Panda butter cookies

February 27, 2011

Panda butter cookies

Every last Monday of the month, a group of friends in twitter join a “virtual” party where photos of an agreed dish/ingredient/theme are shared.  It is the #twitterfoodparty ^__^.

I had plans for this month´s theme (cookies!) but with all the mess in my kitchen lately + trying to rest as much as possible in the weekend (to recover from flu) made me postpone the baking until better times.

Anyways! Hmm.. digging from my photo archives I present my contribution : Panda butter cookies!

I baked the cookies for my daughter´s 3 yo birthday party. In the same theme, I frosted a cake with a panda face. She ♥ pandas. And I… well, I do too >__<!

The cookies are simple butter cookies, vanilla and dark chocolate flavored. Don’t you think they are cute?

Join the fun on twitter (look for hashtags #twitterfoodparty #twittercookieparty) and check the flickr group to see the previous party dishes :).

 

Panda cookie

 

This post was written by karaimame exclusively for Acquiring Taste. All writing, images and other materials in this blog remain the property of Acquiring Taste and cannot be used without permission.

 

 

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Brigadeiro

Oh yes, brigadeiros! A classic candy from my native country Brazil. Some people say it resembles fudges or truffles. For me… they are just lovely oh-so-super-sweet candies that bring me comfort and remind my home.

Brigadeiros are a must be in every Brazilian party. At least birthday ones… as far as I remember, I had brigadeiros in every birthday of mine (wouldn´t be different this time right?).

This candy was created in the 1940s, when there was a shortage of fresh products (such as fruits, nuts and eggs) used in the normal confectionery during the war. The legend says it  was named after Brigadier Eduardo Gomes (brigadeiro means “Brigadier”).

When I moved to Finland I had difficulties to find the ingredients to make the recipe. Let´s say that 5 years ago sweetened condensed milk was an unknown product here and I could only find it in ethnic stores downtown (Chinese, Russian or Estonian groceries). After a huge breakthrough (thanks to the Banoffe pie and its popularization) I can find cans of condensed milk in normal supermarkets. Yay!!

The recipe I use comes from my mother´s recipe notebook. It is stove top method to make the brigadeiro. I know it is possible to make it in the microwave but I prefer this way.

Brigadeiro

Chocolate brigadeiros

yields about 35 small ones

  • 1 can (397g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
  • Chocolate sprinkles (I used this tiny chocolate balls, about 1 cup)
  • small paper cups (optional)

Prepare a heat-proof deep plate, greasing with a bit of unsalted butter.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan mix the condensed milk, butter and cocoa powder. Bring to boil in medium heat. Whisk well to prevent any pockets of cocoa powder.

Low the heat and keep whisking the mixture. Use a wooden spatula or a silicone one to stir the batter.

After approximately 10 minutes the mixture should get thicker, fudge alike. It starts to get done when you can see the bottom of the pan and your spatula leaves a trail in the batter.

Now, the tricky part. There is a perfect moment when you stop cooking the brigadeiro. If you undercook , the batter can remain too soft to be molded and it will just be a thick milky chocolate sauce. If overcooking, the brigadeiros would be hard and chewy (and that remembers me once when I was younger I made brigadeiros so hard my dad called them “toothbrakers” :D).

The brigadeiro batter is ready when you lift the pan from the heat and when moving the pan sideways, the batter slides to one side of the pan as a whole blob. The bottom of the pan will be covered with a brown residual layer (as shown here)

Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared plate and let cool to room temperature. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge (so it gets easier to mold the candies).

Using a teaspoon, scoop the mixture and using your hands, roll little balls (about ∅2cm). Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture.

Put the sprinkles in a bowl. Roll the brigadeiros in the sprinkles, covering its surface and place them in the paper cups.

The brigadeiro keeps well in an airtight plastic container for up to 2 days at room temperature or for 2 weeks in the refrigerator (but believe me, it won´t last that long ^_^)

Brigadeiro

My notes about the recipe:

I know it might be difficult in the beginning to find the right moment to stop cooking the brigadeiro. If you undercook it and get a soft batter that doesn’t stay in the ball shape, use it to fill a cake or sandwich cookies (just like Dulce de Leche). Other option is to pour little portions in small shot glasses, put the sprinkles on top and eat with a small spoon. This last suggestion actually exists as a dessert and it is called “Brigadeiro de copinho” (brigadeiro inside little glasses) with the difference there is an addition of cream or milk to the batter to make it more liquid.

I think Brigadeiro is the main party candy made with sweetened condensed milk. There are many others (with shredded coconut, with grounded peanuts or pistachios, with strawberry jelly… ) and variations of the main brigadeiro-theme. They are all good, but nothing beats the classic chocolate one in its simplicity ;).

Easter themed

Here a classic brigadeiro with a chocolate decoration (Easter themed) I made last year on my youngest daughter´s birthday party.

Chocolate mousse cake

January 20, 2011

Chocolate mousse cake

Ah… yesterday was seriously a nice day (the weather was terrible but that didn’t matter so much this time ^_^), I celebrated my birthday and it was great :).

Thanks everyone for the sweet b-day wishes, I appreciated a lot! Double ♥ back to you all!

Now… let´s talk about the cake… To be honest, I don’t always make my own birthday cake… The rule in this house is to bake a cake on Mother´s and Father´s day only. So, making my own cake was totally optional :D (was it Monday I was complaining to Luonnonvoima that I should have _purchased_ a ready one from the bakery? ehehe)

I decided to try a recipe from a book I got as present from dear hubs many years ago (on Mother´s day :P! Ehehehe. The book is entirely about cakes ^_^).

I made my own adaptations which made me think if it is worth writing everything down here. Let´s consider this cake as my food memo then! :)

Chocolate mousse cake

Suklaamoussekakku – Chocolate mousse cake

For the cake layers I baked a 4 egg chocolate sponge cake, about ∅24 cm, cut in half and filled with cherry jam. I moistened each layer with syrup made with red berries juice and sugar.

For the mousse: egg yolks, double cream, sugar and dark chocolate. The recipe calls for 250g of dark chocolate so I used my recently purchased Valrhona baking 61% dark chocolate. The whole bar? Yep, the whole bar! After all, it was my birthday right? ^_^

Melting the chocolate

I assembled the cake in a cake pan slightly bigger than the one I used to bake the layers, so the mousse would cover the sides of the cake neatly.

To decorate: cocoa dust, fresh strawberries, chocolate decorations and powdered sugar dust.

Uh Oh. Heavy thing. Delicious with coffee =). By the way, must mention the girls helped me to clean the bowls when assembling the “beast”. Dark chocolate is a hit here!

I wanted to add some liqueur to moist the cake and scent the mousse, but I was afraid my little ones wouldn’t enjoy it. Maybe I can make two cakes next time!?!

Needless to say, the fresh berries balanced well the flavors of the strong chocolate and cream. I didn’t have any available on Tuesday. We ran to the market on my birthday just to get some! :)

Chocolate mousse cake

A piece of cake, anyone?

Bento for niece: Baikinman

Sometime ago I got a nice theme wish for a bento from a very special reader of my blog. According to her mom, she checks my blog everyday and asks “what auntie is making for me today?”  ^_^

Celebrating her birthday today, I dedicate this bento to my little niece A !  Feliz aniversário linda da tia! Happy birthday! We can´t be there to party with you, but your cousins are sending huge hugs and kisses from here \(^o^)/

Ah.. and the bento she requested.. Baikinman from the Anpanman anime series :D! Baikinman is known as “Meanyman” in English and he is the main antagonist of our hero Anpanman. He is the villain of the Germ World and usually appears with co-partner Dokin-chan ( Pikkusiili´s favorite ) and the Meanspiders. Seems my girls have a tendency for the “evil” ( ehehehe )

Contents of the boxes: lettuce, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, steamed cauliflower, grapes, lettuce roll with cheese and turkey ham, chicken meatballs, mixed rice (and non featured tamagoyaki… I remembered only after taking the pictures  #fail ). Baikinman made from rice, nori, turkey ham and cheese. Note the party hat he is wearing, specially for this occasion! :D

Bento for niece: Baikinman

Ayu-chan! Foi muito legal você ter vindo visitar as priminhas no verao! Estamos com saudades! Parabéns e um beijo enorme da tia ♡♥♡♥ ♪( ´▽`)