Chocolate- Dipped Walnut Carquiñolis (Biscotti)

Hola!!

The holidays are just around the corner, I can’t believe it! Time flies. I am going to Spain soon to spend the holidays with my family. I love being home to eat my grandma’s food (and my mom’s…)

Today I made something that I believe you are all familiar with, biscotti. Although, I made them with a slight twist. I made Spanish-style biscotti, called Carquiñolis. A big difference with these is they are not made with any butter or oil.

Carquiñolis are very popular in Spain. And they are even more popular during this time of the year, winter. They are even more delicious served with a rich, hot chocolate! In the spirit of chocolate, I dipped them in dark chocolate. Everything tastes better with chocolate, agreed?!  Let’s get into the recipe!

Recipe:

  • 1 cup of chopped raw walnuts or almonds such as those from Diamond Nuts 
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water (you can use orange juice or vermouth to boost the flavor)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate melted
  • 1 additional egg (to use as an egg wash)

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease a baking dish. In a medium-sized bowl mix the flour, orange zest, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat in one egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Work the dough until its not crumbly anymore.

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Add the nuts. (Don’t worry if the dough looks a little dry, its normal).

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Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, and shape it into a rough log about 12 – 14″ long, 3˝wide, and 1/2˝ thick. Brush with the egg wash.

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Bake for 30 minutes, until light golden brown and firmly set.

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Carefully (it will be HOT!), transfer the baked log to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut the baked dough into 1/2˝-thick slices (TIP: Saw the knife back and forth instead of pressing down). 

 

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Bake one side for 5 minutes, flip it and bake the other side for 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet on a rack. To dip in the melted chocolate, simply dip half of the carquiñoli in the chocolate. Sprinkle some finally chopped walnuts on top, if desired.

Bon profit!

 

 

Sweet Spanish Squash Triangle

Hola!!!

Today I made a traditional Spanish dessert. Making this recipe again in the United States transported me back to my childhood and my Àvia’s kitchen in Spain. My Àvia is my grandmother whom I love very much and who, over the years, has taught me and inspired in me the passion that I have for food today. This particular recipe stems from a tradition that is very common in Spain.

On Sundays in Spain, it is very traditional to visit a bakery after attending church service to purchase a dessert for that day’s lunch, an important meal that always brings families together. Instead of going to the bakery, I was fortunate enough to have a great cook at home, my Avia! We would make this dessert just about every Sunday. Always with my grandma, and sometimes also with my mom as well.  This is a recipe that has been in my family for many years. My grandma would make this recipe with her mom as a kid, as would my mom, with her mom, my grandma.

This recipe is really easy to make and obviously, as you can tell, very kid friendly. It brings people together, both in the cooking aspect and more importantly, the eating aspect!

Recipe
     
 8 oz puff pastry Sheet 
One 1.5 lb spaghetti squash 
1 cup granulated sugar 
1 cinnamon stick 
the peel of one orange
1/8 cup chopped unsalted almonds 
powdered sugar

1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 360 F.  Cut the squash in half. Using a spoon, scrape out all of the seeds. Using a knife, poke holes in the spaghetti squash and microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes on high. Next, use a fork to scrape lengthwise the inside meat of the squash. The result are long stringy pieces of squash, these are the why they call it “spaghetti” squash.

In a non-stick pot and on medium heat, add the spaghetti squash, one cup of granulated sugar, the cinnamon stick and  the orange peel.  Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Reduce to low and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the orange peel and the cinnamon stick.


While the squash mixture is cooking, you can roll the dough out onto a well-floured surface into a 17″ x 9″ shape. Transfer the dough onto a baking sheet. 

Next, spread the squash mixture on only one half of your dough rectangle, making sure to leave ½ inch of the edge free of squash. (We will fold the other half over.) Ensure the squash filling is flat and even.
Make a quick egg wash by beating one egg. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Now, fold the empty half of the dough on top of the other half. Seal the edges by using your fingers to pinch the edge closed. (You don’t want the squash leaking out!)  Cut it into 8 triangles.

Brush the triangles with the egg wash and sprinkle on some of the chopped almonds.

Place it into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until it turns a nice golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool down.
Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.
Bon Profit!

Melindros (served with Hot Chocolate)

Melindros are very popular in Spain, they are similar to a cookie but with a cake-like texture. The tradition is to dip the melindro into hot chocolate. In Spain, the texture of hot chocolate is much thicker, more like a pudding and its spooned, not sipped.

The recipe for these melindros is very easy. By themselves, they’re good, but they are much better when you dip them in hot chocolate.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar vigorously with a whisk until creamy. Sift the flour and baking powder into the sugar mixture. Stir until it’s incorporated. Gently, add the egg whites and fold them until fully incorporated.

Using a piper, or plastic bag, pipe the mixture approximately 4 1/2-inches in length on to the baking sheet. Dust them with powdered sugar. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until just firm on the outside and soft in the center and golden brown.

Enjoy with a hot cup of hot chocolate.

Bon profit!

Orange Marmalade

 

Hola!!

For today, I made an orange marmalade. I love oranges! And it’s orange season! As a kid growing up in Spain, I would have a fresh squeezed orange juice every day. (Thanks mom!) Here in the US, I don’t do it as often, but makes for a nice treat.

Oranges are so healthy, and since it is orange season, I try to utilize oranges as much as I can.  This recipe is so tasty, I love it!

Ingredients for about 3 jars of 10 oz and 1 jar of 6oz:

  • 2 lbs oranges peeled and quartered (about 6 oranges)
  • 1 small lemon peeled (if it’s big, cut in half).
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups water

Cut the skin of the orange and the lemon into julienne strips or into 1/4 inch strips.

Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil and boil the cut strips for 15 minutes and set aside.

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In a large pot, bring the 1/3 cup of water to a boil, add the oranges, the sugar and the orange and lemon strips. Reduce the heat, and let it simmer.

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Continue to cook on low heat for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. Stir every 20 minutes.

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To keep the jam fresh in a jars, I first boiled the jars, then added the jam to about 1/8 inch from the top. Place the lids tightly on and place the jars upside down on the counter. Allow the jam to cool before turning right side up. Leave it upside down for a few hours.

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Easy and now you should have fresh marmalade for months to come. Also, makes great gifts!

I love to eat this marmalade with a piece of homemade bread with butter. Delicious!

Bon profit!

 

Bacon Cupcake

Hola and happy fall!

Today I am posting something new and unique (For me anyway!) Cupcakes. But not just any cupcakes. I call them the happy surprise bite! What’s the surprise? Bacon! More specifically, bacon jam! Woohoo! I was super happy when I received some delicious jams from TBJ Gourmet. (https://tbjgourmet.com) They say everything tastes better with bacon. With this recipe, I would have to agree!

Let’s get started!

Recipe for 12 cupcakes:

  • ½ cup of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Filling:

– TBJ original jam

Frosting:

  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of TBJ Classic Bacon Jam

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.

Place the butter and sugar in a mixer and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue mixing. Next add the milk and the vanilla extract.

In a separate large mixing bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until well combined.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything gets in.

Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

The frosting: Combine the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Add the maple syrup and the Bacon Jam. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is mixed in.

Using a paring knife, make a 1-inch-deep hole from the top of each cupcake (you can eat the tiny piece). Fill each hole with 1 teaspoon of bacon jam. çFinally, pipe (or spread) the frosting onto the cupcakes.

Bon profit!

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Crema Catalana

Bon dia! (Good morning in Catalan!) 🙂

March 19th, is Father’s Day in Spain.  It’s also know as Sant Josep (Saint Joseph’s Day), and in Catalonia, this is the day that you would eat this dessert. It’s called Crema Catalana (“Catalan Cream”).

Nowadays, it’s consumed at all times of the year.

I guess some of you may think, “Isn’t it the same as creme brulee?” NO! It’s different. Even though they share some of the same ingredients; eggs, milk or cream and sugar. Creme brulee is baked and Crema Catalana is cooked on the stove top. Also, for creme brulee you use whipped cream and vanilla. For Crema Catalana, you use cinnamon and no heavy cream, just milk. So, it has some different flavors and uses a different technique. I have even heard that Crema Catalana is one of the oldest desserts in Europe, and the French borrowed the recipe and made it their own in Creme Brulee.

If you are in Spain, you can easily find this in many restaurants, but mostly in Catalonia, as this is where this recipe originates.

This is a very easy recipe, and one that is also quick to make. Traditionally, it’s served in a terra cota cazuela, a type of ramekin. I don’t have any cazuelas, so I used the ramekins that I have, and they work perfectly.

Ingredients;

– 4 cups milk (2% or whole)

– 6 egg yolks (large eggs), 8 if they are small.

– 1/3 cup of cornstarch

– lemon zest

– 1 cup sugar, and a little extra to burn on the top

– 1 large cinnamon stick (2 small)

Pour 3 cups of milk into a large pot and cook over medium heat. Add the lemon zest (I used a vegetable peeler) and the cinnamon stick. Try not to peel any of the white part of the lemon.

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Whisk the egg yolks, then add the remaining cup of milk, sugar and cornstarch.

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Cook the milk until it just starts to boil, then remove the lemon skin and the cinnamon sticks from the warm milk. Lower the heat and continue cooking, but don´t boil the milk.

Place a strainer on top of the pot and pour the egg yolk mixture (no egg shells!) into the heated milk. Stir until it gets a consistent texture. It should be fairly thick, not liquidy.  I like to use the wooden spoon method. (Once It coats the spoon and sticks to it, it’s done).

Pour the mixture into the ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and let them cool down. Once they are at room temperature, put them into the refrigerator.

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When you’re ready to serve them, sprinkle the tops with sugar and use a torch to brown the sugar. This will give a nice burnt sugar taste and a crunchy texture.  It’s ok if you don´t have a torch, it´s also delicious without the sugar on top.

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Enjoy, and BON PROFIT! 🙂

Leche Merengada

Holaaaaa!!!

It´s pretty warm out here, it´s still summer in Maryland! When it’s this warm, I really like to have some refreshing cold drinks in the refrigerator; lemonade, ice tea… When I’m in Spain, I like to have a cold drink called leche merengada. The literal translation is meringue milk. It is common to find it in the ice cream shops during the summer months.

This drink became very popular in Madrid at the end of the XVIII century. Some of the classic Spanish literature novels such as Fortunata y Jacinta by Benito Perez talk about the drink. There is also a very famous children’s song that talks about the cow and the leche merengada:

Tengo una vaca lechera
No es una vaca cualquiera
Me da leche merengada
¡Hay que vaca tan salada!
Tolón, tolón

I translated it in English;

I have a dairy cow
It’s no ordinary cow,
It gives me meringue milk.
Oh! What a nice cow!
Tolon, tolon. (No translation! Just a silly saying)

The drink is the easiest ever to make. It is sweetened milk sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with whipped white egg.  Sounds good right?! Everyone likes it, kids and adults. So let’s get into the recipe!

Hands on; 15 minutes – Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients;

– 4 cups milk

– 1/2 – 3/4 cup of sugar (depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have)

– 1 large stick cinnamon

– powdered cinnamon (just a pinch to sprinkle on the top)

– 1/4 lemon peel

– 2 egg whites

In a sauce pan, mix the milk, sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon stick over medium heat. Stir constantly until it just boils, then turn off the heat. Remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick, then pour the mixture into a bowl. Let it cool at room temperature and then place it into the freezer for a couple of hours. You just want it to be very cold to serve, not frozen. (You can make it at night for the next day. Instead of placing it in the freezer, place it into the refrigerator). In a separate bowl, whip the 2 egg whites into a meringue. Until the egg whites thicken and get light and airy. Pour the whipped egg whites into the icy cold milk mixture and stir. I like to sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on top of the drink. Ready to serve!

Yuuuuummm!! I love it!

Bon profit!

Leche merengada

Leche merengada

Magdalenas

Hola folks!

I love baking! I love to cook everything but I go crazy when it comes to baking. Every time my family has a party I am the baker. I guess I am the official baker in the family. Since there are 31 of us,  I have to bake more than one cake, usually three, and sometimes four cakes! My family loves to eat like me, and of course, when it’s homemade dessert everyone wants to try a piece of every cake. My mom sometimes tells me to just bake an easy cake, and not get involved trying to bake some crazy dessert. But of course, I can’t. I have to go crazy and try new things…

For my nephew’s 3rd birthday party , I baked a Chocolate Construction Cake and for his brother I baked an M&M cake. The construction cake It was a chocolate cake with miniature toy construction vehicles at work atop the cake. He went crazy! Nothing makes me happier that seen people enjoying my food! Am I right? 😉

There are bakeries on every block in Spain. It is a part of daily life  You can buy amazing baguettes for $1.00.  And  a chocolate croissant for a little more than a dollar also. Just like the tapas bars, cafes will advertise on their blackboards, “coffee/latte plus pastry for $3.00”.

Today I thought I would bake something. It is a muffin that we call Magdalenas. My version for today are mini Magdalenas. I like them a lot, but sometimes a whole Magdalena is too much. These magdalenas are small, similar to a cupcake. Super tasty and you can add  fruit or chocolate or almond to the batter, whatever you like. (I added chocolate chips and blueberries this time).

This is an old recipe, but one that I have changed just enough to make it my own version. My sister always says to me, “I don’t understand you, why would you do that? Isn’t it easier to just follow the recipe?”  I guess so… but that’s just me! I do it all the time.

These Mini Magdalenas are super moist and super yummy!  In just 3-4 bites, they´re gone! 🙂

Ingredients:

– 3 large eggs

– 3/4 cup sugar

– 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 vegetable or canola oil

– 1/2 olive oil

– 1/2 tablespoon baking powder

– 3 tablespoons milk (2% or whole)

– 1/2 lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 450F. Mix the eggs in your mixer for a minute, add the sugar until it gets incorporated. Next, add the lemon zest. Add the flour and the baking powder. Add the milk and then the vegetable and olive oil. If you want to add anything into the batter, this is the time.

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Eggs and sugar

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Blueberry magdalena

With an ice-cream scoop (or similar), add the batter to your cupcake mold. Add some sugar to the tops. Bake in the oven for 20′ (high altitude will require a little bit more). Test with a toothpick to make sure they´re cooked through. Let them cool on a rack for a few minutes.

Blueberry magdalena

Blueberry magdalena

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Chocolate chip magdalena

Magdalena and a latte

Magdalena and a latte

Bon profit!!

Orange Pudding

Hola!!!

The weekend is here! I’m back from a short, but sweet, trip to Spain. You can bet that I took advantage of my time there. Food was the highlight of the trip. (That, plus seeing my family of course.) Some of you may have seen the photo on Instagram and Facebook of the scrumptious buñuelos that my grandma made for me. Mmmmmm… Thanks Avia!

For today, I made an orange pudding. This is a good time for orange dishes as there is not a lot of fresh local fruit now, but delicious citrus is still coming out of  Florida, California and other places.

This dessert is refreshing and light. It cleanses your palate and acts as a  digestive. The texture is very creamy but it contains no dairy products.

You can make this dessert ahead of time. It’s also good if you have guests and you don’t want to worry about making a dessert the same day. If you want to serve them in individual serving sizes, make sure to divide the mixture into the different ramekins/molds just after making the pudding. You could also serve the pudding in a larger sized bowl or dish. I made it individual serving sizes today.

Ingredients for 4:

  • 2 cups fresh orange juice (Fresh is the best.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar for the mixture
  • 2/3 cup sugar for the oranges
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur

In a bowl (or in a pot), mix the orange juice, cornstarch, 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks. Stir until everything is dissolved. Pour the mixture into a pot on medium heat and stir until the mixture gets thick.

 

Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Let it cool down and cover with plastic wrap (make sure the plastic wrap touches the mixture).

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While the mixture is cooling down; wash the 2 oranges, peel, and cut them into thin wedges. In a deep pan, add the orange wedges, 1/2 cup water, orange liqueur and 2/3 cup of sugar. Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove the oranges wedges to a plate (keep the juice!).

Add the mixture into individual ramekins or serving dishes (These will be the dishes you will serve the pudding). Keep them in the fridge for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until set. (The top will be flat and smooth.)

Remove from the fridge, add the orange wedges on top and pour some of the juice you kept in the pot. Put it back in the fridge until you want to serve it.

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Optional: Sprinkle some sugar on top and burn it with a kitchen torch (burn it right before serving it).

 

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Bon profit!

 

Coulant de chocolate

Hola hola!!

The countdown to Christmas is here. I recently returned to Spain to celebrate the holidays with my family. It’s great to be back, but I would skip the 8 hour plane ride if I could… It’s not that bad though. I do enjoy flying and it goes by fast enough that I barely sleep. I really look forward to seeing all of my family. Let’s see if I can cook with my grandma and post some recipes.

I apologize If I don’t post for a while, but I’m not sure how much time I’ll have. I will do my best. If you are on Facebook or Instagram, I will definitely post some local and traditional Spanish food there.

For today, I made something very “chocolatey”. It is called Coulant de Chocolate. I used to make it a lot back in college with one of my friends. The beauty of this dessert is that you can freeze them, and whenever you have a craving for chocolate, you can just pop them in the oven for 15 minutes. I would describe this dessert as a mini chocolate cake with melted chocolate inside. Trust me, its super delicious.

Ingredients for 4-5 coulants (depending on the size of the mold or ramekin that you use). 

3 eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter
5 ounces or 3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/3 cup flour
1 pinch salt
Melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted add the butter, stir until melted. Set aside and let it cool down.

Meanwhile, mix the flour and the cocoa in a bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the eggs and slowly add the sugar. Then slowly, add the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. When incorporated, add the flour and cocoa mixture. Finally, add the pinch of salt.

Pour the mixture into the molds and put them into the freezer. Leave them there for at least 2 hours or… for a month!

out of the oven

Bake them at 390F for 15 minutes.

Bon profit y felices fiestas! (happy holidays!)