Coconut Sweetmeats

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen pieces

This delicious coconut candy is from Iran.


  • Unsalted butter, for baking sheet

  • 2 ½ cups desiccated coconut

  • 2 cups sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Butter a 12-by-17-inch baking sheet, and set aside. Place 1/2 cup desiccated coconut in an 8-inch-square baking pan; spread in an even layer.

  2. Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, and the water in a small saucepan, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallization. Clip on a candy thermometer, and cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 240 degrees.

  3. Pour the sugar mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in a constant, steady stream, holding the pan close to the surface; do not allow any stray drips to fall onto the baking sheet. Allow the poured syrup mixture to sit undisturbed until just warm to the touch on the surface.

  4. Using a wide offset spatula, lift the sides of the jelled syrup, and fold over into the middle. Repeat this process, adding 1 1/2 cups coconut and the vanilla extract, until the mixture becomes slightly stiff and opaque white, about 3 minutes.

  5. Quickly press into the coconut-lined pan; flatten into an even layer. Cover with the remaining 1/2 cup coconut, and press to adhere. Let sit 5 hours or overnight.

  6. Invert the pan to unmold. Carefully cut the coconut sweetmeat into eight 1-inch strips using a serrated knife. Cut each strip diagonally to make diamonds. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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