This week I have some wonderful guest bloggers helping me out as I enjoy some time with my family. I called on some of my great friends and bloggers, on short notice no less, and they all delivered beautifully. I am so grateful to them for helping me out and allowing me to enjoy my time at the wedding without having to worry about my site.
Today’s guest is the wonderful Denise who is the author of From Brazil To You. Denise and I just “met” this year and we have become great friends. She lives in San Antonio and if I had known her in January, I would most definitely met up with her for coffee and some of her delectable goodies.
Denise is Brazilian and her blog showcases all things Brazilian. I learn so much from visiting her site about Brazil, a country we associate mainly with football! But it is so much more with such a diverse population and cuisine.
So, thank you my friend for introducing me to beautiful Brazil and all its vibrancy, beauty and delicious cuisine. Everyone, please help me welcome Denise and visit her blog for some great Brazilian fun facts and food.
I had just finished composing my blog’s menu for March when an email came through from Nazneen, the author of Coffee and Crumpets, asking if I would guest post for her blog.
I willingly accepted this opportunity to guest post for her– Nazneen is one of my favorite fellow bloggers, and because of this, I could not refuse her kind offer. I have no doubt that if we lived nearby, we’d be great friends.
So I asked her what type of dish she’d like to have appear in the post… She suggested a Brazilian chocolate dessert. From among several different ones that I had in mind, I picked pão de mel– “honey bread.” For those unfamiliar with this popular dessert in Brazil, pão de mel is a cake sandwich of European origin, made mostly from honey, chocolate, and spices, which is coated in chocolate to prolong its flavor and moist texture, and can be filled with dulce de leche, brigadeiro filling (http://www.frombraziltoyou.org/brazilian-recipes/chocolate-cake-bolo-nega-maluca-birthday/), jam, etc. It usually has either a square or round shape (resembling a cookie sandwich or alfajor). However, today I preferred to give ours the shape of a mini cake.
This dessert has a rich, decadent taste of chocolate (of course) and especially of spices — ah, and it is a great dessert to have with a good cup of coffee. I thought that would pair well with the concept of Nazneen’s blog. When I think about spices, Indian cuisine jumps immediately to mind… And where do I find great Indian recipes when I do need them? Coffee and Crumpets!!!
Although the recipe has been adapted from a Brazilian pastry chef, I came up with the decoration.
Well, I hope that both your eyes and palate enjoy these beloved Brazilian desserts. If you could only see the huge smile on my face while I enjoy mine…
A big thanks to my dear fellow blogger Nazneen for thinking of me.
Pão de Mel
Yield: About 6 large or 12 standard size muffin-tin units
250g (about 8.8 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup pure honey
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 can dulce de leche (for the filling)
800 g (28.2 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, melted in a double boiler at 32º C or 89.5º F (for the topping)
1. Grease and flour a large-size or standard-size muffin tin. Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C).
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the brown sugar and water just until the sugar dissolves (Remember: You are NOT making a simple syrup). Remove from heat and set aside until cool. Whisk the sifted flour and spices on top of the water-sugar mixture. Add the cocoa powder and oil, whisking well. Dissolve both the baking soda and powder in milk and add to the batter. Add in the beaten yolks, honey, salt, and vanilla, stirring until combined.
3. In a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites into the batter in 2-3 different additions to make the batter more aerated. Put into the tin (fill each well 3/4 full) and bake for about 20 minutes (standard) or 27-30 minutes (large). You will end up with the fluffiest cakes ever. Please, do not overbake or the cakes will turn out dry.
4. When cakes are cool, using a serrated/bread knife, remove top of the cakes. I reserved mine to make cookie sandwiches (whoopie pies). Next, slice cake so you end up with 3 layers. Spread them with dulce de leche. When cakes are assembled, brush them with simple syrup (this will help avoid releasing crumbs into the melted chocolate and will keep the cakes moist).
5. Place the cake on a fork and bathe in the melted chocolate. Place on a rack with a baking sheet underneath, and let excess chocolate drain off of the cake onto the baking sheet below. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let the chocolate set in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes.
6. Then, decorate as you wish. For mine, I used flower-shaped cupcake liners, ribbon tied around the middle, and Wilton sugar flowers. I also used melted pink chocolate melts to fill molds for the pink sculptures on top of our mini cakes.
Note: Recipe adapted from Folha de São Paulo (http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/comida/1102233-aprenda-a-fazer-pao-de-mel-macio-e-saboroso.shtml) by Chef patissier Lucas Corazza.
Thank you Denise for taking the time out and writing for me! I really appreciate it. Hope everyone is having a great week so far.