OK. I am in the process of making a recipe for dinner that involves toasted coconut. Admittedly, this is my first time cooking with shredded coconut, as I only recently discovered its yumminess when I became an adult. (Hello, macaroons!) I am embarassed to say that it took me three tries to get it toasted just so...
The directions on the recipe say to spread it out on a cookie sheet, throw it in a 350-degree oven, and toast it for 8-10 minutes, which I did. Result: coconut that was burnt on top and still raw underneath, probably due to my lack of stirring.
I read the toasting directions on the back of the bag, which says to leave in the oven for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. So I waltzed in and out of the kitchen every couple minutes to stir, not wanting to open up the oven too often, for fear of letting all the heat out. I quickly learned that once the coconut starts turning color, it gets toasted REAL fast. Result: pretty toasted and perhaps edible, but I'm looking for results that look like the pretty picture in the Martha magazine, which is a light golden brown.
This was about when Derek came home from tutoring, to find me sitting on a chair in front of the stove, oven mitt in one hand, spatula in the other, keeping track of the time so I could stir the coconut every 30 seconds. It ended up taking 4-5 minutes of stirring a couple times a minute and pretty constant opening of the oven during the last minute or so. Result: perfection! Light and crispy, without the burnt taste.
It was during this third attempt that I wondered whether or not taking pictures of this process and documenting it would turn it into an "experiment" rather than a weak attempt at doing something that should be super easy!! But now I know. So be prepared when I make a batch of mean macaroons in the near future. (Because I have to do something with the rest of this huge bag of coconut!)