Last year I discovered an incredible little baking shop. It’s packed from floor to ceiling with every baking supply imaginable, squeezed tightly together in a tiny labyrinth of a store. I spent hours just looking around, but my favorite find? Big bags of unsweetened coconut flakes for a buck each. As someone who can’t get enough coconut but sometimes finds it too sugary, I stocked up.
I find that most grocery stores only sell sweetened coconut flakes. They work for a lot of recipes, but when you’re looking for unsweetened, the sugar levels are just too high. Luckily, there’s a fast way to make your own substitute.
Spread some sweetened coconut flakes onto a flat sieve.
Wash the flakes under very hot water, making sure to rinse every spot.
You’ll start to see the sugar actually wash away. Keep rinsing until the water is no longer cloudy, but clear.
Squeeze the flakes in your hands, pressing out the excess water. Spread the flakes on the sieve and let them drain completely.
When the flakes are fully dried, they’ll be fluffy again. The flavor won’t be as good as flakes that haven’t been previously sweetened (or better yet, flakes straight from the coconut) but this trick will do in a pinch when you can’t run out to the store.
Photos © Elissa Bernstein and 17 and Baking.