Blaring on the radio was the song Breakeven by the Script.
"This is by the Script, the group that orignally sung 'Live Like You're Dying' " my husband said.
"Oh no wonder it sounds like the Kris Allen song", I said. "Oh yeah, the arrangement is totally similar" I said further.
While the song was playing, I tried to mix the Live Like your Dying lyrics with it and we laughed out loud because it blended so well. I-5 South twisted and rolled toward the searing sun, as my husband gripped the wheel with both hands, then suddenly releasing the other hand to hold mine. I was still singing my heart out, and I was seemingly just lost in the moment. If we were not on our way to pick up our daughter, who is already 21, I would have thought that my husband and I were still just college sweethearts!
At the airport's curb, my daughter was grinning from ear to ear, donning her new oval rimmed, oversized sun glasses, as she waved hello to us. As she settled into the car, we could not pull out of the arrivals section. We were apparently trapped by a car in front of us, because the young lady driver was out there tiptoeing to kiss her boyfriend... while the boyfriend carried her up close to him... The three of us in the car didn't mind at all... knowing how it feels what Spring could bring...
From the moment my daughter came into the car, she started telling stories. I thought I was the chirpiest person but wait until you hear my daughter. It was non-stop. We had to turn off the radio for her to have our full attention! We had missed her animate garrulousness.
"Mom I have pasalubong (homecoming present) for you!" she said as soon as we got home. She showed me a box of my favorite Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas.
"I know you love Almond Joy and desserts with chocolate and coconut, so I got you these." As we started eating these delicious treats, my daughter exclaimed, "Remember when Dad used to bring home pan de coco and chocolate milk for me when I was a little kid, Mom?"
Smiling, I nodded my head and quickly began to reminisce. When my husband would come home from medical school, he would always have a bag full of pan de coco (which literally translates to "bread of coconut") and Chocolait (chocolate milk) in a tetrapack for my daughter, who was only a toddler back then. It was my husband's special way of letting my daughter know that he was home.
"Wow, that was like a lifetime away!" I laughed. Indeed, I remember how she loved eating those little coconut-stuffed rolls and how she would even love it more when she could dip it in her glass of chocolate milk. And now, a decade and a half later, she's the one bringing us a simple gift of sweetness to let us know that she was home! Life seems to have come full circle.
I told her, "That was my inspiration for my Choco Coco Loco," and I handed her a tray of my newest concoction.
I grinned even wider than before. That's when I knew that I had to share with you my CHOCO COCO LOCO EMPANADAS.
(When Kulinarya announced that we were to feature empanadas for the month of March, I thought of making a sweet empanada... That's when I thought about my daughter's memories of the pan de coco with chocolait that my husband used to bring home for her. Pan de coco is a bun stuffed with coconut... so that's where I got the inspiration from.)
Choco Coco Loco Emapanadas:
For the Filling:
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1tbsp cornstarch dispersed in water
In a saucepan, mix the condensed milk and coconut milk. Let it simmer. Add the vanilla and the constarch mixture. Stir in the dessicated coconut. Let it cool.
For the crust:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 pc egg
1 stick cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup ice water
1 tsp baking powder
Put the flour into a large bowl. Dig a hole in the mound of flour. Add butter, water, and egg blend in using your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand to bring dough together. Lightly flour a pastry board or clean table top. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough on a pastry board until desired thickness. I wanted mine to be a little thick. Get a saucer and use it as a template to cut circles using a cutter or a sharp knife.
Preheat oven to 400 degreesF
Spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of the coconut filling and put it into the middle of each pastry circle. Fold the circle so the edges meet and filling is sealed. Press the edges of the pastry using a fork.
Brush the surface of each empanada with slightly beaten egg.. Using a fork or a sharp knife, make slits on the surface of each empanada. Arrange on a greased baking sheet and bake it for about 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Let it cool.
For the ganache:
8 ounces of chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 stick of butter
Place chocolate pieces in a large bowl on a baine marie. Stir continously. Add butter and stir again. Remove from heat. Adjust according to your preferred thickness. Allow ganache to cool before pouring over the empanadas.Enjoy!
If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!