These little no-bake coconut candies are the perfect sweet treat for summer! They’re simple, easy, quick and delicious – and they have a little drizzle of white rum for the adults!
The version without booze is a traditional British sweet called coconut ice. It’s not super common today, but it’s still well-loved throughout England.
Our family have enjoyed coconut ice (homemade, of course) every summer since I was little – and we often make it when my uncle visits as it’s his favourite sweet treat.
It’s one of my favourite candies too – especially since it’s super simple to make! This meant that I’ve been helping to make it since I was little. I do have quite a sweet tooth, so I always enjoyed licking the bowl afterwards – and sneaking the coconut squares out of the fridge to nibble on when nobody was looking!
Of course, the addition of booze was all my doing. After all, coconut and white rum go amazingly well together – especially in sweet treats. This means that this version of coconut squares is essentially a pina colada-inspired candy recipe!
The best part about this candy recipe is that you only need 5 ingredients! Plus, one of them is the optional red food dye and another one is the optional white rum. So, you can make this coconut ice with just 3 ingredients if you really need to!
What do I need to make coconut ice?
As I mentioned before, you only need 5 ingredients to make them exactly as I did.
- condensed milk. You don’t need a whole tin of condensed milk – just 250g or 175ml (depending on how you prefer to measure it). Why not use the leftover condensed milk to make extra creamy coffees?
- icing/confectioners sugar. You do need a fair amount here, and you do need to sift it. If you don’t sift it then you’ll end up with lumps of sugar in the final candies.. And while they’re supposed to be sweet, lumps of sugar are never exactly appetising!
- dessicated coconut. The size of the coconut you use will determine the texture of your final candies. I used fine desiccated coconut to give my coconut squares a smoother, more even texture. Larger pieces of desiccated coconut would give the candies more texture.
- white rum. You can adjust the quantity here depending on how strong you’d like the flavour of rum in the coconut ice. I used 3 tbsp for a lighter, more subtle flavour. For a moderately strong flavour, use 4 tbsp total. And, for a strong white rum flavour, use 5 tbsp of white rum total.
- red food dye to allow you to create the classic pink layer to contrast with the white layer. This is optional, but I do recommend it. Of course, you could use any colour you like – or even use extra layers for an even more colourful dessert! However, the mix isn’t very thick in the tray so I’d recommend creating no more than 3 total layers, but 2 would probably give you the best results
There are no easy substitutions that you could make here as every ingredient is important for a good reason. However, you can use either sweetened or regular condensed milk depending on how sweet you like your candy.
Can I adapt this recipe for my diet?
Yes! You can adapt this recipe to suit quite a few diets – even ones that it’s not already suitable for such as vegan.
They’re already naturally gluten-free and can’t easily be made refined sugar-free or low carb, but it is possible to make them vegan, dairy-free and non-alcoholic.
How do I make these coconut squares vegan & dairy-free?
You can make this recipe dairy-free and therefore vegan by making your own vegan condensed milk. Try this recipe for making it!
Can I make this boozy coconut ice non-alcoholic?
Yes, absolutely! You don’t even need to make substitutions here – just skip the alcohol. This’ll make the mixture extra stiff, so you’ll need a little bit of extra arm muscle to stir in the coconut, but trust me – it’s well worth the effort once they’re ready to be eaten!
How do I make no-bake coconut squares?
The method here really is incredibly easy. After all, I rarely if ever make candy and this is one I love making because there’s such minimal mess!
- mix the condensed milk and icing sugar together in a bowl. This mixture will be very stiff – that’s normal for this stage.
- add 1/3 of the coconut and mix it in fully. Add 1 tbsp rum and mix in. Repeat until all of the coconut and 3 tbsp of rum has been mixed in.
- Add the extra rum and mix in if you’re using it.
- Spread half of the mixture evenly over the bottom of the tin/container to form an even layer.
- Add a couple of drops of red food colouring to the rest of the mix and stir, adding more if needed until it reaches the desired shade of pink.
- Spread the pink mixture over the top of the white mixture.
- Chill for minimum 1 hour before cutting into small squares to serve.
And that’s it! See – it’s super simple and easy (even if you’ve never made your own candy before).
How should I store leftover candy?
If you live somewhere hot or it’s an unusually hot day then it’s best to keep the coconut squares in the fridge.
However, if you live somewhere where room temperature is more moderate (e.g. buttercream won’t melt at room temperature) then you can absolutely store the coconut ice in an airtight container at room temperature.
- 250g (175 ml, 3/4 cup) condensed milk
- 250g (1 3/4 cups) icing/confectioners sugar, sifted
- 250g (3.5 cups) desiccated coconut
- 3 tbsp white rum (or to taste)
- red food dye (optional)
- line an 8x5 inch Tupperware or baking tin with parchment paper.
- in a large bowl, stir together the condensed milk and sifted icing sugar. This mixture will be very stiff.
- add 1/3 the coconut mix and 1 tbsp rum and fold them in. Repeat until all of the coconut has been mixed in.
- press half the mix into the base of the lined tin to form an even layer.
- add pink food dye to the remaining mix until it reaches the desired colour.
- layer the pink mix on top of the white mix and place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour or more before slicing into 24 squares.
- store leftover coconut squares in an airtight container either at room temperature or in the fridge depending on how hot the weather is.
- if you'd rather omit the rum then this recipe will still work just fine, although the mix will be even stiffer.
- if you'd like a strong rum flavour then add 1-2 tbsp extra rum. Do not add more than this or the squares will not set.
- see the post above for more information on how to adapt this recipe to be vegan and dairy-free.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 square
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 62mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 1g
All nutrition values are an estimate and will vary.