It’s almost that time of the year again. December’s holiday season is right around the corner, with lots of delicious, festive foods, special dishes and baking in the spotlight.
It might not be the healthiest of times, but hey, life should be enjoyed!  Plus with a few smart adjustments, you can make your recipes a lot healthier.
In this article I share my best tips for baking with coconut products. I explain how to replace traditionally used products such as refined sugar, dairy and white flower with healthier, plant-based options.

 


Coconut oil: baking with coconut products


Butter substitute

Many traditional recipes for cookies, pies, cakes and other baked goods 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.

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.

Read more about how to pick a good quality virgin coconut oil or refined coconut oil.

 

Make sure to follow the recipe: if it requires melted butter, use melted coconut oil.
If requires solid or soft butter, use coconut oil in the same consistency.

 

Baking tray greaser

Greasing the baking tray prevents the food from sticking to it.
Instead of butter or vegetable oil, use some coconut oil.

 

Cookie frosting

Make the perfect frosting for your gingerbread cookies with this easy and healthy coconut frosting.

You’ll need:

3 tbsp melted virgin coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut cream
1.5 tsp stevia powder

Put everything in a medium sized bowl and mix with an electric mixer.

Use a decorating bag or a small ziplock bag and cut out a tiny corner. Put some frosting in the bag and gently push it down while drawing. Time to get creative!

 

Holiday cookies with coconut frosting

 


Chocolate magic shell

Who doesn’t like a layer of sweet, crunchy chocolate?
Coconut oil makes a great base for homemade chocolate dips and sauces.
It easily mixes with other ingredients while it’s liquid and when you cool it, it solidifies very quickly.

For this simple and delicious chocolate magic shell you only need 3 ingredients: melted coconut oil, cacao powder and a sweetener of choice such as maple syrup.

Use the following ratio or adjust the sweetener according to the desired sweetness:

2 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup

Mix well until equally mixed.
Tip: use a sieve for the cacao powder to avoid lumps.

Dip or decorate your baked goods with the chocolate sauce and allow the magic shell to harden in the fridge.

 

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.

Use virgin coconut oil for a coconutty taste. If you need a neutral taste opt for a high quality organic refined coconut oil.

 

Candy base

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

 

Milk substitute

You can easily replace regular dairy milk with coconut milk in baking recipes. It’s a healthy plant-based alternative with a delicious sweet taste and creamy consistency.

And while you’re at it, make yourself some hot chocolate coconut milk or a golden milk turmeric latte.

 

 

Condensed milk

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, there are some recipes that require this specific ingredient.

When I discovered that 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.

All you need is 1 can of full fat coconut milk and 1/2 cup of coconut sugar.

Use a saucepan and heat the coconut milk and coconut sugar in it over medium heat. Once the coconut sugar has fully dissolved, let it simmer for about 40 minutes over low heat. Stir regularly.
The coconut milk will thicken and will become darker.

When it’s ready, remove from the heat and pour the sweetened condensed coconut milk in a glass jar to cool off.
Store what you’re not using in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

 

Coconut condensed milk

 

More recipes with coconut milk.

 

 

Coconut cream: baking with coconut products

 

Whipped coconut cream

Another favorite: whipped coconut cream. It has exactly the same consistency, is healthier and tastes much better than regular whipped cream.

For the creamiest whipped coconut cream I put a can with coconut cream in the fridge for 8+ hours.
This separates the creamy part from the liquid and the creamier, the better.

You don’t need the liquid, so just scoop out the cream and use the liquid for a smoothie.

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.

This natural sweetener is 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 some time.

 

 

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 savory 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. This works especially well on a dark 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 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 so good.


Happy holidays to you and your loved ones!

 

 

 

Are you making anything special for the holidays? Share it with me and the coco community on Instagram or Facebook.