One spoonful in and I'm making all kinds of happy noises and remarking to anyone in earshot, "Wow. Pecan pie. On my spoon. Oh. My. Gawd." It's true that I already love coconut butter in all kinds of varieties, but this Honey Pecan Pie flavor from Nikki's Coconut Butters is blowing my mind. The roasted pecans, the deep richness of coconut along with its oil, the vanilla . . . This might be worthy to bring along to Thanksgiving to eat when everyone else is digging into their pie. Even so, expect to fend off those who want "just a taste". ~
For the true, true stories behind this incredible foodstuff, read on.
Coconut butter is a pretty delicious thing in and of itself. You take coconut and grind it up until it's a thick paste. Then add a little bit of coconut oil to get it to a spreadable/scoopable texture and maybe a pinch of salt. That's it. Insanely rich in healthy fats like lauric acid, coconut butter is every paleo person's answer whenever they're missing peanut butter but are burnt out on almonds or sunflower seeds.
Coconut butter is often referred to as a superfood for some of its amazing health benefits. But what really makes coconut butter so sought after is the flavor. Organic coconuts, like the ones Nikki's uses, have a great natural sweetness that makes eating their coconut butters feel like eating dessert. There's a tiny amount of organic coconut sugar or organic maple sugar/syrup in each jar to enhance this natural sweetness, so you can enjoy the amazing health benefits of coconut, without the guilt. And then, THEN, comes the pecans and the cinnamon and vanilla and salt. Wow, wow, wow. Tasting this coconut butter is unlike anything else out there. Without the texture of a traditional crust and without the whole and crunchy pecans of the real Thanksgiving deal, this butter on a spoon will make your tongue say, "PECAN PIE!!!" I thought about putting some in a smoothie. I thought about putting it on some fruit. I thought about mixing it into a batch of paleo banana bread. And then, the jar was empty. You might have the same "problem", too. Buy more than one jar as insurance – that's my suggestion.
Why Nikki's Coconut Butter is so good for you
Nearly all of the ingredients in Nikki's are organic, even if the whole shebang is not certified organic. We applaud Nikki's for using ingredients that are healthy and ethical, even if the cost to produce and then purchase is a little bit higher. It's important that we all support the folks that make and grow our food in sustainable ways, and it's awesome that Nikki's is one of those companies.
Here's the organic statement, straight from their website, "At this time, our products are not certified organic although many of the ingredients we use are in fact, organic. We always use organic coconut, organic coconut oil, organic cocoa powder, organic vanilla extract, and organic coconut sugar. Some of the other ingredients we use are not organic, but it is our goal to have all of our coconut butters produced organically in the near future."
In order to experience the full benefits of coconut, you need to make sure the coconut products you are buying actually contain mostly pure, organic coconut, and aren’t filled with a bunch of flavorings and fillers. That’s why we have made such a strong effort at Nikki’s Coconut Butter to make sure you are getting all the superfood benefits of coconut. Each jar starts with only 1 ingredient, organic coconut, ground down to create a smooth coconut butter. We then add other healthy ingredients like nuts, cacao, vanilla, and coconut sugar to create fun and amazing flavors.
Here are some of the amazing ingredients in Nikki's Coconut Butter
Coconut and Coconut Oil
Coconut has been used by many cultures worldwide for thousands of years, and is well known for its many amazing properties. Coconut is so nutritious, its list of benefits reads like a patent medicine bottle. Many people eat several tablespoons of coconut oil daily, for the incredible host of benefits it confers. It’s full of health-boosting lauric acid and medium-chain triglycerides, and it’s been shown to:
- Help with weight loss
- Boost energy and athletic performance
- Help with Alzheimer’s and cognitive function
- Have antimicrobial and anti-viral qualities
- Nourish the thyroid
- Help prevent candida overgrowth
- Boost the metabolism
- Make skin and hair softer
Pecans are phenomenally healthy — they’re high in healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and alkalizing minerals. The omega-9 monounsaturated fats help maintain a healthy cholesterol profile as well as protect against free radical damage. Research suggests that eating about a handful of pecans each day can help lower cholesterol levels.
Other pecan awesomeness:
- Pecans are one of the top 15 food sources of antioxidants, and are especially celebrated for their ability to reduce your blood cholesterol level and prevent heart diseases.
- Pecans are very high in manganese. This trace nutrient is a powerful antioxidant that can help strengthen your immunity and protect your nerve cells from free-radical damage. Sufficient intake of manganese is mandatory for proper nerve conduction and brain function.
- Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Pecans are very rich sources of several important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. Together, these vitamins work as co-factors for enzyme metabolism inside the human body.
How to use and eat Nikki's Coconut Butters:
While the concept for coconut butter is the same as other nut butters, there are some noticeable differences between them. Coconut butter is not quite as creamy and the texture will vary from jar to jar based on temperature. If you have ever used coconut oil, then you know that the oil will be liquid above room temperature and solid below room temperature. Since Nikki’s Coconut Butter does contain coconut oil, we recommend microwaving it for around 30 seconds, if you prefer a creamier texture. Also, to maintain the consistency of the texture, jars should be stored at room temperature and should not be refrigerated.
- On a spoon
- See #1
- Ok, ok . . . how about putting a spoonful on a slice of apple? Or warming it up a little and drizzling over any fresh fruit you've got on hand.
- Add some to your favorite paleo-ified baked good, like banana bread. Many banana bread recipes already use nut butters so just swap equal amounts and enjoy!
- You know that infamous/famous frozen banana ice cream recipe? (Spoiler: you just take frozen banana slices and blitz in food processor until it looks like soft serve.) Add some Honey Pecan Pie to that mix and . . . whoa.
- Coconut Butter Granola Bars, from Nikki's own recipe collection: http://www.nikkiscoconutbutter.com/blogs/news/14470057-coconut-butter-granola-bars
- On a spoon. (couldn't resist)
About Nikki's Coconut Butters, in their own words
"A few years ago, we completely revamped our diet and started following a Paleo diet. We cut out most of the dairy, gluten, soy, and processed foods, and started loading up on veggies, meats, and healthy fats. Within a few weeks of making those changes, we were feeling better than we ever had before. We fell in love with this new way of life, and haven’t looked back since.
One of the challenges with Paleo, and most diets, is there aren’t a lot of snack foods that are compatible with the diet. Most packaged foods are loaded with refined flour and sugars, gluten, dairy, soy, or some other unpronounceable ingredients. Frustrated with our limited snacking options, we decided to experiment with making our own coconut butter at home.
We immediately fell in love with the natural sweetness and unique texture of coconut butter. We furthered our experiment by adding every ingredient in our pantry until we came up with several unique flavors of Nikki’s Coconut Butter!
Some of the flavors have changed over time, but the idea is the same. Create a dessert-like treat can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. We hope you enjoy Nikki’s Coconut Butter just as much as we do!"
Here are answers to some of your most important questions!
Is this like coconut oil? Can I use it for cooking?
We are often asked if coconut butter is the same as coconut oil. It is not. Coconut oil is used more for cooking as a substitute for olive oil, butter, or other cooking oils. Coconut butter is more of a condiment, spread, or baking ingredient that is used in place of almond butter or peanut butter.
What is the shelf life of the coconut butters from Nikki's?
Nikki's Coconut Butter products have all passed the two year test on the ingredients. However, for the best flavor and texture, we recommend enjoying your coconut butter within 4 weeks of opening the jar and within 12 months unopened.
Are Nikki's Coconut Butters allergen-free, like soy and dairy and egg and gluten?
Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. Every flavor of Nikki's Coconut Butter is free from soy, milk, egg, and gluten products. The only known allergens that are contained with Nikki’s Coconut Butter are nuts and coconut.