A long time ago I made weekly batches of macaroons for my Dad. They were not like these though! Wonder if he’d have liked them? Maybe….he wasn’t a very adventurous eater though.
Before the days of gluten-free becoming the norm, he had seen a Chinese Medicine Doctor who took him off potential issue foods. That had to have been 12 or more years ago (my Dad passed away 10 years ago this summer). The macaroons I made for him were um…not exactly great for a person, but they were gf (they tasted great though). Yes, the recipe off of a bag of Baker’s coconut. Coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla…baked in massive balls (a good ¼ cup each). He loved them, so there was that. Gluten-free maybe, but not exactly health food. And so this brings up something I realized recently: when I was a kid, I really hated coconut. The coconut in stores was always hard and dry, flavorless and sad in general. To me, it might have been sawdust shavings. Then I found Baker’s coconut and its ilk. It was highly sweetened and loaded with these “yummy” ingredients:
Coconut, Sugar, Water, Propylene Glycol (Preserves Freshness), Salt, Sodium Metabisulfite (Retains Coconut Whiteness).
And so, you can see why I loved coconut in the late 80′s to mid 2000′s. It was always soft, teeth-rotting sweet and moist. Like with anything crappy, I weaned off it for the better. And I found shredded and flaked coconut that was without these ingredients but still fresh. And it didn’t taste of sawdust. If anything, sourcing fresh ingredients is easier by the year now. That doesn’t mean that immediately you will proclaim love for natural coconut. It takes time, just like brown rice and whole wheat flour.
When I started using coconut butter, I was picking up glass jars that were around $12 for 16 ounces. That is about 2 cups of coconut butter. Making it yourself can save a lot of money, and once made you can stash it in a mason jar for later (store in your pantry, not the refrigerator). I know it can be done quickly in my Vitamix blender…but personally I find the food processor easier to clean.
On savings? Via Amazon I paid $2.99 a bag for my coconut (Bob’s Red Mill Flaked Coconut Unsweetened), a total of $11.96. Each 12 ounce bag has 22 servings of ¼ cup each. Running numbers, I used maybe 5½ ounces to make 1 cup coconut butter. 25¢ an ounce dry, or $1.50 for a cup. OK, I didn’t use organic coconut – that would have raised it to $2.50 for the coconut butter. Which is still a WHOLE LOT CHEAPER than spending $6 for a cup of it premade!
- 2 2/3 cups Flaked Coconut Unsweetened
Run coconut through a food processor for around 10 minutes. Stop often to scrape the sides. If you are unsure of your machine overheating, let rest to cool at around 5 minutes in, then finish later. It may seem as if it won’t ever turn into butter, just keep going. Scrape often and soon the oils will release, and the butter will form. It will be spreadable and slightly gritty in texture. Going on slow can work better than high, FYI.
- 1 cup coconut butter (1 batch above)
- 2 cups Shredded Coconut Unsweetened
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup, preferably B grade
- 1¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp pure almond extract
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 300°, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, using a spatula and one hand, working the coconut butter in, pressing on any butter bits to break up. Drop balls on the prepared sheet, a 1 Tablespoon Disher works well.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until smelling great. Take out, let rest for an hour before moving (a thin spatula helps).
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze for long-term storage.
Makes about 24. Don’t even try to resist the urge to lick your fingers after mixing them…yum! Do it.
They are even tastier eaten mostly frozen, out of the freezer.