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Monterey House Mexcian Restaurant


claire797
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Does anyone remember Monterey House? It was (is?) a chain of Mexican restaurants in Houston. I haven't eaten there in 25 years, but I still remember the taste of the tiny candies they buried in the chip baskets. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

I'd like to make this candy, but have no idea what it was. Was it penuche? Mexican fudge? It was fudge-like, but not chocolate. Not a praline, but fudge. Is Monterey House still around?

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Don't know if they are still in Houston, but we have one in Beaumont.

Wow! So they're still in business!

I just tried to make a batch of the stuff and failed miserably. The candy has a fudgy, almost crumbly texture if I recall. Mine has the texture of chewy, sticky caramel. Back to the old drawing board.

Here's the recipe I used:

http://www.saveur.com/article_print_card.j...t-Milk%20Fudge)

What I'm aiming for is something with the consistency of one of these:

leche1.jpg

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Oh yeah, I remember that place. There was one in the Dallas area when I was growing up. But my parents didn't like it. Their idea of Mexican food was Pancho's buffet. Remember that place?!? Anyway, I only got to eat there when friends' parents let me sleep over.

I always thought the candy were pralines. Have you searched for mexican pralines?

Here's a link that sounds kind of right to me. I think the brown sugar might make it crumbly. http://www.recipegoldmine.com/candyboiled/candyboil57.html

My teeth ache just thinking about those things.

amanda

Googlista

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Pancho's is the baddest of the bad. I can only remember that we've eaten at Monterrey once, and that was several years ago. I don't remember the candy, but it sounds like a caramel. Good luck in it's recreation, Clair797!!!

Stop Family Violence

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I LOVE that candy. If you are talking about the same thing I am it is a brown, sugary, fudgy type thing. The main flavor is like dulce de leche, that toasted milk and sugar blend. I have looked in some of my books and haven't found a recipe yet. If I do, I will post it here.

edit to add: That candy has a name. I just can't spit it out. It is driving me nuts. If Jaymes or theabroma don't show up soon, I may have to PM them. Hey... Maybe one of them knows how to make it.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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The first thing that came to my mind was Mexican Milk Candy -- which sounds like what you found, Claire.

I do make pralines a lot, and really like them. They kind of fill that "Mexican caramel" craving for me, so have never experimented with the various recipes for milk candy. The Mexicans make that milk candy in several ways -- sometimes in small logs (occasionally fluted). And they also make them in pans like we make fudge, which they then cut into small cubes. And pattys. Sometimes they have nuts, but more often, not. I've also seen them with coconut.

Sorry I'm not of more help. What I'd do, Claire, if I were you is to google Mexican milk candy. There are tons of different variations on this milk candy. I'd think you could find some recipes that would approximate what you're looking for.

Edit -- should add that I have probably thirty or more Mexican cookbooks, and the recipe is undoubtedly in at least one of them, and more likely, most of them. But I'm up in Missouri and don't have access to my cookbooks. Otherwise, I'm sure I could find some good recipes for you.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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And so, Claire, I just did what I suggested. I googled "recipe Mexican milk candy," and got a lot of hits.

Here's one that looks kind of promising. But there were at least a hundred more for you to peruse:

LECHE QUEMADA (Burnt-Milk Candy)

1 quart pasteurized milk

2 cups granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup chopped pecans or pecan halves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place milk, sugar and cream of tartar in a heavy saucepan. Stir to dissolve. Cook over low heat for about 1 hour or until mixture begins to thicken. Stir occasionally and first and constantly later on. When mixture thickens, check by caramel method (dropping a drop of the mixture into a cup of cold water until a soft ball forms) or use a candy thermometer to 232 degrees F. Remove from heat. Add chopped pecans. Pour into a wax paper-lined square cake pan and let it cool. Cut into squares.

Variations: Omit chopped pecans. Pour mixture by spoonsful onto wax paper, and top each piece of candy with a pecan half.

Makes 2 dozen small squares.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I agree with mudpuppie.

It's about time someone did!!! :biggrin:

Pancho's is the baddest of the bad.

You know how your grandma, or someone, made some really disgusting jello salad with cool whip and fruit cocktail and nuts and celery and mayo and chipped beef? And it was really gross -- no question -- but it was always served at family functions when everyone was at least pretending to be happy? And even though you know this jello concotion is terrifying, you get kind of warm and fuzzy thinking about it, and sometimes even wish you had some in front of you?

That's how Pancho's is for me. I can't defend it. What's that part of the brain that controls emotion and memory? It's in there.

amanda

Googlista

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you get kind of warm and fuzzy thinking about it, and sometimes even wish you had some in front of you?

That's how Pancho's is for me. I can't defend it.

I'm a big believer that there is a time and place for everything. And turning up one's nose may not be wise. It's better to realize that given one's circumstances, the very thing one currently eschews may be just the perfect thing under different circumstances.

So there is a Pancho's about two blocks off of the interstate in Albuquerque. It really was a welcome sight to me on too many cross-country trips to even attempt to recall. Sometimes I had a carful of hungry, crabby little kids. And then they turned into hungry, crabby adolescents. Sometimes my hungry, crabby husband was with us and sometimes not.

But Pancho's was quick and filling. It was "easy off and easy on" as far as the interstate was concerned. It was a welcome change from the ubiquitous highway fast-food burger chains. We didn't have to linger -- a half-hour and we could be back on the road.

I tell you, I was always damn glad to see it.

Pancho's is what it is. Nothing more, maybe. But also, nothing less.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Jaymes, THANK YOU!

YES! Burnt milk candy. That is the one. I always liked it in the little fluted logs. It looked like it was squeezed out through a pastry tip and then cut into pieces. I am a purist about the stuff. NO to nuts or coconut.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Mudpuppie, a Pancho's Buffet is opening near our house where the "U R Cooks" used to be. I probably will never set foot in the place. However, I would have LOVED it when I was 10. I think Monterey House is a few steps above Pancho's.

Also, the candy is definitely not praline candy. It is burnt milk candy -- leche quemada. I must have done something wrong with the batch I attempted yesterday because it had the consistency of a thick, chewy caramel. Leche quemada has the texture of fudge, but is not chocolate.

Jaymes, I'm going to buy some whole milk and try the recipe you posted. The other one I tried used evaporated milk and said to boil the mixture to 245. Yours is different in that it uses regular milk. I'll give it a try today. I wonder what the cream of tartar does.

Fifi, are you going to try too?

Edited by claire797 (log)
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Jaymes, I'm going to buy some whole milk and try the recipe you posted.  The other one I tried used evaporated milk and said to boil the mixture to 245.  Yours is different in that it uses regular milk.  I'll give it a try today.  I wonder what the cream of tartar does.

Fifi, are you going to try too?

Anna, if I were you, I'd also google "recipe Mexican milk candy" and at least look at some of the other recipes. And you can try "Leche Quemada" as well -- but that may well produce a lot of recipes in Spanish.

Again, I make pralines all the time, and buy that milk candy whenever I'm in Mexico, so I've not felt the need to try to make it. Therefore, I'm no expert on it, to wallow in understatement.

Edit: Claire, the texture of the final product is probably due to the length of the cooking, the temperature the candy reaches, and how much stirring you do. Since I did make candy quite a bit during my "mommy" days, that's what I discovered. The same ingredients can make a chewy caramel, or crystalize and fall apart, depending on the cooking.

So after you get a flavor you like, you might try experimenting with the cooking procedures to get the final texture. And although I don't know -- I've always had the feeling that Mexican milk candy was not made with brown sugar, although again, I'm no expert, and it's certainly possible. The Mexicans do use their famous "piloncillo" for many things, and it could be what gives some versions of that milk candy its special flavor.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Here's another version I've got my eye on. I have everything in the house, so I could start now. The thing is, 4 hours? Good grief! That's a long time to boil candy! This one looks a little more flavorful than the other versions, as it uses borwn sugar and condensed milk.

LECHE QUEMADA

Ingredients :

3 c. sugar

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. butter (real butter)

1 (13 oz.) can Eagle Brand condensed

milk

1 (13 oz.) can water

2 c. pecan or walnut pieces

Preparation :

Combine all except nuts in heavy pan, such as cast iron. Simmer

on very low flame for about 4 hours or until you can see the bottom

of the pan when you stir slowly (halfway between soft and hard ball

stage on candy thermometer). Add nuts. Pour in buttered pan.

Break into pieces when cool. This is like penuche without the

maple. Is often served at the end of a fiery meal in Mexico - just

one piece. Takes the "hot" out.

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Claire, I am going to make a WAG here and guess that the last recipe you found is closer to what we are talking about. That is idle speculation from one who knows close to NOTHING about the subject at hand. :biggrin: I am just thinking that the mix of white and brown sugar may be an attempt to come close to piloncillo. Although piloncillo is now pretty much available in the larger urban markets the mix looks like a reasonable substitution. The condensed milk also looks logical given how much of that stuff is used in Mexican sweets. The slow cooking also makes some sense.

Me try it? That would not be helpful. :laugh: I know diddly about candy making. I can read a recipe but candy seems to me to be one of those things that suffer when you haven't developed the little techniques... grandma knew just how long to stir the fudge and what it looked like when it was the perfect texture, Aunt Minnie knew just when to pour out the divinity, that sort of thing. Those things are part of the art that I am artless about.

Isn't there something about stirring fudge before pouring out that determines sugar crystal size and therefore determines the final texture? There may be something like that at work here. I seem to recall having leche quemada that was kind of grainy and then getting some that was wonderfully creamy in the mouth. Same as with fudge. I would look at fudge techniques as a guide.

Then again... Maybe an experienced candy maker will help us out here so that the ignorant (me) will just shut up. :laugh:

edit to add: Nuts... BAH!

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Claire

I don't know if it's exactly what you're looking for, but your description reminds me of the candy I make every Christmas in memory of my Mom--Aunt Bill's Brown Candy. The reason I think it might be what you're after is your description of it being a crumbly texture. I cooked a batch last Wednesday night to about 2 degrees too hot and it came out a little too crumbly for my taste. I never had this problem until I started using a fancy-smancy digital candy thermometer--the old dropping it into cold water works better, I think. There are a bunch of recipes for it on the web--just Google for them--and they all look pretty much the same as my Mom wrote out for me years ago: 6 cups sugar, 2 cups milk (I always use canned milk because Mom did), 1 stick butter, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2 pounds nuts (I use walnuts), and 1 tsp vanilla. I cook mine to the firm ball stage and pour (make that scrape) it into a big, buttered sheetpan. It's easier to squish it in there if you butter your hands and just press it in. Once it cools, cut into 1 inch squares. It make a LOT of candy and it keeps really well at room temperature.

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Well. I for one can hardly wait to hear how this grand candy expedition turns out. Kind of exciting, isn't it?

We'll need step by step updates, of course!

Wish I were there, and on the "tasting committee." :rolleyes:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Well I'm about to head downstairs and try version 1 -- the one-hour, all-milk, no condensed version. I'm going to make the whole batch, so let's hope I don't screw it up.

If it's not close, then I'll move on to the condensed milk. I wanted to avoid the condensed milk version because something about it seemed inauthentic, but if Fifi is right and if most Mexican candy DOES use condensed milk, then maybe the condensed milk version will be tastier. I also like that that version uses brown sugar.

Here goes.

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I've made something. In fact, I think I've made burnt milk candy. However, it does not taste like Monterey House.

I used the Recipe Goldmine recipe which consisted of milk, sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla. After an hour and a half of watching the concoction transform from a curdled milk sloop to a thick grainy mess, I was ready to rename the recipe leche quebasura. But I kept on going and I seem to have candy.

It tastes good. The consistency is still pliable, not crumbly. But it may change after it dries out.

It's amazing how much water was cooked out of the mix. 48 ounces of ingredients (32 of which are milk!) cooked down into 16 ounces. There's a quarter cup of milk in every 1 ounce piece. The Kraft Singles of candy!

Here are some pics:

Curdled Milk Stage

curdledmilk.jpg

Thickening

somethinghappens.jpg

Grainy

someburningaction.jpg

What I have

finished2.jpg

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I was ready to rename the recipe leche quebasura.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Good news! After sitting for awhile, the candy has dried and taken on a more crumbly texture. I took another bit this morning and I tasted the essence of Monterey House candy. So this recipe is close, if not the real thing. I'll still try to condensed milk version at some point.

Edited by claire797 (log)
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So this recipe is close, if not the real thing. I'll still try to condensed milk version at some point.

OH! Please do!

I am gonna bet you a can of dulche de leche that the condensed milk version is closer.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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