Step One: Poke a hole into one of three eyes of the coconut. I tried many methods for poking the hole, but I found that the best one was using a hammer and a meticulously cleaned screwdriver as shown above.
Step 2: Drain the coconut water out of the coconut. The coconut water does not come rushing out. You may need to give the coconut a good shake. You may also need to poke open one or two of the other eyes (somehow writing about poking open eyes makes me cringe). My coconut only had about 1/4 cup of coconut water in it. Nicole’s had 1 1/4 cup of coconut water. She clearly had a bigger coconut. It doesn’t matter how much yours has. The recipe will still work.
Step 3: Break open the coconut. This was the most fun of the entire process. You take the coconut outside and throw it on some concrete. You may want to try screaming while you do it. It’s quite the stress reliever and far better than tossing around your fine china. The coconut should break open and you can collect any pieces that may have flown.
Step 6: Chop or shred the coconut. You typically see baker’s coconut shredded. However I didn’t have a shredder and after all that work I wasn’t about to start shredding by hand. I decided that the coconut would be just as good chopped up in my food processor. If you have a shredder, by all means, shred away. My coconut produced about two cups of chopped coconut. Again, Nicole’s produced four cups.
Step 7: Cook the coconut with some sugar. Put your shredded/chopped coconut in a saucepan on medium heat with the coconut water (however much you had), and 1/3 the amount of sugar as coconut: I had two cups of coconut so I used 2/3 C of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil (takes 10-15 minutes) and then turn the temperature to low. Let it simmer uncovered for about an hour. The liquid should turn into a syrup. Why is there no picture of this step? A watched pot never boils.
Step 8: Drain any syrup out. I had hardly any syrup. This is probably because I had so little coconut water in my coconut. It’s a shame because the syrup was sensational. It would be great over ice cream or brownies or in a shake or just by the spoonful.
Step 9: Lay the coconut out on a cookie sheet to dry overnight. I put parchment paper down first for easy cleanup. You’ll notice that the coconut is no longer white. Nicole says in her post that a whitening agent is used in store-bought baker’s coconut. I had no idea! In the morning, the coconut will be dry and ready to go. Use it right away or refrigerate it.
Baker’s Coconut Outtakes
Here are a couple of things that did not work.
It is probably not the best idea to try to hack at the coconut with a cleaver on your counter. I gave up pretty quickly after realizing that I was destined to break something. The throw-the-coconut-on-the-ground method worked much better.