~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Homemade Coconut Butter... and a toasted version.

Homemade Coconut Butter... and a Toasted Coconut Butter version. Sometimes I'm at a loss as what to do when it comes to all the coconut I buy. Because I really, really like coconut, I often find myself buying a bag of dry, flaked coconut every time most times I go to our local natural food store. I keep thinking I'll end up using it in some kind of recipe... be it savory or sweet. I admit I love adding it to breadcrumbs (panko), when making chicken strips or breaded shrimp. And I seem to add it to all sorts of dessert recipes, swapping out some of the flour for a bit of coconut. It's become a habit really.

In any case, I was doing some inventory of my freezer and happened to notice a couple of bags of unsweetened flaked coconut that I had forgotten about... I don't like it when I lose track of my frozen items. Sometimes it's hard though, especially when you have a freezer chest... you know, the ones that are built like a huge box, and you really need to stretch down so you can retrieve a frozen item that may be somewhere on the bottom.

So for some reason, when I found the couple of bags of coconut in my freezer, I really wanted to "use it up". Not that it was expired or anything like that. It was mostly because I just didn't want it to get lost again. Silly, really. But that's what went on my my head at the moment... so I used all the coconut I had:). And made these 2 coconut butters...

It's funny, but I didn't realize the "huge" amount of coconut I had would make such a small amount of coconut butter. Well, I guess I sort of knew, but was really hoping I'd get a bit more coconut butter than I did:). In any case, from about 5 cups of dry small flaked coconut, I got maybe about 1 1/2 cups of coconut butter. But coconut butter is quite potent. I mean it goes a long way...  I suppose, like peanut butter would. You can't eat too much of it. And I guess that's why coconut butter is so expensive... lots of coconut is used. Yet, I still think it's worth making at home.

While I made a couple of simple versions, you can easily add all sorts of flavorings to the coconut butter. I really liked it with some dried cranberries/tart cherries, but chocolate goes really well too. At one point I melted some chocolate and mixed it with some of the coconut butter and then made some truffles. So you can get to be quite creative. Of course, you can  simply slather some on toast with a bit of honey, or preserves. It's good that way too.

When I made these coconut butters, I ended up making one batch in the food processor, and another in my Vitamix. I'd totally recommend the Vitamix, if you have one. The food processor is an option, but it takes such a long time... like a really long time... however, it is possible. You just won't get as smooth a butter as you would in a high speed blender. Oh, and you need a strong food processor, because you wouldn't want to burn the motor from all the processing.

Hopefully you can see the difference between the 2 processing methods in the photos. My food processor version is the plain white coconut butter. The toasted version was done in my Vitamix. Hope you enjoy...

Tip: Use some of this coconut butter when making curries...

You will need:

For Regular Coconut Butter: makes about 2/3 cup

2 cups unsweetened, flaked coconut (you can use a bigger amount , if you like)
a pinch of salt
flavorings of choice, optional (cinnamon, chocolate, citrus, vanilla, etc... even bits of chocolate and chopped dried fruits.)

For Toasted Coconut Butter: makes about 3/4 cup

3 cups unsweetened, flaked coconut
pinch of salt
flavorings, additions of choice, optional


Food Processor method: not as smooth as Vitamix method.... and takes forever, well, almost:).

1. Add the coconut and pinch of salt to the bowl of a heavy duty food processor.
2. Blend until coconut becomes pasty and pureed... as finely as you can get it. This will take about  15 + minutes... it can even take longer, depending on food processor. You will need to stop processor occasionally to scrape down the sides. Also it is VERY important to give your processor a break because it will get hot... 
3. Add flavorings of choice, if desired.... If you would like to add chocolate chips, allow the butter to cool down a bit. Pour in container.
4.  Store at room temperature, or in the fridge, warming it up to make it fluid again. It will get hard in the fridge, and solid at room temperature.

Vitamix Method: preferred method.

1.  Add coconut to the Vitamix blender along with a pinch of salt. 
2. Turn blender on low and increase speed to the highest speed possible(slowly), making sure to  press down with the Vitamix stick to get the coconut moving. 
3. Blend until coconut turns into a liquid paste that is as smooth as you can get it. This will take anywhere from 2-5 minutes. 
4. Add flavorings of choice, if desired. Pour in container.
5. Store at room temperature, or in the fridge, warming it up to make it fluid again. It will get real hard in the fridge, and solid at room temperature.
Directions for the Toasted Coconut Butter:

1. Heat a dry skillet on medium heat. Add coconut flakes and toast till light golden brown, stirring oven so as not to burn and lowering heat as needed. 
2. Proceed with above directions for blending. 

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