Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Puppy Chow!

Mmmm...Chocolate Chip Cookies

As I mentioned in the previous post, baking in another country can be pretty challenging. There are new and different ingredients, odd utensils, and ovens that don’t really work. Yep. Ovens without temperature gauges. That would define most ovens in Mexico.

Yay for Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Yesterday, I was invited to a fiesta to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. Of course, I had to bring something with me, and I thought a dessert would be a welcome addition to the menu. I thought long and hard about what to show up with, and in the end I decided that banana bread would be a good option. Wow…did I think wrong! The batter came together beautifully, but it cooked into a big mess. Or rather, it didn’t really cook at all. The temperature gauge on my oven is terrible. and the oven decided to randomly shut off half way through the process. I didn’t realize that until much later.

Puppy Chow for Mexican Independence Day

The banana bread turned out to be a pile of mush. Soooo, I moved on to Plan B—I decided to attempt chocolate chip cookies. I have this recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I consider to be my no-fail recipe. In other words, if this recipe bombs then you are in a real baking dilemma. I was able to find all of the ingredients for the cookies with the exception of brown sugar—I smashed up piloncillo with a rolling pin as a close approximation. The dough mixed up rather nicely, and would you believe that the cookies baked up beautifully? Yes…they did and I have the pictures to prove it. They tasted yummy too, and I kind of enjoyed the fun bursts of piloncillo pockets in my mouth.

Puppy Chow

The cookies were such a success that I decided to make puppy chow, too. Even though they don’t have Crispix here in Mexico, I was able to find a similar variation called Quaker Complete. The puppy chow was also a success! I hope this means that I’m getting better at baking here in Mexico. But, I bet it’s probably just had a stroke of good luck. We’ll see…

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rice Krispie Treats...Mexican Style

Vanilla and Strawberry Rice Krispie Treats

One of the desserts that I always like to make for my friends and neighbors when I am abroad is Rice Krispie Treats. I think they represent a classic American treat, and I find that my foreign audience is usually pretty receptive to the new dessert.

Rice Krispies...can be found in Mexico

However, one of the many challenges of baking in a different country is finding all of the necessary ingredients. The last time I was in Mexico, I had the hardest time find old-fashioned Rice Krispies cereal. Can you imagine? Snap, Crackle, and Pop are such icons in the U.S., but in other countries they appear to be unknown personalities. This time around I had much better luck finding the cereal, and it now seems that almost every grocery store stocks the classic blue box.

Malvaviscos...Mexican marshmallows

The next obstacle was finding marshmallows. I have yet to find a bag of plain old marshmallows in Mexico. Now, I don’t mean to have you believe that marshmallows don’t exist here. Rather, they do indeed exist here. But, malvaviscos as they are called usually come in bags of several different flavors and many different sizes. The simplest version I could find was a bag of giant vanilla and strawberry marshmallows at Walmart. I decided to play with these two flavors and make a batch of Rice Krispie treats that were half vanilla and half strawberry. Today is my birthday, and I am taking this “American-Mexican” dessert to share with my Mexican neighbors. They have kindly invited me over to their house tonight for dinner in order to celebrate my birthday. I hope they enjoy this combination of flavors!