Baking with Coconut Oil!

Tyme asks: What, if any, adjustments are needed to sub coconut oil (either as a solid or liquid, as the recipe dictates) in recipes?

Excellent question, and thank you girl, for being the first to submit! My baking experience with coconut oil is limited, but I haven’t run into any problems with it. I always melt it down, using it as a substitute for Earth Balance (or butter) and vegetable/canola oil. I haven’t used it as a substitute for shortening yet, in something like biscuits or pie crust, though I’ve been meaning to for awhile.

I use it cup for cup — I don’t alter the measurements that the recipe calls for. Also, check the back of your jar of coconut oil, to see what temperature the oil can withstand before breaking down. The label on mine says it can withstand temperatures up to 360 degrees so I wouldn’t use it for a recipe that needs a higher bake temperature than that.

Now the reverse of this question, but I think proves my cup-for-cup theory is that at work, I use the Baby Cakes recipes for my gluten-free vanilla and chocolate cake. Her recipes call for coconut oil, but since my space at work is very limited and I have time constraints (so I don’t want to take the time to melt down coconut oil), it is easier for me to use the safflower oil we have available there. I don’t alter the amount of oil, at all. The cakes turn out great!

I always melt down my coconut oil. You can do this by submersing the jar in hot water or making a homemade bain-marie or double boiler*. Again, I’ve only used it in pie fillings, cakes and zucchini bread, not something like cookies, that call for butter at softened but solid state.

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Photo courtesy of Tyme.

*I make my homemade double boiler with a saucepan and metal bowl. I bring water to a boil in the saucepan, then place my metal bowl containing whatever it is I want to melt down (ganache, coconut oil, Follow Your Heart soy mozzarella) on top of it, so it rests on the sauce pan, but not the water. I then turn done the flame to low, or  just off altogether, and let the steam gently melt down my food item.

Vegan Zucchini Bread!

It’s fall, which means squash is on everybody’s mind. I’m not a big fan of pumpkin (blasphemous, I know, I know) but I am a huge fan of zucchini! Last night I randomly got the urge to make zucchini bread. It’d been years! I remember it was something my mom would always make, as opposed to pumpkin flavored things. I guess the disdain runs in the family, haha.

Now, I’m sure there is a plethora of vegan recipes out there, but I like to take “regular” recipes and veganize them. Sometimes I find vegan recipes call for a lot of unnecessary and expensive ingredients. So, I took this recipe and made it my own.

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I will apologize now for my photography skills. I am not a photographer. I am a blogger, and a food-maker, but food photography is not my forte. 

I veganized this recipe by using melted coconut oil instead of butter (although vegetable oil would have sufficed as well), flax seed instead of eggs and brown rice syrup instead of sugar. I only used the brown rice syrup because I had a bottle left over from some VegNews recipe-testing I had done that I wanted to use up. White sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar or brown sugar would’ve  been fine as well.

Now, the recipe called for two eggs, which I used flax seed for. I like to use flax seeds as an egg substitute in heartier, bread-like baked goods. I don’t like nuts in my cookies, for instance, but if you do, flax seeds would give them a subtle nutty flavor, as opposed to good ol’ egg replacer.

Flax seed “eggs” or gel:
1 Tablespoon ground flax
3 Tablespoons hot water

Whisk together until a gel forms and let sit for a few minutes. Because the recipe called for two eggs, I doubled that conversion.

The zucchini bread was a huge hit with both my friend Britney and my roommate Dan. Because I bake for a living, and am constantly surrounded by sweets and flour, I don’t really consume them at home. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this bread — it was lightly sweet and very moist, without being too dense. I made the mistake of cutting a piece when it was hot, which made that spot a little gummy, but once it cooled completely, any gumminess went away.

I also made a streusel topping for it, which I made from memory but you can easily find online. I used vegetable shortening, flour, both brown and cane sugar, plus cinnamon. It topped the bread off very nicely!

EDIT: Now that my mom has commented on my blog, I come to find out she does like pumpkin; it’s pumpkin pie she dislikes (in her words — hates). She also reminded me that we put chocolate chips in everything, so of course I was going to put chocolate chips in this bread last night, BUT I FORGOT!