Homemade coconut butter was one of the very first things I made when I began Including Cake.
It’s a great alternative to coconut oil in lots of recipes and the bonus is that is very cheap and easy to make yourself….you just need a powerful (or robust) food processor!
Coconut oil and coconut butter are not the same thing and they are not always directly interchangeable. Coconut oil is the pure ‘oil’ with no flesh, whereas coconut butter is the oil and the flesh combined (approx. 70% oil and 30% flesh) so the resulting product when melted in its usable form is much thicker- think yoghurt or thick cream consistency- and opaque compared with the clear very runny oil.
When it comes to baking I have tried countless combinations and substitutions using coconut butter and often it does the trick, however there are times when the butter just won’t do and a very runny oil is needed, see this cookie recipe to get a better understanding in context. Coconut butter works best when used in place of ‘softened butter’ or ‘shortening’ i.e when you are not relying on the runniness of oil to combine ingredients into a dough, and other liquid ingredients are also used. To get a really ‘crisp’ cookie where oil is the primary liquid then don’t skimp on using pure oil!
So, to make your own coconut butter, you simply add coconut flakes to a food processor and then process for a few minutes (this could take 5-10 minutes depending on the strength of your machine) You can use any type of coconut flake as long as it is raw, unsweetened and not toasted or defatted (it needs to have its oils intact). The resulting butter should be at least soft and spoonable, the longer you process it the smoother and runnier it will get …just keep going!(the butter in the photo below is half way there but perfect for the recipe below.)
I have also included a very simple recipe once you’ve made some fresh coconut butter, perfect for the run up to Christmas- I have added dried cranberries but you could also add other dried fruits and some spices to give a seasonal feel!
Note: store the butter in a cupboard not the fridge as otherwise it will be too hard to use.
Recipe: Seasonal coconut ice
1 cup coconut butter
½ cup dried cranberries (I used the sweetened variety- if not increase agave/stevia to taste)
2 tbs agave nectar plus tiny pinch stevia
1 tsp vanilla or orange extract
Optional: cinnamon, cacao nibs
Melt coconut butter gently then combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a thick smooth paste is formed. There should be ‘flecks’ of the red berries in the mixture as opposed to a solid colour. Spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray or other candy molds and press down into each mold. Freeze to set and then store in the fridge.