Thoroughly butter a plastic tray or cutting board and set aside.
In a small heavy saucepan, combine the condensed milk and butter and cook over very low heat on a heatproof pad, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Use a rubber spatula to reach all the way into the corners of the pan so that none of the mixture scorches, as it is very delicate and easy to burn. If it seems to be getting too hot, remove it from the heat for 30 seconds to cool slightly. When the mixture is quite thick, remove from the heat and cool for about 25 minutes, then stir in the coconut. Using a tiny ice cream scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons capacity) or 2 teaspoons, scoop out little balls one by one and immediately drop them into a bowl of confectioners sugar. Roll around gently to coat them evenly and transfer to the buttered tray. Continue until you have used all the mixture and then stud each smooch with 2 or 3 cloves. Store in a tightly covered container.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved