I find working in kitchens strangely soothing. Don’t get me wrong – kitchens are hot, hectic, stressful messes 99% of the time. However, their distinctive organized chaos, is what makes them so enticing. In my opinion, at least.
When you work in a kitchen, you’re always focused on the dozen tasks you’re trying to accomplish, all at once. Oh yes, multitasking as its best. No doubt about that. Yet, somehow, conversations ranging from aliens & ghosts to politics & cooking techniques flow naturally all while creating beautiful dishes going out to customers. It’s truly like living in the moment, on overdrive. You’re always present, always focused. You’re always communicating with one another, face to face. No phones, no distractions. Just a group of people, in perfect unison, living through the same shared experience of creating delicious food for others’ enjoyment. And that, to me, brings some serious inner peace.
With that being said, I don’t bake or cook much at home. It’s just…not the same. I just don’t get that same feeling. In fact, I think I get a little stressed out baking or cooking at home. I just can’t.get.in.the.zone. Weird, huh? Those of you who have worked in the food industry know what I mean. But, when I do bake at home, I go for simple yet impressive. And, these delicate panques de nuez (or pecan mini loaves) with a light canela (Mexican cinnamon) cream cheese icing are just that.
Here’s what you’ll need for these beauties:
- 190g all-purpose flour
- 8g baking powder
- 4g salt
- 100g pecans, finely chopped
- 200g sugar, granulated
- 185g greek yogurt, full-fat, greek
- 110g vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, whole
- 5g vanilla extract
- 224g cream cheese, room temperature
- 115g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 360g icing sugar
- 5g vanilla extract
- 8g canela
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare mini loaf pans by spraying them with cooking oil and lining them with parchment paper.
- Combine dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. Make sure to really coat the pecans well with the flour so that they don’t sink to the bottom of the mini loaf.
- Combine wet ingredients: Combine yogurt, oil, eggs and 5g of vanilla extract in a small bowl.
- Combine wet and dry: Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Using a spatula, bring everything together until smooth and homogenous.
- Bake: Pour batter into mini loaf pans until ¾ full. Bake for 8-12 mins, depending on your oven.
- Make icing: While your panques de nuez are in the oven, make your icing. With the help of a mixer, whisk cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, remaining vanilla extract, canela and salt together until smooth and fluffy. Set aside.
- Cool: Allow your panques de nuez to cool completely before piping the icing on top of them. Otherwise, the icing will melt.
- Decorate: Pipe the canela cream cheese icing on to the panques de nuez in any way you’d like. This is the fun part. You can do an eight-shaped decoration like I did or you can create your very own design. Enjoy!
You don’t NEED a mixer to make the icing. You can always whisk it by hand until fluffy. It’ll take a bit more effort but it’s totally doable. And, you’ll get a good arm workout out of it!
As for the mini loaf pans that I use for these and for pan de elote, I got them at Ming Wo. Their historic Chinatown location unfortunately closed this past February but they have a few other locations you can visit. Just be careful, though. Going to Ming Wo is like going to IKEA…you end up getting a whole bunch of stuff you didn’t realize you wanted until you saw it at the store.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe. I wanted to share with you something that wasn’t necessarily on Metate Bake Shop’s menu so that you get to try different treats and ideas. If you make these at home, I want to see your piping skills! Tag me on Instagram as @metatebakeshop or Metate Bake Shop on Facebook.