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Nigerian Coconut Candy

February 22, 2011 | 51 Comments

nigerian coconut candy

Nigerian Coconut Candy is a sweet and crunchy, yet mildly chewy snack made from freshly grated coconut and caramelized, granulated white sugar. Coconut Candy is not indigenous to Nigeria, as some other countries have variations of the snack. Jamaicans have a similar snack, but their version involves chopped ginger and uses brown sugar as opposed to white.

Coconut Candy should be considered a treat as it is, quite literally, raw sugar, so I’d recommend having this once in a while. Also, if you know of anyone with Diabetes, they really shouldn’t be eating this! Coconut Candy is relatively simple to make, as it needs only two ingredients, but can be tricky as the consistency of the caramelized sugar is what will make or break the end result. (Please see notes section for more information). Oh, and did I mention, strong teeth required?! Mmmhmm, yes, no joke either ;)

Since you will need a fresh coconut for this recipe, please see how to open a coconut.

Requested Recipes are a series of posts geared towards recipes YOU’ve requested! If you’d like a particular recipe featured, let me know!

To learn how to make Nigerian Coconut Candy, here’s what you’ll need:

Recipe Cost: $8.00 Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins Difficulty: Easy Serves: 3-6

nigerian coconut candy

1. In a large bowl, start grating 3-4 pieces of coconut meat using small side of grater firstnigerian coconut candy

2. Grate remainder of coconut meat with large side of graternigerian coconut candy

3. Once done grating, use a knife to scrape inside of grater for any excess remnantsnigerian coconut candy

4. Using hands, mix grated coconut till small & large pieces are evenly distributednigerian coconut candy

nigerian coconut candy

5. Set grated coconut aside

6. Set a medium sized pot over medium heat, add granulated white sugarnigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar

7. After about 2-5 minutes, sugar should start dissolving from the outer edgesnigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar

8. Once sugar starts dissolving, don’t stir yet, just shake pot around gentlynigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar

9. After about 2-3 more minutes, sugar should have almost completely dissolved. Reduce heat to low; stir gentlynigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar

10. Add grated coconut to caramelized sugar, still over low heatnigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar

11. Stir grated coconut quickly into caramelized sugar, still over low heatnigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar

12. Keep mixing vigorously, over low heat till most liquid is absorbed and caramelized sugar darkensnigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar

13. Turn heat off, remove pot from hot burner to cool burner, let cool about 5 mins. Using a tablespoon, scoop 1-2 tbsps into palm of your handnigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar

14. Use other hand to quickly roll mixture into a round shapenigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar

15. Repeat steps 13-14 for rest of mixture, set rolled coconut candy on a plate to cool and harden. About 5-10 minutes.nigerian coconut candy, melted sugar, caramelized sugar
16. Once it’s cooled and hardened, you’re done!nigerian coconut candy

Notes:

  1. Using both small and large sides of the grater gives more texture and variety as you’ll have some larger and smaller pieces, making for a better look for the finished product and a varied consistency when eating the coconut candy.
  2. Making the caramelized sugar is not as complicated as it might initially seem. There is also no need to add water to the sugar to help it melt as the sugar will melt all on its own.
  3. Adding water to the caramelizing sugar will make the end result not as sticky and/or hard enough once it cools. It will hold some form of shape but it can easily fall apart/crumble.
  4. It is also important to note the color changes in the melting sugar. Initially, once it starts melting, it will have an almost clear color, like water, but as it continues melting it will go from clear to honey colored and then to a deeper honey, almost amber color.
  5. I find the deeper honey color works best for coconut candy. Once most of the sugar is dissolved it can quickly go from deep honey to dark brown and once it gets to a dark brown color, there will be very noticeable changes in flavor.
  6. The deeper honey color still maintains its sugary sweetness, but once it turns dark brown, that means the sugar is starting to burn and it will most likely have a slightly (if not completely) bitter edge to it, which you definitely do not want for coconut candy.
  7. You really have to pay close attention to the melting sugar and color changes to get the best flavor. That’s why, once the sugar starts to melt considerably, it’s important to turn the heat to low, otherwise, it’ll quickly burn.
  8. Once you add the grated coconut, be sure to mix quickly and thoroughly, so that all the coconut pieces are coated with caramelized sugar. Once the liquid is mostly absorbed, you can keep turn off the heat and remove the pot to a cooler burner.
  9. While the mixture is cooling, you can use a spoon to separate the mixture so it cools evenly. Once you start scooping it into your hand, be sure it’s cool enough for you handle. If it’s too hot to handle, use a tablespoon in the pot to separate and mildly mold the mixture into initial shapes.
  10. You don’t have to make the coconut candy round, you can flatten it and use a cookie cutter to obtain different shapes. For instance, if you were to make this for something like Valentine’s day, you could get a cutter shaped in form of a heart, scoop some mixture, flatten it (not too thick and not too thin) and cut out a heart shape, then let cool and harden.
  11. If your caramelized sugar consistency is right, it should start hardening in a matter of minutes. After anywhere from 5-10 minutes, you should notice hardness, that if you dropped the coconut candy on a plate, it would make a noise.
  12. Also important, is the amount of sugar to grated coconut ratio; I find that 1.5 cups sugar to 2 cups grated coconut makes for a better finished product. If you use equal amounts of sugar to grated coconut, the coconut candy will take a longer time to harden and might never fully harden as there is a little bit too much moisture. So, slightly less sugar to grated coconut.

Substitutes:

  1. You could use granulated light or dark brown sugar instead of granulated white sugar.

Serving Suggestions:

None really! There’s also no sexy way to eat coconut candy made into medium sized round shapes, lol. You could make bite sized round shapes, so you just pop them in your mouth, but with medium sized round shaped coconut candy, you kinda have to start from the corner of your mouth (or wherever your strongest teeth are!) and work your way in!nigerian coconut candy

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Disclaimer:

The Recipe Cost of $8.00 is approximate for me in US dollars, but should be used an estimate only. Please keep price fluctuations & exchange rates in mind. If you’re based in the US, the grocery store(s) you frequent might have the same items cheaper or more expensive than what I purchased.

If you’re international, please keep in mind that exchange rates vary constantly. I recommend using this site to convert it from US dollars to your local currency. You might also have some of the ingredients at home already, thereby reducing the cost.

If you’d prefer to see an individual ingredient cost breakdown, let me know!

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Enjoy…

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Rating: 8.9/10 (10 votes cast)
Nigerian Coconut Candy, 8.9 out of 10 based on 10 ratings

51 Responses to "Nigerian Coconut Candy"

  1. Sara says:

    OMG! This is food porn! lol

    • Yetunde says:

      Lol, feast your eyes or better yet, make a trip to the kitchen and prepare some!

      • bunmi bankole says:

        i’m on my way to the market already, i’ll rather want people to feast on my candy than feast on pictures

        • Yetunde says:

          Hey Bunmi!

          Lol, that definitely works better! Happy grocery shopping!

    • anne says:

      Hey ….im anne from malaysia ,,,i hve married with nigerian ppl my husband from lagos ….so im here wanna try cook this food to him

      • Yetunde says:

        Hi Anne!

        Nice! Go ahead and try it, I’m sure he’ll be delightfully surprised :)

        Let me know if you have any questions!

  2. Amina says:

    Gosh…is it this straight forward? I will certainly give it a try. Thank you.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey lady!

      Been a minute! Hope you’re good! Yup, it is; you’re welcome :)

  3. Elizabeth says:

    These look so yummy! My kids love trying out international recipes… thanks for posting and for the idea :)

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Elizabeth!

      They’re very yummy and even more kid friendly! You’re welcome ;)

  4. Katie says:

    Goodness! What are you trying to do to me. I need to make this ASAP over the weekend. My gym time just doubled. ;)

    • Yetunde says:

      Lol, nothing, omg! Enjoy the extra gym time! ;)

  5. Ms May says:

    I literally just went through all the recipes in one sitting! I am so inspired to try almost everything. I love to cook and modify recipes on my own as well but there nothing like seeing tried and true ways of cooking Nigerian food, and even better MEASUREMENTS! I love it. Really well done – and God bless you as you grow. The evolution from the beginning to now is obvious and its only gotten better. All the best and I’ll be back for sure.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey lady!

      Not sure why your comment was sent to the spam folder, I just saw it, so sorry for the delay!

      Thank you so so much for the kind words, I really appreciate it, and truly do hope to see you around more!! :)

  6. id says:

    Thank you for your very informative posts.

    I have a question, there is another sugar coconut candy made in Nigeria that is lighter than this one, the coconut is usually in chunks. Do you know what it is called? and how to make it?

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Id!

      You’re very welcome! You know, I’m not familiar with that version of Coconut Candy. I will ask my friends/family back home in Lagos and see if they have an idea. Is that version also in a round shape or is it shaped differently? Any extra information is welcome, so I can see if it’s something I can create.

      • id says:

        oh thanks for replying, it is lighter, and flatter not round like this one

        • Yetunde says:

          You’re welcome! I usually reply to most, if not all comments. I haven’t called home yet, but will soon and see if they know anything about it. What does it taste like? I imagine it’s sweet, but any distinct taste or anything?

  7. Wienna says:

    *bump*

    Hmmm…anty Yetty, i thought you promised one post per week. It’s been over a week ma. Hope all’s well?

    • Yetunde says:

      Wienna, Wienna!

      My secret police!! Lol, all is well o, just in the process of moving is all. You only ever comment when I don’t update enh, you try

      Once I’m moved and settled, posting will resume, bad of me I know, but if I don’t update, it’s usually something busy/stressful going on. I’ll make it up for each week missed :)

      • Wienna says:

        Hope it’s not been too stressful for you. May you find peace & comfort in your new home.

        As for my comments, no mind me o. I’m mostly on (ROM-Read Only Mode). So, i only comment when i feel the need to. But don’t worry i go dey comment more often now. Have a nice w’kend.

        • Yetunde says:

          Amen sister! Hoping to see more comments from you, ms. lurker ;)

          Have a great weekend too!

  8. Fran says:

    All the best with moving to your new abode xxx

  9. nifesimi says:

    i loved this candy a lot while i was growing up. The lighter version id was asking about is made the same way the only change is that you use lesser amount of sugar and the flatness is gotten from spreading the mixture of coconut and sugar flat on a sheet of aluminium. and the sugar and the cocunut is addded at the same time. stirring so that the browning is minimised. I like visting this site and would be glad if you can post recipe for frijon. I remember growing up in Lagos it was one of the delicacies for Easter.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Nifesimi!

      Ahh, thanks for the explanation! Glad you enjoy visiting :) I totally had Frejon in mind already for the Easter season and was secretly hoping no one would ask, so I would just spring it as a surprise! Lol, oh well, too late now, but it will be up closer to Easter ;)

  10. Shibu Master says:

    wow this recipe is shibulicious ….it makes even an illiterate luk like a genius in the kitchen
    i’ve got to try this

    • Yetunde says:

      Lol @ your name! … and shibulicious, wow ;)

      Let me know how you like it when you try it!

  11. Ify says:

    Looks really lovely! Thanks for reminding me about one of my childhood weakness! Will definitely try this recipe! Thanks Yetty!

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Ify!

      You’re very welcome! Hope you try and like!! ;)

  12. BIODUN says:

    Hi Yetunde,
    You are a blessing in disguise! the first time I came across this site, my kids thought I was losing my senses.
    I wanted to cook everything I saw. I have a twelve year old son who loves cooking; we were both dribbling looking at all the dishes. You have actually inspired me and my son with all you have posted. Keep up the good work. Now we have variety of dishes to choose from. My boys will now know how fantalizing Nigerian dishes are. Thanks Yetty!

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Biodun!

      Thank you! Lol, at least that’s so great that you both love to cook, so instead of salivating, you can actually make some of the recipes! If you try any, take photos and let me know how it goes!

      You’re very welcoome! :)

  13. Chewing those babies would be fun. It’s a mouth workout. :)

  14. funke says:

    thanks for sharing what you have.good work keep it up.I tried making this but it didn’t come out hard after it cooled down,i really don’t know why cos i followed your procedure,probably the grated cocunut had water in it

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Funke!

      Thank you! If you grated the coconut, it shouldn’t really have water/liquid in it, unless some fell in somehow.

      Was there some water in the sugar or pot when you started melting it? Also, if the sugar didn’t quite get dark brown, that might also be an issue.

      If you try it again, let me know how it goes!

  15. Yusuf Umar says:

    Thanks a million and more, I just stumbled on ths site when I was searching for how to make bread. I am really happy about my find. I enjoyed the articles, accompanied with illustrations/pictures. Please keep up the good work. God bless

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Yusuf!

      You’re very welcome! I’m extremely glad you love the content.

      Will do! :)

  16. Kemi says:

    Coconut candy and ‘sis kpelebe’(groundnut sweet) got me into lots of trouble back then in junior high school. Now my lil gal won’t stop crying if the candy we buy for her finishes. guess d love is heriditary. will definitely make some this weekend.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Kemi!

      Lol, aww, well, she probably got the sweet tooth from you!

  17. offiong says:

    Tnx yetty for d recipe,my mom used to make these candies but she called them sweets,I’m now a mother n she won’t share her recipe! Really appreciate this site n I know my kids r gonna love dis!tnx a million.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Offiong!

      You’re welcome! Lol at your mum not sharing her recipes! Well, now you have it to pass down.

      I bet they’ll love it :)

  18. samuel says:

    I love this receipe, but i always make mistake………. help me out
    Tanx

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Samuel!

      What mistake are you always making? Let me know, I can’t help if I don’t know!

      • Samuel says:

        It always turn to caremel

        • Yetunde says:

          I assume you mean the sugar. In a way, yes…

          • Samuel says:

            yes..u gat it

  19. Mary says:

    I don’t know what went wrong, I followed all the step but the candy was never hard instead it was sticky and was never dry.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Mary!

      If it never hardened, the issue would come from the consistency of the melted sugar. Few questions:
      -Did you let the sugar turn to a deeper honey color before adding the grated coconut?
      -When you added the coconut, did you turn the heat to low?
      -Did you let it cool a bit, before rolling?

      If you tried that and it still didn’t harden, still roll and put in the fridge to get cold and that should help it harden faster.

      Hope that helps!

  20. Mary says:

    Hi yetunde. Thanks for your reply. I will try it again and see what happens.

    • Yetunde says:

      Good luck! Looking forward to knowing how it goes…

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