>> Monday, 13 February 2017
These sweet coconut balls are like sugar cake but not in the traditional sense because they are not spiced with fresh ginger and other spices, dropped by large spoonful and left to harden on its own. These are soft and chewy, just the way I prefer sugar cake. Most Caribbean sugar cakes are made with brown sugar or brown sugar and molasses. The texture of the coconut varies from one place to the other; the coconut could be chipped, shredded or finely grated. We also boast of making coconut ice, something we inherited from the Europeans.
This recipe came about as a result of me testing no-cook coconut ice recipes. Most of the recipes called for desiccated coconut but I opted to use fresh coconut. Moisture-rich, the coconut ice did not set they way I wanted it to. After the mixture did not harden overnight, the following day, I dumped everything into a pot and decided to make these balls in the style of laddoo/ladu.
Yield: 24 - 28
- 4 cups fresh grated coconut
- 2 cups powdered sugar, plus extra for optional dusting
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond essence/extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 - 2 drops red food coloring
- Mix together all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot or pan and place over low heat. Stir frequently to avoid scorching, and cook the mixture until it thickens and becomes glossy. It should come away easily from the sides of the pot/pan when it is done cooking (this could take anywhere from 15 - 20 minutes). The mixture should be pasty, not dry.
- Let cool until you can handle it but do not let it come down to room temperature, you want to be able to roll the mixture into balls while it is still very warm and soft.
- Lightly oil a pan or platter and set aside.
- Dab a little oil onto the palm of your hands and take a little of the mixture at a time and roll into balls.
- Let the balls cool completely, dust with powdered sugar and serve at room temperature.
- Remove the brown skin of the coconut is optional.
- Desiccated, unsweetened coconut can be used for this recipe but you will need to add more powdered sugar to suit your taste and 1/2 - 3/4 cup more milk.
- When rolling the coconut balls, if you find the mixture sticking to the insides of your hands, it needs to be cooked a little more to become a bit drier. On the other hand, if you find the balls cracking, it means that the mixture is too dry - add it back to the pan/pot along with some milk and cook to the described consistency.