Guys, I believe this is going to be a long post as I need to explain quite a bit. For recipe number 3 of my cookie week, I brought along Uruguayan crackers or bizcochitos de grasa, which are sometimes simply called bizcochitos. These savory crackers are usually served for breakfast or even prior to breakfast. Just as we are used to drinking coffee, Uruguayans drink mate tea. Not the old-fashioned way with tea bags, no, you will serve the loose tea in a curved container, which is called “bombilla”. The brown container you see on the pictures is what I am talking about. Usually the loose tea is placed in the bombilla, the filled with hot water and then you drink it with a type of straw. Mate tea is so common in Uruguay, you will always be offered a cup of it, regardless at which time of the day. You will see people on the streets happily walking around with thermos flasks, hot water is served at every single kiosk. Obviously, when we went on a holiday in Uruguay a few years ago, we naturally drank a lot of it. By the way, everybody will drink from the same straw and water is going to be refilled constantly. I don’t think I have ever heard of anybody being worried about hygiene.
Uruguayian salchichón de chocolate or chocolate salami is one of my favorite cookies from Uruguay. I decided to introduce this cookie during my cookie week. This is recipe number 2. You will find something similar in Italy, but since we are in Uruguay, of course we have to add the Latin American touch to it: dulce de leche. How to make dulce de leche from scratch I do explain in this blog post. And don’t you agree, doesn’t it look for real? If Uruguayans are good at something, it’s magically making something special out of the ordinary. Just like these salami cookies. You know, you basically throw together the ingredients, chill them, and then you cut off your salami slices. Well, OK, my version has you roast the hazelnuts, melt the chocolate and crush the cookies, but then you are actually good to go. Doesn’t this sound awesome?
Today I have something exciting to share. I am doing a cookie week. Yes, you read right, cookie week means I will publish seven cookie recipes on seven consecutive days starting today. I decided to start with meringue alfajores or in Spanish alfajores de nieve, which are chocolate sandwich cookies filled with caramel made from sweetened condensed milk and are dunked in dried meringue. They are my favorite cookie from Uruguay after the chocolate alfajores. I thought it was about time to introduce another variety of alfajores. You can also find classic alfajores, which is a shortbread sandwich cookie with cornstarch, double chocolate alfajores, and today finally alfajores with a thick layer of dried meringue: Alfajores de Nieve. Let’s get started on Uruguayan cookie week!
You asked for it, so finally you get traditional Uruguayan empanadas! Yay! Empanadas are flaky pasties in the shape of a half-moon filled with juicy and seasoned beef and boiled eggs. Usually they are served with the herb dip called chimichurri. Just thinking about these delicious treats make me want to grab one. When I made a story on Instagram about empanadas, I was surprised how many of you asked for the recipe and how many were excited about them. You guys encourage me to continue posting Uruguayan recipes, even if they may not be as popular as others. So here goes.
Today I am going to introduce you to suspiro limeño or suspiro de limeña, which is a caramel custard from Peru with delicious meringue on top. This dessert was invented by the wife of the Peruvian poet Jose Galvez who gave it the picturesque name “sigh of a lady from Lima” when she served it to him the first time. The dessert has two components. Number 1 is the custard, which is similar to dulce de leche and number 2 a delicious meringue with a dash of alcohol. Once you dig into this decadent dessert, I am sure you will understand why he described it as a sigh, it is so creamy, light, and sweet, it simply melts in your mouth. The meringue is almost like marshmallow, there is nothing else you can ask for.
I already blogged about the Paraguayan version of cheese bread. But today I want to introduce you to Colombian cheese bread: pandebonos! Pandebonos are, as many Latin American recipes, gluten free as they are prepared with tapioca starch. Pandebonos take very little time to prepare and are easy to make with regular ingredients.
Barbecue and grilling season has started and for that reason I brought along the Uruguayan national dish: chivito. Chivito literally translates as “little goat”, even though it has nothing to do with a goat. Legend has it that an Argentinian tourist ordered something with goat from Antonio Carbonaro, the owner of the famous restaurant El Mejillón in Punta del Este. Since Antonio didn’t have any goat at hand, he came up with this burger/sandwich, which Anthony Burdain called the Everest of steak sandwiches: chivito.
Today I am going to introduce you to dulce de leche. Never heard of it? This is Spanish and literally translates as “sweetness of milk”. In English it is often translated as milk caramel. Its taste is similar to traditional caramel, but since it is prepared with milk, it has a slightly different taste. Dulce de leche is widely used in Latin America and served with desserts, pastries, but also along cheese or as sweetener for coffee.
Friends, it is time for a recipe from my birth country again: Alfajores from Uruguay! Alfajores are a very popular cookie in Uruguay and Argentina, consisting of a shortbread-type of sandwich cookie, creamy and delicious dulce de leche as filling, which in the end is covered in coconut flakes. If you want a slightly different cookie and feel like impressing your friends and family, look no further, alfajores are for you!
What are the features of this cookie? Well, the base is a shortbread cookie, or let’s say, the Latin American version of shortbread. Because it contains a lot of cornstarch. You know, because corn and Latin America? One of the main ingredient found on this continent? In comparison to a regular shortbread cookie, the cornstarch makes the cookie softer, it has this melt-in-your-mouth kind of characteristic. I flavored it with some real vanilla.
Have you every experienced this? You want to bake something you ate during your holiday, but then you can’t find the right ingredients. This is what happened to me when I tried to make achiras, this is a gluten free cheese snack from Colombia. My first problem was the cheese being used, it is called queso campesino and simply is not sold in Germany. Feta is probably the closest you will ever find, but it is firmer and much saltier. So I thought I couldn’t make achiras.
On top of that, Colombians use a special starch for achiras. It is extracted from the Sago palm. I was very certain that regular grocery stores in Germany wouldn’t offer Sago starch. At least this is what I thought.