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The Holidays

Coquito Cake

Cakes, Desserts, The Holidays

 

Let’s start with the basics: What is coquito?

Coquito is often described as a Puerto Rican eggnog but I’ve always felt like that comparison doesn’t do it justice. First of all, it’s MUCH better than eggnog. And secondly, it usually doesn’t have egg in it (some families’ recipes do use egg, but most don’t).

Coquito is a coconut-based drink that usually has sweetened condensed milk, regular milk, lots of rum and a hint of spices like cinnamon and cloves.

My family is not Puerto Rican so I didn’t have it until I was a teenager, living in South Florida.  I remember someone handing it to me at a party and I was like, DANG WHAT IS THIS?!?!

It’s way better than eggnog in my opinion. The texture and weight is way lighter than eggnog (my usual issue with drinking it), which I love. The combination of rum and coconut is just the best, especially with the spices added in.

I took those flavors and implemented them into this cake! I thought of doing a tres leches but I’ve made a lot of tres leches cakes in the past so I was looking to do something a lil’ different.

This cake is kind of like a soaking cake because of the rum syrup that is brushed it on top. When we were developing this cake, we sort of asked ourselves, How do we put the rum into it? We thought about a lot of options but none of them sounded all that great. Soaking it in a rum syrup sounded like the absolute best way. The butter in the rum syrup, adds a nice gentle richness. It’s like a buttered rum…but not.

The sheet cake itself is a nice fluffy coconut cake that uses coconut cream (a must in coquito). I used the brand Goya. This can is usually sold at liquor stores (a lot of mixed drinks use cream of coconut) or you can check any grocery store in the Hispanic Section.

I also used coconut extract because it really packs that coconut flavor punch that we love so much. (I tested it without the coconut extract and the flavor didn’t come through enough; you really need that!)

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Cozy Gingerbread House

Adventures, Cookies, Desserts, DIY, Holiday, The Holidays

Did you ever have a Barbie Dream House? I think I asked for one for my eighth birthday (if I remember correctly) and I imagined myself being a grown-up in it. I had dogs (of course), I had a husband (Ken) whose head I shaved because I thought his blonde hair was ugly (I dunno) and a few kids who were ok. But most importantly, I had a pool with a slide and a trampoline. I also had a siqqq car that was bright pink that I’d use to pick up my friends so we could go to the movies and Disneyland.

When I got the insane idea that I should built a gingerbread house, I started to think: What should it look like? What should it include?

I remembered my Barbie Dream House and decided maybe that should be my inspo? I decided to leave out people because I don’t think I can make realistic versions of gingerbread humans.

Let’s start from the beginning.

The first step to making my gingerbread house was planning the dimensions like the architect that I AM NOT.

I started crunching numbers and decided on making the doors , the sides and the roof

Amazon boxes and an XACTO knife are golden!

I ended up using old Amazon boxes that were in the recycling for my templates. And XACTO knife comes in real handy in this instance.

Gingerbread Dough
Erin McDowell’s recipe is by far the best. I thought about developing my own but I was short on time and honestly, hers works wonderfully, no surprise there.

I happened to have shortening in my pantry because of these biscuits and it ended up making life SO much easier. I love that recipe. Her tips, btw, are absolutely brilliant. She overbakes her gingerbread to make it sturdier. I did the same.

Windows
I decided on having a few windows on the sides of the house.

I filled a few of the windows on the side and in the front with crushed up Jolly Ranchers. It ended up melting in the oven and making the prettiest pink windows.

Roof
If you’re interested in a true zen experience, glue on a million perfectly slivered almonds for two hours. Truth be told, I actually enjoy these types of things. I mediate and zone out and think about my life. Sometimes I even cry—it’s fun!

Pool
I made the pool outside from gingerbread that I cut out. I filled it with a piece of foil and crushed blue Jolly Ranchers to replicate the look of frozen water. I added a diving board because that’s what I would want in my own backyard.

Amelia’s Dog House
Amelia’s Dog House is obviously just for show because she wouldn’t think of ever sleeping outside. She prefers to sleep on beds and pillows. But it is cute. I used this gingerbread mini house cookie cutter.

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Oat Milk Collagen Hot Chocolate

Drinks, Healthy, Quick and Easy, The Holidays, Winter

WHO AM I RIGHT NOW? This recipe title sounds so very…how do put this? Los Angeles. This recipe sounds very “LA.” But the truth is, I make iterations of this drink all the time and I love it.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard but oat milk is all the rage right now. And in my typical bratty behavior, I snubbed it for months. I honestly drink my coffee black anyway but a few weeks ago, after I drove across town for a meeting and needed an afternoon pick-me-up, I stopped in a cafe and ordered an oat milk cappuccino. IT WAS GOOD.

It tastes kinda like nothing. It’s a really good texture—not too heavy or thick, not too thin. It provides some nice foam and marries with the espresso so very well.

I figured it was time to put it to test in a more sweet capacity so enter: this hot chocolate. I added a scoop of collagen to the blender, along with some melted chocolate, oat milk and a teaspoon of maple syrup. Blended right up and it’s oh so good!

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