Friday 28 October 2011

Argentine Thumbprint Cookies

Argentine Thumbprint Cookie broken in half

Recently, I have become a keen drinker of Mate. Despite the fact that Mate suppresses the appetite, I always enjoy a sweet accompaniment, just as I do with my tea and coffee. Argentines are famous for their love of intense flavours and their love of dulce de leche, as I mentioned in a previous post. They drink their Mate very bitter. I drink Mate differently from the Latin Americans, with more water and much less yerba, in order to accommodate my sensitive palate.

Yerba Mate

I have always thought that 'thumbprint cookies' were cute. I had a browse on the internet and found that there are not many thumbprint cookies with dulce de leche. Argentine alfajores (which I sampled in Barcelona) generally consist of two shortbread cookies joined together with a filling of dulce de leche and dusted with desiccated coconut. I decided to transfer this idea into thumbprint cookies (as they are just adorable).

Argentine Thumbprint Cookies before cooking

I followed a shortbread recipe that I found on the internet which called for equal parts of butter and flour. The dough felt extremely oily so I added in some more flour before I shaped the cookies. Unfortunately, the cookies turned out a lot bigger and less 'adorable' than I had anticipated/hoped for.

Argentine Thumbprint Cookies

I tried again and this time managed to burn them. They were still worthy of being eaten, but definitely not worthy for the blog.

Dulce de leche centre

So, I tried for a third time and finally I had success! I creamed 125g of butter with 55g of sugar. I then mixed in 180g of flour and shaped the dough into small balls. I coated the balls with desiccated coconut, placed them onto a baking tray and pushed my thumb into the centre to create 'bowls' for the dulce de leche. After baking them until they were golden brown (around 10 minutes at 180°C), I filled the thumbprints with dulce de leche and added an extra dusting of coconut. They were small, cute and very tasty.

Argentine Thumbprint Cookie

Is anyone else, out there, a Mate drinker?

Friday 14 October 2011

The Last of Spain

Cactus decoration on the tables of Cafe Flamingo in Barcelona

Eeek! Yet another month has slipped by without my posting here. I can only apologise once again. Readers, I am so sorry! I have now returned to Leeds for my final year of university and time is flying.

The infamous Sagrada Familia

After four weeks of Spanish school in Barcelona, I left the city for a nearby town, Granollers, to visit my other Spanish friend whom I met in California. I then went back to Barcelona for a final few days of summer sunshine before returning to England.

Coconut and pistachio ice cream

As I promised (although a little late), I have some photos of edible treats that I sampled outside of the host family home during my time in Barcelona.

One of my favourite foodie places in Barcelona is La Boqueria, the famous food market just off of Las Ramblas. Not only is it a total indulgence for the eyes, but the market sells meat sticks for only 1 euro each! My friends were a little worried about my over-excitement with the 1 euro meat sticks, but I honestly think that they are one of the greatest finds in Barcelona. Bite-sized portions of 6 different types of meat. Perfect for a decision-struggler, such as myself. I think my excitement for these lasted for hours, they truly made my day!

The incredible 1 Euro meat sticks from La Boqueria

Marzipan friends at La Boqueria

Hanging display of chillis at La Boqueria

One bar called Cafe Flamingo's, near Las Ramblas, was discovered by one of my 'roomies' which we visited on several occasions. They served a beautiful range of free tapas with cocktails from 7-10pm. The tapas included a variety of bruschetta, sandwiches, olives, nuts and pretzel snacks. Everything was so simple yet so delicious! I found their impressive selection of bruschetta toppings to be a great inspiration for any dinner party that I may host in the future.

Caprioska cocktail at Cafe Flamingo's

Delicious free tapas with cocktails at Cafe Flamingo's

A couple next to La Fuente Mágica [The Magic Fountains]

Despite the hot and humid weather, my taste buds were crying out for a sample of chocolate caliente con churros [hot chocolate with churros], as I had walked past so many places that advertised this irresistible treat. It was a hot September afternoon when I finally got around to sampling it and, as much as I enjoyed it, I was perspiring during the entirety of it. Nonetheless, the rich, almost-custard-like hot chocolate was really something to experience. The churros were not soft or sweet, contrary to what I had anticipated. I was expecting a doughnut-like texture but they were quite hard and crunchy. I did enjoy these, but next time I would definitely eat them in winter rather than summer!

Chocolate caliente con churros

I have been experimenting in the kitchen over the past few days and hope to post about it soon. Sorry, again, for my lack of commitment to this blog. I really hope to get back into the habit of frequent posting! Thank you, again, for your kind patience.

A palm tree between the side streets of Barcelona

Flaming shots from the bar El Gato Negro

Montserrat mountain top monastery