Today I am introducing you to a German treat with a Latin American twist: tree cake with the caramel dulce de leche. You may wonder why it is called tree cake. All the layers are supposed to represent the rings you see when you cut through the stem of a tree. If you buy this cake at a fair, the layers are not shown horizontally, but vertically. This makes it look even more like the real tree rings and hence the name. However, since you need a special construction with the cake roating on it to bake layer after layer, I decided to go for a simple version you can prepare with your oven at home.
Chocolate and caramel are the perfect combination, don’t you think? I at least find that they are the dream team. And for that reason I am offering something from my birth country Uruguay, namely empanadas. These can be filled with about anything and everything. I have posted the classic beef empanada recipe beforehand, but today I wanted something sweet instead. I went for dulce de leche. Never heard of it? This is basically a caramel made from sweetened condensed milk, it is eaten throughout Latin America and is probably as important as peanut butter is in the U.S. Of course you will find the recipe on this blog as well. You basically need to cover a can of sweetened condensed milk for two and a half hours. All tricks and tips can be found here.
While you are reading these lines, I will be busy packing my suitcase for Christmas. We are going to visit my parents in law in Spain and I will probably be debating which baking utensils to take along for the trip. I am really looking forward to celebrating Christmas with my Colombian family. Colombian Christmas is very different from German Christmas. There is going to be a lot of dancing, a lot of joy, sparkle and food, so much food. I can’t tell you for how long my mother-in-law has been talking about what she is going to make as a special treat for us and what her ideas are for the Christmas menu. In Colombian culture food is extremely important. I am going to suggest to her that we make Uruguayan flan as the Christmas dessert. Why? Because flan needs to be prepared the night before as it has to be chilled. Perfect in my opinion, one thing less to worry about on Christmas. Flan only requires only a few basic ingredients and is prepared in a jiffy, if this is not enough reason, I don’t know what is.
It is time for alfajores. Alfa what you ask? Alfajores are sandwich cookies that first were popular in Spain and later on brought to the colonies in Latin America. Traditionally alfajores are filled with the caramel cream called dulce de leche. Today I brought along some with strong coffee flavor and caramel as the filling. If you want to go extra crazy, you may also use some flaky sea salt as a nice contrast. We are in the middle of my cookie week and since I am posting seven cookie recipes from my birth country Uruguay on seven consecutive days, you get coffee alfajores today.
These cookies from Uruguay are called yo-yo as they actually look exactly like the toy yo-yo. When I took them to my colleagues as my first batch of test eaters, they got raving reviews. According to a few colleagues, I should bring more often treats from Uruguay if they were as tasty as these cookies. What I like about them is the fact that you can easily mix together the batter fairly quickly. It does contain a small part of cornstarch that makes them extra soft. Obviously it does contain the caramel cream names dulce de leche and is covered in chocolate. This is my sixth recipe in my cookie week.
Ricarditos are Uruguay’s version of chocolate-coated marshmallow treats. The base is a shortbread cookie, which then receives a meringue as topping. This meringue is then dipped in chocolate. Obviously, as always the Uruguayan caramel cream called dulce de leche also has to play a role here. Otherwise it would not be Uruguayan duh. This is my fifth recipe during my Uruguayan cookie week.
Espejitos or small mirrors is the literal translation of these cookies from Uruguay. They are made as a shortbread cookie, filled with jam and the caramel cream dulce de leche and have a chocolate covering. Sounds good? I just love these cookies, jam PLUS, caramel, PLUS chocolate, who can say no to that? Unfortunately it never takes long and they disappear so quickly whenever I make them, I simply can’t say no. These are my fourth recipe of my Uruguayan cookie week, check out the other recipes here.
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!
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.
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.