Saturday, August 6, 2011

RECIPE - Dark Cocada (Cocada Preta)

This Brazilian sweet is worthy of a king - or at the very least worthy of a king of dark cocada (see previous post O rei da cocada preta). Whether blue blood flows in your veins or not, you will have to agree, once you taste it, that it's worth a king's ransom (OK, we promise there'll be no more playing with the words kind, royel, regal etc. in this post. Enough is enough.)

A variation on the snow-white theme of cocada, this Brazilian sweet or candy made from grated or flaked dried coconut with some sort of sweetening ingredient and something to bind it all together comes from the north-eastern state of Bahia. Our version employs a raw, unrefined, unbleached sugar called rapadura to provide the dark color and flavor note, and a simple syrup of sugar and water to hold it all together. Outside of Brazil, rapadura is hard to find, but you can substitute Demerara brown sugar in equal quantity for a similar result. This treat is sinfully good, but be aware that it's also sinfully sweet as it's made by Brazilians. That's the way they love it, but if you or those you're serving cocada preta to lack a sweet tooth, you might find it too sweet entirely. Just a friendly warning.
RECIPE - Dark Cocada (Cocada Preta)
Makes 30

1 lb (500 gr) rapadura (or dark Demerara sugar)
2 lbs (900 gr) white granulated sugar
4 cups (1 liter) water
3 lbs (1.5 kg) flaked unsweetened coconut

If using rapadura, melt it in a heavy pan over low heat. Remove from heat as soon as it melts. Pass through a metal sieve to remove impurities, then reserve.

In a large heavy pan, hea the white granulated sugar over low heat until it melts, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook and stir constantly until it begins to take on a golden color, then add the reserved rapadura or Demerara sugar. If using the sugar, continue to cook and stir until it is dissolved. Now add the water, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring all the time. When all the water is added, cook until the liquid has reached the thick syrup stage, continuing to stir. Remove from heat, fold in the coconut flakes and let cool for about 15 minutes.

Spread out enough wax paper on a large work surface or tabletop and drop 30 or so equal-sized rounds of the cocada. Spread them out slightly with the back of the wooden spoon, and let stand until completely cool and slightly hardened. Store in an air-tight container in layers, with wax paper between each layer.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora.


  1. This is interesting! I love cocada. Here we have the regular and cocada queimada, but I've never seen cocada preta! Though I'm wondering if I'll like it. My husband loves rapadura..his family buys a block, leaves it in the fridge and eats it like candy...I am not so much a fan of the flavor.

  2. I am making this for a family party soon..I'll let you know how it goes. My husband often mixes a little piece of rapadura with a chunk of fresh coconut as a special treat. It's lovely and yummy.