Dulce de Coco (Coconut Candy)
Dulce de coco, pronounced , is coconut candy and it's one of my favorites. There's no doubt that you'll find homemade dulce de coco on the tables of many Puerto Rican families during the holidays! You can also expect to find dulce de coco at any local store or supermarket in Puerto Rico along with a variety of other yummy candies typical of the island.
I remember being super excited as a kid whenever relatives from Puerto Rico would come to visit us because they always brought us a bunch of goodies and among them I was sure to find some coconut candy! This year, I decided to make my own dulce de coco for my family to enjoy. After talking with grandma, and one of my "titi's" (auntie's), and three attempts later, I was finally able to fine tune this coconut recipe!
Fresh Coconut vs Coconut Flakes
I used coconut flakes instead of fresh coconut only because it was easier. I remember watching my dad crack open a coconut quite skillfully! My skills are not so pretty, but in case you prefer to use a fresh coconut, here's one way to crack it open with just 3 easy steps:
- Take a corkscrew or a clean Phillips head screwdriver and screw through the "eyes" of the coconut to make holes and then pour out the coconut juice. (if you're a coconut lover like me, you'll save the juice and treat yourself to a refreshing drink later!)
- Put the coconut in a large zip-lock bag and simply bang it with a hammer on the floor. (Not pretty, but it works!)
- Cut out the white part of the coconut, clean it with fresh water and cut it into tiny pieces or grate it and you're ready to go.
Read the Recipe Below & Checkout These Useful Tidbits
- To test if the coconut candy is ready, you can take a tiny amount of the mixture, form it into a ball and drop it in a cup of water. If it falls apart in the water or you can't even form a little ball, keep stirring until the mixture thickens some more and try again, otherwise it's good to go. (This was the best tip I got from grandma after my 1st attempt didn't quite solidify. My 2nd attempt worked to a degree, it hardened, but I must have overcooked it because it crumbled easily when i went to cut it! None of it went to waste, though!)
- I decided to line the pan with a piece of aluminum foil that I lightly greased. (This was the 2nd best tip!) After the coconut candy cooled completely, it was just easier to break apart the coconut pieces after removing the foil off the pan.
- To make sure your candy is nice and leveled, you can place a piece of wax paper over it and press down gently. (I forgot to do this on my 3rd and most successful attempt, but the look, taste and texture still came out great!)
- My grandma takes a small piece of ginger, grates it and adds it along with the grated coconut. I decided not to add ginger to this recipe, but you can try this too!
- You can substitute the light brown sugar with white sugar. If you do, you can add several drops of food coloring into the mixture to make colorful and festive coconut candy for the holidays!
- Instead of pouring the candy mixture into a pan, you can simply take spoonfuls of candy and drop them onto wax paper or a greased cookie sheet or roll them into balls or use a cookie cutter and cut them into shapes!
- Store your leftover dulce de coco in a covered container. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Me (after several attempts, too!)
- 2 cups of grated coconut of coconut flakes
- 1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup of evaporated milk
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of butter
- Lightly grease a small pan and set it aside. (I used an 8 x 8 inch pan for this recipe.)
- Combine the grated coconut, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan.
- Stir the contents continuously for about 30 minutes bringing it to a boil over medium-low heat.
- Add the butter, mix well and continue to stir for an additional 15 minutes. The mixture will be thick, semi-dry, and very sticky.
- Pour the candy mixture into the lightly greased pan and spread evenly using a spatula.
- Allow the coconut candy to cool for 5 to 10 minutes and then cut into squares.
- Let the coconut candy completely cool and solidify. It will be sweet and chewy.
- Grab a piece of dulce de coco and enjoy!
This saucepan will work just great to get started on this recipe.
I used an 8 x 8 in pan similar to this one.
This is the brand I used, but any brand will work great, too!