Although Earth Balance is a decent vegan substitute for baking in vegan recipes, I’ve been wanting to reduce my consumption of palm oil. Palm is used in a lot of packaged food and detergents. To meet demand, rainforests are being clear cut and burned. This has three big negative impacts:
- loss of native rainforest & old growth trees that hold carbon
- release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when swamps are drained & burned
- loss of habitat for creatures such as tigers and orangutans, who are endangered.
Coconut oil would seem to be a better choice for the environment, is readily available in stores, and when refined (though less healthy than unrefined) creates a good base for a butter that tastes like butter and not coconut.
I’ve tried Mattie’s Vegan Butter recipe several times, and it’s pretty easy. In addition to the refined coconut oil (I’ve used Brad’s Organic), there are a couple of harder-to-find ingredients. Xantham gum is optional but aids texture, and is available at a great store near our co-op, Dual, on 1st Ave. And the 4SF co-op sells soy lecithin granules by the pound at the co-op. When using the lecithin granules as opposed to liquid, just blend a little longer (I use a stick blender). I used a hacked double boiler method to melt the coconut oil, rather than a microwave. Otherwise, I’ve followed Mattie’s basic recipe and it works pretty well!