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!

Valentines Day Chic

A little v-day inspiration for your Friday morning! Any plans yet? We usually stay in the day-of, and have a nice meal out once the “Valentines Day Menus” are long gone! But I still like to make the holiday really special by getting all dolled up, concocting some extra-special cocktails & preparing a nice meal!

I wanted to balance feminine & sexy, and think this gorgeous laser-cut pleated skirt {in the most beautiful shade of petal pink!} would pair perfectly with something edgier, like this perfectly-draped leather jacket. Statement accessories are a must, and I’m loving this gorgeous studded clutch & INSANE chain embellished cap-toe pumps!

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?

The Holidays • The Casual In-Betweens

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The Holidays are one of my absolute favorite times of the year! I’m pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to color schemes for holiday decorating & the table setting {always adding in a fun twist, of course!}. However as our family continues to grow, we don’t get to see everyone that we’d like to the day-of. Casual “in-between” get-togethers amongst family & friends have become more & more common, which I actually really love – the more parties the better, in my opinion!

I like to switch up the color scheme for such occasions, and right now I’m loving the idea of using powdery whites with different shades of blue and a shiny pops of silver for a festive flair. My entertaining style in general is pretty casual, and for these occasions I especially like to keep things low-key, serving all the food from the buffet. A cozy sweater, gorgeous scalloped plaid skirt, comfy flats and a little bit of bling is perfect for hosting such occasions – and compliments the buffet quite nicely!

How do you handle not being able to see everyone you like to the day-of? I think it’s a lot of pressure to put on one day. Would love to hear your thoughts!

Take Note 11•7•14

 

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  • A warm-weather winter getaway needs to be booked stat, solely based on Loeffler Randall’s Resort collection that was just released. I’m drooling over these ankle tie sandals, these snakeskin scalloped flats, these peep-toe booties and these snakeskin & leopard heels!
  • For anyone who loves documentaries (I’m a bit of a nerd), I highly recommend checking out the two below (accompanied by a nice glass of wine!):
    • SOMM takes you on the adventure of four men vying to pass the highest level of sommelier, The Master Sommelier Exam, an immensely intimidating test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world. Aside from the a few drawn out scenes and the lack of female candidates (?!), overall I found it really informational & interesting!
    • city.ballet, produced and narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker, is an online series documenting the trials and tribulations behind the scenes of what it takes to ascend from a backup dancer in the Corps de Ballet, to a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet  – the “ultimate stage”. The first season was amazing, and the second season released this week is just as good!
  • Cold temps completely transforms my normal-to-oily skin into a dry-itchy mess. Lightweight moisturizers need to swapped out for more intense versions, and coconut oil has been my favorite for quite some time now. However, there are days when I just don’t have time to let it soak in, and really don’t want to ruin my clothes and/or sheets, so I’m going to give this diy lotion bar a shot this weekend! Have any of you ever tried anything similar? You can check out more of my cold weather skin care essentials here.
  • Speaking of cold weather, I found the perfect wool fedora!
  • Have you checked out Kate Spade’s collaboration with Gap Kids yet?! It takes adorable to a new level!!!

Image via from this book.

Fall Staples, Day to Night + {Shopbop’s Friends & Family}

The sale that happens but twice a year finally here – 25% off Shopbop’s entire site {w/ code FAMILY25}! While my “imaginary cart” is quite full, I’ve been narrowing it down, and so far this sweater and these leather leggings will definitely make it to checkout! We’ve been traveling quite a bit the past couple weeks, so I really need pieces that can easily transition from day to night. I love how the pairing looks casual with this great pair of snakeskin high tops, baseball hat and perfect everyday bag (in my favorite pop of color for Fall – red!); while a sexy pair of heels, bold lip and fur vest make chilly nights out super sexy!

Packing List • Bordeaux

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After a year and a half of planning, my family and I are heading to Bordeaux this week for harvest and to celebrate my parents 35 wedding anniversary. I’ve never been to that region of France, so I’m beyond excited for the great adventure ahead of us, and for all of the wine tastings and culinary delights we’ll be sampling!

Of course what to pack has been anxiously nagging me, although I did much better on our last two trips by way of a little preparation and sticking to a strict color combo – mostly neutrals with a splash of bordeaux (of course!) for this trip. I’m also taking a tip from a good friend, and selecting my shoes first, then selecting which garments to pair with them.

Bordeaux’s weather can be a little temperamental this time of year, with an average of 13 days of rain in September, and temps ranging from 55°-85°. A great rain jacket with a hood (why don’t they all have one?!) and pair of rain boots is an absolute must; and these Loeffler Randal booties with their chic gold buckles can be worn casual or dressy, rain or shine (my beloved Hunter’s would likely take up 1/2 the weight limit in my suitcase!). Theses ballet flats are so incredibly comfortable (I took my friend Hanna’s advise and snipped off the charm to make them look a little more “grown up”), while these sexy heels are perfect for dinners and drinks.

As for the clothes, light layers are my go-to this time of year in general to combat the constantly changing temps, and sticking with a strict color combo allows me to seamlessly transition pieces from casual to formal!

Have any of you been to Bordeaux? Any recommendations on places not to be missed?

Get The Look • Easy Breezy

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My job affords me the opportunity to dress pretty casually on most days, and in the summer this usually entails a breezy dress, or maxi skirt and simple tank. Since I hate being cold, I always have a light summer scarf and little denim jacket or vest with me (or in my car); which really comes in handy when walking into those overly air-conditioned stores and restaurants – why they insist on pumping their air conditioners into the low 60°’s is beyond me?!

Do you have a summer uniform of sorts?

Image via.

The Hamptons & an Unexpected Staycation

Amagansett-Beach-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ{a day at the beach – sandals, hat, book, blanket, speaker}

 Tacos-at-La-Fondita-Amagansett-NY-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ{tacos at La Fondita}

Sunset-over-Amagansett-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ{sunset over Amagansett}

IMG_5102{the new floorset at Serena & Lily}

kitchen-bookcase-styling-at-The-Bungalow-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ{kitchen bookcase styling at The Bungalow}

ombre-hydrangea-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ{pretty ombre hydrangea from my garden}

Bella's-4th-of-July-Outfit-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ{Bella’s ode to the 4th of July}

DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ{we found a new favorite waterfront spot for dinner & drinks}

Green-white-blue-tablesetting-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJ{took full advantage of dining alfresco – bamboo flatware, chairs, tablecloth, napkins, tumblers}

Apologies for the radio silence this past week, I hadn’t intended on taking such a long hiatus! I must admit, unplugging for a bit was just what I needed! I feel refreshed, inspired and ready to get started on a few new exciting projects! I headed out East last weekend for some much needed time with a few of my girlfriends. We lounged on the beach by day, enjoyed some spectacular sunsets, hit up some of our favorite restaurants and usually finished things off with a little nightcap at The Surf Lodge. Of course, in traditional girltime form, we made sure to support the local economy, hitting up all our favorite boutiques – Serena & Lily is never to be missed, I just adore their new floor set!   

Billy was supposed to arrive upon my friends departure on Wednesday. But with Hurricane Arthur’s path threatening to hit the East-coast, and with our own home so close to the water, we decided it was best I head back home. Like many of you fellow East-coasters, I was totally bummed the storm was ruining our 4th of July plans. Luckily the potential hurricane took it easy on us this time around, humbly resulting in only one day of rain! Seeing as both of us had already taken the time off work, we created a little staycation for ourselves – lounging by the pool, indulging in lots of alfresco dining, nightly walks on the beach to admire the fireworks and we found two new favorite spots for dinner and drinks. I must admit, I never really considered taking a staycation before this one unexpectedly happened upon us, but Billy and I both enjoyed it so much we plan on making an annual “trip” of it!

I hope you all had a fabulous week, I’m so looking forward to catching up!

{Images via my instagram, follow along here.}

Get The Look • Tropical Pool House

Get-The-Look-Celerie-Kemble-Tropical-Pool-House-via-DiCorcia-Interior-DesignKaren Smidth Painting •  Carlisle Sofa in Washed Grain Sack, AdobePaper Mache Bird Lamp Tortoise Side Table Navy Jules Coffee TableSouth Sea Yellow Pillow Coral Pillow in Grain Sack, AdobeGreek Key Garden StoolSpruce Street Chair Slipcovered in Mist LinenHampstead Painted Sofa w/ Sunbrella Cushions in ButtercupDuncan Diamond Natural Rug

I mentioned a few weeks back how much I adore the beachy aesthetic of Celerie Kemble’s Dominican home, and the designer has struck yet again by way of this gorgeous pool house located in Lexington, KT. The sherbet-hued palette just screams tropical vaca to me – even if it’s only escaping to your own backyard!

The custom sofa and pillows could be easily duplicated with off-the-rack items – like this sofa and pillow – by simply having your tailor add white fabric tape just inside the borders! You could even have them add the fringed bottom, by going with this model!