cocada colombiana



Cocadas are a beloved traditional sweet treat widely enjoyed across Central America, South America, and Spain. Each region brings its unique twist to this delightful dessert, known under various names such as “cocada negra” in Brazil, or “chancacas” in Colombia’s Pacific region.

The recipe for cocadas varies, incorporating ingredients like lemon leaves, whole lemon, butter, egg, or substituting sugar with panela—a versatile natural sweetener known by many names around the world, including raspadura, rapadura, and piloncillo, among others. In Spain, cocadas are traditionally made with dehydrated coconut and stiffly beaten egg whites, while Chile offers a no-bake version featuring ground biscuits, dulce de leche, dehydrated coconut, and, optionally, a chocolate coating.

In Colombia, the cocada negra, made with panela, is especially popular. It’s simply known as cocada or chancaca in the Pacific and Coffee regions, where it’s flavored with lemon leaves, adding a distinctive, refreshing touch to this cherished dessert.


  • 5.3 oz (150g) high-quality grated coconut, fresh or dehydrated
  • 5.3 oz (150g) panela, finely grated for smooth melting
  • 10 fl oz (300ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for added richness
  • Zest of 1 lemon, for a bright citrus note
  • A few lemon leaves for infusion during cooking (optional)
  • A pinch of sea salt, to elevate the flavors


  1. Combine and Dissolve: In a heavy-bottomed pot, mix the water and grated panela over medium-high heat. Stir continuously until the panela fully dissolves.
  2. Infuse Flavor: Introduce the lemon leaves (if using) and lemon zest to the pot, along with a pinch of sea salt. This infusion lends a subtle yet distinctive citrus aroma to the cocadas.
  3. Cook the Mixture: Add the grated coconut and butter. Lower the heat to medium-low and keep stirring to prevent the mixture from sticking and ensure even blending of the ingredients.
  4. Thicken: Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and the bottom of the pot becomes visible when stirring, indicating the right consistency has been achieved.
  5. Shape: Spoon out portions of the mixture onto a tray lined with lightly moistened parchment paper. Gently flatten each with the back of the spoon to your desired size.
  6. Cool: Allow the cocadas to cool to room temperature, where they will slightly harden, reaching the perfect texture.

Gourmet Tips:

  • Richness and Texture: The addition of butter not only deepens the flavor but also introduces a more indulgent, softer texture.
  • Elegant Presentation: Elevate your cocadas with a dip in melted chocolate. Let them cool for a contrasting flavor and a chic look.
  • Creative Variations: Experiment by adding ingredients like chopped nuts, toasted sesame seeds, or a hint of spices like cinnamon or vanilla, adjusting the flavor to your liking.

This upgraded cocada recipe maintains the essence of the traditional dessert while introducing elements that appeal to the gourmet palate. Perfect for dessert lovers seeking a taste of Latin American tradition with a sophisticated twist.

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