Coconut Oil: A Wonderful & Tasty Ingredient

Posted by on Oct 31, 2012

Hello all! My name is Karissa.
As a new Blogi here at Alchemyoga, I am excited to share some of my favorite recipes from the many different diets I have tried: raw, vegan, vegetarian, and our latest… paleolithic.

One of the things I keep our alternative kitchen stocked with is UN-refined Coconut Oil. If you aren’t already consuming coconut oil on a regular basis, you should be! Here’s a few reasons why:

1.It’s Healthier for you. Coconut oil contains short term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), a “healthy” fat when compared to transfatty acids. MCFA’s can be converted into energy instead of being stored as fat.
2. Coconut Oil can Aid in Digestion, balancing our bacteria levels and easing irritable bowel syndrome.
3. Helps to Supports Immunity. Lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid found in Coconut oil, contains antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties benefiting the immune system.
4. Smooth Skin and Slow fine lines. Coconut is not just for cooking with and it can be used directly on the skin and used daily on the face and body for a healthy glow.
5.Coconut oil is simple to cook with (and great for cooking at high temperatures) adding a great taste to food that complements many spices and works great for baking.

Your coconut oil should SMELL like coconuts. If it is refined, or made cheaply it will have been cooked and will  not provide as many benefits. I bought some once, and it was a mistake, so I use it on my hair instead of eating it. Also, they have just started selling coconut oil at our Costco. If you shop there, you might look for it next time you’re out or try Vitacost, which  sells coconut oil for great prices and has free shipping on orders over $50 (in the lower 48).

Now I would like to start you off with a solid, winning recipe that works for every diet I mentioned above and features coconut oil among many other delicious ingredients! Everyone will enjoy this Raw Cashew Dream (“cheese”) Cake! This recipe is AMAZING. Hands down, my new favorite go to healthy alternative cake, chock full of good things like cashews, almonds, dates and berries. It keeps well in the freezer and tastes like ice-cream. I got the original recipe from Sarah Britton’s blog My New Roots.

Raw Cashew Dreamcake

Ingredients:
Filling:

  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, (overnight is best)
  • Juice of 2 fresh lemons
  • The seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract)
  • 1/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup raw honey -solid or liquid. (Vegans use agave nectar.)
  • 1 cup raspberries (thaw completely if using frozen)
Crust:                                                                                                         
1/2 cup raw almonds (pecan or walnuts)                             
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates                                               
¼ tsp. sea salt
Alternative crust:
1 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 cup cashews
3 tablespoons cacao (or even simply cocoa -no added sugar)
1 tablespoon raw local honey or preferred liquid sweetener

I found the crust a little chewy, so you are welcome to try the Alternative crust which is really soft and flaky, almost like a pastry crust. (Plus it has cacao in it! Oh yum!)

Directions:

  1. Crust: Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture in a 7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a pie plate lined with saran wrap), and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Rinse food processor well.

    Alternative Crust:  Process cashews in high-speed blender in three batches. Sift out chunks between batches. Then stir in cacao powder, melted coconut oil and honey. Once mixed, press into glass pie pan and place in refrigerator.

  2. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
  3. In the most powerful food processor / blender you own (you decide which one has the most torque) place all filling ingredients (except raspberries) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes so be patient). If you have a Vita-Mix, absolutely use it.
  4. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it, you can’t make a mistake!) of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the raspberries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid.
  5. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the freezer (what leftovers?).

This cake is really fool proof, and easy to make! My kids love it and I love that they’re getting the benefits of eating good fats from the coconut oil and cashews. I keep the leftovers in the freezer for an easy go-to snack when the kids are deciding to turn their nose up at everything I offer. Feel free to experiment with different berries in place of the raspberries… Strawberries, blackberries…maybe even a few fresh blueberries.
I have to put the kids to bed now, but I’ll check back in to give you a run down of all the amazing things you can do with coconuts next entry!

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