Bolivian Cocadas (Coconut Biscuits from Bolivia)

Round, flaky coconut balls sweetened with condensed milk. Cocadas are a great pairing with a cup of coffee. Perfect for a coconut enthusiast. Gluten-free. 

Why should I make Cocadas?

  • Cocadas are probably the easiest biscuit you’ll ever make.
  • The perfect recipe to bake with children as there are only four ingredients. 
  • Did I mention, only four ingredients?
  • You can add chocolate too for some extra flavour (see below).
  • Discover a sweet from another culture. 

Bolivian Cocadas

Bolivian cocadas remind me a lot of coconut macaroons. In fact, I’d say they are the same. The only difference is the lack of egg whites that are present in a coconut macaroon. These cocadas only have four ingredients: desiccated coconut, condensed milk, egg and vanilla essence. Unless you add cocoa powder and then that makes five!

Cocadas are a traditional sweet in the country of Bolivia where coconut is hugely popular. It’s used in all sorts of things such as coconut pudding and pastelitos. Condensed milk is also used a lot, especially when it comes to the sweet and moorish, dulce de leche. Why not try my traditional version of dulce de leche? You won’t regret! You always use it to whip up my delicious Dulce de Leche cake too!

What do I know about Bolivia?

My knowledge on Bolivia is dire. Of course I know It’s one of the many countries in Latin America and that Spanish is one of the many languages. And who can forget the Andes mountains? But that’s it. That’s all I know! 

I’d like to educate myself more, so here’s what I’ll do:

Watch: Netflix’s documentary, Magic Andes. Set in South America, it follows five locals who share an insight into their region. The Bolivian episode is called ‘Bolivia, the door to the Altiplano’. 

Read: The Bolivian Times by Tim Elliot is meant to be a nice, easy read (plus funny at times) about Bolivian culture. Just what I need as I don’t have a lot of time on my hands!

Listen: Edgar ‘Yayo’ Jofre is a well-known Bolivian singer. He formed a Bolivian folk group called Los Jairos. Their song called Quitipacha is rather catchy!

Love Bolivian food? Why not try out my other Bolivian recipe for ‘Pique Macho’ – I’d say it’s the Saturday night alternative to steak and chips!

What ingredients do I need to make these easy coconut biscuits?

Desiccated coconut – the main ingredient so super essential! 

Condensed milk – a flavoursome, thick ‘cream’ made from heated milk. This helps  bind the ingredients together. You could use golden syrup instead but it will end up a lot sweeter (not tested it).

Egg – also helps bind the ingredients.

Vanilla essence – adds flavour, of course! You could also use a raspberry natural flavouring for a jammy/coconut combo!

Cocoa powder (optional) – I added cocoa powder to half for a chocolate twist. Feel free to use grated chocolate instead.

Toasted coconut chips (optional) – adds an extra crunch but also optional.

Equipment list

Measuring spoons

A small bowl

Baking tray 

Fork or whisk to beat the egg

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cocadas suitable for vegans and vegetarians? 

Cocadas are certainly suitable for vegetarians but not vegans due to the condensed milk and egg. 

Are cocadas gluten-free?

Yes! Cocadas make a great quick snack for anyone on a gluten-free diet. 

Aren’t cocadas also common in other parts of Latin America?

Yes, cocadas are also popular in Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico and Venezuela.

Tip – 

If doing the chocolate version of Cocadas, sieve the cocoa powder in for a more even spread and to make it easier to incorporate. 

The Recipe

Bolivian Cocadas

  • Serves: 8 balls
  • Difficulty: Easy

The perfect gluten-free sweet snack which takes no time at all to prepare!

What you will need

  • 250g desiccated coconut
  • 150ml condensed milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essense
  • Handful of toasted coconut chips to decorate
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (optional)

Method

  • 11. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees/ 160 fan. Add the desiccated coconut, condensed milk, egg and vanilla (and cocoa powder if using –
  • 2 I did half and half) into a bowl and mix to combine.
  • 32. Shape into 8 balls and lay on a baking tray.
  • 43. Sprinkle with toasted coconut chips, if using.
  • 54. Bake for 20 mins or until golden brown. Cool before eating!

More Latin American recipes – 

Pique Macho (A Bolivian sharing dish for meat-lovers)

Belizean Garnaches 

Dulce de Leche Cake with Milkduds

Easy Beef Empandas

Argentinian Veggie Chilli with Chimichurri 

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