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? 

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

 Oils and Butters in Raw Food Desserts  by Amber Shea Crawley
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
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
Raw Desserts
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
Shea Crawley
. Used by permission from Vegan
Heritage Press. Author photo by

1 Response

  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.