I’ve got a loverly bunch of coconuts, tra la

Click on the coconut to hear Grampa’s song

My Great-Great-Ever-So-Great Grampa used to sing about coconuts at the top of his lungs. But he wasn’t much into eating them. Although he loved fine dining, his choices rarely included stuff that was good for him. Broccoli? Yuck! Brown bread? No way! Bring on the butter and the whipped cream!

I thought he was crazy to refuse a slice of  Gramma’s coconut cream pie. He turned his nose up, too, at her sticky coconut macaroons. Instead, Grampa chowed down on butter tarts.

Grampa could uncover a health food in a church casserole with one whiff of his nose. He’d have it chucked off his plate before you could say pat-a-cake. So when I started seeing raves popping up all over the Internet toasting  the health benefits of coconut oil, I figured Gramps was just ahead of the curve.

In Grampa’s day, coconut oil was reviled for having sky-high amounts of saturated fats (usually dubbed the bad ones). Today, bloggers are trumpeting it as super healthy. Its benefits are not due to the awesome omega-3s everybody loves now. Instead, it contains an unusual blend of short and medium-sized saturated fatty acids.

People swear coconut oil helps with weight loss because its rare fats raise our metabolic rate. One of its fats (lauric acid),  found elsewhere only in mothers’ milk, is said to boost our immune system. It’s also rumored to cure serious illnesses like AIDS, thyroid problems and Crohn’s disease.

But let’s not jump on the band wagon too early. The medical community is still studying its effects. Results are promising but far from conclusive. In the meantime, here are a few things people agree on.

  • Unprocessed raw coconut oil offers the most benefit.
  • Virgin coconut oil does not raise the risk of heart disease, like saturated fats do.
  • Coconut oil is stable when used for cooking at high heat.
  • Virgin coconut oil is better than butter and trans fats but not as good as liquid vegetable oils. So whatever you do, don’t replace olive oil or canola oil with coconut oil. But feel free to use coconut oil instead of butter or shortening in your baking. In fact, you can use 25% less oil when you do this.
  • If Oprah says so, it must be true!

Even if coconut oil turns out not to be a miracle food, it is still useful in high-temperature cooking to flavor other super foods…  kale, for example. Kale is just a SUPER super veggie! But it can be hard to “like.” However… if we team kale up with chocolate and coconut oil, it tastes amazing!  So without further ado, here’s Vinny’s recipe for baked chips – super crunchy – made from kale. Thanks to Averie Cooks for the idea! My apologies to someone on WordPress who also posted, but I just can’t find it again.

Let’s make some veggie chips! (“Crisps” in Britain)

Kale chips baked with chocolate and coconut oil
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons honey or the equivalent in stevia (I used 1.5 tablespoons of Stevia Sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted
  • pinch of sea salt

Too easy!

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Wash kale, removing ribs. I cut them off with scissors.
  4. Dry thoroughly. I used my hair dryer – only took a minute!
  5. Tear leaves into bite-size pieces. MUST fit neatly into mouth because the baked chips are too crunchy to bite in half.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk cocoa, sweetener, and coconut oil.  Add dash of sea salt. The syrup that I sweetened with stevia tasted bitter (gasp!), but the baked chips tasted wonderful (whew!).
  7. Massage the chocolate sauce into the kale.
  8. On a large baking sheet (or two…), arrange kale leaves in a single layer.
  9. Bake 10-15  minutes, until kale is crispy.  The time varies with the batch – use your cooking sense.
  10. Turn oven off and prop the door open to let the chips air dry.

Kale chips come out of the oven kind of, well, black. But they aren’t burnt – trust me!

You won’t believe the chocolaty rush you get, as these chips dissolve in your mouth. Would Grampa have liked this snack with  all its crunchy goodness? Sadly we’ll never know. He passed away at a regretfully early age from a stroke. Perhaps if he had only eaten more kale and coconut oil…

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. soapboxcrafts
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 01:16:14

    So sorry to hear about your loss. Who knew that you could combine chocolate, coconut, and kale for a health treat. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  2. jesuslikespizza
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 23:27:08

    Chocolate? Who would have thought :-) Must try this! Thank you!

    Reply

  3. pcawdron
    Oct 30, 2012 @ 19:00:09

    Oh… I’m going to have to try this…

    Reply

  4. My Life In Focus
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 12:16:14

    Loved the song! Made me smile. Merv…………..

    Reply

  5. Julie Hansen Intuitive
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 20:03:26

    Wow this looks amazing and so creative! Great idea @ using hair dryer! Thanks so much. -Julie

    Reply

  6. lovepaleolife
    Oct 07, 2012 @ 15:56:09

    oh YUM i love coconut anything.. and coconut chocolate is just the best combo!!!

    Reply

  7. Nina Luhrsen-Hole
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 13:20:46

    I really enjoyed reading this! Nina

    Reply

    • Vinny Grette
      Oct 03, 2012 @ 16:15:38

      Thanks, Nina. The kale chips are fun to make, and you can change them up by using grapeseed oil (or canola), curry powder, a little balsamic vinegar and a touch of salt for a spicy version. The texture is amazing!

      Reply

  8. Averie @ Averie Cooks
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 11:29:59

    Glad you tried out my recipe – and your daughter is adorable!! :)

    Reply

  9. Little Sis
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 11:07:10

    Fascinating. I’ve never tried a sweet kale chip. I’ve been enjoying a little baking with coconut oil, but so far only in recipes where I’d WANT it to taste like coconut. Thanks for the tips.

    Reply

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