I’m sorry that there’s been such a long break but I promise, there’s a good reason! Around 3 weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go to Argentina for the inaugural AFS Youth Volunteer Forum! It was such an amazing experience, I got to meet other AFS youth volunteers from around the world, share our experiences and create a plan to make concrete changes to the organisation that we are all so passionate about. For those of you who don’t know who we are or what we do, we are a not-for-profit volunteer based organisation sending students on exchanges all around the world to increase our intercultural learning experiences. When I was 17 I got to have my own amazing experience on a 6 month exchange to Austria and I have been volunteering ever since I returned.
Being in Argentina was so different and fantastic and not what I expected. I am so grateful to AFS NZ for allowing me to have such a wonderful experience and also to AFS Argentina for hosting the conference. I stayed in Buenos Aires during my trip but I saw quite a few different tourist attractions whilst I was there, before going to the forum.
We had some beautiful weather where I managed to snap this awesome photo…
And of course, what you’re probably all interested in, is the food. Some of it was very heavy, a lot of meat and rice and a loooooot of sweet! That is saying something for me I think, because, as the title indicates, I am a chocoholic! I had an awesome dinner on my last night though with a new friend from the conference…
We also went to the San Telmo markets and tried some amaaaaaazing ice cream from Freddo, really different to anything we have in New Zealand, it was soooo yum!
This recipe that I’m sharing today is using dulce de leche, which is a thick caramel that is extremely popular in Argentina. Pretty much anything sweet will have dulce de leche in it! I brought some back to New Zealand of course, and I thought I would make and share a recipe with you all that you could also make without specialty dulce de leche. You can either use store-bought caramel or your own caramel recipe in the middle of these muffins, or you can use condensed milk, the instructions for turning it into caramel are below. Although these aren’t really breakfast muffins, they are amazing and will make everyone jealous of your lunch treat!
Chocolate and Dulce de Leche Muffins
2 medium very ripe bananas (2/3 cup mashed)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
3/4 tspn baking soda
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup thick caramel sauce or dulce de leche
1 cup chocolate bits
- Heat your oven to 180°C. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners, or grease with some butter. Set aside.
- Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk in oil, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Whisk together baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and then add to banana mixture.
- Stir together all of the ingredients with a spoon until just combined. Stir in the chocolate bits.
- Fill liners 1/3 of the way full and add about 1 tspn of the caramel sauce to each liner, placing it in the centre of the batter. Top with another scoop of batter so the liners are 2/3 – 3/4 full.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
Condensed Milk Caramel
To make condensed milk into caramel, you have to boil it for around 2 hours in the can, completely sealed. Make sure that whilst it’s boiling, the water level stays above the can the whole time. CAUTION: If you let the water level drop below the top of the can, the can may explode so just make sure you keep an eye on it the whole time! When the 2 hours are up, take the water off the heat and leave it for a few minutes, then use a large spoon to extricate the can from the water and leave to cool. When cold enough to handle, pull back the lid and voilá, perfectly thick caramel!