What Can I Make With Coconut Syrup ?
When I study ingredients for recipes and general product development, I usually look at what it can offer me with that I cannot achieve with others. Seeing Bali Nutra’s Coconut Syrup immediately grabbed my interest …what could I do with it that I haven’t already tried with other syrups like agave, maple and indeed many other sugar syrups which are now part of the kitchen cabinet. Yes – coconut syrup has fantastic health and nutritional properties which I wont have with other syrups. The low GI, various vitamins and minerals and without dwelling too much on these fine features as I don’t really need to, there are some great articles to dwell upon at on this web-site about the syrup. You know though, what really drives a new food for the customer is flavour and texture and I was looking for both these attributes. If it doesn’t taste right, if the ingredient doesn’t help enhance the flavour of your product then it’s difficult to convince anyone to consume it let alone come back for more.
Having tasted Bali Nutra’s coconut syrup, which doesn’t have a particular flavour characteristic, I looked at formats where I might find enhanced flavour and texture in some of the key recipes that have worked for me needing a syrup.
My first thought was Granola. We’ve been making granolas for the breakfast table for a few years now to replace the muesli. I like its crunchy texture, I like the feeling as it fills me up which sets me up for the rest of the day. One feature of our granola is the syrup we use to bind the grains, nuts, fruit and flakes together. Coconut syrup plays an important functional feature as well as a flavour one because it creates clusters and lends a feeling of ‘body’ to our product. We’ve used maple syrup, rice syrup amongst others in the past which gave us a certain level of sweetness and flavour besides mouthfeel. Using coconut syrup as a direct replacement for the amount we add gave us a particularly enjoyable crunchiness and in fact it took away the brittleness without compromising on sweetness. The syrup levels to use vary between 5 and 15% by weight in the granola mix. Rapeseed and olive oil are often used in our recipes and we don’t see any issues using the syrup.
Sweet by the way isn’t the be all and end all of flavour, but it’s wonderful to have an ingredient which also lends its unique flavour properties to a product. We don’t bake our granola at too high a temperature to avoid burning the grains and nuts. About 150°C will do and it allows the coconut syrup to really stick all the pieces together. Some spreading and stirring with a spatula just allows the pieces to break up a little. There is no difference in
colour using coconut syrup compared to the other types used
Bars are fantastic vehicles for coconut syrup and in a way were taking the granola to another level by turning it into a bar. Coconut syrup adds so much flavour depth to our bar recipes and we still retain a certain texture. It all depends on how much syrup is added and we leave it to the culinologist to decide how much. Vary syrup levels and you can achieve a texture from crumbliness to a full on firm crunchy bar. We think savoury bars might be most suited to this ingredient.
Bars taken off the retail shelf provide inspiration. My favourite is to bind rice crispies or oat flakes by a direct replacement of sugar. Chocolate rice crispy bars can be prone to mushiness, even mealiness but coconut syrup in the recipe doesn’t give us any of this. The oat flake bars are literally just that with the coconut syrup, but you can add other sugars and ingredients to extend the range further. It also makes a great peanut brittle and can be mixed with other syrups if needs be to achieve chewiness in the bar. You might ask if there is a difference in moistness, a classic sensory term but again no difference in a like for like replacement with any of the syrups we’ve tried before. Ever added flaked lentils, rice flakes or whey to create a high protein bar ? There’s an interesting level of nutrition to be explored with these combinations and with coconut syrup lending ‘cohesiveness’, the nutritional value is extended even further.
Versatility is one of the keys with coconut syrup. To date, we’ve been able to replace all those syrups we’ve mentioned without losing flavour and impact. I’ve only scratched the surface here with the potential applications. We are looking at other ways to develop syrup use and frankly there is plenty of recipe material out there to test ideas with. What I can say, coconut syrup has given us new opportunities for creating new flavour and texture. I’m looking forward to rolling to trying out some new ideas with biscuits and breads.
Article written by Alastair Sansome-Smith, FoodWrite