Sugar and Spice and Oh So Very Nice: Pumpkin Spice Hawaiian Coconut Candy

When taking suggestions from the peanut gallery on Hawaii, besides SPAM (which I’ve shot down for the moment), Apple Crisp offered up coconut candy, a favorite of hers and her hubs while on their Hawaiian honeymoon almost six years ago.


I’m intrigued.

Rarely do I make candy (ignoring the fact that I made Hokey Pokey a few weeks ago). It’s not something that I necessarily crave to make the same way that sometimes I just need to make a cake.  I also find that, depending on the type of candy, it has a small margin for error (which Orange reminded me tonight when she emailed me about burnt Hokey Pokey…) and I really don’t like it when I mess up.  Still, the coconut candy was calling my name.

So I bought a coconut.

As last week went by and the candy was still not made, at a certain point I realized that I had to make the candy. I mean, I had this coconut. What else was I to do?

IMG_4430 IMG_44432 

This candy seems to be a favorite for anyone who has ever traveled to Hawaii, specifically Maui. They sell it in stands on the side of the road.  Baked and sprinkled with brown sugar, it’s a very regional Hawaiian treat.

Tonight being the first evening of fall, I figured I’d twist up this coconut candy by making it pumpkin spicy. I mean, what would this blog be without the mandated pumpkin spice treat (for another, check out my most favorite pumpkin bread)?  So, here it is. Sweet, chewy and full of fall.


The other plus side of this recipe is the sugar syrup: once you’re done boiling the coconut and reducing the syrup, you have your very own pumpkin spice sugar syrup– perfect for making your own homemade pumpkin spice latte! You know you love me.

Note:  You’re going to have to shell a coconut to make this. I did this not so successfully a few months ago, but this time seemed to go more smoothly. Check out this step by step.  I’m not going to lie- it was a lot of work, but something that I can see getting easier with practice. And maybe a saw.

Once the coconut was de-shelled, I had to figure out the best way to peel it. My vegetable peeler is sort of crap, so I tried a box grater, my new spiralizer and the mandolin blade on my food processor, the latter being the best and easiest option.  Once it’s thinly sliced that way, use a paring knife to cut it to thin strips.


 The recipe card app thing wasn’t working tonight, but I’ll fix it ASAP

Adapted from Lemons & Lavender

Pumpkin Spice Hawaiian Coconut Candy
Sweet, spicy bits of fall
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Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
  1. 1 whole coconut
  2. 3 ¾ cups water
  3. 2 cups granulated sugar
  4. 1 TB vanilla extract
  5. ¾ tsp cinnamon
  6. ½ tsp ground ginger
  7. ¼ tsp ground cloves
  8. ¼ tsp all spice
  1. Shell the coconut.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler (or a mandolin grater), shave the coconut into long strips and set aside.
  3. In a medium sized, heavy bottom saucepan, add the water to the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. Add the vanilla, spices and coconut and increase the heat to high.
  5. Let it go to a rolling boil for about 30-45 minutes, until the sugar syrup has reduced by about 2/3.
  6. Preheat the oven to 275F.
  7. Remove the strips of coconut with tongs, allowing excess syrup to drip off. Place on a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes until the coconut has browned and caramelized.
  9. Remove immediately from the sheet pans and place candy on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight jar.
Adapted from Lemons and Lavender
Adapted from Lemons and Lavender
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World


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2 thoughts on “Sugar and Spice and Oh So Very Nice: Pumpkin Spice Hawaiian Coconut Candy”

  • I’ve never seen anything like this before, Chrissy, but it sounds divine! I’m not sure I’d trust myself to shell a coconut, but I suppose there should be a first time for everything!
    Loving the new blog layout, by the way! 🙂

    • Thank you! It was definitely an exercise in patience though in some ways maybe worth it maybe once a year! No less onerous than carving a pumpkin or making a gingerbread house!

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