Toasted coconut is nothing but shredded or desiccated coconut that has been briefly toasted to bring out its flavor. Toasting the flakes gives them a unique nutty and chewy flavor. It can be used in pies and cookies as well as for flavoring ice cream. Crisp coconut flakes are a great addition in many Asian dishes as it enhances the flavor of the dish. There are many ways of toasting coconut flakes and you can choose a method that feels easiest to you.
Using an Oven
In a preheated oven place the shredded coconut flakes on a baking tray which has been lined with a cookie sheet. Spread the coconut flakes in a single layer. Place the tray inside the oven and bake for about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. When the edges of the coconut flakes become golden brown in color, remove the tray from the oven and allow it to cool. If you are using toasted coconut for a dessert recipe, then add a spoon or two of powdered sugar before roasting the desiccated coconut.
Using the Microwave
Place the shredded coconut in a microwave safe dish and sprinkle it with a bit of caster sugar. Place the dish inside the microwave and microwave it on "high" for 30 seconds. Remove the dish from the microwave and toss the coconut flakes with a spoon. Microwave for another 30 seconds. You will find that the edges of the coconut flakes have turned golden brown. This is an indication that your coconut flakes are ready.
Using a Stove Top
Heat a skillet on medium heat. Once the skillet gets warm, add the shredded coconut on it in a single layer. Toss the coconut flakes constantly so that it does not burn. You can also stir the coconut flakes with a wooden ladle, but tossing it is preferable. Once the coconut flakes start to become brown, remove the skillet from heat and transfer the coconut flakes to a plate. Let it cool down before using in your recipe.
Storing toasted coconut properly is very important if you want to retain its flavors. You can store it in air-tight containers in a dark and dry place to be used in future. In spite of this, if toasted coconut is stored for a long time, it becomes soggy and loses its crunchiness. Microwaving it or heating it again will help to crisp the flakes up. Coconut crisps has many uses from use in cookies, cakes, and pies, to Asian curries. You can also use it for garnishing soups and stews.