We stock a lot of jams in our pantry. And beyond the usuals—strawberry, mango, and guava—one of the things we love to have is coco jam. Also known locally as minatamis na bao, it’s a welcome alternative to the often too-sweet, too-fruit spreads. Plus, it’s way more versatile, working not only with bread but with several Filipino kakanin, as well.
There aren’t a lot of coco jam options in the supermarket. So we’ve come up with a simple, two-ingredient recipe so you can make your own at home! Traditionally, coco jam is made using coconut milk, eggs, and sugar. This version is pretty much the same, except it does away with the eggs and replaces white or brown sugar with coconut sugar.
How to Make Coco Jam
You can find coconut milk in the supermarket; likewise with coconut sugar. If you’re having a hard time finding the latter, you can look in health stores or online shops. We use coconut sugar in this coco jam because it gives a deeper flavor and color to the spread, as opposed to brown sugar. That said, you can always switch back to brown sugar; just replace it in the recipe in an equal amount.
This recipe makes a very basic coco jam. But if you’d like to play with the flavor, you can customize it by adding dried spices (such as cinnamon, bay leaves, or nutmeg) when you combine the milk and sugar. You can also transform it into a white coco jam (aka vegan/coconut condensada) by using white sugar instead of coconut or brown sugar.
Once mixed, all there is to do is to bring the mixture to a boil, cooking until it has reduced and thickened. It should take about 30 minutes to get it to jam consistency. It’s ready when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, or if you can draw a line through the bottom of the pot and it does not run back together.
The Softball Test
Another way to know if your jam has reached the right consistency (not overcooked, but not too thin) is to test if they’re at the softball stage. This is a gauge used in candy-making wherein you drop a piece of your sugar syrup into cold water. If your jam is ready, it should form into a soft ball. Then when you remove it, it should retain its shape for a bit then flatten onto your hand.
Transfer your coco jam into a jar, then let it cool completely before storing. You can store the jam in the fridge for up to a month. If you take it out and it’s hard, just dunk the jar into some warm water for a few minutes to loosen it up. Use the coco jam with bread, on donuts, or your favorite desserts—the possibilities are endless!