It has been a bit quiet over here, hasn’t it? August was a tough month, but it ended brilliantly, and now we’re back!
When I first read this recipe, I thought I’d make just a tiny change, using honey instead of corn syrup. I went to the grocery store to buy pecans, but I forgot that the recipe called for three cups, so I only bought a small packet! So that was another thing I had to adapt – I used only two cups of nuts (pecans and walnuts). Then, when I was sorting the ingredients for the picture, I realized I was out of chocolate chips and did not have enough coconut flakes – so I used a chocolate bar, chopped, and some shredded coconut! 😀 Even with all these adaptations, the bars turned out great! 🙂
For a 9 x 13 inch pan, you’ll need:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
Tasty chocolate layer
1 ½ cup chocolate chips – I chopped a 70% cacao chocolate bar
3 large eggs
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup honey
¼ cup (60 g) melted butter – yes, we’re using butter again in this recipe! 😀
1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes – I used a mix of unsweetened coconut flakes and shredded coconut
2 cups pecans – I mixed pecans and walnuts, but I think it’d be pretty tasty using hazelnuts!
As most bar recipes, start by preparing the pan: butter a 9 x 13 inch pan and cover it with aluminum foil, leaving a “handle” to help remove the bars from the pan. Butter the aluminum foil WELL, being careful not to tear it. I feel I need to stress the concept of buttering the foil WELL: I didn’t do it (I’m starting to believe August is really a messed-up month), and a big piece of the bar STUCK to the pan in a way that I had never seen! 😦
Spread the nuts evenly over another baking sheet. Toast the nuts for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then. Set aside
In a bowl, whisk the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and cocoa powder. Add the cold butter, and use your fingertips to crush it until the mix resembles coarse meal – or you can be traditional and use a pastry blender! I just don’t care much for pastry blenders 😀 Press this mixture on the bottom of the prepared baking sheet, and bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Immediately after removing the base from the oven, spread the chocolate chips evenly over the entire surface – the chocolate will melt quickly, creating a very tasty layer 😀
Let it cool over a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the brown sugar, the honey, and the melted butter. Mix well until all the ingredients are combined. Add the coconut and the nuts.
Pour this mixture over the cooled base and bake on a pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes, or until the filling has set and the edges are golden-brown. Let it cool over a wire rack for about 1 hour, and then place it in the fridge for another hour.
Use the foil “handles” to remove the bars from the baking sheet. Place them over a cutting board, cut them with a sharp knife and serve!
You know, sometimes all we need is something that is simple, but looks complicated, complex, sophisticated. Or something that has a fancy name!
This recipe, from Technicolor Kitchen, fulfilled an old desire of mine: I always wanted to make Lamingtons, but was too lazy to make the traditional ones!
125 g unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cup flour
1 ¼ rsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup whole milk, lukewarm
1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes – I must confess I didn’t really measure! As I can’t find sweetened coconut flakes in Uruguay, I used shredded coconut.
For the icing, you’ll need:
¾ confectioner’s sugar, passed through a fine mesh sieve – can I use regular sugar? Probably NOT.
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, passed through a fine mesh sieve
1/3 cup boiling water
1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
As in brownie recipes, start by preparing the baking sheet (i used a 9 x 13 inch one): line it with aluminum foil and butter the foil – do so CAREFULLY, to prevent tears. I ran out of aluminum foil that day (the horror!), so I used parchment paper – make sure you butter it as well!
In the stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition – remember to use the silicone spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl!
Turn off the mixer. With your silicone spatula, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, until it’s all well incorporated. Mix in the milk. You’ll get a reasonably thick batter. Spread it over the baking sheet, making sure to smooth the surface with your spatula.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. This cake doesn’t raise or color much, don’t worry. Let it cool COMPLETELY in the pan over a cooling rack.
When the cake has cooled, cut it into bars – cutting before pouring the icing makes the bars look pretty on the sides! 🙂
It’s time for the ridiculously complicated icing. Ready? Mix all icing ingredients in a bowl. There. With a spoon and a little bit of patience, spread the icing over the bars. Top them with coconut and serve!
Another great thing about these bars is that they freeze PERFECTLY! Wrap individual portions in plastic wrap. When you really need something sweet, just remove from the freezer and let it thaw a little bit – they’re pretty tasty cold! 🙂
Better late than never! May is over, but this is such a different recipe that I didn’t want to save it for later! (Blame the Abrates conference for my delay in posting this! Hahahahah!)
To end the Chocolate Tertulias (and celebrate my birthday, which was on the 19th), I decided to make a cake I had seen at A Cozinha Coletiva, a blog I’ve been following for years, but had never tried a recipe from.
I must confess: halfway through the recipe, I was “man, this is not going to work…” But I persisted, and it was worth it! The texture is very unusual: it resembles a cake, but also a pudding, or maybe something else… and it’s delicious!
For an 8 x 8 inch cake, you’ll need
110 g (1 cup) unsalted butter
600 ml (2 and 1/2 cups) whole milk, lukewarm
115 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
45 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
4 egg whites
4 drops white vinegar
4 egg yolks
210 g (1 and 3/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar
30 ml (2 Tbsp) prepared – and strong – coffee – you can also use espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract
For garnish (optional, but go ahead and do it):
Berries – I looked all over town for raspberries, as it was my birthday! 😀
Attention: Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius – yes, the lowest temperature!
Start by melting the butter and warming up the milk. Set them aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour and cocoa powder. I managed to BREAK my whisk while doing that! I still can’t figure out how I did that, but you’re (probably) a more normal person, so you won’t do that… 😀
Using the stand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the vinegar, which is there to help you reach hard peaks – have you seen that trick of turning the bowl upside-down and seeing if the egg whites will fall on your head? That’s it. If it doesn’t move, it’s ready.
In the third bowl, which should be large enough to fit all the ingredients, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until you get a light and pale cream – I had to use a FORK to whisk, can you imagine? In this bowl, add the melted (and cooled) butter, the coffee, and the vanilla. Whisk for two minutes, until combined.
Add the milk and mix well. This is when it looks as if it’s ruined, because it’s too liquid. Don’t worry, that’s how it’s supposed to be! 🙂
Add the whisked egg whites, one-third at a time, in a delicate folding motion.
Once again: don’t freak out, it is pretty liquid indeed, but it works! Pour the mix over a well-greased 8 x 8 baking pan, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Ritchie’s description for how to know when the cake is ready was perfect: “bake until you notice that, when you wiggle the pan, the cake wiggles too, but more like jell-o than a liquid. It sounds like a weird description, but you’ll understand.” And you really will! 😀
Let it cool completely. When the cake is fully cooled, cut in squares, dust some confectioner’s sugar, decorate with some berries for extra frou-frou, and serve!
I did some serious thinking before deciding on the theme for May: “I want to do chocolate, but then again, right after Easter, is it worth it?, etc…” until I realized: who gets sick of chocolate? 😀
To start off the Chocolate Tertulias, I decided to finally photograph my second favorite chocolate cake! My very favorite chocolate cake is the one my mom makes, but that is for another series 😛 Devil’s food loaf is similar to that cake, but the frosting is very different – and the best part of it!
45g unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
100 ml boiling water
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 medium eggs
233g brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
60 g dark chocolate, chopped
14g unsalted butter
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp whole milk
½ Tbsp honey
Start by preparing your loaf pan (mine was 8.5 x 9.5 inches): butter it, line it with parchment paper, making sure there’s an excess of paper so it’s easy to take the cake out of the pan, and then butter the parchment paper!
In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa with the boiling water. Mix in the baking soda and let it cool for 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the stand mixer, mix the eggs, sugar, and oil, until you get a smooth cream. Add the vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture – at this stage, I prefer to use a rubber spatula, but that’s just me. Add the cocoa/water mix and combine well.
Pour the batter into the pan. Now, something different: tap the pan on the counter a few times, to remove air bubbles from the batter. I don’t know what horrible thing happens if you skip this step; I never did! 😀
Bake in a pre-heated oven until it passes the toothpick test – here, it took about 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it – you’ll see how the parchment paper trick makes the process easy! Let the cake cool completely.
When it’s completely cooled, it’s time to make the frosting. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small pan, over a water bath. While the chocolate melts, mix the cocoa powder, milk, and honey in another small pan, stirring constantly over high heat until it simmers. Pass the contents of this second pan through a sieve over the chocolate and butter mixture, stirring well (I must confess: I sometimes just mix the contents of both pans, without fussing with the sieve). Spread the frosting over the cake – do this immediately, as it dries quickly.
Test your willpower by letting the frost set for a couple hours before serving!
Before I went to Brasília, I made a list of the recipes I wanted to cook there for the blog – things with kale, yellow carrot, and other ingredients I can’t find in Uruguay. With everything I had to do there, I didn’t cook ANY of them! 😮 Then, we came up with the idea of a “Jota’s recipes” series, which would only feature recipes tested by my brother. We selected a few recipes and… we only cooked this one. 😦
But what a recipe! I always made the same cheesecake recipe, with ricotta, but this is a very different and tasty version – unlike what I had imagined, this is not too sweet! And you can still make it for Easter lunch! 😉
For the base:
240 g corn flakes
70 g unsalted butter, melted
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
For the filling:
200 g hazelnut
500 g cream cheese
200 g heavy cream
85 g sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
170 g dark chocolate
200 g heavy cream
Ferrero Rocher chocolates, to decorate
Start by making the base: in the food processor/blender, finely process the corn flakes. Add the melted butter and the cocoa powder and mix well. Cover the bottom of a 10-inch round springform pan with the crust, pressing well, and place it in the fridge to firm up. You don’t need to butter your pan, as the crust is buttery enough.
While the crust is in the fridge, place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast them in a pre-heated oven. The process takes about 15 minutes. Every now and then, shake the baking sheet so that the hazelnuts don’t burn. You’ll know they are ready when the kitchen is smelling of hazelnuts 😀
Place the hot hazelnuts straight on the blender and blend WELL, until it becomes a paste. This is a lengthy process: Jota and I weren’t willing to wait that long, so we just ground them up, it was good! #truestory
In a bowl, mix the hazelnuts with the cream cheese, 200 g of cream, vanilla, and sugar, until it is nicely mixed. I mixed the cream cheese with the cream first, with a spatula, and then added the remaining ingredients of the filling, but that was just because I didn’t want to get the mixer dirty! 😀 Pour this cream over the cold crust, then cover your pan with plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge to firm up.
Meanwhile, place the cream and dark chocolate in a small pan over low heat (or a bain-marie if you’re more patient than I am), stirring well until all the chocolate is melted. Let it cool down a bit and cover the cheesecake with the ganache. Decorate with the Ferrero Rocher chocolates, put it back on the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and serve!
The second recipe of the Christmas Tertulias is not exactly a Christmas recipe, but it is a perfect fit for the hot weather in the Southern Hemisphere. As the idea of this series is to make edible gifts, all you have to do is place these bars in a red-and-green box and there you have it: CHRISTMAS 😀 😀
They are also a great dessert for Christmas Dinner. We know your aunt is bringing
pudim (Brazilian-style flan), but you can innovate and bring these! 🙂
Lemon bars are also one of Sky’s favorite desserts: I first baked them because every time I baked something, he’d say “oh, this is pretty good, but you could make lemon bars, you know…” I’m glad he insisted, though, because these are really good! I’ve tried many recipes, but this one, by Ree Drummond, is one of the most traditional.
To fill a 20 x 30 cm (8 x 11 inch) pan with lemon bars <3, you’ll need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract – “an invention from my head,” as Grandma would say
225 g butter, cold and chopped into small cubes
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Zest and juice of 5 lemons
Confectioner’s sugar, for decoration
Start by lining the baking pan (20 x 30 cm, 8 x 11 inch) with aluminum foil − leave extra foil on the sides to form handles, so that removing the bars from the pan isn’t a traumatizing process 😀 – there’s no need to butter the foil, as there’s plenty of butter in the dough!
For the crust: in a medium-sized bowl, use a whisk to combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and the vanilla and use the tip of your fingers (or a pastry cutter) to mix the ingredients until it looks like fine crumbs. Press this dough onto your baking pan and bake in a pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the sides are light golden. Don’t bake any more than that, as these will go back to the oven! 🙂
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Use your whisk to mix the sugar and flour. Add the eggs, mixing well, and then add the lemon zest and juice. Mix and set aside. As this whole process takes about 3 minutes, do the dishes! 😀
Remove the crust from the oven, carefully pour the filling, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the filling is firm. Remove from the oven and cool it for a while before placing in the fridge for about 2 hours – it’s a lot easier to cut them when they’re cold!
Remove the chilled bars from the pan, using the aluminum foil. For extra prettiness, sift a generous layer of confectioner’s sugar over the bars. Cut them into 5-cm (2-inch) squares. Place the bars in a cute box (if you have to pile them, separate the layers with wax paper), and there’s your gift!
To begin our Christmas Tertulias, also known as edible gifts, I decided to cook a recipe I’ve always been curious about. We don’t eat fudge in Brazil, but when I was a child a lot of books mentioned that somebody had made it for Christmas and, of course, Honeydukes sold Fudge Flies! (#Potterhead)
I’ve read several fudge recipes: some are more complicated, requiring a candy thermometer and a lot of patience, and some are more straightforward. Obviously, I chose the easiest one I could find, by Patricia Scarpin! While I was writing this post, I realized I had (involuntarily) adapted the recipe – I had read it wrong and only used ½ cup of sweetened condensed milk, instead of ½ can! 😀
This is a GREAT gift – it’s different (well, if you’re from Brazil), it will stay firm unrefrigerated, it’s delicious and… it’s so easy to make! A lot less stressful than trying to go to a shopping mall this late in the season!
To make the (adapted) fudge, you’ll need:
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk – do NOT swap for evaporated milk!
330 g of a good dark chocolate, chopped – as the recipe is basically chocolate, the quality matters quite a lot. I used a 64% cocoa chocolate.
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract – you’ll see that the picture looks like a lot more, and that’s right: my homemade extract wasn’t quite full-strength yet, so I added some.
Chopped walnuts, to taste − completely optional. You can use walnuts, hazelnuts… or nothing at all.
Start by lining a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) baking pan with aluminum foil − leave extra foil on the sides to form handles, so that it is easy to remove the fudge from the pan.
Chop the chocolate into small chunks – as mine came in discs, I didn’t bother chopping. In a heavy-bottomed pan, place the chocolate, the sweetened condensed milk, and the water. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted.
When the chocolate is melted, you’ll notice that the fudge is in a thicker consistency. Turn off the stove and add the vanilla. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Spread the chopped nuts over the fudge, pressing lightly so that they stick – I once forgot to press and the nuts fell off as the fudge cooled #fail. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Use the foil handles to remove the fudge and cut it into 2.5-cm (1 inch) cubes. In theory, they last approximately 1 week in the fridge. Here, they lasted about three hours…. #self-control 😀
Things were a bit quiet around here, weren’t they? There’s a pretty good explanation, though: we moved! Between looking for a new apartment, signing a contract, trying to get everything ready, giving up and calling Mom and Dad to help us move, and, of course, working, it was pretty hard to post here! But now that that is over, it’s time to face the folder “Photographed – Need to write the recipe”! To start, I decided to write this recipe, which I made in Brasília and was totally worth it! 🙂
As soon as I got Rita Lobo’s book, I rushed to select the recipes I wouldn’t be able to cook in Uruguay: the cod and black-eyed peas salad, plantain gnocchi (which I ended up not cooking), and these wonderful muffins.
Grating the manioc was extremely boring. The worst of it was that, when I was almost finished, mom told me we could buy grated manioc at the supermarket!! >.< Other than that, the recipe is pretty straightforward. I’m calling them muffins because of their shape – the texture is not quite that, as this is (almost) a flour-free recipe.
When it came out of the oven, we thought “oh, let’s just share one, to taste, we’ve eaten a lot today already.” After the first bite, I had to HIDE two of them for the pictures, because everyone wanted their own! It was THAT tasty! 🙂
For 12 muffins, you’ll need:
1 ½ cup of skinned manioc, grated – please, buy the grated kind! 😀
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup oil
1 cup of meia-cura cheese, shredded – as this is impossible to find outside of Brazil, good substitutions would be mild cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack.
1 cup unsweetened dry coconuts
Butter and cornstarch to coat the muffin tin and say you made a gluten-free recipe, therefore it must be healthy, therefore you can eat it all at once no problem 😛
Start by placing the shredded manioc in a bowl and covering it with ½ cup water. While the manioc rests, butter your muffin tin and then dust with cornstarch – it will make a little bit of a mess on your counter, ok? Don’t worry.
In a big bowl, whisk the eggs, the sugar, and the oil, until they become a smooth creamy mixture.
Press the manioc on a sieve to drain the water. To the egg mix, add the coconut, the manioc, and the cheese. Place the dough in the muffin tin – do not overfill and do not press the dough down.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown – it was very weird to cook a recipe where you can’t use a toothpick to test if it’s ready!
Let them cool before removing from the tin. Control yourself and don’t eat them all at once!