Valentines Day Sweets • Coconut & Chocolate Brigadeiro {Brazilian Truffles}

Coconut-&-Chocolate-Brigadeiro-Recipie-Valentines-Day-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJOne of my best friends always has Brigadeiro – a Brazilian-style confection that’s somewhat of an intersection between a truffle, fudge & caramels – at her kids birthday parties; and I think Billy & I enjoy them more than the kids do!

Two weeks later we were still reminiscing about the soft, delectable little candies, so I started googling recipes, figuring how hard could they be to make? BIG MISTAKE!!! Not only are they ridiculously easy to make, but only require a handful of ingredients – and we’re already on our second batch! Out of fear of consuming them all, I’m giving the rest away as little Valentines Day gifts {hence the festive baking cups & sprinkles} – so if you’re going to make these, you have been warned!

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COCONUT & CHOCOLATE BRIGADEIRO
Adapted recipes from here & here.

A can of sweetened condensed milk & pat of butter is all you’ll need to get started, plus I added a pinch of salt to both recipes to balance out the sweetness. The chocolate recipe called for a few tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder {I’m a bit of a chocolate snob and always use the good stuff!}. First time around with the chocolate batch {yes I made both the chocolate & coconut batches twice each!}, I added the cocoa directly to the condensed milk & butter as the recipe suggested. The cocoa formed little lumps, and while that didn’t affect the taste I assure you, they were rather difficult to fully whisk out. So the second time around I dissolved the cocoa powder in a few tablespoons of leftover morning coffee*, which resulted in a smooth creamy batter & intensified the chocolate flavor.

For the coconut recipe I added a few drops of coconut extract to bump up the flavor complex – but oh the things you could do with this base! Next time I’d love to try adding almond extract and then rolling them in crushed pistachios, or a pinch of cayenne & Mexican cinnamon to the chocolate variety for a little bit of heat then rolled in mini chocolate chips, or maybe adding some nutella then rolling them in hazelnuts – I’ll stop now b/c this could go on for hours! Oh, and because toasted coconut is always, always better than the raw variety, I toasted mine which not only bumped up the flavor, but added a nice little crunch factor to the soft candies.

Chocolate Brigaderio:

  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch of salt – I use kosher
  • 3 tbsp. good cocoa powder dissolved in approximately 4 tbsp. of leftover cold coffee*, until slightly runny
  • colorful sprinkles and/or mini chocolate chips for decorating
  • mini baking cups

Preparation

  • In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine condensed milk, butter, salt & cocoa.
  • Place over medium heat until ingredients are completely combined, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue stirring constantly until mixture thickens & begins to come together  – when stirred it will pull away from the bottom of the pan {refer to image 2} – around 15 minutes.
  • Place mixture in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled all the way through –  approximately 2 hours.
  • Lightly spray your hands with cooking spray. Using a tablespoon or small scoop, scoop some of the chocolate mixture into your hands and roll into a bite-size ball. Roll the brigaderio in sprinkles or mini chocolate chips and place in mini baking cups. Continue with the remaining chocolate. Store the brigaderio in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Coconut Brigaderio:

  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch of salt – I use kosher
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
  • sweetened flaked coconut toasted, for decorating
  • mini baking cups

Preparation

  • In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine condensed milk, butter, salt & coconut extract.
  • Place over medium heat until ingredients are completely combined, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue stirring constantly until mixture thickens & begins to come together  – when stirred it will pull away from the bottom of the pan {refer to image 2} – around 20 minutes.
  • Place mixture in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled all the way through –  approximately 2 hours.
  • Crush the toasted coconut with your hands – it will stick to the brigadier best when it’s a bit smaller.
  • Lightly spray your hands with cooking spray. Using a tablespoon or small scoop, scoop some of the coconut mixture into your hands and roll into a bite-size ball. Roll the brigaderio in the crushed toasted coconut and place in mini baking cups. Continue with the remaining candies. Store the brigaderio in the refrigerator for up to a week.

*Leftover morning coffee – A little bit of coffee added to anything chocolate just bumps up the chocolate flavor, and doesn’t make it actually taste like coffee! But if you’re hesitant, or don’t drink coffee {please don’t go out and buy coffee just for this!}, you can always substitute cold water!

Cozy Christmas Morning

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My favorite part of the Holidays is upholding traditions that have been passed down for generations – 7 Fishes Dinner on Christmas Eve, lots of Holiday baking {these cookies are one of my favorite!}, special Christmas decorations that have been gifted over many years or passed down – and creating a few new ones of our own. In our family {and I’m sure in many of yours as well}, we each open up one present on Christmas Eve, and it’s always our Christmas pajamas! My sister, mom & mine always matched, while my bother & dad’s coordinated in on the selected color scheme; and we have some of the BEST memories & pictures opening up presents in them throughout the years.

J.Crew pajama bottoms {up to 30% off your entire purchase today at both J.Crew & J.Crew Factory!} have been a favorite over the past few years b/c they’re so incredibly soft, cotton {flannel’s way too hot for me!}, come in a variety of festive patterns, and are really well made {I have all my pairs from the past 4 years and literally wear each one at least once a week!}. This year I’m loving the idea to do a little twist on the traditional pajamas get-up, by pairing the pants with more everyday items that then could be worn again – like this thermal baseball tee for the guys, this incredibly luxurious cashmere henley for the ladies {a less expensive alternative} and this adorable moose hat for the kiddos!

What are some of your favorite Holiday traditions?

Turkey Day @ The Bungalow & Cyber Monday Sale Favorites

Thanksgiving-Table-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJI hope you all had a wonderful & happy Thanksgiving! Sincerest apologies for dipping out all week last week, I got completely caught up in a few last minute client projects, along with preparing my own house/table/menu for Thanksgiving, and time just got away from me. As usual, Turkey Day at The Bungalow was a complete whirlwind – I feel like a blinked and it was all over! I decided to start dinner earlier this year, around 1:00, so everyone could be on their merry way before most other people had finished eating. However it didn’t actually work out that way, as we all ended up just eating and drinking longer – ha!

Thanksgiving-Table-Flowers-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJAs per my usual, I got so caught up having a good time I barely took any pictures! I did manage to snap a few pics of the table on my iPhone before our guests arrived. Last year our table was set for 12, so in lieu of having a tablecloth custom-made to accommodate the 10 ft. table, I picked up some cheap burlap to achieve a seamless look. This year our table was quite a bit smaller, so I just trimmed down the burlap from last year to fit – I love the subtle texture it brings to the table, allowing the other elements to take center-stage! The flowers were supermarket bunches from Wegmans that I combined and arranged in driftwood hurricanes. And the place settings were a combination of old – my Great Grandmother’s china and vintage Lenox glasses; and new – Pier 1 chargers, Pier 1 napkins, Anthropologie hobnail glasses (similar here & here), Pier 1 napkin rings, Rifle Paper Co. place cards (similar), bamboo flatware, cutlery I picked up on our trip to Bordeaux (similar) and gold leaf plates (similar).

Thanksgiving-too-much-turkey-thai-red-snapper-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJBy Saturday we were pretty sick of turkey, so we headed out to one of our favorite Thai restaurants to devour this guy. And seeing as I don’t do Black Friday crowds (way too intimidating), here are a few of my favorite Cyber Monday sales:

  • 6PM • 15% off w/ code 6PMCYBMON113020141535
  • Anthropologie • 20% off sale & free shipping on all orders
  • Asos • 30% off w/ code ILOVEMONDAYS
  • J.Crew •  30% off select full-price styles and additional 40% off sale + free shipping, no minimum w/ code MONDAY
  • Piperlime • 30% off sitewide + 40% off markdowns w/ code CYBERSALE


Happy Shopping!

Gifting • The Gardener

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I must admit, gardening is something I never thought I’d be into, but it’s a little hobby I’ve grown to love over the past few years! In our society of “1-click ordering”, there’s something really authentic about getting your hands dirty and enjoying the colorful bounty. I’m lucky to have several women in my life who are exceptional gardeners (and thankfully answer my endless array of novice questions!). I think they’d love any of the items on this list!

Are you into gardening? I planted a few fig tree clippings this Fall, and you would have thought I birthed a child I was so excited! Hopefully they make a return visit this Spring!

Gifting • The Techie

Christmas-Gift-Guide-The-Savy-Techie-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design1. Frends Taylor Headphones // 2. Monster DNA Headphones (Billy just got these for his b’day and LOVES them!) // 3. Driftwood iDock 5 // 4. Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker // 5. Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard // 6. Camera Strap // 7. Apple TV // 8. Flash Drive // 9. USB Portable Phone Charger // 10. Bluetooth Shower Speaker // 11. Cable Clip Organizer

With Christmas quickly approaching, I’m going to step up my gift guides this week with two installments. First up – The Techie. While most of these items would be great for the gadget-obsessed men in your life, I think women are often overlooked in this category (I for one am a total closet techie nerd)! So I’ve added a few more feminine options for the tech-savvy ladies on your list.

Are you into gadgets? I totally inherited this trait from my dad!

Gifting • The Hostess

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I think the most thoughtful presents match the recipients interests, hobbies and overall personality; so for my second gift guide I decided to go with The Hostess.

The Hostess adores a well made drink and perfectly laid out cheese plate. Scented products accompanied by impeccable packaging are high on her wish list. And she considers throwing a party for 12 on a whim the best way to spend her Tuesday night.

Gifting • Holiday Ornaments

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With Black Friday only a week away, I know many of you are looking forward to some holiday shopping and decorating (I know I am!). So I thought it would be fun to start off my holiday gifting guides with one of my favorite items to give and receive – ornaments!

I really love gifting ornaments because they can be so personal based on the recipients personality, interests or hobbies. I adore unwrapping ours each year, reminiscing on who they were from and any meaning they may have. And in our home ornaments are not only reserved for the tree – I like to scatter them about on wreaths, window sills and even on our stockings to give Santa a hint as to who’s is who’s.

Speaking of trees, what’s your “style”? Is it a collection of ornaments from throughout the years? Or is it choreographed to a specific color scheme? Our is a bit of a mix – I like to combine our collected ornaments with some colorful ribbon, or inexpensive balls and snowflakes to reinforce the color scheme.

Tory Burch’s New Home Collection

Tory-Burch-Home-Collection-via-DICorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJTory Burch launched a home collection this week, adding yet another branch to the ever-growing TB brand (remember when she just did flats?). Folk art needlepoint pillows, handmade boxes and a brass nutcracker are a few items that caught my eye; but overall I was most taken with the styling in what appears to be the designer’s iconic home!

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Have you checked out the new collection yet? What was your take on the price point? I think some items were priced accordingly, like the handmade needlepoint pillows (can’t imagine how long those babies take to make!); whereas other items – like the $395 ice bucket – seemed rather ridiculous!

Gifting • House Warming, Hostess and Wedding Add-on’s

Gifting-DiCorcia-Interior-DesignFrom the selection of items to pretty packaging and a meaningful card, I take great pleasure in arranging a great gift for someone I love! These are some of my favorite items to give to a gracious host or beloved friend celebrating their new abode. And as much as I’m a stickler for purchasing off the wedding registry (people know what they like and need, I respect that!), I always like to add-on a little something extra that I think the couple would really enjoy!

Anthropologie Jars: Large $28, Small $24 // Bamboo Salad Servers $44 // Set of Cheese Markers $9.95 // Tortoise Cocktail Shaker $35.18 // Geode Coasters $69.95 // Wine Carrier $98 // Stripe Hand Towel $10 // Beehive Cakestand $39 // Feather Tray $48 // Crocodile Coin Dish $35.90 // Personalized Birch Mug Set $62 // Monogramed Linen Napkin Set $48 // Monogram Box $78 // The Silver Spoon $18 // Ad Hoc At Home $31.99 // Decorate $23.90

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