Christmas, General how to's & recipes, Journal

How to make coconut ice (according to my Mom and Olivia)

Olivia and I decided to make some coconut ice.  We used the Nestle condensed milk recipe that was posted in my Mom’s Royal recipe book (the one we grew up with as kids).  Olivia re-wrote the ingredients in her cookbook diary and measured up everything herself. 

I drew some pics of the method to make it easier.

Everything went well…

But when it came to the colouring, it turned out that pink was out.   ‘I want my coconut ice PURPLE!’  declared my niece.   I thought that was a fantastic idea and gave Olivia carte blanche.  There was much to-ing and fro-ing with the red and blue food colouring until the colour was ‘just right’. 

Olivia’s final touch was to add her collection of  edible pink hearts and glitter to the mix.  

A brand new recipe was born: Never-Set Coconut Ice.  

If you’re keen to make coconut ice the traditional way, here are two recipes that my Mom sent to my sister, Gnats.  The first uses  condensed milk and no colouring and the second uses milk and sugar instead of condensed milk. 

Dear Gnats

I had a tin of condensed milk, some coconut in the deep freeze and a packet of icing sugar so I went rummaging around in my recipe books looking for old condensed milk recipes to see what the measurements are for coconut ice:


  • 200 g desiccated coconut
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 397 g condensed milk  (take out 2 tablespoons)


  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Place in a greased dish
  • Cut into squares when set
  • Place in an airtight container
  • Leave in the fridge

Then I had a look in my Royal Cookery Book for a different recipe for coconut ice  (I personally prefer the above recipe):


  • 1 lb sugar (aprox 500g sugar)
  • Half a cup of milk
  • 1 cup coconut
  • Cochineal (or pink food colouring)


  • Boil the sugar and milk together for 10 minutes
  • Cool for a few minutes, then stir in the coconut and mix well
  • Divide the mixture in two, pressing the one half into a buttered dish
  • Colour the remaining half with cochineal to a delicate pink
  • Press it on top of the white coconut ice
  • Cut into bars when almost cold

Have fun
Lots of love Mom

Note: if you want to add colour to the first recipe, follow the colouring procedure in the second recipe.

If your kids are keen to join in the fun, there’s always Olivia’s method…


13 thoughts on “How to make coconut ice (according to my Mom and Olivia)”

  1. Yay, good to see a post from you. What I love about your posts are the authenticity and simplicity. For a non cook who has little time for baking and cheffing, it’s the simple recipes that’ll make me find the time. Thanks 🙂
    coconut ice and condensed milk take me right back to my childhood too x

    1. Cheryl, thank you SO MUCH for your feedback. To hear that my posts come across as authentic and simple makes me soooooo happy!! Much appreciated and lovely to hear from you!

  2. Oh, how wonderful! You know, even with my activities with the girls, I am reminded of the importance of “Developmental Learning” in other words: learning through play. Here, in the this simple Olivia concoction is science! And baking is a science after all. I made the version that Mom recommended a while ago (with condensed milk). It turned out well. Also, as per mom’s email, it’s important to keep unused desiccated coconut airtight in the freezer so that the flavor doesn’t spoil. Thanks for the post, Lana! x

    1. Nats, so true, that’s what I love about kids and baking: learning takes place in a natural way incl. learning how to measure, weigh and count. It’s a great confidence booster especially when they’re able to use their initiaitive and experiment beyond the ‘science’ in whatever small way. Watching Olivia re-write the recipe in her own hand was a highlight. Thanks Gnats for the coconut ice recipe and for the reminder about how to keep coconut from spoiling. It’s really worth tasting freshly bought desiccated coconut before baking with it. So disappointing when one bites into something one has just baked and it has that soapy taste. Lots of love x

  3. As always Miss Oliv is out of the box!!! so the coconut ice Oliv made never set but it was delicious spread between plain biscuits as a filling. they looked great and were sweet and delicious!
    Oh, I’m about to make your bulgarian CHOCOLATE CAKE for the 3rd time in a week!! A birthday surprise for Agnes, who doesn’t like sweet things too much so I’ll simply sprinkle icing sugar so that it looks beautiful!!

    1. Wow, Nins, even so, I think I’m more impressed that you’re cycling all the way to Nan’s today!! Whooohooooo! Are you going to stencil icing sugar hearts over the top of your 3rd cake in a week? Don’t forget to take a pic of Agnes with her birthday cake. Curious to know what biscuits you used for Olivia’s Never-Set-Coconut-Ice filling?!

  4. The condensed milk version is how we used to make it and definitely my favourite! Thanks for this blast from the past, I think I should make this again.

    1. Hi Marisa! Love this childhood memory stuff! My Dad always loved my Mom’s coconut ice… I’m thinking of making it for him for Christmas. Great in a glass jar sprinked with coconut shavings. x

  5. My mom used to eke out a living making fudge, coconut ice, biscuits and cakes….this was one of us kids favourites that she used to make. The non baked coconut ice is, in my opinion, the best of them all and it is too long since I made it! I need to introduce my grandboys to it so thank you for this awesome reminder….what a stunning post! Sending you warm hugs xx

  6. by “let it set” do u mean put in in the fridge and then take it back out and THen cut it into squares

    1. Hi there, leave it to cool outside of the fridge. It’s easier to cut into squares or bars when it still has a little warmth in… In other words, leave it to cool but not completely before cutting it…then leave the cut slices to cool (and thus set) completely before storing.

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