This 3-ingredient cocadas recipe is my twist on Mexican coconut candies. These nutty, caramelized treats are addictively chewy and delicious!
I first learned about cocadas from The Kitchen on Food Network when Marcela shared her recipe for easy coconut bark. It had two of my favorite ingredients: coconut and sweetened condensed milk. So, I tried it and loved it!
Here’s my delicious spin on sweet and chewy cocadas!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
These irresistible coconut candies are sweet, chewy, and addictive!
Cocadas are indulgent and rich in the best possible way. Buttery soft macadamia nuts add another layer of richness and texture!
- Only 3 simple ingredients
- Quick and easy – less than 30 minutes needed!
- The perfect combination of sweet and nutty
- Perfect for a crowd, like Cinco De Mayo party
I have yet to find someone who doesn’t like Mexican coconut candy.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Coconut – You’ll want shredded coconut flakes for this recipe. Feel free to use sweetened, unsweetened, or a combination of both.
- Dulce de leche is basically milk and sugar cooked together until thick and caramelized. A can of ready to use dulce de Leche can be found in the baking aisle. But homemade dulce de leche is quite easy to make too!
- Macadamia nuts – The nutty taste and buttery texture of macadamia nuts add a satisfying crunch!
How to make this recipe:
1. Make the dough
In a large bowl, stir the coconut flakes, dulce de leche and macadamia nuts until all the coconut flakes are covered with dulce de leche.
The mixture is a little on a drier side, but don’t be tempted to add too much dulce de leche.
The coconut mixture might seem dry, but trust the process and keep mixing until all the coconut flakes are coated with dulce de leche.
A firm silicone spatula helps a lot!
2. Shape cocadas
To shape the cocadas, you have two options.
Method 1 – Divide the mixture into 24 mini muffin cups, sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray, and pack them down tightly.
Method 2 – Fill a small cookie scoop with the coconut mixture and pack it well. Then drop the coconut balls on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
It’s hard to shape the mixture into balls by hand because they stick to the hands and fall apart. But a cookie scoop works perfectly. Just be sure to pack the mixture in well.
Bake the cocadas for 10-13 minutes at 350°F or until the edges are golden brown.
Then let them cool completely in the pan or on baking sheet before transferring them.
Coconut candies are soft right out of the oven. They harden as it cools. That’s why it’s important to cool them completely before removing them from the pan.
Tips for Success:
- Use a sturdy spatula to stir the sticky mixture.
- If you don’t like macadamia nuts, you can substitute chopped almonds or omit nuts altogether.
- Sweetened condensed milk can be used in place of dulce de leche, but the cocadas will be lighter in flavor and color.
- Dip them in melted chocolate for a beautiful presentation. The bitterness of dark chocolate complements the sweetness of the cocadas mexicanas perfectly.
- Unsweetened shredded coconut may be used instead of sweetened. But since they are drier, increase the amount of dulce de leche.
Here are a few simple variations on a classic cocada!
- Almond extract – Add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract for a sweet, amaretto flavor.
- Vanilla extract – Add one teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cookie dough for a sweet, vanilla essence.
- Grated chocolate – Grate dark chocolate into the cookie dough for a chocolate caramel combo!
- Coconut chips – Add coconut chips for some extra crunch!
- Almonds – Replace the macadamia nuts with chopped almonds.
- Chocolate – Dip the Mexican coconut cookies in dark or milk chocolate, then drizzle more on top.
- Cinnamon – Add ground cinnamon for some warmth and sweet spice.
- Powdered sugar – Dust the cooled cocadas with powdered sugar for extra sweetness!
- Mexican coconut candy can be made ahead of time! If you store them in the refrigerator, they’ll last an entire week!
- They make a tasty gift for friends and loved ones. Wrap them in colorful cellophane, candy paper, or parchment paper before gifting.
Enjoy the coconut cookies! If you have any leftovers (you won’t!), here’s how to store them.
- Store the cocadas in an airtight container for up to three days at room temperature or seven days in the refrigerator.
- Can’t seem to finish them all in less than a week? No problem! Cocadas freeze well. Place them into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to two months.
- Let them defrost in the refrigerator before enjoying!
Cocadas are a treat from Latin America made with shredded coconut and sweetened condensed milk. They have a soft and chewy texture and vary slightly depending on which country they’re made in.
Cocadas are enjoyed in many parts of Latin America but are very popular in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, and Venezuela.
Besides these sweet and simple cocadas, you can also make coconut macaroons, coconut almond balls, pina colada angel food cake, or coconut cupcakes!
Shredded coconut tastes great in oatmeal, on pancakes or waffles, and sprinkled onto fruit salad.
Try my other recipes with dulce de leche:
- Dulce de Leche Cheesecake – readers’ favorite!
- Fill linzer cookies with dulce de leche.
- Chocolate Caramel Cups – chocolate lovers’ dream.
- Rich chocolate mini cakes with Dulce de Leche – impressive dessert for parties!
Cocadas- Mexican Coconut Candies
- 1 ¾ cup (200g) sweetened coconut flakes Note 1
- 1/3 cup (100g) dulce de leche Note 2
- 1/3 cup (50g) coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Or line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or silicone mat.
- In a large bowl, mix together coconut flakes, dulce de leche and macadamia nuts until well combined. (TIP: The mixture may seem dry, but don't worry. Simply work the dulce de leche into the coconut flakes.)
- Divide the mixture into 24 mini cups packing them down tightly. Or using a small cookie scoop, form balls and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. (TIP: It's hard to shape the mixture into balls by hand. But if you pack a small cookie scoop well, it's super easy!)
- Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the edges are nicely browned.
- Cool completely before transferring the cocadas onto a serving platter.
Tips & Notes:
– Store the cocadas in an airtight container for up to three days at room temperature or seven days in the refrigerator.
– Can’t seem to finish them all in less than a week? No problem! Cocadas freeze very well. Place them into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to two months.
This recipe was originally published on April 30th, 2014.
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