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Posts Tagged ‘coconut’

Okay, the title of this post is a bit misleading.  These aren’t actually doughnuts at all.  However, they really do remind me of timbits, both in size and in taste! 

As always, you are welcome to substitute the almonds for any kind of nut that you prefer.  Macadamia nuts would be a nice, neutral (expensive!) substitute.  Although pecans would probably be my second choice here, simply because of their natural sweetness, and I don’t think they would overpower the dates the way that something like peanuts or walnuts would.  Nuts without skins are best, however if you can’t find them blanched then it is not a huge deal.  The skins will add some bitterness to the balls, so you might want to consider adding a few more dates to try and offset this.  Or add a few drops of stevia, if you feel it’s necessary.

This is probably the simplest recipe I have posted yet.  There are only three ingredients, and all you have to do is pop things in the food processor.  Make sure your food processor is in good working order, though, as this will give it quite a workout. 

These are great on their own, but I like to have mine with coffee, either in the morning or as an after dinner treat.  The bitterness of the coffee is offset by the sweetness of the dates. 

Please forgive my terrible photography yet again.

Date and Almond Snacks

1 ½ cups blanched almonds

3 cups dates, preferably medjool

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Process almonds in food processor until almond butter is formed.  This will take approximately 5 – 7 minutes.  Add dates, process for another 5 – 7 minutes.  The mixture will be very sticky, almost like marzipan in texture.

Roll into ½ inch balls.  Place coconut in a small bowl.  Roll balls in coconut, pressing lightly to make sure the coconut adheres to the surface.

Makes approximately 30 – 40 balls.

*Alternatively, you can roll the balls in ground nuts of your choice.

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Alright, I’ll be honest: this was not the recipe I had in mind when I started writing it.  I wanted something with a crust more like a cookie, and a soft, sponge-y top.  I realized half-way through making the recipe that it wasn’t what I had in mind, but thankfully it all worked out in the end.

These bars resemble banana bread in texture; they have a large, course, open crumb, and a rich, full flavour.  They are perfect for that mid-afternoon slump, since they’re full of protein, but also have that hint of sweetness to give you a bit of a jolt.  That’s what it all about…

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 9 x 9 pan and set aside.

1/2 cup rice flour (brown or white, your choice)

2/3 cup almond meal

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup agave nectar

2 eggs

2 tblsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1 jar jam of choice (I used raspberry, approx. 235mL, one jar of Crofter’s)

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Combine wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Add wet to dry, and stir until just combined.

Take about 1/3 of the batter and line the bottom of the pan with it.  Take your jam of choice, put it in a bowl, and give it a little stir to soften it up.  Lightly spread the jam over the batter, covering it completely.  Pour the rest of the batter over the jam. 

Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes.  The top will be a deep golden brown.

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Coconut flour, like all things that come from the coconut, is a wonderful addition to any pantry.  It shares two qualities with the other gluten-free flours: it  imparts a distinct flavour in anything you use it for, and is also absorbs a lot of liquid.  Coconut flour is made from dried, de-fatted coconut meat that has then been ground up.  It is slightly off-white or ivory in colour.

One of the great benefits of coconut flour is that it has high fibre and protein, contents.  It is particularly high in fibre, so it’s an extremely filling flour.  For those of you who are interested in these things, it is low-carb.  Like nut and bean flours, this will help to keep your baked good from being one big crumbly mess.  Use too much, however, and there is a definite coconut flavour to the final product.  Some people are okay with this; others…not so much.

Coconut flour produces a dense, moist crumb, and tends to work best in items like loaves or bars, or in any baked good where a dense final product is desireable.  It can absolutely be used in other items, such as cakes, however it should probably not be used as the primary flour, unless you have a real love for it, and cut it equally with a starch to improve the texture of the cake.

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Coconuts.

Not only do they have a simply fabulous name, but they are also one of the best things that you can eat.

The word itself derives from the Spanish and Portuguese word “coco”, which means “monkey face”.  When coconuts were first seen by these explorers, the shape, colour, and the three eyes on the coconut reminded them so much of a monkey’s face, that that’s what they called it.  On a somewhat less interesting note, “nucifera”, the second half of the word, means “nut-bearing”.  Hence “coconut”.

Most people already know that coconuts are not nuts.  They are, in fact, a seed: the seed of the coconut palm.  So the coconut is actually a part of the palm family.

In traditional medicines, there is a long list of ailments that the coconut is said to be capable of healing.  In large part, it is the oil that is thought to be the most valuable for curing ailments.

The oil is in fact the most fascinating part about the coconut.  Coconut oil is comprised of approximately 66% medium chain fatty acid, called lauric acid.  Interestingly enough, human breast milk is also primarily lauric acid.  That lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acit is significant because the bulk of fat that we consume are long chain fatty acids.  Short chain fatty acids are consumed primarily through lactic acid, and do not generally make up a large part of our diet.

This distinction between the lengths of fatty acids is important because it helps to determine how our body will digest them.  Unlike long chain fatty acids, medium chain fatty acids can be digested by the body without breaking them down any further.   

Long chain fatty acids, on the other hand, need to be broken down further by the body.  This process is somewhat complicated, but in short long chain fatty acids affect the amount of triglycerides we have in our body. 

Medium chain fatty acids do not affect our triglycerides.  They are used immediately by the body, and do not require any further breaking down.  This can beneficially affect our cholesterol level. 

There are a number of claims that coconut oil can also help you lose weight.  I am not really qualified to assess these claims, so cannot comment, but it does seem like there is some new claim every 6 months about some food or another that can magically help you lose weight without any effort at all.  Generally speaking, these claims are sponsored by the same people who have a hand in selling you said product.  However, the unique properties of coconut oil does seem to suggest that it might not have the same effects as other fats.

It is important to use virgin coconut oil, rather than any other kind, as virgin coconut oil has been harvested from a fresh coconut.  It therefore is the most beneficial for you, as it has not begun to break down before being harvested.

The obvious and immediate drawback of cooking and baking with coconut is the distinct flavour of coconut.  If you like coconut, it should be absolutely no problem.  However, if you dislike coconut, there really is no way to disguise that taste.  My best advice to you is to slowly try to incorporate a good quality coconut product into your cooking, and go from there.

Coconut milk can easily replace milk in any recipe.  However, sometimes the flavour of the milk really is too strong for the dish.  It does tend to work best in curries, or highly spiced dishes.  The same can be said for coconut oil.  However, small amounts of coconut oil can be used in baking without totally affecting the taste of the final product.  Nevertheless, if you enjoy the flavour of coconuts, than this really should not be an issue for you.

Who knew the coconut was so wonderful?

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This loaf has the consistency of a pound cake, without the dairy!  The lime helps to balance out the coconut flavour, so for once the coconut flavour does not overpower everything else, which is nice.

Kuzu (or kudzu) is available at most health stores or Japanese specialty stores.  It is an incredible binder and I now use it in anything that requires a significant amount of binding to set.  It is indigenous to Japan, although it was introduced to the States in the late 19th century as an ornamental vine.  However, the climate in the southern U.S. has allowed kuzu to almost literally spread like wildfire.  It is extremely difficult to destroy effectively. It has therefore considered quite a nuisance by most.  But it is a fantastic starch, and leaves absolutely zero aftertaste when used. 

Coconut Lime Loaf with Icing

1 ¼ cup coconut flour ½ cup arrowroot

¼ cup millet flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp stevia 

¼ cup melted coconut oil¾ tsp vanilla

½ cup agave

1 ¼ cup coconut milk (1 14oz. Can)

¾ cup lime juice

2 tsp lime zest

Preheat oven to 350°

Whisk dry ingredients together.  Whisk wet ingredients together.  Stir wet ingredients into dry.  The dough will be very moist, but not liquid; I will admit that it’s an odd dough, a bit sponge-like in texture.   Pour into loaf pan and smooth out top of loaf with slightly damp fingers or spatula.  Alternatively, you can use a cake pan (or two) to bake this mixture.  Reduce cooking time by approximately 25 minutes if you use cake pans.

Cover loaf with foil.  The coconut flour will brown very quickly, so it`s important that the loaf is covered.  Bake for 60 minutes on the middle rack.   The loaf will not rise very much, so it is okay if it is close to the top of your loaf pan.

Coconut Lime Icing

This recipe was inspired by the recipe found at www.elanaspantry.com

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup agave

Pinch of salt

3 tblsp kuzu, dissolved in water

1 ¼ cup coconut oil

¼ tsp stevia

Juice of one lime

1 tblsp lime zest

Heat coconut milk, agave, stevia, and salt in medium saucepan.  Simmer for ten minutes.  Add kuzu mixture after mixture has been simmering for ten minutes, and bring mixture briefly to a boil.

Remove from heat, and gradually mix in coconut oil.  Place pot in freezer for 30-40 minutes, or however long it takes for mixture to resemble slightly soft ice cream.  I have a very old freezer, so it actually took mine hours to set properly, so bear that in mind when preparing the icing.  Remove from freezer and blend mixture again, until it is moist and fluffy.

Ice loaf.  Serve, and Enjoy! 

The icing is a brilliant recipe (Elana’s original, I mean; mine’s only a variation).  I highly recommend that you give it a try.  And visit her site while you’re at it!  It is equally excellent.

I will admit that I will probably tweak this recipe a bit, so look for a Coconut Loaf Redux post in the future.  Nevertheless, it is quite good as is.  The slight tartness of the loaf juxtaposes well against the sweetness and airiness of the icing.  Next time, I am most definitely making it as a cake!

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