It’s that time of the year – December’s holiday season puts festive foods, all sorts of special dishes and baking in the spotlight.
It might not be the healthiest of times, but life is meant to be enjoyed! Plus with a few smart adjustments, you can make your recipes a lot healthier.
In this article I will share my tips for baking with coconut products and explain how to replace traditionally used products such as refined sugar, dairy and white flower with healthier options.
Coconut oil – baking with coconut products
Many traditional baking recipes for cookies, pies, cakes and others include butter.
You can easily replace it with coconut oil; it does the same thing as butter but is a healthier option.
If a subtle coconut hint adds to your recipe, use virgin coconut oil. It has the typical coconut flavor and smell, but when you bake with it it’s not dominant at all.
If you want a neutral flavor, use a good quality, organic refined coconut oil.
This type of coconut oil doesn’t have the typical coconut flavor and smell.
Make sure to follow the recipe: if it asks for melted butter, use melted coconut oil.
If it asks for solid or creamy butter, use the coconut oil in the same consistency.
Baking tray greaser
Greasing the baking tray prevents the food from sticking to it.
Instead of using butter or vegetable oil, use some coconut oil instead.
Make the perfect frosting for your gingerbread cookies with this easy and healthy coconut frosting:
Put 3 tbsp melted coconut oil, 1 tbsp coconut cream and 1.5 tsp stevia powder in a medium sized bowl.
Mix everything with an electric mixer until it’s equally mixed.
Use a decorating bag or a small ziplock bag and cut out a tiny corner. Get creative!
Chocolate dip base
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a layer of sweet, crunchy chocolate?
Coconut oil makes a really good base for homemade chocolate dips and sauces.
When liquid it is easy to combine with other ingredients and when cooled it solidifies very quickly.
For this simple and delicious chocolate dip you only need 3 ingredients: melted coconut oil, cacao powder and a sweetner of choice such as maple syrup. Use this ratio or adjust the sweetener according to the desired sweetness: 2 tbsp coconut oil, 4 tbsp cacao powder and 2 tbsp maple syrup.
Mix them well until equally mixed and dip or decorate your baked goods with it.
Vegetable oil substitute
Fried (sweet) treats are best prepared in an oil that is suitable for high-temperatures.
Instead of using vegetable oils that are very sensitive to oxidation, use coconut oil which is the most heat-stable fat.
For a coconutty taste use virgin coconut oil – if you need a neutral taste opt for a high quality refined coconut oil.
Coconut oil acts like a natural stabilizer which makes it perfect to make candy and all sorts of sweets with.
Use melted coconut oil as a base and add what you like: cacao, nuts, seeds, nut butter, dried fruit etc.
Mix it with a sweetener and some vanilla extract, pour it in a mold and let it do its magic in the fridge.
Coconut milk – baking with coconut products
You can easily replace regular milk with coconut milk in baking recipes as a healthy, creamy, plant-based alternative.
And while you’re at it, make yourself some hot chocolate coconut milk or a golden milk turmeric latte.
This is one of my personal favorites – coconut milk makes amazing condensed milk and it’s so easy!
I used to love condensed milk when I was a kid and while I don’t eat it anymore today, there are some recipes that require this specific product.
When I discovered you can make your own healthy, plant-based condensed milk at home I was thrilled. It tastes so good, I prefer it much over the regular one.
What you need is 1 can of full fat coconut milk and 1/2 cup of coconut sugar.
Heat the coconut milk and coconut sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, let it simmer for about 40 minutes over low heat.
The milk will thicken and will become darker.
When it’s ready, remove from heat and pour it in a glass jar to cool off.
Store whatever you’re not using in the fridge.
Coconut cream – baking with coconut products
Whipped coconut cream
Another favorite: whipped coconut cream has exactly the same consistency, is healthier and if you ask me, tastes much better than regular whipped cream.
For the best whipped coconut cream I put a can with coconut cream in the fridge for 8+ hours.
What it does is it separates the creamy part from the liquid and the creamier, the better.
You don’t need the liquid here, so just scoop out the cream and use the liquid for a smoothie or other drink.
Mix the coconut cream with an electric mixer or food processor until you’ve reached the desired consistency.
Serve on pies, cakes or any other dessert you like.
Coconut sugar – baking with coconut products
Healthier sugar option
Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index of 35 and contains minerals, amino acids and vitamins.
It’s much healthier than regular white sugar and has a rich flavor with a hint of caramel.
It needs a little longer to melt or blend with other ingredients, so make sure to give it a moment.
Coconut flour – baking with coconut products
If you’re looking for a healthy, gluten-free flour, chances are you will love coconut flour.
Coconut flour is a low-carb flour with a fiber content of 48%, the highest of all flours.
Its slightly sweet flavor is not too dominant and can also be used in savoury recipes.
It does work a bit differently than regular flour, so you can’t just replace it 1:1 and will need to use another ratio.
Try to use about 1/4 cup of coconut flour to replace 1 cup of regular flour and experiment with it to see what works best for you.
Shredded coconut – baking with coconut products
Sweet treats topping
Decorate your homemade sweets with a layer of shredded coconut. It gives them a hint of tropical sweetness and a nice color contrast which works especially good on a chocolate background!
Powdered sugar alternative
Often times baked treats are sweet enough by themselves, but they are dipped in powdered sugar because it makes them look even tastier.
If you don’t need the sweetness but appreciate the aesthetics, grind some shredded coconut and use it instead of sugar.
I love baking with coconut products because I feel like I’m not only choosing healthier, more sustainable ingredients, but they make things taste even better.
Are you making anything special for the holidays? Share it with me and the coco community on Instagram or Facebook @coconutqueendom
Happy holidays to you and your loved ones!
With coco love,