A simple recipe turns out a spiced coconut candy

By Jim Bailey
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More often than not, you can find coconut candies attributed to India or another country that uses cardamom as the flavor profile in this hard candy. I think you will find my Yanked version is a refreshingly different taste and one that children as well as the adults will enjoy. Refer to my article on Peeling Coconut found at theyankeechef.com or use grated coconut.

Spicy coconut candies for children and adults alike.

Spicy coconut candies for children and adults alike.

2 cups peeled, fresh coconut, slivered (sliced thinly)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup dark or light corn syrup
1/2 cup root beer
3 tablespoons maple flavoring, optional or
2 teaspoons root beer extract
1/2 teaspoon dried allspice

Spray a large, rimmed baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan (heavy or nonstick is preferred) and place over medium-high heat. Stick a candy thermometer on the side of the pan so that the tip is halfway into the liquid. Stir occasionally until mixture begins to boil, then stop stirring completely.

Let boil and cook about 8 minutes, or until the thermometer reads 290 to 295 degrees F (hard-crack stage). Immediately remove from heat and stir in flavoring or extract. Be careful: It vigorously steams when blending in flavorings. Quickly, but carefully, pour into prepared pan to cool and harden. Once hardened, cover loosely with plastic wrap and break into desired pieces with a rolling pin or some other suitable instrument.

TV TRIVIA & THE COCONUT: Does anyone remember, on Gilligan’s Island, when coconuts were seen hanging from a tree, used as an I.V. by the professor? Believe it or not, during World War II, coconut water was used as an emergency substitute for plasma in wounded soldiers. The water is sterile and although it doesn’t contain as much electrolytes as blood plasma, it does have one of the highest electrolyte concentrations known in the natural world.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at theyankeechef@aol.com.

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