Toasted Coconut Gives Blueberry Muffins A Tropical Boost

While blueberry muffins are a true bakery classic, let's face it — unless the fruits themselves are extra fresh and juicy, these baked goods can taste a little basic. Additional mix-ins usually focus on amplifying the taste of the blueberries (like lemon juice or coriander do), adding warmth (with spices like cinnamon or cardamom), or creating a different texture (with cream cheese or sour cream). And yet, toasted coconut is the underrated addition that will take your blueberry muffins in a different, but just as delicious, direction.

What does toasted coconut do for blueberry muffins? Just like with most recipes, adding the mildly flavored fruit gives them a tropical twist without overpowering the central ingredient. Plus, the light sweetness in its flakes pairs perfectly with the blueberries and sugary ingredients in the muffins. And when you toast the coconut beforehand, you add a whole other flavor dimension to your breakfast. Throwing the flakes in the oven will give them a caramelized, nutty flavor that will also fill your kitchen up with delicious smells. Plus, you'll get added texture in your recipe that spices and lemon juice just can't provide.

How to add toasted coconut to your blueberry muffins

If you've never toasted coconut before, it's a very similar process to toasting nuts. But unlike almonds or pecans, coconut flakes are much smaller and more delicate, so it's essential to keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't burn. Buy dried coconut flakes from the store, as the refrigerated shredded fruit contains too much moisture for what we're trying to achieve here. And if you have the choice, go for unsweetened coconut, as the flakes already will have a mild sweetness to them and we typically don't need more sugar in our muffin recipe. To toast your shavings, spread them out on a lined baking sheet and stick them in the oven for no more than 10 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, taking them out to stir every few minutes.

After the coconut has cooled completely, add it to your muffin batter. It will go in with all the other dry ingredients (like the flour and sugar). If you want to amp up the flavor of the fruit even more, feel free to replace regular milk and vegetable oil with their coconut counterparts. To show off your new muffin ingredient and make it obvious what flavor they are, you can also top your treats with more untoasted coconut before tossing them in the oven.