Well, not really. An old series, revived. Because I realized I have over three dozen recipes to share that either a) aren’t worthy of a full-blown blog post (like how to make vegan buttermilk) or b) need an entire post dedicated to themselves (like this one). If you’re wondering about the recipes, you can expect to see things like better-than-store-bought ice cream cones (with a gluten free option, of course). Habanero tequila that’ll take your margaritas up about five notches. And vegan marshmallow creme and coconut oil margarine (!!!) and perfect vegan pie crust (just to name a few). I’m excited about it. Because it’s basically a series with a bunch of recipes I’ve been sitting on for a really (read: really, really, REALLY) long time and now I finally have an excuse to share them without feeling like I shorted you guys. Even though I totally shorted you by not sharing the recipe for the Momofuku-style black forest cake I intended on posting this past week (sorry about that). Continue Reading
First things first: You need to throw everything you know about making butter-laden pie crust out the window.
Finished? Let’s proceed.
Coconut oil pie crust is one of those things that kicked my ass the first couple of times I attempted to make a pie crust with something other than (vegan) butter and (non-hydrogenated) shortening. It wasn’t until I was scraping my third or fourth trial into the trash that I had an AHA! moment and realized I was doing it all wrong. I can’t stress this enough: coconut oil is not a butter substitute, and to treat it as such will make you a little crazy; it’s not some magical replacement that you can swap with the fatty, creamy stuff and end up with the same result. Compared to butter, coconut oil is an entirely different ingredient on nearly every level, and your approach to creating (most) coconut oil recipes will need to veer slightly from the normal path of development. Continue Reading
I’ve heard from a lot of people that making coconut whipped cream has proven to be a serious challenge – often times they can’t get the coconut milk fat to separate from the water, even after the can’s spent a good 24 hours in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, this has little to do with your cooling chamber and a lot to do with the stabilizers used to keep the coconut milk fat suspended in the liquid; the ingredients in some cans just won’t allow the two to separate.
Stabilizers aside, the other culprit is too much air – which you can avoid by picking up the can of coconut milk and giving it a gentle shake. If you can hear the liquid sloshing around, you need to put it back on the shelf – chances are this can is a dud as far as making coconut whipped cream is concerned. What you need to listen for is a small pocket of air that moves around, making a soft gurgley sound. This method has proven to be effective in finding cans of coconut milk that encourage milk fat separation. In other words, it’s never let me down. Not once.
If you don’t feel confident in your ability to differentiate between sloshing and gurgling, Thai Kitchen will be your best (and safest) bet. In my experience, it’s the only brand of coconut milk that has consistently produced good quality whipped cream. If you’re rolling your eyes because their cans are lined with BPA – I knooow. It pains me, but I suck it up and buy it because I’m not a fan of buying $2 cans of coconut milk that yield separation only 50% of the time. Which is what usually happens when I bring home Native Forest coconut milk with high hopes of turning it into whipped cream. When in doubt, buy a few different cans and experiment to see which brand works best for you. But for the love of Buddha, do not try to speed up the process by freezing the can. You’ll be left with a solid block of coconut milk and a half-exploded can. Not that I know from experience, or anything.
Update: The issue with Native Forest coconut milk appears to be the source. Milk sourced from Thailand typically separates, while the milk sourced from Sri Lanka usually does not. Also, the only brand of coconut milk I’ve had 100% success with is Aroy-D. It takes a bit longer for the cream to fully separate from the water, but the quality of the cream is so much better than that from any other coconut milk I’ve used. Also, Savoy coconut cream is also great, but you still need to refrigerate it as it does contain water (contrary to popular belief, ALL coconut creams contains water).
Two ingredient caramel sauce. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Of course you can.
This stuff is good. Drizzled over ice cream, tossed with popcorn, poured into molds and eaten as candies, scooped straight outta the jar – get it? Good. And before you go all THIS IS THE MOST UNHEALTHY RECIPE EVER! on me, let me offer you a lower fat alternative – simply replace the amount of coconut milk fat with coconut milk or almond milk – you will have to cook the mixture longer, but you will wind up with a similar end result. However, I prefer the milk fat based caramel, as it can be used to make perfectly chewy caramel candies. Which I adore.
1 1/2 cups coconut milk fat
3/4 cup sucanat
Refrigerate two cans of coconut milk overnight, for at least 12 hours. The next day, scoop the fat off of the top of each can and measure out 1 1/2 cups. Place the coconut milk fat into a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat until liquid. Add the sucanat and whisk until the mixture turns a dark caramel color. Add a pinch of salt, if desired. Allow mixture to boil for 15-20 minutes, whisking the crap out of it every 3-4 minutes. For a thin caramel sauce, cook it for 10-15 minutes; for the sauce pictured above, 20-25 minutes; for thick, candy making caramel, cook it for 35-40 minutes. Refrigerate in an air tight container until ready to use. Reheat to soften.