Hold on to your coconuts!

I’ve got an amazing Carrot Cake recipe which I plan on sharing very soon… well, as soon as I figure out how to add recipes. ¬†ūüė¨ I got a new computer… ¬†and to say it’s like learning a new language is an understatement. ¬†It took me 45 minutes of Googling just to figure out how to delete a picture then a week later I had to Google it again because I had forgotten!

Command + Option+ Delete…¬†Command + Option+ Delete…¬†Command + Option+ Delete… ¬†Must never forget.

That! ¬†That’s a candid snapshot of the carrot cake on its way out the door.

There it is again, chilling in the fridge…

It even comes in cupcake form.

Want to know the thing that keeps people coming back for more? That coconut. It is one of the single most remarked on things I make… ¬†people LOVE that coconut… ¬†Honestly, what’s not to love? ¬†It’s fresh coconut “Br√Ľl√©e’d” to sweet crunchy perfection. ¬†I use it on any number of things from Coconut Cake to German Chocolate.

Sounds difficult, but it’s really not. ¬†I’ll show you how I do it… ¬†after I tell you a cautionary tale.

Heed my warning!

You have GOT to hold on to your coconuts!

About 8 years ago I was whizzing around the produce department at the grocery store finishing up my list for the Carrot Cake. ¬†It must have been around a holiday because the isles were packed with people. ¬†I had just gotten my carrots and my fresh coconut and was headed to the registers when I realized I didn’t get walnuts so¬†I spun around. I was walking quite briskly…

…and then it happened.

It was a timing thing, you see…

My coconut slipped out of the basket.

I didn’t realize that the child leg-hole guard was down, so there were two gaping holes in the cart… through which my coconut rolled out. ¬†Now, if it had just fallen out, that would be fine, but no… ¬†the fates had something else planned. ¬†The coconut fell out just as I was stepping forward and…


I kicked it. ¬†ūüė¨

I kicked a coconut in a store full of people.

It doesn’t end there.



I did.

Now, that coconut wedged so hard it stopped the left wheel from turning all of a sudden. ¬†The right one still turned, but the left didn’t. ¬†All in a matter of seconds that coconut escaped my cart, got kicked by me, got lodged into a handicapped cart… ¬†and it made the cart jolt suddenly to the left into a cardboard freestanding Twinkie and Ho-Ho display.

There were snack cakes flying through the air… ¬†the poor lady was terrified… ¬†other customers were running over Ho-Ho’s with their shopping carts…

Now, I am 100% NOT proud of what I did next.

I veered right, suddenly pretended to be VERY interested in the celery that was on sale for .79 cents a rib… ¬†snuck down the potato isle and escaped into another part of the store. Maybe someday I will be able to look a Ho-Ho straight on without remembering that day. ¬†I have PTCD. ¬†Post Traumatic Coconut Disorder.

ALWAYS strap those coconuts down. ¬†They are wily creatures at times…

So… ¬†scared of them yet? ¬†Don’t be.

First things first.  Find your coconuts.  You are going to need to really pay attention to the coconut.  Pick them up. They should feel heavy for their size.  Look for cracks.  Most now come with grooves cut around them for easier opening, but if they have lots of cracks they are probably moldy inside.

That’s a bad coconut.

Shake your coconut.

3986B653-1F71-4956-AA5C-175C1A36B89DYou should hear water sloshing around. ¬†That’s a good thing.

1 coconut is plenty for the cake, but I always get 2… ¬†just in case one is bad, or too green.

Now, make SURE the child seat leg-hole flap is up. You have been warned.

When you get them home you will first need to take them out of the netting they come in, and drain the coconut water out of them. ¬†I understand it’s the “In” thing to drink coconut water. ¬†Got for it. ¬†It’s not my thing at all. ¬†If you are going to drink it… ¬†I’d drain it through a sieve to catch any shell bits that might get in it…

To drain the coconut you need to stab it in one of its 3 eyes. ¬†There are 2 hard eyes and 1 soft one. ¬†I’ve found that an ice pick works great… ¬†or a screwdriver… ¬†anything long and slender will do. ¬†Skewer might work… ¬†I’ve never tried it though.

There should be about a cup of water in there.  Shake it out.

Now comes the trick! ¬†Turn your oven on and heat it to 400 degrees. ¬†I put some foil on a pan (sometimes the coconuts can leak and leave a baked on mess…) and put those coconuts in the oven for 15-20 minutes. ¬†Peek in to check for cracks in the shell.

See… ¬†the one on the left had perfect cracks going on. ¬†The one on the right is stubborn. ¬†Best laid plans and all.. ¬†I’ll have to get a hammer after the uncracked one to see what it’s like. ¬†My bet is that it isn’t good. ¬†The good ones crack. ¬†Let your coconuts cool down until you can handle them.

I use a handy-dandy flat-head screwdriver to pop these open. Wedge it into the cracks and leverage them apart. Do this part on a towel so it doesn’t move around, and put a towel over the top to catch any shell bits that might go flying. Get you a screwdriver for the kitchen… It’s a dedicated kitchen tool for me, and I’ve found that I use it quite often…

The shell will easily release from the meat inside with a bit of pressure. ¬†Nowhere near as much effort as the traditional way…

Thats a naked coconut.

Peel off the brown skin. I give it a rinse after I peel it just to get leftover peel off.

Use the flesh however you want… grate it up, or keep peeling it like I do. ¬†You can get long wide strips or short thick strips… ¬†I’m sure some of you could make coconut flowers out of them… ¬†ūü§Ēūü§Ēūü§Ē Hey, that’s actually a pretty cool idea.

Sprinkle on some sugar. ¬†I use a lot because I like a lot. ¬†The more sugar you use the more glazed br√Ľl√©e’d it gets, so play around with the amount…

Spread it out on a sheet pan.  Turn your oven to broil.

Now, when I say watch it, I mean watch it. ¬†Put the pets outside and the kids down for a nap, or vice versa… ¬†whatever works for you. ¬†Turn on the oven light, get on the floor and WATCH IT. ¬†It will go from white to perfectly toasted to bitter smoking charred remains in a heartbeat. ¬†I keep a metal spatula around to flip the toasted parts under every once in a while too…

Just look at that deliciousness!

When it first comes out the strips will be a bit floppy, but as the coconut cools and the sugar crystallizes… it turns perfect and deliciously crunchy.

Store it in a plastic storage bag. ¬†If it gets sticky, and it probably will, heat it up again in the oven… ¬†just watch it so it doesn’t burn. ¬†I have tried re-crisping it with a torch but it kinda ends up tasting like fuel for some reason. ¬†Maybe someone out there might have a better way to try… ¬†all I know is, I’m addicted to the stuff!

…oh, and hold on to those damn coconuts.

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