Jan 26, 2013

Jammy Bars


One of my favorite desserts and they're super easy to make!

Jammy Bars
Slightly adapted from allrecipes
Ingredients:
1/3 C brown sugar
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C rolled oats
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
½ C unsalted butter, softened
½ - ¾ C jam
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 8x8 inch square pan (I didn’t have one on hand so used a 9 inch cake pan instead and it works just fine)
2. In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

Then mix in softened butter with a fork until the mixture form


3. Take 2/3 of the dough, press it into the bottom of the pan, spread your favorite jam over it and make sure to leave at least ¼ inch around the edge.


If you get jam onto the pan, the bars will get stuck after it’s baked.
4. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top

bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edge is lightly browned. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.


Sometimes, when you feel lonely and no one in the world seems to understand how you feel, go make yourself some Jammy Bars. You’ll feel better, I promise.
enjoy 

Jan 22, 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


I’m not a believer in cupcakes, but frosting on the other hand, makes me a happy kid.
A few days ago I made some vanilla cupcakes just so I can make some of my favorite frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting.

I got the cupcake recipe here. It’s the vanilla cupcakes from the famous Magnolia Bakery.

The original recipe makes 24 cupcakes, but I cut the recipe down and made 12 cupcakes. I also cut down the amount of sugar quit a bit because the frosting itself is sweet enough.
Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 ½ C self-rising flour -> ¾ C
1 ¼ C all-purpose flour -> ½ C + 2 Tbsp
(pinch of salt)
1 C unsalted butter, softened -> ½ C (1 stick)
2 C sugar -> 2/3 C
4 eggs, at room temperature -> 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 C milk -> ½ C milk (do yourself a favor and use whole milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract -> ½ tsp
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. In a bowl, sift together both flours and salt, set aside
2. In another bowl, cream butter until smooth and beat in sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in beaten eggs gradually and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but don’t over mix.


3. Spoon batter into cupcake liners, filling them about ½ - ¾ full.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserts and comes out clean.

4. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to wire rack to let cool completely before frosting.

* The texture of the cupcakes is dense, but that could be the self-rising flour I used. I made the flour a while ago when I made the Ice Cream Muffins, and maybe the leavening agent in the flour got old and couldn’t help the cake rise.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
1 (8oz) block cream cheese, softened
¼ C (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ C – 1 C powdered sugar, depends on how sweet you want your frosting to be.
1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
1. In a bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then add in powdered sugar a little at a time, otherwise you’ll be covered in powdered sugar.

Finally stir in vanilla extract.

* I used ½ C powdered sugar because I topped those cupcakes with some toasted coconut flakes, which also add extra sweetness to them.

* If the frosting is too runny, let it chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes and then frost the cupcakes.


enjoy 

Jan 21, 2013

Cookies Madness


I promise you cookies, I’ll give you cookies.
I have been using the same recipe since I found my favorite cookie dough recipe, and just changing the add-ins.

I added M&Ms and Kit-Kat pieces and made some Christmas Cookies.

Man, I’m a sucker for Christmas themed everything. I know it’s just the wrapper and the colors, but I just have to buy everything that’s red and green, or anything that speaks Christmas.

It makes me happy.

When you have the time, make some brown butter please; you’d be surprised how much difference it makes.

Of course the good old unsalted butter is good, I mean it’s butter, how can it not be, but brown butter just takes it to the next level and adds a nice nutty flavor to the cookies.

The other great add-in combination is Dried Cranberries and White Chocolate.

I do like white chocolate, but prefer milk and dark chocolate. I can snack on some good white chocolate but because it’s very sweet, I get sick of it very soon. That’s why it goes so well with cranberries; the tanginess of the dried cranberries balances out the extra sweetness from the white chocolate.

Also I love love love the colors pink and white together, so beautiful.

For this batch of cookies, I also added some sliced almonds for an extra crunchy texture, but it’s optional.


And then there’s one of my favorites, peanut butter cups and butterscotch chips.

To most people this is probably a bit too sweet. If you don’t have a crazy sweet tooth like me, add less butterscotch chips, because they are really sweet.

I also recommend changing the amount of sugar base on the things you add to the cookie dough. For the Candy Bar Cookies and Peanut Butter Cups and Butterscotch Cookies I left out the ¼ C granulated sugar and only added ¾ C brown sugar.

enjoy 

Jan 20, 2013

Christmas Peppermint Fudge

or just Peppermint Fudge, sorry I love Christmas too much.

Fudge is one of my favorite sweets. A small piece of confection can be so comforting, and can instantly satisfy you sugar craving.

I’ve tried several fudge recipes, and so far this is my favorite. It’s super easy and doesn’t require a candy thermometer.

Christmas Peppermint Fudge
Ingredients:
2/3 C evaporated milk
¾ C granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 (7oz) jar marshmallow crème
2 C dark chocolate chips
1 C milk chocolate chips
¼ - ½ C crushed peppermint candies
1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Grease a 9x13 inch pan, set aside. (I like thinner and smaller fudge, so I’m using a cookie sheet. If you like your fudge big and fat, feel free to use a 8x8 inch square pan.)
2. Combine evaporated milk, granulated sugar, salt, and marshmallow crème in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.

Bring mixture to a full boil and then cook for 7 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Remove from heat and stir in Dark and Milk Chocolate chips until chocolate is melted


and then mix in vanilla extract.

4. Pour mixture into greased pan and sprinkle evenly with crushed candy canes.


5. Let cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for about 2 hours or over night. Cut into pieces and snack on them constantly.

* Make sure the mixture is fully boiling before you started counting time. You want to make sure that it cooks for long enough so later it sets properly. The first time I made it I didn’t cook it long enough, and I had to stick it to the fridge for it to set. It still tasted amazing, just a bit hard to handle.
* You can try adding in different toppings. I’ve tried adding in white chocolate chips and take out ¼ C sugar because white chocolate will add extra sweetness to the fudge. I’ve also tried adding different kinds of nuts; walnuts are my personal favorite. But feel free to add in any topping you like, almost everything taste great with this fudge.

It was very late at night when I made these so I didn’t want to make any noise by crushing the candies. I broke them by hand, that’s why there are some huge pieces of candy cane. Also my fingers hurt like crazy the next day.
What I’m trying to say is forget about your neighbors, go ahead and smash those candies with a rolling pin, even if it’s 2 am in the morning. Do it for yourself… I mean for your friends because you’ll be sharing some fudge with them the next day.
enjoy 

Jan 18, 2013

Sweet California I Miss You

Besides my favorite person in the world..

What I miss the most in California is the good food.
Oh yeah the food there is crazy delicious. Don't get me wrong, I know it's easy to find good food in New York, too. But I never get a chance to go out and eat when I'm at school, or even leaving the studio.
Anyways, let's get to the food shall we?
On Christmas day, we went to Stanford University and the shopping center there. Now I've mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of cakes or cupcakes, although I LOVE making them for my friends. However, when I tried the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes, I gotta admit, they have some pretty damn good cupcakes.
We got the Black and White cupcake

and the Banana Dark Chocolate cupcake is my personal preference.

The banana cake itself is dense and moist, but not too heavy, and the frosting.. oh the frosting is so rich and decedent. I'd like a cupcake right now.. or just a giant spoonful of chocolate frosting please.

Moving on to the savory
One of the best meals I had in California is at the Boiling Crab in San Jose. and by best meal I mean the fries. Since I'm allergic to garlic, I couldn't get any special sauce to go with my seafood, I just got my shrimp steamed, which is refreshing and good with the fried goodies. We got some sweet potato fries, some Cajun fries, and some fried calamari. I thought the sweet potato fries are a bit greasy, but best potato fries and fried calamari I've ever had in my life! The place was packed, we had to wait for over an hour, but totally worth it!


After all the fried goodies, let's talk healthy. One of the places we go often for a quick lunch is Erik's Delicafe.

Of course you can get comfort food like Clam Chowder and Soup Bowl, but you can also get some healthy sandwiches and wraps to make you feel better about yourself after eating tons of fried food from the day before.


Talking about healthy food is giving a headache, let's move back to the sweets:)
One day I was having the biggest sugar craving, like I always do, and my sister took me to Cocola Bakery in Santana Row, and got some sweets for lunch. There I've found the best cake in the world. We got the Millefeuille/Napoleon, which has "layers of puff pastry, whip and orange pastry cream, fresh strawberry and fondant." I thought the puff pastry was a bit soggy and the flavor of the cake is just aight. but let me tell you about the Le Sultan (Hazelnut Cake).

Let me tell you about this baby. It's got "Layers of chocolate genoise, white chocolate mousse, hazelnut mousse with hazelnut crunchy disc." I don't know about you, but to me that sounds like orgasm in my mouth heaven. The cake is on the sweeter side, but you don't get sick of it because of the multiple flavor you get when you bite into it. When biting into the hazelnut bits, it was just the most beautiful moment of my life. Forget the chocolate frosting I mentioned earlier, just give me a slice of this baby.


One other thing that I fell in love with is the caramel from Judy's Candy Company.

Man I'm hooked on these sweet confection. I've tried the Triple Treat, which has a streak of marshmallow in between chocolate and vanilla caramel. It's decent, but I prefer the classic Vanilla Caramel. Simply divine.

Dear Santa, I need bigger pants and longer belts. Wait, forget the belt, I won't be needing it.

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