Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Can you believe Christmas is just a few short days away? December just really got away from me. I only just managed to get my tree decorated and stockings on the mantel this past Sunday. But better late than never I suppose.
When I first thought of what I might produce for this post, I let my thoughts run to the Christmases of my youth. And one of the first memories that came to me was of my momma in the kitchen making Christmas candy, so called because she only made these treats at Christmastime. She would make fudge, pralines, divinity, and bar cookies. There was one in particular that was my very favorite. I know everyone thinks of pecans when you think of pralines but they do come in other flavors as well. One of these flavors is coconut. Since I’ve never been much of a fan of pecans, these were a real favorite of mine. And come to think of it, I’ve never seen coconut pralines anywhere else – just those produced by my mom and grandmother.
And the fun part of these candies, besides the fact that they were oh so delicious, was that momma would buy fresh coconuts still in the shells and once she cracked them open, drained the milk (which I loved!) and dug out the meat, she would give them to me and my younger sister to peel and grate. with a hand crank grater. My sister and I really enjoyed this, especially since once the pieces got too small to work with we would eat them – so yummy! I still have that old grater to this day, though I haven’t used it in years.
And here is the recipe, named for my Mom:
Shirley’s Coconut Pralines
- 2 cups of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ½ cup of whole milk (coconut milk can be substituted for all or part)
- 2 cups of shredded coconut
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract
- Combine the first 3 ingredients in a 2-quart or larger saucepan.
- Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Continue cooking, without stirring, until contents reach the soft ball stage (235-240°).
- Stir in the shredded coconut; then continue cooking until it reaches the soft ball stage again.
- Remove from the stove and allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the extract and then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and turns creamy in color.
- Quickly, before the candy hardens, drop by rounded tablespoons onto waxed paper, forming patties. Let cool before removing from wax paper.
Wishing you all a joyous and blessed Christmas regardless of your circumstances.