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: (The way my mother did 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.
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.
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 :-)
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.