Memelos (Lollipops Filled with Coconut Fudge)

Memelos (Lollipops filled with coconut fudge)Memelos or palitos de coco (lollipops filled with coconut fudge), a childhood favorite, at first glance 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 to 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, cacos or churumbeles. Or perhaps it’s a regional name. I just knew them as caramelos rellenos de dulce.

Memelos (Lollipops filled with coconut fudge)

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?

Memelos (Lollipops filled with coconut fudge)

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 time.

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.

Memelos (Lollipops filled with coconut fudge)

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.

Buen provecho!

Aunt Clara
Memelos - Palitos de Coco Recipe (Lollipops Filled with Coconut Fudge)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Memelos - palitos de coco recipe (lollipops filled with coconut fudge) are like nothing you've tried before. Hard caramel cover and coconutty inside.
Serves: 16 pops (aprox)
To cover the cookie sheet and hands
  • Oil spray, or 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (corn, or canola)
For the filling
  • 2 cups of dry coconut flakes
  • ¾ cup of full fat condensed milk
For the caramel
  • 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)
You'll also need
  • 16 lollipop sticks, or bamboo skewers cut in half
  • Food-safe plastic film
  • 1 yd of thin red ribbon
  1. Oil a flat surface or large cookie sheet.
Making the filling
  1. Heat the condensed milk in an iron pot over medium heat.
  2. Simmer stirring until it thickens (like yogurt) and turns a light caramel color.
  3. Mix in the coconut flakes and remove from the heat.
  4. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature on a previously-oiled surface.
  5. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, cover your hands with a bit of oil. Place a tablespoon of the mixture in the palm of your hands and form balls with it.
  6. Insert the candy sticks into the balls.
  7. Reserve.

Making the hard caramel cover
  1. 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).
  2. Cover the balls in the caramel.
  3. Shake off the excess and put them on a a silpat or oiled surface (like a cookie tray).
  4. If the cover is too thin you can do a second pass starting with the first lollipop.
  5. 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.
  6. Let it cool to room temperature before eating.

If you can find them in your local store buy a real coconut instead, grate and dry by spreading it on a cooking tray and baking at the minimum heat your oven will allow, making sure they do not change color.
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{ 39 comments… add one }

  • montgomery February 8, 2014, 8:08 PM

    hello, i was wondering to make the caramel, can i still do it without corn syrup? and how long ahead of time can be make and how to storage?

  • kid cook May 12, 2013, 2:16 PM

    hey how long does the carmel take to make i have two hours left is that long enough ???

  • Kid Cook May 11, 2013, 12:05 PM

    sorry about them going twice the first onke wouldn’t show up so i retyped it silly of me
    Kid Cook

  • Kid Cook May 11, 2013, 12:03 PM

    Hey Aunt Clara,
    I am doing my Social Studies Latin America report on Dominica. I have been to Dominica but it was a few years ago. When I looked up memelos i couldn’t find any background information on them. So I have already done my report but I was wondering if you knew anymore on the subject or anything really unique only a person who has been there quite a few times would know about Dominica than please respond. I am making these for my class and everyone already knows about them and are a big hit so hopefully they will work. If you have any other tips on making them please let me know because I don’t want to fail my class.

    Kid Cook

  • jon October 29, 2012, 11:03 PM

    My grandmother makes these all the time, growing up they were a favorite. In fact she made some today. She uses both condensed and evaporated milk in hers, might want to give that a try. She used to make these and sell them in the Dr.

    • Suzanne November 1, 2012, 1:15 AM


      Can you share what brand/s your grandmother uses for the condensed and evaporated milk? I wonder if there’s a difference….I used a generic store brand when I made this recipe and it didn’t thicken….maybe the brand is the key?

      Aunt Clara, what kind of evaporated milk do you use?

      Thank you!

      • Aunt Clara November 1, 2012, 8:49 AM

        I used Carnation, not the skim one, the regular one. Make sure your evaporated milk is full fat.

  • Estefani October 29, 2012, 1:03 PM

    in the middle of making mine right now! live in the UK and usually ask my mom for recipes then she found this website and I love it!!!!!!!!! thank u for all these recipes!

    I have no issues with the milk getting thick, I brought it to the boil and then let it simmer for about half an hour stirring occ. and it is now really getting thick!!

    I’ll let u know how they turn out!

    muchaassss graciiasssss tia! xxxx

  • Margot August 6, 2012, 9:49 AM

    My sister’s favorite Dominican sweet! I’m surprising her today with some “churumbeles” (that’s how we call them). Thanks for the recipe.

  • Suzanne April 23, 2012, 8:58 PM

    I am another one that thought I followed the recipe to a T and the filling hasn't thickened. My milk wasn't old, I double checked all my ingredients, I boiled it for over an hour, I used organic cane sugar, and now I just believe there's too much milk. I wonder if there should really be 3 cups and not 5…but then, my milk never thickened up much so not sure reducing the milk would help. Any help would be appreciated because I would like to make this again.

    Thank you!

    • Aunt Clara April 25, 2012, 2:41 PM

      Suzanne, the trick is patience. If I tell you to raise the heat the milk will overboil, that is it has to be boiled for so long. However, I cannot account for every variation in temperature, every pot, every stove. Trust me, boil it enough and it will thicken. There is no two ways about it.

      I might experiment with another choice of ingredients for those without enough time/patience. Please wait for it next week as I will have to modify this recipe, but first need some experimenting.

    • kid cook May 12, 2013, 2:14 PM

      hey i dubled the resipe and it took an hour and a half to thicken so you need to be more paitent

  • Isabella April 22, 2012, 9:04 AM

    I have tried to cook it like it said it didn't work. I tried to do what carol did it didn't work. I don't know what to do now help!!!

    • Aunt Clara April 22, 2012, 9:23 AM

      I would love to try and help you, but your comment tells me nothing about what could have gone wrong. Can you tell me more than "didn't work"?

  • Sophia Bella Ramirez October 30, 2011, 8:15 PM

    I'm having a MAJOR issue getting it to thicken, either it boils over or it won't thicken…I don't have 3 hours to wait for this JUST to thicken…help would be extraordinary

    • Aunt Clara November 14, 2011, 4:14 AM

      More time, depending on a number of things this will take quite a long time to thicken.

  • mina May 23, 2011, 2:49 PM

    These were my favorite when I was a kid growing up in Santiago …. they were filled with coconut ..

  • Aunt Clara May 13, 2011, 12:02 AM

    Rebecca, since I cannot account for what type of stove all of you have, the answer is that you needed to let it boil longer. Eventually it *has* to get thicker, there's no two ways about it.

  • Rebecca May 12, 2011, 5:40 PM

    I really wanted to make these for my daughter's Kindergarten class. I'm going in to talk about the DR and merengue. After 40 minutes and attempting to add more sugar, the milk/sugar recipe did not thicken. Such a disappointment. I live nowhere near a place where I can purchase Dominican Fudge or a Dominican treat to share. Please make sure this is the correct recipe. I see that someone else had this problem, too.

  • Crystal April 5, 2011, 1:45 PM

    Hi this recipe sounds really good i cant wait to make it. I'm in a vocational high school and my culinary arts instructor asked for some students to bring in a recipe and i think this would actually be fun and fairly easy to make. every one would love a sweet treat like this <3

  • Ismael Fernandez April 5, 2011, 11:35 AM

    We use to call it Pilones .. I love this site

    • Aunt Clara April 14, 2011, 1:03 AM

      Pilones are the hard candies with no filling. It is made with the caramel used to cover this one.

  • Lauris m March 31, 2011, 4:57 AM

    Hi aunt Clara! I have been fallowing and using your recipes for over 6 yrs..I love the new wedsite. I did these recipe, as I was cooking the filling I was wondering, could I use condense milk instead of carnation?. Also I wish I could download my pic too here ( I am very proud of it! )

    Thank you so much!!

  • natasha March 30, 2011, 1:06 PM

    sorry for interrupting but which one is better.. Jalaos or Memelos?

  • rosilet March 26, 2011, 5:21 AM

    I was dying for these candies when I was a child! I will deffinitely do this recipe!

    Tks for bringing such warm and nice recuerdos!


  • Aunt Clara March 7, 2011, 11:55 AM

    Sorry for the delay in replying, I missed this.

    It takes up to an hour over medium heat. And yes, they are very sweet, at least for me they are, but they are supposed to be a once-in-a-while treat.

  • Carol February 28, 2011, 3:01 PM

    I did not give up. They look funny and are crazy sweet, but a success none the less. Just curious, how long is is supposed to take for the milk and sugar to thicken? Thank you so much for your support and patience :-)

  • Carol February 27, 2011, 12:45 PM

    The milk didn't thicken so after 40 minutes of cooking I added the coconut. It didn't work, but it will be a nice touch to a chocolate cake…kind of like Germand chocolate without the nuts lol. I followed the recipe to a T and even used a cast iron pot. I'm convinced that it is the milk. How long should you cook the milk before it thickens?

    • Aunt Clara February 28, 2011, 7:09 AM

      I am baffled, perhaps we need Nancy Drew. :) I had no problem whatsoever with this part of the recipe, in fact it was rather easy.

  • Carol February 27, 2011, 9:58 AM

    Wow thanks for the quick answer! I am using regular white cane sugar and regular evaporated milk (not fat reduced). I'm thinking that maybe one of the cans was old? The expiry date was very near. I put the mixture in the fridge to thicken it up. It didn't really work, the mixture is like glue. I have added another cup oif sugar and put it back on the stove. We'll see what happens lol. Worst case scenario, it will be good as a topping for a chocolate cake :-) I will try again next weekend end.

    • Aunt Clara February 27, 2011, 11:10 AM

      Did you add the coconut flakes and cooked them? They are to be added after the milk thickens to yogurt-like consistency.

  • Carol February 27, 2011, 7:33 AM

    Good morning Aunt Clara :-)

    I decided to make this recipe because I love these and when it is cold (like today) it reminds me of Cabarete.

    However, the quantities seem to be off. The coconut fudge does not thicken. I uped the sugar to 3 cups and it finally thickened and put 4 cups of coconut. It is still cooliing so I don't know if it will work or not

    I will let you know.

    • Aunt Clara February 27, 2011, 8:20 AM

      Carol, not all sugars are created equal, and it's pretty hard to account for all types. If you are using beet sugar, for example, it's possible that it is not as concentrated as cane sugar. What kind of milk are you using, and what is the fat content?

  • Jalice February 26, 2011, 1:09 PM

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I live in New York and even though I have gone to the Bronx, I never been able to find a place where these are sold. These remind me so much of the beach in Boca Chica where vendors would sell seafood and memelos. Such great memories. Thanks for sharing I will deifinitely make this!!!!!!

  • Anita February 18, 2011, 9:44 PM

    This reminds me of a dulce from Bani in D.R called " Casco". I remember going to D.R every summer when I was growing up and my grandma would make these all the time. Delish ! Soo glad I found this reciepe and will give it a try ! I love this site !

  • Aunt Clara February 9, 2011, 5:06 PM

    I would love to know how they turn out Karina.

  • Karina February 9, 2011, 2:49 PM

    I'm so making these!!!

  • Dominicana February 8, 2011, 5:35 AM

    ay dios mio. i haven't seen that in like 40 years.