Cool, creamy, and delicious! 

This recipe, adapted to use coconut cream concentrate,  was also selected for the Tropical Traditions recipe blog today!

Recipe is at the bottom of this post.

I’ve been cooking with coconut oil for about two years now.  I also use vegetable oil, olive oil, and butter, but not shortening.  The coconut oil has replaced shortening for me.  It works beautifully in pie crusts, although not so well in frosting, due to its low melting point.

If you’re worried about what you’ve heard about coconut oil, or coconut in general, being a possible health hazard, here’s what I’ve read:

The original studies on the health effects of coconut oil used partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which contains trans fats.  Natural coconut oil does not contain any trans fats.  Most of its natural fats are saturated, but don’t shrink in fear quite yet:  some of these saturated fats are in the form of  lauric acid, which raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol.  In addition to this, saturated fats in general can be broken into at least two subcategories: medium-chain fatty acids, and long-chain fatty acids.  Though they’re both solid at room temperature, they are very different from each other.  Medium-chain fatty acids serve to increase metabolism, and they seem to not recombine easily as fat in the body.  In addition to this, coconut oil helps increase thyroid function.

Several government-run nutrition bureaus strongly recommend against using large amounts of coconut oil, due to the high saturated fat content and fears that it would thus increase heart disease.   In response to this, studies done in high-coconut-oil-use populations actually show more heart disease occurring as they REDUCE the amount of coconut consumption.  The fears seem to be unfounded.

Coconut is also an excellent source of fiber.  One ounce unsweetened dried coconut (about a handful) has 5 grams of fiber  (Four times as much fiber per serving than oat bran!)  About ¾ of the total carbohydrates in coconut are fiber.  Most of this is insoluble fiber, the stuff that helps prevent blood-sugar spikes, slows down your digestion (helping your body extract more nutrients from it, and helping you feel full longer, reducing cravings), helping scrub your intestines, lowering your risk of cancer and several diseases, and providing a good environment for beneficial bacteria (probiotics).  Coconut fiber lowers the glycemic index of the food it’s in.  Some people swear by eating two coconut macaroons a day to treat Crohn’s disease, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  

Read more:

http://www.coconutoil.com/research.htm  - a list of the latest research on coconut and coconut oil

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3107/2- nutrition for several forms of coconut

http://www.livestrong.com/article/98083-coconut-fiber-diabetics/#ixzz1jrVJQkrr- effects of coconut fiber on blood sugar

http://www.earthincommon.com/coconut_02-article.htmlcoconut macaroons to treat IBS and Crohn’s!  Plus, traditional use of coconut to expel parasitic worms; for this, see also http://www.thevirgincoconutoil.com/articleitem.php?articleid=269

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Product-Categories/Fibers-and-carbohydrates/Fiber-may-boost-pancreatic-health-Study/?c=JXuXZ2C%2B3ccDH1LSCcVFdFR3NQxnAszG&utm_source=Newsletter_Product&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BProduct  - report on the latest findings on fiber in general and its effect in preventing pancreatic cancer.

Coco-cocoa Velvet Dessert 

1 1/2 c. coconut milk, divided
1 packet unflavored gelatin (2 1/2 tsp.)
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 c. honey
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 drops of orange essential oil, optional  (use food grade or better!)- OR use 1 drop lavender oil
1/2 tray's worth ice cubes (7-8 ice cubes, should be 4 oz.)

Pour 1/2 cup of the milk into a blender.  Add the gelatin, and let sit to soften.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining milk to boiling in a saucepan or microwave.  Pour the hot milk over the gelatin mixture; turn on low  to mix and dissolve.  Add  cocoa powder, honey, salt, vanilla, and essential oil.  Increase blender speed to high.  While motor is running, drop in ice cubes, one at a time.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into four or five (6-oz) ramekins, or in one (2-cup) mold.  Refrigerate until set, 3-4 hours. Serve in the containers, or dip the bottoms in hot water for 20 seconds, then invert to unmold.

If you want to unmold it, I recommend you double the amount of gelatin; I like it extra-firm anyway.

The recipe will work if you use regular milk instead; that's how I grew up eating it, but the version above is great for dairy-intolerant people.  Plus it tastes great!  You can also use chocolate chips instead of cocoa; use 1 cup of chips, and reduce honey to 3 Tbsp. 
Chocolate and lavender taste very good together, as long as you use a very light hand with the lavender!




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