This is my version of a great sweet treat I had on the road to Hana when I was in Hawaii.
It is a simple candy made from cooking slices of fresh coconut in sugar and water until it absorbs the sugar water and dries out.
You will need:
- a fresh coconut-flesh removed shell and sliced
- water to just cover
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar or agave to sweeten
Step 1: crack open the coconut with a hammer. My coconut was an easy open coconut which had a line etched around the shell so a few good whacks with the bottom of a heavy pan and mine cracked open.
Step 2: get the meat out. I put my coconut halves in a 250 degree F oven for 20 minutes and the oven dried out the meat just enough so it shrank a bit and I could then easily pry most of it from the shell with a dull rounded knife.
Step 4: very carefully slice coconut into shavings with a mandolin or a food processor. The pieces are unusually shaped and can easily slip if you are using a mandolin so be very careful to avoid cutting yourself. This is the part that takes patience. I also sliced off the brown edge of most of my coconut you can keep it or remove it.
Step 5: place your slices in a pan or oven proof dish and just cover with water. Add sugar (I added only 1/4 cup of sugar but, normally it's quite sweet so you can add more) The sugar and water will create a syrup that will coat the coconut as it dries in the oven. You can also do this slowly in a pot on the stove if you prefer. You are cooking the coconut in a simple syrup until it all evaporates and then you dry it out to store it.
Step 6: cook for 1 hour in a 250 degree F oven. Stir occasionally. Continue to cook for another hour or so until all the water evaporates. The coconut will brown slightly as it cooks, don't forget to toss from time to time. Once all the water has evaporated and it is pretty much dry, remove from oven and place on a plate or spread out on a pan to dry in the air. Once dried you can store in a sealed container for ages. You can eat it as candy or you can process it in a food processor and use it in baking or cooking.
It brings me back to the long winding road to Hana.