At first glance this childhood favorite might not seem a good fit as a recipe for our Two Weeks of Valentine. Maybe if you give it a second glance you’ll see how it totally is.
These lollipops were kids’ favorites a couple of decades back, although they didn’t seem to be so common in my hometown I found them more often when I was living in Santo Domingo, and never missed the chance to buy a couple because it might be a while until I found another vendor and satisfy my cravings.
A few years ago I decided to add the recipe to our site, and to be honest I had to make up the recipe, as I couldn’t find anyone who knew how to make them. This is not something people make at home. In the course of my research, though, I found an interesting piece of information: these are called memelos. Or perhaps it’s a regional name. I just knew them as caramelos rellenos de dulce.
More often than not the ones I bought were filled with dulce de leche, or milk fudge, but at least once I found one filled with coconut and milk fudge, it totally blew my mind.
Preparing them turned out easier than I originally imagined, and best of all, you can get more than a dozen from the ingredients listed. So how about you wrap them in some pretty film, tie a pretty ribbon and go spreading some sweetness and love amongst friends and co-workers?
These are like no lollipops you've ever tried before. Hard caramel cover and soft and coconutty inside. An instant favorite.
- Oil spray, or 1 teaspoon of oil
- 1 coconut (dry)
- 5 cups of full fat evaporated milk (never skim)
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of sugar
- 4 tablespoons of water
- 12 drops of red food coloring
- 1 cup of dark corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon of coconut flavoring (optional)
- 16 lollipop sticks, or bamboo skewers cut in half
- Food-safe plastic film
- 1 yd of thin red ribbon
- Oil a flat surface or large cookie sheet.
- Break the coconut shell (I threw it against a concrete floor, it split in half).
- Scoop out the coconut meat from the shell, careful as there might be sharp edges on the shell.
- Using a potato peeler remove the brown skin on the outside of the meat. Using a food processor shred the coconut.
- If you have one of those fancy thingamajigs for dehydrating food, use it; since I don't have one, I used my oven. I pre-heated the oven to 200 °F (90°C), turn it off and put the grated coconut inside spread out on a baking tray.
- Once the oven cools down take the coconut out, re-heat oven and repeat until the flakes are dry and separate. You should obtain at least 3 cups. Reserve.
- Mix the milk and sugar in an iron pot and bring to a boil.
- Stir regularly to avoid sticking and burning. Be careful that it does not overboil.
- When it thickens enough that it sticks to the spoon, it should have the consistency of greek yogurt (which may take up to an hour), remove from the fire.
- Add two cups of coconut flakes and mix well.
- Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature on a previously-oiled surface.
- Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, put a tablespoon of the mixture in the palm of your hands and form balls with it.
- Insert the candy sticks into the balls.
- Mix sugar, flavoring, coloring, water and syrup in a saucepan and boil over medium heat. Insert a food thermometer at the beginning and remove saucepan from the fire when it reaches 265 °F (130°C).
- Cover the balls in the caramel.
- Shake off the excess and put them on a a silpat or oiled surface (like a cookie tray).
- If the cover is too thin you can do a second pass starting with the first lollipop.
- If the caramel starts to harden before you finish return to the fire until it melts again. Be careful not to go too far or it will burn.
- Let it cool to room temperature before eating.
I will be the first to tell you that making hard caramel is more difficult that it seems, hence my suggestion of using a thermometer. If you have some experience you will almost certainly be able to eyeball it, otherwise use a thermometer as you will have a hard time getting it right the first times.
You must also have to be careful, caramel gets very hot, and if you spill any on yourself you'll probably get badly burned. The same goes for the fudge. This might be a kids' favorite, but kids have no business in the kitchen while you're making them.
Having said that, I had a lot of fun making these, and so should you. And kids can help you wrap them. Little fingers come handy when you need to tie those tiny bows.
You can save yourself the trouble and buy coconut flakes if you can find them in your local stores. I found a real coconut instead, all the better, because I like the taste of fresh coconut.