Crack open the coconut. You can choose from one of these four easy methods for opening a coconut. Otherwise, simply use a hammer and hit along the middle of the coconut, twisting it as you hit (while holding it firmly, with a kitchen towel underneath to keep it from sliding). The coconut will start to crack, and you can then pull it open. Open it over a bowl to drain the coconut water (which you can drink).
Gather the Coconut Meat. Use a butter knife to slot between the meat and shell and wiggle. Work your way around the coconut and it will eventually come loose. Some bits may break, that's perfectly normal.You could also use a specific 'coconut tool' OR use the 'freezer' hack; place the whole coconut in the freezer overnight and then follow 'step 1'. Usually, the shell just chips right away from the meat.
Peel the coconut. Begin by peeling the brown skin off of the coconut using a vegetable peeler (you can still eat this or add to oatmeal, smoothies, etc) and rinsing the white meat. Then, using either a vegetable peeler or mandolin, peel the coconut into chips/flakes.
Dry the coconut chips either in an oven or dehydrator. If using the oven method, spread the coconut chips in a single layer on a large baking sheet and dry at 60ºC/140ºF for around an hour. It may take longer, depending on your oven. I check on mine after 30 minutes, give them a shake, and then place back in the oven and check every 10 minutes, to stop them from 'toasting' or burning.
To dry the coconut in a dehydrator - dry at 40ºC/105ºF for about 4-6 hours.
Leave to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container to store.
Unsweetened dried coconut flakes (dried not toasted) will store in an airtight container at room temperature for 6 months, or within the fridge (probably around 8-10 months), or freezer or up to 12 months (or longer!)
Store toasted coconut chips for 3-4 weeks in an airtight container.
Flavored coconut chips shelf life will vary depending on what flavorings you've used. I usually aim to eat my batched within a week if using anything 'fresh', like fruit puree's, etc.
For a Sweetened Version
You can make sweetened coconut flakes using the same method as I did for my Shredded Coconut. Alternatively, you'll need 2 tablespoon powdered sugar of your choice, 1tbsp coconut oil (or other neutral oil), and 1 1/2-2tbsp water per cup of coconut flakes.Simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir thoroughly to coat the coconut, then set aside for 10-15 minutes (stirring just a couple of times), to allow it to absorb the liquid. They're then ready to use, or can be dried out in the oven for 10 minutes, and stored for later.
For Toasted Coconut flakes
If you want the flavor of toasted coconut flakes you can either leave the coconut in the oven for longer, until light brown. Alternatively, once your flakes are dried and stored, you can toast individual portions in a frying pan, as needed. It only takes a few minutes on medium-low heat and no-oil, if you use a non-stick pan.
If you have issues with the coconut browning in the oven, place the coconut towards the lower middle, or low in the oven. Then, place another oven pan on the shelf above. This should stop them from getting 'toasted' from above. You can also leave your oven door open just a crack to allow some of the heat out and all the liquid being evaporated from the coconut.
You need fully dry coconut for it to last the shelf life that it should. If it's still slightly moist, then it will spoil far quicker.
To flavor the coconut chips, you can do this from fresh coconut or dried. I prefer to wait until they're dried because then it takes just a quick 10-15 minutes in the oven to crisp up with all the flavors. sprinkle with your favorite herbs and spices, or even cinnamon and maple syrup, whatever you like!
The yield is around 2 cups of coconut chips, per coconut.