As you may know by now, I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, a country I highly recommend you visit if you are looking to enjoy nature, relax on the beach or lend a hand on a missionary or community service trip. My country is gorgeous, it is full of people that will welcome you with their open arms, people that will guide you as a tourist, that will become your friend and will love to entertain you with their fun personalities and bright smiles.
Regardless of the tough economic circumstances in which many live, my country is one of the happiest place on earth. Our people go through very hard moments driven by the economic impact of a third world country but overall our hearts are full of merengue and bachata (traditional Dominican music genres). The joy of living is reflected even by street vendors as they cheerfully carry one with life despite working under the harsh Caribbean sun.
This leads me to: street food, which is a big deal in the Dominican Republic. You could find any kind of food you can imagine cooked and sold on the street. When I grew up my dad owned a restaurant, so he was very careful of where we ate but he loves street food, so he would know the right vendors to take us to enjoy traditional delicacies like chicharron (fried pork meat and rind), empanadas, cadeneta (tripe), morcillas (blood sausage), corn on the cob, pollo al carbon (rotisserie chicken) and all sorts of other typical Dominican food. Desserts where also part of the street food we enjoyed. My favorite are called: Palito de Coco or Coconut Pops. Other regional terms used in the Dominican Republic are: memelos, churumbeles and coquitos.
These coconut pops are heaven. Imagine a creamy coconut center covered in a thin and crunchy layer of candy caramel? I have a better idea, stop imagine them and just make them at home. Here is how:
Combine and heat thinly shredded dried coconut with sweetened condensed milk until it becomes a thick paste.
Form balls with the coconut mixture and place a candy stick on each ball to help you dip them on red colored candy caramel.
Once the caramel has cooled off and harden, these coconut pops will be ready for you to devour. Enjoy! – BTW, tell me, what is your favorite street food?
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups dried shredded coconut
- 3 cups white sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons red food coloring
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Place the sweetened and condensed milk in a pot over high heat.
- While the sweetened and condensed milk is heating up, using a food processor, chop finely the shredded coconut to get a very small pieces consistency.
- Once the sweetened and condensed milk starts to make bubbles, when is about to reach the point of being fully boiling, add the finely shredded dried coconut.
- While heating the coconut and sweetened and condensed milk mixture, keep stirring so it does not stick to the bottom.
- Take it of the heat once milk has reduced, color turns a bit darker and all has become a tick paste.
- Using some of the oil, grease a cookie sheet and lay evenly the hot creamy coconut paste on it to let it cool. The oil will help avoid sticking to the cookie sheet.
- Once it has cooled of, take a spoonful of the mixture and with your hand form balls and place a candy stick on each ball to form the coconut pops.
- Dip the pops on the red caramel. To make the caramel follow these steps:
- In a pot over high heat, mix sugar, water and corn syrup.
- Keep heating until the mixture becomes thick like candy caramel or until a candy thermometer reaches 265F.
- Once you dip the coconut pops on the caramel, place them on a oil greased cookie sheet to avoid sticking to the bottom.
- Let them cool until caramel gets hard and enjoy!