Posted by: Cailyn | November 6, 2009

Coconut Butter Bites

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If you’ve been reading this (sadly neglected) blog or the various sources we’ve cited, you’ll know the great benefits of coconut.  Here’s a quick recap, though.

Coconut is not only delicious, it’s a good source of medium-chain saturated fats.  Why are medium-chain fats good?  Because they can be absorbed directly instead of having to be broken down in the gut.  This is great for some quick, long-lasting energy and perfect for people who may have trouble digesting fats because of some digestive problems caused by a high-carb lifestyle.  Coconuts are 90% saturated fat- and who here doesn’t love saturated fat?  Saturated fat is used all over your body and improves your cholesterol, immune system and your general sense of well-being.  (This high amount of saturated fat is why coconut oil is solid at room temperature, like beef fat or lard.)  Coconut is particularly good for boosting your immune system because the main saturated fat in coconut is lauric acid (this turns into monolaurin in the body).  Lauric acid is antimicrobial and not only prevents pathogens from setting up camp in your body, it can convince them to high-tail it out if they have moved in.  Great news during flu season, right?

Of course, coconut also has good vitamins and minerals as well as a large amount of fiber.  It also tastes sweet but doesn’t contain a lot of sugar.  Coconut oil is an even better source of lauric acid than raw coconut.  Coconut oil is a great way to get some extra fat, because a paleo lifestyle should be a high-fat lifestyle.  But let’s face it, very few of us want to choke down a spoonful or two of room temperature coconut oil or even melt it in some tea and drink it.  I have found a solution that, if I may say so myself, is genius.  Read on.

There is a company, Premier Organics, that makes Artisana raw nut butters.  They make a coconut butter that is so dangerously delicious, it should be labeled as a controlled substance.  The coconut butter is nothing but 100% coconut- no added sugar, salt, or oils.  The only problem with this stuff is that it, like coconut oil, is solid at room temperature and with all the coconut solids in the mix, it can be as hard to scoop out of the jar until it’s warmed up.  The butter is pretty good when it’s melted but personally, I like to eat the coconut butter on the solid side, like a sweet truffle.  The butter then melts on my tongue and feels incredibly decadent.  After much thought, I have come up with the following recipe.  This recipe not only makes eating coconut butter easy, it’s portable and shelf-stable, it’s got extra coconut oil, and it’s fun!

If you like this recipe, this site sells the coconut butter in 8lb or 16lb buckets which is cheaper than buying individual jars.

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Coconut Butter Bites

Gently heat the coconut butter and oil (if using) until they are liquid.  I fill a large pot with water, put the jars in, and keep it on a low simmer until everything is melted.  You don’t want to cook the jars, just soften them.  A crockpot would work too, or a low-temperature oven, or a double boiler.

Pour some of the coconut butter into a small bowl.  If you want, add some coconut oil until the mixture is kind of thin. This isn’t a science- if there’s too much oil, the finished bites will be a bit oilier and if there’s too little oil, the finished bites will be a little drier.  I usually add about 1/3 as much coconut oil as butter (so if I have 1 cup butter, I add an extra 1/3 cup of oil- but I don’t really measure.)

Pour the mixture into the ice cube tray. The mixture will expand as it cools, so leave a little room at the top.  Gently tap the tray on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface.

Let set either at room temperature or in the fridge for a faster set.

Pop out of tray and enjoy.  I store my finished bites in glass jars in the pantry.  The bites can stay out of the fridge as long as your ambient temperature is below about 80 degrees F; any warmer than that and they’ll start to melt.

Here’s the nutrition information (also found on the jar of coconut butter).  Remember that fiber doesn’t really count as a “carb”- subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of total carbs for the actual carb load!

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Bored of plain coconut butter?  Try these additives for variety!

Coconut Crunch

Add dried, shredded coconut (unsweetened of course!) to the butter/oil mix.  I like to add a lot of shredded coconut for a serious crunch.  Once the bites set, the coconut adds a nice crunch, almost like a Nestle Crunch bar, as well as adding more coconut taste.  You can usually get shredded coconut in the bulk section of natural markets for cheaper.

Harvest Spice

Add some nutmeg, cinnamon, and quality vanilla extract to the mixture.  Add a little at a time and taste as you go to find the right amount of spices for you.  Unlike most applications, you can really taste the difference between average and high quality vanilla in these bites.  It’s worth a bit of a splurge.

Chocolate Divine

Add a tablespoon or two of raw cacao powder and quality vanilla to the mixture.  Depending on your cacao tolerance, you might need to add a touch of sweetener to mellow some of the bitterness of the chocolate.  I add just a small drizzle of honey when I make this one; remember that coconut is naturally sweet.  Don’t forget to taste as you add things!  This one tastes like hot cocoa to me; the more cacao you add, the darker the chocolate- add just a little for a milk chocolaty taste. 

Dark Chocolate Crunch

Add some shredded coconut to the Chocolate Divine and revel in the decadence of living a paleo lifestyle.

Mexican Chocolate Supreme

Add cinnamon and a little chile powder to the Chocolate Divine. (Go easy on the chile powder; it’s flavorful.)  This one’s Lowell’s favorite.

Chocolate Raspberry

Add some roughly crumbled freeze-dried raspberries (or other fruit; I like Just Fruit) to the Chocolate Divine.  The freeze-dried fruit stays pretty crunchy, but does add some trace carbs.  I might try this one with some freeze-dried bananas.  Try this add-in in the plain coconut ones too- coconut and strawberry is delicious!

Chocolate Almond

Add some slivered almonds (try toasting them first) in with the Chocolate Divine.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Add some peppermint extract to the Chocolate Divine.  Just a little goes a long way.  These are great around Christmas time.

Lime-in-da-Coconut

Add some fresh lime zest and lime juice or extract.  To avoid excess liquid if using lime juice, boil the juice for a minute or so to get a concentrated “syrup.”  It’s powerful stuff, so you don’t need much of it for a nice lime kick, just a tsp or two.

Other ideas

Add food coloring to any of the above for a fun look or swirl together plain coconut and chocolate.

Add other flavor extracts, like hazelnut, lemon, coffee or peppermint. 

Add a small amount of chopped low-sugar dried fruit, like goji berries or cranberries (not the sweetened kind), or maybe cacao nibs or espresso beans.  Remember that these will add some extra carbs (fruits) and caffeine (nibs and beans).  I like the freeze dried fruit because they stay crunchy in the coconut and there’s no added ingredients.

Add finely chopped/ground nuts (someone suggested adding almond flour– sounds tasty!)

I have some silicon ice cube trays from Ikea that make flower- and fish-shaped "ice cubes."  I make all my plain coconut bites as fish and all my crunch bites as flowers.  I’ve measured the indentations and each one holds about a tablespoon of liquid, which is just about as much coconut butter as I can eat at one time.  (I also use these molds when I make regular butter.)  The trays usually aren’t expensive- get a collection of fun shapes and go nuts with it!  I just found some penguin ones.  Mmm, chocolate penguins…

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Responses

  1. […] 20- Cailyn @ Correlation is Not Causation Coconut Butter Bites- Delicious and Convenient! […]

  2. prettyand healthy idea!

  3. Thanks! Cailyn is completely addicted to these. We just got back from our Thanksgiving trip to Virginia, and kept a bag of these with us for snacking on the plane and around… mmm… incredibly satisfying and filling on the go.

  4. Yo Cailyn,

    Recipe is awesome!

    DO you happed to have any nutritional info on these coconut butter bites? You know grams of carbs/protein/fat, calories, etc?

    Would love to see.
    Dave

  5. […] so ingenious that I think they deserve their own post. I first discovered coconut butter bites here, and I just had to try them myself. They are a great way to add some good fat to your diet and […]

  6. […] dehydrated coconut meat, solid at room temperature, liquid when you heat it up. This recipe for Coconut Butter Bites is to die for. It’s like dessert – perfect for when you’re having a sweet […]

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