These beauties are my coconut dulce de leche cocadas and they are outrageously delicious. Cocadas are a traditional coconut candy or confectionery typically found in Latin American, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela as well as other areas in South America. If you are a coconut lover like I am, these are a must make.
Similar to a coconut macaroon, cocadas have a chewy, yet soft texture. There are lots of variations out there from, brightly colored to golden brown with almonds or macadamia nuts. But in this recipe I use dulce de leche to add even more richness as well as a creamy caramel flavoring that’s memorable.
Fun fact for you. Etymologically, the word “cocada” comes from the word “coconut” with the addition of the Spanish suffix “ada”, which means “a hit” or “a strike”. The suffix “ada” indicates to strike with a sharp object, such as in cracking a coconut open.
Cocadas are believed to be of Spanish origin, likely because, coconut, sugar and milk are all products that were brought by the Spanish in the countries they colonized. After the Spanish Civil War, and a shortage in pine nuts (an ingredient heavily used in many recipes at the time), coconut began being used as a common substitute in many recipes. Some believe, it was around this time, that cocadas were invented.
Cocadas Around The World
Like coconut, caramel is also a weakness for me, so it’s addition in this recipe seems rather fitting. I like to dip my cocadas in melted chocolate which balances the caramel and builds flavor complexity. This one bowl recipe whips up in minute and bakes off in just 30 minutes making them a great quick sweet treat, should you be needing one. I first served these beauties years ago at my husbands Mexican themed 40th birthday party and they disappeared almost instantly. Trust me, if you make them, you’ll understand why.
Coconut Dulce de Leche Cocadas
- 4 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup Carnation sweetened condensed milk
- 1/3 cup La Lechera dulce de leche
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 ounces bitter sweet chocolate, melted
- Step 1 In a large mixing bowl combine the coconut, condensed milk, dulce de leche, corn starch, egg whites and vanilla extract. Using a rubber spatula, mix well to incorporate. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
- Step 2 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, lightly grease and and set aside.
- Step 3 Using your hands, roll the coconut mixture into small balls and place about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet.
- Step 4 Bake for 30 minutes, rotating sheet trays half way through for even baking. Cool completely.
- Step 5 When cool, dip half the cocadas in the melted chocolate and place back on the sheet tray to dry.