If only we could find Hydrogenated Coconut Oil (HCO)...

…otherwise known to all you Aussies as Copha.It’s one of the small things you can’t seem to buy anywhere but Australia (or in New Zealand as Kremelta), which lead me a merry chase on the internet trying to find out where I could get some so Karina could make Chocolate Crackles with the kids.  I’ve discovered a few interesting things:

  1. Copha is in fact Hydrogenated Coconut Oil (HCO) – basically the oil that is squeezed out of Copra, or dried coconut.  It’s 90% saturated fat.
  2. It is possible to buy it in other countries as HCO, but in commercial quantities only.  Its used as in making margarine, cosmetics (moisturisers) and soap amongst other things.
  3. Theories abound as to why Aussies use HCO in their chocolate crackles (referred to as “Australian Chocolate Crackles”) as opposed to the rest of the world, who use, well, chocolate.  The most credible explanation seems to be that Copha mixed with Cocoa Powder was a cheap substitute for real chocolate (maybe used back in colonial days or during the war) and we have never kicked the habit!

It’s actually quite common this kind of problem — I remember trying to make a pavlova for friends in Switzerland back in ’96, and on Mum’s advice, had to make a special trip to a cookery store to get proper sugar cane sugar.  Europe has sugar made primarily from sugar beets and you can’t get the peaks in your egg whites with this stuff.  Why are Meringues and Pavlovas so popular in Australia but not really anywhere else?  You can’t make them anywhere else! OK, that’s not literally true, but you get my point.Karina made the Chocolate Crackles with real chocolate — for the record, they tasted great.  I’m not sure how you’d make White Christmas though, maybe we’d have to use white chocolate instead?