If you’ve been keeping up with things on my end of the interwebs, you may have noticed that my virtual dotted red line around the globe has become….squiggly. I’ve been unfocused and somewhat subconsciously resistant to moving on to South America’s food, which is so dumb because from what I’ve tasted I absolutely love South American food. I mean, my favorite restaurant in all of Chicago is Carnivale, which serves Latin cuisine!
However, there’s got to be some sort of dormant reason for the resistance and rather than fight it and forcing myself to cook dishes that I’m just not feeling, I’m going to delay a little bit longer and take this week to focus on Easter. Plus, I have some feelers out there for some family recipes for Bolivia, and maybe Peru and Venezuela, so I might as well give those some time to make their way towards my kitchen.
So, Easter. I did an Easter Around the World Series a few years ago, but didn’t last year. What happened to last year? I don’t know, but Easter is such a food holiday that it’d be wrong for me to not give due attention.
In my original nod to Easter, I made Paçoca, that delicious Brazilian peanut candy. I hadn’t really intended to make it again. Been there, done that. But, the Maria cookies were on sale at the grocery and I impulse bought some, figuring it wouldn’t be a bad thing to remake them, snazz up the pictures and perhaps snazz up the recipe a bit too. And I did. Been there, done that BETTER.
I had original described the paçoca as the inside of a Reese’s PB cup, but I should more accurately describe the taste to be like cookie butter. COOKIE BUTTER. Perhaps I didn’t know what cookie butter was back in 2013, but THANK HEAVENS I know what it is now. And of its magical properties. AmIright?
Anyway, what would go better with peanut butter cookie butter than chocolate? Yeah, exactly…so I made the original recipe and slathered the top with dark chocolate. I even used mini cookie cutters to carefully cut these into cute Easter shapes- bunnies, butterflies (?) and the like. Good decisions, all.
I had so many cookies left that I figured I’d play around with the original recipe a bit, mixing up the type of nut, adding some other specks of flavor and changing up the chocolate to white. I chose pecans because, I think that, despite loving all nuts almost equally, toasted pecans are my favorite. I think my love goes way back to the turtle sundaes Little Buddha and I ate at the Avondale Dairy Bar all those summers ago in Canada. A love reinforced in the college days when my Saturday morning brunch meal of choice was pecan (pe-can) pancakes, and still going strong today when they’re my nut of choice for any cookies and brownies that I make. So…Maria cookies, pecan butter, cinnamon, maple syrup and sweetened condensed milk, all capped off with a healthy layer of white chocolate.
Whoa. My new creation was so much better than the original recipe, and the original recipe is pretty darn good.
Note: For some reason that white chocolate cracked when I tried to use the cookie cutters on it, so my advice would be to cut the bars and then dip them in chocolate. Or, let them cracked for an “artistic” look. Any way you slice it, cracks or not, you’ll no doubt be shoving these in your face in the same uncontrollable fashion I did.
Another note: When rereading that old post, it seems I was also complaining about not having a spring trip. At least my priorities remain consistent.
Perfect for any Easter basket, you’ll want to make both varieties. Now. Go.
- 41 Maria cookies
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 9 ounces toasted pecans (about 2 cups-best to weigh if you can)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 TB maple syrup
- 1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
- In a the food processor, combine pecans, cookies and cinnamon, and pulse until it’s well combined and even. Add the syrup and pulse. Add the condensed milk and process until it forms a ball of dough. Transfer to a 9-inch square baking dish lined with wax or parchment paper.
- Using your hands, press it very well to form an even layer. Let it rest for about 30 minutes. Slather with the melted white chocolate and let set up a few hours until the chocolate is good and hard and the filling has tightened up. Remove from the baking dish and cut into squares. Keep it in airtight containers.
- Best to weigh the nuts if possible.
Random: I got some feedback from Tomato and Mama Tomato that the site was hard to navigate. That’s no good and if any of you lovelies have any suggestions on how it would be easier to find the recipes you seek, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll work on tweaks. I aim to please.
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