Monday, August 18, 2014

Chocolate Banana Walnut Cupcakes

Has it really been more than a year since I posted on this blog? Woops.. 

A lot has happened. I moved from lovely California to beautiful North Carolina for an intensely accelerated 16 month nursing program and it's been a crazy transition. The stress is real. And talk about culture shock.. But I've adjusted and even got through the hardest semester of the program (thank god!!). I've barely had time to bake let alone have any free time for myself, but I'm halfway through my short but super relaxing two-week break, which gives me time to enjoy what I love to do... BAKE! 

So, I had some nasty a** bananas in the fridge. They were squishy, their skins even sinking into my fridge rack. It was gross. But I hate to waste food, so I found a yummy cupcake recipe and figured out a topping that would remind me of summer sundaes. I figured it was appropriate with this crazy humid summer that NC is famous for. Just kidding, what am I saying? NC weather is straight up bipolar. It'll be sunny, hot, humid in one moment and then in the next, it'll be raining and storming. hard. Then 20 minutes later, it'll be sunny again. I don't understand. 

Okay, I got sidetracked. Here's the recipe!

For the cupcakes: 
(Taken from bakingbites)

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup very ripe, medium bananas, mashed (I used 3)
1 cup buttermilk

1 cup walnuts (chopped)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  • In another bowl, beat the butter until it's not lumpy. I whip the butter with my KitchenAid mixer and stop it every couple times to scrape the sides of the bowl. This helps from having lumpy butter/batter, especially if the butter isn't quite at room temperature when you start beating. I'm just picky with lumpy batter. 
  • Add the sugar into the butter and beat until it's light. 
  • Beat eggs one at a time.
  • Beat in the vanilla and mashed bananas. 
  • Add half of the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Scrape sides of the bowl as well. 
  • Mix in the buttermilk.
  • Mix in the last half of the flour mixture until incorporated. 
  • Fold in the chopped walnuts.
  • Pour batter into each cupcake liner. I use an ice cream scoop for even scoops. 
  • Bake for 15-18 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean after inserting into a baking cupcake. 

For the chocolate ganache:

8 oz. whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
10 oz. 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Place all the chips in a medium/large bowl.
  • Bring the whipping cream and butter to a boil. Keep stirring or the whipping cream may burn. 
  • Once in a rolling boil, remove the cream from heat and pour onto the chocolate chips. 
  • Let it settle for a couple minutes.
  • Mix with a whisk until the chocolate and cream incorporate together and become glossy and shiny. 
  • Dip cupcakes into the ganache. If you have sprinkles on hand, dump some sprinkles into a bowl or plate and dip the cupcakes. 

Now add a scoop of ice cream on top of the cupcakes! Just kidding. Only if you want to. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Triple Chocolate Strawberry Bouquet

So, I listen to the radio alot. I've been driving alot lately and it's always on. Nearing Mother's Day, there were so many commercials and radio show hosts talking about paying money for chocolate-dipped strawberry bouquets and i'm like...why. Why spend so much money on that when you can make them yourself?? Homemade gifts are so much more boss.

With these strawberries, I dipped them in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and drizzled them in white chocolate. mmm :) 

After licking all my chocolate bowls, my mom said it was the best mother's day ever :) and then I told her to clean her mouth because there's chocolate stains all over it. 

milk chocolate
dark chocolate
white chocolate
parchment paper

I washed the strawberries and let them chill on a paper towel in the fridge overnight. 

I covered the whole strawberries in milk chocolate first and let those dry in the freezer for a bit.

Then I dipped the strawberries halfway with dark chocolate and let them dry in the freezer for a bit. 

I melted white chocolate in the microwave (every time i try using a bain-marie for white chocolate, it always seizes =/ but microwave works like a charm!!) in 10-second intervals, mixing well after each. 

cut the sides of the parchment paper (you can use brown paper too; that will actually look more classy but I wasn't in the mood to spend any more money) like this.

skewer the strawberries and lay them down in two rows. 

fold the two sides of the paper inwards, letting them overlap each other.

then twist the ends together!

you can also use some twine to tie the ends together... I didn't have any laying around so I opted for the twist. 

simple and inexpensive! and it sure impressed all the moms whom I delivered to; they all stared and admired...and then devoured :) 

Mini Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes

Happy Mother's Day!! I feel like it's my favorite holiday; I get so happy trying to make my mom happy and feeling special today. She is the most hard working person I know; I don't know how she gets so much done in one day. She has so much love for me, my brother, and my dad; it surprises me everyday. But before making myself cry just thinking how wonderful my mom is, I wanted to share this recipe! My mom loves cheesecake so I wanted to make her this mini beauties. 

And the picture up top is modeled by my very own mommy! Look at those beautiful hard-working hands :) 

1 stick softened butter
2 packets of chocolate graham crackers
3 eight ounces cream cheese 
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 eight ounces sour cream
6 ounces raspberries

before starting: wash raspberries, add a couple splashes of water in a small saucepan with the berries and boil on high. Mash the raspberries and then let it boil again until the water reduces, about 10 minutes. use a sieve to sift out the pulp and voila! raspberry sauce. 

1. Get the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs to room temperature (i left them out all day; soft, room temp. cream cheese will keep the cheesecake extremely smooth-textured and not lumpy! soooo crucial.)

2. crush graham crackers into crumbs

3. mix in the butter into the graham crackers until it forms a combined mixture.

4. spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners and use some utensil to mash the graham crackers into the bottom of the liners (i used the twisted inner cap of a thermos). 

5. bake for 8 minutes in 350 degree oven.

6. when done, let them cool to room temperature

7. beat the cream cheeses together until it's a smooth texture with no lumps of cream cheese. I beat the cheeses with my stand-up mixer and then by hand to ensure there's no lumps. 

8. beat in the sugar real good.

9. then fold the eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated each time. 

10. fold the sour cream and mix until just incorporated.

11. pour in the cheesecake mixture into each cupcake liner

12. add three small drops of raspberry sauce onto each cheesecake cup

13. take a toothpick and swirl the drops around, swirling just enough to make the marbling effect, not just make a uniformed raspberry layer on top. 

14. in the preheated 350 degree oven, add a pan of hot water on the bottom of the oven. 

15. place the cheesecakes into the oven and lower the heat to 325 degrees. bake for 12 minutes or until there is only a slight jiggle when shaken.

16. take out of the oven and leave outside until cooled to room temp. then place in fridge, uncovered, overnight. 

17. most important step: enjoy and hope you guys had a very great mother's day :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Banoffee Tart

This is an amazing recipe that I borrowed from manggy! Instead of one large tart, I made it into four smaller tarts. Also, I caramelized and flambed the bananas with sugar, butter, and Bacardi Gold instead of putting in regular cut-up bananas. And I added pecans! because I didn't have any peanuts. But it worked out beautifully in terms of taste, texture, and sweetness level.

Ingredients (makes four 4-inch tarts)
1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk
1 1/2 (210g) cups AP flour
1/2 cup (50g) powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, slightly melted
1 large egg yolk
~ 1/4 cup sugar
~1/4 cup butter
2 large (firm) bananas
1/2 cup dark rum
chopped pecans
heavy cream

First off, the toffee is made out of regular condensed milk!....except you have to submerge the cans in hot boiling water for 3 hours. Then it turns into lovely sweet brown toffee :) 

make sure the cans are always submerged in water. You'll have to check periodically, around every half hour or so.

Ok. The recipe calls for frozen butter. But I accidentally forgot to put the butter in the fridge when I bought it, so it was pretty melty. I was too lazy to wait for the butter to freeze, so I simply added the melted butter into the sieved flour, powdered sugar, and salt

Once the pastry blender causes the mixture to resemble small crumbs, go ahead and add an egg yolk! When that's all nicely mixed together, grab a handful and spread the dough towards the corners of the tart pan, making sure not to spread it too thin. I made the edges pretty thick because I like it that way and I'm aware that I get in the habit of making my edges thin :/

Freeze for 30 minutes, longer if you'd like, and preheat your oven to 375 degrees. After that looong wait, cover the tarts with foil and bake for 25 minutes. 

 Take out the foil and bake for another 8 minutes for the dough to brown.  Cool to room temperature and then in the fridge with the tart molds, in case the dough isn't sturdy by itself yet.

 While the dough is cooling, cut your bananas! I used Gordon Ramsay's caramelised bananas recipe as a guideline, but when it came down to it, I didn't measure out the butter and sugar; I just eye-balled it. 

Pour the sugar in a medium-heated pan and wait until it all dissolves. Then slightly turn up the heat to give the sugar a darker color. Once it's an ugly color it's over. and burnt. But when it's still a pretty color, add the knob of butter and wait 'til that dissolves. Then add the bananas and swish them around to coat them into the caramel. Check if bananas are tender with a knife. Now comes the fun part.

 I had never flambed anything before, so this was all new to me. I seriously almost caught myself on fire lol.

Pour the Bacardi Gold (or whichever dark rum you prefer) into a half-cup container. 

I heard you should never pour straight from the bottle in case the flames catch up to the bottle from the pan know. 

I don't if I'll explain this okay, but once I poured in the rum, I slightly tilted the pan's edge toward the stove flames and then the flames caught on to the rum and blew up at me. 

Once the flames subside, add a little water so the caramel won't be too thick. Add chopped pecans and mix them in and turn off the heat.

 Assembly line! 

Add a layer of toffee first.

Then add the bananas and another (thick) layer of toffee.

whip the heavy cream until firm peaks and frost!

For the chocolate sauce, I melted some semisweet chocolate with some heavy cream. Once that melted in a bain-marie, I added a large knob of butter to make it look shiny.

 Dip the edge of a spoon in the chocolate and swish it all over the tart. 

 Yum. It wasn't even overwhelmingly sweet. It was a perfect-sweet. And all the components came together and it was just...amazing.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mini Caramel Macchiato Cheesecakes

Hi you guys!!! I've been MIA for quite some time because I've been so busy with school application stuff! But I'm almost done! Anyway, I made these amazing mini caramel macchiato cheesecakes and I hope you guys enjoy too :) I don't have step-by-step pictures because I honestly wasn't expecting to post this onto my blog, but I ended up really wanting to share it!

14 oz. vanilla wafers
1/2 cup butter
3 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 shots espresso
1 cup sour cream

1. Bring 3 packages of cream cheese, 3 eggs, and 1 stick of butter to room temperature.

2. Use a food processor (or anything that will crush vanilla wafers into crumbs) to process 14 oz. of vanilla wafers.

3.Mix the vanilla wafers with 1 stick of room temp. butter until fully incorporated.

4. Distribute crumb mixture into the mini cupcake liners and bake in a 350 degree oven for 6 minutes so the crumbs and butter meld into each other to make a solid crust. Cool and refrigerate when done.

5. Now on to the cheesecake batter!! Beat 3 packages of cream cheese by itself to make a smooth batter. Make sure to beat until smooth to avoid a lumpy cheesecake batter filled with bad, bad cream cheese lumps. bad.

6. Beat into the batter 1 cup of sugar.

7. Now fold in 3 eggs one at a time until just incorporated. Overmixing the eggs can result in a cracked up cheescake.

8. Fold in two shots of Starbucks espresso (or any other kind of espresso you want) and 1 cup of sour cream. You can also add in some (or a lot) of caramel at this point.

9. Take out the cupcake liners with the baked crusts from the fridge and pour in the batter into each liner. Tap the mini cupcake pan so air bubbles can escape and the batter can sit evenly.

[Now, I like baking my cheesecake in lower heat than normal because I've learned that it's better to bake cheesecake in low heat so it won't freak out and crack all over. I also have a pan filled with boiling water at the bottom of the oven so the cheesecake won't have to bake in a dry oven, which could contribute to a cracky cheesecake.]

10. With a pan filled with boiling water at the bottom of the oven, change the temperature of the oven from 350 degrees to 325 and place the cupcake pan in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until it stops jiggling. 12 minutes was enough time for me.

11. When it's done, take the pan out of the oven but leave the cheesecakes in the pan for a little bit so it gets used to the outside temperature. After a couple minutes, take the cheesecakes out of the pan.

12. Leave them outside until they reach room temp. and then transfer them to the fridge. I leave my cheesecakes in the fridge for a day. I feel like cheesecakes taste better the day after they're baked.

13. Then add a sexxxy layer of caramel on top and enjoy :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Quiche: The Slightly Healthier Version

Healthy quiche tarts! the filling is full of flavor, even though i used evaporated milk instead of heavy cream. the 100% whole wheat olive oil crust also helped cutting those unnecessary calories!! 

soo i decided to make some quiche because i had alot of veggie leftovers that were pretty much going to go bad soon.. plus i had a whole thing of evaporated milk left over and no heavy cream in my fridge.

whole wheat olive oil crust recipe adapted from both: chocolateandzucchini and cookingwithmykid
easy quiche recipe adapted from:  

this crust only consists of four ingredients!!

first combine whole wheat flour and salt together. then slowly add the olive oil while using the pastry blender to help distribute the oil into the flour. 

 then add 1/2 cup water and knead gently until it forms into a ball. for a little while it might seem like those little flour crumbs won't incorporate with the rest of the flour but it'll come together! then let the dough rest in the fridge for 10-15 minutes so it'll be easy to roll out.

 after the rest, roll that dough out! then cut out a circle that is a little bigger than your tart pan and then place the dough into the pan, pressing against the bottom and sides. 

roll your pin on top of the pan to get rid of the excess dough. 

 soo pretty! i didn't want the shells to shrink while they blind-baked in the oven so i put them in the freezer for an hour until they were hard. 

blind-bake the tarts in a 400 degree oven until golden brown, around 15 minutes. Oh, and don't be dumb like me and forget to fork the bottoms -.-

while that is slightly cooling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. mix together the eggs, evaporated milk, and any herb seasonings you want to add. i put in basil! i also added some parmesan cheese and salt!!! 

 add the fillings in the tart shells. then pour the egg mixture to fill up the shells. 

 bake for around 20-30 min or until an inserted knife comes out nice and clean. 

 mmm scrumptiously healthy!! seriously though, it tasted pretty bomb despite all the healthy substitutions. and very perfect for random leftover ingredients! plus you can freeze these for a month :) can you say instant breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack/dessert?

(perfect for six 4.75 diameter tart pans)

for shell:
2 cups whole wheat flour
couple pinches of salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water

for filling:
2 eggs
6 oz. evaporated milk
dried herb seasoning
some cheese?
any leftovers in the fridge!! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Babycakes experiment #1: Jumbo Eggettes!

The real reason that motivated me to go to Bed Bath & Beyond and pick up a Babycakes cake pop maker was because i was hoping i could make other things with it besides cake pops. i was thinking of takoyaki, mini croquettes, meatballs, pancake poppers, and other things that would make me feel like buying a cake pop maker would be worth spending the money.

A couple days ago, i was looking for recipes that uses evaporated milk because i bought it a couple days ago, and, no matter how hard i try, i can't remember why i bought it...i know it was for a specific recipe but i totally forgot which recipe it was for...

but anyway, a recipe for eggettes popped up on google images, but i was sad that i didn't have a fancy egg waffle mold, which is soo expensive city. but then i was thinking, holy smokes, my cake pop maker!!!

i used this recipe, which uses less sugar than the original recipe, which i disagree with. i knoow... the first recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar, which is alot, but it wasn't sweet enough like the eggettes i've had back home. so the next time i make this, i think i'll add about 3/4 cup, maybe a little less than 3/4 cup. 

anyway! this recipe is SUPER easy!! and if you don't have an egg waffle mold or a cake pop maker, you can probably bake it in the oven with a mini muffin pan or 300 degrees for 10 min-12 min or until golden brown? 

all you need to do is...

add 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon tapioca (or potato) starch into a bowl and whisk it around to combine...

add an egg...

 add some sugar...

some vegetable oil...

vanilla extract...

and then mix that all up until it's a uniformed mixture like this.

then dump in the oil and evaporated milk... and mix! thaat's pretty much it. :)

 i poured the batter onto the middle of the cake pop maker and helped it spread to the ends with my spatula. then i let it cook for 5-6 minutes. 

 mmm so soft and yummy :) 

1/2 cup all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon tapioca (potato) starch
1 large egg
3/4 cup sugar 
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon evaporated milk
1.5 oz. (3 tablespoons) water