Conchitas (pronounced “kon-chee-tas”) literally means “little shells” in Spanish, but they’re often referred to as “beach balls,” or even “beach cookies.”
They come from a traditional Mexican dessert that’s been around since at least the 16th century, though it’s not exactly clear where the original recipe came from.
It was likely brought over by Spanish explorers during their conquests of Mexico, though there are some who believe the origin predates those times.
Regardless of its history, this tasty treat has become increasingly popular with American foodies because of its unique flavor profile, which mixes tropical fruit flavors like coconut and pineapple with savory spices like cumin and cinnamon.
It’s also incredibly versatile — you can eat them plain, add toppings like chocolate chips or whipped cream, or turn them into mini cupcakes.
You can find recipes online for making these little treats using different types of crusts like gingersnaps or graham crackers, but we’ve found one simple method that works well every time.
You’ll need just six basic ingredients, plus a few small appliances.
What Is The Name Of The Dish?
The official name of this classic Mexican snack is cajeta de piñones (“cajeta” meaning “sweetened goat milk”).
The word “piñón” refers to pine nuts, so the dish takes its name from these nutty little seeds.
But don’t confuse it with another similar dessert called piñata — cajeta de piñata consists of only sugar syrup flavored with vanilla extract and topped with chopped almonds.
What Are The Ingredients?
For our version of cajeta de piñones, you’ll need:
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup canned crushed pineapple (drained)
12 ounces powdered egg whites
How many servings per batch do I need?
To get 12 servings out of this recipe, you’ll need two batches worth of batter, each made with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter.
If you want more than 12 total, then feel free to double up on the amount of butter used.
What Is The Cooking Time?
This will take about 45 minutes if you use an electric mixer rather than hand mixing everything together.
When you’re ready to start, set aside 2 teaspoons of the powdered egg white mix for later.
Then combine all remaining ingredients except the rest of the powder in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the rest of the egg white mixture.
Mix well, then pour out onto waxed paper to dry.
Next, cut out circles of dough using a cookie cutter.
Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Cool completely before storing in airtight containers.
What Is The Serving Size?
Each individual piece of cajeta should be roughly the size of a golf ball.
What Is The Nutritional Information?
Per Serving: Calories: 144 kcal | Fat: 7g | Protein: 0g | Sodium: 50 mg | Carbohydrates: 18g | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 0 IU / Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Nutrition facts provided have either been calculated by Nutritionix or estimated based on comparable options available in stores.
Please note that nutrition values may vary depending on brand.
For optimal accuracy, always check the packaging.
What Are The Health Benefits?
Cajeta de Piñones is a rich, creamy dessert ideal for snacking or as part of a special meal.
Because it contains no fat, it’s considered a healthy option when compared to other desserts.
Plus, it comes loaded with vitamins and minerals thanks to the milk base, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, folate, pantothenic acid, biotin, and choline.
What Are The Risks?
As with any baked good, it’s important to avoid overcooking cajeta de piñones.
Overcooking can result in hardening or drying out the texture, as well as destroying much of the delicate sweetness that makes this dish so enjoyable.
If you’d prefer a lighter dessert, consider topping it with fresh fruits instead of nuts.
What Are The Side Effects?
Because this is such a light dessert, there shouldn’t be any major side effects.
However, it does contain eggs, so pregnant women should consult their doctor first.
What Is The Cost?
In addition to being a delicious dessert, cajeta de piñones is inexpensive too.
It costs less than $10 per dozen, and if you buy it pre-made at a grocery store, you won’t have to worry about measuring anything yourself.
Is The Recipe Easy To Follow?
All you need to do is measure out the ingredients and follow the instructions carefully.
If you’re new to baking, it might take a bit longer than usual to achieve the desired consistency, but it’s still very straightforward.
Just remember not to overbake the pieces!
If you enjoyed learning about this delicious Conchitas Recipe, here are a few more fun articles to read:
How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookies
How to Make Homemade Granola Bars
7 Things To Do With Leftover Easter Eggs
6 Ways to Use Up Your Egg Cartons
9 Easy DIY Recipes Using Frozen Fruit And Vegetables
- 1 Pot
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1 bag Skinner Medium Shells use 1/2 Bag
- 4 cups Water
- 1 Hunts Tomato Sauce
- 1 cube Chicken Flavored Bouillon I Use Ya’sta’
- Shells should be toasted in oil in a medium-sized skillet until golden brown, stirring often to prevent burning.
- Tomato sauce, bouillon cube, and 3 cups of water are added after the bouillon cube is broken up with your fingers.
- Bring to a boil and then decrease liquid by half. You have two options at this point: add another cup of water and boil for a further 15 minutes for a more tender shell, or cover and simmer for an al dente shell for the same amount of time. To taste, add salt and pepper.
- If desired, garnish with mozzarella cheese and fresh herbs before serving in a bowl.