Sugar Cookies, Royal Icing and the Buenos Aires Cookie Club

20 Sep
Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookies (Pink and blue frosting)

What a success the first Buenos Aires Cookie Club was! There were a few hiccups along the way (how many cookies should everyone make??), but in the end everything turned out beautifully and we were blown away by the positive reaction. This meeting was just the first of many to come, and the grand event will be near Christmas time! Just think: dozens and dozens of beautiful Christmas cookies. Mmmm…

I thought for weeks about which cookie I’d make: peanut butter? gingerbread? biscotti? In the end, I decided to make a childhood classic, that I have fond memories of decorating as a child: Sugar cookies with royal icing.

They turned out decent…I didn’t realize the icing would need so long to dry, so they kind of stuck together during transport. But the taste was awesome! I threw in some orange juice and lots of orange zest to give it an extra kick.

Buenos Aires Cookie Club

Sugar Cookie Recipe (Adapted from Joy of Baking)

3 cups (390 grams) flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (227 grams) butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange juice

Zest of one orange

Preheat oven to 350F (177C).

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cream the butter with the sugar, then add eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and orange juice and zest. Add the flour and mix well. Divide the dough into two balls and cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge for at least an hour.

Roll out the dough and cut with your favorite cookie cutter. Bake 8-10 minutes, until the borders are lightly brown. Cool completely before icing.

Royal icing:

2 large (60 grams) egg whites

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups (330 grams) powdered sugar, sifted

Beat eggs whites with lemon juice until foamy, add powdered sugar and continue beating until you get the right consistency. You don’t want it to be too runny otherwise they will drip off the cookies. You can add food coloring at this time.

Have fun with decorating! You can put the icing in a pastry bag, try different tips, different colors, use a tooth pick to swirl it around, anything really. Here’s some inspirational cupcakes that I made:

Cupcakes with Royal Icing

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The best lemon curd recipe and how to use it

6 Sep

Lemon CurdThe first time I tried lemon curd was during a trip to London when I was 21. I had it slathered on a piece of toast, and it completely blew my mind and rejected every idea I had on all the jams and jellies eaten in my lifetime. Curd is sweet, tangy, cool and smooth. Not too sweet, not too sour. And completely versatile.

If you search “lemon curd recipe” on Google, you’ll get bombarded by dozens of different recipes and techniques. Which is the best? Which is the simplest? Well, I’ve done the work for you, weeded through the recipes and selected this recipe for lime curd, which can be apdated to other citruses, like lemon! I’ve also tried grapefruit and my mom tested this recipe with orange, in both cases we did half lemon juice and it tasted amazing.

Lemon Curd (adapted from Lime Curd recipe on Honest Cooking)

3 large eggs
1/2 cup (96g) of sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup (0.118L) of fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1. Whisk the eggs and sugar in saucepan until a light lemony color. Add in the zest, lime juice and pieces of butter.

2. Place saucepan over medium heat and constantly whisk mixture until it starts to thicken.  Allow it to come to a simmer for a couple of seconds and remove from heat.  Cool to room temperature, add vanilla and then place in a container in the fridge. It will thicken more as it cools down.

How to use it:

1) Slathered on a freshly-baked scone

2) As a filling to a spongy vanilla caked, topped with my whipped white chocolate and orange ganache.

3) Served with toasted baguette, perhaps in this shape?

3) Sandwiched between two crispy, chewy macaron shells.

4) Fill a pâte sucrée with it, and top with toasted coconut and/or whipped cream, or some fresh fruit.

5) You tell me how you used it! 🙂

Buenos Aires Cookie Club!

27 Aug

Buenos Aires Cookie ClubI’ve said it before, I’m a fan of clubs. Nothing beats getting together with people who share your same passion. For that reason, Juliana from Horneando Algo and myself are organizing the Buenos Aires Cookie Club! The club is a chance for bakers to get together and exchange cookies, recipes and a good conversation.

The Buenos Aires Cookie Club was founded on the idea that many other cookie clubs have had; to bake only one type of cookie (but lots of them) and host a cookie exchange, this way you end up with dozens of delicious types of cookies! This idea orginated at Christmas time, when we don’t have time to bake as much as we’d like, but since we love cookies so much, we decided to host the event every 3 months! Our first event is September 9th at 3pm in Palermo!

Below are some rules and requirements for members of our club:

1) All participating members are asked to pay a $25 membership fee. This fee covers refreshments such as tea and coffee, as well as a recipe book with that event’s cookie recipes, as well as materials to pack and take-away your cookie treats!

2) All participating members are asked to come to the event with at least (X dozen) of the same cookies. The exact quantity will be based on the number of participants.

3) All participating members are asked to send their cookie recipe one week in advance, in order to be included in the quarterly recipe book as well as to avoid cookie repeats!

4) All participants must be ready to eat lots of homemade cookies and of course, share our passion for baking!
To sign up for the September 9th Cookie Club visit our Facebook page!

Afterwork Snack in Microcentro

17 Aug

Cafe Paulin Buenos AiresAfter a long rain-soaked week of working downtown, the only thing you want to do is take the subway home, kick off your shoes and order empanadas. But wait! There’s an awesome bar in microcentro where you can grab a quick beer and tostado while waiting for the rush hour to pass.

I have a secret affection for old bars and restaurants that seem to be stuck in the 1970’s. If the main clientele are old men, even better. Wait, no-I’m not like into old men or anything! I just like the grandpa ambiance…ok, nevermind…ANYWAY.

Cafe Paulin (Sarmiento 653) is supposedly known for having the best sandwiches in Buenos Aires. So being the fan of toasty goodness that I am, I decided to check it out one night after work.
Continue reading

Whipped White Chocolate and Orange Ganache Recipe

15 Aug

White Chocolate Ganache FrostingOne thing that Argentina doesn’t do well is cake frosting. The idea of buttercream frosting is non-existent on Argentine cakes, and the most home cooks use is a baño de chocolate, melted chocolate or just whipped cream spread thickly on the cake. Most bakeries and restaurants go a little further and pile on layers and layers of swiss or italian meringue, like in the famous tarta rogel, which will most likely send you into cardiac arrest for the amount of sugar it contains.

Luckily for Buenos Aires, I offer an amazingly fluffy cake with buttercream frosting, which you can order for your birthday, tea party or any time you are in the mood for cake.

And although I love buttercream, I wanted to experiment with other types of frosting, one that doesn’t consist solely in butter and sugar, but that was rich enough to compliment a fluffy cake. I did some research on the internet and quickly decided on a white chocolate ganache, but I still wanted that fluffiness you get from a buttercream. With a little bit more research, I found out that you can change the texture of ganache by whipping it when it’s cool. And so was born the Whipped White Chocolate and Orange Ganache, an ultra fluffy, melt in your mouth type of frosting, that’s light in texture but rich in flavor. A perfect topping for cakes and cupcakes.

Whipped White Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from Joy of Baking

8 ounces (227 grams) white chocolate, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter

2-4 tablespoons of orange marmalade (to taste)

Place white chocolate into a heat-resistent bowl.

Boil cream with butter and then pour over chocolate and stir until smooth.

Let cool a bit and then stir in the orange marmelade.

Chill until firm, but not solid. Whip until fluffy and use immediately!

NOLA in Buenos Aires

7 Aug

NOLA Puerta Cerrada

I first fell in love with New Orleans cuisine while working as a waitress at Thanksgiving in Paris. The owner and cook, Judith Bluysen, is a native New Jerseyian (although she’ll tell you New York) who fell in love with New Orleans and decided to open a restaurant dedicated to cajun cooking. I couldn’t have asked for a better boss. Judith is one of those cooks who just makes everything she touches taste a-ma-zing. She’s also one of those cooks who does pastry just as good as salty. Bitch.

Every Saturday and Sunday after brunch, we’d sit down to a staff meal: spicy potato gratin, jambalaya, pecan pancakes…I got fat and I liked it.

Then I moved to Buenos Aires, the land of no spice, and felt lost. Until I met Liza Puglia one fine spring day. Liza is a good person to befriend. She loves food, good food, and she’s got a positive energy that just makes you feel good. So, Liza is indeed the perfect owner for a puerta cerrada.

Liza’s been making waves in Buenos Aires with her New Orleans and Mexican pop-up nights. But she’s also been planning for several months to open up a closed-door restaurant with her Argentine boyfriend who is currently studying wines at a local institute.

I’ll be honest here. I’ve never been to a closed-door restaurant before. Something about having dinner with a group of strangers makes me start sweating. I am, by nature, an incredibly shy person. But, I called up a friend and we decided to face the awkwardness together.

NOLA Buenos Aires

The night started with a glass of champagne and a bit of chit-chat with our fellow diners. NOLA seats 8 diners (for now, as they plan on doubling their capacity in the near future), so the atmosphere is quite intimate and friendly. Luckily, the other guests that night were fellow lovers of food (and wine) and the night absolutely flew by as we all got to know each other and enjoy the dinner.

Liza prepares a 4 course menu with New Orleans and Mexican-inspired flavors and her boyfriend pairs and serves the wine.

The first course was a warming chorizo, crab and shrimp gumbo. This was by far my favorite dish of the night. The flavors were complex, the shrimp was cooked perfectly and the chorizo provided just the right amount of spice. The Torrontes was paired beautifully with this spicy dish.

For the second course an endive, hazelnut and haricots verts salad with a creole mustard sauce was served to freshen and cool our palettes. The vegetables were crisp, perfectly seasoned and most importantly- the endive was delicious…I’ve never had good endive in Buenos Aires. The salad was served with a fruity shiraz, perfection.NOLA Salad

The third course was a slow-roasted pork served with a creamy polenta and a smoky chili ancho sauce. The wine was…red. Hey, I had already have a glass of champagne and two glasses of wine by this point!

The dessert (my favorite) was a classic Bourbon Pecan Pie, served warmed and with a dollop of whipped cream. The crust was absolutely divine: flaky, buttery and tender. The pie was served with a sweet, but not too sweet, white wine.

NOLA Pecan PieAll in all, the night was the perfect combination of elements: great company, amazing food and wine and all in a beautiful, intimate dining space. I’ll definitely be coming back, and so should you.

Make your reservations for NOLA here.

45-minute cupcake challenge

1 Aug

Chocolate fudge cupcakes

The other night I was laying around watching some old episodes of Master Chef, putting off getting dressed for a special dinner date with the husband, when all of a sudden -whaaattt– one of the challenges on Master Chef was to create an incredible, unique cupcake in 45 minutes!

Pfff, I thought…how are they supposed to bake, cool and decorate a cupcake in just 45 minutes?? I mean, whenever I bake, sure I always say, “ok, I’ll be done with this in one hour”, but then there’s facebook, the cat’s meowing, the phone rings, I get hungry etc. But then it got me thinking…could it be done? I looked at the clock…I had 1 hour to shower, get dressed and be out the door to meet the husband….I’d have to shower while the cakes were baking…but…it could be done!

Considering that I was seriously craving chocolate, I decided to make a Chocolate Bomba Cupcake. Continue reading

Pie of the week: Rustic Strawberry Tart

31 Jul

Tarta rustica de frutilla? Si, por favor!
Rustic Strawberry Tart? Yes, please!

Rise and Bake

Tarta de frutilla

I grew up on a farm. Really, I did. I was one of those wild-childs that during the summer months ran around without shoes until my feet were black, stuffed my face with fresh raspberries off the bush, chased bees on dandelions during the day and caught fireflies with mason jars by night. It was a fantastic thing growing up there, and maybe explains my somewhat unrefined, untamed personality that I have now. This pie is an ode to those summer days on the farm. Strawberries have been popping up in verdulerias lately, just screaming to be used in a pie like this. It’s rustic, free-form crust is delicate and sprinkled with ground almonds, the strawberry filling is sweet, juicy, with just the right amount of tang.

ORDER NOW: Rustic Strawberry Pie 9-inch, $60 pesosStrawberry tart

Yo crecí en una granja. Posta. Yo era una niña salvaje  que durante los…

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The eating continues: Santiago de Chile, part 2

24 Jul

As I mentioned in Santiago de Chile part 1, eating was a recurring theme on my to-do list for the short weekend we had planned in the Chilean capital. After shopping for about 5 hours non-stop (hey, I live in Buenos Aires, shopping culture doesn’t exist here), we were starving and needed food and alcohol. Our hotel was located right next to *gasp* La Fuente Alemana! I swear I didn’t plan this! After having watched Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations episode in Sanitago, we had already planned on going to get our pork sandwich on the following day in the downtown location….little did we know there were TWO locations, the other one being in Providencia.

La fuente alemanaLa Fuente Alemana is a pretty impressive joint. The waitresses are also the cooks. They take your order, then go behind the counter and make it. Hey, strange system but it seems to work, and they can’t blame the kitchen for being slow. La Fuente also offers their own home-brewed beer in a large, thirst-quenching glass.

But the real stars are the pork sandwiches or sandwiches de lomito. Piled with mayonnaise, avocado, sauerkraut, tomato and thin slices of juicy, braised pork. I could barely finish mine, but believe me, I did.

Pork Sandwich, La fuente alemana

So after eating huge amounts of pork and slurping beer, the best thing to do is get outside and take a walk. We decided to check out Cerro San Cristóbal for an amazing view of the city. I was wary about climbing up the hill…I didn’t have the best hiking shoes, so we took the cable car to the top. FYI: heights + Kelly = bad idea. It wasn’t even that high, I mean, the train is on a track, you never leave the ground, but you do go at quite an incline and you have the illusion that you could just fall off the hill and float into space if you weren’t holding on tight enough (or was that just my illusion?)

View from Cerro San Cristobal

But once you’re on top, the view is worth all the panic attacks in the world! The mountains are gorgeous, and just the fact that you can see them from almost any part of the city changes your entire perspective. In Buenos Aires when I look up, the only thing I tend to see is a crazy, runaway bus barreling towards me. There’s no escaping! But in Santiago, all you have to do is lift your head to know that the whole world is out there, and in comparison to these magestic mountains, you and your problems are just dust in the breeze.

23 Jul

A delicious reason to order a pie this week!

Rise and Bake

Cookie Pie of the Week
Do you remember that store in the mall that sold giant cookie pies with a “Happy Birthday” or “I love you” scrawled out in icing? I always wanted one of those…something about a giant cookie was just so tempting to me. I never did get one, but no problem, because I’m positive this Chocolate chip toffee cookie pie is 1,000 times better. Made with browned butter, semi-sweet chocolate and toasted flour, it’s got a distinctive toffee flavor and a wonderful chewy, crunchy texture.

Chocolate chip toffee cookie pie, 9 inch pie serves 8 people. Order yours today for only 60 pesos!Cookie pie of the week

Don’t want a whole pie? Order a dozen balls of frozen cookie dough! Just pop them in the oven whenever you want a hot, gooey chocolate chip cookie!

Order your dozen of ready-to-bake cookie dough balls for only 40 pesos!

Hecho con mantequilla dorada, chocolate semi-amargo y harina tostada…

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