Happy Holidays to all!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of  Holidays!

I always get an itch to bake during the holidays…well, I guess I sort of bake all the time anyway. This morning I woke up and decided to bake an Asian Sponge cake. To pretty it up a bit, I used a rose bundt mold. Removing the cake was a bit of a pain, but I think it turned out beautifully. I don’t think I beat the egg whites enough because the cake wasn’t as fluffy as I expected/wanted, but it was my first attempt. Hopefully next time will be much better.

Naked (without a dusting of powdered sugar) :):

Here is the recipe I used:

Asian Sponge Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups of cake flour, sifted
  • 9 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º F

1. Beat the egg whites until slightly foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form.

2. Gradually add the sugar to the egg whites and continue to beat until sugar is mixed in.

3. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks slightly and then add water, oil and vanilla.

4. In another bowl, sift together the cake flour and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until creamy.

5. Pour egg mixture into the egg whites and gently fold until everything is well blended.

6. Pour the batter into a well-greased baking pan and bake until the top is lightly golden brown. I used a rose bundt pan and it took about 30 minutes.

If using a 9 x 13 inch pan, it should be about 20 minutes.

Enjoy! 🙂

A Crinkle in Time

I’ve been wanting to make chocolate crinkle cookies for quite some time now, but every time I bake cookies, I tend to always revert back to my good ol’ chocolate chip recipe. Today I felt like doing something a little different 🙂

I found came across this recipe while surfing TasteSpotting this afternoon, so I just had to give it a try. Instead of using baking powder, I accidentally used baking soda. Whoops…but thankfully, they still turned out delish!

Check em out:

They aren’t as puffed up as I had hoped they would be, but it was probably due to my fluke.

Here’s the recipe I used (adapted from Urban Spork):

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1  1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. I generally heat for 30 seconds at a time and stir each time. Be careful not to burn the chocolate! Set aside, and let cool.  Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Mix butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in eggs and vanilla, and then the melted chocolate.  Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the milk.  Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.  Wrap each in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Divide each piece into 1-inch balls.  Roll in granulated sugar to coat, then in confectioners’ sugar to coat.  Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake until surfaces crack, about 13 minutes.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks and enjoy!

If you love chocolate, you have to try these!

Turtle Power!

I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while because I’ve been pretty busy recently. But, I took some time out today to make one of my favorite asian bakery breads: buo luo bao (aka Pineapple bread). Ironically, there is actually no pineapple in the bread or recipe. The bread gets its name from the topping that looks like the skin of a pineapple. I stumbled across a photo of some “turtle bread” a week ago and thought it was just so adorable, so I decided to shape each of my buns into small turtles. I used black sesame seeds for eyes.

Here’s how they turned out:

Pretty cute, no? 🙂

Here’s the recipe I’ve been using to make sweet Asian breads and the “pineapple topping.” I feel like the bread recipe could use a little tweaking because it’s not exactly the way I want it yet, but it’s getting there. Please comment if you have any suggestions on how to improve it 🙂

Sweet Bread:

  • 3 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

1. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 a cup of flour, the sugar, yeast and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add oil and milk to the butter and heat until about 100 degrees. It should feel warm, but not too hot.

3. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add beaten eggs (reserve 1 tbsp for egg wash later) and stir well to combine. Beat the mixture for 3 minutes.

4. Add remaining flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Turn the dough out to a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Add small amounts of flour if the dough is still too sticky.

5. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a clean, damp towel. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size (about 1.5 hours). During this time, make the “pineapple topping” (see below). After the first rising, punch down the dough and let it rise again until doubled (about 1.5 hours).

6. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape them into flat buns. Place them on lightly greased baking sheets and then cover them with a slightly damp towel (this prevents the dough from drying out). Let the dough rise again for about 45 minutes.

7. After the dough has risen, roll out your refrigerated pineapple topping to about 1/2 cm in thickness. Use a cookie cutter or glass cup to cut out 12 circles slightly less wide than your buns. Lightly score the toppings with a criss-cross pattern.

8. Brush the top of the dough buns with a small amount of water and place each pineapple topping on top of the dough buns.

9. Brush the buns with the reserved egg.

10. Bake the buns at 350 degrees for about 13-15 minutes on the middle rack, checking them frequently to make sure they don’t burn.

Pineapple topping:

  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder

1. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.

2. Add the egg yolk, baking soda and milk. Mix well.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture. Mix by hand until smooth and not sticky.

4. Chill the topping, wrapped in plastic, until ready to use.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Is it really Fall now?

I feel like Texas never really has four seasons. We have “hot” and “sort of hot.” This weekend was full of gorgeous, fall weather. In honor of the long awaited temperature drop, I decided to be festive and bake a pumpkin loaf aka pumpkin pie bread. I used another recipe that I found on allrecipes.com and it turned out great! I did add a bit more pumpkin pie spice because I really like how it provides a little bit more of a bite to it.

I also ran a half marathon this morning and carved a pumpkin. hehe

pumpkin pie bread

The recipe is really simple and easy to follow. If you love pumpkin pie, you definitely have to give this recipe a shot 🙂 Depending on your oven, you may want to turn it down to 325 degrees and bake for a little bit longer. Be sure to keep an eye on it! You don’t want the outside to burn and have the inside uncooked.

Here’s the recipe I used:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, oil, eggs, and pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture alternately with water. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. For best flavor, store wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for a full day before serving.

Enjoy! 🙂

pumpkin

New York City is crazzzzzy

Greetings!

My weekend in New York City was ridiculously fun! I checked off most of the items on my itinerary and got to hang out with a bunch of great friends.

Not much to say…so here are some pics from the weekend:

Soba from Mitsuwa

soba

Yummmm

tim

Taiyaki

yum

Mitsuwa Marketplace
595 River Road,
Edgewater, NJ 07020
TEL: (201) 941-9113

Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. It’s a huge Japanese market place with ramen, sushi, baked goods and so much more!

Let the wild rumpus start!

Is it Halloween yet? I just finished one of my costumes. Woohoo!

I came up with this idea late one Friday night while talking to Will. It’s a cross between brilliant and ridiculous, which makes it so much fun! I completely winged this costume, seeing as how I didn’t use any measurements or patterns. Just a bunch of cutting and sewing. I think my sewing machine is from the late 80’s too, so there were a few moments of frustration. The suit is made from sweat shirt material, flipped fuzzy side out. The crown is made from a USPS flat rate priority envelope. Crafty eh? The tail is actually a belt worn inside the suit. The furry material is actually quite heavy, so I didn’t want it dragging down the entire suit. The front has faux buttons and the flap closes up with velcro down the middle.

I decided to be Max from the book/movie “Where the Wild Things Are.” Not quite sure why, but I guess it’s just a throwback to a great childhood book. After seeing the Opening Ceremony Max Suit run for $610, I figured I could make something similar for much less. The total cost was about $30 for material and two Friday nights worth of time.

Now I just need to roll around in the dirt a bit so that it’s not so white 🙂

Check it out for yourself and leave a comment to let me know what you think:

Wild thing:

Off to do a 12 mile run! Have a great weekend

Decadent & Delicious

So my mom called me today while I was at work. She suggested that I should swing by the grocery store after work and pick up supplies to “bake something for my coworkers.” I was a little confused at first, but I am pretty sure she meant something along the lines of “if you bake stuff for your coworkers, then they will become your friends.” I guess she’s trying to tell me something. Oh well…

I used a cream cheese brownie recipe that I thought would be pretty legit. They turned out pretty decent. Hopefully the coworkers will dig them too. Check ’em out:


  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon of flour
  • 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×9 inch square baking pan.
  2. Combine cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir 1/3 cup chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside.
  3. Place the 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of butter into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 25 seconds and then stir. Repeat this until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Toss 1/2 cup chocolate chips with the 1 teaspoon of flour. This is so the chips don’t sink to the bottom while the brownies bake. Set aside.
  5. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 eggs, then sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; stir the dry ingredients into chocolate until evenly blended. Do not over mix. Add the flour coated chocolate chips and stir.
  6. Pour half of the batter into the 9×9 baking pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer. Top with remaining chocolate mixture (this doesn’t need to completely cover the cream cheese layer). Using a knife, swirl the top chocolate layer into the cream cheese to make a marble pattern.
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is crinkled and edges pull away from sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly. Cut into 12 squares. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.

MMMmmm…delicious 🙂