A colleague shared this article: How to Choose a Coconut Oil with me a little while ago and I’ve found it very helpful when selecting coconut oil. I had always assumed that the more expensive it was, the better. This is not necessarily true. The best tips I’ve learned are to look for a nice white product and to avoid “refined”. It’s like any other plant oil, the more refined it is, the more quality, nutrients, and flavour it’s losing. Also, just because it’s an oil, don’t assume that it’s safe to consume if you have food allergies or celiac disease. I’ve noticed some labels indicating that they may contain gluten. Always read the label!
I’ve had some success in substituting coconut oil and apple sauce for butter when baking. Coconut oil has been shown to increase LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) less than butter does. Many people will extol the health benefits of consuming coconut oil. However, to date, there has been very little scientific research to back the various health claims. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, coconut oil can still have a place in a healthy diet and can be especially useful when baking vegan recipes. I based the following recipe on the Scottish Oatcake recipe available from epicurious. Feel free to make your own modifications.
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed slightly
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
~1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place oats in large bowl. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into same bowl. Using fingertips, rub in coconut oil until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add applesauce and water; stir until dough forms. Transfer dough to floured surface. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out rounds. Arrange on prepared sheets, spacing apart. Gather scraps, re-roll and cut out additional rounds.
Bake oatcakes until edges are pale golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to racks and cool 5 minutes. Transfer oatcakes to racks; cool completely. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)