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Dec 14, 2007 10:36 PM

subbing coconut oil for butter in a crumble topping

anyone tried it? thoughts? results?


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  1. Isn't coconut oil one of the most saturated of the saturated fats? I seem to recall hearing that.

    7 Replies
    1. re: mnosyne

      A full reply is off-topic on this board and unrealted to the OP's question but the short answer is that current research says that it and some other formerly vilified "tropical oils," while heavily saturated, aren't anywhere near as "unhealthy" as we'd been led to believe formerly. Supposedly it's more healthy than some veg oils, don't know how it's said to compare to butter, though, for example. (There's a lot more to "fat" than "fat", what with short, medium and long chain lipids, etc., etc.) Kinda like shrimp no longer being considered "high cholesterol", I believe, once more sophisticated research was able to distinguish what's in shrimp from what's in other "cholesterol laden" foods...

      As for the sub, I've never tried this use, but if you like the taste, I don't see why not. It does taste like coconut though, albeit not as strong as the flesh.

      1. re: MikeG

        you're right, that's a whole other discussion that would be OT for this particular post...but as a licensed nutritionist with a grad degree in nutritional science, i'm well aware of the research about, and debate surrounding, coconut oil.

        my question had more to do with the effect on texture and consistency...i've baked with coconut oil before, with very good results, but i've never used it in a streusel topping [that's actually what i meant - not crumble] and i have to veganize one of my recipes for a client.

        btw, mike, they do make deodorized coconut oil that doesn't have that strong coconut taste.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Sorry, I don't use it enough to have tried a lot of different brands and haven't been looking for a mild/neutral one. It's been a long time since I was over there regularly, but you could check the cooking forum at - there was a long thread on coconut oil at one point, trying a search if you don't see it on the first page or two of threads. Many posters preferred more strongly flavored ones, but others were mentioned.

          Another possibility - which I have no experience with - is the vegan "shortening" I've seen on store shelves. I'd guess that's made to be neutral tasting. Or if it works in the recipe, cocoa-butter, though that's kind of pricey and usually only available at specialty candymaking/baking places. Worse comes to worst, you could always specify margarine, I guess. (Any marked kosher parve should be "vegan" (I think?) if the client doesn't want to have to pore over ingredients lists.


          I've only used it to fry things in Indian cooking, but if no one else chimes in, you could Google for, and compare, the melting points of the coconut oil and butter. If the former's much higher, that could leave a greasy feeling in the mouth, though it might not be noticeable if the topping's not too thick relative to the rest of the cake/whatever it is.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            ghg, I have used coconut oil to good effect in struesel. I tof course lacks the , well, butteryness, but texturally it works well in my experience. I have done it for vegan friends.

            1. re: magiesmom

              Heh :) Yeah, I posted this 5+ years ago - I've been using coconut oil with great success for a long time now!

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I didn't notice that ;( My face is red.

                Why on earth do people dredge up these old threads?

                1. re: magiesmom

                  [shrug] I guess they search for something but don't look at the date before posting when they find what they need. No biggie - it's a useful topic so maybe new people will benefit from the resurrection :)

      2. I have used coconut oil, the strong smelling less processed type, as a partial substitute for butter in crumble or crisp topping for apples. I liked the flavor in combo both with butter and with canola oil. I have also used butter and canola oil, which works fine and features the other flavors more. I haven't used coconut oil as the only fat, though. The coconut definitely adds its flavor and aroma, so it might be best on mango or some other tropcial fruit crisp, but it's just a matter of personal preference. Some people don't like coconut's smell or flavor much.

        4 Replies
        1. re: amyzan

          What ratio of canola to butter do you use?

          1. re: julesrules

            It's been a few months, so I'm not sure my memory is reliable, but I'd guess half and half.

            1. re: amyzan

              >>>>>'deodorized coconut oil'?????!!!!!!!!

              Well, to be honest I wouldn't want to ask for that in a store and I wouldn't want to use it.

              I love butter in streusel toppings, and butter it will always be.

              1. re: dolores

                personally i agree with you about the butter if i'm making it for myself, but my client is vegan, so i have to respect that.

                as for the deodorized coconut oil, you don't have to ask for it that way :) it just means the oil has undergone a lot of processing [the product is referred to as RBD, which stands for refined, bleached, and deodorized]. i would never use it myself because i don't approve of overly refined products, but unfortunately a lot of the coconut oil out there now is highly processed. if you ever do use it, always look for expeller-pressed or virgin coconut oil [as long as you can tolerate the odor & taste!]

        2. I am about to try it....I'll let you know how it goes! Going to make something along the lines of one of these recipes:

          1. Ok, done. Very tasty! Granted, I don't have very discerning taste buds, but I couldn't taste coconut and wouldn't have guessed it wasn't butter.

            Also looked at these recipes:

            Used my "averaging" technique, where I take advice from different recipes and find a middle ground. For a small crisp (baked in my 1L corningware dish), I used:

            1/2 cup flour (could be any kind - I used a mixture of white flour and finely ground almonds
            )1/2 cup oats
            1/4 cup brown sugar
            1/4 cup coconut oil

            Filling: 2 large apples and 1 cup of rhubarb sprinkled with lots of cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg.

            I was lazy, and just crushed up the coconut oil with a fork in a bowl, and cut in the dry ingredients like I was making pastry. Lots of pea-sized chunks of coconut oil left. Sprinkled the whole thing over the crisp. About half way through baking, I ran a fork over the topping to mix in the bits that were still dry. Tasty, but turned out much drier and crumblier than my normal butter recipe. Next time I will increase the oil and/or melt it before mixing it into the dry ingredients.