This recipe for coconut strawberries is one that Sue and I have had forever and is one of the recipes that brings back a lot of childhood memories. We got it from the grandma of one of our bestest friends. Truth be told she was like a grandma to us too.
Our friend, Desi, and her brother, Jamie, moved in to our neighbourhood when we were all maybe 4 or 5 years old.
I love the story of how we met. It's one of those non-dramatic, chance encounters that changes everything forever.
Desi and Jamie came down to our house and asked to borrow our bathroom as, for reasons I can't recall, theirs was unavailable while they were moving in down the street.
Beginning of one of the strongest friendships on the planet.
We would play outside together, roaming the neighbourhood, creating adventures as only kids can do, until, one by one, the lights from the street lights would flicker on and above our laughter we would hear Desi and Jamie's grandpa calling them home.
"Deeeeeeeeesi......Jaaaaaaaaaaay-meeeeeee", would sound throughout the block, and we would know that if we didn't get home within the next couple of minutes then our names would be called out next by our parents.
I don't know if you are lucky enough to have a forever friend: and by "forever friend" I mean a friend that, no matter how long it has been since you last saw them, no matter how many arguements you have, no matter how life gets in the way, after 5 seconds together and a giant bear hug, it is like you have never been apart and you can pick up right where you left off - but if you do then you know how blessed you truly are.
Desi and Jamie's grandparents, forever Mr. and Mrs. Lancaster to Sue and I, were amazing people and Mrs. Lancaster was one of the BEST bakers on the planet.
The recipe for these strawberries is hers.
3 pkgs (85 gr each) Strawberry Jello
1 can (300 ml) Sweetened Condensed Milk
about 2 bags of Coconut, shredded (Maybe 4 cups or so)
In a medium sized bowl, stir ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Start with about 2 cups of coconut and go from there. You want it to be sticky, but not too sticky. You should be able to easily roll it into a ball if you pinch off a ping pong ball sized piece.
When you get the right texture, pinch off ping pong ball sized amounts of the mixture and form into strawberry shapes. (Roll into a ball then gently flatten one side and pinch the ball into a rounded pyramid to get the basic shape.)
You can then top with a flattened green Tootsie roll that you can shape into leaves, or pipe a bit of green icing on top to resemble leaves, or you can leave them plain.
Place them on a plastic wrap lined cookie sheet and let them chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
This recipe, as simple as it is, will always be one of my favorites.
There are not too many recipes that stick with you your entire life, that are able to make you smile and bring back so many great memories every time you make them, that even grow and spread to other family members to help them create memories of their own.
Sue and I's cousin, Karen, used this recipe to help decorate her wedding cake several years ago.
And, even more beautiful, our cousin, Karen, on her wedding day. :)
You may not find this recipe as memorable as our family but I hope that it does make you smile at least a little.
Do you have any special recipes that bring back memories for you?
(On a side note - and I only include this because I know Desi would find it funny - as you may have noticed in the opening paragraph I used the word "bestest" to describe our friend, Desi. Spellcheck asked me if I meant "bustiest".... No...no...I did not mean "bustiest". Sorry Dez....I think we both know who would win that title.)