Mocktails – For Everyone…even the grump.

Glitter & Grump

Yield:  10-12 Mocktails


1 packet lemon lime Kool-Aid

1 can frozen Limeade

2 cups sugar

6 cups water

4 cups pineapple juice

2 cups pear juice

3 cups or 1 750 mL Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Brew (or Ginger Ale works too)

Optional:  ½ gallon lemon or lime sherbet

For the Garnish (for a single glass)

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons red sugar cookie crystals

1 maraschino cherry rolled in gold edible glitter or golden sugar cookie crystals.

1 lime peel rolled in sugar and twisted



Mix all ingredients in a punch bowl and serve immediately.


Line the rim of a glass with honey and then dip into the sugar crystals.

Fill the glass with the grump drink.

Add a festive straw and sugared lime peel.

Roll a maraschino cherry in gold edible glitter or sugar cookie crystals and top the drink with whipped cream and cherry.


Cola de Mono “Monkeys Tail”

A Chilean holiday favorite!

Serves: (8) 3oz. Mocktails


10 whole cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

½ cup water

1 cup milk

1 can sweetened condensed milk or (8 oz cold milk + ½ cup white sugar)

2 tablespoons instant coffee granules

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Garnish

Cinnamon stick

Coffee or chocolate flavored straw

For the Glass

2 tablespoons honey on a plate

2 tablespoons gold sugar on a separate plate

  1. Gently simmer the cloves and cinnamon sticks in water until reduced by half, about 30 minutes.
  2. Add 1 cup of milk, and heat to a simmer, then stir in and dissolve the coffee.
  3. Add sweetened condensed milk.
  4. Discard the cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  5. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. Dip the rim of the coffee cup onto the plate with the honey and hold up side down for 1 minute or the honey will drip.
  7. Dip the rim then into the gold sugar. Turn over the cup.
  8. Add Cola de Mono drink and serve with a cinnamon stick or flavored straw.


Sujeonggwa – Korean Persimmon Punch  수정과

Serves: 4 Mocktails


8 cups water

½ cup peeled and thinly sliced ginger

8 cinnamon sticks, rinsed

1 cup light brown sugar

4 dried persimmons, stems removed

*If whole dried are not available, fresh is suitable


Pine nuts

Persimmon (fresh or dried)

Cinnamon stick, rinsed


  1. In 2 small pots, bring 4 cups water to boil in each.
  2. Add ginger to one pot and cinnamon to the other.
  3. Simmer both for about 1 hour to obtain the best flavor has been achieved.
  4. Remove ginger and cinnamon and discard.
  5. Combine both liquids into one.
  6. Over medium heat add sugar and dissolve.
  7. Add persimmons to soften and they may be removed when serving or sliced and served as a garnish along with the pine nuts.

Chicken Tinga

Chicken Tinga

Servings:  3 (10-12 Tacos)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1⁄2 cup roughly chopped onion (white or yellow)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1–2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped fine (these are hot peppers)
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin, ground
1⁄2 teaspoon smoked paprika, ground
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1⁄2 cup fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 ripe tomato, (Roma preferred), diced and seeds removed
1⁄4 cup chicken broth
1⁄4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 cups shredded cooked chicken, to keep it simple, grocery store rotisseries works great!


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and onion. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 30-45 seconds more. Stir in the chipotles, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add in the tomatoes, broth and salt. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 7-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool 5-10 minutes.
  5. Put the tomato mixture in a blender or use an immersion blend and blend until smooth. (Do not use hot liquids in a blender, may cause severe burns)
  6. Return the sauce to the pan over low heat and add the chicken. Cook for 5 -10 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Salt to taste.

At this time you may add this to tortillas and top with whichever ingredients you like;  avocado, crema, cilantro, lime, etc.

Sometimes I like to add it to leftover rice for a quick power bowl lunch!


Thanksgiving Sides…with Flare and Flavor!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, Cherries, Feta and Balsamic Glaze

Yield: 4 Servings


4 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 large butternut squash, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks (2-3 cups)

½ cup dried cherries

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

¼ cup toasted pecans

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup balsamic glaze


  1. Pre-Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss brussels sprouts, sweet potato, cherries, olive oil, garlic, cumin, allspice and salt to coat.
  3. Put into a small casserole dish (8-inch by 8-inch or 9-inch by 13-inch will both work!). A sheet tray works well and then you can serve in a casserole dish.
  4. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake 45 minutes, stirring once half-way through, or until veggies are golden-brown and cooked through. Remove from oven.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Sprinkle pecans and feta cheese over the veggies just before serving and drizzle with balsamic glaze. 

Cornbread Stuffing with Caramelized Onions, Pancetta and Wild Rice

Yield:  8-10 Servings


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

½ package corn bread croutons for stuffing (3 cups dried)

4 large onions (about 2 3/4 pounds), halved, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

½ lb pancetta, diced

4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth

3 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

1 1/3 cups wild rice (about one 8-ounce package uncooked or 2 15-ounce pre-cooked cans)

3/4 to 1 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley (for a pop of color)

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add onions; sauté over medium low heat until very tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Transfer onions to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Using the pot from the onions, bring to medium heat and sauté pancetta and garlic until pancetta is crisp. Remove from heat. Do not drain oil.
  5. Bring broth, thyme and sage to a boil in heavy large deep saucepan. Mix in wild rice; return to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 30 minutes. (If using pre-cooked rice, reduce broth to 2 cups and simmer 10 minutes.)
  6. Stir in caramelized onions, pancetta and garlic (including oil). Cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring often.
  7. In a large bowl, fold together the corn bread croutons and wild rice mix. Do not over stir or it will result in a mushy stuffing. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Stir in 3/4 cup parsley.
  9. Transfer stuffing to prepared dish.
  10. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes and the top layer is crispy. You may use a broiler to brown further if you wish.
  11. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley over stuffing and serve.

Fall….ing for Hasselback Potatoes 


3 large potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold)

4 tablespoons melted butter, duck fat or bacon fat

Fresh herbs, chopped

Parmesan cheese, grated

Kosher salt to taste

Fresh cracked black pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Wash and dry the potatoes. Scrub the potatoes and pat dry.
  3. Cut slits* in the potatoes, leaving the bottom intact. (Cut parallel slits into each potato, stopping just before you cut through so that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato. Space the slices 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch apart.)
  4. Brush the potatoes with half the fat. Arrange the potatoes in a baking dish. Brush the potatoes all over with half the butter or other fat, including the bottoms.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, then brush with more fat. At this point, the layers will start separating.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the potatoes again with the remaining fat — you can nudge the layers apart if they’re still sticking together. Make sure some of the fat drips down into the space between the slices.
  8. Bake another 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are crispy on the edges and easily pierced in the middles with a paring knife.
  9. In the last 5 minutes, stuff the herbs and Parmesan into the slits and sprinkle over the top.

Serve immediately.

*You can rest the potato in a large serving spoon or on 2 wooden chopsticks


Creamy Sweet Potato and Herb Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 6-8 Servings


1 lb. package elbow macaroni noodles

8 oz. (1 stick butter)

2 tablespoons butter

1 yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

4 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup vegetable broth

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon sage

2 cups milk, whole or 2% preferred*

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese*

¾ cup Gouda cheese*

¼ cup Parmesan*

¼ teaspoon dry mustard*


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Butter a 9×13 casserole dish. Set aside.
  3. Cook the macaroni according to package directions, less 2 minutes for al dente.
  4. Drain, stir in 1 stick of butter and set aside.
  5. Heat the remaining 2 T butter in a skillet over medium low heat and add onion.
  6. Cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the sugar and sauté and additional 15 minutes. (sugar allows for quick caramelization)
  8. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes. Cut into large chunks.
  9. Boil the sweet potatoes until tender, then drain.
  10. Add the caramelized onions, salt, pepper, broth and spices and herbs and using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.
  11. Return to the stove and over medium low heat, slowly add in milk, dry mustard and cheese until melted into a sauce*.
  12. Pour the sauce* over the cooked noodles and stir until combined.
  13. Add macaroni mixture to casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.  (you may add breadcrumbs)

*Recipe for 3-cheese sauce here if you prefer to make separate for other uses (would make a great topping for the Hasselbacks)

3-Cheese Béchamel

3-Cheese Sauce (Béchamel)


2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk (2% or whole preferred)

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

¾ cup Gouda cheese

¼ cup Parmesan

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Pepper to taste


  1. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. One melted, stir in flour, salt and pepper and mix for 1 minute. Do not stop stirring or it will burn.
  3. Gradually add in milk and heat through about 5 minutes.
  4. Add cheese and stir, small amounts at a time until the cheese is melted and smooth.

Fiesta de Tamales!


Yield: 4 servings


2 ripe Avocado

½ medium red Onion, minced

1 Jalapeño or Serrano, de-seeded, minced

1 clove Garlic, diced

Juice of 1 Lime

3 tablespoons Cilantro, rinsed, finely chopped

½ teaspoon Kosher Salt


  1. Mash avocados in a molcajete or bowl, add onion, jalapeño, garlic and salt and stir
  2. Add in lime juice a teaspoon at a time until desired flavor occurs
  3. Add in cilantro and gently fold
  4. Serve immediately


*Cover with plastic wrap, tightly sealed around the entire top of the guacamole so that no air can get it, will prevent browning for a longer period of time


Pico de Gallo (Beak of Rooster)

Yield: 6 servings



8 ripe Tomatoes, cored and diced (Roma preferred)

1 red Onion, diced

1 Jalapeño or Serrano, de-seeded, minced

1 bunch Cilantro, washed and rough chopped (half uses for pico and half set aside)

2 cloves Garlic, minced

Juice of 1-2 Lime

1 tsp Kosher Salt

*May be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week


Tamales Rojas de Puerco (Red Pork Tamales)

Yield: approximately 40 tamales

Dried corn husks:  Soak dried corn husks in warm water for at least 1 hour prior to assembly

Pork Ingredients

2 lb pork butt

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp celery salt

1 dried guajillo pepper

1 dried ancho pepper

2 T Kosher salt

2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

3 cups water

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 onion, peeled and quartered

Pork Method (crock-pot)

  1. Rub pork with cumin, oregano, paprika, celery salt, salt and pepper
  2. Place in crock pot, cover with water and add garlic, onion and peppers
  3. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours
  4. Remove from juice and let cool
  5. Reserve broth for sauce
  6. Shred and season meat to taste and set aside

Masa Ingredients

6 cups Masa Harina

1 cup Manteca (lard)

3/4 cup butter, unsalted, room temp

3-4 cups stock or broth from stewed meat made ahead

1 1/2 cup creamed corn

3 tsp baking powder

Kosher Salt to taste (approximately 1 tablespoon) 

Method for Masa

  1. In a large bowl or mixer, whip lard and butter until soft and very light in color
  2. Add salt and baking powder and whip another 20 seconds
  3. Add masa in ½ cup increments
  4. Add creamed corn and whip for another 20 seconds
  5. By hand slowly add in stock as needed to desired consistency (light and spongy)


Spoon a bit of dough into a bowl of water, if it floats, it’s done, if it sinks, it needs more liquid, more fat and more mixing, best when using stand mixer.

Tamale Assembly

Place corn husk wide end facing away from you, add enough masa to spread thin layer over entire husk

Place 1 T or more filling in a line down the middle of the husk on top of the masa

Begin to roll the husk into desired tamale shape like a burrito, enclosing all contents like a package

Tie a knot or bow around the husk to keep from opening up during the steaming process


Steam for 40-45 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes, open; add sauce and cheese and most of all…Enjoy!

Chile Rojo (Red Chile Sauce)

Yield: 3 cups

*Can be frozen in freezer bags or containers for up to 6 months


  • 2 dried guajillo and 2 dried ancho
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • Juice from pork or beef meat for tamales (see above recipe)


  1. Remove the top of the chiles and shake out most of the seeds.
  2. In a large pot, add the chiles and all of the spices.
  3. Add enough water to cover all of the chiles.
  4. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes.
  5. The following steps will be done in batches until all of the chiles are blended:
  1. Once the chiles are soft, transfer to a blender or food processor and add about 1 to 2 cups of water each batch. Start with 1 cup and add more if they are not blending well due to being dry.
  1. Add the pureed chiles through a strainer to remove the remaining seeds and skins.
  2. Push the chile mix with a spoon to get the most out of them.
  3. Once all of the chiles are strained, transfer to a big bowl and add more salt and pepper to taste.


 Tamales Verdes de Pollo (Green Chicken Tamales)

Yield: Approximately 40 tamales

Dried corn husks

-Soak dried corn husks in warm water for at least 1 hour prior to assembly

Chicken Ingredients

2 lb chicken

8-10 cups boiling water

1 onion, peeled and quartered

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp celery salt

2 T Kosher salt

2 tsp fresh ground black pepper 

Chicken Method

  1. Boil water or chicken stock in large stock pot
  2. Add chicken, onion and garlic and simmer until chicken is tender (about 20 minutes)
  3. Remove from juice and let cool
  4. Reserve broth for sauce
  5. Shred and season with oregano, cumin, paprika, celery salt, salt and pepper to taste
  6. Set aside


Chile Verde (Green Chile Sauce)

Yield: 3 cups

*Can be frozen in freezer bags or containers for up to 6 months


1 ½ pound of tomatillos green tomatoes husk removed

3 Serrano peppers or 3 jalapenos

4 cloves of garlic peeled

3 cups broth from cooking chicken

Salt to taste



  1. Cook the tomatoes, peppers, and garlic in a pot with water until they are cooked and tender.
  2. Place the tomatoes, peppers and garlic in the blender and puree until smooth.
  3. Season with salt


Tamales de Chocolate y Frutas de Boscas (Chocolate Tamales with Berries)

Yield:  14 tamales


  • 14 large dry corn husks
  • 2 cans (7.6 fluid ounces each) NESTLÉ Media Crema, divided
  • 1/4 cup NESTLÉ La Lechera Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablets (90 grams each) NESTLÉ Abuelita Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups masa harina flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm milk



  1. Soak husks in warm water for at least 1 hour or until softened and easy to fold.
  2. Combine 1 can media crema, sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon in small bowl; refrigerate.
  3. Place Abuelita chocolate and remaining 1 can media crema in medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat; set aside.
  4. Beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Alternately add flour mixture, milk and Abuelita mixture to butter, mixing well after each addition until consistency of thick cake batter (masa). (If masa is dry add a few tablespoons of warm milk; mix well.)
  5. Spread 1/4 cup masa mixture, using back of a spoon, to form a square in the center of the lower wider portion of one husk. Fold right then left edge of husk over masa. Fold up bottom edge. Repeat with remaining masa mixture and husks.
  6. Place vegetable steamer in pot with lid; add water to just below steamer. Arrange tamales upright in steamer rack. Cover top of tamales with a damp towel; cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Steam, adding water as needed, for about 30 minutes or until masa pulls away from husks. Serve warm with media crema sauce and mixed berry coulis.


Mixed Berry Coulis

Yield: 2 cups coulis


2 cups mixed Berries

¼ cup caster Sugar*

Juice of ½ Lemon


Combine raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat until fruit is softened and berries release their juices. Continue to simmer until the liquid is reduce by half. Remove from heat and puree in food processor until smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove any seeds and stir in liqueur or orange juice.

*1 cup powdered sugar = ¾ cup superfine or caster sugar (also known as baking sugar)

Lamb Chops with Chimichurri

Lamb Chops with Chimichurri

Demonstrated at the Garlic Festival of Minnesota 2019 in Hutchinson, MN by yours truly, Jessica Tijerina.

Ingredients (Chimichurri)

Yield:  3 cups

12 cloves Garlic
2 cups Parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons fresh Thyme
2 teaspoons fresh Rosemary
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons Red or White Wine Vinegar

Method (Chimichurri)

  1. Place all chimichurri sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

Ingredients (Lamb Chops)

Yield:  Serves 4

4 lamb chops, each about ¾ inch thick
¼ cup olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Method (Lamb Chops)

  1. Combine all lamb seasoning and rub on lamb or toss around in a bowl.
  2. Heat grill or grill pan on high heat.
  3. Cook lamb chops on the first side for about 3 minutes.
  4. Flip to cook other side for 2-3 minutes or until desired doneness. (145 degrees = medium rare, 160 = well)
  5. Remove from heat and serve immediately with chimichurri and a sliced baguette.






4 lb pork shoulder (pork butt), skinless, boneless (If bone in – 5 lb)
1-2 tablespoons Kosher salt
3 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup juice from an orange
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups pork or vegetable stock

Spice Mix:  Use Jessica’s Carnitas Spice Mix!


1 White Onion, quartered
1 Jalapeño, de-seeded and chopped
3 cloves Garlic, diced
1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano
2 tablespoons ground Cumin
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt

Method (to cook the pork)

1. Rinse and pat dry the pork, rub all over with salt and pepper.
2.  Rub Jessica’s spice mix all over the pork.
3. Place the pork in a slow cooker (fat side up), top with juice of the orange and desired liquid.
4. In a slow cooker, cook on low for 10 hours or high for 7 hours.
5. Pork should be tender and fall apart with a fork.  Remove from slow cooker and let cool slightly, then shred using two forks.
6. If you have a lot more than 2 cups of juice, then reduce it down to about 2 cups. You want about 2 cups for the seasoning of the cooked pork. Set the liquid aside.

(to make the pork crispy and irresistible!) – well…you fry it of course.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non stick pan or well seasoned skillet over high heat.
  2. Spread about 1/4 of the pork into the pan.
  3. Add about 1/8 cup of juices to the pan.
  4. Wait until the meat is crispy, brown and fried on the bottom.
  5. Flip and sear the other side.
  6. Remove the pork from skillet and set aside.
  7. Repeat until all of the pork has been to the pan. Any remaining juice can be used to pour over the meat or saved to add later (If there are leftovers. Ha!)

**If you want to speed up the crisp, you can broil in an oven on high. Spread out the pork on a parchment lined sheet tray and broil 5-8 minutes or until edges of meat are crispy and brown. Then, pour over the remaining juices.

Pork with Green Pumpkin Seed Mole “Puerco En Mole Verde De Pepita” / Dia de los Muertos

Puerco En Mole Verde De Pepita “Pork in a Green Pumpkin Seed Mole”

Yield:  6 Servings


2 pounds Carnitas (little pieces of browned pork)

¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds

6 black peppercorns (may substitute ½ teaspoon ground black pepper)

1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds (may substitute 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin)

3 1/2 cups broth

1 cup tomate verde “green tomatoes” or tomatillos (cooked and drained)

5 serrano chiles, roughly chopped

If the peppers are hot: remove seeds & membrane, but remember they will be added to the thickened pumpkin mixture and 2 cups of broth

3 tablespoons roughly chopped white onion

2 garlic cloves, peeled

3 sprigs epazote (1 tablespoon dried)

5 sprigs cilantro leaves

1 bunch radish leaves

1 large romaine lettuce leaves

3 tablespoons pork fat

Salt to taste



Toast the pumpkin seeds in an ungreased skillet 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they swell. (this part is really cool!)

Do not let them brown. Set aside to cool, then grind them finely with the peppercorns and cumin to later form a paste.

If using ground spices add them after you grind the pumpkin seeds.

Add these spices to a medium size bowl and stir in 1 cup of the broth until a smooth sauce is formed. Set aside.

In a food processor, blend the tomate verde, chiles, onion and garlic until smooth.

Add the greens, a handful at a time and blend until almost smooth. Set aside.

In a medium pan, heat pork fat and fry the spice mixture about 3 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the blended greens and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally about 10 minutes.

Add 2 cups broth and continue to cook another 10 minutes.

Salt to taste.

Gradually add remaining broth and let the sauce cook over very low heat. When it is done, the mole will coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Add the pork pieces and warm them through.

Serve immediately with rice if you choose. I top mine with a bit of avocado and cilantro!

Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) Dia De Los Muertos

Pan de Muerto

Yield:  2 loaves (each serves 4-6)


For the bread

½ cup whole milk

5 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 tablespoon orange blossom water (substitute: 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice)

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast

3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose our; more as needed

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Vegetable oil as needed


For the topping

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup granulated sugar



The Dough

Put the milk, butter and orange zest in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir until the butter melts, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool until warm.

Add the orange blossom water and whisk in the eggs.

Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup warm water (no warmer than 110°F) and let stand until the mixture bubbles slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. (If the yeast doesn’t bubble, discard it and start again with new yeast.)

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt on a work surface.

Make a well in the center.

Gradually pour the yeast mixture and the milk mixture into the well while mixing with your hand.

Knead until you have a nice, uniform dough 8-10 minutes.

The dough should be smooth but still slightly sticky. If it seems too sticky, add more flour as needed.

Put the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and leave in a warm place (about 70°F) until doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours.


Shaping the Bread

Cut off a piece of dough about the size of a lemon and reserve.

Divide the remaining dough in half and shape the pieces on a lightly floured surface into 2 rounds.

Line a baking sheet with parchment; put the dough rounds on it and flatten the tops with your hands.

With some of the reserved dough, form 2 balls the size of large marbles; set aside and cover with plastic. Divide the remaining dough into 6 pieces and roll them with your hands from the center out, making ropes that are slightly longer than the width of the loaves. As you’re rolling, press with your index and middle fingers spread about 1 inch apart to make knobs that represent bones.

Arrange 3 of the ropes on top of each dough round, overlapping the ropes in the center.

Cover loosely with a cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Dab a little cold water on the top center of each round where the ropes meet and put the reserved dough balls on top, pressing slightly so they adhere.

Bake until the loaves have an even golden color, 30-35 minutes.

Cover the loaves loosely with foil and continue to bake until the bottoms are brown, and the internal temperature is 190°F, 10-12 minutes more.

Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes on a wire rack.

Brush the loaves all over with some of the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Repeat with the other loaf and remaining sugar.

Cool to room temperature before serving.

 Buen Provecho!