Sunday, June 10, 2007

Beijinho de coco for Meeta

I wanted to bake something special for Meeta’s birthday, for her birthday mingle. Something Brazilian.

Me being me I left it till the last minute to bake this lovely Brazilian cake, Ant’s hill cake. It is a cake with coconut milk and little chocolate bits. Delicious. Mum used to make it for me. Unfortunately the cake sunk in the middle, to my total disappointment. It was then too late to bake something else.

However, as soon as I had some free time I went back to the task. I know that the mingle is well over so I am doing this isolated post.

I chose a sweet which is very common in children’s birthday parties – coconut kiss. If you ever go to a Brazilian birthday party – for children it is, you will find loads of little bite-size sweets similar to these. They will vary in the ingredients: chocolate, Cashew nut, strawberry, prunes..They are made by hundreds. The birthday table is nicely decorated with all those beautiful sweets, very well presented.

You might not know but Brazilians are very good and into making lovely bite-size sweets for birthday parties, weddings, christenings. We inherited that from the Portuguese who colonised us. They really liked sweets. Very sweet ones. That was inherited from the Moors who dominated the Iberian Peninsula for a very long time.

The Portuguese brought sugar cane from the Madeira Islands and planted them in Brazil. The Portuguese sweets tradition acquired many tropical characteristics.

The rich landowners’ wives and daughters used to prepare lovely little sweets to give as presents. They would be given to relatives, friends, even to loved ones. They would always be beautifully presented. We keep this tradition to this date. The names they take are quite often affectionate ones: ‘coconut kisses’, ‘little caresses’, and ‘kisses’.

This one sweet I chose is made out of condensed milk and desiccated coconut. Its preparation is very simple and the great appeal is in the way it is presented. As I am living abroad I cannot always put my hands on lovely cases and wrappings to truly demonstrate how we do that.

Coconut kiss

1 can condensed milk

1 tablespoon butter

4 tablespoons desiccated coconut


More desiccated coconut to coat the sweets

Put the condensed milk and butter in a pan over low fire. Keep stirring it until the mixture thickens and you can see the bottom of the pan. Approximate 10 minutes. The consistency you want is not too soft – or you can’t roll the little balls, nor too thick – or the little balls will be too hard. When you reach the right consistency remove it from the fire and throw the 4 tablespoons of desiccated coconut inside the pan. Mix it some more so that it is all incorporated. Pour the mixture on the plate and let it cool. When it is cool roll little balls with it, bite size, and roll them over the desiccated coconut. Stick a clove in the middle and put it in a little case. Repeat it until the whole mixture is dealt with.

If you wish you can make a little indentation in the middle and put ‘dulce the leche’ in it.


Nora B. said...

Valentina, those look so cute and pretty. And thanks for telling us about the history of these sweet treats.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Tina, your beijinhos are absolutely lovely, sweetie!! They're perfect!

I love the idea of using dulce de leche like you did - and here I thought these candies couldn't get any better. ;)

Paz said...

Oh, my goodness! This is exquisite!I love it! Ummm... now you have to make something for me. ;-))))) Please! ;-))))

Paz xxoo

Jann said...

You could box these up and sell them....right?

veron said...

these are so cute Valentina! I like the idea of topping in with dulce de leche too!

Jes said...

These look lovely, although I think I'm going to have to try the ant's hill cake soon--it looks like such a great recipe!

valentina.jacome said...

Nora, glad you enjoyed reading. I love to talk about Brazilian food.

Pat, I liked it too. It is a nice twist on the traditional.

Paz, sure.Now need my thinking hat on - will choose something special.

Jann, definitely.

Veron, it worked out well.

Jes, I will still post the ant hill cake.

Ivonne said...

Stunning! I love it and I can't wait to make it!!!

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