It has happened to me a hundred times. A dish is almost done— just needs one more tiny thing and it will be perfect! I decide to add a few nuts or toasted coconut but want the best flavor so…I pop them in the hot oven for a few minutes only to be overwhelmed by a cloud of smoke a short while later.
If, like me, you tend to get distracted and slightly overdo the toasting of coconut or nuts in your oven, try microwaving it instead. I don’t microwave often but it is the PERFECT way to toast these foods.
Simply spread what you want toasted in a bowl or on a plate, place in the microwave, then cook it at full power for 30 seconds. Pull it out, stir it up (careful—it will be VERY hot) and then cook it in 15 second increments until it is perfectly toasted, stirring a little each time you check it. When it is almost done you will notice that it becomes more fragrant. This is the oil in the nuts/coconuts that you smell and a great clue that you will have a more pronounced flavor for taking the time to toast. Be careful though—once it starts browning, it tends to cook very quickly. Also don’t crowd the bowl or plate too much—a nice even layer is best for cooking.
Yes, I know. Microwaves don’t normally brown food. But trust me, due to the high fat content they will brown nuts and coconut!