Thursday, March 24, 2011

My new cooking ingredient...

Every once in a while, I go to Whole Foods and get something new and interesting.  In the past it has been things such as black truffle oil or even more commonly cactus leaves.  This time, I have come away with a jar of 100% pure coconut oil.  This stuff reminds me of wax.  It is solid at room temperature and just a fraction of a degree more and it is a liquid, which can quickly harden again, like dipping into melted wax.  The coconut oil, also has a good flavor of coconut to it and still has a creamy texture.

Coconut oil has been used for centuries in tropical climates as the main source of fatty acids.  While it may seem to have the same calories as butter, these calories are very different.  The main fat in coconut oil is called Lauric acid.  This acid has antimicrobial, antibiotic and antioxidant properties.  Some believe that coconut oil is useful for hair care, stress relief, skin care, heart health and can even help with weight loss.  This same acid is found in human milk, cow's milk and even goat's milk.

Because of it's properties as a fat, it opens new ideas for use in culinary techniques.  For instance, I was thinking of using it to make the flaky crust, for my sugar free coconut creme pie.  I was also thinking of using it to make a sugar free "Mounds" bar, with coconut and chocolate.  It can be used in almost anything I do from cookies to brownies and maybe, even ice cream.

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