Many governmental agencies advised against coconut oil consumption for years due to it’s saturated fat content. But then it transpired that the original studies were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil which created harmful “trans fats”. The main saturated fatty acids in milk, cream, cheese and many meats, palmitic acid and myristic acid, are known to increase heart disease risks (for various reasons )The main fatty acids in coconuts do not seem to have the same affect; on the contrary, it has a high proportion of lauric acid (also found in abundance in human breast milk) which raises levels of HDL “good” cholesterol.
Also, I have read another incredible fact about coconut oil is that even though it is a fat, it could actually promote weight loss! The reason is again because of the healthy medium-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats, but are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy, just like carbohydrates. So the body uses the fat in coconut oil to produce energy, rather than be stored as body fat. Medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil also speed up the body’s metabolism burning more calories and promoting weight loss. For more information, read Bruce Fife’s book The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil.
Coconut oil can be bought online, though the very best priced one I have found is an Organic Store just outside Chester. It is Organic, Virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, and it costs £6.85 for about 500g. You keep it in the fridge (where it is hard) and take it out to room temp. when you want to use it (where it is soft enough to work with) Apparently the fats are very stable in cooking aswell, though I have not ever looked into this, nor tried cooking with it.
Bounty Bar Bites (makes about 16) These are sooooo goooood!!!
For the coconut bites:
- 1/2 a cup of coconut oil (about 60g)
- 1 cup of dessicated coconut (about 60g)
- 3 T of quality, raw honey * (see below, “A word about honey”)
- small pinch of ground sea salt (optional)
Put some water in the bottom of a saucepan, and bring up to a little hotter than handhot. Remove from the heat, place a your coconut oil in a bowl, in the water. Cover, and leave for 5-7 minutes, or until liquid. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
Press into mini silicone-type cases. You should get 15-16 from this recipe. Place in fridge overnight, or for about 2 hours.
For the Chocolate topping:
- 1/4 Cup coconut oil (about 30g)
- 1/4 cup raw honey (about 50g)
- 1/4 cup (15-20g) raw cacao powder, or unsweetened cocoa powder* (see below: “A word on cacao and cocoa“)
- 2 small one-finger-and-thumb pinches of ground sea salt (optional. Did I mention I like salt?)
Repeat the same process as Part 1. Melt the coconut oil down gently over some warm water, stir in the honey and chocolate powder. With a teaspoon, cover the tops of the coconut treats, and refridgerate until solid. Here are the little lovelies in their cases:
And here they are, ready for consumption.!!
These must be kept in the fridge. As you can see, I just topped them off with the chocolate, as I am all for simplicity. Oh my. It’s sad that nobody in my family except me enjoys the flavour of coconut….*sigh*…….
A Word on Honey This is my preferred liquid sweetener. Ideally you want to be sure you are getting “raw honey”; honey that has not been boiled to death, annihilating all of the mineral and amino acid goodness it naturally has. You do not necessarily need to buy one labelled “Raw Honey” (Indeed, if it is labelled thus, prepare to dig deep!) If you try to buy your honey from local beekeepers at farmers markets, where you can talk to them, you will rarely, if ever, find a local small-scale beekeeper who heats their honey. They don’t have the means or the inclination. I have met at least 12 local beekeepers and none of them heat their honey. Lots of the low-end priced supermarket honey has been heated.
A Word on Raw Cacao and Cocoa Powder These are not the same. Raw cacao has been minimally processed and not heated to high temperatures like its roasted counterpart “cocoa powder”. It is extremely rich in minerals (the highest in magnesium on earth, by all accounts) and anti-oxidant activity. The health benefits of “raw chocolate” has become a bit of a revolution. More on that another day. However……it is very expensive. And while- of course– I’m worth it, and so are my family, it is still on the wrong side of my food budget line. So I use organic unsweetened cocoa powder and that’s fine with me. Antioxidant activity was found even in regular shop dark chocolate bars (though these are still quite sugarey, which is why i prefer to create at home when I want a little chocolate experience) Not in milk chocolate. They think the milk proteins bind with the antioxidants, rendering them useless.