Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
- John F. Kennedy

I was reminded this quote the other day for a slight moment during an interaction I had with a lady at the supermarket.

I went to the oil section to get a bottle of coconut oil, and as I held it up, a lady approached me. She looked at me holding the coconut oil, said “yuck”! and asked me what was so good about this stuff anyway.

Well, I was slightly taken back, but began to proudly explain the great health benefits of coconuts, its purpose as a “functional food”, and its versatility in cooking and baking. She sounded hardly interested and broke in to tell me that she was looking for a healthy oil, which she could use in her cooking and baking-something to help her cholesterol ratio.

I repeated myself and told her that out of all the oils here on this shelf, coconut oil would best suit her needs. She really looked agitated and told me:

“But its disgusting”

When I asked her what she finds disgusting about it, she responded by saying that:

“The smell…and the taste and it looks yucky”…and she twisted her face as if we were talking about who knows what!

She revealed that she had never even come close to eating anything with coconut oil before, and so I merely suggested she should perhaps just give it a try.

She went on and on about how disgusting it would be, how no-one cooks with coconut oil, and more importantly that it would change the way she cooks if she used it. Plus, everything would then taste of coconut. YUCK! I listened, as politely as I could and then interjected, by asking her why she then wanted to get a healthier oil for cooking and baking, if she was not willing to change?

“Well, my doctor says that I need to change the oils I am using-my cholesterol is bad, and he suggested coconut oil”.

Me: “So, are you willing to change or not?

Lady: “I don’t really want to..I am afraid somehow”. And then she stopped jabbering and put her head down. This clearly was a very difficult decision for her, and with that comment, we had come to the core of the issue here.

Fear of change!

Wow, I really felt for this lady as I watched her looking at the jar as if this was the most challenging task in her life. After going back and forth about why she simply cannot put herself to giving it a try, I decided that I would do the following:

I asked her if she would allow me to try to convert her by baking something and having her taste it. I told her that if she was repulsed by it, then she would not have to eat it, and she could make her decision accordingly. But at least then, she would have a real basis upon which to make her decision.

For some reason, I really wanted to take on this challenge. Done deal!

I asked her what her favourite cookies were, and almond shortbread cookies was the reply. And with that, took to task making almond shortbread cookies with coconut oil. A few days later, I delivered the cookies to her home. She did not eat them right away, but I later received an Email from her saying that I must have cheated because she could not detect any trace of coconut oil in it what so ever! There were the most delicious cookies she had ever eaten. If I really used coconut oil, she demanded the recipe and more thereof!

Ha!!!!

I would like to believe that she has come out her shell …just a tiny bit…

But what this experience did was to really make me things that I do to resist change….hmmmmm….

Anyway, to keep my side of the promise, I told the lady to watch out for posts within which I will include recipes where coconut oil is incorporated. This way, she could introduce coconut oil into her diet bit by bit (without even noticing it)!!!!

So, hence the reason for this post and the next few to come!

Although coconuts have been a part of my life since childhood, I have taken a greater interests in it health properties over the few past years, making it a point to include its oils into nearly all aspects of my cooking and baking. I wont even begin to write about its magnificent health properties, several of which can be attributed to the lauric acid contained-which is a natural anti-viral and bacterial agent and a great immune booster.

Coconut oil can be replaced with cooking oils, and with butter or margarine in your baking. For baking, I use about a third less than the butter called for in a recipe to get a similar texture. Coconut oils range in smell and consistency depending on ow it was pressed. I tend to use oils that are considered raw quality, heated no higher than 40 degrees.

Very often, coconut oil does not lend your baked goods necessarily tasting of coconut, but rather enhances the flavour of other ingredients (of course, depending of how much one uses). So, for those of you who do not like the taste and flavour of coconut, most of these recipes may still work for you. Just give them a try!

The photos above are of the two types of shortbreads I made. The ones on top are made with walnuts (1/2 cup of chopped walnuts) and the other photos with the weird spots are made with lavender tea leaves (add a 1/4 to a 1/2 teaspoon per recipe. I added 1 teaspoon and it was seriously way too lavendary!!).

Almond Shortbread Cookies: You will need
  • 3/4th a cup or 190 grams of coconut oil at room temperature (Or you can use half butter and half coconut oil, or half margarine and half coconut oil depending on how much you lie coconut!)
  • 1/2 cups or 54 grams of raw sugar blended into a fine powder in a blender for about 30 seconds.
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of almond extract
  • 1 cup or 100 grams of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup or 150 grams of all purpose
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions:
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Beat the coconut oil ( or your coconut oil and butter mixture) with the sugar for about 2 minutes, until it is smooth.
  • Now add in your almond extract and continue to mix for another 30 seconds.
  • Mix the flours together in a bowl and add the salt.
  • Now slowly add the flour mixture to  the coconut oil mixture and mix until your dough just comes together into a ball.
  • Roll the dough into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the shortbread dough into a thin circle-about 1/2 a centimeter thick or 1/4 inch.  You can then cut out either circles or whichever shapes you desire and place the onto the lined baking sheet. If you are making large circles to make the wedge shaped shortbreads, then simply cut through your circle to create 8 wedges.
  • Now, put the baking sheets with the shortbreads back into the refrigerator. This cools it up again to make sure it keeps its texture. Keep them in for about 30 minutes.
  • About 10 minutes before you take out the dough preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit or 175 degrees celsius.
  • Now, take out your shortbreads and place the shortbreads them into the oven and cake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly browned.
  • Enjoy!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Shanon December 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Haha! That’s an awesome story! I love these kind of interactions in life. I wish life was more like this instead of people just silently passing each other by in the supermarkets. :) Glad you stepped out on a limb and took the challenge! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

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