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Friday, March 30, 2012

INTRODUCING HOMEMADE PALM OIL-FREE VEGAN BUTTERY SPREAD—BUTTAH!

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Photo by Christina Hoheisel  (PS: Christina not only did a fantastic job photographing the Buttah, but went out and found the ingredients, ordered the molds and tackled the recipe, mastering it on the first try!  Thank you so much, Christina!)
You may wonder why a food writer like me, who advocates very moderate use of fat in the diet, would take the time to develop a full-fat homemade vegan buttery spread.
           
About 2 1/2 years ago (was it really that long ago?) a woman whom I have admired from afar for years wrote to me. Her name is Kay Bushnell and I have read her vegan cooking column, Cooking Green, in the Loma Prietan Sierra Club Newsletter for years. Kay asked me if there was an alternative to vegan margarines utilizing palm oil and outlined the reasons why she was asking.
           
I’m ashamed to admit that it took me so long to act on what Kay was telling me. However, I never forgot about what Kay told me, or her request. When 2012 arrived, with my new book finally launched, I decided that this would be my first project for the New Year, and I wrote to Kay to let her know that I was committing to developing an alternative product. She signed on as a tester, and I later recruited a few more.
           
I have been working on this recipe since the beginning of January 2012. I wanted it to look and taste and behave much like dairy butter. I wanted to be able to use it in baking. I wanted it to be easy and quick to make, with minimal equipment required. I wanted it to cost no more than the most popular vegan margarine.  I wanted options to make it with organic and even fair trade ingredients. And I wanted—no, required-- it to have a healthy balance of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, with the monounsaturated fat playing the starring role—and that meant that my recipe would NOT be coconut oil-based.

I’m happy to say that I have succeeded on all counts! Organic fair trade cocoa butter mixed with oil high in monounsaturated fat proved to be the answer, along with a few other simple ingredients. (You can read about the qualities of cocoa butter in the material below.) I tested it in vegan icing, pie crust, cake, scones and biscuits, with no problems at all.

Buttah is really delicious and, besides proving itself in the baking department, it has passed the taste-test with two picky 12-year-old granddaughters (not vegan), a table-full of omni dinner guests who nearly finished off a whole batch, and a mixed bag of tasters at a cocktail party. So, I’m proud to put my name on a homemade product which, as Erik Marcus of vegan.com says, is “… a butter recipe capable of destroying your cravings for dairy products.”  

YOU WON’T FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE HERE ON THIS BLOG, THOUGH….
Erik Marcus of vegan.com has provided me with a platform larger than my own to introduce my recipe to the vegan community-- here is the recipe link. But, before you jump over to the recipe, please bear with me for a few minutes. Though the recipe itself is simple and quick to make, you’ll have greater success with it if you read the information I have compiled on a dedicated Buttah page on this blog concerning  ingredients, molds and equipment, where to purchase them, nutrition, and fat breakdown. In addition,  there is  material on the palm oil question and the threat to orangutans at the end of that page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I just wanted to give you a heads-up that I will be adding some information to my Buttah recipe that I have just discovered. Forget measuring the melted cocoa butter! I, along with a few readers, have discovered that 109g/3.85 oz. does not always equal 1 cup when melted, for reasons that I have not yet discovered. This is confusing, but, in testing, I have found that it is the weight of the cocoa butter that matters, not the cup measure! I thought I would be giving people without a scale an option, but it's not that simple, obviously! (I recommend a digital kitchen scale for lots of kitchen uses anyway. Here's one for just over $15; here's one for under $10.) I will be revising the online recipe to reflect this.(THE PRINTABLE RECIPE IS ALREADY REVISED.)
All the best, Bryanna

So, good readers, before you jump over to vegan.com for the recipe and get started, please read the important information on my dedicated Buttah page... and then have fun making your own vegan Buttah!

Thank you for your patience in waiting for the recipe and in reading through all of my information.  I sincerely hope that you enjoy making and using Buttah, and pass on the palm oil info to others, including food companies. In fact, let's write to our favorite food companies  and let them know that we love their vegan product(s), but could they please find an alternative to palm oil, because....

Photo by Christina Hoheisel  (PS: Christina not only did a fantastic job photographing the Buttah, but went out and found the ingredients, ordered the molds and tackled the recipe, mastering it on the first try!  Thank you so much, Christina!)


PS: A BIG “THANK YOU”, BTW, to Mattie at veganbaking.net for his ground-breaking recipe for "Vegan Butter", which provided a launching pad for developing my own recipe. Mattie provides so many details about how butter works and how the ingredients in his recipe work. I was aiming for a product with much less saturated fat, but his work is invaluable.)
PPS: If you have any questions about the recipe, ingredients, etc., please don’t bother Erik-- contact me. You're welcome to link to Erik's page or this page--we encourage sharing-- but I prefer that you do not reproduce the recipe. The development of this recipe took me much time and effort, and 2+ months of testing, and I'm quite proud of it. I'm sharing it for no remuneration, so I hope that everyone will respect this simple request and send people to back this page if they like the recipe. Thank you very much!

5 comments:

in2insight said...

Bryanna, you are simply brillent!

The depth of the research and the findings themselves are totally awesome on their own. The recipe is just the icing on the cake.

Thank you for making me, and all your readers, better and healthier people.

Mary@FitandFed said...

Just saw this over at Vegan.com-- congrats on a very original and quite useful recipe!

nataliasalies said...

I've been waiting for this recipe since you first blogged about it earlier this year. Can't wait to get my hands on some fair trade cocoa butter and put this to the test. You have created a truly amazing recipe!

Betsy DiJulio said...

Wow, Bryanna, what an achievement! I'd say it was definitely worth the wait. Brava!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thank you, Betsy!