The Chef Within
Coconut – toasting and tinting
What can I say…I love coconut! I will use any excuse at all to put it in pancakes, on cereal, salads, stir-fries, you name it. But it really does need to be toasted to be at its best. Here’s one way of toasting coconut and also a method for tinting coconut, in case you want to use either as a garnish.
Pour some coconut onto an ungreased baking sheet. Since coconut keeps indefinitely it makes sense to toast extra to have on hand for any possible needs.
Spread the coconut evenly on the baking sheet and try not to toast so much at one time that it gets mounded too high.
Take it to a preheated 350 oven and let it bake until the flakes reach the color you like. If the edges get darker sooner than the center feel free to stir things once or twice. Never walk far from the kitchen when you are toasting coconut. Once it begins to brown the process happens quickly. Once the coconut is toasted to the degree you want, remove from the oven and cool completely to store.
To tint coconut: take liquid drops of coloring and squirt a few into a platic baggie. Rub the coloring around the bag to coat the inside. If you are worried about the color getting too dark start with fewer drops and add more as needed.
Add to the bag, the amount of coconut you wish to color, close the bag and work it with your fingers from the outside. If you want the color to be deeper simple add more drops to the bag and continue to rub.
You can make the coconut as pale or dark as you like. Both toasted and tinted coconut are great garnishes for any food that might contain coconut. It is beautiful pressed onto the sides of a cake, bordering a desert, sprinkled on top or scattered on a plate.
Store the coconut in an airtight container and it will keep indefinitely.