How to Toast Coconut

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A month or so ago, I was able to catch some older episodes of the Food Network show Worst Cooks in America.  In a later episode, Anne Burrell said something that is really good to remember, that "brown food tastes good."

By the way, as I type this, my husband has a turkey in our bath tub, but more on that later.  That's me, always keeping you in suspense.

Back to Anne Burrell and brown food- as I thought about what she said, I realized how right she was.  We sear our meats, roast vegetables, brown butter, toast marshmallows, and pretty much, if it's brown from caramelization, it's tasty.

The same goes for coconut.  Fresh coconut is wonderful, but more often than not, I'm working with the white, thin ribbons of dried and sugared coconut.  While I've come to accept it, I can really get excited about toasted coconut.  When you toast the bagged coconut, it transforms from an overly sweetened, leathery textured, shell of its fresh former glory into a flavor powerhouse in its own right.  The sugars mellow, and the ribbons become crunchy and brittle.  A roasted flavor develops, making the coconut complex and something I eat by the handfuls.  You can substitute toasted coconut for fresh in almost any recipe.

Toasted Coconut

1-2 cups shredded or flaked coconut

Preheat your oven to 325 and place and oven rack in the center.  Spread your flaked/shredded coconut out on a baking sheet in an even layer.  Bake for about 5-10 minutes, until most of the coconut is lightly browned.  You may want to adjust time for your own oven or preferences.

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