Review: Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil

A few months ago, I was sent a sample of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil to review. Because I have rarely used coconut oil, except to make a homemade and better than the store “Magic Shell”, it’s taken me a while to test, learn to work with it, and find things I really like to use it for.

I used coconut oil in the past for a few things. The Homemade Magic Shell I’d tried in the past, called for REFINED coconut oil if you didn’t want the sort of traditional “fake” taste. The other brands I used were actually hard and brittle. Another brand was incredibly gritty and ended up separating. However, The Gold Label oil, an UNREFINED VIRGIN Coconut oil, is an incredibly rich and creamy oil with a very distinct coconut taste. I’ve been told you can take it straight up to help with general health, and my 5-year-old daughter loves to eat it straight off the spoon. I haven’t worked up to that point yet because it’s just so rich. For me personally, it’s like eating a spoonful of butter; it’s a fantastic ingredient, but is more of an enhancer than something to eat straight.

In addition to a lovely quality, the Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil has stored for over six months in a dark pantry and retained its taste and texture. I was a bit disappointed that the jar is clear, simply because it takes me a while to go through oils like this and I worry about light degrading them, but I have not had an issue with rancidity, which is thrilling. In fact, I recently used it for a “Pina Colada Cupcake” from the new Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour by Elana Amsterdam. The recipe called for “coconut oil melted over low heat”, and because this coconut oil is so smooth and creamy, it melted well and helped make some great cupcakes. Just make sure the rest of your ingredients are at room temperature or the oil will clump or solidify.

In order to better understand how I could fit coconut oil into our existing diet, I played around with its properties. Sometimes that was successful, others not. I utterly failed at making pancakes and french toast in the oil, which was a bummer, but I am pretty sure it was 97% failure of the cook and 3% the cookware, or failure to use the cookware properly by the cook. I’m still trying to figure out what I did wrong or if it’s the type of pan used (stainless steel with the double copper core & Alumimum bottom to retain heat on a glasstop stove). Anyway, other than that failure, I have had mixed results in baking. I substituted the coconut oil for the shortening in Jules Gluten Free Cookie Mix. If you like super crispy cookies, then it’s a good idea. They do end up a bit brittle and lacy, but they have a fun taste and texture. If you like them more soft, I suggest playing with the ratios or only substituting part of the shortening. However, if you aren’t going to bother cooking the cookies and love a good dough, then it’s a fantastic treat. In fact, that’s how I’ve decided to get my coconut oil in, since I can’t handle it straight yet. I froze the dough and when I’m craving a treat, I cut myself a piece and eat that raw. Another benefit to this very rich oil is that I’m able to stop after about 2 slices of cookie dough!

Birthday Cookie with coconut oil frosting

One of the things I enjoyed making was frosting with coconut oil in place of shortening or butter. Knowing shortening is usually made from hydrogenated oil, I’ve gone without for over 18 years and simply have never bothered to try some of the new healthier shortenings. However, for my daughter’s birthday, we had several dairy free guests, so I needed an alternative. After playing with it for a bit, I ended up with a delicious, rich, diary-free frosting for my daughter’s birthday cookie. It works great for a winter frosting, especially if you can store the cake covered and in the garage over night, but you can’t let the frosting sit under lights, nor would I recommend it for a summer party. The softening point of the oil is about 75 degrees, and it will quickly start to melt. You also might want to have a more border frosting or lighter cover as for some people it can have some laxative qualities if you ingest too much. Unfortunately, if you live in a warmer climate, this will not be an option for you. It will melt at that 75 degree point.

Coconut Oil Frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbls Coconut Milk (or regular milk)
1/2 cup coconut oil solid
1 tablespoon almond extract or to taste

Beat together sugar, oil and milk until light and fluffy. Add the almond extract at the end. Increase oil or milk if the frosting is too stiff.

Recently, I’ve started cooking more Asian dishes after finding out about a fantastic company called Meals in a Minute. They offer gourmet sauces that are naturally gluten-free. I’m learning how to stir fry and want to use coconut oil in the Thai type dishes. In order to reduce the smoke point (unrefined coconut oil has a lower smoke point than refined), I’ve been adding just a touch of grapeseed oil, which has a full 450 degree smoke point. I learned this trick from Alton Brown on an episode of Good Eats. He shows how you can improve the smoke point of butter by adding a higher smoke point oil in addition to the butter. It’s working well and I haven’t set the smoke alarms off like I used to! I’m very much enjoying this new versatility of the oil and it goes very well with the asian dishes I’m learning to cook.

Final thoughts are that this Gold Label oil will be fantastic for body care. Tropical Traditions has everything from hair care oils, Moisturizing creams and liquid soaps using the various oils. These are products I need to budget for so I can try because I think I will enjoy them. However, if you are a hobby body care products person and want to use some good coconut oil for your products, I recommend this brand. When I do use it, I don’t wash my hands if I get some on me, I just rub it directly into my skin. The soft, non-gritty, non-lumpy quality of this oil would make for some fantastic tropical smelling lotions or creams. NOTE: The summer heat has made the oil a bit more liquid with some lumps, but I also don’t need to be melted down at the moment, just whisk out the lumps.:

Tropical Traditions has set up a helpful website full of information about their products as well as recipes. They offer an informational video called How We discovered Coconut Oil as well as a Coconut Recipes Blog. I’m looking forward to trying some of the body care and other food products. I also follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter and they offer fantastic deals often as well as a “Healthy Buyers Club” so you can buy in larger quantities and at a discounted price. If you’re interested in trying this lovely coconut oil or some of the other products they offer, they are offering my readers a Complimentary copy of “The Virgin Coconut Oil Book.” You just need to click this Referral link.

Since I’m still pretty new to coconut oil, what are some of the ways you like to suggest to use it or incorporate into recipes?

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose, nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product. In this case, I enjoyed it and am happy to share that with you.

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