Easy Churros

We plan our Super Bowl menu around our star appetizer, guacamole. This year, we ate our favorite Creamy Chicken and Greens with Roasted Poblano Tacos as our main dish. Of course, we needed a fitting dessert to end our meal.

I’ve wanted to try these churros since first seeing the recipe around Cinco de Mayo 2016. :/ Truth be told, they are not actually “true” churros… 😉 Yet, they are certainly a festive end to any Mexican-inspired menu. Perfect for our Super Bowl feast too.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I cut the recipe in half and froze the prepared churros one day ahead prior to baking. We ate them dipped in warm dulce de leche- melted chocolate would also be delicious.

Yield: about 20 Churros

  • 8 ounces (1/2 box) all-butter puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • warm dulce de leche or melted chocolate, for serving, as desired
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle.
  3. Brush lightly with a beaten egg.
  4. Fold in half into a 6-by-16-inch rectangle; press out air bubbles, then cut crosswise into 1/2-by-6-inch strips.
  5. Twist into spirals, pressing ends to gently adhere.
  6. Place 1 inch apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets; freeze 30 minutes. (Can be made and frozen up to 1 day ahead.)
  7. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Combine sugar and cinnamon. While still hot, toss half of churros with half of sugar. Repeat with remaining churros and sugar.
  9. Serve immediately with warm dulce de leche or melted chocolate, as desired.

I’m bringing this dessert to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #162, co-hosted by Sarah @Tales from the Kitchen Shed and Liz @Spades, Spatulas, & Spoons. Enjoy!

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Dulce de Leche-Hazelnut Macaroons

These one-bowl cookies were quick to make and called for one of my favorite ingredients- dulce de leche. The crunchy roasted hazelnuts and chewy coconut provided nice contrasting textures as well.

This recipe was adapted from Quick-Shop-&-Prep 5 Ingredient Baking by Jennifer McHenry, via Scott Suchman of The Washington Post. I roasted and peeled the hazelnuts and adjusted the cookie size and resulting baking time. I double the recipe below and included them in my Christmas cookie assortment.

Yield: about 36 cookies

  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Set aside a third rimmed baking sheet, unlined, for the hazelnuts.
  3. Spread hazelnuts on the unlined, rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the 350-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until you see the skins crack.
  4. Immediately transfer the nuts to a clean dish towel; wrap up and vigorously massage the mass of nuts (through the towel) until the skins have loosened and fallen away. Discard the skins.
  5. When cool enough to handle, chop the hazelnuts.
  6. Combine the coconut, chopped hazelnuts, dulce de leche, vanilla extract and salt in a mixing bowl until thoroughly blended.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, drop by spoonfuls (about 36) on the baking sheets, spacing the spoonfuls an inch apart.
  8. Bake, on the middle rack, one sheet at a time for 7 to 12 minutes, or until just set.
  9. Cool completely on the sheet; repeat with the remaining macaroons.

Make Ahead: The macaroons can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

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Samoa Brownies

When I first saw photos of these brownies, I knew that I needed some reason to make them. Making a fabulous upgraded version of our favorite girl scout cookies was absolutely irresistible. Then I realized that all we needed were friends to share them with! Needless to say, that was easy. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Host the Toast, via Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook. I modified the baking times and used jarred dulce de leche instead of caramel sauce. I also combined dark and semi-sweet chocolate for the drizzle. Yummy!

For the Cookie Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

For the Brownies:

  • 1⅓ cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 T water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt

For the Caramel-Coconut Topping:

  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1 cup caramel sauce (I used dulce de leche)

For the Chocolate Dip and Drizzle:

  • 4 oz dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

To Make the Cookie Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, preferably on convection.
  2. Line an 9 x 9 baking pan parchment paper hanging on the sides (for easier removal) and spray with non-stick spray.
  3. In a bowl, combine all ingredients for the cookie crust. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, pulse or mix the dough until crumbly.
  4. Evenly spread and pat the cookie crust into the bottom of the parchment-lined baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookie crust turns light golden brown.
  5. Keep in the fridge to cool.

Meanwhile, Make the Brownies:

  1. In a bowl, place the dark chocolate chips. Set aside. IMG_3361
  2. In a small saucepan, add butter, water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Pour onto the chocolate chips and stir the mixture until chocolate has completely melted. Let cool for a bit.
  3. When the chocolate mixture has cooled down, mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Add in flour and salt. Mix to incorporate well.
  5. Once the cookie crust has cooled, pour the brownie batter onto the top. Bake for about 25 (on convection) or up to 35 minutes (standard oven), or until toothpick inserted comes out with few crumbs (but not wet) batter.
  6. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack and transfer to the freezer to chill up quickly. (Do not remove from the pan.)

While waiting for the brownies to firm up…

Make the Caramel-Coconut Topping:

  1. Spread your sweetened flaked coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes at 350 F, on convection. Watch carefully as the coconut may turn very quickly from beautiful golden from to burnt. Make sure stir the coconut once in a while to avoid burning.
  2. Mix the toasted coconut and the dulce de leche/caramel sauce. (If you just took your caramel sauce out from the fridge, you can microwave it first to thin it a bit. I heated mine for about 30 seconds and stirred it prior to using.)
  3. Spread the caramel-coconut topping over the chilled brownies.
  4. Place back in the fridge to chill again for at least an hour.

For the Chocolate Dip and Drizzle:

  1. Remove the brownies from the fridge.
  2. Grab the sides of the parchment paper and lift the brownies from the pan. Remove the parchment paper and cut them into smallish squares.
  3. Place about 2/3 of the mixed chocolate chips in a bowl and melt in the microwave with 30 seconds interval, stirring in between. You can also melt your chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. (I usually have more success with the double-boiler method.)
  4. Dip each brownie bottom into the melted chocolate and place upside-down on another sheet of parchment paper to let dry.
  5. When the chocolate coating has cooled, turn each piece right side up. Melt the remaining chocolate as directed above.
  6. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the Samoa Brownies. You can eat right away or you can let the chocolate drizzle firm up before serving.

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Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie

I am actually a fan of heart-shaped Valentine’s Day desserts. ❤ But, after receiving this recipe from Nancy of Feasting With Friends Blog, I knew that I had to make this pie to celebrate with my family this year. I suppose I could have made it more celebratory by dusting the confectioners’ sugar in hearts! Next time…

I have made the Bon Appetit version of this best-selling Momofuku Milk Bar pie a few times in the past. This version is the real deal (I think!). They are both delicious, of course! 😉 Salted caramel-esque. Sweet and salty with an oat cookie crust. Mmmmm!

If I had known it was going to be the coldest Valentine’s Day in 100 years, I may have picked a cozier dessert! :/ This version of the pie is served directly from the freezer… Thankfully, this is purely for texture, the actual pie didn’t taste cold. Whew! The original recipe makes 2 pies, so I divided it in half. (It sounds crazy, but I was scared to have too much of a good thing.)

By the way, there is truth in the name… we all had seconds! 😉 Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! ❤

Yield: One 10-inch pie or 9-inch pie, 8-10 servings

For the Oat Cookie:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 T tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 20 g (1/2 T) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 egg yolk
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 60 g (3/4 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 0.25 g (1/16 tsp) baking powder
  • 0.125 g half-pinch baking soda
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)

For the Pie Filling:

  • 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 90 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 10 g (2 T) milk powder
  • 12 g (2 T cup) freeze-dried corn powder
  • 3 g (3/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 8 T butter, melted
  • 80 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) heavy cream
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks**
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, to finish

To Complete the Crust:

  • 1 recipe oat cookie (above)
  • 1/2 T (7.5 g) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 g (1/8 tsp) coarse salt
  • 2 T (27.5 g) unsalted butter, melted, or up to 3/4 T (12.5 g) more, if needed

To Make the Oat Cookie:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Divide the egg yolk in half: Zero a bowl on a digital scale. Add whole egg yolk. Add half of the weight to the bowl.
  4. On low-speed, incorporate the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium­ high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.
  5. On low-speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment; spray with cooking spray.
  7. Plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and, with a spatula or rolling pin, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. The dough will cover about half of the pan.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie-caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly.
  9. Cool completely before using.

Note: Wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until evenly blended.
  2. Add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
  3. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disap­peared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low-speed until it is.

Note: The filling can be used right away, or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To Complete the Pie:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)
  3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the melted butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 7 to 12 g (1/2 to 3/4 T) butter and knead it in.
  4. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, your fingers and/or the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into the pie dish, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  5. Put the pie dish on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the filling in the pie crust; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.
  7. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pie in the oven during this process.
  8. When the oven reaches 325°F, close the door and bake the pie for 5 minutes longer. The pie should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pie in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.
  9. Gently take the pie out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry.)
  10. Then freeze the pie for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product—freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie®.
  11. Serve your crack pie® cold! Decorate with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.

Note: If not serving the pie right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. In the fridge, it will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, it will keep for 1 month. Transfer the pie from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hour before you’re ready to serve.

**Note: It will be the death of your wildly dense pie filling if there is any bit of egg white in the mixture. The easiest, and best, way to separate an egg is to do so in your hands. You may also use the two half-shells to separate the eggs, but the cracked shells can tear the yolk open, and you may not totally separate all the white. If you do this by hand, you can feel when you get every last bit of white away from the yolk. Remember to wash your hands under warm soapy water for 30 seconds or more before and after you handle raw eggs!

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Salted Dulce de Leche Shortbread (Alfajores) Bars

IMG_9622

I first spotted (and bookmarked!) Alfajores on What Jessica Baked Next– South American shortbread sandwich cookies filled with Dulce de Leche. They were beautiful, no-doubt delicious, yet labor intensive and time-consuming. More for winter baking, not summer baking! I was thrilled to spot this shortcut version on Bourbon and Brown Sugar adapted from Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook. EASY and delicious. Yay! I used unsalted butter, cut the recipe in half, and modified the baking times. We gobbled them up. 🙂

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 pound), at room temperature (if using salted butter, omit the coarse salt)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz Dulce de Leche (about 1/2 of a jar, or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add the salt and flour, and mix on low-speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.
  4. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Press approximately half of the dough into the bottom of the pan and spread evenly to form a bottom crust. Place remaining dough aside in the refrigerator to chill.
  5. Bake the bottom crust until firm, and the edges are a pale golden brown, approximately 15 minutes in a convection oven or 20 minutes in a standard oven. When the bottom crust is finished, let it rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Microwave the Dulce de Leche for approximately 30 seconds so that it softens and is easier to spread.
  7. Spoon the Dulce de Leche onto the bottom crust and spread it evenly.
  8. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it over the top of the Dulce de Leche.
  9. Sprinkle the sea salt over the top of the crumbled dough.
  10. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden brown, approximately 20 minutes in a convection oven or up to 30 minutes in a standard oven.
  11. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

One Year Ago:

Father’s Day Dulce de Leche Pecan Ice Cream

IMG_9104

As much as I would have liked my husband to try something “new” for Father’s Day, he wanted our favorite tacos. I used my CSA chard and an entire bunch of local spinach in the filling- SO delicious!! The dessert was a surprise, so I could try a new recipe of a favorite flavor. 🙂

My husband and I were at the Montreal Jazz Festival listening to an outdoor concert the first time we tried Dulce de Leche ice cream. It was a Haagen Dazs version, on a stick. We fell so in love with it that I remember the moment. 🙂

I made this version with lightly toasted pecans to celebrate Father’s Day this year. I had made a gelato version in the past that required making homemade dulce de leche– this seemed like such a (wonderful!) shortcut version to incorporate store-bought dulce de leche into a custard base. It was really creamy and delicious. I ran out of time to make pizzelles and served it in waffle bowls instead!

This recipe was adapted from Williams-Sonoma Taste. Happy Belated Father’s Day to all of the Fathers and Grandfathers!  🙂

  • 1 pint (2 cups) whole milk, plus 2 tablespoons, separated
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 13.4 oz cans Nestle LaLechera Dulce de Leche Caramel
  • 1 cup raw pecan halves
  • freshly ground pepper, optional
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat one pint of milk and cream over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge of the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium stainless-steel bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar; then stir in warm milk mixture.
  3. Return the custard mixture to the small sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 170 degrees F, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. (While the custard is re-heating, I clean the original bowl and re-use it.)
  5. Using a whisk, stir 1 can plus about 1/4 of the additional can of Dulce de Leche into the warm custard. IMG_9106
  6. Once incorporated, set bowl over an ice bath. Stir occasionally until cooled.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard, and let cool completely in the refrigerator, chill minimally 1 hour to overnight.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of water and season with freshly ground pepper, if using.
  9. Roast until just toasted, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop. Set aside.
  10. Churn chilled dulce de leche custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  11. Fold in toasted pecans.
  12. In a small bowl, whisk remaining dulce de leche with 2 tablespoons of milk to loosen, then fold into ice cream; dulce de leche should be mixed in just enough to form a marbled effect.
  13. Place in an air-tight, freezer-proof container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly to the surface of the custard. Freeze until firm, a minimum of 4 hours to overnight. Let come to room temperature for 10 minutes prior to serving.

One Year Ago:

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