If anything can move fast, it has got to be time. I certainly have a hard time keeping up with it and now that it's almost mid-December here I am writing my final recipe for the year (there'll be one more post this week from me sharing some of my favorite holiday recipes). We're taking a long and much needed trip to visit my family in India. A big family reunion and a fun wedding, it is going to be fun time. While, I'm away a couple of my wonderful blogger friends are going to take over and share their delicious food with you. So stay tuned for those exciting posts in the upcoming weeks to follow. I'll be sharing photographs from my India trip on Instagram , so do stop by.
I'm excited to go back to Bombay (Mumbai) and Goa. This is also M's first time, so we have to do a few touristy things on this trip, sadly no trips to Agra to see the Taj Mahal this time but we have plans to see a ton of other fun places and eat a whole lot of food. We also have a wedding, my not-so-baby cousin has decided to celebrate her wedding in Goa so this is also going to be one big party! Needless to say, since we're celebrating Christmas with my family, I may have sent a few "subtle" hints to relevant family members on what I would like to eat when I arrive. Most of the dishes I've requested are traditional recipes served at Christmas though I'd be happy to eat other items they are willing to prepare. I'm not one to refuse a kind offer, especially the food-related kind!
It would only be fitting that I share this coconut toffee recipe with you since I'll be in Goa in a few weeks. Goan food uses a lot of coconuts, coconut trees in Goa are as abundant as lemon and orange trees in the San Francisco Bay Area, they're everywhere. This is one of my favorite desserts that my mom's side of the family makes often at Christmas. They are sweet and decadent and a little bite goes a long way.
Here are some of my kitchen tips while preparing this little treat at home;
- Use fresh coconut if possible, if you can't find it you can use dried but in either case always use unsweetened shredded.
- I use pure unbleached cane sugar in this recipe, I find raw brown sugar to overwhelm the delicate taste of coconut.
- Stirring to prevent burning is critical in this recipe as is reaching the soft-ball temperature of 240F. At this point the mixture solidifies correctly to form one little delicious candy.
yields: approximately 54 pieces (each 1.5 X 1 inch in size)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter + a little extra for greasing the pan
2 cups (14 ounces) packed unsweetened fresh coconut grated/shredded (or 11 ounces dry coconut grated/shredded)
1 cup 2% milk
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom, freshly ground (optional)
2 tablespoons almond flour
1 tablespoon rose water (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1. Line 9X9 square baking pan with 12X9 rectangle of parchment paper and then grease it with the extra butter.
2. Place the 4 tablespoons of butter, coconut, milk and sugar in a thick bottomed saucepan. Heat on a medium-high flame and bring to boil. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula until the sugar completely dissolves. If you decide to add the cardamom, add it now, otherwise move to step 3.
3. Continue to heat the contents of the pan with constant stirring. Keep heating and stirring until the temperature reaches 240F, the mixture will begin to brown and the sugars will caramelize a little (it is important to stir as you proceed to prevent burning), quickly fold in the almond flour. Cook for one additional minute with constant stirring. The mixture will be relatively liquid free and will start to come off from the sides of the pan in a ball (just like preparing marzipan at home). Remove from stove and fold the rose water in to the mixture. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to the greased baking pan. Using an offset spatula or butterknife spread and smoothen the coconut mixture to cover the entire surface of the pan evenly. Allow the coconut toffee to cool completely.
4. Remove the cooled coconut toffee from the pan by releasing it from the sides of the pan with a sharp paring knife. Lift the coconut toffee out using the parchment paper. Cut into 1.5X1 inch rectangles or 1 X 1 inch squares (or any size you like). Serve the toffee at room temperature. Store the extra in an airtight container at room temperature.