I love baking with coconut, from coconut cookies to coconut cream pies. My kitchen is always stocked with bags of shredded coconut. A few years ago, you could only find sweetened, shredded coconut at the grocery store. These days, there are not only multiple brands of shredded coconut, but you can choose between sweetened and unsweetened coconut for your baking needs. Unsweetened coconut is very popular with bakers who find the sweetened stuff to be too sweet, or who simply want more control over the amount of sugar that goes into their recipes. In a recent issue (June/July 2015), Cook’s Country magazine conducted a taste test of unsweetened shredded coconut to see which brands tasted the best.
The test kitchen looked for coconut that was uniform in shape and size, and that offered the best coconut flavor. They found that they preferred baking with coconut shreds that were larger, since they seemed to bring more flavor into recipes. Their top two choices were Now Real Food’s Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut and Woodstock Foods Organic Shredded Coconut, both of which offered coconut with a nice texture and a nutty, tropical flavor where the natural sweetness of the coconut came through.
Other brands didn’t fare as well, and Bob’s Red Mill Shredded Coconut and Let’s Do Organic Shredded Coconut didn’t receive as high marks in the flavor department as the top-rated brands. That said, the Bob’s Red Mill coconut still turned out a tasty coconut pie, while the Let’s Do brand’s ultra-fine texture made it an excellent choice for decorations and garnishes.