Valentine’s Day Just Got Sweeter

February has long been celebrated as the month of romance.  Candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones in honor of St. Valentine.  There are different versions of how this holiday originated.  Some say that St. Valentine defied the Emperor by secretly allowing soldiers to marry against the ruler’s decree, and was beheaded.  It is believed that Pope Gelasius placed the Feast Day of St. Valentine on February 14th to eradicate the pagan festival of Lupercalia.  It doesn’t appear that anyone was feeling “the love” back then.

In 1976,  February was designated as Black History Month, a time to appreciate the vast contributions of Black Communities throughout the World.  Carter Woodson, otherwise known as the “Father of Black History Month” determined that this should be a time to educate people about Black history and culture.

Some of the YPL staff thought it would be interesting to acknowledge both holidays with a taste of West Indian culture, Coconut Candy.  We have provided an easy to make recipe to sweeten up this special time of year.

Coconut Candy

1 cup of shredded coconut
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 pinch of salt
Some drops of vanilla extract (optional)
Ginger (optional)


  1. Combine the water with the coconut into a sauce pan on medium heat until it boils.
  2. Add the brown sugar, pinch of salt, ginger (optional) and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, making sure not to let it burn.
  4. Cook until the mix turns into a beautiful golden-brown color, gooey and fairly thick.
  5. Without letting it cool start spooning it with the help of two spoons into clumps onto a baking sheet with wax paper.
  6. Let the candy rest cool on the cookie sheet before serving.

*This recipe shields about 5 to 6 pieces of candy depending on how large you make them.

Caramelo De Coco

1 taza de coco rallado
3/4 taza de azúcar
1/2 taza de agua
1 pizca de sal
Unas gotas de esencia de vainilla (opcional)
Jengibre (opcional)


  1. Combine el agua con el coco en una cacerola a fuego medio hasta que hierva.
  2. Agregue el azúcar moreno, una pizca de sal, el jengibre (opcional) y la vainilla y mezcle bien.
  3. Reduzca el fuego a medio-bajo y déjelo hervir a fuego lento durante unos 10 minutos, asegurándose de que no se queme.
  4. Cocine hasta que la mezcla se vuelva pegajosa y bastante espesa y tome un hermoso color marrón dorado.
  5. Sin dejar que la mezcla se enfríe. Comience a verter de en montoncitos de a cucharadas en una bandeja para hornear cubierta con papel encerado.
  6. Deje que los dulces se enfríen en la bandeja para hornear antes de servir.

*Esta receta rinde alrededor de 5 a 6 dulces dependiendo de qué tan grandes los hagas.