Macapuno Candy a la Marketman


I have loved macapuno candy for as long as I can remember… those gelatinous, sugar coated morsels of macapuno would range from really soft and flavorful versions to firmer, more opaque concoctions. As I got older, I ate less and less of this candy and now only get a taste for it once in a while. However, I have noticed an incredible decline in the quality of commercially purchased macapuno balls. In the last few years, some of the ones I bought were downright gross. Many are nearly hard as rocks, too paste-y, lacking in flavor, too dense and just a shadow of what I recall them to be… Since I had just acquired two macapuno nuts, I figured I would attempt to make some candy for myself…

The recipes I found on the internet (couldn’t find any in my half-dozen Filipino cookbooks) for the candy included cassava flour which I didn’t have in the house. maca2I understand some folks use cornstarch, powdered milk, etc. to provide some stability to the gelatinous macapuno… I decided to do this as pure as I could get it and tried it out with just fresh macapuno and sugar. I scraped out the macapuno from the two nuts and put it in a food processor and added the same amount, weight wise, of granulated white sugar and blitzed it till semi-smooth. There were still some bigger bits so that the macapuno would be noticeable and distinct…I then heated that up in a heavy enamel pan and mixed it until thick, about 15-20 minutes over low heat. I then cooled the mixture and it got a little more solid after a few hours. Then I rolled it in sugar and packaged it in clear food safe wrapper (not cellophane which gets too moist and soft).

The verdict? Brilliant macapuno flavor (the purest!) and not overly sweet…but the texture was definitely too soft. There is something in the chemistry of sugar and macapuno that results in a sum greater than its parts. The practically flavorless mutant nut turned into a shockingly tasty and unique sweet. Perhaps if I had cooked it a bit longer and it hadn’t been a 100% humidity maca3day this wouldn’t have been so wet…but I am now figuring out why some starch (whether cassava, cornstarch or flour) is added to the concoction. This was more like thick macapuno strings from the jar balled up with some sugar. It was so moist that the sugar I rolled it in melted… After an evening in our airconditioned room, the candies looked good but were still a bit moist. If I had the energy, I could have used some of them in a macapuno tart or maybe a macapuno turnover… Well, now I know better…will have to experiment again the next time I find macapuno fresh at the market! First and third photo are my creations. The second photo with colored cellophane are candies I bought in Bulacan a few weeks ago…


19 Responses

  1. MM, Do you think that this could be made with the bottled Macapuno strings or balls? They come packed in syrup, so maybe I could just leave the sugar out, and just process it as is?

  2. MasPinaSarap, not sure if this will work with bottled macapuno as it is already swimming in sugar syrup but its worth a try…and I agree with other comments left that most bottled macapuno is a fraud, they are actually coconut with sugar and possibly some fake macapuno flavor… mojito drinker you can buy food safe wrapper that looks like cellophane but is waterproof at Commoners Commercial in Divisoria if buying in bulk or at baking supply stores like Cooks Exchange at the malls. sister, yes, I think I need to use a stabilizer or some starch or other…

  3. This brings back childhood memories! I usually get this as pasalubong from family members who have been visiting Bulacan or just happen to drop by. Sometimes I get ube pastillas or yema.
    I’m tempted to expirement with the bottled macapuno since I’ll definitely will not find any macapuno amongst the coconuts sold at any Asian market around town.

  4. Gosh, MM. Sarap ng macapuno! Love it! I make do with the ones sold at Mini Stop….

  5. you’re so right MM.. the ones sold in groceries and mini-marts are all fakes.. they’re full of flavoring and sugar.. haay… how i wish i can get even two pcs. from the batch you made.. i miss eating them!!!

  6. Maybe you have to get the sugar to a certain temperature like soft-ball before you add the shreaded makapuno??

  7. MM, have you tried the bottled macapuno balls in syrup that maricel mentioned in the previous post? they are so different from the coconut strings in syrup, and i think they are cooked differently, too. i recall reading a long time ago that to do the balls in syrup, you need to pressure cook the whole nuts (unopened)for a while, before cooling them and scooping the flesh with a melon baller, and cooking them in syrup. the texture of the balls is gets progressively softer towards the center, then you get a soft burst of gel and syrup. very similar to that type of chewing gum with the “squirt” in the HAVE to try it, if you still haven’t….relatively fewer stores carry these.

  8. millet, no I haven’t tried it yet…another thing to add to my list of foods to acquire… ajb, good idea, that might work, I was afraid of “burning” the macapuno when I did it for the first time…

  9. MM, the starch is needed for structure. When sugar and a fruit, in this case, macapuno, are mixed, the moisture content of the fruit is absorbed by the sugar. Without any starch to absorb the excess of liquid, you will get too-soft macapuno balls. It’s the same concept when making fruit pies -remember that a thickener is used for absorbing the fruit juices and to avoid making a “juice puddle” on the bottom of the baking dish.

  10. everyone can order from me freshly macapuno in milk, macapuno sweets at my store at san miguel sweets and delicacies at 9361265 looked for raquel

  11. Hi Marketman. I have 4 coconut trees which bear 10% macapuno fruits. I tried cooking macapuno balls but turned out to be watery even if I roll them in sugar. It doesn’t look presentable when wrapped in cellophane. Were you able to discover a better way of making balls? Please share me your successful experiments with this nutricious, exotic and delectable fruit. Thanks.


  12. Ching, sorry, I haven’t experimented further with macapuno since this post. I figured I would let the pros do it… but a little experimentation such as with the addition of starch as suggested above in the comments, might work…

  13. I also experimented for a very long time before I succeeded in making rolled macapuno balls, which are appealingly translucent, still sparking white in color, relatively dry and very gummy.

    Without benefit of a tested and proven recipe, I first started by making sugar syrup, with as little water as possible. The sugar always dissolved very slowly and, when I failed to control the fire, began caramelizing and turning brown, even before I had added the grated macapuno meat. And to evaporate most of the water I used in making the syrup, as well as the moisture contained in the coconut meat, the mixture had to be cooked for a long time with continuous stirring. However patiently I stirred the preserve, its color usually became smoky brown before it was dry enough to be rolled.

    Then one day, I asked a young lady selling the macapuno nuts in nepa-q-mart how one should cook macapuno preserves so that they will not be soggy. She modestly replied that she herself does not know how to cook but that her mother simply (1) mixed equal volumes of grated macapuno meat and refined sugar; (2) allowed the mixture to stand for about 30 minutes; and (3) cooked the mixture over low fire with slow continuous stirring until the preserve became relatively dry.

    I tried the process she described, using only half volume sugar and ended up with a clean sparklingly white translucent preserve which I rolled into balls and dusted with confectioner sugar. The balls from six macapuno nuts did not last one day.

    I recommend that the amount of sugar be reduced to half the volume of macapuno meat so that the preserve will not be very sweet, thus allowing you to katakam-takam-ly enjoy the macapuno flavor. A word of caution though… finish the preserve in a day or two or store them in the freezer. Reducing the sugar will make the preserve prone to fermentation.

    In addition to the macapuno balls I make, another favorite gift I like to give to friends is the bottled balled macapuno preserve which is produced in a Laguna town and which is available in a house in Pasay City.

  14. MM, it’s hard to find macapuno days days..the one posted by wilie g. ortaliz says it all.Thank you sir.



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