Cocadas are everywhere throughout the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world. They’re the bake is for coconut lovers: there’s nothing I’ve ever mode which has a higher percentage of pure coconut.
In most places, cocadas show up as balls or swirls (they’re often translated as “coconut cookies” or “coconut macaroons”). In Bolivia, they make them as “bar cookies”, which I take to mean baked in a tray and cut into squares, somewhat like brownies.
Western recipes tend to use sweetened condensed milk: I’ve started with a recipe from “Bolivia bella” in which you make your own condensed milk by starting with coconut milk and sugar. The original then adds freshly grated coconut, but I didn’t have any, so I’ve put in desiccated coconut at the beginning of the process to allow it to rehydrate while the coconut milk is condensing. I’ve also considerably reduced the proportion of sugar to coconut – you can increase it to 200g if you prefer a sweeter end product.
- 400ml coconut milk
- 150g desiccated coconut
- 150g sugar
- 3 egg yolks (mine clocked in at around 54g)
- 10g sesame seeds
- 25g butter
- grated rind of 1 lemon (around 2g)
- Heat oven to 160℃ fan
- Line a baking tin with parchment: I used a 23cm x 23cm tin
- Mix the coconut milk, the desiccated coconut and the sugar into a saucepan.
- Bring to the boil and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until thickened to a paste. Take it off the heat and stir in the sesame seeds, butter and lemon rind – mix until the butter is melted and combined. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes more: you don’t want to scramble the eggs in the next step.
- Beat the egg yolks thoroughly, then add them to the mix and blend them in quickly
- Return the saucepan to a low heat and cook for a few minutes longer until the mixture is very thick.
- Remove from the heat and spread the batter evenly into your tin.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until firm to hard. Use a longer time for a crisp biscuit, a shorter time for a softer brownie-like consistency.
- Leave to cool in the tin. You’ll struggle to extract it when it’s still warm.
- Remove the whole thing from the tin and cut into squares or rectangles.
Confession time on the photos: I got the baking temperature/time badly wrong on my first attempt and then inexplicably used the wrong baking pan on the second. So my final cocadas are too thin and unevenly baked. But they still taste great…