No matter where we travel in Mexico, someone always shows up selling cocadas, Mexico’s version of coconut macaroons. One time we were taking a train from Chihuahua to Los Mochis on the west coast. It was a spectacular, eleven-hour train ride and must surely be one of the great train trips of the world in terms of scenic beauty. When the train came to a stop to pick up riders, a woman came aboard with a basket of coconut cookies, made her sales, and then hopped off the train as it was pulling away. Another time, while on a road trip, we were stopped for bridge repairs. Out of nowhere several children appeared, each with a basket of cocadas, to take advantage of potential buyers who weren’t going anywhere soon.
Sometimes the cookies are yellow with egg. Often they contain so much sugar they are tooth-achingly sweet and guilt-inducing. I go easy on the sugar and either use piloncillo, an unrefined sugar sold in cones (you can use brown sugar, light or dark) or make the cookies sugar-free, sweetening them with stevia powder. As the yellow color is appealing, and also how macaroons are made in Mexico, I use whole eggs. And since I am exploring all the ways I can use Ibarra chocolate, normally used for making hot chocolate, I dip the cookies into melted Ibarra for an extra indulgence.
Mexican Coconut Macaroons Dipped in Ibarra Chocolate
makes about 18 cookies
- 3 large eggs (5.25 oz./150 grams), room temperature
- 3 oz. (85 grams) piloncillo (or brown sugar), or 3 oz. mascabado sugar, or 1 teaspoon stevia powder for a sugar-free version
- 3 cups (8 oz./228 grams) dried, unsweetened coconut
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Optional flavorings: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or 1 teaspoon almond extract, or 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 1/2 discs (4.6 oz./135 grams) Ibarra chocolate or semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
- 1 1/2 tablespoons hot coffee (See note below.)
Read recipe through completely. Assemble and measure/weigh ingredients.
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. (204 C.). If you use piloncillo, grate with a micro-plane grater or regular grater. If you live in a dry climate, the piloncillo will be so hard that it will be almost impossible to grate. You can soften it by wrapping a piece of it in a damp cloth and placing it in a 200 deg. F. (95 deg. C.) oven for 20 minutes, or by microwaving it for 10-20 seconds.
- Add sugar by the tablespoonful while continuing to beat with the whisk.
- Add salt and vanilla and mix for 20 seconds.
- Fold in coconut with a spatula.
- Spoon batter onto a well-greased cookie sheet, using about 2 tablespoons of batter per cookie. If you are particular about the shape, you can use a small ice cream scoop.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. The cookies will be golden brown and still soft in the center. After 25 minutes, remove from the baking pan immediately, and place on a cake rack to cool. If allowed to cool on the pan, they may stick.
Optional chocolate dip: While the cookies are baking, melt the chocolate with hot coffee. (See note below.) You can do this in a double boiler or the micro-wave oven. If the former, there is no chance of burning the chocolate, provided the upper pan is not in contact with the hot water below. If the latter, you must stay with it, setting the micro-wave for 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring with each additional 20-30 seconds, until melted.
While the cookies are still slightly warm, dip one side into the melted chocolate, and place on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper to cool.
Ibarra chocolate is 14% fat, compared to 25% fat content in Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate. Because of its lower fat content, it remains thick when melted. The coffee is added to make it thin enough for dipping. If you use Belgian chocolate, or another fine chocolate, it will be thin enough after melting to dip the cookies without needing to add coffee.
If the eggs are still refrigerator-cold, put them in a bowl of warm water while you assemble the other ingredients. Or while you drink a cup of coffee and think about chocolate. Which reminds me, have you tried placing a chocolate truffle in the bottom of a hot cup of coffee?
The coconut and eggs used in this recipe are organic. I hope you, too, can find organic ingredients for baking and cooking. The flavor is always superior.