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Healthy Recipes that Call for Dried Coconut
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim
Since 2004, our home has never been without a container of coconut oil for eating and skin moisturizing. We've long known about the health benefits of coconut oil, and enjoy using it almost every day.
Recently, it occurred to me that we should give dried coconut a try, since it's just as healthy a food choice as coconut oil. After trying out several recipes that call for dried coconut, three stand out as our favorites:
Mango Pudding with Shredded Coconut and Pecans Recipe
2 ripe mangos
Fresh lime juice (about a quarter of 1 lime)
Unsweetened dried coconut and chopped pecans
1. Peel mangos and cut as much flesh as you can off the pits.
2. Combine mango chunks and fresh lime juice in a strong blender or food processor, and blend until mangoes are smooth.
3. Divide mango pudding into equal servings in dessert cups or dishes. Generously cover pudding with dried coconut and chopped pecans. Serve and enjoy immediately.
Chocolate-Coconut Fudge Recipe
2 cups almond butter
1/4 cup raw cocoa powder, sifted to remove any lumps
6 tablespoons unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 cup liquid honey
1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until well incorporated.
2. Spoon the mixture into a pan and flatten with the back of a spoon. Place in the freezer for an hour or so, then take it out to cut into bite-size squares or rectangles. Transfer the pieces onto a plate. Keep these covered and stored in the freezer.
Notes: An alternative is to spoon the mixture into candy molds; pop them out when they are thoroughly frozen. They have a chewy texture when frozen.
These must be kept in the freezer, otherwise they will become soft and mushy, to the consistency they were at before freezing. So if you take them out to eat, eat them quickly! Also keep this in mind when cutting the fudge; work quickly.
Coconut Almond Macaroons
Makes about 24 Macaroons
1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 cup almond meal (finely ground almonds)
4 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons raw honey
2 organic eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil.
3. Stir honey and warm water together in a large bowl.
4. Add dried coconut, almond meal, eggs, vanilla, and salt, and mix well. If the mixture is a bit on the liquid side, allow it to sit for a few minutes - it should become thicker as the dried coconut re-hydrates. If it's still a little too runny, add 1/4 or 1/2 a cup more of dried coconut and mix well.
5. Use two tablespoons to scoop up about a tablespoon of the macaroon mixture at a time, use the two spoons to bring the mixture together into a ball, and arrange balls on the greased cookie sheet, with about an inch between each ball.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The outside of the macaroon cookies should be slightly crisp and golden brown, while the inside should remain soft.
Stir the warm water and honey together. Add the vanilla, eggs, salt, almond meal and coconut. Mix well. If the mixture is runny, let it sit for a few minutes so the coconut can rehydrate. If it is still runny, add 1/2 cup more coconut. Drop by rounded tablespoons full onto the cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes. The outside of the cookie should be golden brown, while the inside is soft.
Note: If you prefer lighter macaroons, substitute 1/2 cup of dried coconut for the almond meal.
Other Ways to Enjoy the Taste and Health Benefits of Dried Coconut
Beyond using dried coconut in the recipes above, we've also enjoyed adding it to granola-type cereals and smoothies. On a few occasions, I've eaten it straight up by the teaspoon - it makes for a light and delicious snack food.
Before I sat down to write this post, I made all-natural coconut milk out of dried coconut by combining 2 cups of dried coconut and 1 cup of boiling water in our blender, blending for about a minute, allowing the mixture to cool, then ladling the cooled mixture into a cheese cloth and twisting the ends to extract as much coconut milk as possible into a large bowl. I'm thinking that next time, I might add a few dates before blending for a hint of sweetness.
The Dried Coconut that We Use
We use premium dried coconut that is made by the same facility in Indonesia that makes our premium coconut oil, and through a special bulk purchasing arrangement, we're able to provide it along with premium coconut oil in our natural health shop.
Our premium dried coconut is made from fresh coconuts that are harvested at just the right time to ensure optimal flavor and nutritional value. Fresh coconut meat is shredded and dried to a moisture content that ensures great flavor, freshness, and mouth feel.
No sugar, preservatives, sulfites, or additives of any kind are added to our premium dried coconut - it's 100% pure coconut. FYI, sweetened coconut flakes that are available at most grocery stores are usually about 50% coconut by weight, and the balance is a combination of sugar, water, and propylene glycol.
If you come across a recipe that calls for freshly grated coconut, or you just feel like eating coconut that hasn't been dried, you can re-hydrate our premium dried coconut by combining 2 parts coconut and 1 part water (by volume) or equal parts by weight. Combine the coconut and water in a bowl and toss lightly with a fork until all the coconut is moistened. Use the back of a spoon to press down lightly on the coconut until it's compact. Cover and let the moistened coconut sit for about 30 minutes, or until the water is fully absorbed. Re-hydrated coconut is great with any type of fresh fruit, by itself, or in any recipe that calls for freshly grated coconut. If you'd like, you can always sweeten the coconut by adding a little honey or maple syrup to the water before combining with the dried coconut.
Our premium dried coconut comes in a one-pound resealable package. One pound equals about 4 cups of dried coconut.
We hope that you enjoy dried coconut as much as we do!
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