Saturday, April 27, 2013

Oils and Butters in Raw Food Desserts ~ Guest Post by Amber Shea Crawley



Have you ever wondered what the difference is between coconut oil and coconut butter? Or when to use cacao butter rather than coconut oil? 


Amber Shea Crawley is an amazing raw chef and cookbook author. Here is a guest post from her on the different types of oils and butters used in raw food desserts. Her new book, Practically Raw Desserts, is a collection of delicious and doable raw desserts and is available now.



 Oils and Butters in Raw Food Desserts  by Amber Shea Crawley

High-quality plant oils and butters can play an important role in the texture and consistency of raw desserts. Don’t fear the fat—it’s good for you. Nowadays, a lot of people shun oil, as it’s not a whole food. Although I don’t subscribe to that viewpoint, most of my dessert recipes are naturally oil-free, and the ones that aren’t can almost always be made that way (just check the list of substitution and variation options at the bottom of each recipe in Practically Raw Desserts).  Here are my favorite oils and butters to use in raw desserts:

Coconut oil: Rich in medium-chain triglycerides – beneficial saturated fats that convert to energy instead of body fat – coconut oil has been found to have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and to help raise HDL (or “good cholesterol”) levels. It can also assist in weight loss and normalizing thyroid function. Coconut oil is extremely shelf-stable, and can last for a year or more without spoiling. It’s semi-solid at room temperature, but should generally be melted before using.

Coconut butter: First things first: coconut oil and coconut butter are two separate and very different ingredients. The oil is the pure fat that’s extracted from the coconut meat, while the butter is the coconut meat, dried and ground into a smooth paste. Store bought coconut butter can be extremely pricey, so I provide a recipe in Practically Raw Desserts for how to make your own coconut butter at home.



Cacao butter: Solid at room temperature and liquid when melted, cream-colored cacao butter (or “cocoa butter”) is actually the oil extracted from cacao beans. Cacao butter is what gives chocolate its heavenly aroma and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Almond butter: Purchasing organic, raw almond butter from the store can be expensive, so I often make my own at home in my food processor.  (Recipes and directions for homemade nut and seed butters are provided in Practically Raw Desserts).

Cashew butter: Cashew butter is almond butter’s milder, creamier cousin. Once again, I make my own from raw cashew pieces.

Sunflower seed butter: A great nut butter replacement for those on nut-free diets, roasted “sunseed” butter can be found quite affordably at health food stores or can be made (raw or roasted) at home.



From Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawley. ©2013 Amber Shea Crawley. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press. Author photo by Stephen Melvin.

1 comment:

  1. I really need to get to making my own nut butters! A project for this summer I think- doing my finals right now so sadly kitchen time is limited, but when I can I'll be right back in there.

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