Sweetened, shredded coconut is a pretty common ingredient in the US; you can find it any supermarket baking aisle. So I took it for granted that I would be able to find pretty easily it here in Denmark. But after scouring a half dozen supermarkets and specialty stores, I’ve learned that sweetened, shredded coconut is pretty unique to the United States. This put me in a bit of a quandary, as it’s a key ingredient in my favorite holiday recipes (including Sweet Potato Delight for Thanksgiving and 7-Layer Magic Bars at Christmas.)
So what’s a girl to do? Make my own! I did a bit of research into what goes into making sweetened, shredded coconut and it turns out the supermarket version is heavily processed (shocker!) to achieve its perfect chewy state. The other challenge is that most dried coconut comes in flake form, rather than the long shreds like the US version. So given that I don’t have a factory to process the coconut with preservatives and I’m not going to shred my own coconut into the right shape (at least not today…), this recipe comes pretty close and should work for most applications.
For this simple recipe, there are only two ingredients: sugar and coconut. (Okay, three if you count water.)
The first step is to make a simple syrup, which is 1 part water and 1 part sugar. Heat the water in a pot on the stove. Once boiling, add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
Once the sugar is dissolved (water will be clear), turn off the heat and add the coconut.
Stir until the coconut has absorbed the liquid evenly.
Spread the coconut out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dry out the coconut by either leaving out overnight or putting in a very low oven for few hours. For the oven method, I put my oven on the lowest temperature setting (122°F or 50°C) in convection mode, put a spoon in the door to let the moisture escape and stirred every hour or so until it was dry. You don’t want to roast the coconut, so make sure your oven isn’t too hot.
Once it’s dry, use as you see fit!
- 2 cups unsweetened dried or desiccated coconut
- ⅔ cups sugar
- ⅔ cups water
- Heat water to boiling in a small pot.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Turn off heat and add the coconut.
- Stir thoroughly until the coconut has evenly absorbed the liquid.
- Turn out the coconut onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread in a even layer.
- Leave baking sheet out to air dry the coconut, stirring occasionally to help evaporation.
- Tip: You can speed things up by putting it in the oven on its lowest setting. I used convection mode and left a wooden spoon in the door so the water could evaporate.