6:00 AM — It’s Saturday morning and with only 5 hours of sleep, I woke up early to make some Peruvian desserts. I had to be at the bake sale by 9 AM, help set up, and be ready for the 10 AM start. Which meant I only had just over 2 hours to make the Manjar Blanco Bon Bons and Pisco Balls from scratch. Go!
6:05 AM — But of course, before I started making anything, I made my cafe con leche.
6:15 AM — To make Manjar Blanco you need two essential tools: patience and the ability to stir. Once you combine the sweet and condensed milk with the evaporated milk in a pot and get it to simmer, all you need to do is stir slowly for about an hour. Walk away for a minute and the milk could burn and the dessert is ruined. Stop stirring and it could overheat, begin to boil, overflow, and the dessert is ruined. So all I did for the next hour was stir, sloooowly.
7:15 AM — The Manjar Blanco was ready, thick and sticking to the spoon, so I transferred it to a baking pan to let cool. When did I finish the cafe con leche? Must have been all that stirring.
7:20 AM — Make more cafe con leche.
7:30 AM — Start making the Pisco Balls, toast the pecans, grind them with a mortar and pestle, then grind the vanilla wafers, sift the powdered sugar, mix, add the Pisco and the raw sugar syrup. Start shaping into balls while thinking it was a good thing I made the raw sugar syrup ahead of time, otherwise that would have added another hour and a 5 AM wake up call.
7:45 AM — Check on the Manjar Blanco. Not cool enough. What??? If it hasn’t cooled it can’t be shaped into bon bons. Put it in the fridge and let it cool another 30 mins. Get back to making the Pisco Balls, rolling them in the powdered sugar. Test one to make sure they came out all right. Damn. More than all right.
7:55 AM — Take five and finish the cafe con leche while enjoying a Pisco Ball for breakfast. Time stands still.
7:56 AM — Just realized I had Pisco for breakfast. Awesome.
8:00 AM — Take the Manjar Blanco out of the fridge and start shaping into bon bons, roll them in cinnamon powder and garnish with a sugar pearl.
8:15 AM — Put the desserts in mini cupcake paper cups, arrange in three gift boxes, write all the ingredients in index cards, write the name of each dessert, Manjar Blanco Bon Bons, Pisco Balls, tape the cards to each box, and attach business cards.
8:30 AM — Done. Time for a quick shower, put on my favorite Peru t-shirt and off to the bake sale.
9:00 AM — Start setting up tables, meet the bakers and food bloggers, greet old friends and make new ones. The conversations are all about food. Love it.
10:00 AM — Get the party started by greeting people passing by with “I made a special Peruvian dessert for you!” or “this Peruvian treat will go great with your morning coffee!”
11:30 AM — Sold last box of Peruvian treats, said my farewells, and started thinking about what to have for lunch…
Last Saturday’s San Francisco’s Food Blogger Bake Sale raised over $1,000 for Share our Strength, an organization that is committed to ending childhood hunger in America through their No Kid Hungry program. All we food bloggers had to do was bake something, donate it to the cause, and sell it in our community. A simple but beautiful example of the power of food. This was my first time participating and was very grateful to all the people who stopped to buy some sweet treats from us. If you missed out on the bake sale, you can still help end childhood hunger by making a donation →