It’s Wednesday. Let’s make some candy!
The truth is that I’m not a super huge candy person. I’d much rather shove a cupcake or a donut into my face. But if I am going to reach for candy, it’s going to be something rustic and simple like a brittle or a nice piece of bark.
And since it’s warm out and I’ve got beaches on the brain, I’m pretty sure it’s time for some sweet, substantive, flavored cocada.
Don’t get me wrong: Snickers, Junior Mints and Reese’s definitely have a place in the pantheon of Sweets Excellence. I just personally prefer the flavor-popping excellence that can only come from homemade candy.
Plus, when you go homemade you’re in the driver’s seat, which is always nice.
Today we’re steering towards sweet coconut and lime. Because the sun is shining. Because my bathing suit has been unmothballed. Because I’ve started hinting to A. about trips to the shore.
It must be summertime. We’re going to need snacks.
This particular cocada recipe produces a finished product that is closer to a fruit roll-up than a brittle bark. A thick, chewy fruit roll-up. A fruit roll-up that fights back.
I like my cocada like I like my shoes: chunky, colorful and extremely high-heeled. Huh? Whatever.
Here’s the method for this recipe: stir and spread. No hard or soft ball stages. You’re simply going to get all your sweet stuff together, combine it in a large bowl, and spread it onto a large, rimmed baking sheet.
The thing is the waiting. This cocada bakes for almost an hour and, if you really want to get it right, you’ll let it set overnight. But I see some cheating in your future. A little subversive nibbling around the edges.
Don’t worry, I won’t tell.
So I suppose you could unwrap a Three Musketeers. Pop a PEZ. Break off a piece of that Kit Kat bar. But gimme a break! Why would you want to when you can make yourself some fresh and fruity cocada instead?!?
All I can say is that nobody better lay a finger on my cocada.
Cocada melts in your mouth, not your hand.
There’s no wrong way to eat cocada.
Lime Nut Cocada
2- 14 oz. cans sweetened, condensed milk (approximately 3 1/2 cups)
3/4 c. light corn syrup
1- 14 oz. bag of shredded, sweetened coconut (approximately 5 1/2 cups)
1 c. pine nuts, toasted (I toast my pine nuts for approximately 10 minutes at 350°, tossing halfway through, and watching them like a hawk to be sure they don’t burn.)
2 tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp. lime zest
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line an 11” x 17” rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. This step, for this recipe, is not optional: baked cocada will stick to anything other than parchment (foil, a greased baking sheet, etc.) and you will not be able to remove it post-baking. The parchment paper should completely cover the bottom and sides of the baking sheet. Set the lined pan aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir the condensed milk, corn syrup, lime juice and coconut together until well-blended. Fold in the nuts and zest and mix by hand until both are uniformly distributed throughout the milk mixture. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and, using a rubber scraper, push the mixture evenly across and into the corners of the pan. Bake for 50 minutes. The cocada will bubble and darken as it bakes and, finished, will be deep golden brown across the top, crusted at the edges, and set through the center.
Allow the cocada to cool and set for at least two hours, ideally overnight. Using a sharp, lightly oiled knife, slice the cocada into squares, carefully remove each piece from the parchment lining, and enjoy straight away or store in an airtight container separated with parchment.
YIELD: 15 pieces of cocada, each approximately 3 – 4″ square