Five-ingredient, quick, naturally gluten-free Brazilian Coconut Bars (or Cocada de Leite Condensado) made with sweetened condensed milk is the recipe of the day!
It has been a long time since I had the pleasure of munching on my favorite Brazilian dessert bars– but finally, I will have to wait no longer…
For those who may not know, cocadas are a tropical treat typical to Northeastern Brazil -- although also found in Angola, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Chile.
This dessert is no stranger to this blog. As I explained in one of my previous posts, these coconut bars can present three different types of textures: cocada de corte (the traditional texture– either a slightly chewy or crisp dessert bar), cocada de forno (baked in the oven), and cocada cremosa, de copo or mole (which has a pudding-like, creamy texture).
We have already presented a recipe for cocada cremosa (banana-coconut pudding) as well as for cocada de forno (baked coconut-sweet potato custard) last year. This time, however, our recipe is for cocada de corte.
This particular recipe of cocada de corte uses condensed milk, coconut, and sugar. This is a contemporary cocada recipe, since the traditional recipe calls for water instead of condensed milk. Because these cocadas de leite condensado are very sweet, they are sliced into small portions.
I remember vividly that I used to prefer nibbling on them instead of cookies while watching TV. Also, it was always such a thrill to purchase these from the street vendors at the Alto da Sé in Olinda.
"Um tabuleiro de cocada" (large treat tray carried by street vendors) can be an attraction all its own. In general, it comes lined with cocadas of different flavors and of course, colors. From cocadas pretas (burnt coconut bars) to those made from assorted fruits such as passion fruit, banana, and guava, it has always been hard to choose just one. Brazilians' fascination with this coconut dessert can be only compared to Americans' obsession with cookies. 🙂
I hope you do enjoy our coconut bars as much as I did... My eyes always light up when I see one -- like a child when she catches sight of her favorite candy! These coconut bars are as delish as this crunch bars recipe!
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Brazilian Coconut Bars (Cocada)
- 1 can can of sweetened condensed milk 14 oz or 396 g
- 1¼ cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ tablespoon softened unsalted butter plus more for greasing
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Grease well with butter both the bottom and sides of a 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine condensed milk, coconut, and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes (large burner) or more (small burner), stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened enough to detached from the bottom and sides of of the pan.
- Remove from the heat, immediately stir in ½ Tablespoon of butter, and then the vanilla.
- Pour hot mixture into the prepared baking pan, spreading well with a large spoon or spatula until leveled uniformly. Let cool slightly on a rack and cut into squares while mixture has not completely solidified. Let them cool down before handling.
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