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Coconut Butter (mana) or Coconut Oil? There is a difference.
Coconut Butter is like a spread, it is the oil and flesh of the coconut partially dried, blended then condensed. Coconut Oil, on the other hand, is a fat that you can use for baking and cooking. It is not a 1 to 1 butter substitute, so be aware of that. Coconut Oil is 100% fat, whereas butter is about 80-86% fat, with some milk solids and water in the mix. My favorite use of coconut oil is to make popcorn on the stove top. It lends a wonderful taste to the popcorn, but has a high enough fat content to get all of the kernels to pop. I also like to substitute coconut oil for 1/4 of the butter in a basic shortbread or sugar cookie recipe, to add a rich, coconut flavor. Coconut oil can also be whipped into a buttercream or substituted for shortening.
Thank you for the clarification! So it's really a preference and helps enrich flavor. So not necessarily a healthy alternative with a higher fat content than butter?
Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I have used cocnut oil to fry crepes, pankcakes and the like and it is fantastic. And, like HillaryB, I have used it to replace some of the butter in baking (I also like to sub in some coconut flour which add fiber so you may need to increase the moist ingredients as well) the smell alone is amazing.
When I started looking for a dairy-free/soy-free "butter/margarine" equivalent, one of the options I explored was using coconut butter. In general it worked pretty well, and added a lovely coconut dimension to cookie dough (sadly, the "note" of flavor disappeared when the cookies were baked). So, if you're cooking for allergy or food sensitivity purposes, you may find coconut butter to be a good substitute (ultimately, I ended up using Saffola margarine as it is both dairy and soy free, less expensive than coconut butter, easier to find, and bakes very consistently).
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