These Brazilian coconut candies are fixtures at birthday parties, weddings, and children's parties. Beijinhos translates to "little kisses", and these candies are meant to be bite-size and sweet. There is a group of Brazilian candies that are all prepared with a similar method - by cooking sweetened condensed milk until it thickens, but before it caramelizes. (Dulce de leche is made this way as well (doce de leite in Portuguese) - though dulce de leche is cooked even longer until it turns a caramel brown color.
Brigadeiros (named for a famous brigadier general) are the chocolate version of this kind of candy, and there is even a strawberry one called bicho-de-pé (a word that is also used to describe a "chigoe flea" in Portugese - an unusual flea that bites you on your foot!) The Portuguese language definitely get the prize for most original dessert/candy names..such as ojo de suegra (mother-in-law's eye)and barriga de freira (nun's belly)!
These one bite candies are typically served at parties in pretty paper cups. They are often decorated with a clove in the middle (I added a pastel M&M candy instead). You could also tint the coconut mixture different colors before shaping it into balls, or roll the candies in ground nuts or sprinkles instead of coconut.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: About 35 candies.
- 1 1/2 cups shredded dried coconut (unsweetened)
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut flavoring
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup additional coconut for coating
- Place all of the ingredients in a heavy sauce pan.
- Cook mixture on low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula.
- Continue to cook until mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 15 minutes. When the mixture is thick enough, if you pull the spatula through it, you should be able to see the bottom of the pan for several seconds.
- Remove mixture from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl to cool, until cool enough to handle. (To color mixture, stir in food coloring, adding in small amounts to obtain desired color, while mixture is still warm enough to stir).
- With buttered hands, pinch off pieces of the mixture and roll into 1-inch balls in the palm of your hands.
- Place the extra 3/4 cup of grated coconut on a plate, and roll each ball in the coconut to coat it. Place each candy in a small paper cup. Decorate as desired.
- Store candies in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to one week. Let candies warm up to room temperature before serving.