This easy recipe is one of our favorite desserts ever. It has all the makings of a great dish: crunchy meringues with a chewy center and rich, warm chocolate sauce poured over. If you are feeling extra fancy, add some chopped berries.
For the Meringues:
4 large egg whites, at room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 pinch cream of tartar 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Separate the eggs. Whip the egg whites while slowly adding the sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla until you get soft peaks, about 8 minutes.
Spoon heaping 1/4 cup meringue into a few evenly spaced piles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread each meringue pile with back of spoon to form 3½-inch disk with slight depression in center.
Cook at 200F for 1 1/2 hours, then turn oven off and let cool with over door ajar so they dry out a little.
For the chocolate sauce:
Ingredients 8oz 60% dark chocolate 1 cup of water 3 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon butter
Combine chocolate, water and sugar in a pan and bring almost to a boil until in starts to thicken. Add butter and whisk well to incorporate.
Don’t be put off by the two-step crust and topping situation here. Our resident baker extraordinaire Tati, the youngest Garcia Nevett sibling, says this is one easy recipe. It’s perfect for sharing, so she suggests doubling up. The recipe is originally from Cooks Illustrated.
1 3/4 cups (8 ¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons (2 2/3 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and hot
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups (1 pound) pecan halves, toasted
½ teaspoon ﬂake sea salt (optional)
FOR THE CRUST
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Make foil sling for 13 by 9-inch baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil; first sheet should be 13 inches wide and second sheet should be 9 inches wide. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil ﬂush to pan. Lightly spray foil with vegetable oil spray.
Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in medium bowl. Add melted butter and stir with wooden spoon until dough begins to form. Using your hands, continue to combine until no dry ﬂour remains and small portion of dough holds together when squeezed in palm of your hand. Evenly scatter tablespoon-size pieces of dough over surface of pan. Using your fingertips and palm of your hand, press and smooth dough into the bottom of pan.
FOR THE TOPPING
Whisk sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt together in medium bowl until smooth (mixture will look separated at first but will become homogeneous), about 20 seconds. Fold pecans into sugar mixture until nuts are evenly coated. Pour topping over crust. Using spatula, spread topping over crust, pushing to edges and into corners (there will be bare patches). Bake until topping is evenly distributed and rapidly bubbling across entire surface, 23 to 25 minutes.
Transfer pan to wire rack and lightly sprinkle with ﬂake sea salt, if using, Let bars cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 1/2 hours. Using foil overhang, lift bars out of pan and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 24 bars.
There is no Christmas in Venezuela without this traditional rum drink and almost every family has their own recipe. We like this version from Venezuelan celebrity chef Kristina Wetter. Or, you could do like our grandma and buy the ready-made variety. We won’t tell...
2 cans of condensed milk 2 ⅔ cups of water 8 egg yolks 1 ½ cups of rum Pinch of nutmeg
In a big pot, mix the condensed milk with the cups of water and egg yolks. Cook at low heat constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Make sure not to boil or it might break. Take off the heat once it has thickened slightly, coating the back of a spoon. Add the rum and let it cool. Pass through a sieve into your prefered bottle and put in the fridge. Serve cold.
This is one of Susa’s go-to Christmas cookies. We love them as much for the fun of saying “pepparkakor” non-stop while baking them as for the tingling sensation the ginger and pepper leave in your mouth when they are finally cool enough to eat. This recipe is from Epicurious, but we always add extra spices to taste.
Pepparkakor or Swedish Ginger Thins
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Pearl sugar (for dusting)
Takes , makes 4 dozen.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
In a small saucepan over moderate heat, warm the corn syrup and orange zest. Add the butter and sugar and continue warming, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the egg and whisk to combine. Pour over the flour mixture and stir to combine. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap, and chill overnight.
Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with nonstick baking mats, such as Silpats, or parchment paper.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out a portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into desired shapes, such as circles, stars, hearts, bells, gingerbread men, and Christmas trees. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and sprinkle with the pearl sugar. Bake, switching the cookies between the upper and lower racks and rotating the baking sheets about halfway through baking, until the edges are just beginning to brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Watch the cookies carefully to make sure they don't get too brown.
Let the cookies cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to let cool completely. Continue rolling and cutting out the rest of the cookie dough and baking the cookies on cooled baking sheets.
DO AHEAD: Pepparkakor can be baked ahead and kept, stored between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks, or frozen up to 1 month.