It´s become expected that I bring something sweet to the big family dinner at Christmas Eve. I like to keep it small, so it´s easy to serve and I like to have 2 different flavors in case chocolate isn´t someone´s favorite.
This year I tried Nanaimo Bars and Empolvados a dulce de leche cookie from Chile.
The Nanaimo bars were challenging because I didn´t have custard powder and used cornstarch instead. That layer didn´t ever really set - I was expecting something like a cheesecake texture. That, and I got carried away on the chocolate top layer. So even though I tried to score the bars before chilling, and added some cream to the chocolate while melted to try to keep it softer, when it came time to cut them, the chocolate shattered into a million pieces and the creamy layer squeezed out all over the place. That said, they were delicious! Except one nephew who didn´t like coconut. You could halve the amount of coconut, or leave it out completely.
The Empolvados were educational - I´d never made a meringue based cookie batter before and I was concerned I´d have to have the bowl, beaters and eggs thoroughly chilled. Not so! In fact room temperature is better. Used a couple of drops of lemon juice instead of cream of tartar (which I´ve never seen here) and it actually folded into the other ingredients reasonably well. They do expand in the oven while baking, so keep them small. In the end they were a little too light and sweet for my taste - but they disappeared just the same.