Should I Buy Cream Of Coconut Or Make It?
Always make your own syrup. Never buy syrup, but it’s ok to buy this one if you want to. Coco Lopez and Coco Real are both pretty good products, but the homemade stuff is better. The ingredients in a homemade cream of coconut are much better too. If you have the ingredients and 10 minutes, make your own. If you need to go to the store to buy cream of coconut anyway, you can purchase the ingredients instead and make a much better product.
The Difference Between Cream Of Coconut, Coconut Cream, Coconut Milk, and Coconut Water.
While they all sound similar, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut cream, and cream of coconut are very different. Exactly what coconuts are processed into depends on how mature the coconut is. Coconuts are only harvested when they are young or old. Young green coconuts are sweeter and have more sweet tasty water and less fatty meat. Older brown coconuts have less sweet delicious water and more fatty meat. Check out the differences below to know what each one is used for.
1). Cream Of Coconut
Cream of coconut is coconut syrup like the white coconut syrup used on top of pancakes, in desserts, and in drinks. Making cream of coconut with coconut cream results in a dense and overly fatty syrup. Coconut milk works better for making cream of coconut.
Your standard cream of coconut is just equal parts coconut milk and sugar. If you are making this at home, a normal-size can of coconut milk is about 400 grams (≈ 1.5 Cups). So combine 400 grams of coconut milk and 400 grams of sugar. Gently heat the mixture and stir till the sugar is fully dissolved.
If you want to take it a step further, try adding an emulsifier, a little salt, and a small amount of coconut extract. An emulsifier will make the coconut fat water soluble, which helps it mix better and stay evenly suspended in the final mix drink. Not as noticeable in blended drinks, but it does help for shaken and strained drinks like the Acapulco or Coco Loco. And a little bit of salt and coconut extract helps intensify the coconut flavor without adding volume.
2). Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is made from just older brown coconuts. It’s mostly coconut fats; it is unsweetened and has a deep rich coconut flavor. They are usually used for cooking and thickening soups or curries. This is a bit too fatty to be used to make the sweetened cream of coconuts for cocktails. Coconut milk is better for that.
3). Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is made from both green and older brown coconuts. Coconut milk is made by combining the water of green coconuts with the fatty meat of older brown coconuts. I used to think the coconuts were just harvested at the halfway point, but that’s not the case. Coconuts are harvested either young or old, and coconut milk is a mix of the two. Coconut milk is excellent for cooking and making drinks. It’s sweet and fatty, so it’s a perfect middle ground between the two. Use coconut milk to make a cream of coconut. It’s the right balance of fat and water.
4). Coconut Water
The coconut water you buy at a store to drink is the fluid inside a coconut and is processed from only young green coconuts. Coconut water is usually harvested from 6-month-old green coconut. Coconut water is pretty Healthy. It’s high in potassium, magnesium, and manganese, suitable for your bones, blood pressure, heart, hydration, etc. Most everyone knows coconut water is a healthier alternative to sugary beverages but Google it for more exact information. If you drink too much, the worst is that you get diarrhea. Also, you can not make a cream of coconut with this.
What Are Some Cream Of Coconut Substitutes?
The two main store-bought cream of coconuts are Coco Lopez and Coco Real. Coco Real has slightly better ingredients, but Coco Lopez is the original. For the most part, though, they are pretty similar, and so are all the other smaller brands. If you have coconut cream but don’t feel like making a whole thing of cream of coconut (I know the names are too similar), then split the cream of coconut volume between coconut cream and simple syrup. Pew, that was difficult to write, so I imagine it was hard to read. Here is an example of what I am saying. If your pina colada recipe calls for 4 oz cream of coconut, then add 2 oz coconut cream and 2 oz of simple syrup.
As far as substituting cream of coconut entirely, try using evaporated milk. It’s very similar to cream of coconut and can be substituted 1:1 directly. The other option is to leave it out entirely if the drink still works. It can’t be left out of a pina colada (you can’t make the drink without it), but an Acapulco is just as good with cream of coconut as it is without.
The Benefits Of Adding An Emulsifier.
Cream of coconut can be made by adding sugar and coconut milk together, which would be great. Unfortunately, It will separate from the rest of the liquid in a cold drink. Coconut fats start to solidify at a pretty warm 75f (24c), which needs to be kept above that to stay liquid. Cocktails are much cooler than that, so once a cocktail is chilled, the fats will turn solid and clump together. That’s not a big deal in blended drinks, but it’s pronounced in shaken drinks or stirred ones. This is why drinks like the pearl diver, pina colada, blue Hawaiian, etc., are all blended.
The solution to this is to add an emulsifier. Common emulsifiers in food are lecithin and casein. These are naturally present in foods like eggs and milk but can be bought online as purified powders. Lecithin powder is pretty easy to get and easy to work with. Use 1% of lecithin to the amount you are looking to emulsify. So to emulsify 400g of coconut milk or butter, add 4g of lecithin and thoroughly mix. Bonding lecithin to the fats (or water) will ensure that the fats stay evenly suspended and incorporated in the final drink. It makes the fats water soluble and opens these ingredients to use beyond just being blended.
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