Crazy for Coconut Oil?

A lot of people have been on the coconut oil bandwagon lately.  As an alternative to other oils and butter, coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in the saturated fat lauric acid, which increases the good high density lipids in the blood to improve cholesterol levels.  In addition, coconut oil promotes the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone, a precursor to hormones that the body needs.  It help thyroid function as well.  Coconut oil is also reputed to help handle blood sugar by improved insulin use within the body.  Because of the fact that 90% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, it had been deplored in the past, but new studies show the “artery clogging” is a myth.  The MCTs are much better to consume than long-chain fatty acids, as they are metabolized differently.

In cooking, coconut oil has the same caloric impact—120 calories per tablespoon—as butter, olive oil, or soybean oil.  Now, the reason that I’m even talking about this now as that my lovely spouse saw something on the internet that peaked her interest—the use of coconut oil in brownies.  A potentially healthier brownie?  Had to try it.

She took the regular Ghirardelli double chocolate brownie mix and used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, with a layer of sweetened coconut flakes in the middle and on the top.  Ok, it’s a mix, I know, but it is a damn good one.  The brownies came out more fudgy in the middle than normally, but tasted great.  I’m going to have to try coconut oil with my personal favorite, Ina Garten’s outrageous brownies and see what happens.  I will try to replace half the butter with coconut oil.  Just remember, the full recipe makes a half sheet pan of brownies, so I cut the recipe in half for a 9”x13”x1” pan.  Here’s the recipe:

Barefoot Contessa Outrageous Brownies scaled for 9″X13″X1″ pan

Author Notes
Flouring the chips and walnuts keeps them for sinking to the bottom. It is very important to allow the batter to cool well before adding the chocolate chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies. This recipe can be baked up to a week in advance, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated.
Inspiration for this recipe came from the Chocolate Glob in the SoHo Charcuterie Cookbook published by William Morrow in 1982. In its heyday, the SoHo Charcuterie was the cutting edge of New York restaurants. The giant confection was a blob of chocolate dough filled with chocolate chips and nuts. I though I could make a brownie with almost the same formula. They’ve been flying out the door for fifteen years!

Author: Ina Garten
Source: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Copyright: 1999

Recipe Type: American Classics, Cakes, Chocolate, Food Tv, American

1/2 pound unsalted butter
14 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces bitter chocolate
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups sugar
5/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
if using bittersweet instead of bitter chocolate, reduce sugar to 1 cup minus 1 tbs sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 x 1-inch baking pan.

3. Melt together the butter, 1/2 pound of the chocolate chips, and the bitter chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

4. In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 6 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/8 cup flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour onto the baking sheet.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.

Servings: 10-16

So, if I’m going to replace half the butter (16 tablespoons total), I’d use 1 stick (8 tbs) of butter and 8 tablespoons of coconut oil.  I’d change the cooking time to a total of 30 minutes, as you want the center to be a little gooey.  I will update this post as soon as I try it with the definitive results!


About trustforce

A well trained amateur chef, I have learned by taking some master classes and doing a lot of reading and experimentation. I cook and enjoy many different cuisines. The fun is getting it right, with great taste and presentation. The smells and appearance add to the pleasure of eating well. I can enjoy a great Chicago style hot dog or an Italian beef sandwich, or have equal pleasure from haut cuisine. All my recipe postings are extensively tested by me unless I state otherwise. I will sometimes post a recipe that sounds like it should be good before I actually make it myself, but I will always come back and revise the "untested" recipe after I've made it, with valid comments to keep old posts accurate and current. If I am not the originator of a recipe I will always correctly attribute the source author, even if I have modified the recipe. I will occasionally post reviews of local restaurants on the site. The big problem that I have with eating out is that I know too much about restaurants and I find it hard to ignore or forgive sloppy technique or bad ingredients. I pull no punches in my restaurant reviews!
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