Filipinos love sweets. We love to munch on something sweet or what we call “matamis” after every meal. We Filipinos go overboard when it comes to desserts. The most popular ones are mostly smothered with sugar and syrup. Our sweet tooth is not limited to just desserts. We like adding sugar to our food and drinks like fruit juices, milk and chocolate. There are some who put condensed milk in their coffee, although we know that this type of milk has a lot of unhealthy sugar. I would often be teased by my friends when we go out for coffee because I put too much sugar in my cup. They ask me if I would like some coffee in my sugar. Brazo de Mercedes (Spanish for “Mercedes’ Arms” due to its light brown/flesh-colored and elongated appearance) is one of the Filipinos’ most loved desserts. It is a crème-filled log cake. And yes, it is very sweet. Just like the “leche flan” dessert that I featured last September 2012, Brazo de Mercedes is also made from eggs, sugar and milk. It is a rolled, soft meringue with a custard filling. Some people refer to it as some kind of “jelly roll”. The meringue is sponge like that literally melts in your mouth. The overall taste is balanced by the sweet custard filling and the meringue. As usual, I used the recipe in “panlasang pinoy.com” because I found it to be the simplest one that an average cook like me could follow. It is important to remember to know that this dessert should be consumed as soon as it is ready because it shrinks after a while. It can be refrigerated to keep it from collapsing. During preparation, one can decrease the amount of sugar in the meringue mixture to make it less sweet but you may not achieve very stiff peaks. But be careful not to overbeat. It is best to cook the custard filling within 10 minutes because it thickens as it cools. INGREDIENTS: 10 large raw eggs, yolks and whites separated 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar 14 ounces condensed milk COOKING PROCEDURE: Combine egg whites and cream of tartar then beat using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Make the meringue by gradually adding the granulated sugar while mixing the ingredients. Continue mixing until the texture is semi-firm. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place wax paper on top of a cookie sheet or large rectangular baking pan and grease the surface. Place the meringue on top of the greased wax paper then spread evenly using a spatula. Bake the meringue for 20 to 22 minutes or until the color of the top part turns light to medium brown. While the meringue is in the oven, make the filling by combining the egg yolks and condensed milk in a small cooking pot. Apply heat and cook the mixture while continuously stirring until the texture becomes thick. Add the vanilla extract to the condensed milk and egg yolk mixture, turn off the heat, and mix thoroughly. Set aside. Remove the meringue from the oven and cool down for a few minutes. Sprinkle the confectioners sugar on top of the meringue then place wax paper on the top part of the meringue followed by a similar sized baking pan or tray. The meringue should now be in the middle of two baking trays. Flip the meringue: the new cookie sheet/baking tray placed on top should now be below. Remove the baking tray and the wax paper (you should now see the opposite side of the baked meringue) then spread the filling (cooked egg yolks, condensed milk, and vanilla extract mixture) over the meringue. Roll the meringue. Complete rolling side to side starting at the longest side. Make sure that the layer with filling is rolled inward. Transfer to a serving plate then serve.