Monday, March 7, 2011

Tropical Traditions - Virgin Coconut Oil

Admittedly, coconut scares me.  While some might stay away due to worries about fat, etc., I stayed away because I had an aversive experience with a coconut-laden curry when I was a tween.

But I'm starting to get over my aversion.  Macaroons are a common baking result of mine, and I have been recently known to drink coconut water before marathons. 

And then I started seeing recipes online calling for coconut oil, particularly baked goods.  I had no idea that coconut oil is solid until I saw this jar for the first time.  Then I realized that this is meant to be a substitute for butter.

Here's my first cooking trial with coconut oil -- MANY more uses for this stuff can be found HERE.  However, I opted to use a vegan carrot cake cookie recipe I saw on Oh She Glows for this little experiment, since I had the ingredients on hand, and I LOVE carrot cake!

The coconut oil I used came from the folks at Tropical Traditions.

(I forgot the oats in this group-shot, but you get the idea.) :$

The moment of truth: I had to scoop out 1/4 cup of coconut oil.

Here's a shot of the jar and the contents:

Interesting texture, right?  I put this in a bowl and microwaved it for about 25 seconds to melt it a little.  It becomes more translucent as it warms.  It smelled only faintly of coconut, possibly because it was still in this semi-solid form.

I confess that in my absent-mindedness, rush, and stress, I didn't follow the instructions quite as well as I should have.  I had to add some splashes of regular soy milk to get the mixture to even hold together.

The resultant cookies are here:

(I don't know WHY my camera decided to focus on everything BUT the subject cookie.) :(  It was having a bad day, apparently, because I tried to take this picture several, several times.  So kindly avert your eyes to the cookies in the background.

Maybe this shot is better?  No... agh!

So since I flubbed a bit with the instructions, the cookies came out less sweet and not quite textured the way I had imagined.  I was disappointed, but once again, "The Ukrainian" thought they were good, and he was actually glad they weren't too sweet because they had a good flavor and nice texture (besides the cookies being very fragile).  I actually thought they were pretty good... definitely reminiscent of carrot cake but much, much more "pure."

I can imagine there are lots of other ways to use coconut oil, but in my vegan baking adventures, I can definitely agree with it being a good substitute for butter/other oils.   It also imparts a nice, light coconut flavor into foods.

Check out this video for more information on virgin coconut oil!


FTC Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.


  1. I'm not sure I knew it was a solid either. I learn something new everyday!

  2. I love coconut, but I've never tried coconut oil. I didn't realize that it was a butter substitute. Those cookies look good.