Wonders of coconut oil & the best recipe ever!

We all are familiar with coconut oil. We all know that it is good for our hair, skin etc.. But have you tried cooking or baking with it?

Baking with coconut oil is something new to me. Studies are now finding it has great health benefits and is a wonderful substitute for other oils in your cooking and baking.

Good points:

  • Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats available.
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • The main type of saturated fat found in coconut oil is lauric acid. Preliminary studies show that lauric acid increases the levels of HDL in the body and lowers LDL.
  • Virgin coconut oil doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils or harmful trans fats so it’s a healthier option.
  • Coconut oil is incredibly heat stable when compared to other typical baking oils and fats such as butter, olive oil, and even vegetable oil.
  • Unlike butter, coconut oil is shelf stable and does not require refrigeration. Coconut oil also does not go rancid quickly and can be stored for over a year on the shelf.
  • A good substitute for butter in vegan baking.

Bad points:

  • Can be expensive – especially for the highest quality versions
  • Solid at room temperature – usually must be melted to incorporate into baking recipes

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How to use coconut oil?

In liquid form, coconut oil is an excellent substitute for vegetable oil, melted butter or margarine. One cup of solid coconut oil will melt to approximately one cup of liquid. You can substitute for butter in 1:1 ratio.

You can either microwave or heat on a stove top to melt the solidified coconut oil. It is advisable to use coconut oil, in liquid form at room temperature.

What type of coconut oil to use?

Virgin (unrefined coconut oil or pure) or the less processed oil, preferably organic is the best. The virgin oil is minimally processed using very little heat and has a mild coconut scent and flavor.

Coconut oil helps to curb the salt content, which is otherwise found in salted butter. I find that when I bake with it, my bakes have a special lightness to them and a slightly sweet fragrance unique to coconut oil. I love to incorporate coconut oil into my weekly baking because it makes sweet treats a little healthier. Add some whole wheat flour and natural sweetener, and you have a nourishing, real food. I even use coconut oil in baking my breads!

I’ve shared my banana bread recipe before but this one is different. Way different!  Everyday I’ve been having a slice with my morning & evening cup of coffee. Every bite takes you to heaven. Trust me.

The traditional banana bread is made by using mashed and over ripe bananas. Here we are using sun dried bananas.  I discovered these from Sirsi, Karnataka. You can also substitute the dried bananas to  dried figs. I like my organic  figs from Ecorico . The millet inspiration is from Smitten Kitchen.

Millet &  sun dried banana bread

Ingredients for Crackly Dried Fruit Bread

170 gms whole wheat flour

30 gms uncooked millet (you can use madhira, amaranth or foxtail)

75gms dried banana or dried fig, roughly chopped

1 egg, room temperature

50 gms raw sugar

50 ml agave syrup or maple syrup

80 ml coconut oil, room temperature

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp (5 gms) baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Procedure:

  1. Preheat the oven at 160 degree centigrade and grease a 8 by 4 inch loaf pan or equivalent.
  2. Sieve the flour along with baking soda, salt and cinnamon powder.
  3.  Add egg, raw sugar and beat until mixed well. Add coconut oil and mix.
  4.  Combine the dry and wet ingredients gently and mix it with the help of a spatula.
  5.  Pour the mixture into the greased pan and  bake for about 45 minutes or until its done based on your oven settings.
  6. Allow it to cool on a wire rack for about one hour.

You can store this bread at room temperature for 3 days or refrigerate up to 10 days. Most of the ingredients used in making this bread is from i2cook.com.

Millet & sundried banana bread

Some useful links on coconut oil:

http://eatdrinkpaleo.com.au/your-ultimate-guide-to-coconut-oil-benefits-types-uses/

http://www.livestrongfitness.com/blog/coconut-oil-miracle-or-myth/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/511678-how-to-make-coconut-oil-a-part-of-your-diet/


Lemon Curd Recipe & Lemon Coffee Cake with Almond Streusel to go with it!

lemon curd 1

A crazy week of positives and negatives…

At the beginning of this week I was worried about the lemon curd which was lying in the fridge for quiet some time. Discovery of some kinda new allergy attack made my week  depressing. So I decided that I had to take care of two things this week – 1. the lemon curd and 2. bring back the positive energy in me. I chose to bake!

I  discovered my local chicken shop selling free range eggs, a little smaller but cheaper than the super market ones.  I decided to make some lemon curd and perhaps some dessert too!  This was about 10 days back, when I was positive and with no signs of allergy.

Last week I’ve been diagnosed of some allergy (not sure yet) and I had to drastically change my diet. Now I’m following a vegan diet (temporarily). I must admit that I feel much better now! 🙂

Lemon curd is so easy to make that you can really wow your friends or guests! In 15 minutes you have yourself a jar of deliciousness!

lemon curd 2

Ingredients for Lemon Curd with free range eggs

Adapted from Simple Sundays

3 egg yolks

1 whole egg

1/2 cup raw sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

4tbs salted butter

zest from 2 lemons

  • In a pan, whisk together egg yolk and egg until combines.
  • While whisking, pour in sugar, lemon juice and zest, and continue whisking until creamy and well incorporated, about one minute.
  • Place over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the custard thickens and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter.
  • Strain into a bowl or jar and chill in the refrigerator, covered.
  • You can refrigerate for two weeks and you get about 150gms of lemon curd.

You can lick  lemon curd straight up from the jar or slash it on your toast. Nothing can beat the satisfaction of a home made lemon curd! You can also use them in making bars, muffins or cakes. Don’t worry I have figured out the right recipe for you ;). When I first looked at this recipe, I knew that I’m going to feel positive again!  It didn’t matter to me if I can eat it. But, all I knew is that I’m creating something divine!

lemon curd cake 1

Ingredients for Lemon Coffee Cake with Almond Streusel

Adapted from Kitchen Confidante

for cake

140gms all purpose flour

80gms whole wheat flour

1stp baking powder

1tsp baking soda

100gms salted butter

150gms raw sugar

2 large eggs

180gms yogurt

zest of 2 lemons

for streusel

50gms almond meal (coarse ground almonds with skin in a mixer)

25gms raw sugar

50gms salted butter

50gms whole wheat flour

  • Make the streusel by combining the almond meal, flour, sugar and butter in a bowl. Mix until the streusel comes together into a course crumble. Chill in the refrigerator until later.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, incorporating them one at a time.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, alternating with yogurt.
  • Put half the batter in the cake pan (8″) and smooth evenly. Drizzle about 75gms of the lemon curd on top, making sure to leave a 1 inch border from the inner and outer perimeter (to avoid the risk browning the edges of the cake). Top with the remaining batter, using a spatula to smooth. (I added more lemon curd in the center and due to  it’s weight, my cake was a little sunken in the center)
  • Pour remaining lemon curd on top, again leaving room around the perimeter. Spread the streusel on top.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow it to cool completely. Serves 6. Best had with your evening coffee or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

So enjoy your cake with a lot of Vitamin C and positive energy! 🙂

lemon curd cake 3

lemon curd cake 2