I'm experimenting with different vegan solid fats for baked goods, like pancakes. This fat isn't only solid at room temperature, it's hard as a rock even on a warm summer day. For baked goods, do I need to do any adjustments to the recipe, or do I just microwave it until it melts and use it like butter?
Cocoa butter has an exceptionally high melting point for a vegan lipid.
For most baking applications, it probably not ideal; you would be better served with a liquid oil, or if you need something solid but malleable, a hydrogenated vegetable oil product like a vegan margarine.
The main culinary use (in general) is thinning chocolate in creating chocolate coated candies or similar, which makes sense as cocoa butter is one of the primary components in chocolate. Of course, when it is hardens and is in temper, it is literally as hard as chocolate.
Otherwise, you can fry or saute with it, although it would be easier to do so if you purchase cocoa butter grated as it is normally too hard to scoop at room temperature.
If you melt it (and it will melt just below body temperature), you could bake with it, but you may get a different texture than you expect, as when cool, it is much harder than other typical culinary fats. You will have to experiment and see what the results are like.
It will be too hard to use with creaming method recipes.
mix cacao butter with coconut butter - just as you would for making raw chocolate. makes a great spread for toast etc and is fine for baking, especially cookies, but you might need to keep mixing to keep it warm and pliable.
coconut butter makes the best butter substitute
For goodness sake don't use margarine or hydrogenated oil - that stuff is just a few molecules away from being the tub it comes in - it's certainly not food!