Coconut milk is probably the creamiest vegan alternative to dairy milks and creams. Unfortunately, most of us can only find it in cans that often contain food additives and can linings that contain BPA and other harmful chemicals. Plus, who knows how long ago the milk was actually produced. For a fresher, healthier and cleaner alternative, learn how to make your own homemade coconut milk with our easy guide, and bake up a batch of cookies with the leftover pulp while you're at it!
There are two options to choose from for the base of the milk, depending on what is available to you. You can use a fresh organic coconut (the preferred option), which will require a bit more work, or you can use desiccated coconut, which will be both easier to prepare and easier to find at your local grocery store.
With a fresh coconut you will simply need to open the coconut with a machete or hammer, and then use a butter knife or spoon to scoop out the white flesh of the coconut. Cut it into smaller chunks with a sharp knife, and then place in a blender with enough water to blend it into a smoothie like consistency.
With desiccated coconutyou'll want to first bring about 2 cups of coconut and 4 cups of water to a simmer in a saucepan. You can add vanilla or a sweetener to the mixture and set aside to cool.
The next step for either method is to drain the liquid through a cheesecloth into jar. Place the cheesecloth over a mesh strainer that is set over the jar or other container. Pour the coconut mixture over the cheesecloth and squeeze until all the liquid is drained. Store the milk in the fridge - it may separate but just shake again before using.
Save the coconut pulp for the cookie recipe below!
1 cup organic butter or vegan shortening, melted
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 organic egg or 1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 cup coconut pulp leftover from making coconut milk
1 1/2 cups organic flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic raisins or currants or nuts or chocolate chips (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Then add the coconut pulp, and sift in the flour, baking soda and salt. Blend the mixture by hand or with a mixer until you have a soft but thick dough. Adding raisins, dried currants, chocolate chips or any other additional treats that you like to have in your cookies is completely optional. Enjoy!
Coconut milk image via Shutterstock