I was going to do a week three recap of Law School, but I’m reserving judgement until after one full month has passed. One of the people in my class posted this graphic from tumblr that basically sums up my thoughts right now, anyhow:
So, recipe time. This could have been paleo or vegan, I guess, if I’d found a way around sweetened condensed milk. I’m sure that xylitol caramel and greek yogurt or something could have done the trick… but Bill had the brilliant idea to try and replicate these coconut candies he gets from El Salvador and I didn’t think twice about what they most tasted like.
I apologize for the photo quality. Most are stills taken from a video Bill made me promise never to share. Additionally, many steps do not have photos. I’ll be more diligent next time!
One coconut makes one Chinese takeout soup container full of candies. (Like those measurements? Yeah, you do.) In addition, at the end of this recipe you’ll have the candies AND sticky coconut caramel AND sweet coconut milk-liquid that tastes AMAZING over your favorite hot cereal. You’ll need:
-1 (or more, if you’re very patient/hungry) coconut
-1 can of sweetened condensed milk (per coconut)
-A machete, hammer, both, or some other coconut-cracking device
-A good knife
-A food dehydrator
-A sense of humor
Prep Time: Depending on how quick you can skin a coconut, a few hours and then at least one overnight soak
Dehydrator Time: At least 24 hours
Cut the top of the coconut and drain the water.
(Pro-tip: Should you have a bellyache, add lime to the water and drink it all up. It’ll make you feel better.)
Once drained, crack the coconut WIDE open. We used a hammer on our concrete steps for this part. Your mileage may vary.
Set about removing the white coconut flesh from the hard outer shell AND the thin dark one. If this taking FUCKING FOREVER, you know you’re doing it right. You’ll want to keep the pieces as big as possible because it makes for nicer candies. Our method involved prying the flesh away with a sharp knife and then using a potato peeler on the remaining rind bits. Please share in the comments if you know a better way!
Slice the coconut into ribbon-like strips. You don’t want them to be TOO thin, but they should probably be about as thick as the rim of a mason jar or… I don’t know, a good piece of cardboard… 1/4 centimeter? Sounds about right. Ribbon-like but not paper thin. They dry best this way.
Put the coconut strips in a bowl. We let them stay in the bowl (covered with a cutting board) overnight because I’d forgotten to buy sweetened condensed milk and I think this served the purpose of making them dryer (and thereby more absorbent), but I’m sure you could just proceed to the next step.
Dump a can of sweetened condensed milk ALL OVER that coconut. Yeeeeeeah, buddy. Don’t eat it with a spoon. I know you want to, but try to resist. If you can’t hold off, I’m told the recipe does not suffer from munching on a few coated raw coconut bits. Mix everything well so that it’s coated evenly. Cover it, put it back in the fridge, and leave it overnight. We left it for two nights, but I think one would do the trick.
If you have fruit roll trays for your dehydrator, now is a great time to use them. Parchment paper might also work, idk. If you’re going to try to do this in an oven, a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper is a good call. Grab the coconut out of the bowl by the handful. Squeeze out SOME excess liquid, but don’t worry too much about it, since having extra milk on the trays means extra sticky caramel for you later. Spread the coconut over the tray so that everything lays flat and nothing overlaps. For one coconut, we used two circular dehydrator trays. Reserve the excess coconut-infused liquid and serve over hot cereal. (Theeeeere’s dulce numero uno!)
Turn the dehydrator on! We set it to 135 degrees and left it for 24 hours. I suppose an oven at the lowest setting would have the same effect. Check periodically to see how they’re coming along. Taste tests are encouraged.
Once they’re turning golden, pluck those babies off the sheets and put them in a refrigerator-friendly container with a cover. (Dulce numero dos: the intended product!)
Ours probably could have waited more than 24-hours. I maintain that two days would have been better… but it WAS really hard to wait that long and they WERE delicious after one day.
Scrape the AMAAAAAAAZING sticky coconut-infused dehydrated sweetened condensed milk from the trays. I ate it with a spoon and regretted not making more, but I’m sure you could shape it into pretty little candies if you had better self control. (DULCE NUMERO TRES! FTW!)
So, there you have it, kids! Food adventure of the week. Hope you enjoy as much as we do… especially because this recipe is a contender for our Christmas baskets, provided we can find a better way to skin a coconut… and a way to resist eating them all before they’re really done. Hrm.