I was recently trying to come up with a dessert for a Mexican dinner party. The only desserts that were coming to my mind were churros and flan so I headed to my computer to do some research on Mexican desserts. I was opened up to a whole new world of taste sensations. The one thing that I saw over and over again was dulce le leche cupcakes. I was intrigued my the thick, caramel dulce le leche sauce that was used in all sorts of Mexican delicacies. I experimented with making my own dulce le leche out of a can of condensed milk last year for my samoa cake but I undercooked it. I was anxious to try out a new dulce le leche recipe. I found this recipe for dulce le leche peanut butter cupcakes on tracy'sculinaryadventures.com. It was exactly the recipe that I was looking for - the perfect ending to a Mexican themed dinner.
Devil's Food Cupcakes
Makes about 28 cupcakes
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Filling
1 cup dulce de leche
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 - 1/3 cup heavy cream (depending on how thick you want your filling)
Combine the dulce de leche, peanut butter and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a small saucepan. Set over medium-low heat and warm, whisking frequently, until the ingredients are combined and the filling is smooth. If the filling is too thick, add additional cream to the pan and whisk to incorporate. The filling will thicken as it cools so keep that in mind.
Use a small paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with the peanut butter dulce de leche.
Peanut Butter Icing
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Add the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat on medium-low speed until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the heavy cream and beat the icing on high speed until it is light and fluffy. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a tip. Pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake then garnish with chopped peanut butter
cups, if desired.
What kind of dessert do you serve at your Mexican dinner party?
Send me your recipes.
My family is completely addicted to granola bars. We eat them so fast that I can't seem to keep an adequate supply in the pantry. It seems like they disappear just as quickly and I restock them. I have made homemade granola bars in the past but for whatever the reason, I just cant seem to keep up with making them at home. That is until now. I found this recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars on the Browneyedbaker.com and it looked super easy. No baking, no mess, no fuss - and cheaper than store bought granola bars.
Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
1/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
In a small saucepan, melt the brown sugar, honey, and butter together over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Slice into 12 bars.
Now if I could only figure out how to make Honey Nut Cheerios at home - I would be all set.
My husband has never been a fan of Chinese cuisine. He has tried lots of different things and the only Chinese dish that he really likes in General Tso's Chicken. I recently read at article in my Cook's Country magazine about General Tso's chicken and I think I may have discovered the reason why he is such a fan. According to the article, most Chinese restaurants batter and deep fry their chicken and add lots of sugar to the sauce. I was surprised to find out that 1 serving of General Tso's Chicken in most restaurants has 910 calories and 45 grams of fat! Holy Moly. Luckily, in typical Cook's Country magazine fashion, they offered a reduced fat and calorie version of the Chinese classic. Turns out, the reduced fat recipe was just as good (if not better than) the restaurant version.
General Tso's Chicken
5 cups cornflakes
1 cup flour
3 egg whites
1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 2/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apricot jam
3 Tablespoons hoisin
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Whisk in soy mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes until thickened.
Add cooked chicken to sauce and stir until coated.
Serve over brown rice.
I was a little leery about how my family would feel about this Chinese chicken so I served half of the chicken just like they came out of the oven. (Crunchy cornflake nuggets) The other half of the chicken I coated in General Tso's sauce. Much to my surprise, everyone except my daughter, liked the Chinese chicken. Even Ben was a fan of this homemade, reduced-fat version of the classic Chinese chicken dish.
This chicken looks good enough to serve to dinner guests but it's easy enough to make on a Tuesday night. My family really liked this roasted chicken and they loved the stuffing. They have never been big stuffing eaters but for some reason, they were huge fans of this easy herb stuffing.
Roasted Chicken with Stuffing
4 pound whole chicken
6 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons fresh sage
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
salt and pepper
2 onions, minced
2 celery ribs, sliced
7 ounces Italian bread, cut into cubes
Brush chicken with herb butter.
Sprinkle bread cubes around chicken.
Transfer chicken to a platter. Tent with foil. Stir together bread and vegetables.
I found a new way to get my 4-6 daily servings of vegetables - salsa. Salsa has become my new best friend. It's good with chips of course, but it's also delicious with fish and on sandwiches. I've made homemade salsa in the past but I normally make it in the summer when fresh tomatoes and peppers are prolific. Obviously February is not the ideal time of year to make fresh salsa but I managed to find some really great produce even in the middle of winter. This recipe came from a friend who makes a big batch of salsa every summer from the vegetables in her garden. She cans her homemade salsa and enjoys it all winter long. This recipe makes between 8 and 12 pints of salsa.
I used my new food processor to chop all of my vegetables for this yummy salsa. The instructions are easy: chop vegetables, combine in a pot and cook until thickened. (About 1 hour)
6 pounds fresh tomatoes
Onions, 1 red, 1 white and 1 yellow (I couldn't find a fresh red onion so I used an extra white onion instead.)
4 large jalapenos (seeds removed)
1 yellow, 1 red and 1 orange bell pepper
5 cloves garlic
3 (6 ounce) cans of tomato paste and 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 Tablespoon cumin and 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons lime juice
Cool and serve.
Don't be fooled by the overly simplistic instructions, it takes more time that you might think to chop all of these vegetables. The time that you spend is WELL worth it though. This recipe makes a LOT of salsa and it is really good. Seriously, I have been eating it for lunch every day. I froze some of the salsa in pint size jars just to stop myself from eating it all at once. (It's that good.)
Thanks Tracy for this fantastic recipe.
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