Toasting shredded coconut is a great way to bring out its flavor, just as toasting walnuts, pecans and other nuts brings out their nuttiness. Toasting gives coconut a beautiful brown color and takes it from soft to crisp, adding texture to your recipe in addition to color and flavor. It is easy to toast coconut in a skillet or in the oven, but it is also possible to toast coconut in the microwave if you’re looking for an even faster way to get some coconut toasted. Simply spread some coconut in a thin layer on a glass/pyrex pie plate or microwave-safe plate, then pop the coconut in the microwave. Cook on high, stirring the coconut every 30-45 seconds to ensure that it browns evenly and doesn’t scorch. Depending on how much coconut you’re toasting, you should be done in less than 3 minutes.
While this method is fast, I would only use it for small amounts of coconut. Many microwaves have hot spots and, since they get so hot (relative to ovens at a low temperature), it is actually quite easy to scorch the coconut. When you have less coconut to start, it is much easier to keep an eye on it. Otherwise, it turns out just as well as oven-toasted coconut does, so keep that in mind when you want some toasted coconut for a garnish and don’t want to spend more time than you need to to toast a bit up!