REVISED EASY PALM OIL-FREE, CRUELTY-FREE VEGAN BUTTER-Y SPREAD (SOY OR NON-SOY & OPTION FOR FIRMER TEXTURE)

**NOTE: This is an amalgamated, revised and updated version of my two previous posts on making this easy and delicious homemade vegan Butter-y Spread.

Some of you may know that I devised a palm oil-free (and coconut oil-free) vegan “butter” (which I call “Buttah”) back in 2012.  I devised it as part of my plan to eliminate palm oil from my diet for environmental reasons and also for the animals harmed in the growing worldwide industry. (You can see all about it here and the printable recipe is here.) “Buttah” is a solid product which can be used in baking and as a spread, or for cooking. Though I use it sparingly, we love it and it has been a hit with vegans and omnivores alike.

Here’s the “but” part– My “Buttah” is made with oil and cocoa butter (organic and steam-deodorized so that it doesn’t smell like chocolate).  It only needs a small amount of cocoa butter compared to liquid oil (which makes the fat profile healthier than most spreads). But cocoa butter, and especially organic and fair trade cocoa butter, is getting more and more expensive and the steam-deodorized organic block type that I have purchased in the past is getting hard to find.  With our low Canadian dollar, it is really expensive!

I have some of that cocoa butter left and I will use it for “Buttah” to use occasionally in (and on) special baking.  (I use oil- sometimes frozen– and much less than most recipes call for, in my pie crust.) But I wanted a spread for toast or pancakes, and no commercial vegan spread that I can find does not contain palm oil or a derivative or two.   

One day it occurred to me that I should try the old method (which I believe originated with Seventh Day Adventist vegans many years ago) of making a vegan mayonnaise by drizzling oil into some soymilk while blending, then adding the appropriate seasoning. Evidently, the natural lecithin in the soymilk enables the oil and soymilk to coagulate into a creamy, spreadable mass.  (I had made this in the past, but now use my very lowfat vegan mayo, which can be made with only 1/4 cup oil for a slightly-over-2-cup batch, or with 1/4 cup of certain nuts instead of extracted oil.)

So, I tried making a “butter-y” spread using that method, adjusting the flavoring, of course, and adding a bit of liquid lecithin and vegetable gum powder to make it less apt to separate. It worked! This new spread looked to be a winner– a.) inexpensive, b.) quick and easy to make, c.) keeps well, and d.) tastes yummy, with a good mouthfeel. 

But I wanted to also make a soy-free version for anyone allergic to soy, so I tried it with almond milk and also with a low-fat coconut-based unsweetened creamer, and it didn’t work as well, simply because only soymilk contains the lecithin that seems to be the key to thickening this product. However, with slightly more lecithin and vegetable gum (guar or xanthan), which I included to keep it it from separating so easily, it worked out reasonably well.


However, I then decided to try using solid coconut oil in place of 1/4 of oil in an attempt to make the spread a bit more solid and less apt to separate. It was definitely an improvement!

Truth to tell, I prefer not to use coconut oil very often, despite the craze for it, because of the saturated fat. (No, I am not convinced that saturated fat is good for us! See this article and this one, and also this column from vegan RD Ginny Messina.) There are also many concerns with coconut oil producion, of which most people are not aware.

Photo from this article

We vegans try to “do no harm”.  But, when the “developed” world goes crazy for a particular product, it often has a huge impact on the farmers who raise it, the soil and other aspects of the environment, deforestation, loss of habitat for and endangerment of indigenous species of animals, etc., without any real improvement in the lives of the producers on the ground. This is the certainly case with palm oil, which now replaces hydrogenated fats in so many items worldwide, as well being used in cosmetics, cleaning products, etc.  (See the end of this page for more info on the palm oil problem.) And now there are even harmful effects being seen from our addiction to avocados– for more about this issue see this articleand thisand thisand this, and lastly, this one.  But we also need to be aware of the coconut issue. Please read the info in WHY CRUELTY-FREE COCONUT OIL? at the bottom of this post.  

See this article for a list of cruelty-free brands of coconut products and other products that contain coconut oil. BTW: Silk and So Delicious brands use cruelty-free coconut products.

Enter my friend Brenda Wiley.  She told me that she has been making my Butter-y Spread recipe with cocoa butter instead of coconut oil, making a more solid mixture that doesn’t separate if not frozen. Since the recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of the solid fat, the price of cocoa butter is not be such an issue as with the larger amount called for in my “Buttah” recipe. (Only 1/3 the amount of cocoa butter is used in this recipe compared to the “Buttah” recipe, which is why “Buttah” is better for certain kinds of baking.) I used cocoa butter in my Butter-y Spread for my last batch and it works beautifully– no need to keep it frozen. I have added this option (with the weight of the cocoa butter before melting) to the recipe below. Thank you Brenda!



(NOTE: Because we try to keep our fat intake reasonably low, we don’t always use a butter-type spread on toast, etc.  Often, we simply use low-sugar jam or my low-fat “Corn Butter“, or a low-fat vegan “cheesey” spread of some sort.  But, sometimes a thin film of “buttery” goodness is a good thing. This new Butter-y Spread contains 84 calories per tablespoon ( about thesame as in my “Buttah”, compared to about 100 for dairy butter or Earth Balance.)

The Butter-y Spread made with liquid oil and coconut oil: soy version on the left, and the non-soy version on the right, frozen so that you can just scrape some of the spread off the top. It’s best to keep this frozen so that it doesn’t separate.

New version of Butter-y Spread made with liquid oil and a small amount of cocoa butter (instead of coconut oil) for a more solid texture and no separating.  This works well with either soy or non-soy versions.


BRYANNA’S NEW, EASY PALM OIL-FREE VEGAN BUTTER-Y SPREAD (Soy & Non-Soy versions; made with liquid oil and a small amount of either coconut oil or cocoa butter)
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

This is an inexpensive, delicious and easy-to-make butter-y spread to use on bread, toast, muffins, etc., in sauces on and cooked vegetables.  It may not be firm enough to use in place of butter or solid margarine in some baking– though it may work if it was frozen first and used quickly.  I have added just a small amount of coconut oil to the liquid oil so that it firms up. (Refrigerated, the non-soy version is softer than the soy version, but not runny. Refrigerated, the soy version is similar to a tub margarine in consistency. Frozen, both are firm and can be scraped with a knife to use on toast, etc.)
NON-SOY VARIATION:
Instead of soymilk, use Silk or So Delicious Coconut Creamer (Original), which are both cruelty-free, or you can use a creamy sort of plant-based milk that has a pleasant taste. (Rice milk is too thin).  If you use coconut oil in this version, use 3/4 tsp. guar gum and 1 Tbsp. sunflower lecithin in the non-soy version, but it’s not necessary to use the larger amounts of these if you use cocoa butter.

NOTE: Silk and So Delicious brands use cruelty-free coconut products. 
See 
WHY CRUELTY-FREE COCONUT OIL? at the bottom of this post.


Frozen non-soy version made with a small amount of coconut oil
1/2 cup soy milk (I used Silk Organic Original– have not tried it with homemade soy milk yet)  (see recipe intro for non-soy version)
1/2 Tbs soy or sunflower lecithin
3/4 cup neutral tasting oil
1/4 cup cruelty-free coconut oil (see brands hereOR 1 1/2 oz. (44g) steam-deodorized cocoa butter, melted 
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum

NOTE: Use organic, fair trade cocoa butter, if you can.  If you live in the USA, this is a reliable vendor with decent prices–Chocolate Alchemy.
Affordable prices are harder to find in Canada, so you might want to try using an organic natural, UN-deodorized cocoa butter, which is cheaper, from a health food store [wafers or chunks].  It’s such a small amount that it may not make a difference. Online,  this one is a good price and this one, too, if the shipping is by Canada Post.

Pour the milk and the lecithin into a high-speed blender container and place the cover on it, with the central cap off.  Mix the liquid oil and melted cocoa butter or coconut oil together in a small pitcher (like a creamer pitcher). Turn the blender on to Low speed and pour a thin stream of a mixture of the two oils slowly into the milk until all of it is used up.  Still blending, add the lemon juice, salt, and guar or xanthan gum. Increase the speed of the blender to High. Blend for a short time, just until it thickens to the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise.


Use a small silicone spatula to scoop the mixture into  one or two shallow glass refrigerator containers with lids, or a larger butter dish with a lid. Scrape as much of the blended mixture out of the blender container as you can. Smooth the top.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours before using. You can also freeze it, or freeze it until the mixture is firm and then refrigerate.
Makes 24 Tablespoons

Nutrition Facts (Serving size: 1/24 of a recipe/0.5 ounces/1 tablespoon.)
Calories 84.17, Calories From Fat (100%) 84.04, Total Fat 9.45g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Monounsaturated Fat 4.2g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2.24g, Trans Fatty Acids 0g , Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 41.29mg, Potassium 7.01mg, Total Carbohydrates 0.2g, Fiber 0.07g, Sugar 0.13g, Protein 0.15g , Vitamin A 0.02IU, MyPoints 2.46 



WHY CRUELTY-FREE COCONUT OIL?
See this article for a list of cruelty-free brands of coconut products and other products that contain coconut oil.

See photographs at this article: 

“Life in chains: Heartrending pictures of caged Indonesian monkeys being sold to coconut farmers”

Published earlier this year, the most comprehensive article I read, Pay Coconuts, Get Monkeys, gives us an idea  of what life is like for these monkeys, how valuable they are economically, and how legal loopholes enable trainers and “zoos” to essentially get away with animal abuse and neglect.

Early on in the piece a man called Noi Petchpradab, who has been training macaques to harvest coconuts for thirty years, was interviewed and discusses daily life for these working monkeys: “When they are not working, the animals are chained to tree stumps, which Mr. Noi said is due to their aggressiveness. They are given three daily meals, consisting of rice mixed with Lactasoy milk.”

Photo from this article

The article also goes on to say:

“Due to their ability to work for long hours, the macaques are capable of collecting 600-1,000 coconuts per day, compared to only 100-200 for humans. On a few occasions, he admitted, the monkeys are so tired they faint.

VIDEO: https://youtu.be/8gWEsNL-RJc

This practice will surely continue as long as there is both a market for coconut oil and consumers who are ignorant to the fact that this is even happening. Also, there will always be an economic incentive for people in these areas to use monkeys as performers as long as tourists are willing to spend money to visit them.”

Monkey being sold in Indonesia; photo from this article

Photo from article in Bangkok Post

Sincerely,

from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Vegan Feast Kitchen/ 21st Century Table http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.com/2017/05/revised-easy-palm-oil-free-cruelty-free.html

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