Coconut is a highly sought-after commodity all over the world, but this fruit-seed hybrid hasn’t always been revered by healthy eaters due to the belief that they may clog arteries. But modern science has revealed that saturated fats in tropical foods, such as the coconut, do not actually contribute to heart disease. In fact, coconut can actually help boost good cholesterol amongst countless other benefits. This fruit is packed with fibre and offers nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin C, E, K, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and calcium. Needless to say, coconut is making a huge comeback in both the healthy food industry and beauty sector of the world.
Despite our love for fresh coconuts, they’re not always available–especially not in this part of the world. Dried shredded coconut flakes make an excellent substitute and are arguably even more versatile. From macaroons, to coconut chips, to smoothie bowl toppings, we’ve seen them all. But have you ever used shredded coconut flakes as the main ingredient in your recipe?
Try these recipes using shredded coconut flakes as the main ingredient.
1. Coconut Milk
Need instant coconut milk? Take two parts boiling hot water and one part unsweetened coconut flakes in a blender, and any sweetener or flavouring of choice, and blend on high for two minutes until thick and consistent. Strain with a nut milk bag or a fine mesh colander. Store in the fridge for up to five days!
2. No-Bake Toasted Coconut Bars
Cashew-based coconut bars are great when you need a break from the regular oat bars. They’re filling and energizing, perfect as fuel food. And they’re easy to make!
What you need:
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes, shredded
1/2 cup cashews
1/3 cup medjool dates pitted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup coconut manna/butter
1 tbsp coconut oil softened
How to prepare:
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toast the coconut and cashews in the oven for about 5-8 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.
- In a food processor, add toasted coconuts, cashews, dates, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt, and pulse until they’re the size of oats. Add in coconut manna and coconut oil and continue to process until the mixture becomes one clump.
- Press the mixture onto the baking sheet to form a rectangle before placing in the freezer for 20 minutes. Slice the bars into desired sizes then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
3. Coconut Marshmallows
If you think about it, marshmallows are one of the versatile all-season sweet indulgences. We load up our hot chocolate with them in the winter, and there never seems to be a shortage of marshmallows on a camping trip during the summer. But they’re not always the best for you. Try this healthy (ish) and delicious coconut marshmallows!
What you need:
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes thinly shredded
3 (¼ ounces) envelopes gelatin powder
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
How to prepare:
- In a preheated oven at 350F, toast coconut shreds on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
- Lightly oil a baking sheet then evenly cover with 1/2 cup toasted coconut.
- Mix all the gelatin in bowl with 1/2 cup of water and allow it to soften.
- In a saucepan over low heat, heat sugar, maple syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup of water until fully dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Using a thermometer, allow the syrup to continue boiling until it reaches 240F.
- Pour the gelatin into a mixer bowl, and gently and slowly add in the hot syrup down the side of the mixer bowl. Beat on high for 13 minutes or until very thick. Add vanilla extract and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Transfer the marshmallow onto the toasted coconut shreds on the baking sheet. Press down and distribute evenly. (It might be helpful to wet your fingertips as it’s very sticky.) Coat the top with 1/2 cup toasted coconut shreds.
- Allow the marshmallow to set and firm up for a couple of hours before cleaning up the edges with a sharp knife. Cut them into squares at desired sizes.
- Place the marshmallows in a bowl of the remaining toasted coconut shreds to coat entirely.
Shredded coconut flakes are incredibly useful and possibly more versatile than you think. Next time you’re making a bliss ball, a bar, or any desserts, try incorporating coconut flakes in your recipe, and you may be surprised. Share with us any recipes you have using this incredible ingredient!
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