Cocadas (Mexican Coconut Candy)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
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Craving something sweet? Indulge in the homemade goodness of old-fashioned Cocadas, a sweet Mexican coconut candy! These chewy coconut treats are super easy to make, with just 4 easy ingredients, and are utterly irresistible.

Why You’ll Love These Chewy, Sweet Cocadas!

Do you have a weakness for coconut desserts? Then this recipe is calling your name. Here’s why you’ll love making homemade cocadas:

  • Flavor: These cocadas are a coconut lover’s dream! The rich, tropical flavor of shredded coconut takes center stage in these homespun candies.
  • Texture: Moist and soft, chewy yet delicate, caramelized on the outside and light on the inside… these coconut candies are everything you hope they are and more!
  • Old-Fashioned: Like mazapan candy, Cocadas are a beloved, long-standing tradition. One bite of this nostalgic treat and you’ll see why.
  • Simple Ingredients: You only need four basic ingredients to whip up this recipe, keeping this homemade candy easy on your wallet. If you have a bag of shredded coconut, you may already have all the ingredients you need on hand!
Baked Mexican coconut candies on a cookie sheet.

Where Are Cocadas From?

Cocadas are a classic Mexican candy that you’ll find all across Latin American countries, including Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela to name just a few. They are sold in markets and bakeries, and of course, baked from scratch in many a kitchen! Depending on the area, you will find various flavors and textures, often including fruits, nuts, and spices along with the basic ingredients.

Ingredients for cocadas arranged on a work surface.

What Are Cocadas Made Of?

You only need four basic ingredients (that you probably already have in your kitchen) to make this sweet little snack. For full ingredient amounts and directions, scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Egg Whites: These provide structure and help bind the ingredients together, giving the cocadas the perfect texture.
  • Sugar: I use both regular sugar and light brown sugar, for a hint of caramel-like flavor.
  • Shredded Coconut: The star ingredient, unsweetened shredded coconut gives cocadas their tropical taste and chewy consistency.
  • Yellow Food Coloring: This is completely optional, but it does give the cocadas a pretty, golden color.

What’s the Difference Between Coconut Flakes and Shredded Coconut?

You may be wondering if coconut flakes and shredded coconut are the same thing. While similar, they are in fact a little different! Coconut flakes are larger, crispier pieces of coconut meat, while shredded coconut is more finely grated. Coconut flakes are often used as a garnish, while shredded coconut is more moist and is used all kinds of recipes, especially desserts like this one! 

White Mexican coconut candies on a sheet pan.

How to Make Cocadas

Making these cute coconut candies is so simple, you’ll want to make them all the time! This cooking method is definitely a low-investment, high-reward situation.

  • Whisk the Egg Whites and Sugars: Whisk the egg whites, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a bowl until just combined. Don’t whisk in too much air, or the texture will be off!
  • Fold in Coconut: Gently fold the shredded coconut into the egg-white mixture.
  • Add Food Coloring: Divide the mixture in half. If desired, stir yellow food coloring into one bowl, and leave the other plain.
  • Bake and Serve: Drop scoops of both mixtures on the baking sheet, leaving space between them. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes until golden on top and on the edges. Cool for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
A scalloped platter of yellow and white cocadas.

Tips and Variations

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your new favorite coconut dessert!

  • Mix Gently: When combining the egg whites and sugars, don’t overmix, or the egg whites will become too airy, and give the cocadas a meringue-like texture rather than a soft, chewy one.
  • Cookie Scoop: Use a small cookie scoop to measure the cocadas mixture onto the baking sheet. This helps ensure even baking.
  • Food Coloring: When adding food coloring, start with a small amount and gradually increase it as needed to get the right shade. Don’t overdo it, or the food coloring could affect the taste and texture of the cocadas. 
  • Space Out: Leave enough space between the cocadas on the baking sheet to allow for even heat distribution. This prevents them from sticking together and ensures they bake evenly.
  • Cool Down: Don’t forget to let the cocadas cool on the baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes after baking. This helps them set and develop their final texture. 
Mexican coconut candy, some yellow and some white.

How to Store Mexican Coconut Candy

To store, cool them down completely and then place them in an airtight container in layers, with parchment paper between the layers to prevent sticking. Store them at room temperature for two or three days, or in the fridge for up to one week.

Can I Freeze These?

Sure! You can package these the same way you would for refrigerating, and keep them in the freezer instead. They will keep for up to two months. Thaw them out in the fridge before serving.

Holding a cocada toward the camera. The candy has been cut in half to show the texture of the interior.

More Coconut Desserts

Yellow and white cocadas.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 25 servings

Cocadas (Mexican Coconut Candy)

Craving something sweet? Indulge in the homemade goodness of old-fashioned Cocadas! These chewy Mexican coconut candies are easy to make and utterly irresistible.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Yellow food coloring, optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  • In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix to combine the egg whites, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk until just combined. (Don't incorporate a lot of air into the mixture or the cocacadas will turn out like meringue.)
  • Add the shredded coconut and use a silicone spatula to gently fold it into the egg white mixture, until well combined.
  • OPTIONAL: Divide the coconut mixture into two portions. Add 1-3 drops of yellow food coloring to one portion and mix until well combined. It should be completely yellow.
  • Use a small cookie scoop to place scoops of the mixtures on the lined baking sheet, leaving 2 to 3" of space between each one. If you don't have a cookie scoop, use your hands to roll balls the size of 2-3 tablespoons with the mixture and pat them down slightly on the baking sheet. Half of the cocadas should be yellow and the other half should be white.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden on top and around the edges. Remove the tray from the oven and set it aside to cool for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

Storage: Cool completely and then place them in an airtight container in layers, with parchment paper between the layers to prevent sticking. Store them at room temperature for two or three days, or in the fridge for up to one week.
Mix Gently: When combining the egg whites and sugars, don’t overmix, or the egg whites will become too airy, and give the cocadas a meringue-like texture rather than a soft, chewy one.
Food Coloring: When adding food coloring, start with a small amount and gradually increase it as needed to get the right shade. Don’t overdo it, or the food coloring could affect the taste and texture of the cocadas. 
Space Out: Leave enough space between the cocadas on the baking sheet to allow for even heat distribution. This prevents them from sticking together and ensures they bake evenly.
Cool Down: Don’t forget to let the cocadas cool on the baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes after baking. This helps them set and develop their final texture. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cocada, Calories: 92kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Sodium: 11mg, Potassium: 70mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.4mg

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.