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.
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
Tips for making old fashioned coconut ice
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Want to try some other classic New Zealand recipes?
Check out these other favorites from my archives.
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Old Fashioned Coconut Ice Squares
This old fashioned coconut ice recipe follows the traditional method of combining boiled sugar syrup and shredded coconut to create a soft, sweet bite.
Combine icing sugar, milk and butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan
Stir continuously over a low heat until powdered sugar is completely dissolved and butter melted
Increase heat to medium and bring mixture to a boil. Do not stir
Boil until the mixture reaches soft ball stage or 235 F on a candy thermometer
Remove the pot from the heat
Dump coconut on top of sugar mixture and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Do not stir
Once cool, stir in the coconut
Add 1/2 of the mixture to another bowl and add the food coloring
Beat the colored mixture until it starts to thicken then immediately pour into a parchment lined pan
Beat the remaining 1/2 of the mixture until thick and spread over top of the pink layer
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