Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Beijinhos de coco – Brazilian coconut balls

I can’t go through the holiday season without making some sort of truffle or bite-sized sweet and this year wasn’t going to be different. This year, I made beijinhos de coco which are little balls of coconut goodness. They are from Brazil and the recipe was given to me by a Brazilian former colleague of mine after I tried them at her home and went crazy over them.

They are deliciously sweet and very coconuty, and needless to say, if you are not a coconut lover, these are not for you. Made with sweetened condensed milk, desiccated coconut and just a tad of butter, they’re incredibly easy and quick to make, and they are so cute.

They make the best little gifts and treats for any occasion; I made them for my birthday early last month as a special treat for my guests, I made them a few days ago to give to friends as edible Christmas gifts and I brought another batch to a Christmas potluck. They make the perfect little sweet bites and their snowy white color screams Christmas holidays. Hope you enjoy them as well.

Have a Happy and Sweet Christmas, dear friends. Have fun!

Beijinhos de coco – Brazilian coconut balls

Beijinho (pronunciation: bay-zee-new) means little kiss in Portuguese and speaking of kisses, and since it’s Christmastime, allow me to remind you these baci di dama (Italian hazelnut and almond cookies with chocolate filling) that are among my favorite sandwich cookies.

Brazilian desserts are famously sweet and these are truly Brazilian. But they’re only a bite (or two) so if you pace yourself and have just one, you’re okay!

Traditionally, they are decorated with a single clove that you stick on top, but I don’t enjoy the flavor of clove so I skip that part. Also, another version of beijinhos involve rolling the balls in granulated white sugar instead of desiccated coconut but I wouldn’t encourage you try that version because it’s too sweet.

Yield: 60 beijinhos

800 g (2 cans) sweetened condensed milk
200 g unsweetened desiccated coconut, plus extra for rolling
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing plate and hands
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Special equipment: heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, small paper cups (those that are meant for truffles)

Grease a large plate with butter.

In a medium-sized non-stick pan or saucepan, add the sweetened condensed milk, coconut, butter, vanilla and salt and place over a medium heat. Using a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon, stir continuously until the mixture thickens and you can see the bottom of the pan when you cut through the mixture with the spatula/spoon and the mixture starts to pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan. It should take about 9 minutes.

Empty the mixture immediately onto the greased plate and spread it as much as you can. Leave to cool to room temperature.

Note: Don’t place the mixture in the fridge to cool because it will harden too much and you won’t be able to roll it properly into balls.

In a medium baking dish add enough desiccated coconut to cover the bottom in a thick layer.

Grease lightly the palm of your hands with some butter, take small pieces of the mixture and roll them into small balls the size of a small walnut. The beijinho should be one large bite (or two small ones). Place the ball into the baking dish with the desiccated coconut and roll it around to coat it. Then place it into the small paper cup and continue rolling and coating the others.

The beijinhos will keep at room temperature, covered, for 2 days. They will keep for 1 week in the fridge, kept in an airtight container. At room temperature, the beijinhos are soft (not too soft) and chewy. When you keep them in the fridge, they harden and set but remain chewy (they are like Bounty bars without the chocolate).

1 comment:

  1. Magda - I know similar candies from Brazil called brigadeiros. I have made those using chocolate, but never with coconut. Gorgeous presentation - and perfect beijinhos! Happy New Year!