I was thinking about making my own chocolate and was looking into cocoa butter. It looks ok, and it smells delicious. Why don't people eat more of it/cook with it?
Here's a comparison vs coconut of differences I could find (from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/508/2 http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/570/2):
cocoa butter: cals per 218g: 1927 130g saturated Monounsaturated Fat 71.7g Polyunsaturated Fat 6.5g *Total Omega-3 fatty acids 218mg Total Omega-6 fatty acids 6104mg *Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 3.9mg 20% *Vitamin K 53.9mcg 67% Phytosterols 438mg Theobromine 0.0mg (I didn't know this, guess it's only in the cocoa powder) coconut oil: cals per 218g: 1879 189g saturated Monounsaturated Fat 12.6g Polyunsaturated Fat 3.9g Total Omega-6 fatty acids 3923mg (no O-3s) Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 0.2mg 1% Vitamin K 1.1 mcg 1% Iron 0.1mg 0% Phytosterols 187mg butter (couldn't find info on ghee or grass-fed/raw versions): in 184g of pure butterfat, 117g saturated Monounsaturated Fat 47.7g Polyunsaturated Fat 6.9g Total Omega-3 fatty acids 715mg Total Omega-6 fatty acids 6193mg Vitamin A 5673IU 113% Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) 5.3mg 26% Vitamin K 15.9mcg 20% Folate 6.8mcg 2% Choline 42.7mg +buncha minerals the others don't have (?)
It doesn't look too far off from butter to me, has more vitK, and even less PUFA than butter, but less vitA and much less O3. But I'm also confused that coconut oil has no O3?
Anyway this is just from a quick look through nutritiondata. Why is coconut oil so popular despite the Omega-6s (is it the MCTs and low amt of O6 compared to others?) And why isn't cocoa butter used more? It's tasty and looks pretty awesome.
I think the main reason is that it's simply not widely available.
I got my hands on some years ago and I had to order it through amazon. It came in a solid block that remains solid at room temperature year round. So, it's difficult to use, relative to any other cooking mediums that I've found.
I only used it to make chocolate and it was fine but I'd have to think that cooking savory dishes with it would result in some amount of chocolatey flavoring that most would find somewhat less-than-desirable. I'm interested in experimenting though.
Of course, directly related to the "not widely available" idea is its cost: it was very expensive.
Well for me it's all down to price. In Australia I can buy a 300g jar of virgin coconut oil for $8 but even a small block of cocoa butter is around $30. Considering I go through almost a jar of coconut oil a week I simply couldn't afford 4 times the cost.
Well if you divide the number of mg of Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 in the cocoa butter, you certainly don't get anything close to a 1:1 or even a 1:2. That's probably the biggest reason that it isn't used more. The MCTs in coconut oil actually tend to be converted to long chain fats once in the body, meaning that the omega 6 content is less problematic because it doesn't stay in the body as a MCT omega 6.
I have a "thing" about not mail ordering food. To me, that's just way too big of a carbon footprint--even if it saves me money over what local stores carry things for. (Yes, I freely admit I'm a hippocrite, because it does not extend to mail ordering other goods, as long as I can save at least 25% over the retail price).
Since I've never seen cocoa butter in the stores, it's not something I would buy. If it appeared at a store and didn't cost too terribly much, I'd love to try it. From what I read above, I guess I won't hold my breath. ;o)
My understanding is Coconut Oil contains almost 50% Lauric Acid amongst other healthy fatty acids. Lauric Acid is considered to have anti-microbial properties and raises good cholesterol (HDL) which is required for a healthy body and lowers LDL (bad cholesterol).
I believe cacao butter contains many of the same healthy fatty acids that are in coconut oil but does not contain much of the Lauric Acid. If you search on google fatty acid composition of Coconut oil or cacao butter you can find out about the fatty acids they contain and there health benefits.
By the way you can make your own homemade chocolate using cacao butter, cacao powder, sweeteners and any other optional ingredients. Otherwise you could substitute cacao butter with coconut oil, however the chocolate will tend to be softer and will need to be kept in the fridge to prevent it melting.