How to Make ‘Cocadas Mexicanas,’ an Easy 2-Ingredient Coconut Candy

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Cocadas are a popular Mexican street food treat—and you can make them at home!

Crossing the border bridge between Juarez, Chihuahua, and El Paso, Texas, the endless lines of cars are at a standstill. Candy vendors weave between cars with their colorful candy trays, Mexican desserts and bags full of refreshing chopped fruit. This is where I experienced my first cocada.

What Are Cocadas?

If you love sweet coconut recipes, then you’re bound to love this treat. Go to any city in Mexico and you’ll find a variation of cocadas anywhere candies are sold.

Also known as dulce de coco or croquimol, this popular Mexican candy is made of shredded coconut cooked with white or brown sugar, or piloncillo. Depending on the region, ingredients vary. Some may include milk, coconut water, egg yolks, rum, pineapple pulp, vanilla, nuts, raisins or cinnamon.

Depending on the candy maker and region, cocadas come in many shapes and sizes. From a pale yellow cylindrical shape to green, white and red rectangles resembling the Mexican flag, you can find endless varieties in Mexico. My first cocada, for example, was pink and shaped like a drum!

How to Make Cocadas

Cocadas are super easy to make at home, and they only require two ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) bag sweetened shredded coconut (5-1/2 cups)
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk

Directions

Step 1: Prep

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9-in. baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.

Step 2: Mix ingredients

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Place shredded coconut in a large bowl. Add sweetened condensed milk and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Step 3: Bake

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Transfer to prepared baking dish. Push the mixture around with a spoon to form an even layer. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Step 4: Cool and serve

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Let cool for at least 1 hour. Scoop 2 tablespoons coconut candy onto parchment paper and shape into a ball the size of a golf ball.

For a twist, try making these similar chocolate-covered coconut candies.

How to Store Cocadas

Cocadas will keep approximately seven days stored in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated. Wrap them in festive cellophane paper or place them in truffle wrappers or mini baking cup liners.

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Ericka Sanchez
Ericka Sanchez is a recipe developer, food stylist, creator of the award-winning culinary website nibblesandfeasts.com and author of two cookbooks: Aguas Frescas & Paletas and ¡Buen Provecho! (October 2021). Ericka's cooking style is inspired by her life as a bicultural Latina living in California and her cherished memories in the kitchen with her grandmother and mother in Mexico. Ericka was born in Torreón Coahuila, Mexico, and immigrated with her family to El Paso, Texas, at eight years old.