Jamaican Coconut Drops - by Rosemarie Gordon-Cole
When in Jamaica, stop and take a look around; There's a good chance that you'll see at least one coconut tree. Like other tropical islands, we have lot's of them. I guess it is for this very reason that coconut derived snacks are so popular here. One such snack is an old-time favourite (and mine too) is called coconut drops.
Preparation for this snack varies based on your taste or how adventurous you are. Time will not permit me to detail all the variations but here are two of my favorites.
Recipe #1: This is how my mother does it:
- 1 dried coconut
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger (add or subtract based on your taste)
- 1 cup water
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large green banana leaves
- Break the coconut shell using whatever method is easier for you. My mother’s choice of tool is normally a hammer.
- Husked coconut from its shell and diced into ½ inch squares.
- Wash diced coconut
- Add sugar, ginger and salt and water in a “dutch pot” or a sauce pan.
- Boil until liquid becomes sticky, stirring constantly so as to avoid the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- You will need to prepare the banana leaves before cooking is completed.
- Wash banana leaves and allow to drain.
- Pass leaves over low heat allowing the leaves to quail. This allows the natural oil in the leaves to come out causing it to act the same way greased paper would.
- The mixture is cooked when the sugar is caramelized. Using a large spoon scoop mixture and drop on banana leaves.
- Allow to cool and serve.
This yields about twelve (12) large drops.
So I have given you my mother’s way of making coconut drops. Here is another way you can prepare it...
- 2 cups diced coconut
- 2½ cups brown sugar
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- In a large saucepan, combine coconut, sugar, water, ginger, salt, vanilla and nutmeg.
- Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent lumping or burning.
- To test if mixture is ready, take a teaspoon full of the mixture and drop into cold water, it should form a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water.
- After cooking is completed, scoop out small mounds onto grease paper and allow to cool.
One awesome thing about cooking is the flexibility to add and subtract ingredients to suit your taste. I have seen recipes for coconut drops that include cider vinegar. If you want to jazz it up a bit you could use food coloring and remove the brown skin :-)
And this addition is a favorite with my grandfather, he likes when my mother adds some brandy to the mixture. Well, whatever you choose to add to your mixture, have fun and enjoy our Jamaican Coconut Drops.
See Also: Pictures of Jamaican Food
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