Traditional & Reinvented Sweets
form a Mexican-American Kitchen
Review By Bobbie Kitto
Includes a recipe for Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Edited by Linda Kissam
Released just in time for Easter and Cinco de Mayo is Nicole Presley’s first cookbook entitled VIVA DESSERTS! It couldn’t have come at a better time. This book is a real inspiration for something fun but different. I must confess until reading this book, my knowledge of Mexican desserts was limited to Flan and churros.
Nicole is known for her blog called Presley’s Pantry and working to develop recipes that incorporate her Mexican and American heritage for such companies as Nestle, Walmart, General Mills, and Idaho potato. This is reflected in such recipes as Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Pie (pg.46-47).
Ms. Presley lays it all out by providing a list of what mainstays are in her pantry at all times. Also supplied are the names of the brands that she uses and where to find them.
Next comes the fun part, the dessert recipes. Nicole starts off with 5 Flan recipes. Taken out is the mystery of making such things as Coconut Almond Flan (pg. 18-19). Before reading this book, I only knew about Caramel Flan.
The following section is Empanadas and Pies followed by Galletas (cookies). Here readers will find the Mexican version of Peanut Butter cookies, Oatmeal cookies, and Sprinkle cookies.
The cake section surprises and intrigues with such recipes as Coconut Pina Celebration cake, Cherry Tres Leches cake and Choco-Horchata Cheesecake.
In the chapter entitled Panaderia (Bakery) find recipes for Marzipan Donas (donuts), Funfetti Conchas (dome-shaped Mexican classic sweet bread) and Churro Muffins.
The next chapter is entitled Dulceria (sweets). It includes such items as the Perfect Whipped Cream, Floating Gelatin and many other ideas for Gelatin desserts.
Included in the book is a section about special holiday desserts like Spiced Candied Pumpkin that could easily find its’ way onto anyone’s next holiday dessert table. On that same table readers likely want to include Bunuelos (Fritters).
At the end of Nicole’s book there are three special drinks:
Cinnamon Atole, Café de Olla, and Chocolate Caliente de Agua.
The presentation made with the author demonstrating two of her favorite recipes: Strawberry Pistachio Flan (pgs. 26-27) and Mexican Chocolate Cookies (pgs. 58-59) can be viewed here
This book rates a solid 5 stars for several reasons. The book is visually appealing with lots of colorful pictures of each recipe and color in the presentation of recipes itself. It is a nice change of pace from the picture of the recipe in all black and white. The recipes also have helpful hints and tips to help make anyone’s first attempt of the recipe a sure success.
Enjoy this recipe, compliments of the author.
Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Chill Time: 3 hours | Bake Time: 15 minutes per baking sheet Yield: 2 ½ dozen
1 cup butter, room temperature
¾ dark brown sugar ¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup pine nuts
1 disk Mexican chocolate, grated
Mexican Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups Mexican chocolate powder
- In a mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugars together for 3 minutes or until mixture looks light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until fully combined. 2. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on medium until dough comes together. 3. Mix in pine nuts until just combined.
- Place cookie dough in refrigerator for 3 hours to chill.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick baking mat. Set to the side.
- Scoop dough into uniform balls by using a 1 ½-tabelspoon cookie scoop and rolling each ball in your hands to make the shape more round.
- Dip each ball of cookie dough in grated Mexican chocolate and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to come to room temperature.
- To make ganache, add whipping cream to a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat. Once little bubbles form around the edge of the pan, add Mexican chocolate powder. Stir with a rubber spatula until mixture becomes smooth and is completely combined.
- Dip half of each cookie into ganache. Let excess drip off, then place on a cooling rack to harden overnight.
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¡Viva Desserts!: Traditional and Reinvented Sweets from a Mexican-American Kitchen
Nicole Presley | Oct 11, 2022
Hardcover – $18.69
Kindle Available instantly $9.99
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Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a copy of the book to review. Her opinions are her own.
To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! Bobbie highly recommends products from Melissa’s Produce, available at many markets.