Coconut laddoo (laddu) are soft, white, round delicacies made mainly with coconut, milk powder and sugar. Coconuts are very auspicious in Hinduism and are widely offered as prasad (offering) in most temples. On Diwali, everything is a little more special and so is the prasad and that's probably how coconut laddoo became so popular.
Making Laddoo for Diwali
In my family, laddoos hold a very special place and are my favorite Diwali delicacy. Before Diwali, when we are overwhelmed with preparations and cleaning, these delicious treats not only serve as the ultimate reward for the grueling cleaning process, but were also mom's way of making me feel included. As a kid, I loved watching mom and grandma make Diwali snacks, but hated not being able to participate.
Mom used to prepare the laddoo mix, then we all gathered in our yard and rolled the laddoo. I felt included and enjoyed this activity as we all sat there chatting, laughing and sneaking a bite or two. I love them not only because they are so delicious, but also because the process of making them is a cherished staple memory that always warms my heart.
What do you need to make Laddoo?
The ingredients for making coconut laddoo are quite simple, but the type of ingredients can vary. For example, we use desiccated coconut for this recipe, while some people prefer to use freshly grated or frozen coconut.
Similarly, we use sugar as a sweetener, but candy or even condensed milk are other common sweeteners. I prefer to make them with desiccated coconut, milk powder and sugar as that's what mum always used and the ingredients are usually already in the cupboard.
How to make Laddoo
Making coconut laddoo is quite an easy process. Start by gently roasting a mixture of coconut and milk powder, then incorporate the sugar syrup and mix well. After forming the laddoo into balls, top them with your preferred toppings.
The Many Kinds of Laddoo
Coconut laddoo is just one of the numerous varieties of laddoo in India. We also have Motichoor laddoo, made with boondi (small fried chickpea flour balls). Besan laddoo, made from gram (chickpea) flour. and rava laddoo, made with semolina flour.
Methi laddoo is made with flour and fenugreek (these are on the bitter side). Gond laddoo features wheat flour and edible gum. and Til laddoo contain sesame seeds. The latter are crispy as are the Murmura laddoos, which are made with puffed rice. There are many more variations of laddoo, but coconut laddoo in particular is a Diwali specialty.
Tips for making Coconut Laddoo
- Desiccated coconut is easier—While many choose to use freshly grated coconut, it is easier to use desiccated coconut as it is much faster.
- Use molds instead of hand rolling—If you find rolling laddoo difficult, use ready-made molds.
- Make them the same size—To ensure that all the laddoos are the same size, use a standard measure to divide the mixture equally. A serving scoop is a good choice or weigh the mixture with a scale.
- Prevent sticking— Grease your palms with a few drops of oil or ghee before starting the laddoo roll to ensure an even shape. This also helps keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.
Coconut laddoo can be prepared up to two days in advance. However, if you do them too early, it can lead to them drying out.
“The coconut laddoo was easy to make and the recipe worked well. They were chewy and delicious! I cooked the syrup at 224F, which worked perfectly. Be sure to let the coconut mixture cool slightly before you start shaping the laddoo.” —Diana Rattray
2 tablespoons mistletoe
2 1/2 cups dried (dried) grated coconut without sugardivided
1/4 cup milk powder
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup crystal Sugar
1/3 cup broken cashewsoptional
1/2 teaspoon terrain cardamomoptional
12 to 15 whole roast cashews or peanuts, for garnish, optional
Gather the materials.
Thaw 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Addition 2 cups desiccated unsweetened coconut and 1/4 cup powdered milk and toast until lightly pink and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Set aside.
Combination 1 1/2 cups water and 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Continue to heat the syrup without stirring until a thermometer registers about 224 F, about 12 minutes.
If you don't have a thermometer, to check the readiness of your syrup, put a drop between two fingers (let it cool a bit first) and press them together. Upon their separation, the syrup should form a string.
Gradually stir the sugar syrup into the coconut mixture, adding it a little at a time. The amount you need may vary depending on the quality of the coconut. It also depends on how sweet you would like the laddoo to be. The mixture should stick when you squeeze some of it into your hand.
If you want, add 1/3 cup optional crushed cashews and 1/2 teaspoon optional ground cardamom. Mix the ingredients until well combined, resulting in a sticky texture. Let the mixture cool slightly.
Divide the mixture into equal portions. You could use any standard measurement to divide the mixture, however 2 tbsp each would be fine for a medium sized laddoo.
Take a portion in your hand and gently shape it into a round by pressing it lightly.
Once the desired shape is achieved, roll each laddoo inside remaining 1/2 cup desiccated unsweetened coconutensuring that the coconut fully adheres to the surface of the laddoo.
Fill each laddoo with one optional whole roasted cashews or pistachiosif you like, pressing it lightly until it sticks.
Laddoo can be kept in an airtight container for 5 to 7 days, but be aware that they start losing moisture beyond this point. For extended storage, refrigeration is an option. However, this results in a firmer texture than the desired liquid consistency, so bring the laddoo to room temperature before serving.
Feeling adventurous? Try this:
- Use sweetened milk—For a simpler variation, use condensed milk instead of powdered milk and sugar syrup. Add 4 to 6 tablespoons of sweetened milk after lightly toasting the coconut and mix well until the mixture holds. The rest of the steps remain the same.
- Change the garnish— Enhance the presentation of the laddoo by garnishing it with roasted cashews, pistachios or delicate dried rose petals. Gently press the garnish onto the laddoo to secure it in place.
- With the same mixture we make coconut barfi—You can also make coconut barfi by pressing this mixture into a greased baking pan or platter with raised edges. After pressing it into the pan, cut it into squares because you won't do it after it hardens and the barfi will break. Let it sit for 4 to 6 hours until firm. Then remove the squares and enjoy.
|Nutrition facts (per portion)|
View full nutrition label
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Quantity per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Saturated fat 17 g||86%|
|Dietary fiber 4g||15%|
|Total sugars 22 g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||3%|
|Calcium 35 mg||3%|
|Potassium 181 mg||4%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to the daily diet. 2,000 calories per day is used for general dietary advice.|
(Nutritional information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)