Shortbread in a tin can

Santa’s Shortbread Cookies

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It's my favorite time of year! The smell of pine intoxicating the house, Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas" playing on repeat, and the fireplace crackling away, as I dip my nose into some hot chocolate (or spiked coffee =). Even the dogs get into the holiday spirit with their festive stick-on antlers. Simply put, December is awesome. This year is even more special than most. Our toddler understands the concept of Santa, and so, my husband and I are essentially reliving our childhood. Read more [...]

Bella's Linzers

Bella’s Linzer Cookies

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Having family visiting this weekend inspired this new little treat. One of my favorite cookies at bakery shops (but not always the tastiest given neglectful baking), I decided to give this one a try. Linzer sablés (or Linzer "eyes") are the cookie-sized version of the Linzertorte, a short, crumbly Austrian torte with a lattice design on top. The dough  is traditionally made with hazelnuts (or almonds) and is covered with a filling of redcurrant, raspberry or apricot jam or preserves. Read more [...]

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Zucchini Carrot Muffins w/ Coconut & Almonds

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It's been almost a year since I last posted...but now I'm back! Not only am I back, I'm back with an extra set of hands. Welcome, Isa!   I've been wanting to bake with her pretty much since the day she was born but kept waiting for the right time. We finally baked together for the first time this Friday. We made mini red velvet cupcakes for a dinner party we were invited to and had a blast in the kitchen (eating them was fun too). It was the perfect trial run for this morning's baking Read more [...]

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Mini Red Velvet Choco Chip Cupcakes (no buttermilk here!)

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I'm currently in the midst of planning my daughter's first birthday and that means A LOT of baking. Ziploc containers of mini this and mini that. Making sure the frosting matches the cupcake toppers matches the pennant banners matches the hole in the wall. You get the point. Read more [...]

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Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

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I love Fall. The foliage, the weather, the earthy tones splashed all over the gorgeous veggies at the farmer's markets. It's beautiful and happy. Then comes winter. Ain't nuthin' special about it except two days of snow (that's all I can handle in one season) and, most importantly, fall veggies. The ones that carry on through winter. Enter Butternut Squash. It's awesome. You can roast it, bake it, grill it, boil it. It pretty much tastes good no matter what you do to it. And soup is probably Read more [...]

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Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies (for ice cream sandwiches)

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If you like brownies, you'll love its first cousin, the chocolate chocolate chip cookie. You feel like you're eating a sliver of chocolate cake, only denser and chewier. And the best part about these cookies? They are ideal for ice cream sandwiches. This wasn't what I intended for these cookies. But I made them for a dinner party at home, and when I placed these on the table, my spastic friend got up, raided our freezer, sat back at the table with a tub of ice cream, and began slathering it Read more [...]

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Marbled Pound Cake

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Every time I saw slices of this gorgeous cake at a cafe or pastry shop, it reminded me of how much I wanted to make it but how terrified I was to even try. Would mine ever look as pretty? More importantly, would it taste as good as it looked? I finally decided to take the plunge and give it a try. I combed the Internet and several cookbooks for a list of ingredients that sounded appealing and finally narrowed it down to two different recipes. I then took what I liked from both to make the recipe Read more [...]

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Chocolate Chip Bacon Banana Nut Muffins

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Yes. Bacon. Because why not. Whoever invented bacon deserves a lifetime achievement award. Or a Nobel Peace Prize. Because if everyone ate bacon, there would be nothing but happiness and peace in this world. I love bacon. The smell, the taste, the crunch. It makes everything taste...the way it should. And so naturally, why not bacon in chocolate chip banana nut muffins? Sweet and salty. Yum. This outstanding revelation came to me this morning as I was eating bacon and eggs. I thought Read more [...]

Sweet Potato Muffins with Pecans

Sweet Potato Muffins With Pecans

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If you cringe at the thought of zucchini bread or gag at the sound of carrot muffins, Stop. Reading. Now. This recipe is for the very few of us who still celebrate veggies...in desserts. A dying breed. I've been wanting to make something sweet with yams for years. Every Thanksgiving I think "why are sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows then served as a side and not a dessert?" And every year I say to myself, "I'm making a dessert out of this one day". Then I began pureeing sweet Read more [...]

Light n' fluffy too

Olive Oil Zucchini Bread

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Grandma decided to give my little girl an olive oil hair mask today. I figured objecting wouldn't do much to help my daughter's cause, so I watched as she got 'pampered' by Grandma's ancient beauty traditions. My little one seemed to love it, which makes me worry about the spa bills she'll be racking up when she's old enough. Since the olive oil was out and about, I decided to make good use of it in the kitchen by concocting something new...and green. Enter my newest treat - olive oil zucchini Read more [...]

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Carrot Cake Muffins with Pepitas

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Dusting off my baking utensils on Sunday rekindled my love of baking, so I decided to ride the wave and make a second treat for this week. Introducing Carrot Cake Muffins with Pepitas (a.k.a. pumpkin seeds). No real pointers needed for this one - just follow the recipe and you'll be good to go. Pretty much impossible to mess this one up. As a side note, I'm including a cream cheese spread you can use to go along with the muffins if you want to serve them with a little extra something. Read more [...]

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Very Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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It was Spring the last time I posted an entry. It is now the end of Summer. Yowzahs. I need to get my act together. Right, so moving on, today's entry is one of my all-time favorite type of cookies - oatmeal raisin - the incredibly chewy kind. Forget the small, crispy, brittle types - not my thing. Chewy, gooey and large, that's right up my alley. The thing about an oatmeal raisin cookie is that it sounds incredibly healthy, so you can indulge in one -- or two or three -- virtually Read more [...]

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Bella Cupcakes (Choco Chip with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting)

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Wondered where I've been for the past two weeks? As it turns out, our little bundle of joy decided to make her grand entrance into this world one week early, so I've been getting acquainted with my little princess and practicing my new role as a mommy! Needless to say though, between feedings, burpings and diaper changes, baking has taken a back seat. But fear not, my friends. Thanks to [a lot] of help from daddy and grandma, I managed to set aside a bit of time to bake this new treat in honor Read more [...]

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Mocha Chocolate Chip Brownie Cake w/ Chocolate Ganache

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Have any of you tried Julia Child's Mocha Brownie Cake? Well, neither have I, but I came across the recipe in my 'Baking with Julia' manual and I decided to give it a go for my hubby's birthday yesterday. He's a self-reported chocoholic, so I wanted to make something that was luxurious and indulgent and ultra chocolatey. I was also looking for something with a simple decoration that would look great with candles and this particular dessert fit the bill. The one major change I made to the recipe Read more [...]

Bite into the goodness and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Walnut Brownies

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Here we go again. Another chocolate recipe from the non-chocolate lover herself. Don't worry, I have the best taste tester at home in my chocoholic husband, so when I say these are tried and tested, I mean it. I don't know what it is that has me baking with chocolate so often these days, but I would venture to say it's my pregnancy. I think our little one has inherited her father's obsession with chocolate! These brownies were actually a bit of an experiment. I took a Chocolate Walnut brownie Read more [...]

Soft and chewy

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Salted Caramel Cookies

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I'm guessing this was a busy weekend for many of you. From Easter egg hunts to Seder dinners, I bet a good chunk of you (no pun intended) were running around trying to get a nice meal on the table and entertaining guests. I thought about posting this recipe on Friday as an option for your holiday entertaining, but then I figured it would add to your food overload, so I held off. Until today. My plan instead was to share this with you as a post-holiday 'you deserve it' dessert. Think of it Read more [...]

Panna Cotta with Bluerry Sauce

Panna Cotta w/ Blueberry Sauce

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I feel compelled to start with an apology for my lack of baking activity this past week. I've been meaning to get back into the kitchen, but I really needed to recover from my Dulce de Leche Cheesecake bake-a-thon two Saturdays ago. Cheesecakes are THAT draining (ok not really, but for purposes of dramatization let's just blame it on the cheesecake). The good news is I'm back now, and this time, I'm sticking to my roots  - EEEAAAASY RECIPES. This recipe is one of my niece's favorites. I've Read more [...]

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Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

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A friend of mine was celebrating his birthday yesterday and asked that I make a Dulce de Leche Cheesecake for his party. Cheesecake?! Ugh. I had been dreading making this since he asked for it earlier in the week. Cheesecake is one of my least favorite sweets to bake. Getting it just right is a hassle and there's a meticulous science that goes into the baking. The tiniest diversion to the required steps can be disastrous. I'm all about EASY recipes. But it was a special occasion, so I couldn't say Read more [...]

A view from above

Blueberry Ricotta Scones

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Since I'm slightly obsessed with scones these days, I decided to bake a sweet version of these flaky delights. Different from the rich and dense Prosciutto Blue Cheese scones I made earlier this week, the Blueberry Ricotta scones are light and fluffy. They're sweet, but not too sweet, and the ricotta gives them a great weightless feel. The lemon zest adds a wonderful citrusy twist and the blueberries make them just a tad bit sweet(er). For those of you who don't like pieces of fruit Read more [...]

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Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Scones

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Few things are better than a blue cheese - prosciutto combo. Slap those two ingredients on practically anything and they will automatically transform any dull dish into a flavorful meal. Salty, sharp, and just a tad bit creamy - it's the perfect balance of flavors and smells. When I first heard of a prosciutto and blue cheese scone, I nearly peed my pants with excitement. A friend of mine casually mentioned she'd been making these for a while during one of our many baking conversations, and Read more [...]


Small biscuits

Cheddar Dill Biscuits

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Normally, my husband takes over the kitchen for his ceremonial weekend cooking and I have no say whatsoever on what he whips up. This weekend, however, I proposed we join forces to make something different. He agreed and we began planning our menu. My recommendation was...wait for it...a chicken biscuit. Random I know. But I was craving a particular chicken biscuit they sell at a tiny eatery in Brooklyn called Pies 'n Thighs. It consists of a fried cutlet on a biscuit with hot sauce and honey Read more [...]

Cream-filled cupcake

Double-Filled Devil’s Food Cupcakes

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I have a confession to make...I think you'll be shocked...here goes...I don't like chocolate.  I know, it's lame. I'm .01% of the population that fits into this category and I have been ever since I was a little girl. Snickers? No thanks, I'll take the vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce. Chocolate cake? No thank you, I'll take the jelly filled doughnut instead. Not sure why. Guess I just never developed a palate for it. Then there's my husband who would die without chocolate in this world. Makes Read more [...]

Caramlized sugar on Rugelach

Giant Rugelach

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One of the first things I lay my eyes on when I walk into a NY deli are Rugelach - particularly the raspberry kind. I'm not even sure when I first became so obsessed with these Jewish pastries, but something tells me I was sold the first time I sunk my teeth into one. There are few things I can think of that are better than a rich, flaky cream cheese dough slathered with a tangy fruit filling. Add the nuts...and oh my goodness! This recipe in particular is all about abundance. The rolls are Read more [...]

Bunch of Fleur de Sel Caramels

Fleur de Sel Caramels

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This weekend was a busy one with my sisters in town to host my baby shower (yikes, it's getting close!) Between the food, the decorations, the party favors, the guests and the endless list of items to take care of - we were running around like three frantic ladies in heels. Oh wait, we WERE three frantic ladies in heels.  Luckily, I managed to slip out of my stilettos for a brief moment to make some yummy caramels that we put to good use as part of the shower decorations. We decided to Read more [...]

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Apple Cake Tatin

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I've been so distracted discovering and baking new concoctions that I'd forgotten to make some of my all time favorite recipes that I had promised to share when Bella Baking first got underway. Today I'm back with one of my go to apple desserts known as the Apple Cake Tatin. Not only does it sound fancy, it looks and tastes fanciful too! In case you're wondering what the name means, 'Tatin' is essentially an upside-down tart in which the fruit (usually apples) are caramelized before the tart Read more [...]

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Julia Child Blueberry Muffins

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Baking cupcakes earlier this week inspired me to bake their [breakfast] cousins - the muffins. I was craving something light and fluffy that could get me through the rest of the week with a big muffin top smile. Nothing too sweet, but more of a 'melt in your mouth' biscuit-type muffin. Having been recently introduced [by a friend] to my new baking bible "Baking with Julia", I decided to go with one of the recipes that resulted from [arguably] the most famed television cooking show of the late Read more [...]

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Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I was recently asked for a good pink velvet cupcake recipe for three baby girls' birthdays and I immediately thought of the Joy of Cooking.  It's the perfect book to turn to when you're looking for baking tips or just basic recipes to adapt to your own needs. Their red velvet recipe (which is an adaptation of their buttermilk layer cake) is a tested staple, so I decided to use it as my foundation for these pink velvet delights. Because of the hot pink liners I used, I decided to go with Read more [...]

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Doughnut Duo!

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No better day than a Saturday afternoon to make one of the world's best fried foods - DOUGHNUTS! It's my first time baking these puppies so I enlisted one of my good friends (who's also a baker & pregnant) for some back-up reinforcement. Not exactly the most efficient way to bake - what with two ladies suffering from 'Pregnesia' (amnesia + pregnancy) - but we did good, despite the fact that we forgot to add the butter and the salt in the right order! I was originally going to make Read more [...]

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Meyer Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake

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I was perusing through one of my favorite baking blogs - Desserts for Breakfast - and I came across this beautiful dessert. I had no intention of adding new items to my baking agenda, but I just couldn't resist. Anything with Lavender will immediately climb to the top of my list. Read more [...]

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Message from your Pregnant Baker

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I’ve been getting quite a few comments from readers about how 'challenged' they feel when it comes to baking.  That got me thinking about one very important message I wanted to share with all of you: if I’m able to bake with my incredibly scattered pregnant brain, then you most certainly can too! All you need is a sweet appetite and a willingness to try (read on for a baking mantra). Not convinced? Let’s get back to my pregnancy state for a bit. Just the other day I opened a carton of Read more [...]

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (family recipe)

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This is a family recipe I uncovered while digging through some of my favorite recipes and reminiscing about my childhood treats. I was on the phone with one of my sisters talking about the different desserts we baked and ate while growing up, and she reminded me of this amazing pineapple upside-down cake one of my older sisters used to make.  How could I have forgotten?! I immediately called her to get the recipe and made it the next dessert on my baking list. Thinking back now, Read more [...]

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Bella’s Picks: Best Desserts in NYC (Part I)

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When I'm in the mood for dessert, I want something that is worth every single calorie. There is nothing more satisfying than taking a bite out of an indulgent sweet that transports you to straight to dessert heaven. In my attempt to share some of my most memorable experiences with you, I started to compile a list of my favorite desserts in NYC. The contents are not listed in any particular order, range anywhere from ice cream to doughnuts, and are spread out in a variety of locations throughout Read more [...]

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Chocolate Walnut Banana Bread

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I was originally going to make a basic Banana Walnut Bread that I love, but then my cravings kicked in and chocolate chips started sounding like THE best idea ever. Having no control over my hunger these days, I had to give in and make a slight tweak to this recipe to satisfy my pregnancy needs. The good news is, the banana bread is so much better because of it!  The semi-sweet chocolate chips are a great addition, not too sweet, and they remain gooey even after the bread has cooled out of Read more [...]

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Caramel Corn Flakes Truffles (family recipe)

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My first disclaimer about this recipe is that the name in the headline is completely made up. This fun treat is a family recipe that one of my older sisters concocted when I was very young and still living in Ecuador. It was our favorite and most requested treat at home. In Spanish, these are called "Bolitas de Corn Flakes", which literally means "Small Corn Flakes Balls". Since the translation sounds far from appetizing, and  I couldn't think of a better sounding English-language translation, Read more [...]

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Joe’s Stone Crab Key Lime Pie

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Joe's Stone Crab is one of my favorite places on earth.  They are most famously known for their mouth-watering jumbo claws they sell from October 15 - May 15 at their outpost in Miami, Florida, but look outside of their stone crab selection and their menu is full of yummy treats. From their creamy seafood bisque to their Lyonnaise potatoes, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this SoBe staple. One of my absolute favorite items on the menu is their 'Joe's Original Homemade Key Lime Pie'. Read more [...]

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Common Baking Mishaps

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While you wait for my next baking treat (check the baking countdown on the bottom right!), I thought I'd share some of the most common baking mishaps that can turn your beautiful desserts into sweet messes.  I know some of the items on this list sound incredibly basic and a bit ridiculous, but I'll have you know, they've happened to me in the kitchen AND, I would venture to guess, they happen to others more often than they care to admit.  So, from my baking notes to  yours, here are a few Read more [...]

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Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookie Sandwiches)

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This is another one of those Latin American treats I miss from back home.  It's essentially a shortbread-like sandwich cookie filled with one of my favorite things in the world - Dulce de Leche. It's practically impossible to go wrong with this baby. In fact, it's practically impossible to go wrong with ANYTHING you slather Dulce de Leche on. There are many variations of the actual cookie, but I like this one in particular because it's simple to make and has an incredibly buttery texture Read more [...]

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Tres Leches (family recipe!)

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Tres Leches is one of those beautiful things everyone should try at least once in their lifetime (or once a week if you ask my husband). It’s delicate, balanced and flavorful. Every bite of this juicy sponge bursts in your mouth, then melts away leaving rich, buttery flavors of creaminess and sweetness on your palate. Tres Leches is essentially a pound cake soaked in heaven. That is, condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream.  It’s a traditional Latin American dessert, but rarely Read more [...]

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Coconut Flan

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Flan.  One of those traditional Latin American desserts I grew up with. This one in particular is one of the easiest and yummiest flan recipes I've made. It's also fool proof and consistently good time after [baking] time. The coconut milk and toasted coconut give the ordinary flan an interesting twist without overshadowing any of the flavors. Every time I bake this sucker I have people raving about it and asking for the recipe. In fact, it's the dessert most often requested by our friends at Read more [...]

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Tres Leches Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream Frosting

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Originally from Ecuador, I grew up eating tres leches for every special and not so special occasion throughout my childhood.  It truly is one of the best inventions in the culinary world and I have yet to try something as decadent and perfectly [overly] sweet as this traditional Latin American dessert. (In fact, stay tuned for my Tres Leches family recipe!) In my desperate search to make a smaller, slightly less caloric version of this sultry treat, I pulled together a few different recipes Read more [...]