A quick online search will lead you to about a million and a half different ways of toasting coconut. Since we often want to incorporate this into our meals, I really wanted to learn how to do it properly. Well, I tried quite a few of the methods I found online and found that none of them worked to my satisfaction. So, through some trial and error, I was able to come up with my own way of doing it and it works great. I wanted to share this with you guys so you don’t have to go through all the mistakes and mess that I did.
First, you are going to make sure you prep your coconut. Once you have cracked the coconut and have pulled away the meat, get out your old fashioned kitchen grater. You know, that bulky metal thing that always happened to just be in the kitchen? It always looked so scary to me as a kid, but I love how many things I can use it for now! But, back to business… Take your chunks of coconut and start grating them on the grater. Tip: Only grate as much as you’ll need for your recipe and maybe a bit extra for snacking later… coconut keeps longer in larger chunks than after it has been grated.
Once you have your small pieces of grated coconut, you’ll have to decide how toasted you want it. It really depends on your preferences and what kind of crunch you want it to have. If you are mixing in the coconut, or prefer slightly less crunchy toasted coconut, then use the frying pan method.
To do this, take a medium sized frying pan and spread your coconut out in a single layer. Turn your heat to high. As soon as you see the coconut begin to tan (about a minute), turn your heat down to medium low and stir the coconut around while continuing to toast until it reaches desired color/texture. Note: this method does not toast coconut evenly, so I would not recommend this method where the presentation of the toasted coconut will be visible. The advantage to this method, is you get the great coconut flavor without tons of crunch as soon of the coconut stays a bit on the softer side. This is great for those who have issues with texture differences.
However, if you are looking for either more crunchy or more uniformly toasted coconut, use the oven method.
To do this, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread your coconut in an even layer on a cookie sheet and place into the oven. Let it roast for about 5-7 minutes and give it a good shake and stir to ensure even toasting. Continue toasting until desired level of color and crunch is achieved.
Store your toasted coconut in an air tight container. If you happen to have any left that is! I hope this helps out those who are looking for a better way to toast their own.
If you haven’t tried toasted coconut, I highly recommend it! Its a great addition to salads, main dishes, and desserts. Its also great to have on hand as a quick snack!