Guest Author - Eileen Brown
Virtually every island has some version of coconut candy. And while the recipes may very slightly from place to place and from cook to cook, Coconut Drops are loved by everyone and they are sold in school yards and on the street everywhere.
One of my sons-in-law seeks out coconut drops when he visits his beautiful island home in Grenada; and when his sisters come to the states for a visit, he beseeches them to make this tasty treat for him. Theirs is a treasured family recipe that produces delicious, chunky golden brown candies and they are a happy reminder to my son-in-law of his childhood in Grenada.
Likewise, the Bahamian paternal grandmother of two of my grandsons prepares dozens and dozens of these candies, along with other traditional Bahamian foods, such as conch fritters and conch salad, to sell at Miami's annual
Martin Luther King parade gathering. Miss Bobbie is one of the most popular food vendors along the extensive parade route and her wares sell out quickly, but she is sure to save some of these sweet treats for those two little boys we both love.
You must use fresh coconut and fresh ginger to prepare this candy properly. And if you are an inexperienced confection maker, using a candy thermometer will be essential.
Coconut Drops Recipe
nonstick vegetable oil spray or waxed paper (or both)
2 cups fresh coconut, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup water
Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick vegetable spray and/or line it with waxed paper.
Place a heavy medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the coconut, brown sugar, ginger, allspice and water to the saucepan.
Stir the mixture and continue to cook it over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture just comes to a boil.
If you are using a candy thermometer, now is the time to attach it the side of the saucepan. Boil the candy mixture gently, stirring it frequently, until the thermometer registers 295 degrees F. It will take about 15 minutes and the candy mixture will have thickened considerably.
Remove the saucepan from heat. For each piece of candy, drop about two tablespoons of the coconut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Work quickly and allow space between each piece to ensure that they set up properly.
Let the candies stand until they are cool and firm. Remove the coconut drops from the baking sheet and store them in an airtight container.
This recipe makes about 16 pieces of candy.