Is Cacao Butter Good for Cooking?
A reader recently asked me whether cacao butter is good for cooking.
I didn’t really know the answer off the top of my head, because I’d never actually thought about using cacao butter to cook.
I love cacao, but I guess I thought my food would taste funny.
Anyway, I decided to do a bit of research…
Is Cacao Butter Healthy?
Cacao butter is technically a vegetable oil, which would usually lead to the conclusion that it’s highly oxidized, full of Omega-6 fats, and generally toxic.
However, there are a few things in favor of cacao butter. First of all, most cacao butter is cold-pressed rather than chemically extracted or extracted using high heat. You’ll want to be sure of this when you buy cacao butter, but so long as it’s cold-pressed, the fats aren’t altered by chemicals or heat.
Second, cacao butter is almost 2/3 saturated fat, around 1/3 monounsaturated fat, & a small amount of polyunsaturated fats. Those are very good proportions, and even though the polyunsaturated fats are almost all Omega-6 fats, the total amount is very low. In addition, this composition of fats makes cacao butter very stable, so the fats won’t easily become oxidized and malformed at high heats. (Remember, this is different than the smoke point. I didn’t actually look up the smoke point of cacao butter, but I imagine it’s pretty low, because most cacao butter will have a fair amount of impurities, especially if it’s cold pressed. What that means is that there are other cacao solids in it, rather than just the fat, and those other solids will start to burn faster. That’s not a particularly bad thing, although it may change the flavor.)
Louise and I don’t use cacao butter very often – and never for cooking – but it’s certainly not something I’d avoid, especially if I were sure it was cold-pressed like this one from Amazon.
Images: Copyright (c) Diana Taliun from Fotolia