I ate an inordinate amount of these sweets in my preteens and early teens. Every extra cash I had, I spent on Baba Dudu. Every neighbourhood corner shop that sold basic provisions and snacks always had a chain of baba Dudu candy hanging on a makeshift rack. The sellers will expertly pull and snap off what you want from the longer chain of sweets without ruining it. Honestly, I struggled to get the chain right, it is a skill I’m sure comes from years of experience.
Baba Dudu is a hard dark brown nutty coconut candy. It’s made by boiling coconut milk down with sugar till it darkens and then shaped into round or oval balls. Baba Dudu loosely translated as “black old man”, a name this candy got for its distinctive very dark brown colour. The sweet usually has a quite shiny outer coat. Baba is also called “Sweet Alagbon”, “Charbin Mallam”.
Making these addictive coconut sweets is easy, you need just two ingredients.
- 4 cups Coconut Milk or Cream
- 2 cups Sugar
I recommend Coconut cream because of the higher fat content. You are more likely to find coconut milk in the store, in the absence of that, make your own milk. Coconut milk is perfectly fine.
- Add coconut milk or cream, into a clean pot and set on medium heat.
- Add sugar and leave to cook, stirring occasionally.
- As the milk and sugar cook it thickens and will go from milky, to clear, then opaque, and caramel brown, to dark brown.
- Be careful not to burn it if not it will have a bitter taste.
- Turn the heat off
- Leave the sticky brown sweet to cool down till you can handle it.
- Scoop small bits into your palms and roll them into balls.
- Work quickly so the rest doesn’t harden. However, if it starts to harden using the double boiler method, place the pot into another pot of boiling water and stir till it loosens up.