This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.How do you keep your family’s traditions alive? How do you instill a sense of the cultural richness you were exposed to growing up? For me as a latina the easiest way is through my kitchen and during Hispanic Heritage Month I make an extra effort to share traditional foods that go with our family celebrations so I was more than enthused to be able to participate in this #CollectiveBias #NuestroSabor campaign.
Because for us, sharing in the flavors and stories of our past helps us connect with our future. With that in mind I attempted to recreate both the flavors of my childhood and the memories of cooking with my mom and abuelita with the goal of sharing both with my girls and our close friends.
I started with a Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Baking Kit (which I found in the fall baking display at my Walmart) and some Chocolate Abuelita tabs located right across. I needed the right flavors to invoke the kind of memories I am so fond of so this was perfect since this brought me to evenings shared in my abuelita‘s kitchen over pan de dulce or some other sweet creation she had prepared for us. Always shared over hot cups of café con leche or Chocolate Abuelita and lots of conversation.
We got to work and I spent a few hours working with my mom and my daughters creating in our kitchen; all of us learning from each other as we shared stories of the past and the importance of food as a uniting element of our cultural traditions.
Even though my girls are still too little to be substantial help they were truly interested and eagerly absorbing the process and conversations. It was such an enjoyable project we decided to extend our time together to friends by inviting them to a merienda (small meal/afternoon snack) which sort of evolved into a full meal because my mami doesn’t know how to do things on a small scale and since she was already in the kitchen… well what’s a thing or two more.
The girls were so excited to share our table with our friends that they helped us decorate and even my dad (their abuelito) got involved helping them learn how to make simple papel picado decorations for the table. The Dulce de Leche Cheesecake was so good that it didn’t even make it to the meal without half of it disappearing before we sat down to eat with our friends.
So this starts a new tradition for us. Whenever we can’t get together for a Sunday meal after church we will gather with our friends and family to enjoy a low-key merienda that focuses on more moments of enjoyment with conversation, flavors, and companionship above everything else. While inspired by Hispanic Heritage Month we will be enjoying it throughout the year whenever possible.
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Baking Kit
8 oz of cream cheese
4 table spoons butter
*1 full circle of Chocolate Abuelita crushed into powder (or Nescafe Classico)
*our secret ingredient twist… This gives the crust a cinnamon Mexican chocolate flavor that is subtle but classically part of our culture and it pairs very well with the sweetness of the dulce de leche of the cheesecake. If you don’t like the taste of cinnamon (found in Mexican Chocolate) you could add two table spoons of Nescafe for a coffee flavor instead.
You will also need:
A 9 inch baking pan
This recipe can accommodate many pan shapes. Maybe bake it into bars or individual tart cups.
Follow the Baking kit instructions but add the crushed (to a powder) Chocolate Abuelita to the graham crust. Dry ingredients are pre-measured and instructions are easy to follow.
My favorite part is that it does not require that I bake the cheesecake (o pay de queso) in a water bath (baño Maria), which makes the process even more convenient. This La Lechera Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Baking Kit is so super easy even a working mom with two little “helpers” can get it done while dinner is being prepped or as part of the merienda for after school. Really it is no harder than making a cake from a mix but the flavor is 100 percent from scratch.
I am especially inspired by fall to share these flavors with our friends so it’s a great way for mamis to catch-up over cheesecake and a Nescafe cafecito or Mexican hot-chocolate (Chocoloate Abuelita) while the kids play any Saturday afternoon.
For more ways Latinas are celebrating, honoring, or engaging with Hispanic Heritage Month see the Linky below