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Old Fashioned Coconut Ice Squares

Old Fashioned Coconut Ice Squares

Stack of coconut ice pinit
Coconut ice on plate

Coconut ice is British confection that we also adopted in New Zealand. It is basically shredded or desiccated coconut and some form of sugar. Traditional coconut ice is made with boiled sugar syrup which is the method my recipe follows. The more modern and easier way is to replaced the boiled sugar mixture with condensed milk. I will be sharing a version of this coconut ice on my blog at a later time. This version of old fashioned coconut ice is what I made with my Mum growing up and is from the Edmond’s Cookery Book.

Stack of coconut ice

Old fashioned coconut ice ingredients

The ingredients in coconut ice are very simple and could be considered pantry staples in a number of homes. It is the manipulation of these ingredients that creates the magic soft candy like consistency.

  • Powdered sugar
  • Whole milk
  • Salted butter
  • Shredded coconut
  • Pink food coloring
Old fashioned coconut ice ingredients

Tips for making old fashioned coconut ice

  1. Start with the heat on low when dissolving your powdered sugar and melting the butter during the first step in the process. If you have the heat up too high when dissolving the sugar the final product will have a ‘grainy’ texture.
  2. Once the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Do NOT stir the mixture during the boiling stage. Stirring the mixture during the boiling stage will also cause a graininess If you need to you can swirl the pot gently to stop it from burning.
  3. Once the sugar has reached ‘soft ball’ stage, remove the pot from the heat immediately to stop the cooking process. If the sugar continues to cook the end product will be harder than desired. Soft ball stage can be measured using a candy thermometer, or by dropping a spoonful of hot syrup into ice cold water. When using a candy thermometer the sugar is ready when temperature reaches 235°F. If using the water test, the mixture is ready once a spoonful of hot syrup dropped into ice cold water can be easily formed into a ball while in the water but flattens once removed from the water.
  4. This recipe makes eight 2 x 2″ squares, which is not a lot. You can easily double or triple the recipe to make more. The original recipe is perfect for a 8 x 4″ baking pan. However, if you do not have a baking pan that size you can always use a 8 x 8″ pan and only spread the mixture on half of the surface as I have done here.
Old fashioned coconut ice in pan

Want to try some other classic New Zealand recipes?

Check out these other favorites from my archives.

Lamington sliced in half with jam and cream
Strawberry Lamingtons
Three Anzac biscuits on cooling rack with biscuit to the side with bite missing
Anzac Biscuits

Let me know your thoughts on this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to tag us in your photos on social media @mandy.macc.bakes.

Old fashioned coconut ice Pinterest graphic

Old Fashioned Coconut Ice Squares

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 5 min Cook Time 8 min Rest Time 1 hour Total Time 1 hr 13 mins Servings: 8


This old fashioned coconut ice recipe follows the traditional method of combining boiled sugar syrup and shredded coconut to create a soft, sweet bite.



  1. Combine icing sugar, milk and butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan

  2. Stir continuously over a low heat until powdered sugar is completely dissolved and butter melted

  3. Increase heat to medium and bring mixture to a boil. Do not stir

  4. Boil until the mixture reaches soft ball stage or 235 F on a candy thermometer

  5. Remove the pot from the heat

  6. Dump coconut on top of sugar mixture and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Do not stir

  7. Once cool, stir in the coconut 

  8. Add 1/2 of the mixture to another bowl and add the food coloring

  9. Beat the colored mixture until it starts to thicken then immediately pour into a parchment lined pan

  10. Beat the remaining 1/2 of the mixture until thick and spread over top of the pink layer

  11. Allow to completely cool then cut into squares


An 8 x 4" loaf pan is the perfect size for this recipe. If you do not have an 8 x 4" loaf pan you can use an 8 x 8" pan and spread the mixture over half of the surface as I have in the pictures in the above post

Keywords: Coconut ice, Coconut, Candy

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