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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Macaron

I had some leftover caramel filling and royal icing that I had to use up before I go home. So, I made some salted caramel macarons decorated with royal icing. What I did was add some sea salt to the caramel, hence the salted caramel, colored the macaron batter blue (it's winter right?) and piped snowflakes on the mac shells with royal icing. Done! The caramel filling was too runny, but it was still delicious regardless. Personally, I think the salt cut the sweetness of the caramel and mac shells, but some of my friends thought that the combination of salt and caramel was weird. Maybe they are just not used to sweet and salty sweets. Anw, here are the pics :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cookie Time!

Usually, I don't like baking cookies because it's very troublesome. But since it's almost Christmas, it's time for cookie swap! Not that I have anyone to swap my cookies with. I'm just in the mood for baking Christmas-related cookies :) Okay, my first cookie was the linzer cookie in my previous post. I used a recipe from Martha Stewart (here), but I substituted almond meal for hazelnut meal. My second cookie was candy cane cookie sticks, also from Martha Stewart (here). I mixed some matcha powder into half of the batch so I got two different flavors out of one batch. The edges of some of my cookies were browner than others', maybe because my oven temperature was not even throughout. Also, rolling the baked cookies into sticks were challenging because I probably spread the batter too thick.

My third cookie was "gingerbread" man. Well, it wasn't really gingerbread. It was actually chocolate orange cookie since my friends and I don't like the taste of gingerbread. Again, I used a basic sugar cookie recipe from Martha Stewart (here) and added 4 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of natural orange extract to the dough. Then, I rolled and baked the cookie cutouts as directed. For the decoration, I used a royal icing recipe from the website (here) and I only needed about half batch to decorate one batch of cookies.

Alright, I hope you enjoy the pictures and can spend some time to bake your own Christmas cookies :) Happy holiday everyone!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's been a while..

Ahhhhh, it's been  a loooong while since my last post. It's getting near to the end of the year. Can't believe it's already December! I'm finally almost done with my experiments and now I only need to somehow compile all those stuffs that I've done in these past two years into a thesis. Oh well.. at least the standing-in-the-lab-for-8-hours-everyday part was done :) I'm sooo looking forward to winter break, which is in 2 weeks, yeayy!! Anyway, I have been busy and anti-social this past month but that does not mean I didn't spare some time to bake ^^ Here are some pictures of my creations lately: caramel mocha latte macarons, strawberry shortcake 1, strawberry shortcake 2,assorted sushi, cheese pizza, linzer cookies, black sesame macarons. Sorry I haven't been able to post any recipes, but if you are interested in any particular one, just leave a comment or message me. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh So Productive Weekend

It's been a while since my last post because I'm busy taking care of my bacteria minions as usual -__-" Last weekend was really satisfying though. I was so productive that I made 5 desserts in 2 days :D 3 different macaron flavors: pumpkin pie, pistachio, and rose lychee; pumpkin cupcakes and mung bean ice cream. It was very very relaxing to finally be able to work in my kitchen and not in the lab during the weekend. Here are the the results of my baking frenzy..

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween :)

I saw dead people walking on the street. Dragging their feet from one place to the next. Hand in hand with..... Mario Bros? Obviously, it's Halloween!! Time for scary costumes, exaggerated make-up, and sweets :p I was going to bake a pumpkin cake for this year's Halloween, but none of my friends really like pumpkin. I thought, "Cupcakes? Pies? Tarts? What should I make??" I looked for ideas online as always, but nothing popped. It was all same old same old. And then, one day I was watching Food Network and Ina Garten's show (Barefoot Contessa) was on. She was making rum raisin chocolate truffles and I thought "It will be a fabulous macaron filling!". Okay, was excited about that, but I still didn't know how to make them more Halloween-y. Again, I turned to other bloggers' posts on decorating macaron and I found this post by Macaron Fetish. Basically, she showed how you can draw on macaron shells. So I got an idea, Jack Skellington!! Just make white macaron shells and draw Jack Skellington faces on top of them with black macaron batter, awesome :D My first batch was a little bit too stiff due to not enough macaronage and my second batch worked out better. Two tips, make sure you mix the white-colored batter until you reach that shiny liquid magma stage and don't mix the black-colored batter too much because then it will not hold its shape as well and your drawings will spread out. They were sooo cute! And the rum raisin ganache tasted good too, but I couldn't taste the raisin in it, maybe because I used semisweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Okay then, here are the pictures and happy Halloween everyone ^o^v

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Diva Red Velvet Cake

When I looked through my "My Creations" album on Facebook, I realized that I'd never baked a red velvet cake ever! I was surprised, because it is one of the most famous cakes ever created. So, for my weekend project this week I made red velvet cake from scratch (I used this recipe). As I was thinking how to decorate the cake, I thought of someone. During my internship at General Mills, I met someone who's very fun and interesting. She calls herself "Diva Peaches" and she loveeesss red velvet cake. I dedicated this cake to her by making her face out of fondant to decorate the cake :D

The cake itself was OK because I personally prefer sponge cake to butter cake. However, I had a lot of fun decorating it. Trying to mimic her hair was the most difficult part. I had to make each curl one by one using strands of fondant and it was very time-consuming. I really really loved the result though. The hair looked 3D :p I wanted to make more curls so her hair could be bigger, but as usual I wasn't patient enough. What did I do with all the fondant decorations after I took pictures of them? Threw them away, because they melted into the frosting in a matter of minutes -___-" Next time, I will cover the cake in fondant to prevent this from happening again. Well, to Diva Peaches, I hope you like it, sorry if you think it doesn't really look like you :D

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bread & Bread Pudding

I saw this hanging on my friend's interior rear view mirror one day.
It's not a real bread, it's some kind of spongey decoration thing. I looked at it and I thought, "Hey let's make real rolls and draw Doraemon faces on them just like this!" So, I went home and started mixing my bread dough. I warmed some milk in the microwave and sprinkled active dry yeast on top of it. Just when I put my hand into the mixture to dissolve the yeast, I realized... HOT!! TOO HOT!! The yeasts were probably screaming for help before they died -____-" I let the mixture cool down, added a little bit more yeast, mixed in the rest of the ingredients, and prayed that my dough would rise. Which obviously didn't. I didn't give up, so I just put the dough inside a bowl on the counter to let the yeasts continue fermenting. And of course, I forgot about it until the next morning. My dough was over-fermented, it was unpleasantly spongey and had a strong yeasty smell. I still didn't want to throw it out so I kept going and made rolls from the dough. I was going to put fillings in the rolls but the dough was too soft. In the end, I just baked them with no filling.

They didn't look half bad out of the oven. Well, they didn't rise as much, but I didn't really care as long as I had enough space to draw Doraemon faces on them :p I piped chocolate ganache on the cooled rolls and voila!

Cute eh? :D I bit into one and it was decent. Not bad. I put them in a plastic bag and went to sleep. The next day, I opened up the bag and the faces were all messed up. Apparently my ganache hadn't set up before I put the rolls in the bag so the drawings were smeared. I took one roll out and it was hard as a rock :((( I didn't want to throw them away, so I decided to make bread pudding out of them. I cut the rolls into chunks, mixed the custard, and added different toppings into each mini loaf pan: chocolate chip, rum raisin, dark chocolate cherry pistachio, and raspberry. Basically, the custard base was the same and the flavors came from the toppings. I absolutely loved this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis. 

Chocolate chip


Dark chocolate cherry pistachio

Rum raisin

The custard was sooooo good!!! My roommate and I finished almost 2 mini loaf pans in an instance :p In conclusion, the custard saved my disastrous bread and turned it into delicious bread pudding. So people, don't give up when your bread doesn't taste good, just add enough cream and sugar, you can definitely save it from being thrown into the garbage can ^o^v