Tag Archives: baking

Day of the Dead – Día de los Muertos: A Tradition to Embrace

Written by Natalie – 

Day of the Dead Event

Día de los Muertos is a unique holiday that is mostly celebrated in Mexico but also known throughout the world. On this day, people honor and remember their loved ones that have passed away. It coincides with the Catholic holiday of All Soul’s day on November 2.

People set up altars featuring some of the deceased’s favorite food, beverages and objects as a means to encourage their soul to visit the living on this date. They eat a traditional bread called “Pan de Muerto” or “Bread of the Dead”. These sweet breads are filled with so much meaning!

I recently created a recipe for Pan de Muerto that incorporated NESTLÉ® LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk. My heritage is Peruvian and we don’t observe Día de los Muertos, so I set off to do some research. What I found warmed my heart and got me very excited to create something so meaningful.

Pan de Muerto is a simple yeast bread, lightly sweetened with the LA LECHERA sweetened condensed milk, made fragrant by the addition of anise seeds and then sprinkled with sugar on top. It is usually shaped like a bun and many say that this is to portray the circle of life or a tomb. The top of the bread is decorated with pieces of dough shaped to represent the skull and bones of loved ones.

I absolutely fell in love with this holiday! The idea of celebrating those you have lost every year on the same day and eating a sweet bread that you only eat for that occasion really touched me. My children were born after their grandfathers passed away and I find this holiday will be a wonderful way to further integrate their memories into our family. If you are looking to create traditions for your family I highly encourage you to try this one. I will be!

Day of the Dead Bread Recipe

La Lechera Day of the Dead Bread

Ingredients for 2 loaves, 10 servings per loaf:

Directions:

STIR yeast and warm water in a large glass bowl; allow to rest 10 minutes. Heat La Lechera and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add anise seeds, salt and La Lechera mixture to yeast mixture and stir to combine.

ADD eggs and 1 cup flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Continue adding remaining flour, cup by cup, stirring well until dough comes together. Knead dough gently for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. Place in large greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

LINE a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

PUNCH dough down and divide in half. Cut 3 small (about 1 tablespoonful) balls from each half. Roll out 4 small dough balls to form the “bones.” Shape each of larger dough pieces into round loaves. Gently press the bones on top of the loaves crossing each other to make an “X”. Roll the remaining 2 small dough balls to form the “skulls”. Put skulls in middle of each “X” and gently press down. Place loaves on the prepared baking sheet and allow to rise in warm place for about 30 minutes.

PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Brush tops of each loaf with egg wash.

BAKE for 20 minutes; remove loaves from oven and brush again with egg wash and sprinkle each with half of the granulated sugar. Return to oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Serve warm or cool completely. Bread is best eaten the same day it’s prepared.

We recently hosted several Latina bloggers and writers for our second annual Dia de los Muertos Media Immersion Event. It took place at our Nestlé US Headquarters in Glendale, CA. The attendees were treated to all things Día de los Muertos. They heard speakers, made their own altars, ate delicious food and, of course, they got to make their very own loaves of Pan de Muerto with yours truly and Chris Garboski! The energy and passion these people have is contagious.

Here are some pictures from the event:

DayofDead1

DayofDead2

DayofDead3

DayofDead4

Day of the Dead Event

All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.

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Day of the Dead Bread

Tricks & Treats: Halloween Food Decorating Ideas

Written by Cynthia – 

Halloween can be such a festive holiday to share with friends and family or just about anyone who is ready to unleash their inner child. What I love most about Halloween is you can really have fun with food! Whether you’re entertaining the kids or just want to spook up some of those fall treats you’ve been waiting to enjoy all year, we have a few simple decorating ideas that are sure to inspire!

Spiderweb Curry Soup

Spiderweb Pumpkin Curry Soup:

Ground coriander, curry powder and crushed red pepper give this soup flavor dimension for the perfect fall dish. A simple decorative technique creates an eye-catching presentation too!

Here’s the quick TRICK: Pipe circles of sour cream onto the soup through a small cut in the corner of a plastic bag, then pull a toothpick or knife through the circles from the center to the edge of the bowl.

Nesquik Dirt Cake

NESQUIK® Dirt Cake Pudding:

This Halloween treat features layers of crushed cookie crumbs coated in NESQUIK®, gummy bugs, whipped topping and smooth chocolate pudding. It’s so good guests will be “digging” for more. Watch Chris’ how-to video as she walks you through this spooktacular concoction!

Bone Chillin Brew

Bone Chillin’ Brew:

Serve a witch’s cauldron of Bone Chillin’ Brew this Halloween with JUICY JUICE® and gloves to create hands made out of ice. Add dry ice for some extra special effects.

SpookySpiders

Spooky Spiders:

Get creative with these Toll House cookies made into spooky spiders. Just use some WONKA™ LAFFY TAFFY® and NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels as frosting to create these delightfully eerie cookie spiders.

Bootiful Ghosts

Boo-ti-ful Ghosts:

Perfect for a unique Halloween treat, Boo-ti-ful Ghosts are spooky and tasty, made with NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels. Wrap these in pretty cellophane paper and ribbons for an extra special presentation!

For more fall recipe ideas, visit meals.com.

How to Temper Chocolate Using a Microwave: Candy Shop Chocolate Bark Recipe

Written by Chris -

Candy Shop Bark Recipe

Here’s an easy, no-bake Halloween treat that’s sure to please! Since the chocolate is tempered (which means it won’t melt or get soft at room temperature), it’s great for parties! Just snap the bark into pieces and serve. Or, if you want to make treat bags, just place a few pieces into a festive bag and secure with a ribbon. So simple!

Don’t let tempering chocolate scare you. I use a microwave to speed up and simplify the entire process. Tempering involves raising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate to encourage strong, organized crystallization of the cocoa butter so that the finished chocolate will have a glossy look, crisp texture and will be firm to the touch.

I like to top the bark with an assortment of fun-size NESTLÉ candy bars, like BUTTERFINGER,  NESTLÉ CRUNCH, BABY RUTH and 100 GRAND. You can even fold the chopped candy bars into the chocolate after it’s been tempered. And if you’re a planner and already thinking of the winter holidays, you can substitute the candy bars with crushed gingersnaps, crushed peppermint candies, or even smoked almonds with dried cherries. You can truly customize to your personal taste.

Candy Shop Chocolate Bark

Ingredients for 40 servings:

Directions:

LINE a 10 x 15-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside 1 1/3 cups morsels.

PLACE remaining 2 2/3 cups morsels in large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) for 90 seconds; stir. Continue to microwave at 15- to 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Transfer melted chocolate to a large, room temperature dry bowl.

Candy Shop Bark Recipe

ADD reserved 1 1/3 cups morsels to melted chocolate; stir until smooth. Let cool down, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 88° F.

Candy Shop Bark Recipe

FOLD in chopped Baby Ruth (this is optional – you could just use it as a topping).

Candy Shop Bark Recipe

POUR onto prepared baking sheet, spreading with an offset spatula until 1/8-inch thick.

Candy Shop Bark Recipe

SPRINKLE chopped Butterfinger and Crunch candy bars evenly over chocolate. Tap baking sheet on counter several times to help the candy settle.

Candy Shop Bark Recipe

PLACE white morsels in small, heavy-duty food storage bag. Microwave on MEDIUM-HIGH (70% power) for 45 seconds. Knead until smooth. If necessary, microwave an additional 5 seconds. Cut tiny corner from bag; squeeze to drizzle over bark.

Candy Shop Bark Recipe

COOL at room temperature until chocolate is completely set (this will take a couple hours). Break into pieces. Store bark in airtight container at room temperature.

Now that you’ve mastered tempering chocolate, try coating fresh strawberries, dried fruit, graham crackers or peppermint sticks! Do you have any shortcuts you’d like to share?

Related Recipes:

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Chocolate Bark

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Bacon Crème Sauce

Written by Char -

Sweet Potato Pancakes Recipe

There is something about sneaking a vegetable into the food served to my family. There is something even better about sneaking a vegetable into food served to my family and then hearing requests for seconds, particularly at breakfast time. Sweet potato pancakes are a tasty way to start the day and these fluffy vegetable-infused pancakes always receive requests for more. The added sweet potato lends a brightened color and additional moistness to the pancake recipe. If only spinach were this easy to hide…

The addition of the sweet potato in this recipe is actually quite easy. Why roast a whole sweet potato and measure it out for this recipe when sweet potatoes can be added conveniently by just opening a jar? A six ounce jar of GERBER® 1ST FOODS® Vegetables baby food is pre-measured, already cooked, puréed and ready for adding to this recipe.

I like my pancakes fluffy and light. This recipe results in pancakes that puff up as soon as the pancake batter hits the hot griddle and continues to rise slightly as the flapjacks cook to a beautiful golden brown. I like my pancakes to soak up any syrup or butter or topping I choose. Sweet potato pancakes taste terrific when coated in pure maple syrup; however, for an extra special breakfast I like to serve a maple bacon crème sauce. Note, however, that no sneaky vegetables were added to the crème sauce.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Bacon Crème Sauce

Ingredients for 12 Sweet Potato Pancakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 6 ounce jar GERBER® 1ST FOODS® Vegetables – Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 large eggs, separated

Directions:

PREHEAT a large skillet or griddle to 350° F.

SIFT the flour into a large bowl and then add baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon.

STIR in the buttermilk, melted butter, jar of sweet potato baby food and the egg yolks until only small lumps appear in the batter.

WHISK the egg whites until foamy and white.

FOLD in the egg whites gently, careful not to stir too much, as you want the whites to keep their bubbles for fluffier pancakes.

PREPARE skillet or hot griddle with enough melted butter to prevent the pancakes from sticking to the heat surface.

POUR the pancake batter onto the hot griddle. The pancakes will eventually start to form small bubbles across the top and will lightly brown around the edges.

FLIP the pancake once it appears that the first side is a golden brown. (You can peek at it before flipping, that’s okay!)

COOK the flipped pancake for a few more minutes, until both sides are a golden brown.

REMOVE pancake from griddle or pan and serve immediately.

Ingredients for Maple Bacon Crème:

Directions:

ADD evaporated milk, coffee creamer and maple syrup to a large mixing bowl. Slowly add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Add bacon crumbles to the sweet crème mixture and spoon or pour over pancakes as desired.

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Keeping Cool with Chiffon

Written by Jenny – 

Key Lime Chiffon Pie Recipe

Summer is finally here and we have the temperatures to prove it! It’s time to turn the oven off for a while and focus on “cool” desserts to adorn the table with. For me, one of my favorite “cool” colors to both wear and eat is lime. I like lime in any form: cookies, zest, marinades, beverages (cheers!), sorbet, cheesecakes and well, yes, pies! Chiffon, as in Key Lime Chiffon Pie, is my new best friend.

Like Natalie, I like desserts this time of the year to be super and easy. Our Carnation Key Lime Pie Kit has everything you need to make the Chiffon Pie below, with the exception of butter, water and a pie plate. Once the lime filling and whipped topping are made separately, you fold them gently together to make a light, airy pie filling and then spoon into the graham cracker crust. After the recipe below, check out the tasty mini cup variation that I made in the kitchen today.

One thing that does make me a little sad… Chiffon, in the shape of a pie or mini cups will not be around for long. I better partake before it is too late!

Key Lime Chiffon Pie

Ingredients for 8 servings:

Directions:

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
MELT butter in medium microwave-safe bowl. Mix in Crust Mix until well blended. Reserve 1 tablespoon of crust-butter mixture for decoration. Lightly press crust mixture up the side and onto bottom of 9″ pie plate.

KEY LIME CHIFFON FILLING
ADD Filling Mix, 1 1/4 cups CARNATION® Evaporated Milk and 2/3 cup water to large mixer bowl. Mix on LOW speed for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl. Continue mixing on MEDIUM-HIGH speed until thickened, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

ADD Topping Mix, remaining 1/4 cup CARNATION® Evaporated Milk and 1/2 cup water to small, dry mixer bowl. Mix on LOW speed for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl. Continue mixing on MEDIUM-HIGH speed, about 2 1/2 minutes. Whipped Topping will thicken and hold peaks.

FOLD whipped topping into Key lime filling until mixture is blended. Spoon into Graham Cracker Crust. Sprinkle with reserved crust-butter mixture.

REFRIGERATE for 3 hours or until firm.

TIP:
For easier cutting and slice serving, carefully dip pie plate in very warm water for 30 seconds.

Key Lime Chiffon Pie Recipe

To make these mini cups, I used 30, 2-ounce plastic cups that I found a party-supply store. The graham cracker crust and key lime chiffon filling were prepared as stated above. Don’t forget to save 2 tablespoons of the crust-butter mixture for sprinkling on top! A heaping measuring teaspoon of crust mixture was put into each cup, followed by about 2 tablespoons of chiffon filling and a sprinkling of the reserved crust-butter mixture. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. These will disappear fast!

Related Recipes:

Frozen Key Lime Pie Pops Recipe Lemon Cheesecake Bars Recipe
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Flag Day Cookies

Written by Nick – 

Stars and Stripes Cookies Recipe

Flag Day seems to sneak up on me every year. I’m always unprepared and missing out on all the amazing Flag Day traditions, like… hanging a flag and … uh… New tradition! Stars and Stripes Cookies! Now, I might not “celebrate” Flag Day. I’m not sure of many people who really go out of their way to celebrate Flag Day, but I will take any excuse to make some sugar cookies. Plus it’s a great day to test out some upcoming 4th of July recipes.

I’m not a baker. Not even close. I contribute to the blog as an everyday guy in the kitchen, trying to make something better than I did yesterday. And I’m definitely learning my way around the kitchen. I even got a nice stand mixer for all my doughy kneads (I know it’s a bad joke, but I couldn’t resist).

Every once in a while I see a recipe that seems too good to be true. Using refrigerated cookie dough and cookie cutter to make star shaped cookies. Sounds like a recipe right up my alley. Make a simple icing with food coloring do a little decorating and you’ve got some fancy cookies.

Now it’s time for the debate. Can I call these homemade? I think so. I made the shapes, I made the icing, and I did the decoration. What do you think?

Debate aside, these cookies were easy, looked great and most importantly tasted delicious. I used Flag Day as a 4th of July test run and I’m sure going to be whipping these up again in a few weeks.

Stars and Stripes Cookies Recipe

Note: I’m no photographer but thought I’d share how my cookies turned out. Even an amateur can make a festive treat.

Stars and Stripes Cookies

Ingredients for 24 cookies:

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 325° F.

SPRINKLE flour onto work surface. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness, using additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into star shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer cookies to ungreased baking sheets with spatula.

BAKE for 10 to 14 minutes or until light brown around edges. Smaller cutters and sharp edges tend to produce darker cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Pipe, spoon or spread red, white and blue icing onto cookies to create stripes.

FOR EASY COOKIE ICING:
COMBINE 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl. Stir in additional milk, a teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency. Set aside one-third of icing. Divide remaining icing between two bowls. Add red food coloring to one bowl and blue to the other; stir well.

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