Yep. Christmas is here and that means lots and lots of treats, cookies, candies and all kinds of goodies to rot our teeth. I was actually pretty hungry as were Papa and the kids when we walked up to this table at a local Christmas festival we went to last week. Pretty much everything on the table was for sale by the piece except for a few pre-bagged things. I think our rumbling tummies got the better of us and we were like, you guessed it, kids in a candy store. We'd buy a piece of this candy and take a bite and ooh and aah. Then turn our eyes to another candy we thought looked tasty. Some were much too sweet. Some used Anise, which is a spice that I am not used to so didn't care for much. It's a typical Christmas spice for baked goods and candy here. Maybe it's an acquired taste?
I picked out a piece of what looked like peanut brittle but it was a little disappointing. Oh, it was good and sweet, but it wasn't made quite how my grandmother makes peanut brittle. Papa bought up some coconut bars and some candied papaya. All good. But hands down the winner was these sweet little plantain candies. I have no idea how they are made, but they are perfect in my book of candies. Only slightly sweet, chewy enough but not so that they get all stuck in your teeth or the roof of your mouth. They seem to melt in your mouth once you start to chew. I've managed to have a few still hanging around because I've not been able to keep myself from these babies....
They are called Torrejas and they are about the most perfect dessert I've had to date in my life. Okay, maybe I'm talking them up a bit here possibly because I just don't get to indulge in American rich desserts that much and now that I'm thinking about it, there was that one chocolate cake that I had on a business trip at this bay side restaurant in San Francisco that was so good, if I wasn't sitting when I ate it, my face might have met the floor due to my knees giving out under me. My chocoholic co-worker had to ask where they got it and once back from the trip he actually looked them up to see how much a cake would cost to ship to MN. Oh...that was good cake, but I digress and back to these beautiful little slices of heavenly spice and everything nice. Torrejas...Ohhh yummy yummy yummy. I love you Torrejas. Can I marry you?
Let's see. They are basically white bread (French bakery bread would work good) that has been toasted (like french toast) dipped in this cane syrup that has a flavor maybe similar to molasses. I know molasses comes from sugarcane, but this stuff is sold in stores in a big block. It must be one step up in the processing of the cane from molasses. It's definitely sweet, if you eat it raw and you have even the slightest hint of a cavity it will send a zinger up into your mouth.
The woman that made these is a client of Papa's who owns a little restaurant. Papa says she has really good food and knows how to cook. For his Christmas present she gave him 20 slices. She made them perfectly. She added all the good spices. Cinnamon, allspice, cloves. It seems to be a sort of french toast - bread pudding type thing only on steroids. I think they can be served warm or cold. I prefer cold. But warm was really good with a cup of (unsweetened) coffee for breakfast.
Merry Christmas everyone!