Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas Chique 2012 - Crazy for Coconut

Coconut foods and drinks are big news this Christmas. Coconut Water is apparently the next new trend in soft drinks and is one of the fastest growing beverage categories in both the UK and USA. It has a celebrity following ranging from Madonna to Lady GaGa and is finding favour with sports stars due to its supposed hydrating qualities. It's even popping up in cocktails.

Coconut Oil is also making a comeback and coconut is being used to flavour jams, noodles, soups and sugar. Researchers in Australia have even developed a coconut flavoured pineapple dubbed AusFestival that is due to be commercially available in 2 years’ time!

Coconut has been a popular flavouring in alcoholic drinks for some time – Malibu, the coconut flavoured rum, is launching its newest Limited Edition bottle this winter, Malibu Snowcoco. The coconut flavoured rum has a sprinkling of real coconut flakes so that when swirled in the glass it resembles a snowstorm. There are also coconut flavoured gins (Hoxtons Gin), vodkas (Ciroc and Smirnoff amongst others), brandy (Mendis), liqueurs (Bols, Marie Brizard, Monin's Liqueur de Noix de Coco) and its even used to flavour sake (Ty Ku).

Snowball cakes and lollipops that are covered in desiccated coconut seem to be popular this year and they have reminded me of the old fashioned Coconut Ice squares that we used to make. They were irresistible and are easy to make. 

395g tin of sweetened condensed milk
350g icing sugar
350g desiccated coconut
2-4 drops red food colouring

Sieve the icing sugar to get rid of any lumps. Add the desiccated coconut and condensed milk to the icing sugar and mix together. Divide the mixture into two and add a couple of drops of red food colouring to one half. Press the white mixture into the base of a flat dish and then spread the pink mixture over the top. Press down hard to flatten it. Place in the fridge to harden for a day. Once it has set, cut into small squares. 
You can be as inventive as you like, adding different layers of colours – for a Christmas theme red and white coconut ices look great, simply add more red food colouring to deepen the colour from pink to crimson!