116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Six weeks ago my husband and I brought our newborn daughter home from the hospital. As she becomes more attentive and interactive with each passing day, I can’t help but visualize what I want her childhood to include.
Certainly, I’d like to include some of my favorite childhood memories in hers, which has made me realize all of the little things the women in my life did for me while I was growing up.
There were the big important things they did, the things adults need to do to raise a child, but there were also the little things — the things that later become cherished memories, even in their simplicity. Like a specific lullaby at bedtime or camomile tea in the morning.
This month’s recipe is one of those little things. “Beijinhos,” which literally translates to “little kisses,” are these delicious little coconut truffles that were a staple at every one of my birthday parties growing up.
My grandmother Nair, my father’s mother, made them so often that her kitchen permanently smelled of sweetened condensed milk and toasted coconut, and as I made these in my own kitchen, every sniff flooded me with memories of Santo Cristo, Brazil, where my grandparents live to this day.
Beijinhos are yet another flavor of “docinhos,” or “little sweets,” which are served at countless celebrations, from weddings to children’s birthday parties.
There are many versions of this treat, all with their own name and all with the ability to be dressed up or dressed down. Oftentimes, Brazilian confectioners offer traditional flavors as well as concocting their own combinations. Beijinhos are very traditional, but the toasted coconut is what gives them my grandmother’s touch.
Someday I’ll make beijinhos for my daughter’s birthday party, like my grandma did for mine. Until then I’ll fill her days with actual kisses, hoping they are just as sweet as the docinhos.
Follow Alexandra Olsen on Instagram, @TheHungryGaucha.
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons of chilled butter, plus more for rolling
1 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Whole cloves (for decoration)
In a small saucepan, combine sweetened condensed milk and butter, then turn on heat at a medium low.
Continuously stir this mixture, preferably with a silicone pastry scraper spatula, until butter is completely melted. It is important to not allow any of the mixture to burn or catch on the bottom of the pan.
Once butter is melted, add 1/3 cup of the shredded coconut and stir.
Continue to cook the mixture until it begins to solidify slightly, about 10 minutes or until the mixture forms ribbons when lifted with a spoon.
Pour the mixture out on a plate and allow it to cool in the fridge overnight. Before rolling into truffle-sized balls, you’ll need to toast your coconut.
In a small skillet toast the remaining cup of shredded coconut on medium heat until golden brown. Tossing and stirring frequently to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.
Once fully cooled, spread on a plate or shallow bowl.
Use a spoon to evenly measure the mixture. Coat hands in butter for easier rolling. Roll mixture into a truffle-sized ball then roll in toasted coconut. Once finished, place it in a miniature baking cup. Add a whole clove in the center for decoration, if desired.
Repeat until all the mixture is used, enjoy!