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.
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?
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.
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.
- Oil spray , or 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (corn, or canola)
- 3/4 cup of full fat condensed milk
- 2 cups of dry coconut flakes
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of coconut flavoring (optional)
- 12 drops of red food coloring
- 4 tablespoons of water
- 1 cup of dark corn syrup
- 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.
Heat the condensed milk in an iron pot over medium heat.
Simmer stirring until it thickens (like yogurt) and turns a light caramel color.
Mix in the coconut flakes and remove from the heat.
Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature on a previously-oiled surface.
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.
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.
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.