Coquitos - A Venezuelan Sweet Coconut
One of our family holiday traditions is to spend a day making cookies
to exchange, give to friends, or serve at parties. The cookie exchange
tradition was a new concept to me on the first Christmas I spent with
my husband here in the U.S. He loves making cookies. We make
Christmas cookies every year and my husband goes crazy. He is the
one in charge of cookies, so I give him free rein in the kitchen to do
and make anything he wants. That doesn’t happen very often! My
husband helps me make all my Venezuelan food to keep my
traditions going and teach the kids. Since we have a multicultural
family, we like to incorporate some of the traditions that my husband
grew up with as well.

I am sharing this recipe for Coquitos, a Venezuelan sweet treat made
with shredded coconut. Even though this is not an actual “cookie” it is
a treat to be shared. It looks festive and it tastes delicious. It is a
sugar rush. I like to put it in decorated cookie tins: easy to carry,
exchange, or simply serve while it decorates the table.

3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 can condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup water

In a medium pan add the coconut flakes, condensed milk, and
vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat stirring often with a wooden
spoon, make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When the
coconut flakes and the milk are completely incorporated, and the
flakes start to get a little bit of color, about 10 minutes, turn it off. Let it
cool completely.

Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper. Wet your hands and start
forming small balls with the mixture. I use one tablespoon for
measurement and try to be consistent in size. Line all the balls in the
sheet pan and let them dry at least two hours. In a small pan, add the
sugar and water and cook over medium heat until bubbly and
caramelized, stirring with a wooden spoon and making sure it doesn’
t burn on the sides. If you have a candy thermometer, you want the
sugar to reach close to 250 degrees. with a spoon, drizzle the candy
over the coconut balls, let them dry at room temperature for few hours
or up to overnight. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!
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