Ghanaian Caramel Coconut Balls

Caramel Coconut Balls
F. Muyambo
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 10 large balls (10 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
199 Calories
13g Fat
21g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 large balls (10 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 199
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 1g
Calcium 8mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This treat is a staple of many home cooks in Ghana, each adding their own twist and varying the recipe to suit their personal preferences. Sweet caramel with a hint of lemon juice, fresh coconut, and water are all that it takes to make these simple and flavorful fruity balls. Other spices can be added, but this is the basic mixture many Ghanian families enjoy with a cup of tea.

If you're a seasoned cook and can handle the temperature of steamy caramel with your bare hands, use them to shape the balls. Alternatively use tools, such as spoons or an ice cream scooper for shaping.

Buy pre-shelled coconut pieces as opposed to a whole coconut. Cracking a coconut can prove to be quite a daunting task. As with any candy-making recipe, keep pets and kids out of the kitchen, use an apron and gloves to protect yourself, and always wear shoes to avoid slipping while handling hot caramel.


  • 1 medium coconut (flesh grated)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 teaspoon butter (or margarine)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Stick a screwdriver into the eyes of the coconut to make holes in one or two of the eyes and drain the water. Use a kitchen towel to hold on to the coconut to stop it from slipping. Crack it open by levering your weight with the screwdriver into one of the holes you used to drain the coconut water. Scrape the meat by separating it from the shell with a short sharp knife.

  3. Grate the coconut flesh using the large teeth of your grater. Do this carefully, as the oil from the coconut may make your fingers slippery. Set aside.

  4. Make the caramel by dissolving the sugar in the water and lemon juice in a small pot over low heat, then bring to a boil.

  5. Allow the caramel to boil from 5 to 10 minutes without stirring, which will prevent granules from forming. Keep an eye on the mixture, as caramel can burn quickly.

  6. Once the caramel is deep brown, add the shredded coconut and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. The coconut oils and natural moisture will release, and the mixture will become easier to handle.

  7. When the mixture has developed a toasty coconut aroma, remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

  8. Grease a plate with butter or margarine.

  9. Handling the caramel with care, form balls with your hands, two spoons, or a small scoop. Place on the greased plate and allow to cool completely.

  10. Serve at room temperature (or microwave for 5-10 seconds to serve warm).

  11. Enjoy!

Crack That Nut

Cracking open a coconut is not an easy task. Follow these suggestions if you're using a whole fresh coconut to make this recipe:

  • Place your whole coconut in a plastic bag and tie a tight knot to contain the liquid once the coconut cracks open. Drop the coconut to a hard-surface floor, preferably cement and not wood (you might make a dent in it), or hold the bag by the knot and smash it against the floor once or twice until you hear the coconut opening.
  • Or, take the bagged coconut, place it on a hard surface, and hit it with a hammer to form a crack. Take the coconut out of the bag, and pour the water out into a cup, place it back in the bag and crack with a hammer.
  • Alternatively, place the whole coconut on a baking pan and put it into a 400 F oven for 20 to 25 minutes until it cracks open. Using silicone gloves, pour the water out and then leave the coconut to cool off until you can easily handle it. Crack open with the help of a hammer or the back of a big knife.

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