Tag Archives: baking

I’m An Addict

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I’m An Addict

I admit it. I’m an addict. I am hopelessly addicted to chocolate.

In another lifetime I had a collection of thirty-five cookbooks loaded with yummy chocolate recipes. And I recall my kids complaining to me, “Can’t you ever bake something without chocolate?” Yet somehow they always attacked the cookies, fudge and cheesecakes with vigor. And I often did humor them and bake items that didn’t contain chocolate.

I suppose that as an addiction chocolate is a relatively harmless one as compared to drugs or alcohol. But nonetheless it has its dangers.

My biggest concern is that chocolate contains caffeine. And I really watch out for caffeine. I drink real coffee only in the mornings and limit myself to a maximum of two cups delay.

Chocolate is not usually a breakfast item. Chocolate is something I crave later in the day.

A candy store near me sells a variety of individually wrapped chocolate items. Perfect! No temptation to eat an entire chocolate bar.

No Bulk Barn here in Mexico so that rules out an overabundance of numerous chocolate items.

Whenever I head to the USA my first purchase is an American Hershey bar. Hershey bars made in Mexico or Canada just don’t taste as good.

However I now have a new favorite here in Mexico. There is a bakery a mere 10 minute walk away that has chocolate truffles the size of a baseball. They cost only 10 pesos, less than 50 cents, and I nibble daily. And it lasts me an entire week!

Doesn’t it look amazing?

Rosca de Reyes

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Rosca de Reyes

One of my favorite pastimes back in Canada was baking. I delighted in trying new recipes and always had a freezer filled with a variety of squares and cookies. I also miss my breadmaker where I made amazing rosemary bread and pizza dough. Here in Mexico I find baking a challenge as many of the ingredients are not available here in Mexico. There are also numerous items on the shelves here that I am not at all familiar with.

I have taken a few Mexican cooking classes here in Mazatlan. I have become good friends with Sofia, a young woman in her twenties, who teaches these classes and I help her translate the recipes from Spanish into English. This afternoon we met with a panadera (a baker) who shared with us the art of making Rosca de Reyes, a traditional sweet bread associated with Dia de Reyes ( Three Kings Day) here in Mexico. Three Kings Day is celebrated on January 6th, twelve days after Christmas. It is also known as Epiphany and commemorates the day that the three wise men visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Rosca de Reyes is in the shape of a wreath which symbolizes a crown. The candied fruit are the jewels on the crown. Inside the bread is hidden a small figurine of the baby Jesus. When the bread is served, each guest cuts a slice. Whoever finds the baby Jesus is the host of a party on February 2nd and must supply the tamales. This person is also the honorary godparent of the baby Jesus and must take a doll to the church to be blessed on that day, also known as Dia de la Candelaria or Candlemas. When I lived in Tlaquepaque, the godparents also gave out baskets of candy to people as they made their way down the street to the church. And of course there was loud music as well.

Rosca de Reyes takes a while to prepare as the dough requires two risings. The intricate decoration on the top is comprised of a sugar paste, ribbons of candied fruit, nuts, prunes, dates and figs. Some bakers also prepare a filling of coconut, nuts, raisins, candied fruit, cinnamon and sugar.

Tomorrow morning we will actually prepare this delicious bread in a class. And as a bonus, it will be accompanied by hot chocolate as is customary here in Mexico. Yum yum!!!!!