martes, 14 de agosto de 2012



ALFAJORES (sugar cookies)
country of origin: Argentina

1 Cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup cornstarch

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Beat in baking powder. In a separate bowl, stir together flour & cornstarch. (Variation: Include 1 cup powdered cocoa for chocolate flavored.) Carefully fold in by hand, with a spoon, flour and cornstarch. Place in plastic bag and refrigerate 1 hour. Roll out dough to a thin 1/8 inch thickness. Sprinkle with SMALL amount of flour to prevent dough from sticking. More flour makes cookies tough. Cut with a very small biscuit cutter, 1 ½ inches. Bake for 8 minutes at 325 degrees. Sprinkle coconut on a plate. Spread Dulce de Leche between 2 cookies, press together, and roll the edges in coconut. Children enjoy pretending they are wheels and are driving through

ARROZ CON COCO (coconut rice pudding)
country of origin: Puerto Rico

1 Cup rice
1/2 Cup butter
2 Cups water
1 can evaporated milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut

Heat dry rice in butter until butter melts. Add water and milk, bring to a boil. (The following step is important to keep the eggs from curdling.) Beat egg slightly and gradually, little by little, stir in 1 Cup of the hot rice mixture into the egg. Add egg mixture to saucepan, stir and lower heat. Cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Rice should be soft, but pudding should still be wet.

ARROZ CON LECHE (rice pudding)
Country or origin: Costa Rica

1 small can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of uncooked rice
1/2 cup of water
2 stick of cinnamon cracked
1 cup of evaporated milk
6 cup of milk
1/2 cup of raisins
1 tsp fresh nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract;

first, in a large cooking pot, add the water, 4 cups of milk, uncooked rice, cinnamon, evaporated milk, vanilla and nutmeg. once on the stove, bring the liquid to a boil. boil for about 5 minutes. then, add the
sweetened condensed milk. add a little water to the milk can and empty its contents into the pot, by this time the liquid should be simmering, on low heat. the milk should just barely simmer, with bubbles breaking only the
outside edge of the surface. as the liquid begins to reduce, add the remaining milk in small increments as you continue to stir. as you add the milk stir the mixture so that it cooks evenly. continue to stir intermittently, until the liquid has become a gooy paste. then add raisins and cook for an additional 10 minutes on. total cooking time 1:15 minutes. serve chilled or room temperature.

ARROZ VAINILLA CON COCO Y PINA (Vanilla Pineapple Coconut Rice)
country of origin: Nicaragua

3 cups water
1 cup rice
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1cup shredded coconut
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
20 oz can pineapple chunks

Bring 3 cups water to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Add rice. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and coconut into rice. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until very tender, about 18 minutes. Combine milk and pineapple (including juice) into hot rice. Refrigerate to serve cool, or serve warm.

ATOLE DE NARANJA (orange flavored corn drink)

Country of origin: Costa Rica

6 big oranges
cinnamon sticks to taste
1/2 cup maicena
2 cup sugar
1 tsp butter

wash the oranges, cut them in half and extract carefully the juice. keep the skin halves and remove partitions.. mix the juice, the sugar and the maicena and bring to a boil stirring constantly. when it starts boiling remove from stove and add a teaspoon of butter. refill the skin halves with the custard and refrigerate until it sets. decorate with mint leaves or cherries. note: the same recipe may be done with pineapples.

AZUCAR DE FRAMBUEZA (Raspberry glaze)

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups fresh raspberries

Whisk powdered sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in small bowl until smooth; drizzle over cake. Let stand until icing is set. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over 2 cups raspberries; let stand 30 minutes or until sugar has melted. Serve cake garnished with raspberries.

BALTASARES DE NUEZ (walnut crepes)
country of origin: Spain

1 Cup flour
1 1/2 Cups milk
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup well-ground walnuts
powdered sugar

In mixing bowl combine ingredients, beat until smooth. Lightly grease a 6-inch skillet. Heat pan until water dropped on surface sizzles. Pour in about 2 Tablespoons of batter. Lift and tilt skillet to spread the batter to coat bottom of pan. Cook one side only until browned. Loosen crepe by running a small spatula around edges of crepe. Invert pan over plate. Roll and sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm.

BUNUELOS (fried rolled dough)
country of origin: Mexico

3 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup butter
1/2 Cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
fat for frying

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut in butter. Crack 2 eggs into milk and stir together. Pour into flour mixture and stir well until it forms a dough. You might need to add a few drops of milk to form dough, but add only a little. Pull out 1 inch balls of dough and roll out very thin, sprinkling with flour to keep from sticking. Combine sugar & cinnamon in a cup. Fry in grease, turning once. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar while still hot. [Short cut method: Buy tortillas "listos para el comal." They are raw tortillas ready to cook and can be found in the same section as cooked packaged tortillas. Fry in oil and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.]

CHEESECAKE (Amelia's recipe)

Graham cracker crust:
9 whole graham crackers (1 pkg from a box
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons melted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons butter
8 oz cream cheese

Crust: Place graham crackers in a gallon zip bag and crush using a rolling pin. Stir in sugar. Toss with melted butter. Stir lightly; don’t mix too much so it doesn’t become a mass of dough. Press into a pie tin.
Filling: Blend eggs, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream in blender. Keep the blender running as you pour in butter and gradually drop in small pieces of the cream cheese. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 325 for 35 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes and chill all day. Top with any fruit pie filling or flavored ice cream toppings.

(From: Sugarlaws)

10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, cut into pieces
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup light cream

On a double boiler, heat chocolate, vanilla and butter until melted, stirring to make sure there aren’t any lumps. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until lightened in color. Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat for about 3 minutes, until fully incorporated. Add the cream in a steady stream, continuing to beat until fully mixed through. Spread on a prepared cake or allow to cool and pipe to decorate a prepared cake.

DULCE DE LECHE (caramelized milk)
country of origin: Argentina

1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar

Combine milk, vanilla and sugar in saucepan. Cook over medium low heat for about 12 minutes until it reaches a boil. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. It should change to a darker, caramel color. Boil & stir until thick, bubbly, and brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool in pan. It should thicken as it cools to the consistency of peanut butter. This sweet spread is used on bread, toast, or the cookie recipe, Alfajores.

[So. American METHOD: (warning: practiced for years, but now claimed to be dangerous. Hasn’t blown up on me yet.) Remove label from a can of sweetened condensed milk. Do not open can. Place entire can, unopened, in a small heavy pan. Cover unopened can completely with water. Put lid on saucepan. Bring to boil. Boil for 1 hour. Turn off heat. Remove lid. When water cools, carefully remove can with tongs. Allow can to cool before opening.]


1 ¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter (or margarine, or shortening)
¼ cup ice water
Stir together flour and salt. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly stir in ice water until it can be kneaded and rolled out. May not need all the water. Divide the dough in half, refrigerate the remaining half while you roll out the dough, very thin. Cut rounds using a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass. Lay aside dough remnants. Roll out and cut the refrigerated dough, setting aside the remnants from cutting dough. (The only reason you lay the remnants aside is to avoid add as much flour to the dough by repeatedly rolling out and re-rolling out the same piece of dough.) Gather the remnants, knead and roll out again, cutting more rounds.  Place half the rounds on a cookie sheet.  Place about 1/4 cup of meat filling in the center of each round. Pick up each round of dough, quickly moisten the dough and place over the meat filled round. Lightly press to seal, press edges lightly with a fork all the way around to close. Bake at 350 degrees 15 - 20 minutes until brown. 

EMPANADAS DE COCO (coconut tarts)
country of origin: Nicaragua

2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Cup shortening
1 egg
2 Tablespoon ice water

Coconut filling::
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup flour (or 1/8 cup cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Cups milk
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cups flaked coconut

PASTRY: Stir salt & Flour together. Cut in shortening with fork or pastry cutter. Beat 1 egg in separate bowl or coffee cup. Mix ice water to egg. Toss into flour mixture until ball is formed. Chill 1 hour. Meanwhile, make filling. After filling is prepared, roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch circles and place in cup cake tins. Should make 24 tarts. Bake 15 minutes. Spoon in coconut filling, sprinkle top with leftover dry coconut. Return to oven and .bake another 10 minutes or until crust looks golden brown. May be eaten warm or cooled.

COCONUT FILLING: In saucepan, using medium high heat, combine sugar, flour (or cornstarch), and salt. Gradually stir in milk and cook, stirring until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat, stir & cook 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Separate egg yolk from whites. (The following step is important to keep the eggs from curdling.) Beat egg yolks slightly and gradually, little by little, stir in 1 Cup of the hot mixture into the yolks. Add yolk mixture to saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Stir in most of the coconut.

EMPANADAS DE LIMON (lemon tarts)
country of origin: Costa Rica

2 Cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Cup shortening
1 egg
2 Tablespoon ice water

Lemon filling:
1 1/2 Cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 Cups water
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoons lemon peel
1/3 Cup lemon juice

Stir salt & Flour together. Cut in shortening with fork or pastry cutter. Beat 1 egg in separate bowl or coffee cup. Mix ice water to egg. Toss into flour mixture until ball is formed. Chill 1 hour. Meanwhile, make filling. After filling is prepared, roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch circles and place in cup cake tins. Should make 24 tarts. Bake 15 minutes. Spoon in lemon filling and bake another 10 minutes or until crust looks golden brown. May be eaten warm or cooled.

Lemon filling:
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and flour with whisk. Stir in water and cook over medium high heat in saucepan until thick. Separate egg yolk from whites. (The following step is important to keep the eggs from curdling.) Beat egg yolks slightly and gradually, little by little, stir in 1 Cup of the hot mixture into the yolks. Add yolk mixture to saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, lemon peel, and lemon juice.

EMPANADAS DE QUESO (cheese turnovers)
country of origin: Dominican Republic

2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Cup shortening
1 egg
2 Tablespoon ice water

Cheese filling:
2 eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz cottage cheese
8 oz cream cheese

Stir salt & Flour together. Cut in shortening with fork or pastry cutter. Beat 1 egg in separate bowl or coffee cup. Mix ice water to egg. Toss into flour mixture until ball is formed. Chill 1 hour. Meanwhile, make filling. After filling is prepared, roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch circles. Place a Tablespoon of cheese filling in the center of circle. Cover with a second circle of pastry and press edges with fork to seal. Fry in oil making sure to brown both sides. Drain on paper towel. Cool before eating.

Cheese filling:
Blend egg, sugar, vanilla, butter and cottage cheese in blender, slowly add cut up pieces of cream cheese as blender is running.

FLAN (Custard)
Country of origin: Mexico

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

In heavy medium saucepan combine eggs, milk, sugar and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until it coats a metal spoon. Stir in teaspoon of vanilla. Prepare syrup by heating ingredients in heavy saucepan. Bring to boil just until it caramelizes. Immediately pour syrup into each individual custard cup mold or 9 x 13 glass casserole, tilting to distribute syrup evenly over bottom. Pour the flan mixture over it. Place a pan of water in the bottom rack of oven to keep the oven humid (keeps custard from falling). This is a very delicate dessert. Bake custard in 325 degree oven for 30 – 45 minutes, until set. Cake tester or knife inserted in the middle should come out clean. If using individual molds, invert onto individual serving plates. If baked in 9 x 13, allow to cool 15 minutes on counter before placing in refrigerator until ready to slice and serve. Pour additional caramel syrup over before serving. [Shortcut method for syrup: Caramel syrup for ice cream can also be used.] May serve warm or chilled.

FLAN de COCO (coconut custard)
country of origin: Uruguay

(reduced sugar recipe)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 (14 ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) can light coconut milk (12 or 13 oz can)
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup sugar-free coconut syrup
6 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place 3/4 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently, without stirring, but shaking occasionally until the sugar has melted. Continue cooking until the sugar has completely melted, and turned golden brown. Pour into a large, glass baking dish. Spread the caramel evenly over the bottom of the dish, then set aside to cool for 15 minutes before proceeding.
Toast the coconut gently over medium heat until light golden brown.
Add the toasted coconut to the light coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and let reduce for 10 minutes, let cool.
Strain coconut out of coconut milk.
Once the caramel has hardened, pour the condensed milk, light coconut milk, milk, eggs, sugar free coconut syrup, and into a blender. Blend for 3 minutes until smooth. Pour into baking dish over the caramel.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes until set. When done, remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the dish to separate the flan from the sides. Refrigerate overnight.

FRUTA DE HORNO (Oven Fruit - Mama Tachita’s Cookies)
Country of origin: Mexico

(This recipe is from my maternal grandmother, who lived in Mexico City.)
1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 C Crisco shortening
1 C powered sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C granulated sugar

In a medium mixing bowl cream butter, shortening, then add the powdered sugar, mix well. Blend in the egg, extracts, flour, and salt. Roll dough out to the thickness of pie crust. Cut into triangle shapes and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll up each triangle and form crescents, (as with crescent bread rolls). Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Cookies should barely be golden brown. Sprinkle granulated sugar over cookies immediately after baking. Cookies are fragile, so remove carefully and place on cooling rack.
Note: Dough is difficult to work with.

GALLETAS DE ARÁNDANOS (Blueberry Cream Squares)

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar or dark brown sugar firmly packed
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp grated lemon rind (opt. if using real lemons)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup fresh blueberries

Mix flour, baking powder, oats, salt, and sugar. Pour in melted butter and combine until wet and crumbly. Press half of the mixture into an 8x8 inch buttered baking pan. Lay blueberries over oatmeal crust mixture. In blender, blend eggs, milk, juice and rind. With the lid off, continuing to blending as you drop in pieces of cream cheese. Blend until creamy. Pour over blueberries. Sprinkle remaining oatmeal crust mixture evenly on top. Bake at 350 degrees until brown around edges, about 25 min. Cool at room temp. Chill until firm. Cut into squares for serving.

GALLETAS DE FRAMBUESA (Raspberry Cookie bars)
Country of origin: Mexico

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
8 ounces raspberry preserves

Grease the bottom and sides of 9x13 inch pan.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl blend butter, shortening, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla together until creamed. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Blend flour mixture into sugar mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread 2/3 of the dough mixture evenly in pan. Cover top with 8 ounces raspberry preserves. Dot remaining dough randomly over the jam.
Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, or until done all the way through.

MADURO EN GLORIA (banana pudding)
country of origin: Nicaragua

4 Tablespoons butter
6 firm bananas, Or unripe plantains
1/2 pound cream cheese
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Cup heavy cream
whipped cream (Cool Whip, for example, to use as garnish)

Melt butter in skillet. Peel bananas and slice into skillet. Brown quickly on medium high heat. Place half of the bananas in the bottom of a buttered pie place. Cream the cheese, sugar and cinnamon together and spread half over bananas. Add another layer of bananas and spread the remaining cheese over second layer of bananas. Pour cream on top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Do not allow all of the cream to absorb or it will be too dry. Serve hot with whipped cream.

MADUROS EN GLORIA (heavenly ripe plantains)
Country of origin: Costa Rica

6 very ripe plantains (they should be very black), peeled and cut in slice of about 3 cm thick
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp natural vanilla
cinnamon sticks

fry all the ingredients and add then a cup of water. let them dry out to custard and then add again one cup of water. repeat the process once or twice until the plantains are very soft. serve hot with vanilla ice cream
or room temperature alone.


1 ½ cups flour
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 stick cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk, beaten
Ice water to combine the dough
Mix the sugar and flour together. Blend in the cold butter and the egg yolk with a pastry cutter. It’s faster when you use your hands, but be sure to do this quickly, we don’t want the butter to melt away or we lose the flaky texture. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, add the ice cold water, a spoonful at a time, until the dough is just combined. Divide it into two and let it rest in the freezer for 10 minutes. Roll out the pastry dough into a circle of about 1/8 inch thickness. Make sure the dough is well floured so that it doesn’t stick. Use for turnovers or pie crust. Brush with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven at 350ºF - or follow individual recipe.

(inspired by Casa de Piedra)

6 Tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes.
8 oz. 70-percent bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pecans
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare cupcake pan with paper liners. This recipe makes about 12 small cupcakes. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water and stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. With a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, beat the sugar, salt and cinnamon into the chocolate mixture. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour and mix vigorously until the batter is very glossy and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Lastly mix in the chocolate chips & pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pan, filling about half way, and tap the pan bottom on the counter top to level the batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out moist but clean. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on the rack before frosting. Frost with Chocolate Fudge Frosting (see recipe)

MAZZAMORRA (old fashioned corn custard)
Country of origin: Costa Rica

8 lb. of fresh sweet green corn - husked, shucked and ground
3 cup of brown sugar diluted in 2 cups of water or 2 cups of coarse white cane sugar diluted sparsely
1 tsp of fresh cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon of fresh clove
1 medium thick cheese cloth

preparation after the corn has been separated, wash thoroughly. then in an electric food processor, use the shredding blade / grounding blade preferable. once you finish grinding, place contents into a large colander
draped with the cheesecloth. let stand over a large container to catch the drippings for a full 24 hours. the clear liquid is removed and reserved for a bit later. let the remaining liquid settle then cook with the cinnamon, white sugar and cloves. as you stir this mixture to a simmer begin to slowly add the remaining clear liquid. continue to stir over medium heat, stirring constantly until desired thickness is achieved. once it has reached a gelatin thickness. let cool on cooling rack. serve at
room temperature or cold. add anisette sponge cookies to each serving. 15 portions

OJITOS (Thumbprint Cookies)
country of origin: Uruguay

1 Cup butter
3 oz cream cheese
1 Cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 Cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ Cup fruit preserve

Beat together butter, cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. Combine in separate bowl: flour, soda, salt. Stir into creamed mixture by hand. (This allows you to create a dough with less flour, making the cookies lighter). Chill 1 hour. If the dough is still too sticky, stir in more flour and stir in by hand. Shape into 1 inch balls. Indent with thumb on ungreased cookie sheet. Fill with ½ teaspoon of preserves. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

PASTEL DE ARÁNDANOS (Blueberry Coffee Cake)

2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 t. baking powder
2 eggs, separated
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
2 - 2 1/2 c. blueberries

Combine flour and sugar in electric mixer. Cut butter into small pieces, adding piece by piece while mixting on low speed, until flour mixture becomes crumbly. Reserve 3/4 c. crumb mixture for topping. To the remaining mixture, add baking powder and mix. Mix in blueberries. In another large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside. In small cereal bowl, combine egg yolks, milk and vanilla. Carefully stir wet mixture to dry mixture, some of batter may still be dry. Pour batter into egg whites and gently fold into the batter. Spoon batter into a greased 13×9 casserole dish. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over the blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes, until lightly browned and fully cooked.

PASTEL DE CARAMELOS y CHOCOLATE (chocolate caramel cake)
country of origin: (United States - from student Heidi Dancker's collection)

Chocolate cake
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
17 oz jar caramel topping (for ice cream)
8 oz Whipped Cream
12 oz bag crushed Heath or Score candy bars

Prepare a chocolate cake in an 9 x 13 inch pan, using a cake mix, following the directions on the box. Let cool.
Puncture holes in a cake using the end of a wooden spoon. Pour milk over cake, followed by the caramel topping. Spread whipped cream over cake and sprinkled with crushed candy bars.
Slice, serve & enjoy!

1 box German chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1 ¼ cup water
½ cup oil
48 caramels (14oz bag)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups pecans, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter (not margarine!)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Whipped cream, for topping
Grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare batter for German chocolate cake as directed on the box. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes. While the cake is baking, melt the caramels, milk, and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Pour the mixture over the partially baked cake. Sprinkle half of the pecans and half of the chocolate chips over the caramel mixture. Pour the rest of the batter over that. Sprinkle the rest of the nuts and chocolate chips on top. Bake 20 more minutes. It won’t look quite done when it’s finished, but it will firm up when it sets. (It tastes better the second day!) Serve topped with whipped cream.


2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup butter
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans if desired
1 bag miniature marshmallows

2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cube butter
1/4 c. evaporated milk
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. orange or almond extract

Combine sugar and cocoa in mixing bowl. Cream in butter and eggs until light and fluffy. Add flour. Mix well. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 min. Top evenly with marshmallows – just enough to cover pan. Return to oven for 2 -3 min. or until marsh melt and puff up slightly. Make frosting and frost cooled brownies.

PASTELITOS DE COCOA (chocolate cupcakes)
country of origin: Honduras, traditionally eaten warm without frosting

1/2 cup butter, margarine or shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup milk

Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs until soft. Stir in vanilla and mix well. In separate bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Carefully pour milk over creamed mixture. Softly sprinkle flour mixture over milk and delicately combine into batter, just until wet. The wet ingredients can be mixed a lot and the dry ingredients can be mixed a lot, but only as long as they are kept separate. Do not over mix or stir too roughly. (You may want to ask your child what happens when you mix too much!) Spoon small amount of batter into muffin tins, lined with paper cupcake cups. It will rise considerably, so only fill half full. Bake in 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Eat unfrosted, warm from the oven.

(Learning to make frosting and frosting cake are such fun activities for their cupcakes, but traditionally, the pastelitos are eaten warm, without frosting.)

3 Tablespoons butter, margarine, shortening, or cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 cup water (or more to make correct consistency)

Cut butter into the powdered sugar. Add cocoa powder and vanilla. Stir in water, adding little by little, mixing consistently between small amounts, until frosting becomes the right consistency to spread on cake. You may need more or less.


1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
15.6-oz bag miniature peanut butter cup candies
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with shortening or spray with cooking spray.
In large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until well blended. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut 12 of the candies into fourths (about 3/4 cup). Stir cut-up candies and chocolate chips into batter. Spread in pan.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately press remaining 24 candies in brownies in 4 even rows of 6 candies each. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.

PLATANOS FITOS (Fried plantains)
Country of origin: Mexico

2 plantains
2 Tbl butter
whipped cream

Slice plantains. Fry for a few minutes, remove from oil, smash with a mallet, and fry in butter again for 10 minutes until brown. Serve warm, sprinkled with sugar and topped with whipped cream.

POLVORONES (tea cakes)
country of origin: Mexico

1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Cups flour
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-2 Cups nuts

Mix butter and sugar until fluffy. Add other ingredients and mix well. Chill 1/2 hour. Shape into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes at 350. Roll into powdered sugar while still warm. Makes 24 cookies.

Country of Origin (United States)

1 box gingersnaps smashed into crumbs
1 stick of melted butter
mix crumbs and melted butter and press into bottom of pie plate

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tub (8oz) whipped topping, thawed (divided)

Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice on medium speed until well blended. Gently stir in 2 1/2 cups of whipped topping. (refrigerate remaining topping for later) Spoon cream cheese mixture into crust. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Serve with whipped topping.

QUIMBOLITOS (Steamed Puddings)
Country of origin: Ecuador

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter
6 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup seedless raisins
2 tablespoons cognac or light rum
Soften the butter at room temperature. In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs mixed with the milk. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder, and stir into the batter mixture. Stir in the cheese, raisins, and cognac or rum.
Cut either kitchen parchment or aluminum foil into six 8x12-inch rectangles. Drop a scant 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of each, and fold up into an envelope. Arrange in a steamer and cook over boiling water for 45 minutes. Serve hot, with or without cream. In Ecuador the Quimbolitos are cooked in achira leaves, the leaf of the taro plant, perhaps better known as dasheen or yautia. Nothing seems to be lost by cooking them in parchment or foil, however.

ROSCA DE REYES (sweet bread for Three Kings Day - 6 Jan)
Country of origin: Mexico

Heat: 1 C. milk, 1/3 C. butter, 1/3 C. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt, stirring constantly and just until butter melts. Mix 2 1/2 C. flour with 1 envelope of yeast (1 Tbl.) and pour warm milk over it. Add 3 eggs and beat with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl and beat on high for 3 minutes. Stir in another 2 1/2 cups flour by hand with spoon and turn dough into a greased bowl. Cover and let rise 1 hour until doubled. Punch down and roll out on floured surface into a 12 inch square. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 C. brown sugar, 1/4 C. flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon. Optional ingredients include: 1/2 C. nuts, 1/2 C. raisins, 1 C. chopped apples, dried fruits, and or cherry pie filling. Roll up jelly roll style. Form a ring by connecting ends. Arrange on cookie sheet. Cut hash marks around the edges (around 10-12) Let rise again until double, about an hour. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool and drizzle with glaze. GLAZE: 1 Tbl. milk, 1 1/2 C. powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, additional milk to make drizzling consistency.

Joanne Ross (from Better Homes & Gardens, Mar 1965)

2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening
1/2 cup lukewarm water
Cut in shortening with dry ingredients till shortening resembles corn meal. Gradually add water, stirring mixture with fork. (Dough will be crumbly.) Turn dough out on lightly floured surface; knead till smooth ball is formed. Divide in half; let stand for 10 minutes. Roll each half to 10x12 1/2 inch rectangle, about 1/16 inch in thickness. Cut in 2 1/2 inch squares. Fry 3 or 4 at a time in deep hot fat (400') about 30 seconds on each side. Drain on paper toweling. Roll sopapillas in cinnamon and sugar mixture (2 teaspoons cinnamon to each 1/2 cup sugar). Makes about 40 sopapillas. (I like to tear off corner and pour in small amount of honey. My children loved to have these as a treat with hot chocolate on cold winter evenings.)

Sopapillas de Calabaza (Pumpkin Fry Bread)
Country of origin: Chile

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup warm milk
2 cups fresh pumpkin or 1-16oz. can pumpkin
1 tbsp. milk or water
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Stir first three ingredients then stir in the beaten egg. Add milk to make the dough soft. Roll it out on floured bread board, knead lightly. Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into strips 2 X 3 inches and slit the center. Drop into hot cooking oil and brown on both sides. Serve hot with butter or powdered sugar.

Country of origin: Mexico
(for dia de los muertos)

granulated sugar
meringue powder
powdered sugar
dye coloring paste
(you can find the dye paste + meringue powder at Michael's)

sugar skull mold (I used the medium sized "Oaxaca Style" mold)
a large metal mixing bowl
an electric mixer or food processor
cardboard cut out to the sizes of the mold pieces
pastry bags for frosting
colored foil for decorations

Besides the mold, the key ingredient to the mix is the meringue powder. Some recipes suggest egg whites, but I found this to be cleaner and probably smelled better than handling raw egg. I found it at a local gourmet bakery speciality store but I come to find that you can also get it at Michael's, in the cake decorating section. Don't ask the employees, they never know where anything is. Michael's also carries the dye paste which you use for the frosting mix later on, when decorating. The process can be very time consuming depending on the volume and sizes of the skulls. For me, this was a 2 day process.

Day 1 consisted of making the actual skulls and letting them dry. Combining the ingredients you wonder, "How is this going to turn hard?" Trust me, it does. Press the sugar mix into the mold, pack it in tight. Take a straight surface to the back and scrape off the excess so the back is flat. Then, take a piece of cardboard, flip it over, just like you would with a cake. The sugar should fall out easily, if it sticks, that means your mix is too moist. I found that rinsing out the mold every few pieces helped out, just make sure it is very dry before you make another piece. If a piece doesn't come out right, just put it back in the bowl, mix and try again.

This is the downside, you have to allow an 8-12 hour drying period. Mine sat for well over 12 hours and they were ready to go the next morning. If you have leftover sugar in the bowl, throw it out. It will harden in your cookware. Do not attempt to do this on a humid day, the sugar will not set up properly and you will be disappointed.

Day 2 is about assembly and decorating. I did not have to scoop out the backs of my faces as suggested on the tutorial website because they were completely dry. The first step was to make the royal icing which is basically sugary cement. Do not attempt to make this unless you have an electric mixer or food processor. Once it is done you smear some on the back piece, press it against the face part. Some icing will ooze out of the seam, just run your finger over it till it is smooth. Try to only do it in one passing.

Set them aside to dry while you mix your frosting colors. Mix your desired frosting colors and pack them in frosting bags.

Then the fun part finally arrives. Decorating. I set up a little station with all the frosting colors on hand, a piece of cardboard for the the skull and a paper or kitchen towel to wipe up messes.

Frosting + Decorating Tips:
Use plastic or disposable cups to mix your colors, you will save yourself the aggravation of cleaning it up later. Only use concentrated paste to dye. Liquid food coloring dilutes the frosting, rendering it useless. Keep the frosting covered as much as possible, it will begin to harden if exposed to air. Close any windows near the frosting cause it will dry it out quicker. If you find that it is drying out too much add a little bit of water and remix it. If you are not skilled with a pastry bag, they sell squeeze bottles you can use that will give you awesome detail, they just clog easily because of the frosting consistency. Find one that has a larger nib diameter. The foil pieces are adhered with frosting.

Once your skulls are decorated, set them aside to dry. I used a medium mold and 5 lbs of sugar. It rendered 13 skulls.

TARTA DE ALMENDRA (almond pie)
country of origin: Ecuador

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 eggs
2 Tablespoon ice water
1/2 cup apricot or raspberry jam

2 eggs
4 Tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 Cup chopped almonds
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/3 teaspoon almond extract

Combine flour and salt, cut in shortening with a pastry blender or a fork. Beat ONE of the eggs and the ice water together, add to flour, tossing lightly with fork until ball of dough is formed. Chill one hour. Roll 2/3rds of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Place in pie plate. Spread jam on dough. Beat butter, sugar and cornstarch until light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs, beating well. Add almonds, lemon rind, almond extract and mix well. Pour into pie shell. Roll out remaining dough. Cut into strips and arrange lattice style over pie. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, reduce to 350 for 20 minutes more or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve cold.

TARTA DE PASA (Raisin Pie)
Country of Origin: Paraguay

2 cups flour
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup conf. sugar

For the Raisin Filling:

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ stick), melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups raisins
2 cups walnuts or almonds

Mix flour, butter, and sugar. Spread over prepared 9 x 13 casserole and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. While crust bakes, whisk together brown sugar, melted butter, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until just combined. Add egg and whisk until incorporated.
Sprinkle raisins and nuts on top of hot crust and pour sugar mixture evenly over top. Bake until top is brown and cracks start to form across surface, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Cut and remove bars from pan.

TOSTADITAS DULCES (Sugar and Cinnamon Chips)
Country of origin (Mexico)

1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
Eight 8-inch flour tortillas
Canola oil, for frying

In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.
Cut each tortilla into six equal wedges.
In a large, deep skillet, heat about 1 inch of oil over medium heat until it shimmers.
In batches, place tortilla wedges in oil and fry for 30 second per side, or until golden brown. Transfer chips to paper towels and let them drain for 20 to 30 seconds.
Place the still-warm chips in a brown paper lunch bag. Add several pinches of the cinnamon and sugar mix, then close the roll and shake to coat the chips. Pour the chip onto a serving plate and repeat with remaining ingredients.

TRES LECHES, PASTEL DE (milk-soaked cake)
Country of origin: Disputed - Mexico or Nicaragua

1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 cup Unsalted butter
2 cups White sugar (divided)
5 Eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract (divided)
1 cup Milk
1/2 of a 14-ounce can Sweetened condensed milk
1/2 of a 12-ounce can Evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups Heavy (whipping) cream

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.
Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
Cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla. Beat well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing well until blended.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
When cake has finished baking, pierce it in 8 or 10 places with a fork or skewer, and let it cool.
Combine the whole milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk and pour over the top of the cooled cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Whipped Cream Topping:
When ready to serve, combine the whipping cream and the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 cup of sugar, whipping until thick. Spread over top of cake.

Because of the milk in the cake, it is very important that you keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve chilled.

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