Horchata Treats for Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! This year I decided to make Horchata in honor of the day and then use some of that fresh Horchata to make Horchata Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkled with cinnamon.

After a few Google searches I decided to make my Horchata as close to “authentic” as possible. I found a recipe that used evaporated milk, one that used rice milk and another that suggested purchasing powdered Horchata mix and mixing it with milk. For authenticity I opted to go the traditional route of blending water with rice until the rice was broken down and then letting the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I strained the water to get all of the rice bits out and blended it with whole milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (okay, this was a bit of a shortcut since some Horchata recipes call for ground almonds), cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

And then the next day I used the fresh Horchata to make cupcakes that were super moist and had a hint of the Horchata in them. Delish!

Feliz Cinco De Mayo…  May your guacamole be spicy, your margaritas strong and your food delicioso!

 

Horchata

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice

1 quart warm water

1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

Cinnamon sticks for serving, optional

Directions:

In a blender combine the rice and water. Blend for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the rice has broken down but does not form a powder. Refrigerate the rice water mixture for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Strain the rice mixture into a container through a fine mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth to remove the rice solids.

Transfer the rice water to a blender and add in the milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon and sugar. Blend for a minute until all of the ingredients are well combines and smooth.

Refrigerate if not serving immediately. When serving, pour over ice with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

Recipe from The Food Network

 

Horchata Cupcakes

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Horchata

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large egg whites

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.

Cream the butter on high speed and then add in the sugar, continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.

Mix the Horchata, vanilla and cinnamon together, set aside.

Add the flour mixture and the Horchata mixture to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating between the flour and Horchata mixture. Beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites in to the cupcake batter until incorporated.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from The Foodies Kitchen

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sifted Confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy.

Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating, then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator.

Tres Leches Cake

Pardon my blogging hiatus… Maybe another day I will explain, but for now, in honor of Cinco De Mayo I’m bringing you a super simple, a tad bit sweet but perfectly textured Tres Leches Cake. Many versions of this cake can turn into a mushy wet mess thanks to the tres leches (three milks) the cake is soaked in – heavy cream, evaporate milk and condensed milk. But this one holds together perfectly and you’re not left feeling as though you’re eating a cake pudding but an actual cake.

I began by making a sponge cake. In a medium bowl I whisked flour along with baking powder and salt. In the bowl of my stand mixer I combined 3 eggs with sugar and vanilla extract and beat them on medium-high speed until the mixture was light and fluffy. I then added in half of the flour mixture at low speed, then gradually added in whole milk and finally the remaining flour. After pouring the batter into a 9×13-inch buttered dish I baked it in a 350F preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

I let the cake cool for about a half hour and then poked holes in it with a fork and then poured the three milk mixture over the cake.

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After letting the cake sit overnight in the fridge, the following day I enjoyed a piece with some strawberries and whipped cream. One word for this dessert… YUM!!!  

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Tres Leche Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 12oz. can evaporated milk

1 cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves (about 1/8 teaspoon ground)

1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×13 inch glass dish with non-stick spray (or lightly butter). In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs, sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy – about 10 minutes. Switch the mixer to low speed and add half of the flour mixture, then gradually add in the milk and finally the remaining flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back to the touch. Transfer the dish to a wire rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, in a medium saucepan whisk the heavy cream with the evaporated milk, cinnamon stick and cloves and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

In a heatproof bowl, combine the condensed milk with the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Strain the steeped cream mixture into the condensed milk and stir to combine and let cool for 20 minutes.

With a fork, poke holes all over the cake and gradually pour the milk mixture over the entire cake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Serve with strawberries and/or whipped cream.

Recipe from Food & Wine

Coconut & Lime Cupcakes

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s the perfect day to enjoy some guacamole, a few tacos, a shot of tequila or a nice cold margarita. That brings me to today’s post. I’ve made some delicious treats in honor of this day in the past – churros, tres leches cupcakesMexican wedding cookies and sopapilla cheesecake – and this year I was thinking of making Margarita Cupcakes. But, since I didn’t have any tequila on hand (all the recipes I came across had this margarita staple in the ingredient list) I opted for something non-alcoholic and just as festive… Coconut & Lime Cupcakes – a coconut cupcake with a key lime cream cheese frosting.

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To begin I made the coconut cupcakes… In the bowl of my stand mixer I mixed together sugar and butter until it was light and fluffy – about 5 minutes on medium speed.

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I then reduced the speed to low and added in three eggs – one at a time.

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Next I added in buttermilk, and a sifted mixture of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. I alternated between adding the two beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Oh, and can I just take a moment to say that I love this silicone bowl to add things into my running mixer. It’s completely flexible so I can form it into the perfect shape to pour the flour into the bowl and not have it fly all over the place. I used to use a pouring shield but I always had the flying flour issue with it. Check out this link if you have been searching for the perfect bowl to add dry ingredients to your batter while mixing.

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Once the batter came together I folded in sweetened shredded coconut.

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And finally, using an ice cream scoop I divided the mixture among a 12-cup paper lined muffin pan and baked it in a 325 F preheated oven for 25 minutes.

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Once they were out of the oven, I let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them and letting them cool completely on a wire rack in preparation for frosting them.

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After letting the cupcakes cool I got to working on the frosting – a key lime cream cheese frosting that has the perfect combination of sweetness and citrus flavor. I began by creaming together cream cheese, butter, key lime juice and key lime zest until it was creamy. Next I added in 2 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time – mixing well after each cup. Just to note, if want more of a lime flavor you can add more of the lime juice, but, you may have to balance that with more confectioners’ sugar since you don’t want your frosting to become too thinned down. Prior to frosting the cupcakes I popped the frosting in the fridge for about 10 – 15 minutes so the frosting would be firmer to pipe with.

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And after frosting each of the cupcakes I sprinkled them with a bit of lime zest.

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Coconut Cupcakes – Adapted from here

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium speed. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl down after each addition. Add in the vanilla and almonds extracts and mix well.

4. In three parts, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the coconut.

5. Fill each cup of the muffin pan to the top – an ice cream scoop is the perfect size to fill the cups. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are slightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 tablespoons key lime juice

1 teaspoon key lime zest

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

Cream together the cream cheese, butter, key lime juice and zest until creamy. Add in the sugar, one cup at a time, and continue mixing until all of the sugar is incorporated. If you find that the frosting is too soft, pop it into the refrigerator for a few minutes so it can firm up before using it.

Cinco De Mayo Treats – Cupcakes & Churros

Happy Cinco de Mayo! While many will celebrate this day with tacos, burritos, margaritas and/or maybe some sangria (I had some yesterday,) I opted to bake some sweet treats… Tres Leches Cupcakes and Churros. The cupcakes were a piece of cake to make but the Churros; well I had my concerns prior to making them. I am not big on frying things – not because of the healthy/unhealthy debate, but, because I am fearful of hot oil splattering on me. Thankfully nothing of the sort happened and the Churros were a success.

Up first the cupcakes… I started off by assembling and prepping (separating the eggs, sifting the flour and melting the butter) all of my ingredients.

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I began making the batter by whisking together the egg whites with salt and baking soda until soft peaks formed. Following that I added in the eggs yolks and sugar.

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I then folded in the butter…

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And then the flour.

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After a little more folding the batter was ready.

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Per the directions, I used paper-lined foil liners which would hold up better while the cupcakes soaked up the Tres Leches.

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While the cupcakes were baking I made the Tres Leches mixture by whipping together condensed & evaporated milk and heavy cream.

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As soon as the cupcakes were done baking, approximately 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven, I poked holes in them with a skewer and brushed the milk mixture over the cupcakes until I was just about out of the mixture.

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I then let the cupcakes sit for a bit so the milk mixture could be absorbed by the cupcakes and so they could finish cooling.

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On to the Churros… I began by making the dough for the Churros. I’ll be the first to admit that it didn’t look all that appetizing.

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I then filled a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the dough.

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Now the part that concerned me… Piping the dough into hot oil. As I said though, it went off without a hitch.

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And after a frying up a few batches and letting them drain on paper towels I shook them up with a cinnamon sugar mixture and they were ready for munching.

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And to finish off the cupcakes… I topped them with a whipped cream frosting and then sprinkled them with some cinnamon. Delicioso!

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Tres Leches Cupcakes

From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

For Cupcakes:

6 large eggs, separated, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup heavy cream

For Whipped Cream Frosting:

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper-lined 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 half-way. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Immediately pokes holes in tops of cupcakes with a skewer.

Whisk together evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. With cupcakes still in tin, 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, wrapped tightly in plastic once completely cool; bring to room temperature before serving.)

For whipped cream – whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar and whisk until combined.

To finish, dollop whipped cream generously onto cupcakes, and dust with ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.

 

Mexican Crullers (Churros)

Courtesy: Daisy Martinez

1 cup water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 to 5 eggs

Canola oil, for frying

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the crullers: In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup water, the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt over medium-high heat until the edges of the liquid start to bubble. Add the flour all at once and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until well mixed and no lumps of flour remain.

Remove from the heat. Add 4 of the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each. The dough should look soft and glossy and keep a “hook” shape when the spoon is pulled from the dough. If not, beat in the last egg.

Scrape the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pour enough canola oil into a deep heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal) to fill 1-inch. Heat over medium heat until the tip of the handle of a wooden spoon gives off a slow steady stream of tiny bubbles. Carefully pipe the dough into the oil, forming 6-inch crullers. Pipe only as many crullers into the oil as fit comfortably. Overcrowding the pan will result in soggy crullers. Fry, turning once, until golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Put the sugar and the cinnamon in a paper bag. Crimp the top and shake well to mix. Drop a few crullers at a time into the bag and shake until coated. Best served as soon as possible.

Cinco De Mayo Treats

Happy Cinco De Mayo! In honor of the day I decided to make a Sopapilla Cheesecake and Mexican Wedding Cookies. While it probably would have been more traditional to make Churros or a Tres Leches Cake… I attempted to make Churros in the past and the end result wasn’t all that great and while I have wanted to make a Tres Leches Cake for quite some time, I was already planning on making a Strawberry Shortcake for my dad’s birthday this weekend so I figured one cake per weekend is more than enough. When Sopapilla is made as a dessert it is essentially fried dough with something sweet drizzled on it – a fruit sauce, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar or honey. I tend to shy away from anything that needs to be fried due to past experiences (i.e. the Churros) so when I came across a cheesecake version I was excited to try it, especially since it sounded super easy and only required six simple ingredients. I actually remember eating something similar to Sopapillas when I was younger – Domplines – which I usually ate with beans. As for the Mexican Wedding Cookies, they are actually known by quite a few different names… Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Wedding Cookies, Butterballs or as they are commonly known as in Spanish Polvorones. Stemming from the Spanish word polvo – meaning powder or dust.

First up were the Mexican Wedding Cookies. I assembled all of my ingredients before I got started: butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, flour and pecans.

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I started by creaming the butter and sugar together and then adding in the vanilla extract.

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I then added in the flour so the dough for the cookies could really come together.

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Although I did buy chopped pecans I decided to chop them up a little more to make them a more appropriate size for these bite-sized cookies.

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To add in the pecans I folded them in as opposed to mixing them in with the mixer. Now it was time to form the cookies. While these cookies are usually crescent shaped I opted to just form them into small rounds and popped them in a 275 degree F oven for 40 minutes.

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Fresh out of the oven. I must say they didn’t look that much different cooked from when they were raw.

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After letting them cool for a few minutes it was time to cover them in confectioners’ sugar.

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Once I was done with the cookies it was time to start on the Sopapilla Cheesecake. This by far was one of the simplest things I have ever made. It definitely helped that I didn’t make the dough from scratch but used crescent rolls and the filling was simply made with sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract.

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I started off by spraying a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and pressing one of the two crescent rolls into it. It was quite comical trying to open the crescent rolls. I have never had a hard time unwrapping them but for some reason both of these packages didn’t want to pop open when I unwrapped them. With one of them I had to actually release the pressure in it by making punctures in it with a knife and then the second one just popped open as I was doing something else.

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To make the filling I mixed the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until it was smooth.

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I then spread the filling over the bottom crescent roll and pressed the second crescent roll over it. Now it was time to add the topping.

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I brushed the top with melted butter and sprinkled the cinnamon sugar evenly over it. I must say that while the recipe called for 1/2 cup of sugar that was too much for my taste and probably only used about 1/4 cup.

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After baking for 30 minutes in a 350 degrees F oven it was time for it to come out of the oven and it looked and smelled DELISH!

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Final verdict… The cookies and cheesecake were declared to be “moreish” by my friends… Definitely a good thing to hear!

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

Courtesy Paula Deen

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating baked cookies

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting hands

1 cup pecans, chopped into very small pieces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until its smooth. Beat in the vanilla. At low speed gradually add the flour. Mix in the pecans with a spatula. With floured hands, take out about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into a crescent. Continue to dust hands with flour as you make more cookies. Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in additional confectioners’ sugar. Cool on wire racks.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Courtesy Allrecipes

Ingredients

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 (8 ounce) packaged refrigerated crescent rolls

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground sugar

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray

2. Beat the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth; set aside

3. Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape each sheet into 9×13 rectangles. Press one sheet into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough, and brush with melted butter. Stir together 1/2 cup of sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cheesecake.

4. Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.