Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Corinne's Quick Faux Sour Cream

Homesick for yummy Mexican sour cream while living in Brazil? Here's Corinne's quick and easy recipe:

Take one box of creme de leite and add the juice of one lime and a little salt.  Stir.  Let it sit out on the counter for about 30 minutes and then refrigerate for about 30 minutes or more. That's it!  I have not tried it yet for cooking, but works great atop nachos or fajitas, very close to the real thing.

As the creme de leite gets colder it will get denser.  I actually had some last night that I made last Thursday and it was nice and thick!  

Corrine's Coconut Cake with Chocolate Chunks and Coconut Drizzle

Dear reader Corrine submitted a yummy cake recipe for you all to enjoy! It's even Brazil-ingredient friendly!

The rest is from Connie:

Connie's notes: 
 I have a subscription to the magazine Bon Appetit and although I love it, often times looking at the recipes just make me depressed, since so many of the ingredients are either 1) not available in Brazil or 2) WAY too expensive.  However, my January issue actually had a dessert that contains ingredients that are EASIER to find in Brazil that the US!!  So, I HAD to try it and boy is it GOOD.  I have made this several times and gotten rave reviews.  The recipe calls for a 9-in cake pan (which is hard to find in Brazil), but it works just fine in a square 8x8 (and is actually easier to slice this way).  It can also be doubled and baked in a 9x13 pan.

Here's the original recipe with a picture too.

Coconut Cake with Chocolate Chunks and Coconut Drizzle



  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (I use regular salt and it turns out fine)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (this is approximately one bag)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (this is the equivalent of a little more than 1/2 of a 200g pack of butter - 113g)
  • 2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated orange peel
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (a US cup is 250ml and a jar is 200ml - you will need about 1 1/3 jars in order to follow the recipe exactly, but will have some coconut milk leftover.  You can also use one jar and top it off with whole milk to get 1 cup and make the glaze out of regular milk- not quite as good but then you don't have a half jar of coconut milk going bad in your refrigerator)
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate bars (do not exceed 61% cacao), broken into 1/2-inch irregular pieces, divided (I use a 170 or 180g bar of Garoto or Nestle meio-amargo)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut (about half a bag)

Coconut Drizzle

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (this is açucar confiteiro or Glaçucar - you can find it in the aisle with the sugar usually)
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream (the original recipe recommends serving it will ice cream - I have never done this - the cake is rich enough to stand on its own)



  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180 degree celcius). Generously butter 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides (or other pan that you are using); dust pan with flour, shaking out excess. Sift 1 3/4 cups flour, baking powder, and sea salt into medium bowl. Stir in unsweetened shredded coconut and set aside. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and orange peel in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with coconut milk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition. Fold in half of bittersweet chocolate pieces. Spread batter evenly in prepared cake pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate pieces over batter, then sprinkle with sweetened flaked coconut.
  • Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, tenting with sheet of foil if coconut atop cake is browning too quickly, 60 to 70 minutes (last time I made this it only needed 60 minutes.  If your oven bakes unevenly like mine, rotate the pan half-way through the baking). Transfer cake to rack and cool in pan 45 minutes.

coconut drizzle

  • Whisk powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk, and vanilla in small bowl to blend well, adding more coconut milk by 1/2 teaspoonfuls until mixture is thin enough to drizzle over cake.
  • Carefully run small knife around sides of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto platter, then carefully invert again onto another platter, coconut side up (this makes it pretty for serving, but you can cut and serve this cake directly from the pan). Using small spoon, drizzle powdered sugar mixture decoratively over cake. Cool cake completely on platter. DO AHEAD Cake can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover cake and let stand at room temperature.
  • Cut cake into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

test-kitchen tip

To make the chocolate chunks, leave the chocolate bars in their wrappers and break up the chocolate with a meat mallet (this is totally the way to chop up this chocolate.  I give my toddler the mallet or rolling pin and let him have at it!).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oatmeal Applesauce Craisin Muffins

Thanks to Jim from Qualidade da Vida for this lovely recipe! Take it away, Jim!


Believe it or not, I still have a supply of craisins in my refrigerator.  My friend brought me a gigantic (Costco-type) bag of Ocean Spray craisins almost a year ago.  It has a good zip lock seal and I have kept them in the refrigerator – and of course, sugar is a preservative.  They are still tasty and of a good texture.

So this morning I thought what better way to please my Luizinho than to offer some fresh-out-of-the-oven oatmeal, applesauce, craisin muffins? After a little TasteSpotting I found a recipe suitable for modification.

Here we go.

Oatmeal Applesauce Craisin Muffins
Yields 12 muffins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cups rolled oats
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 cup applesauce (three medium apples)
½ cup qualiada
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional if your brown sugar is dark with a strong flavor)
1 egg
¾ cup craisins (or raisins)


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners (or just butter them up good).

2) Place rolled oats into a food processor and pulse until they are chopped down to about half their original whole self.  This will make for a smoother texture muffin.

3) In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients, except sugar, and set aside.

4) Peel and chop apples and place in a food processor (maybe add some nutmeg, or cinnamon, or sugar to taste) and process to create a somewhat lumpy apple sauce.

5) In another large bowl combine the wet ingredients, plus the brown sugar.  Mix well.  Mix really well.

6) Now add the wet ingredients to the dry little by little and fold together.  Do not over mix.

7) Add the craisins and mix minimally but completely.

8) Spoon the batter (it should be a little wet, but not runny) into the cupcake liners.

9) Place the muffins in the oven for 16 – 18 minutinhos.  Test doneness with a pick.  Let cool completely (OK, you can eat one while it is still warm, but the paper cup will peel off more effectively when the muffins are cooled).

NOTE: Luiz likes his baked goods SWEET – and he is diabetic.  I added two packets of Splenda (rather than sugar) when making the applesauce. And I added two packets – in addition to the brown sugar – to the dry ingredients.  The muffins came out to his satisfaction.