So I have to admit that colored coconut is one of those vintage baking tricks that I’ve been longing for the occasion to make. I was honestly so excited that Collin Murray thought I was totally nuts. But that’s just because he didn’t understand that colored coconut is what retro cake decoration is all about. In almost all of my vintage cookbooks, especially from the 1950′s and 1960′s, colored coconut adorns cakes of all occasions — birthdays to baby showers, Hawaiian luaus (not joking, our Grandmothers knew how to throw a theme party) to homecomings — it’s all about the coconut.
Here’s a hot little tip when making colored coconut, it’s easiest way to control the hue by using gel food coloring. The grocery store variety is a little watered down so you have to use more; gel food coloring is concentrated so you need to use less…makes sense, right?
This is especially true when you are making colored coconut, because the key to success is getting the color just right. Depending on how deep you want the color to be, that dictates how much food coloring to add and also how much water.
Though I’m saving up my dried coconut to decorate some spectacular Easter-themed cupcakes, feel free to use it whenever a little festive decoration is needed to spice things up.
Colored Coconut (Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookbook)
Makes 1 cup colored coconut
1 cup shredded coconut
Gel food coloring
Water to adjust color
*There are real proportions in this recipe. Really, if you want to make one cup, follow my suggestions, if you want to make more, it’s all relative to how much you want to make and how deep you want the color — experiment with the proportions and you will soon find the color that delights you most for your coconut.
In a glass bowl, add a teeny, tiny drop (really, just a speck) of food coloring. Add water to the food coloring a teaspoon at a time until you have achieved the your desired color. Add the coconut and toss to combine.
Dry the coconut overnight in a single layer on papertowel. Store in a covered container in the freezer until ready to use.