I have a great love of coconuts thanks to Monty Python. In junior high school my parents bought me a coconut, cracked it open, and after what seemed like forever of me scraping it with a butter knife, I galloped around the house. I even brought it to school with me and my English teacher galloped in front of the whole class, banging my coconut halves together. It was pretty awesome. If you have not seen (or just want to see it again) the hilarity of Monty Python's coconut shenanigans, here it is, or at least a taste of it....
Unfortunately, I eventually lost my hollowed-out coconut. Luckily, my husband was amused but supportive of my vow to again one day gallop freely with a coconut. I have, however, reached a point in my life where I try not to waste useful items so I needed to use up the coconut "meat" in order to justify this purchase.
Baker's coconut wasn't really as much work as I imagined it would be. I mean, it is more work than going to the store to pick up a bag, but most homemade things are.
First Shannon used a drill to poke holes in the eyes of the coconut to drain out the "milk" which ended up being non-existent in our case since we had such a young coconut.
Then Shannon used a reciprocating saw to cut the coconut in half. Now I know what you are thinking....it wasn't much work since Shannon was the one working, but he just loves power tools and fears me touching them.
Once the coconut was halved we scraped out the meat. I used a cheese knife which worked really well. I just wedged it between the shell and the meat which came out in a large chunks, didn't take long at all.
Then I used the vegetable peeler to peel off the inner husk. I read that you can eat it. Shannon and I both tried and regretted doing so.
We ended up with about 7 oz of coconut and popped it into the food processor. You can shred it with a grater, but there was no way I was going to risk my epidermis grating those little pieces.
Then we cooked it in a saucepan on medium heat along with 1/4 cup of water (if your coconut had "milk" in it that would better) and 4 oz of sugar for about 15 minutes. Then we let it simmer for another half hour before spreading it on a tray and using the dehydrator to dry it out. (If you don't have a dehydrator you can just spread it on wax paper and let it dry over night.)
Homemade coconut is actually pretty yellow since there are no bleaching agents used. And not only can you see the difference, you can taste it as well. I plan to use this batch in my Pina Colada Cupcakes tomorrow!