Jan 29, 2012

Cookies that Spice Up Your Life

I love spices.
I love spices in my coffee.
I love spices in my cakes.
I love spices in my cookies
And I love spices in my cookies

I’ve tried making many spiced cookies, and finally came up with my favorite ginger cookies.


Ginger cookies/Gingersnaps
recipe slightly adapted from allrecipe
Ingredients:
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ C shortening
1 C granulated sugar
1 egg
¼ C molasses
¼ C granulated sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
1. In a bowl, mix together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
2. In another bowl, beat together shortening and 1 C sugar until well blended.
Then beat in egg until well-incorporated; and then add in molasses, mix well.
3. Mix in half of the flour mixture until well blended, add the rest, mix well.
4. Put the dough in the fridge for at least an hour; or better if over night.
5. Preheat oven to 350F
6. Scoop cookie dough out form them into balls with two spoons
7. Bake them for 9-11 minutes.

Depends on the texture you like; 9 for soft and chewy cookies, 11 for snap in yo face cookies.


* I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but when it comes to cookies and cakes, you never want to over mix the dough or batter; otherwise they will be tough. When making bread, on the other hand, you want to really work the dough; I’ll talk about it more in the future when I make bread
* By chilling the dough, they cookies won’t spread out into a flat disk when you bake them. However if you’re a gingersnap person and like your cookies crispy and snappy, you can pat the cookies down a bit after you make them into little balls.
* I also believe that by letting the dough sit in your fridge before you bake them intensify the spiciness. I put my dough in the fridge for 36 hours because I kind of forgot about them, and the cinnamon and ginger really gave the cookies a really nice kick. Just make sure they don’t leave them in the fridge for too long that they go bad. 餅乾麵團放越久 烤出來的餅乾味道越香越濃 (用英文解釋那麼多,中文一句話就解決, )
enjoy ♥

Jan 28, 2012

Brigadeiro


  

Brigadeiro, a kind of chocolate candy from Brazil, is one of my favorite sweets!
They look like truffles but the texture is like caramel. Truffles are made with cream and chocolate; these are made with condensed milk and cocoa powder. Although both amazing, they taste completely different.

I make this so often because it’s so good and so darn easy! It only require a few ingredients.

Brigadeiro
Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Butter
2 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
½ C cocoa powder
¼ C hot chocolate mix
Topping:
Toasted coconut flakes, crushed biscuits, cocoa powder
Directions:
1. In a saucepan, combine butter, condensed milk, cocoa powder, and hot chocolate mix.
Over medium low heat, bring mixture to boil, turn the heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes.
 
I cooked mine for 15 minutes. You know it’s done when the mixture starts to pull away from the side when tilted.
When it’s done cooking, set aside and allow it to cool a bit.
2. When it’s cool enough to handle, form it into balls with two spoons and toss them around in cocoa powder, coconut flakes, crushed biscuits or whatever you like.

* I normally use regular condensed milk, but I’ve also tried the reduced fat and fat free ones. They all work, but the fat free condensed milk makes the final candy less chewy and they’re not as creamy.
* For the hot chocolate mix, I’ve tried using many brand; and this time I used Nesquik
* If you like chewier texture, cook the mixture longer, if not 12 minutes should do it.
* You can use anything you want to roll these puppies in. My favorite “topping” is crushed pretzels and coconut
* I usually like to chill them or even freeze them if you can’t wait, I also think they taste better cold. The chocolate inside never hardens, too because it’s made of condensed milk.

I ground some coffee beans and toasted them because I thought the combination of coffee and chocolate must be good. but I ended up burning them, so.... I never got to try it
 And then I toasted some sweetened coconut flakes under 350F for about 4-5 minutes
 
 
 They smell AMAZING! After rolling some chocolate, I still have some left over and decided eat them later with some lemon sorbet, yum!
 
 
 
 
 I baked some pie crust I made and froze for about 15 minutes under 350F. Break it down into chunks, baked them for another 5 minutes, crushed them again and sprinkled some cinnamon, sugar, and salt; mix, baked again for 5-10 minutes until they became crispy.
 
 I also rolled some in cocoa powder

 Of course I saved some for myself...
 I put them into little "shot glasses" to give out to people. I love those cups, they're just the cutest thing ever!
 
 
enjoy ♥

Jan 27, 2012

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I’ve always been curious about pineapple upside down cake. It looks beautiful but for some reason it just doesn’t look appetizing to me. I’ve never tasted one, or even seen one, except for the pictures I saw on food websites or people’s blog. When I was talking to my sister the other day, the subject came up; and she told me she’d tried the cake and it was surprisingly good. Like my sister, I’m not too picky when it comes to savory food; however, when it comes to sweets and dessert, I am pretty picky and can usually taste the good and the bad. Anyways, the point is my sister and I have pretty similar taste when it comes to sweets, so when she told me about this cake, I decided to give it a try.

Fabulous.

Just fabulous. For those who don’t care much for pineapple, you’ll be surprise about how good this is.

I looked at many recipes to get the basic idea on how this cake is made and changed some of the ingredients and the amount of the sugar and butter.


Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Margarine
½ C packed brown sugar, I used dark brown sugar
4 HUGE slices pineapple, I used the canned pineapple slices
¼ C shortening, I ran out of butter and margarine, and shortening worked fine
¾ C granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
½ C evaporated milk
¼ C pineapple juice from the can
1 banana, mashed
1 1/3 C all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Heat the oven to 350F, and melt the margarine in an 8-inch glass pan
2. Sprinkle brown sugar over margarine, and place the pineapple slices on top; set aside
3. In a bowl, cream together shortening, sugar, and salt. There’s really no need to beat it like crazy since shortening isn’t like butter, you’re not trying to beat air into it.
4. Gradually add in the milk, pineapple juice, and mashed banana
5. In another bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Then add flour mixture and vanilla extract into the cake batter; don’t over mix it.
6. Pour cake batter over the pineapple slices.
Bake the cake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. 
I baked mine for 37 minutes
7. Turn the cake out while it is still hot; this way you can get the pineapple slices out
8. Dig in while it’s still warm, y’all. 
* Whenever I see the word "vegan" or "eggless" in a recipe, I normally just skip that recipe because I do believe that eggs is one of the key ingredients to all baked goods, especially cakes and cookies. However, I forgot to buy eggs and used banana to substitute the egg. But then taste of banana actually adds so much flavor to the cake. I absolutely love it! I just don't want to admit it.
* People usually put pineapple slices and maraschino cherries at the bottom of the pan, but I’m not a fan of canned cherries. You can put some cherries in if you like
* This cake taste great with vanilla ice cream by the way. But again, what doesn’t tastes great with vanilla ice cream
enjoy ♥

Jan 20, 2012

Sweet Potato Bread II

After burning the honey sweet potato bread on Wednesday, I decided to make it one more time. It is a lot better, but still not perfect. It’s still got a thin layer of crust, and I’d like it to be gone next time.


 
Here’s the recipe I tried today. It was originally from Carol’s blog

Honey Sweet Potato Bread II (Toast)
Ingredients:
150g Sweet Potato Puree
280 - 300g bread flour
1 egg, at room temperature
¾ tsp instant yeast
1/8 tsp salt
20g honey
30g evaporated milk, warm
30g butter, softened
Directions:
1. Mix everything except for butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon (I used my hand) until the dough barely stick to the side of the bowl Dump the dough out to a floured surface
2. Add in the softened butter and knead the dough for about 45 minutes or until the dough is elastic and becomes very thin when stretched out
3. Form dough into a ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover with damp towel and place in a warm place (or room temperature if your kitchen is hot.) Let the dough rise for 60 minutes or until it doubles in size.
4. Punch the dough down to get the air out, and then form it into a ball and cover with the towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
5. Divide the dough into parts, or shape them however you like. Cover with a damp towel again and let it rise for another 60 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 400F
7. When the size of your dough increase again, bake it for 25-30 minutes (I checked it after 28 minutes and it was done.)


Perfect texture inside! 牽絲喔耶
 
 

 * I used evaporated milk instead of regular milk; I think it gave it a unique taste. I personally love it!
* I put evaporated milk and honey in the microwave for 15 seconds to warm it up to help activating the yeast. Make sure it’s not too hot though; you don’t want to kill the yeast!
* Next time I would lower the temperature a little more, lower the wire rack in the oven and bake it for maybe 25 minutes.

enjoy ♥

Sweet Potato Bread I

I love bread. So much.
but not as much as I love making bread.

I’ve been making so much bread since I came back to New York in January.
Earlier this week I made sweet potato bread and burned it. I was so sad that I did not want to upload the picture or even write this post. However, I gave it another try today and it turned out great! so I thought it's okay to show my improvement :目

This is actually my third time of making this bread. The first time I made it, I was in Taiwan. That time the bread wasn’t as good because I was lazy and didn’t test the yeast before I added it to the dough; it turns out the yeast was expired a long time ago. The dough was kneaded well but since the bread did not rise at all due to the “un-fresh” yeast. The bread was tough and dense; it kind of has the texture of the sandwich bread people normally buy in the market.

However, the texture I was looking for is light, airy, and fluffy.

The second time I tried making this bread, I ended up burning it. It tasted okay, but not great; it was a bit too dry for me. It has a dark brown crust, but this bread is not supposed to have a crust.

First, mix together sweet potato, flour, egg, yeast, salt, honey, milk

Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough does not stick to the side of the bowl anymore. I always mix bread dough with my lil' paws because I like to feel it while kneading it.
Turn it out onto a FLOURED surface. I didn't, so it was sticking to my board big time.
Add the softened butter
 And knead until it's elastic. When you first add the butter to the dough, it's gonna seem like they don't like each other and won't come together, but keep kneading the dough, they will eventually become friends.
 When it's elastic, place in a lightly GREASED bowl. Again, I didn't and it stuck to the bowl, no big deal though. Put it in a warm place and let it rise.
 
 Punch the air out!
 Roll the dough out and fold it.
 
 
 Divide them into four parts and shape them.
 
 
 
 
yay! 

 let the dough rise again...
 and bake, make sure you don't burn the bread like I did!

The recipe I used is mainly based off of Carol’s Honey Pumpkin Toast recipe
Honey Sweet Potato Bread (Toast)
Ingredients:
150g Sweet Potato Puree
280g bread flour
1 egg, at room temperature
¾ tsp instant yeast
1/8 tsp salt
20g honey
30g milk
30g butter, softened
Directions:
1. Mix everything except for butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon (I used my hand) until the dough barely stick to the side of the bowl Dump the dough out to a floured surface
2. Add in the softened butter and knead the dough for about 45 minutes or until the dough is elastic and becomes very thin when stretched out
3. Form dough into a ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover with damp towel and place in a warm place (or room temperature if your kitchen is hot.) Let the dough rise for 60 minutes or until it doubles in size.
4. Punch the dough down to get the air out, and then form it into a ball and cover with the towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
5. Divide the dough into parts, or shape them however you like. Cover with a damp towel again and let it rise for another 60 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 410F
7. When the size of your dough increase again, bake it for 40 minutes

* This bread does not call for any sugar; the sweetness mainly comes from the honey
* When the bread first came out of the oven, you have to remove it from the pan immediately and let it cool on the wire rack.
* Next time I will lower the temperature, bake it for less time, divide dough into more and smaller parts.


我愛吃麵包,更愛做麵包!

enjoy ♥

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