I get so perplexed by food fads. One minute you read that a particular food will save your life (or add years to it) only to be advised later on that it could end it. O.K., I am exaggerating slightly for dramatic effect, but when you consider all the conflicting studies and misinformation, or the scare tactics employed by different advertisers, food councils and corporations it can spook you to the point where you suspect nothing is actually good for you. In my opinion, you just have to throw caution to the wind and hope that eating a balance of good wholesome foods will win out in the long run.
This all brings me to coconut oil. If you haven't heard of it, or seen it in your local grocery recently, you simply may have missed it. Coconut oil has been used by cooks around the world for ages, but it seems like it has only begun gaining popularity in the U.S. over the past few years. There are many who praise it's health benefits while others who caution it's high saturated fat content (studies, however, show it is actually good for your heart). I always consider Trader Joe's to have their finger on the pulse of "good for you" foods we should be eating more of and so when I saw coconut oil on their shelves a few months ago, I opted to work it into more of my recipes.
Aside from having a high smoke point, coconut oil makes the best Homemade Magic Shell you've ever tasted. And the person who cuts my hair glopped it on my locks last week saying it was an amazing treatment for dry hair (I now use it to detangle Chloe's bedhead too)! At room temperature it has a quite thick, creamy texture, but it melts in seconds, even when warmed just slightly. I love to use in these light-as-air Chocolate Pancakes. Just a tablespoon of coconut oil adds lovely flavor to these tasty little choco-disks which will get everyone excited for the beginning of the day.
Accompaniments: maple syrup, honey, raspberry sauce, whipped cream, grated coconut