While not overly fatty, the vast majority of the fat in coconut "meat" (and therefore also coconut milk) is saturated fat, and so sadly you probably don't want to eat large amounts of coconut regularly. Coconuts do contain many healthy properties though, so our coconut indulgences are not all for naught. One cup of coconut meat has 11% of your recommended daily intake of iron, and coconut water (the liquid from the middle of the coconut) has the highest natural source of electrolytes, making it nature's perfect sports drink. Coconut water can also be used intravenously to rehydrate people in desperate (usually remote) situations! Find out more about coconuts here.
Factoid: the Coconut is a "drupe" and not truly a nut.
This winter I've been working at a diner that also has a bakery attached to it. This means that those who come to dine have at their disposal a plethora of pies, cakes, and other goodies to eat for dessert. One of the most popular desserts is coconut cream pie. After weeks and weeks of bringing coconut cream pies to people, I was really really craving some coconut. I'm devising a plan for making a vegan coconut cream pie, but I've been in a cupcake mood lately. I decided to adapt the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook (if you don't have this book, go buy it! It is indispensable!). I wanted to top them with some of my Coconut Whip, but my impatience made for unsettled coconut cream, and I resorted to a batch of Fluffy Buttercream Icing instead. I have coconut milk settling in the fridge and I hope to rectify this situation tomorrow. Until then, on to the cupcakes!
Vegan Coconut Delight Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
(or coconut extract if you can find it!)
1/2 and 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat together coconut milk, oil, sugar and extracts. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients (except coconut).Combine wet and dry ingredients. Fold in 1/2 cup coconut.
Fill cupcake liners about 2/3-3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Transfer to a cooling rack.
Spread remaining 1/4 cup of shredded coconut out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast the coconut in the oven (still at 350). Do not leave unattended! Toasting only takes a minute or two. Take them out when they turn a nice golden brown and transfer from cookie sheet to a bowl immediately (they can continue toasting on the sheet, coconut shreds are very sensitive it seems!).
When cupcakes have completely cooled, ice with coconut whip or fluffy buttercream icing and sprinkle the tops with toasted coconut. Enjoy :) If you do use coconut whip, I would ice on an as-needed basis, since coconut whip should be kept refrigerated and might make your cupcakes soggy :(
Seriously, seriously delicious cupcakes.
Today I successfully made a batch of coconut whip. Patience is a virtue when it comes to baking, it would seem - you can't cut corners with this one, wait til the coconut milk has been in the fridge overnight! And all I have to say is WOW! Do yourself a favour and ice these with coconut whip - they are heavenly cupcake perfection!!