You may recall, a few months ago, I reviewed Gold Label Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) courtesy of Tropical Traditions. I had never used VCO before but since my review, it has become a staple in our household. I've used it to make homemade sugar body scrubs as well as to add a hint of sweetness to dishes like steak quesadillas and vegetable stir fry. So, when I was offered a second review opportunity on behalf of Tropical Traditions, I couldn't pass it up.
Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate is whole coconut meat in a concentrated form. It contains no additives whatsoever - not even water - so you are getting as much product as possible. No fillers that produce higher quantities yet lessen overall quality. Its creamy consistency is due to its naturally high fat content, which makes it a pure source of coconut oil. I know, you're probably thinking about how this is going right on your thighs and your New Year's resolution is to eat more healthy. But there are some good aspects to saturated fats. Did you know that they are actually one of the most stable fats and are not as easily oxidized as polyunsaturated fats so they have a longer shelf life? Or that VCO contains lauric acid, a crucial nutrient found in human breastmilk? Or how about that pure, dried coconut contains more fiber per gram than oat bran? True! You can find more research about coconut oil products and their fats here.
Commercial boxed or canned coconut milks (17% fat) and creams (24% fat) have one main ingredient: water. But with Tropical Traditions, you are receiving 100% pure coconut and only pure coconut. Unlike the commercial varieties that strip out the fiber of the coconut and contain additives to prevent the separation of oil from the water or to maintain the white color of the contents, Tropical Traditions' Coconut Cream Concentrate contains no additives or preservatives. As with all of their products, the Coconut Cream Concentrate from Tropical Traditions is certified organic by strict USDA standards and is not mass-produced. It is handmade by expert coconut farmers in the Philippines, without the use of pesticides or fertilizers.
I received a 32 oz. jar of Coconut Cream Concentrate to review. I wasn't sure at first how I should eat it but after browsing some recipes on the Tropical Traditions website, I found that the sky was the limit. You can mix a few teaspoons with water or juice to make a creamy coconut milk drink. Or, on a chilly day, opt to stir it into some coffee or hot cocoa with a dallop of whipped cream to top it off. You could blend it with fruit, milk and yogurt or ice for a delicious tropical smoothie. You could also mix it with ice cream or add it to pastries.
Since I have a sweet tooth, I decided to devote my jar to some holiday desserts. Due to the frigid December weather, the coconut cream concentrate had hardened and a thick layer of oil had separated on top. But I followed the instructional video below and it melted easily back into its creamy state.
Quick Chocolate Coconut Pudding
Makes: 2 servings
4 tbsp organic cocoa powder
4-6 tsp honey, or to taste
2 tbsp water
2 tsp coconut cream concentrate
2 tsp virgin coconut oil*
chopped walnuts (optional)
Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Add nuts, if desired.
*When opening a new jar of coconut cream concentrate, you can simply skim the coconut oil from the top layer before heating and mixing the contents, as in the video above.
To make fudge: Double or triple recipe, pat into a pan and chill until firm; cut into squares. Depending on the temperature of the room, let it stay at room temperature a while before serving.
(c) Tropical Traditions, Recipe submitted by Simi, Los Angeles, CA
Oh. My. Goodness. This pudding was so rich and delicious! And so fast and easy! When I first mixed together the ingredients, I thought I'd have to double it since it didn't seem like much. But it was so filling, I had trouble finishing it off myself. I needed to have my husband help me with the last few spoonfuls, to which he gladly obliged. This recipe is definitely for chocolate lovers. I would recommend using more coconut cream concentrate if you want it to taste more like coconut. I also made a batch with a dash of vanilla extract and it turned out great! Yum!
Coconut Cream Cookies
Makes: Approximately 40 cookies
1-1/2 cups Coconut Cream Concentrate, softened
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
1/8 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Beat the coconut cream, sugar eggs and vanilla together until combined. Stir in baking soda, cream of tarter and salt. Beat in the flour.
Shape dough into balls using one tablespoon of dough per cookie.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes. The sides should be set but not browned.
Remove from oven and let set on pan for 1-2 minutes before putting on racks to cool completely.
(c) Tropical Traditions, Recipe submitted by Vickie, Modesto, CAI made these sweet little morsels on Christmas Eve. The "dough" tasted exactly like coconut cream pie but the consistency was very crumbly and difficult to mold. I had to pack it very tightly into a tablespoon for a ball shape and flatten with my palm prior to baking. But the hard work paid off in spades because these cookies were amazing! All 42 cookies disappeared at our Christmas Day dinner party and the guests raved about the taste. I even shared the recipe with 2 or 3 people. I'll definitely be making this one again, and maybe drizzle some chocolate over them. It was a real crowd pleaser.
I've also used the coconut cream concentrate as a spread on cinnamon french toast and mixed with plain cream cheese as a bagel topping. It gave my breakfast a light tropical flair. If you're adventurous enough, I'm sure you can come up with even more creative recipes.
Bottom line: I would highly recommend Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate as an addition to your pantry, namely for use in desserts. We were able to make unique, flavorful treats to share with friends and family - if there was enough left over after our sampling to go around!
BUY IT: You can purchase Coconut Cream Concentrate directly from the Tropical Traditions website (ARV $27.00 but on sale now for $19.50).
DELECTABLE DEAL: When you place your order, make sure you choose "referred by friend" from the "How did you hear about us?" drop-down box and reference ID 5429861 to receive a complimentary copy of the book Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people's lives, and how it can change yours! by Brian and Marianita Jader Shilhavy!
WIN IT: One lucky reader is going to win their own 32 oz. jar of Coconut Cream Concentrate!
MAIN COURSE (MANDATORY ENTRY): Visit the Tropical Traditions website, take a look around, and let me know what other product(s) besides the coconut oil or coconut cream concentrate interests you. Easy, right?! Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if it isn't visible on your profile or if you are not a blogger!
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Giveaway will end on January 12, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Open to US and Canada. Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to congratulatory email or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to facilitate my candid review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.