Coconut ice reminds me so much of my early school years. We would have fair days where everyone would bring a plate of food to share with all of the students. Naturally time poor mothers (most of them really!) were looking for simple fare to shove in the kids hands on the way to school. There would be cupcakes, teacakes, fruit cakes, slices, chocolate crackles and a whole variety of sweets.
What we could count on every year was coconut ice. Simple to make with the kids, easy to ship off wrapped in whatever you had at hand. We could rely on there being at least a few plates of coconut ice. All with different shades of pink and shapes. Squares and diamonds dominated. Colours ranged from a soft romantic pink right through to the ‘I only had red food dye / I have bad eye sight’ varieties.
Thankfully colour does not affect taste. I made certain of that! To check I would sample them all, just in case one was more special than the other. And then just to be sure, I would sample them again to ensure it was a fair judgement the first time around. Of course all were very tasty on both the first, second and sometimes third helpings. Being a very multi cultural school back in the early 90’s, a lot of the more common Australian sweets were left untouched as the kids didn’t trust the treat. More for me!
Coconut ice is a simple no bake recipe that you can whack together in 5 minutes even with sticky little fingers in the way. Kids will love stirring the pink food colouring through half of the mixture. If the kids have cabin fever from rainy weather or long school holidays, this recipe is a great way to keep them occupied. You can change-up the colours for different holidays such as using red and green for christmas or green and white for St Patrick’s day. Anything goes!
The coconut ice pieces are somehow soft and moist as well has having a texture that is firm enough to hold its shape when cut. Because of this it stores well for travel thrown into tupperware or wrapped in cling film/aluminum foil. Just don’t blame me if you leave it in the back seat with the kids and it doesn’t make it to your intended destination.
While I enjoy the sweetness of this, lets be frank, no one makes it for its healthy properties. Most people know what they are getting into. The impending sugar high that is likely to ensure if given to children… is not for all kids. This is a high sugar content treat. Small slices for little kids only is my recommendation. Big slices for naughty kids you are returning to your friend/in-laws/evil siblings houses.
Some points to note when making your coconut ice:
- Do not over use your dye. Each food colour type differs on the volume to use and the strength of your colour can vary greatly. I use liquid gel colours and dip a bamboo skewer tip into the vial. It is then spread a few strokes at a time with a stir in between before adding more colour. If using liquid dye drops, use one drop at a time only and stir between drops. You may find you need less than you need;
- I prefer a slightly deeper slab of coconut ice. Using a pyrex 20x20cm pan works well for deeper slices. The original recipe calls for 20x30cm which I felt would leave it a little shallow. The 20x30cm pan would work well when you have to feed many and are concerned about the sugar content each piece has;
- Use a spoon to roughly put your layers into the pan before pressing down firmly with your clean hands to get nice even layers. If you do not press firmly you will end up with a wave like divide between the pieces;
- For those of you in Australia, the condensed milk comes in a 395g tin which is what is called for in the original recipe. As I am living in Germany at the moment, they only have 400g tins as standard. I used the whole 400g tin to make mine without issue.
Recipe adapted from: Create Bake Make’s Coconut Ice recipe.
Coconut Ice Recipe
Kids got cabin fever stuck inside during school holidays? Coconut ice is a quick easy treat to make with the kids.
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 400g tin of condensed milk
- 3 1/2 cups dessicated coconut
- 4-5 drops of pink gel food colouring
- Step 1 Line a 20 x 20cm pan with baking paper and set aside two medium sized mixing bowls.
- Step 2 In one bowl, sift together cream of tartar and icing sugar.
- Step 3 Add condensed milk and dessicated coconut and stir well to combine.
- Step 4 Divide batch into two equal parts, setting aside one batch to be your white layer.
- Step 5 One drop at a time, add pink food dye to the second batch stirring between each addition until your preferred colour is obtained.
- Step 6 Spread out white batch in the prepared tin and press in firmly. Smooth the top well to create a nice even divide between the two layers.
- Step 7 Top with the pink batch and press firmly onto the white layer.
- Step 8 Chill in the fridge for 1 hour before cutting into pieces in a shape of your preference.
- Step 9 Keeps well for up to 3 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.