The spreadable, creamy condiment will be your new BFF
Somewhere between a mild nut butter and a spoonful of the firm cream on the top a can of coconut milk is coconut butter. Also known as coconut manna, this rich paste is just as welcome atop a slice of toast as it is stirred into a bowl of oatmeal to add creaminess. Many folks who avoid dairy also like to blend it into matcha or coffee instead of milk, as it froths up into a magical dairy-free microfoam. And like most other nut butters, coconut butter is also a pretty incredible snack by itself on a spoon.
Not to be confused with coconut oil, which is oil extracted from coconut meat, coconut butter is coconut flesh that has been ground into a smooth paste. The two products do have some similarities: Like coconut oil, coconut butter is runny when warm (though at its most liquidy it’s similar to a drippy, spreadable almond butter, and not completely liquid like the oil), and will seize solid and crumbly when cold. You don’t need to keep it refrigerated, and if you do it will be in a constant state of solid, which is annoying for scooping out of the jar. Trust me on this one, I refrigerate basically everything, but my coconut butter lives in the pantry.
Coconut butter can be more expensive than your average jar of nut butter (about $7-13 per 16-ounce jar), but I think buying it premade is worth shelling out a few bucks. For everyday use, I like Artisana and Nutiva, and if I'm really treating myself, I’ll spring for a jar of Cap Beauty (in plain, berry, blue majik, or matcha). It may be $26 and up, but Cap Beauty coconut butter is significantly more creamy and smooth than most other brands I’ve tried.
You can make your own coconut butter for way cheaper, but I’ll warn you, it takes a while and you need an excellent food processor or blender. Dump at least 3 cups of full-fat, unsweetened, dried, and shredded coconut into a food processor or high-powered blender. Process continuously until the shredded coconut turns liquidy and smooth, scraping down the sides of the machine as needed. The process can take as little as 5 minutes or as much as 20. To help your machine along, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil per 3 cups of shredded coconut. Transfer the coconut butter to a glass container with a lid. I would recommend storing homemade coconut butter in the fridge, and warming it to a spreadable consistency by placing the jar in a larger bowl of hot water until smooth.