Tag Archives: Tres Leches

{ Tres Leches Macaroons – Gluten Free! }

Finished Macaroons

I have always been a fan of caramel ever since I was a little kid, but when I moved to Argentina and was introduced to Dulce de Leche my mind was literally blown and I have been an addict ever since (I actually have a dulce de leche-scented candle burning in my room at this very moment!). You see caramel is made from pure sugar, but dulce de leche is made from sweetened milk so it has a much richer and creamier texture. In Latin American cultures, dulce de leche is used to flavor all sorts of sweets and candies, from ice cream (the best is Freddo), to lollipops, to cakes, and cookies (“alfajores”).

Dulce de Leche

Ever since my return to the US, I have been looking for more and more ways to include it in my baking recipes at home. The result?

These mouth-watering tres leches macaroons, which make for a perfect passover dessert since they are gluten free! I made them for my friend Liz’s cookie exchange this holiday season, and they were a smashing hit. I might also add that they stayed good in the refrigerator for about 2 1/2 weeks when stored in an air tight container.

And as if coconut and caramel aren’t already decadent enough, I also like to dip my macarons in chocolate! They are sinfully good and ridiculously easy to make, so print this recipe out and make them please!

{ Ingredients }

  • 2 – 14 oz bags of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 – 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp good vanilla extract (I use Madagascar)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips for dipping (optional!)

[ To Make the Macaroons }

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Combine the shredded coconut, the condensed milk, the sour cream, the heavy cream, and the extracts in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment.

3. Mix the ingredients together on a low speed until well thoroughly combined.

Macaroon Mix

4. Use a large ice cream scoop (#12) to spoon the batter onto a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Do not press down on the cookies!!

Unbaked

5. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until slightly golden brown around the edges.

Baeke2d

6. Use wire racks to allow to cool completely on baking sheet. Then dip in melted semi-sweet chocolate, if desired!

Dipping Macaroons

7. Or drizzle with melted semi-sweet chocolate!

Chocolate Drizzled

Leave a comment

Filed under Baking, Dessert, Recipes

Cuba Libre ***

cuba libre
 
215.627.0666
10 S. 2nd Street (2nd & Market)
Philadelphia, PA 19106

CHECK OUT THE MENU!

This past month featured Restaurant Week here in Philadelphia, and I had the opportunity to check out Cuba Libre with a couple of friends. The beauty about restaurant week is that you get to sample multiple courses from a  prix fixe menu at a reduced price. In this case, we were each allowed to choose two appetizers, one entree, and one dessert for $35. But before we even had the opportunity to look at the food menu, we were distracted by the longwinded cocktail list, which includes 14 uniquely flavored mojitos!

Feeling pressured to try at least one of these specialty cocktails, we decide to order the Classic Mojito and sample it amongst the table. The mojito was  fabulous but definitely not something that should be in conjunction with a heavy meal, and so we opted for a pitcher of Red Sangria to drink with our dinner ($37.50 and we got 8 glasses from it). The sangria was good, but nothing extraordinary (it is also not very strong, as 3 full glasses did not get my 100-lb self even remotely tipsy!).

Cuba Libre Red Sangria

But onto the food, which is what we came for in the first place! To start, our server brought us a nice basket of bread with an o-u-t-r-a-g-e-o-u-s mango butter. This light, almost whipped, butter transformed the bread into a sweet french toast-like dessert. Honestly, the flavored butter was probably my favorite item brought to the table all evening. It was memorable and unique.

Cuba Libre Bread and Mango Butter

For my first appetizer, I ordered the Pulpo con Berenjenaswhich is a truffle and citrus marinated baby octopus that is then grilled and served atop a Haitian eggplant salad.  The octopus was cooked perfectly and wasn’t rubbery in the least bit. The flavors were all well-balanced and the portion size was perfect, leaving me wanting one more forkful.

Cuba Libre Octopus

The Eight Hour Guava BBQ Ribs, on the other hand, were not as good as I had hoped they would be. I had high expectations for these “award winning” St. Louis cut pork ribs, glazed in a Guava BBQ Sauce with jicama-Sambal salad, but they were VERY fatty with hardly any meat at all. Very disappointing. Sad face.

Cuba Libre Guava BBQ Ribs

Others at the table ordered the Empanadas stuffed with pulled pork, roasted poblano pepper, and charred tomatoes;

Empanadas

as well as the Sopa de Frijoles Negros, which was sweet rather than spicy; and finally the signature Cuban Tostones, which are twice-fried green plantains with a garlic-mojo dipping sauce. I thought the tostones and mojo sauce were both bland compared to those I’ve had at other Cuban restaurants.

Cuba Libre Tostones

Sensing that the Cuban food not up to par with what I had grown accustomed to in Miami, I decided to deviate from a traditional Cuban dish for my entree. Instead, I ordered El Pollo del Solar, which is a lime-garlic marinated chicken breast with caramelized onions & steamed kale, served with a black bean croqueta and a sweet and sour mango gravy.  Technically, the chicken was cooked perfectly–juicy and succulent, but flavor-wise the dish was really lacking. I didn’t think the chicken was well seasoned, in fact I couldn’t detect any garlic notes and the black bean croqueta was very, very dry. Not even the mango gravy could restore it’s moisture content. The kale on the other hand, was very soft and delicious, as well as the mango gravy that bathed it.

Cuba Libre Pollo del Solar

Everyone else at the table ordered the traditional Arroz Con Pollo, which is saffron-scented rice, combined with boneless chicken thighs, wild mushrooms, green peas, Manzanilla olives and a hard-boiled egg. Garnishing the dish was an asparagus, palacio chorizo, and roasted Piquillo pepper salad, finished with a splash of Estrella Damm beer. The dish was enormous, and had beautiful presentation with the bright yellow color of the saffron, and the contrasting green of the peas and asparagus. I stole a couple of forkfuls from my friend Liz, and enjoyed them thoroughly, although it is not a traditional Cuban Arroz con Pollo. It was much lighter but very tasty in a unique way.

Cuba Libre Arroz con Pollo

For dessert, I (predictably) ordered the Tres Leches de Caramelo, which is a vanilla sponge cake soaked in three-dulce de leche flavored milks with a mocha moose.  I am a tres leches connoisseur, and this one was right up to par.

Cuba Libre Tres Leches

The other dessert that was ordered was the Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. Ice cream is ice cream. It was good!

Cuba Libre Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Overall, I’m not in a hurry to go back to Cuba Libre for dinner. But, I am very interested in going back for a night of salsa dancing and mojitos (and maybe some bread with mango butter?!?!). Having spent 5 years living in Miami, I got accustomed to traditional Cuban food that was priced insanely cheap. This being said, I find it difficult to spend an exorbitant amount of money on Cuban cuisine that doesn’t satisfy my craving for the classic dishes. The restaurant atmosphere was very cool though and the mojitos are worth the trip.

Leave a comment

Filed under Philadelphia Restaurants, International Restaurants, Cocktails, Bars, Pennsylvania, Buck's County, Dessert

{ Tres Leches Cupcakes }

Girl meets boy. Girl has crush. Boy is Spanish. How does she get him to like her?

Easy, she casts a love spell by baking him Tres Leches Cupcakes. Spanish people can’t seem to get enough of tres leches desserts, and boys can’t get enough of a woman that cooks! The combination….lethal.

This recipe is guaranteed to impress and even better it’s cheap to make, considering that most of the ingredients are pantry staples and canned goods. If you aren’t the best baker, don’t worry! These cupcakes are are almost impossible to screw up because they get bathed in a rich and creamy tres leeches mixture after they are baked. So even if you happen overcook them, you can reconstitute the moisture in the cake afterwards.

For those of you who are good at baking (and really like sweet stuff), feel free to make these in cuatro leches cupcakes by adding a bit of dulce de leche to the milk mixture. Or instead of using whipped cream as frosting, make a dulce de leche buttercream (there are tons of recipes you can find on the internet). I’m a simpleton so I stick to tres leches with whipped cream, but kudos to you experimenters!

And if you are really trying to impress–as I was–it is crucial that you make the whipped cream in front of your guest! Most people don’t understand just how easy it is to make, and they are blown away by another’s ability to transform liquid into a sugary, white, pillow of deliciousness. It cracks me up when people say, “oh my gosh, homemade whipped cream!?! Wow, you’re such a chef.” Of course, I don’t mention that the kitchen aid does all the work! And finally, dust your miniature cakes with a pinch of cinnamon and voila, you have an incredibly delicious, bite-sized, morsel of bliss!

Ohhh, and you may think you are drowning your cupcakes in the tres leches mixture….but keep pouring it on!!!! They are supposed to be very moist. The first time I made this recipe, I held back on the amount of tres leches mixture I used, and I they were too dry. I ended up taking the cupcakes out of the wrapper and soaking them in the tres leches mixture over night. I then spooned the pieces out of the bowl and ate it like soup. #diary of a fat girl.

{ Ingredients }

  • 6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Homemade Whipped Cream (see instructions below)
  • Ground cinnamon, for dusting
{ To Make the Cupcakes } Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper-lines foil liners. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together egg whites, baking soda, and salt until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low. Add yolks and sugar, whisk until completely combined. Fold in melted butter with a flexible spatula. Add flour in four batches, folding until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each halfway. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven.
Immediately poke holes in the tops of cupcakes with a skewer.
Whisk together evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. With cupcakes still in tins, brush milk mixture over cupcakes, repeating until all liquid has been used.
Allow cupcakes to absorb mixture, at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day in the refrigerator). Bring to room temperature before serving.
To finish, dollop whipped cream generously onto cupcakes, and dust with ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.
{ To Make the Whipped Cream } In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 2 cups of heavy whipping cream with whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar. Continue beating until still peaks form, but do not over beat or the mixture will become grainy.

2 Comments

Filed under Baking, Recipes