(Published in Pacific Pearl magazine april 2020)
Standing out with bright yellow and red colors on street carts around the market, or on the beach balancing on the head of a street vendor; you may have seen Cocadas or Mexican macaroon more often than you think. And did you know there are several kinds: traditional, fudge or oven-baked. Why not indulge your sweet tooth with an artisanal Cocada? We all know there’s always room for dessert!
Soft coconut cocadas are made with shredded coconut and piloncillo cane sugar. Their origin can’t be traced back easily, but Mexican coastal cities with a tropical climate have been selling them since the 19th century. And they continue to be a popular snack for hungry eaters of all ages.
Cocadas are traditionally a toasted, golden brown color, though food coloring is sometimes used for extra flair. Around Mexican Independence Day on September 15th you can see patriotic Cocadas using the red-white-green colors of the Mexican flag.
The process to make Cocadas starts with the dry coconuts that come from the plantations on Stone Island. The pulp is extracted, making sure to remove the brownish peel, and grated. The next step is to cook the grated coconut with sugar and water, stirring continuously until the sugar caramelizes. To make the fudge-style Cocadas you mix the coconut with sugar, milk and egg yolks. Using an ice scooper the Cocadas are placed on a tray to cool down. To create oven-baked Cocadas, the coconut domes are left to grill in a hot oven for 10 minutes.
The Cocada artisans are usually small family-run businesses. So the next time you’re craving something sweet, keep these delicacies in mind!
If you’re ready to learn more about Mazatlan’s culinary scene, make sure to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and save your seats for one of the Flavor Teller food tours.
Maaike Hoekstra has lived in Mexico for over 15 years. She is passionate about Mexican culture and food. Here are the stories and recipes she finds along the way.