Red Velvet Donuts

img_9120

Red velvet cake has a very special place in our heart. My husband and I had our first date at San Antonio Riverwalk in Texas and we were walking around the river when we stopped by a coffee shop. Just as we went in, the baker was bringing a tray of fresh red velvet cupcakes. At that very moment we looked at each other and we both had a look that said: “This is heaven on earth!”. We just laughed knowing that for sure red velvet was our favorite cake. Long story short, we love it so much that even our wedding cake was red velvet!

So it’s very common for us to have something with red velvet flavor on Valentine’s day. That’s usually a red velvet cheesecake from a famous cheesecake store, that we all know, or some traditional cupcakes. But this year, oh this year! I found a great red velvet baked doughnuts recipe that rocks our world! These doughnuts were a hit! And the cream cheese glaze that frosts them is just heavenly! My mouth is watering already, so let me share this recipe with you!

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick spray
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup red cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2-3 drops red food coloring

Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tbsp butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbsp milk (more or less to reach desired consistency)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Let’s Bake:

  1. Preheat to 350°F. Spray doughnut pan with nonstick spray and wipe off excess.
  2. Mix flour, cocoa powder, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt in small bowl.
  3. Beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  4. Add eggs, mixing for 30 seconds in between each addition.
  5. Add vanilla. Turn off mixer and scrape down sides. Mix on high for 15-20 seconds.
  6. Then, turn mixer to low. Add 1/3 of flour mixture. Add half of the buttermilk. Repeat, ending with flour. Add red food coloring if desired.
  7. Transfer the doughnut batter to a pastry bag fitted with a round piping tip. Pipe batter into pan, leaving a 1/4” of room. Note: You can spoon the batter into a large ziplock baggie, and cut off a 1/2 inch tip from one corner.img_9113
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they spring back when gently touched. Let rest for 5-7 min, remove from pan.

img_9114

For the Glaze:

  1. In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium speed, blend together cream cheese and butter until well combine and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients and mix about 1 minute until well combine. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
  1. While the doughnuts are still warm, dip them into the glaze, on the pale side, then give them a little twist as you raise them up out of the bowl. Decorate as desired and set them on the cooling rack to dry.
  1. Baked doughnuts are best when they’re freshly made, so enjoy them warm with a good cup of coffee

img_9121

 

fullsizerender

 

 

Mallorcas (Majorca Bread)

img_8652

Lately, I’ve been missing the traditional pastries of my little island Puerto Rico. Two weeks ago I woke up thinking about some “pastelillos de guayaba”, guava puff pastries, and then it was Mallorcas. How not to miss them?! Back on the island, they were my favorite when I needed a sweet note for breakfast. So I made some a few days ago!

These delicate and sweet nautilus-shaped buns are filled with layers over layers of fat (sweet butter), so they are soft, flaky and rich in sweetness. Pan de Mallorca is one of the most famous breads in Puerto Rico, especially for breakfast, and can be found in nearly every bakery on the island. Is very common to have a warm Mallorca in the morning with a cup of good strong coffee, like we make on the island. Or full of ham a cheese like a sandwich. Yes! The combination of the sweet bread and the saltiness of ham and cheese is simply amazing!!

It’s origins can be traced back to the Ensaïmada, a twisted pastry from the Spanish Island of Majorca. The dough is rolled and coiled to create airy and flaky layers, then these cloudy rolls are baked until golden and topped with plenty of powdered sugar, exactly like we make it in Puerto Rico. Mallorca bread is a common bread in most former Spanish territories in Latin America and the Philippines. Thank you, Lord, for being born in a place where Mallorcas exist!! The best part is that you don’t need to fly to P.R. to have a good Mallorca. As a good hostess, I will share this recipe with you! So enjoy this pinch of sugar!!

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup of water
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup of granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, plus 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) melted
  • Confectioners’ sugar

 

Let’s Bake!:

  1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk milk, water, eggs, and granulated sugar in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved.
  1. Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add milk mixture to flour mixture and mix until a cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Note: You can make this procedure with a large bowl and spatula, after all ingredients are incorporated, transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball, about 10 minutes.
  1. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl but sticks to bottom, about 5 minutes.
  1. With mixer running, add softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead until butter is fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl but sticks to bottom, about 3 minutes.
  1. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 3 minutes. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 2 to 2½ hours.img_8635
  1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Press down on dough to deflate. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide in half, and cover loosely with greased plastic.
  1. Press and roll 1 piece of dough (keep remaining piece covered) into 18 by 12-inch rectangle, with long side parallel to counter edge.
  1. Brush 2 tablespoons melted butter over dough. Using serrated knife, cut 2 inch strips and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap.Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), stretch and roll into 10-inch rope. Lightly brush rope with melted butter, coil into spiral, and tuck tail end underneath. (Repeat process with the remaining dough).
  1. Arrange rolls on prepared sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Using finger, gently poke indentation into center of each spiral. Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rise until nearly doubled in size and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 2 to 2½ hours.fullsizerender
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350° F. Bake 1 sheet at a time until rolls are light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer rolls to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm. 

Recipe adapted from the book, Bread Illustrated from America’s Test Kitchens

 

 

fullsizerender-3

Puerto Rican Coconut Rice Pudding (Arroz con Dulce)

 

fullsizerender-1

If you didn’t know yet, I come from Puerto Rico, a little island in the Caribbean, and there Christmas is serious business. Just how serious? They last the longest there than anywhere in the world! We start on November, just after Thanksgiving day, and we end it on the second week of January with the “Octavitas”, celebrated after “Día de Reyes” on January 6th.

“Día de Reyes” (Three Kings Day or Epiphany Day) is a Spanish tradition in which we commemorate the moment when the three Wise Men went to visit Baby Jesus and gave him presents. On the night before, kids are to gather hay or grass into a shoebox and leave it by their bed to feed the camels of the Wise Men. In the morning they will find that the hay is gone and in its place the Wise Men left them presents. The “Octavitas”come right after that on January 7th. In the past it was celebrated with a religious background in which they dedicated a day for each of the Wise King, and later three more days for the Three Mary’s. But at this point it is really more of an excuse to continue the Christmas celebrations and parties. And we do love to party!

But among all the traditions and celebrations, adapted from both Spain and the US, food is at the center of it all. This is the case of the Coconut Rice Pudding, one of the most popular Christmas dessert on the island. You can go to any house, any party or any Christmas celebration and you will find a large tray of Coconut Rice Pudding! There are so many things I love about this beautiful dessert. It’s creamy, it’s sweet, a little sticky and it’s  full of coconut flavor. But, what I love is the combination of the spices and raisins that make this rice pudding exceptional. For me “Arroz con Dulce” means Christmas!

I have very good memories of my childhood and this pudding. When my mother’s family was about to make coconut rice pudding the whole family was there to make it. My uncle was outside breaking fresh coconuts and reserving the coconut water, one of my cousins was extracting the coconut meat, meanwhile my grandma was making the coconut milk. Everything was fresh and everything tasted better! These days you can find everything at the groceries store and the process is way more quicker. Even though it’s not longer done from scratch, like my family used to do, I encourage you this Christmas to make this dessert a new family project!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cup of medium grain rice
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • ½ cup Brandy , to pre-soak the raisins (optional)

To make the infusion:

  • 6 cup of water
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 start anise
  • ¼ cup of fresh ginger
  • 12-15 clove sticks
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

 

For the rice:

  • 3 ½ cups of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 can of cream of coconut, about 13 oz
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 1 cup of turbinado sugar or brown sugar
  • ground cinnamon for garnish

 

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, add rice and enough cold water to cover by 2”. Let the rice soak a minimum of 5 hours, or even better overnight. Drain and set aside. Optional: Soak the raisins in the Brandy for 1-2 hours.
  1. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to boil 6 cups of water, cloves, ginger, star anise , cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove and discard spices. Reserve water in saucepan.
  1. Stir the coconut milk into the reserved water; bring to boil. Add the rice and raisins. Lower heat to medium low. Simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  1. Continue checking on rice until is soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the cream of coconut and the condensed milk and stir until well combined. Continue to cook uncovered until creamy, like a soft pudding. It’s OK if it’s a little runny because the rice will continue to absorb the coconut milk as it cools.
  1. Transfer the rice pudding to a large casserole dish; cool at room temperature then transfer to the refrigerator to set.img_6184
  1. To serve, scoop pudding onto serving plate. Garnish with cinnamon, and enjoy this pinch of sugar! fullsizerender-2

PIN ME!

img_6299

Victoria Sponge Cake

 

fullsizerender-1

There’s tea time for the British and coffee break for the Americans and having a sweet treat with good company is a rule they both share. That being said, I want to share with you the classic British cake for tea time, the Victoria Sponge Cake.

As a baker enthusiast I am fan of different bakers and pastry chefs around the world. They have been my inspiration along this journey and the British Mary Berry is one of them. The first time I saw a Victoria Sponge Cake was in an episode of “The Great British Bake Off”, where she is part of the jury. I was so impressed with how a simple and basic cake can look so stunning and delicious.  Then I learned that it was the favorite tea cake of Queen Victoria (1819-1901), and thanks to her this cake became the traditional cake of England. But there is a rule in making a Victoria Sponge. Like most of the British bakes, the ingredient should be even or equal in weight.  Unfortunately I didn’t have a weight scale on hand. So I used Marry Berry’s recipe, not only because the recipe is written using American measurements but also because she is one of the best English Pastry Chefs. So I was confident that the recipe would be a 100% success. The only thing I did different from the original recipe was that I sweetened my whipped cream and made a fresh strawberry sauce. And as you certainly know, there is no better combination than strawberries and whipped cream! So let enjoy this pinch of sugar!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (225g) of self raising flour
  • 1 cup (225g) of softened butter
  • 1 cup (225g) of white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 level teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract (optional)

 

For the filling:

  • Strawberry Sauce  or Strawberry jam (click here for the Strawberry sauce recipe )
  • Whipped Cream:
    • 1¼  Whipping Cream
    • 6-8 tablespoons powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon skimmed milk powder (optional)

Let’s Bake:

  1. Pre-Heat the oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Grease two 8-9” cake pans, then line the base with parchment paper.
  3. Measure the butter, sugar, egg , flour and baking powder.
  4. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients, then beat at high speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are well incorporated, approximately 5 minutes. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, smoothing it out.
  5. Bake until the edges are golden brown and well risen, about 25 minutes.
  6. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then invert the layers onto wire racks, bottom sides up. Remove parchment paper, and let cakes cool completely.img_3988
  7. While the cake is cooling, combine the whipping cream, the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and the skimmed milk powder in a large bowl and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. Note: the skim milks is only for thickening purposes, so it doesn’t flatten out too quickly.img_1682
  8. Place one layer of the cooled cake on a cake a plate and the other half on a plate. Spread the whipped cream over the bottom layer and then spread the strawberry sauce or jam over the other and sandwich them together.img_9262
  9. Dust with a powdered sugar before serving, and enjoy this pinch of sugar with a tea or a good cup of coffee.fullsizerender-3

Puerto Rican Creole bread (pan de agua)

 

12923315_10154793774400752_8923616235281695531_n

Puerto Rican creole bread (pan de agua) is warm, crispy and tender. In the island is the best seller every morning at the local bakeries. Bakeries opens at 5am in P.R., and sometime you can see people just waiting at the front door to buy three things, the newspaper, milk and pan de agua (creole bread). Every time we go to P.R. my husband just gets excited to wake up early and go to the bakery and talk with locals while he waits for the fresh bread with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. Is a tradition that sadly we lost in the big cities.

Creole bread is similar to French or Italian bread, using almost the same basic ingredients, but the baking procedure is different. Here is a recipe that is simple to make.

Ingredients:

5 cups bread flour

2 packs active dry yeast

2 teaspoons of shortening

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups warm water

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Cornmeal or flour for dusting the baking board

2 egg whites

2 tablespoons of water

 

Let’s Bake:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar, and 1 cup of warm water. Cover the mixture and let stand for about 10 minutes or until the yeast has formed a foam on the top.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the rest of the water with the shortening until dissolved.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, mix together the salt and flour.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast a little bit at a time to the flour and then the water with the shortening. As you mix the liquids to the flour, the dough will start to form.
  5. When all the liquids are added, knead the dough for about 10 to 15 minutes until it is elastic and no longer sticky. Add the oil simultaneous.  *Note: If you use a stand mixer for this recipe, mix together all of the dough ingredients. Knead about 5 minute in low speed it until the dough is soft and elastic.

12494720_10154793715815752_9027925897821303981_n

  1. Grease a big bowl with some of the olive oil. It can be the one you used to mix the yeast or dough in. Place the ball of kneaded dough into the bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The dough should double in size.12938171_10154785543900752_422889548364395443_n
  2. When the dough is ready, flour a work area and place the dough on it. Divide the dough into two equal portions. With a roller, spread out a portion of the dough into a square. Doesn’t have to be perfect and not to thin. Then with your hands roll the dough to form the baguette. Repeat with the second portion of the dough.12321439_10154793827965752_3384987268407895934_n
  3. Sprinkle some cornmeal or flour on a large baking board, or a cookie sheet that will hold both loaves of bread. Cornmeal works better, but flour will do.
  4. Place the loaves on the board and using a sharp knife place 3 to 4 slashes along the top of the loaves. Let rise for 1 hour more.12928390_10154793774150752_7839643650028248879_n
  5. Mix together the egg whites and water. Brush the mixture on top of the loaves of bread.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the loaves on the center rack and let bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Serve warm with butter and a cup of coffee!! That is Puertorican style!

12974351_10154809309470752_8382460537672896469_n