The coconut craze is in full swing and the varieties of coconut based products keeps growing. There has always been coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil and even coconut flour, but now coconut sugar and coconut vinegar are being used on a regular basis.
What is coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar has gained popularity as both a health food and for those suffering from diabetes. It is produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the South and South-East Asian regions and is subtly sweet similar to brown sugar, but with a slight hint of caramel.
Why should you try coconut sugar?
- It’s low glycemic. It has an average rating of 35 on the GI scale.
- It’s easy to bake with. When replacing refined white sugar, start with 25% less coconut sugar not because it’s sweeter but because it has so much more flavor. If the original recipe calls for 1 cup of refined white sugar, try 3/4 cup coconut sugar and adjust from there.
- It contains potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, and other macronutrients.
- It has fewer calories than honey or agave nectar. Coconut sugar has 45 calories per tablespoon, while agave nectar has 60 calories per tablespoon and honey weighs in at 64 calories per tablespoon.
- It caramelizes in the oven. Other liquid sweeteners, like agave nectar, honey, and maple syrup don’t do this but coconut sugar will make a cookie that’s got a crispy edge and a soft center.
Here is a recipe from www.simplysugarandglutenfree.com that uses coconut sugar and many other ingredients from our Natural Foods department.
Magic Cookie Power Bars
makes 12 (2″ x 2 3/4″) bars
Make these completely dairy-free with your favorite dairy-free chocolate chip.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 large medjool dates
2 tablespoons chia seed meal
1/2 cup juice-sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup quinoa flakes
3/4 cup Amy’s Basic Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened carob chips
1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
3/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly mist an 8×8-inch pan with cooking spray.
Put the almond milk and dates in a blender and puree. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the chia seed meal. Set aside. Put the cranberries in a bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the quinoa flakes, flour blend, coconut palm sugar, xanthan gum, and salt. Mix in the melted coconut oil and water until a crumbly dough forms. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Put the carob chips on top of the crust, followed by the chopped walnuts. Drain the cranberries and layer them on top of the walnuts. Pour the almond milk mixture over the top of the cookie bars and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the coconut over the top and lightly press it into the almond milk.
Bake for 40 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through, until the coconut is light golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting. Store at room temperature.
Coconut vinegar has naturally occurring amino acids providing the body with important minerals such as potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. These and other minerals form compounds in the body that convert acid body fluids into alkaline. The Coconut Secrets vinegar sold at Festival Foods is organic, gluten free, vegan and dairy free. Some would argue that it is more healthful than apple cider vinegar.
In addition to using with your favorite dressings and marinades, coconut vinegar may also be used in place of apple cider vinegar for skincare and with any internal cleansing program.
The uses of coconut flour, water, milk, oil, sugar and vinegar are endless. Stop into your local Festival Foods Natural Department and let us show you the many products we carry to meet your needs. Are we missing a product you would like us to carry? Talk to one of our Natural Managers or simply fill out a want card request. We look forward to seeing you!