November 13, 2017

Funfetti Birthday

I had my 3?th birthday a few weeks ago and to celebrate, I baked my own birthday cake! (Is that weird? My friends kinda thought so 🤷🏻‍♀️😝)

I used the occasion to make Molly Yeh's Funfetti Cake. I made a smaller version of the cake last year and couldn't wait to try baking the full recipe.
Sadly, I didn't realize I used a 9 inch cake pan instead of an 8 inch one, like in the recipe. So with thinner layers in a larger circumference, the cakes baked a little longer, making a drier cake.
Even through the less than ideal texture, the cake flavor was delicious. It was flavorful, not too sweet and looked beautifully festive with the pop of sprinkles in the batter. It tasted just like Funfetti cake from childhood.
The Recipe: Funfetti Cake from My Name is Yeh. Molly exhaustively tested batch after batch of funfetti cake to create the perfect homemade version that had just the right amount of sprinkles and the nostalgic flavor of the Pillsbury version. Just be sure to use 8 inch pans or if using a 9 inch pan, lower the baking time.

November 8, 2017

Egg-In-The-Hole

Since I'm not a morning person, I try to make mornings easier by finding new ways to have fun with breakfast. Avocado toast has been taking over my mornings lately but then I remembered a cute breakfast an ex-boyfriend once made me: egg-in-the-hole (I thought it was super fancy). 

But as fancy as an egg cooked inside a piece of toast may look, it actually is pretty easy. You just cut out a 2-3 inch circle in a piece of bread and toast the bread in a buttered skillet. Then you crack the egg inside the hole. Easy peasy! And you can have fun with different shapes by using different cookie cutters. Most people go the heart route, but I decided to cut some triangles in addition to a circle to create a cat head. 
But after making my first egg-in-the-hole, I felt myself missing my usual avocado toast. So on my second attempt, I used a cupcake cookie cutter and used the cutout cupcake and made a tiny avocado toast to eat alongside the egg-in-the-hole. It's a match made in heaven. 
Have fun with a cute breakfast to cheer you up if you're not a morning person like me. And here's a recipe from the Food Network if you need one. 

October 30, 2017

Halloween Donut Costume

I'm so happy I have friends who throw a Halloween party here in KC. I haven't dressed up in four years so I took this opportunity to get crafty and make myself a costume.

As for ideas, I knew I wanted to be a food item. And since I already dressed up as a cupcake, I went with a donut this year (my other love). I scoured the internet for a no-sew costume and found this cute tutorial. I suppose I could have also purchased one since I found one in the aisles of Target the other day. 
For some reason, I didn't own a hot glue gun prior to making this and thought making this costume would be fine with fabric glue. Oh my god, what a headache and for some reason I powered through until I had to glue on the sprinkles. I even resorted to sewing before buying a hot glue gun---I guess I was stubborn and wanted to just try to make it work. Don't be like me, use a hot glue gun. They're amazing and you'll have a spiffy donut costume in no time.
No Sew Donut Costume adapted from hello, Wonderful
Materials Needed:
26" Hula Hoop
1 yard light brown felt
1 yard light pink felt
permanent marker
fabric scissors
small bowl
fiber fill
color foam hair rollers
hot glue gun
stapler
elastic
safety pins
Instructions:
1. Fold the light brown felt in half. Place the hula hoop onto the felt and with the permanent maker, trace a circle with the outer edge of the hula hoop. In the middle of the circle, trace a smaller circle with a small bowl. Cut the circles.
2. On the pink felt, trace a circle with the inner circle of the hula hoop. Then draw a scalloped edge circle inside the circle. In the middle of the circle, trace a smaller circle with the small bowl.  Then cut out the scalloped edge circle and smaller circle.
3. Hot glue gun the outer edges of the brown felt circles by folding in the one centimeter of the felt and glue the folded parts together. (I stapled the edges closed to create a tighter seal since I didn't totally trust the glue). When half of the circle is glued, stuff the donut with the fiber fill. Then continue gluing/stapling the donut closed. Do not glue the smaller, inner circle yet
4. Line up the pink felt with the donut at the "donut hole." Then glue the pink felt (frosting) onto the brown felt. 
5. Glue the donut hole circle closed just as you did for the brown felt. (I ended up sewing this closed with my terrible sewing skills because it was kind of hard to glue it closed since I didn't have my hot glue gun yet). 
6. Cut up foam hair rollers. The ones I linked above have a wire in the middle, so remove the wire before cutting. 
7. Glue foam hair rollers onto the donut for sprinkles. 
8. Cut long straps of the elastic for arm straps. Attach on the back of the donut with safety pins or hot glue onto donut. 

October 27, 2017

Lately from Fall Baking

It's fall and the fall-like weather has finally arrived! Although for the past month, it felt like summer and the leaves were still green so I baked some pumpkin goodies to get in the fall spirit.

Pumpkin Doughnuts:
I turned to some old favorites to kick off this season's baking. These pumpkin doughnuts are a a yearly staple during this time of year. It's just a stinking good recipe and if you don't have a doughnut pan, they will work well as muffins. Head over to King Arthur Flour for the recipe.

Pumpkin Mochi Cake:
Pumpkin Chocolate Mochi Cake is a chewy, beautiful, buttery cake that is one of my favorite ways to use mochi flours. JustJenn is like the mochi flour queen and her recipe for pumpkin chocolate mochi cake is wonderful. 
And I found a non cake-like pumpkin cookie recipe that has the perfect pop of pumpkin spice (the addition of pumpkin to cookie recipes usually yields a cakey, muffin top-like cookie and I've finally found a recipe that doesn't make cakey cookies!). These Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies from Dessert Now Dinner Later are a great addition to my pumpkin baking repertoire.

October 22, 2017

The Internet Famous Cookie

Recently, I kept seeing pictures all over Instagram for this stunning chocolate chip cookie and thought, I gotta try making those. (Can a cookie be stunning? I never use that word but I find it very fitting for this occasion). When the recipe popped up in the NY Times a few weeks ago, I knew it was finally time to try them out.
Just by looks, the cookie appears to have the perfect combination of crispy edges and a gooey center because of the beautiful crinkles or ripples on the edge of the cookie. This is achieved by simply banging the cookie sheet on the oven rack while the cookie is baking. 

To be honest, I was a little intimidated by the "banging the pan on the oven rack" step--not sure why but I was concerned my cookies wouldn't turn out as perfectly rippled. But take it from me, these cookies are pretty easy to make. They just take a little extra time waiting for butter to soften, freezer time for after the dough is formed and then extra baking after banging the pan.
And are they as delicious as they look? I'm going to say almost. I overbaked my first batch so the cookie middles were crunchy (I'm not a fan of crunchy cookies). Then with some time adjustments, the middles were softer but thin from all the banging. Maybe I just love soft, pillowy cookies and these cookies weren't quite that.

But don't get me wrong, these cookies taste freaking good, texture aside. I used 70% dark chocolate since a reviewer complained that they were too sweet. And these cookies are a great way to impress friends with your baking skills.
The Recipe: Sarah Kieffer's Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies featured in the NY Times.

Warning: these are huge cookies and if you're brave enough to look at the nutrition facts that the NY Times so graciously put up on their site, maybe just have one cookie over a stretch of a few days.

Baking Tips:
  • use more than 60% dark chocolate for a less sweet cookie
  • spread out the cookies on the baking sheet--these spread! 
  • I had better luck after the initial 10 minute bake by banging the pan and baking for 3 minutes, then banging the pan again and baking for another 3 minutes (so two-3 minute baking sessions after banging the pan). My first attempt, I did a longer bake and hence the crunchy cookies. 

October 12, 2017

The Croissant Cupcake

One of the most exciting news I heard when I moved to Kansas City was that there is a Tous Les Jour here! Tous Les Jour is a Korean bakery that sells an array of delicious pastries and the most amazing, fluffiest cake you'll ever eat. My family is obsessed. 

All summer, I was eyeing their hybrid croissant/muffin/cupcake, aka the croffin, when I kept patronizing the Tous Les Jour near the parents' house. I finally decided to try one the other day here in KC. They had three flavors of croffins available: green tea, mocha and maybe pumpkin?? Each croffin is $2.95. 
The croffin comes with a dollop of frosting on top the pastry but I accidentally smushed it on the car ride home. So in the picture above, it looks like I spread butter on the croffin. The inside is filled with flavored cream that is light and isn't too sweet. And it tastes exactly like a super delicious croissant, buttery and flakey. 
Of all the cronut/hybrid desserts I've had, this is probably the tastiest. But I'm still determined one day to try a real cronut in NYC
On a side note: If you're near a Tous Les Jour or any other Korean bakery, try the sausage pastry. It's actually more like hot dogs/cheese/ketchup all rolled into a soft bread that is completely insane looking but is totally amazing. 

Tous Les Jour
(Locations Nationwide)
10348 Metcalf Avenue
Overland Park, Kansas

September 30, 2017

Playing with my Food

The other day I found this picture of panda onigiri invading Japanese curry lurking on facebook and felt inspired to try my hand at making these cute little treats. (And just in case you don't know what onigiri is, it is a Japanese rice ball that can be formed into fun shapes, filled and wrapped in seaweed).
First, let me say that cutting seaweed isn't incredibly easy so I started out with wonky shapes for the panda face. And trying to use brown rice (which is what I normally eat) didn't yield sticky results to easily mold the rice into balls. But they were sort of cute, nonetheless.
For my second attempt, I ended getting a triangle mold at my local Asian market and ditched the cute animal idea (but you can buy a panda mold that comes with a seaweed cutter). And I made a combo of white sushi rice and brown rice to make stickier rice.
The mold made it much easier and cleaner (but you can form the rice into triangles by hand---it's just kind of messy). I love how tasty and cute these are! They might become my new favorite snack to make.

Spicy Tuna Onigiri

  • make a pot of sushi rice 
  • season cooked rice with a seasoning of choice: soy sauce, rice vinegar or furikake (check out Food 52's tips on how to make onigiri for other seasoning ideas)
  • prepare a filling, I made a simple spicy tuna filling from A Beautiful Plate
  • fill half the triangle mold with seasoned rice, then add some filling into the mold and then cover the filling with more rice. then press the lid onto the triangle mold to shape the rice. 
  • flip out the rice from mold and wrap in seaweed (you can wrap the entire triangle in seaweed, or put a little strip of it onto the rice). 
  • enjoy!