Vegan Quesitos – Puerto Rican Cream Cheese Pastries

Vegan Quesitos – Puerto Rican Cream Cheese Pastries

Vegan Quesitos are crispy, flaky, and decadent puff pastry filled with a delicious vegan cream cheese filling.

Vegan Quesitos – Puerto Rican Cream Cheese Puff Pastries is my vegan version of the most delicious and popular pastries in Puerto Rico. You can find them around the island in bakeries, food stands, and restaurants. I grew up eating quesitos from my neighborhood bakery in the town of Bayamon. They had the best pastries in my town. After moving to the states, it was hard for me to find them here, so I learned how to bake them. They were a big hit when I ran my bakery in Kentucky. My vegan quesitos won’t disappoint you!

The regular recipe calls for cream cheese, corn syrup, and an egg wash. My vegan quesitos are;  refined sugar-free, easy to make and so delicious. Make your own puff pastry or simplify your life by buying it. Pepperidge Farm is probably your best bet when looking for a vegan puff pastry. Many store-bought puff pastries are made without dairy or egg because it makes them more shelf-stable.

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Coquito Tres Leches Cake – Puerto Rican Dessert

Coquito Tres Leches Cake – Puerto Rican Dessert
Coquito Tres Leches Cake is a delicious sponge cake soaked in my traditional Coquito and topped with Italian Meringue.

This is my version of Coquito Tres Leches. I’ve been making this recipe for a very long time. It was my clients’ favorite recipe when I had my home-based bakery in Kentucky.

Sharing my delicious Coquito Tres Leches recipe wasn’t on my list, because it is my classic cake recipe. But some of my clients in Kentucky are missing having this cake during their holiday feast, so I decided to share it. Plus, sharing is caring! You can make this cake vegan very easily. Read the recipe notes for vegan replacements. As I always mention, feel free to replace any ingredient. If you want to use this cake as a basic cake just replace the coquito with your choice of milk.

tres leches

 

WHAT IS COQUITO:

Coquito is a creamy, coconut-based beverage original from Puerto Rico.

Christmas is not Christmas for us Puerto Ricans without Coquito. This delicious coconut drink is a staple in Puerto Rico during the Christmas festivities. The traditional recipe calls for coconut milk, coconut cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and white rum. The rum is the key ingredient but you can totally skip it. See the video for details.

Some people describe Coquito as eggnog without the eggs, but they are very different. Eggnog has raw egg, Coquito doesn’t have eggs. There’s a punch recipe from Puerto Rico that is similar to eggnog and contains raw eggs. Nowadays there’s a lot of variations of Coquito, people make it in different flavors and adding a variety of liquors and spices. Here’s a tutorial for my Coquito recipe.https://youtu.be/S2P1PDCAcR4

 

ABOUT THIS CAKE:

This sponge cake is my basic sponge cake recipe. It should be noted that the original cake recipe calls for regular milk. However, for this version, I replace the milk with coquito. Use this recipe to make different cake recipes and even cupcakes.

Although the original tres leches cake is soaked using different kinds of milk, I used my Coquito recipe for soaking the cake. When soaking the cake in Coquito using a squeeze bottle is the easiest way. You can totally make this cake vegan by replacing the eggs with aquafaba. See notes for details. Aquafaba is the best egg replacement in cakes.

If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to take a picture and share it on my Facebook page or tag it #thehungrydragonfly on Instagram! I love seeing your creations!

Make these amazing Puerto Rican recipes during your holidays:

Asopao de Gandules con Bolitas de Platanos Vegano

Sorullitos de Maiz Veganos-Puerto Rican Corn Fritters Vegan

Black Bean Empanada Puerto Rican Style

Puerto Rican Tostones  – Fried Plantains

 

Coquito Tres Leches Cake

Coquito Tres Leches Cake is a delicious sponge cake soaked in my traditional Coquito recipe and topped with Italian Meringue.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Keyword: Coquito, Coquito Tres Leches, Latin Dessert, Puerto Rican Food, Tres Leches
Servings: 10 people
Author: Mariela

Equipment

  • 8X3 round cake pan or the one of your choice.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter I used vegan buttery sticks
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 4 eggs **See notes for vegan**
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • 3 cups self-rising flour spooned and leveled
  • 1 cup Coquito You can replace coquito for your choice of milk.
  • 1-1/2 cup Coquito for soaking the cake Set aside for soaking the cake after baking.

Italian Meringue

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 room temperature egg whites, preferably from fresh eggs 
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Instructions

For the Cake:

  • Make Coquito and chill for a few hours until cold.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease your pan using non-stick spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer beat butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. For about 5 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time. Beating batter just to combine. Do not overmix.
  • On low speed add flour alternating with coquito.
  • Pour batter into the mold.
  • Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. Baking time will depend on the type of mold that you use.
  • Check the cake with a toothpick/skewer by inserting it in the middle. If it comes out clean with no crumbs on it, the cake is ready to be removed from the oven.
  • Remove it to a cooling rack and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. Then invert it onto a cooling rack and allow to completely cool before using.
  • Put the cake inside a shallow dish and poke holes using a straw or a kebab stick.

Soaking the Cake:

  • Pour 1-1/2 cup of coquito inside a squeeze bottle and soak the cake until the cake absorbs the coquito.
  • Refrigerate for while you make the meringue.

Italian Meringue:

  • In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat over high heat. Stir constantly.
  • Cook until sugar syrup registers 240°F on an instant-read or candy thermometer.
  • Meanwhile, add egg whites inside the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Set mixer to medium speed and mix until soft peaks form. About 2 minutes.
  • With the mixer running, carefully and slowly drizzle in hot sugar syrup. Increase speed to high and whip until desired stiffness is achieved.
  • Beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. The more time you beat the meringue, the more consistency it will have. I beat mine until I'm able to flip the bowl and the meringue stays in place.
  • Cover your cake as desire.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
**If you are replacing eggs for aquafaba**Three tablespoons of aquafaba is equivalent to about one whole egg, while two tablespoons of aquafaba are equivalent to about one egg white. Keep in mind that a can of chickpeas yields about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of this liquid, so about eight to 12 tablespoons. Using a fork beat aquafaba until frothy. 
Italian Meringue - For a vegan version you can use aquafaba or you can make a whipped cream buttercream using vegan heavy cream. 
Soaking your cake is optional but totally recommended. If you want a really wet cake, put your cake inside a large shallow bowl before soaking.  

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TRES LECHES

 

 

 

Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos – Bacalaitos Veganos

Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos – Bacalaitos Veganos

These Puerto Rican Vegan Bacalaitos are crispy, fluffy, fish-free fritters that are great for any occasion. 

Bacalaitos are a staple in our Puerto Rican street food culture. You can find them everywhere around the island, especially at food stands, carnivals, and even at your church’s cafeteria. My grandmothers used to make them all the time. I never liked cod-fish, so I used to take it out of my fritter while eating them. These are regularly made using codfish, in Spanish “bacalao”.  Here’s my vegan version of these delicious cod-fish fritters.

This is my favorite fritter, even though I don’t make it often. How can you make a vegan version of bacalaitos? Well, the flavors of these fritters come from the marinade. As long as you marinate your protein substitute you will have an amazing crispy and fluffy fritter.

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Healthy Vegan Pecan Bars

Healthy Vegan Pecan Bars

Healthy Vegan Pecan Bars with a shortbread crust and loaded with nuts.

These healthy vegan pecan bars with a shortbread-style crust are perfect for your holiday feast. These are vegan, refined sugar-free, and loaded with nuts. These healthy vegan pecan bars are the perfect portion for a snack or dessert. They are pretty much a pecan pie but in the form of a bar. My coworkers and my family loved these bars so much. It’s amazing how you can twist a recipe to make it healthy and still enjoy some sweetness.

Healthy Vegan Pecan Bars with a shortbread crust and loaded with nuts.

For these bars, I used monk fruit and replaced the corn syrup with agave syrup. I love using the Lakanto brand because you use the same ration and it won’t change the flavor. You can also check out my Apple Cider Sugar-Free Donuts recipe for another delicious fall dessert. These pecan bars are way heavier on the pecans than on the filling, so if you’re a big fan of pecans but not so much the super sweet pie filling, these are just for you.

These bars could not possibly be any easier to make. The crust is mixed by hand, pressed into the pan, just a  whisk of the filling ingredient, folding in the pecans, and done. These bars are all about the pecans! To enhance the pecan flavor, roast pecan halves in the oven over 300 degrees F for 8 minutes. This step is optional but totally recommended.

These bars are:

  • Easy to Make
  • Delicious
  • Ultra-nutty
  • The Perfect portion.
  • Great for the holidays.
  • Refined Sugar-Free.
  • Loaded with nuts.
  • Great for a snack or dessert.
  • It can be made with gluten-free flour.
Other Fall Recipes on My Blog:

Coffee Cake with Pumpkin Streusel

Easy Pumpkin Hummus

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think! Leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to take a picture and share it on my Facebook page or tag it #thehungrydragonfly on Instagram! I love seeing your creations!

Healthy Vegan Pecan Bars

These healthy vegan pecan bars with a shortbread-style crust are perfect for your holiday feast. These are vegan, refined sugar-free, and loaded with nuts.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dessert, fall recipes, healthy vegan pecan bars, pecan bars, vegan
Servings: 24 bars
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Mariela

Equipment

  • 9x13 inch pan

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour you can replace for gluten-free blend
  • 6 tbsp monk fruit or granulated sugar I use Lakanto brand
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan buttery spread or regular butter melted

For the Filling:

  • 3/4 cup monk fruit, brown sugar blend I used Lakanto brand
  • 2/3 cup agave syrup or corn syrup you can replace for maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup vegan buttery spread or regular butter melted and hot
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1.2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups pecan halves roasted

Instructions

  • Inside a baking tray bake pecan halves for 8 minutes under 300 degrees. Set aside.

Make the crust:

  • Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line up a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and stir using a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.
  • Using your hands continue to combine until no flour remains and a small portion of dough holds together when squeezed.
  • Evenly spread spoons of dough over your baking pan. Using your fingertips, press and smooth dough into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Make the Filling:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, agave syrup, melted butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth and well combined.
  • Fold pecan halves into the sugar mixture until the pecans are evenly coated.
  • Pour the pecan mixture over the crust, using a rubber spatula. Spread it working it to the edges and into corners. You will have bare patches and that's okay.
  • Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is evenly distributed and rapidly bubbly across the entire surface.
  • Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let bars cool completely in the pan, about 1 1/2 hours. Cut into 20 to 24 bars and serve.
  • Store bars at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Notes

You can make these bars gluten-free by replacing the flour. Also, you can replace the sweetener for your favorite blend.  

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Apple Cider Cake Donuts – Sugar Free Easy Recipe

Apple Cider Cake Donuts – Sugar Free Easy Recipe
These Apple Cider Cake Donuts are easy to make, healthy, cakey, flavorful and so delicious. This is a one-bowl recipe that comes together very quickly and easily. The best breakfast or snack for a fall crisp morning.

This apple cider cake donuts recipe can be used for cupcakes or mini bundt cakes. I used a fall silicon mold that my husband bought for me but you can use what you have available. Although baking is always happening in my kitchen, I don’t bake donuts very often. Fall seems to be the perfect occasion for baking donuts. I never tried apple cider donuts before moving to New Hampshire. Last week we went to a farm and I ate them for the first time. They tasted heavenly! So, I decided to create my own recipe using monk fruit instead of regular sugar and baked instead of fry. They turned surprisingly amazing! The cinnamon sugar makes them melt in your mouth.

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