Trader Joe’s recently added a new product to their ever popular “Baker Josef’s” line of baking products: Shredded Sweetened Coconut. Shredded coconut is a product that I like to use a lot in baking, from muffins to pies, and I typically stock up on it at a regular market, where there are usually two brands or so to choose from. I’ve seen this product on shelves for at least a few weeks now, but hesitated to try it because the package is a lot smaller than the ones sold at the regular market. Of course, most recipes using coconut only call for a cup or so, so their relatively small 6-ounce package is something that you could pick up and use in one recipe, rather than opening a large bag and having to store (and possible throw away) leftovers.
Baker Josef’s coconut comes in a small, airtight pouch that keeps the coconut as fresh as possible, so you get a nice little burst of coconut smell when you open the package. The other thing that you’ll notice right away is that the coconut has a faintly golden, toasty color to it even though this isn’t sold as a toasted coconut product. Indeed, the coconut has been partially dried before packaging. This means that the coconut is less moist and chewy, but that it also toasts much, much faster if you are looking to use toasted coconut in a recipe. It has a fresh flavor and is less sweet than many other sweetened coconut brands, which makes it a good option for those who generally reach for unsweetened coconut for their baking. The shreds are rather long, so I found that it helped to give the coconut a quick chop before using, especially when I was folding it in to baked goods instead of using it as garnish.
One last thing I liked was the list of coconut recipe ideas on the back. It never hurts to have a little inspiration for doing some baking – and I would definitely reach for a bag of this again when I’m looking to use some coconut and don’t need the larger sizes sold at the regular market.