WHAT IT IS
Nutiva has created an amazing product: A shortening that cooks well, and isn’t full of garbage.
Trans fats are bad for you, which is why Crisco, the go-to brand for a lot of America, is horrible stuff, full of partial and fully hydrogenated palm oil. On top of the hydrogenation, the non-organic extraction methods for palm oil are equally not good for you. In my opinion, you should Star Wars Crisco products: Stay far, far away…
Yes, coconut oil is saturated fat, but, according to both a UC Berkeley study and a Brazilian study in 2009, coconut oil’s fatty acids come from lauric acid, which raises good cholesterol (HDL) as well as bad cholesterol. Like all things fats, moderation is the key.
Between coconut shortening and the hydrogenated palm oil and butter, you’re still miles ahead with the Nutiva.
WHAT IT DOES
Baking all but a few breads is all about the fats. They provide the enduring moisture in breads. When it comes to taste, flour is not a component taste, although sweeteners can affect how sweet something tastes, and nuance flavor a bit. Fats are the name of the game in the base taste of a baked good. Our brains are wired for fats as our big happy, so how a fat tastes is primo in your considerations of everything from cookies to muffins.
I’ve baked with a bunch of alternative shortenings, and, quite frankly, most of them fall flat. The “healthier” ones have shortcomings as shortenings. Nutiva’s shortening handles like any other good shortening both in feel and in mouthfeel and taste. In spite of its advertising, I don’t get a pronounced coconut taste out of it either, which is good. Add in that it works for vegans and vegetarians is a win-win.
Nutiva Coconut Shortening gets my five diamond Choicestuff™ nod because it really is the most choice stuff in home baking.