For those who have never tried it, coconut candy may seem a little intimidating. These sticky squared coconut shreds, bound by sugar and more sugar, boasting lurid hues could pass off as just a wee-bit inedible.
The only problem however, is that they are so darn delicious. I still remember my childhood days, where my mom would return home with a tiny bag containing four pieces of the coloured candy. My sister and I would routinely fight over our favourite one (strangely it was the one with no colouring), settle the argument by splitting it into half as always, before popping our individual pieces into our mouths and savouring the candy melting on our tongues. The creaminess of the candy coupled with the crunchiness of the coconut was, and still is, simply delightful.
These days, coconut candy is hard to come by (and it costs a lot more too at about $2.00 for 4 pieces!).
I decided that it was time to experiment and try it out on my own. And that turned out to be a huge success! The candy hit all the right notes, with it being sweet, creamy and vibrantly colourful. All you need is a little time and a little patience to get that perfect childhood treat.
Note: I didn’t add any colouring into my candy although traditionally, coconut candy boasts very bright hues.
450g freshly grated coconut (you can buy this from the market)
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 tsp salt
56g / 4 tbsp unsalted butter
1. Line a 9″ square tin with aluminum foil. Grease the aluminum foil gently with butter.
3. Place the pot on a low fire and keep stirring (I used a wooden spoon). Initially, it will be very liquid. Give it a while and it will start to clump together and look more like candy. You have to keep stirring or the bottom and sides may brown (before the candy is ready). I stirred for about 45 minutes at very low fire until it was ready.
4. Add butter when it looks near ready and mix well.
5. To test for readiness, take a small ball of candy and drop it in a glass of water. If it does not disintegrate, it means it is good to go! The mixture gets drier and more edible the longer you cook it.
6. ‘Pour’ (because the batter is real sticky) the mixture into the prepared pan and flatten lightly with a rubber spatula.
7. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then take a pizza cutter and run through the pan.
9. Place a piece of this delicious candy in your mouth and savour every moment of it
10. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks
Note: Add about 1/2 – 1 tsp of Pandan/Rose/Whatever essence you would like to flavour your candy for some variation
Colourful packaged coconut candy Image courtesy of TiongBahruEstate.blogspot.sg