Thursday, January 12, 2012
Coconut manna. Doesn't that name intrigue you? Like manna sent from Heaven?
Paleo dieters just LOVE coconut. It really is a miracle food, and they use it for everything, including cooking, beauty, hydration (coconut water is a substitute for IV fluid in the tropics), and diaper rash. Since strict paleo dieters don't eat peanuts and tend to go light on nuts in general, coconut manna is a great alternative to peanut or almond butter.
Here's what the label says: "Coconut Manna™ is a delicious whole food, made of pure, dried coconut flesh. This tropical "melts in your mouth" treat contains 12% fiber and 9% protein and nourishing fats."
(BTW, From what I can tell, coconut manna and coconut butter are the same thing.)
The verdict: When you open the jar, you'll see that the oil has risen to the top. You have to soak the jar in hot water for a few minutes, then mix it all together. Then take a big spoonful, and...it wasn't life changing or anything, but that stuff is really good. As far as paleo "treats" go, this is the only one I get really excited about. It's slightly salty, sweet, and very, very rich. One bite and you don't want to eat for a few hours. Once the jar cools again, the butter gets hard and crumbly. If you want a creamy nut butter, you'll have to rewarm it every time. But we like it crumbly. We eat little chunks throughout the day as a treat.
Siena loves the stuff. Just a few little crumbles on her high chair tray and she goes nuts. She savors it as it melts in her mouth and she goes hunting for every last crumb to devour. I'm fully convinced babies DO NOT need sugary treats. Coconut manna gives her more pleasure than a plate full of oreos used to give me.
The texture of coconut manna reminds me of the creamy, crumbly inside of a peanut butter ball. So I created this recipe that was a big hit at our Christmas party among the paleo crowd. (It was 50% successful among the non-paleo crowd who wished it was sweeter.) It's a dessert that I didn't feel guilty giving to my child, which makes it the best ever.
- 1/4 cup coconut butter/manna (melted)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
- 1/4 cup (or more if you want it really sweet) honey or real maple syrup (there is some disagreement on whether honey and syrup are ok in the paleo world, but since I don't care for Stevia, it's the best I can do)
- dark chocolate chips or pure cocoa powder
- line a cookie sheet with wax paper
- in a mixing bowl, mix together the coconut butter, flour, oil and syrup/honey.
- Form into balls and place on the cookie sheet.
- melt your chocolate chips over low heat, and dip or drizzle balls with chocolate to your liking. I liked them drenched in chocolate. If you are a super strict paleo person, then simply roll the balls in cocoa powder for a completely paleo-legit dessert.
- place in the fridge to cool and harden.