut-butter/

Buen provecho!
Toasted Coconut Butter
The Cowgirl Gourmet

Print recipe

Makes 1 cup

Coconut lovers will flip for this deeply flavored and rich butter made from unsweetened coconut flakes. Add a dollop to a smoothie, spread on toast, dip an apple slice into it or just savor a spoonful when your energy is low. The simplicity of this dreamy butter is too much.

4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

On a baking sheet, spread the coconut flakes in a single layer and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until golden. Stay close to the oven during this process as you do not want to burn the coconut.
When it is toasted, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Once the coconut has cooled, place in the food processor or high-speed blender and let it begin to work. Over the span of 3-5 minutes, the texture will go from coconut crumbs to a thick paste and then move into a creamy texture like almond butter.
Occasionally, you will want to stop the machine and scrape down the sides.
 Continue running the machine until the butter has a smooth consistency.
Keep in mind that the texture will reflect the ambient temperature in your house. For example, in the summer, the coconut butter will be runny and in the winter, it will seize and be somewhat thicker.

Once the butter is creamy and smooth, place in a glass jar and store in the pantry.
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