Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Carajillo Coffee Rum Cupcakes

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Nestlé to bring you recipes using Nestlé products. As always, all opinions are my own.

The “Carajillo Quemado” is a classic Spanish mixed coffee drink and the inspiration for these cupcakes. Some of you may be more familiar with the Carajillos made in Mexico, which are simply a mix of espresso and Licor 43, which is often served iced, but in Spain the drink is made differently with a few variations.

There’s plenty of interesting folklore about this drink. It’s said that the word “Carajillo” derived from the Spanish word for courage (coraje), because when Spanish troops occupied Cuba, that’s exactly what they needed for combat. Still others say the name originated from the boat carriers at the French station in Barcelona. They would ask for a mixed glass of coffee and liquor instead of two separate drinks, presumably because they were in a hurry, or “que ara quillo” (“now I’m leaving in a hurry” in Catalan.) This phrase, when rushed, would sound like “caraquillo”, which is where we’d eventually got “Carajillo.”

Interesting, no?

In Spain, the simplest version of this drink is just brandy, cognac, anisette, or rum, mixed into strong black coffee – sugar optional. The “Carajillo Quemado” – or “burnt” Carajillo, is much more interesting. Sugar and alcohol along with a bit of lemon peel are mixed in a glass and lit on fire. The coffee is added to put the fire out once much of the alcohol has been burnt off and the sugar has been given a caramelized flavor. In the United States Carajillos typically have sugar around the rim of the glass and the drink is topped off with whipped cream. Cinnamon is also sometimes incorporated in both the Spanish and American versions.

I couldn’t resist developing a cupcake which combines these unique flavors, so I started with a coffee-flavored cupcake as the base. Nescafé Clásico provided the perfect roasted coffee flavor I was going for while being mild enough that it would play nicely with all the other flavors I planned to incorporate. A decadent combination of rum, coffee and buttercream was an obvious choice for the frosting, along with a pinch of fresh lemon zest.

Now for the caramelized sugar flavor. While I briefly considered sprinkling the cupcakes with sugar and rum then lighting them on fire, I decided I’m a little too accident prone to attempt it! (My eyebrows thank me.) Instead, I made caramelized sugar toppings which really gave the cupcakes an elegant touch. I’m sure any mother will appreciate if you decide to make these cupcakes for Día de Los Madres (Mother’s Day!)

Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes // Spanish Coffee Rum Cupcakes

Here’s my recipe if you decide to treat your madre (or yourself!) and then down below, enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card from Nestlé!

For additional recipes, visit ElMejorNido.com.

Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Ingredients:

½ cup hot water
5 teaspoons NESTLÉ® Nescafé Clásico
1 ½ cups all-pupose flour, pre-sifted
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened
1 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon rum
2 large eggs, separated

1 batch rum buttercream frosting (recipe below)
1 lemon, zested, for topping
caramelized sugar garnishes (recipe below)

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350 F. Put cupcake liners in muffin tin, set aside.

MIX Nescafé Clásico into hot water, set aside to cool.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

BEAT butter and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.

ADD rum to butter and sugar, then the yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.

ADD flour to the butter mixture, alternating with the cooled coffee, starting with flour and ending with flour, until well-combined.

BEAT egg whites in a separate bowl with hand mixer until soft peaks form then stir them gently into the batter.

FILL cupcake liners ¾ full with batter. Do not overfill as cupcakes will rise. Shake the pan to even out the batter.

BAKE on middle rack for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

REMOVE cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. Makes about 1 dozen cupcakes.

Tip: I used Bacardi brand light rum which is what I had on hand, but many bakers prefer gold or dark rum; you can use any of those in this recipe.

Coffee Rum-flavored Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Buttercream Rum Frosting for Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 teaspoon imitation rum extract
1 tablespoon NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1 teaspoon NESTLÉ® Nescafé Clásico

Directions:

BEAT sugar and butter until creamy.

ADD rum extract and beat until combined.

MIX Nescafé Clásico crystals into evaporated milk until completely dissolved, then add to the frosting mixture, beating until combined.

FROST cooled cupcakes using a pastry bag and tip as desired.

TOP each cupcake with a pinch of fresh lemon zest and a caramelized sugar garnish. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Tip: As cinnamon is sometimes incorporated into Carajillos, feel free to add a tiny dash of ground cinnamon to your frosted cupcakes as well!

Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Caramelized Sugar Garnish for Carajillo Quemado Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar

Directions:

HEAT sugar over medium heat in a large frying pan.

WAIT for most of the sugar to melt and become almost amber in color before stirring. Be patient as this process can take several minutes. Avoid the temptation to stir or turn the heat higher. While waiting, lay parchment paper out on a nearby clean kitchen counter.

STIR the melted, caramelized sugar with a wooden spoon, being careful to remove from heat before it burns.

USE a metal spoon to carefully drizzle small amounts of the caramelized sugar onto a parchment paper-covered surface, in whatever design desired. You must work somewhat quickly as the caramelized sugar in the pan will begin to harden.

Caramelized Sugar Toppings

WHEN cool the caramelized sugar designs will harden and you will be able to pick them up from the parchment paper. Use these as an edible garnish for your frosted cupcakes.

Caramelized Sugar Toppings

Tip: Because of the burn dangers of working with hot, melted sugar, make sure that pets and children are not in the kitchen while preparing caramelized sugar garnishes. If the remaining caramelized sugar hardens in your frying pan, you can remove it by simply adding a little water and heating it back up.

Coffee Rum Cupcakes

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me what you love most about your mother or another woman you admire. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the PR agency responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between April 22, 2015 through April 27th, 2015. Entries received after April 27th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Salvadoran Nuégados

nuegados

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Nestlé to bring you recipes using Nestlé products. As always, all opinions are my own.

Known as “buñuelos” in much of Latin America, El Salvador calls these traditional Easter fritters “nuégados” and they’re almost always accompanied by a toasted corn drink called “chilate.” There are many different varieties of nuégados with the most popular one being nuégados de yuca, but a Salvadoran acquaintance recently introduced me to nuégados de guineo (banana nuégados), which are much easier to make. The banana imparts a very delicate taste to the fried donuts which makes them delicious on their own, but they’re even more amazing with homemade Salvadoran “miel” (syrup) drizzled over top.

Here’s my recipe, and then down below, enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card from Nestlé!

For additional recipes, visit ElMejorNido.com.

nuegados con chilate

Salvadoran Banana Fritters / Nuégados Salvadoreños en Miel

Ingredients:
2 cups canola oil, for frying
1 cup flour
2 large ripe bananas, peeled
1/4 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Directions:

COMBINE flour and bananas in a medium bowl. Use a fork or hands to mash the bananas well and mix them thoroughly into the flour.

ADD the evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir to combine.

DROP spoonfuls of the dough into a large pot of medium-hot oil. Use metal tongs to carefully and continuously splash oil on top of each fritter, and to turn each fritter when it becomes golden brown. Cook only a few at a time so you don’t overcrowd them.

REMOVE each fritter to drain on a paper towel-lined plate when golden brown on both sides.

SERVE warm and with syrup drizzled on top, if desired. (Makes about 1 dozen.)

nuegados salvadorenos

nuégados en miel con chilate

Salvadoran Syrup (“Miel”)

Ingredients:

14 ounces of panela or piloncillo*
3 cups water
10 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*If you’re unable to find panela, or piloncillo, you can substitute 2 cups of dark brown sugar.

Directions:

COMBINE all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat.

BRING to a boil, stirring occasionally. The panela will melt and break up on its own. No need to force it.

BOIL for a few minutes, stirring when necessary to keep it from boiling over.

LOWER heat and simmer for a few more minutes until the liquid thickens slightly. Dip a spoon in and watch the way it coats the spoon and drips off it. This will give you an idea of whether it has thickened a little.

REMOVE from heat and allow to cool slightly. The syrup will thicken a little bit more upon cooling.

SERVE drizzled over Salvadoran Banana Fritters. Keep any unused portion refrigerated in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Salvadoran fritters

***GIVEAWAY CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO JAIME!***

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me your favorite Easter food. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the PR agency responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between March 30, 2015 through April 3rd, 2015. Entries received after April 3rd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Espumillas

Espumillas

The other day I tried to make a Salvadoran “Torta de Yema” and it was a complete failure. The good news is that I had a bunch of egg whites left over and I used them to make espumillas, which are like the Latin American version of meringues. As you can see, I simply dropped mine by the spoonful onto the baking sheet, but if you want to be super fancy, use a pastry bag, (or even a ziploc bag with one corner cut off), to give them a prettier shape.

Espumillas

You need:

4 egg whites (cold)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
food coloring (optional)

sprinkles and/or ground cinnamon

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 225 F.

2. Beat whites to stiff peaks.

3. Mix in sugar little by little.

4. Add vanilla extract and food coloring. (If you want to make several different colors, separate the mixture into a few bowls before adding the colors.)

5. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, drop spoonfuls of the mixture. You can put them close together because they won’t spread but make them no larger than about an inch and a half in diameter. If your espumilla is too large, it won’t properly bake/dry in the middle.

6. Sprinkle with sprinkles or ground cinnamon. (I find the sprinkles prettier but the cinnamon ones, not pictured, were tastier.)

7. Bake for 1 hour. Do not open the oven door. After one hour, turn the oven off. Leave the espumillas in the oven while it cools down for at least two hours.

8. Break one open. Espumillas should be shiny outside, dry in the middle with a crunchy texture, and sweet candy-like flavor. Enjoy!

Fresqui-Top

Fresqui-Top

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Recibí un email de una lectora con la pregunta: “¿Qué es fresqueto? Mi esposo salvadoreño me dijo que es una bebida popular con los niños en El Salvador pero cuando fuimos a la tienda él me enseñó un bote de Kool-Aid.”

Bueno, primero pensé que ella malentendió la palabra “refresquito” pero para asegurarme, pregunté a Carlos. Inmediatamente Carlos respondió, “Ah, ella quiere decir Fresqui-Top.”

Aparentemente es una bebida con sabores de fruta que viene en paquetes de polvo igual que Kool-Aid. Eso bebía Carlos en El Salvador cuando era niño.

¿Recuerdas Fresqui-Top?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

I received an email from a reader with the question: “What’s ‘fresqueto’? My Salvadoran husband told me it’s a popular drink with kids in El Salvador but when we went to the store he showed me a canister of Kool-Aid.”

Well, at first I thought she had misunderstood the word “refresquito” (a little refreshment/drink) but to make sure, I asked Carlos. Immediately Carlos responded, “Oh, she means Fresqui-Top.”

Apparently Fresqui-Top is a powdered drink that comes in packets of various fruit flavors just like Kool-Aid. This is what Carlos drank in El Salvador when he was a boy.

Do you remember Fresqui-Top?

(Image source)

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

Torrejas

Torrejas are kind of like French Toast and in El Salvador as well as in other parts of Latin America, they’re eaten during Semana Santa (holy week, Lent, and Easter), with a special homemade syrup. One of the things that make Torrejas more amazing than your average homemade American French Toast is that after it’s fried to a golden brown, it’s cooked a second time in the syrup. The type of bread used is also important, as your common white sandwich bread will not do! Salvadorans use thick slices of a bread called “torta de yema” but it’s difficult to find in the United States. Good substitutes for torta de yema include Challah or “pan de leche” (milk bread.) Challah can be found at some grocery stores and the “pan de leche” I used for this recipe was from a Latina bakery.

Another ingredient I want to explain a little is the “dulce de panela.” Panela is an unrefined brown sugar and it looks like this:

dulce de panela
(Wrapped in plastic)

dulce de panela
(Wrapped in dried corn husks)

dulce de panela
(Salvadoran “panela”)

If you’re unable to find Salvadoran “panela” at your local Mercado Latino or International Market, then you can substitute about two 8 ounce Mexican piloncillos or about 2 cups of dark brown sugar.

Ready for the most amazing French Toast experience of your life? Then you’re ready to make Salvadoran Torrejas en Miel!

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

Torrejas Salvadoreñas en Miel

First, How to make the “miel” (syrup):

You need:

1/2 of a 28 oz. panela (So, about 14 ounces. For substitutions see post above.)
3 cups water
10 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. (The panela will melt and break up on its own. No need to force it.)

2. Boil for a few minutes, stirring when necessary to keep it from boiling over.

3. Lower heat and simmer for a few more minutes until the liquid thickens slightly. (Dip a spoon in and watch the way it coats the spoon and drips off it. This will give you an idea of whether it has thickened a little. Note that the liquid is a thinner consistency than American-style syrup or honey – that’s okay!)

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. (The liquid will thicken a little bit more upon cooling.)

5. Now this is ready for the Torrejas! Set aside and continue below.

How to make the Torrejas:

You need:

2 tortas de yema (or 2 loaves of Challah, or milk bread/pan de leche)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups 1% milk
8 eggs

Canola oil for frying
a batch of “miel” (the recipe above)

1. Slice the bread into thick slices, (about 1 inch thick or a little more.)

2. In a large shallow dish, beat the eggs, milk, salt and sugar until well combined. (You can use an electric mixer for about 1 minute.)

3. Dip the bread slices into the egg/milk mixture one-by-one, allowing them a few seconds on each side to soak up the liquid. Fry in oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, being careful not to crowd the slices in the pan. (My pan only fit two pieces at a time.) Flip when golden brown and cook the other side the same.

4. When each slice is golden brown on both sides, remove to a large rectangular baking dish or Pyrex lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil.

5. Preheat oven to 350 F.

6. When the entire batch has been fried, carefully remove the paper towels from beneath the torrejas.

7. Some people cook the torrejas in a frying pan with the miel, but I find baking them works great and is much easier. Pour 1 cup of the miel onto the torrejas in the Pyrex, making sure that all get some of the “miel” on them. (Avoid including any of the cloves.)

8. Bake at 350 F for 5 to 10 minutes.

9. Serve with additional miel to drizzle on top.

Note: You will probably have leftover miel. This can be put into a jar and refrigerated. Use it in other recipes such as Jocotes en Miel or Nuegados!

Torrejas Salvadoreñas

Dulce de Leche Valentine Cookies

Dulce de Leche Valentine's Day Cookies

Yesterday I got a sweet craving, and re-discovered a jar of dulce de leche in the refrigerator. Instead of eating it with a spoon like a heathen (not that I haven’t done exactly that before), I decided to make a batch of simple sugar cookies since I was all out of galletas Marias. Naturally since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I grabbed a heart-shaped cookie cutter from the drawer, and thus Dulce de Leche Valentine’s Day Cookies were born. When dusted with powdered sugar, they’re kind of like alfajores! … Make a batch for your corazón de melon, your niños, or even yourself.

Dulce de Leche Valentine’s Day Cookies

You Need:

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
a little less than a 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 jar or can of your favorite dulce de leche
powdered sugar for sprinkling

Method:

1. Beat the softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.

2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt – sprinkling the baking powder and salt so it’s evenly distributed on the flour. (This is a short cut to avoid having to combine dry ingredients separately in another bowl!) Use a rubber spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.

3. Form the dough into a large ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap inside the bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven heats, work with small amounts of dough, (leaving the rest covered in the refrigerator), to cut out the cookies. You can use a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, but it isn’t necessary. You can simply flatten a small amount with your palm right on the parchment paper covered baking sheet, then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter on the flattened dough. Remove the excess dough from the edges of the heart shape and re-use for the next cookie you cut out.

5. Bake cookies about 1 to 2 inches apart, (if the dough has been properly chilled and your pan is not hot before going into the oven, it shouldn’t spread and will maintain its shape.)

6. Bake about 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. (Bake time may be slightly less or more, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. My heart-shaped cookies were about palm-sized and no more than a 1/4 inch thick.)

7. Remove cookies to cool on clean, dry paper towels, (or on wire racks if you’re fancy. I personally don’t own any of those.)

8. For the first few hours these cookies will be mostly soft and chewy, but if you make them in the evening and wait until the next morning (which is what I prefer), the texture becomes chewy on the inside but more crisp on the outside.

heart-cookie

9. Use a butter knife to spread your favorite dulce de leche either on top of the cookies, or on the bottom of one to sandwich it between two cookies.

dulce-de-leche-cookie

10. Dust with powdered sugar. (I recommend doing this by putting a small amount of powdered sugar in a fine mesh sieve and gently tapping it over the cookies to avoid large clumps of powdered sugar.)

11. Give to your valentine before you eat them all yourself.

Agua de Berenjena (Eggplant Water)

eggplant-water

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Con el tiempo Carlos va tomando más responsibilidad en su salud. Hay un edad cuando uno se da cuenta que el pan dulce es para de vez en cuando y no cada día, y lamentablemente esos días están aquí para Carlos y yo.

Una de las preocupaciones Carlos tiene es sobre el colesterol porque es un problema hereditario para él, (y bueno, un amor para hamburguesas no ayuda.)

Recientemente Carlos mencionó la reducción del colesterol a su hermana y ella recomendó el agua de berenjena. Ella dijo que su suegra corta una berenjena en pedazos (con la piel), y la pone en una pichel de agua durante la noche. Durante los próximos días, se bebe una taza de agua berenjena cada día.

Busque alrededor de la internet y parece que esto es un remedio casero muy conocido en la comunidad Latina para todo tipo de problemas de salud. ¿Alguna vez has oído hablar de Agua de Berenjena? ¿Lo has probado?

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

As Carlos grows older he takes more and more responsibility with his health. There’s an age when one realizes that pan dulce is a once-in-awhile food, not an everyday food, and unfortunately those days are here for Carlos and myself.

One of Carlos’s concerns is about his cholesterol because cholesterol problems are hereditary in his family, (and well, a love of hamburgers doesn’t help anything.)

Recently Carlos mentioned reducing cholesterol to his sister and she recommended Eggplant Water. She said her mother-in-law cuts an eggplant in pieces (with the skin), and she puts it in a pitcher of water overnight. Over the next few days, her suegra drinks a cup of the Eggplant Water each day.

I looked around the internet and it seems this is a well-known home remedy for all kinds of health issues in the Latino community. Have you heard of Eggplant Water? Have you tried it?