Featured Ingredient: Coconut
Pity the poor beleaguered coconut. Long castigated for its saturated fat content, many health organizations have urged people to treat it as they would cyanide – avoid at all costs. Yet, coconut offers up a surprising nutritional punch and is far from the health pariah once considered. Case in point: Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is in the form of lauric acid – a medium-chain triglyceride which the body has a hard time storing so is more likely to burn off as energy. Lauric acid is also considered to have anti-microbial properties.
It should be noted that nations with high intakes of coconut generally have much lower rates of heart disease than those found in North American and Europe. In fact, there really aren’t any credible studies linking coconut intake with coronary woes. On the flipside, there are a raft of papers demonstrating the heart-hampering quality of trans-fat, a man-made fat we were once lead to believe was a better choice than coconut fat. Go Figure!
The inclusion of coconut makes any dish taste exotic and a reminder of tropical island vacations. These moist gems contain a triple threat of coconut.
Coconut oil: This is a great cooking oil since it has a very high smoke point and holds up well to high heats. Try using it replace of other oils in baking. A great one to try is the organic coconut oil from Navitas Naturals.
Coconut milk: I never thought of using it in replace of cow’s milk when making muffins, but it really works well and gives the muffins a subtle hint of coconut flavor.
Flaked coconut: Look for unsweetened versions and keep it in the fridge to maintain freshness. Did you know that a mere ounce of shredded dried coconut contains a whopping 5 grams of fiber.
I could have made this a quartet if I had some coconut flour, which I featured in an earlier post. I would have gone with 1/2 cup coconut flour and 1 1/4 cups pastry flour.
These muffins came out so moist with an abundance of coconut goodness, it’s really hard to eat just one.
Triple Coconut Blueberry Muffins
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar of choice (I like to use the palm sugar from Navitas)
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut + additional for topping
1/2 cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. In a separate bowl, light beat egg and mix with sugar, coconut milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix gently. Fold in coconut and blueberries. Divide mixture among 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes before unmolding.