So yes it is back to Phase 2 (heightened alert) in Singapore, also known as pseudo-circuit breaker. I guess we were anticipating the step back towards lockdown given the horrifying explosion of Covid-19 cases in India with a huge spillover to surrounding countries. It has been worrying seeing the different clusters forming and spilling into schools. After having a good few months of reorienting ourselves to increased in person gatherings, it was sobering to be back to restricted gatherings of only 2 people and closure of all in-house dining. Shops are still open however and so although there was a brief flurry of toilet-paper buying, there wasn’t the same degree of panic buying compared to last year’s lockdown.
Looking back to early 2020 I remember that although we never were short of food, there were some odd shortages. Frozen vegetables were somehow off the shelves and flour and sugar was amazingly short since everybody had become home bakers. What a long way we’ve come.
These few weeks I discovered however an unexplainable shortage of grated coconut. I had been planning on making coconut candy but somehow both NTUC and Cold Storage had run out of the fresh chilled grated coconut. Thankfully Tekka market is still the one place to find fresh coconut and there was plenty there.
This coconut candy recipe is a throwback to my childhood. This was one of those happy snacks that was common in Malaysia and Singapore, but somehow seems to be rarely seen now. Certainly my kids don’t seem to remember eating this when they were little. I love the pretty pink of this candy; my memories of this retro candy are that of pink or green blocks of sugary goodness. I think we used to see this candy at night markets (pasar malams) or even at fun fairs. This coconut candy was popular in the 1970s-1980s because it was cheap and only required a few ingredients. I suppose people are so much more conscious of their sugar intake now and so this snack would have dropped out of favor.
Making the candy low carb was actually not that difficult. It is possible to make condensed milk from scratch with sugar substitutes. In the end the one thing that made this recipe a little difficult was the actual time needed at the stove with lots of stirring. Still it was so nice to see dear hubs’ response to the candy. It was nostalgic for him too – and he even had a fourth helping, making poor helper D go back and forth from the fridge to the table to give him more and more pieces of coconut candy.
Walking down memory lane was one of the best things about making this coconut candy. The next time I will probably double the recipe to give away to other nostalgic friends!
Low Carb Coconut Candy
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup Swerve confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 2 2/3 cups of fresh grated coconut
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup condensed milk
- 1/2 cup sugar substitute (I used erythritol)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp red or green food colouring
- To make the condensed milk, bring the heavy whipping cream to a boil, then gently simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently till the liquid has reduced to about 1/2 cup. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and confectioner’s sugar till dissolved. Add the xanthan gum and stir till thickened. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
- In a large saucepan, mix the milk, condensed milk, grated coconut, sugar substitute, butter and vanilla essence and stir for about 20-25 minutes over low heat. The coconut mixture should be relatively dry, and will tend to clump in large chunks when ready.
- Line a container with cling wrap and press the coconut mixture into the container. Allow it to cool for about 1/2 hour.
- With a sharp knife, make cuts in the candy so that the pieces are in 1 – 1.5 inch width and length. Lift the cling wrap out of the container and gently separate the pieces of candy. The candy can be kept in the fridge if not consumed immediately.