Coconut crazed: cookies, cocktails, ice cream & more

I have an addiction to all things coconut. I've gone coconut crazy. Certifiably. Even my friends have pointed this out to me (Liza! Heather!). So here are some of my favorite coconut obsessions. 

Coconut water
I generally stick to drinking plain water, but when I am really dehydrated or just want something a little sweeter, it's coconut water. Natural coconut water has more electrolytes than sports drinks and a lot less sugar. Make sure you check the label before you buy it. You want to get 100% coconut water, with no sugar or strange additives (sorry, Goya!). I buy Vita Coco from Harris Teeter, it's in the mixers section. Speaking of mixers, my favorite cocktail is coconut water with Ron Flor de Cana 5 year rum (brought back a stash from Nicaragua). Insanely good, I wish I could order these out. A bonus: the coconut water keeps you hydrated so it will help prevent a hangover. I also use coconut water when I'm blending fruit smoothies: frozen fruit, coconut water, a little honey and you're good to go.

Coconut oil
Buy two jars, one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom. In the kitchen, you can use coconut oil as an alternative to vegetable oil (since most vegetable oil is made from corn and soybeans which are likely to be genetically modified). I like to use coconut oil in my homemade granola bars or when I'm popping some homemade kettle corn.

In the bathroom, use coconut oil as a moisturizer. It's much more pure than using chemical-ridden cosmetics. I even use a tad on my face, it doesn't clog my pores or leave me too oily. It's also great as an eye make up remover. Just put a little on your lids and wipe off with a tissue.

Coconut ice cream and milk
Dairy-free ice cream made from coconut milk is so velvety smooth and rich in flavor. Coconut milk ice cream comes in all flavors, not all of it tastes coconut-y. I get the Purely Decadent brand at my grocery store. This ice cream is expensive, about $5.50 for a pint. A total splurge, but it's organic and much healthier than regular ice cream. Just try to pace yourself through the pint and make it last a few days.

I also eat cereal and make smoothies with coconut milk. I'm not vegan, but I prefer this to regular milk because it's just as delicious and has the bonus of being cruelty free. Some advice: buy flavored, sweetened (e.g., vanilla) coconut milk. The regular unsweetened coconut milk is hard to adjust to (has no more flavor than water).

And lastly, coconut cookies!
Okay, nothing at all healthy about this recipe. Sometimes you have to live a little. I couldn't write about coconut without experimenting with some baking. I pieced a few recipes together and came up with these coconut white chocolate chip cookies that offer the softest, chewiest sugar overload! 

Chewy coconut and white chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon course salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond (or vanilla) extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips* 

*Look extra hard to find natural white chocolate chips, made with cocoa butter instead of partially hydrogenated soybean oil. They're out there!

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and almond extract until light and fluffy. Gradually blend in the flour mixture.
  3. The dough will be stiff. Stir in the coconut and white chocolate chips. Drop dough by spoonfuls several 2-3 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Enjoy them with coconut milk!

What am I missing? Is there any other coconut-y goodness out there I should be aware of? Drop me a comment.