How to Toast a Coconut
With a nutty aroma and crisp texture, toasted coconut is fast becoming known as many bakers’ best-kept secret. Light enough to handle most cakes, cookies and pastries without ruining the mouthfeel and overall flavor, adding a little coconut to your baked goods is a quick way to the hearts of your loved ones.
Learning how to toast coconut without altering those key textures and flavors can be a little tricky, however. That’s why we decided to share our secrets with you when it comes to making the best toasted coconut flakes. Learn how to make toasted coconut and the best ways to use your new skills, below.
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How to Toast Coconut on the Stove
This is a quick and easy way to make toasted coconut flakes, although you will want to stir continuously and keep a close eye on how well-done the toasted coconut flakes are. It’s easy to lose track of how long you’ve been toasting your flakes for, and uneven cooking on the stovetop isn’t unheard of, either.
For this method, you’ll simply need a decent size pan, that can fit in a couple of cups of good quality coconut flakes (shredded at home or shop-bought). Keep an eye on the power of heat you’re using for this method – especially if you’ve chosen sweetened coconut flakes – as it’s easy to burn the coconut, before you realize it’s too high.
To toast coconut flakes on the stove, you’ll need to add one or two cups to a good quality, non-stick pan. Then heat the coconut over a low-medium heat for between 2 and 5 minutes, depending on how much you have added and how powerful your stove is. The flakes will be considered toasted once they are roughly brown throughout.
How to Make Toasted Coconut in the Oven
Making toasted coconut in your oven is, by no surprise, far and away the best way to make toasted coconut flakes. It’s a great way of maintaining a crispness to your recipes, making it the best choice if you’re looking for toasted coconuts for your cookies or to add a little extra crunch to your baked goods. Naturally, the oven is the longest method – especially if you include pre-heating your oven within this time – but yields the most flavorsome ingredient.
You’ll need a large cookie sheet or baking tray for this method, along with your coconut flakes. And, before you start, you will need to pre-heat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit, which should take no more than 15 minutes.
Begin by spreading out your coconut flakes, so they create a thin, even layer on your baking tray. You can then toast your flakes for around 10 minutes, being sure to shuffle and turn your coconut every 3-4 minutes, to help ensure an even browning and thorough toasting.
How to Toast Coconut Flakes in the Microwave
Learning how to toast coconut flakes in the microwave is ideal if you’re looking for a chewy consistency that works well in cookies and cakes. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take much more time than toasting coconut flakes in the oven – although you do have the added benefit of avoiding those pesky preheating times.
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For this recipe, you should only use a microwave-safe dish (for obvious reasons) and you may need to do your coconut flakes in smaller batches, depending on the size of the dish. The power of your microwave is important too, and you should always keep a close eye on your coconut flakes, to make sure they aren’t burning, rather than toasting.
Spreading your coconut flakes in a thin, even layer, you should microwave your flakes on high for between 5 and 8 minutes (depending on the power), or until the flakes begin to brown. Every 2 to 3 minutes you should give the flakes a shuffle or mix, to ensure even cooking, in the same way you would in the oven.
Does Toasted Coconut Need to Be Refrigerated?
Once any foodstuff has been cooked, it will generally need to be kept in the fridge, if you don’t intend to eat the food – or bake with it – within the first few hours. This is because bacteria will quickly begin to grow on room temperature food, especially when oxygen and air gets to it.
Instead, you can pop your toasted coconut in the fridge, or even the freezer, though you may notice it loses the crisp texture when you do this. If you like your flakes chewy, then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem! However, if you prefer a crisp coconut flake, you can easily restore this by re-toasting your flakes for a few minutes, using any of your preferred methods.
Tips for Toasting Coconut Flakes
- Unsweetened coconut flakes are much faster when it comes to toasting. In fact, sweetened coconut flakes can sometimes take up to three times as long to toast.
- Toasted coconut can be used for up to 4 days after cooking, as long as you use an airtight food container to store your coconut flakes. You can keep them in a cool, dry space or the fridge, depending on the texture you prefer.
- Don’t wait on every piece of toasted coconut to brown perfectly, or you’ll risk burning the earlier pieces.
- The coconut flakes will continue cooking in the pan or on the cookie sheet if you have used the stovetop or oven method. To avoid burnt coconut flakes, remove them from the cookware as soon as you can.
- If you’re using sweetened coconut flakes, you will have to stir – or stir more frequently – when toasting your coconut, to avoid burning.
How Much Coconut Should You Eat a Day?
Toasted coconut flakes are absolutely delicious and, when eaten without any added baked goods, have been known to raise the “good” cholesterol and lower the “bad” cholesterol in your body. It can also increase your metabolism and even reduce hunger. However, there is no recommended daily intake (RDI) of coconut, so – like all good things – it’s about eating your coconut flakes in moderation.