Tuesday, February 12, 2013

coconut--the jewel of the tropics, the jewel of my coffee

I have this thing about making muffins on the weekends, usually Sundays.

I know, I know, it's not the healthiest of ventures---muffins do involve some sort of flour and almost always a sweetener. Although I do try to make them as healthy as possible by using organic flours (local or gluten free, if possible) and honey for that added bit of sweet. 

Blueberry, Raspberry & Orange Muffins---my fiance's fav. 
These muffins, although organic, were no kind of healthy. At least they were coupled with green tea, organic fruit and eggs from a local farmer? Right? 

When baking, I substitute dairy milk with almond milk. I've been doing this for months now and haven't had any substitution issues. The only negative to almond milk, which really isn't a negative if you plan ahead, is that the almonds need to soak in water for several hours before you can blend them into milk (recipe here). 

However, just two weeks ago, I didn't plan ahead. I forgot to set out my almonds to soak. No milk for coffee. Nothing for granola. No milk for the scrumptious strawberry muffins that I was dying to make on that beautiful Sunday morning... 

Enter-------shredded coconut.

I knew one could make coconut milk from shredded coconut, it just wasn't something I had tried. Thankfully, I keep the yummy stuff on hand for other uses and with a little researching and a little recipe tweaking, I was ready to get this (coconut milk) party started! 

Before we get started on this recipe, I feel like I need to scream, shout, write in caps (and make bold) that---COCONUT IS GOOD GREAT FOR YOU! Please, don't miss out on this superfood due to some "coconut will make you fat" myth. If you need a little confidence booster in this great food, read this article....and pay close attention to the insanely long list of coconut benefits.

Now, for the recipe... Be cautious with this recipe though, you might become as addicted as I am.

4 cups water
1 cup shredded coconut


Measure out 1 cup of coconut flakes.

And a little side note here... I am, and always will be, BFFs with Mason Jars. Truly, they're my first love. However, I save any and all glass jars and use them to store random things---like coconut flakes. My beautiful "coconut flakes" jar was a Dr. Bronner's Coconut Oil jar in it's past life.  



Next, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. 

Why did I feel the need to show my lovely readers a picture of water boiling? No clue. 


Place the boiling water in a glass bowl and add the shredded coconut. 

You don't have to use glass, I just try to use it as much as possible especially when it involves anything hot. My goal this year is to remove all things plastic from the kitchen. And yes, that is a plastic measuring cup that you see pictured above---my goal is apparently a slow progression. 

While you're ignoring the plastic measuring cup, please look past my in desperate need-of-filing thumbnail as well.



Let the shredded coconut and hot water sit for 15-30 minutes. You don't have to let it sit that long, 5 minutes would work as well---just be really cautious when blending water that hot.


Blend for 3 minutes on high! I can't wait for the day I have a Vitamix...


Remove the lid and enjoy the wonderful smell of coconut milk---that you totally just made. Kinda satisfying, huh? 


Using a nut milk bag, or multiple pieces of cheesecloth, strain the shredded coconut "pulp" from the milk. 

I mentioned earlier that Mason Jars were my first kitchen love, the nut milk bag is my second.


Once you're done straining, the "pulp" will look like this--do not throw this stuff away! It can be used in your granola, multiple baked goods, or even made into coconut flour. I keep this wonderful goody in a plastic (sigh) bag in my freezer.


Anndddd..... you're done! Enjoy! Keep this puppy in the refrigerator, it will stay fresh for about a week.  Do know that once it's cold you will have a clump of coconut milk form at the top of the jar, just stir it back into the milk.

I also might add that while I was basking in this I-just-made-kick-butt coconut milk glow, I ran across this great blog post about making homemade coffee creamer with coconut milk. Brilliant. I'll be doing this next week.


Coconut Milk Recipe
4 cups water
1 cup shredded coconut

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and remove from heat. Add coconut to water and let stand for 15-30 mins, or until cooled. Blend on high for 3 minutes then strain milk through a nut milk bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Store coconut milk in the refrigerator for up to one week.


 P.S. Maybe it's Baloo's mad coconut skills at the beginning of the song, but "Bare Necessities" from The Jungle Book will forever and always remind me of coconuts. I personally think it's a necessity to watch this video before making coconut milk, but that's just me....


Oh, my strawberry muffins made with coconut milk came out amazingly delicious.

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