Living in a border town like El Paso, Texas, it was not unusual to cross the border down to Mexico on a weekly basis. Mexico was ten minutes away and Sunday morning mass, breakfast and maybe even a haircut were our Ciudad Juarez family day trips. This was a custom for many families living in a border town. As we headed back to the U.S. the wait at the crossing bridge seemed an eternity as kids. We napped, read the latest issue of a Periquita comic or we enjoyed what the bridge vendors had to offer: Mexican candy.
Cocadas always stood out to me due to their bright pink color. I really wanted to recreate them exactly as I remembered. This February, we are steering away from the Valentine chocolate cliché and playing with coconut instead. This dessert is pretty simple and made in less than an hour. You little ones will enjoy stirring the coconut mixture and cutting out cocada shapes with plastic cookie cutters once the dessert has cooled. Enjoy and happy Valentine’s Day!
Cocadas for your Valentine
2-14 oz. cans sweetened, condensed milk
1-14 oz. bag of sweetened, flaked coconut
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
optional: red or neon pink food coloring
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line an 11” x 17” baking sheet with parchment paper and set lined pan aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add sweetened, condensed milk, honey and vanilla mix with a strong (preferably wooden) spoon. Stir until all ingredients have been completely mixed.
Add a few drops of food coloring and mix well until desired shade of pink or red has been reached.
Spread the coconut and milk mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a flat wooden spoon, push the mixture evenly on pan, including corners. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top begins to lightly brown.
Cool for at least an hour. Cut into squares or use a lightly oiled circle shape cookie cutter. Enjoy or store in a tightly sealed container.
Makes approximately 20 pieces.
1. shredded coconut
2. add condensed milk, honey and vanilla
3. stir and mix well
4. add food coloring (optional)