Fig and Almond Breakfast Cake

Fig Cake- MainI baked a fig cake instead of freaking out.

Yes. It’s true.

I’ve come to realize that baking is more than just a hobby that I do for fun; it’s a tool I use to deal with this crazy thing called life. At this point, I’m fairly certain that baking and yoga are the only things that are keeping me from having a small mental explosion (no big deal). Everybody has coping mechanisms, and these happen to be mine. Baking is a really nice way to channel frustration and stress into something positive.

This cake is a perfect example of what happens when I get frustrated. A few days before school started (junior year, yikes!), I got my class schedule… let’s just say that I wasn’t thrilled with it. So, while I moped around about my misfortune (in reality it wasn’t even something to complain about, but still), I started searching for recipes. Joy the Baker just happened to have a gorgeous picture of this fig cake on her blog, and my aunt had just dropped off a basket of fresh figs. It was so meant to be!

By the time we were all enjoying cake, I was cool, calm, and collected.

The next afternoon, however, my school counselor called out of the blue and told me that I had to drop one of my classes because the school’s master schedule had changed. I actually exploded (yelling, crying, phone-throwing, ranting, being a complete brat). No amount of yoga or baking could’ve prevented that meltdown; it was pretty bad. But, that’s a story for another post; I have a recipe to go along with that one, too!! Actually I have five recipes… it was really stressful.Fig Cake- 2b

Anyways, everything worked out in the end and I’m not exploding at the moment, so back to this fig cake! It’s a basic, staple recipe: mild in flavor, hearty, and not overly sweet. Seriously, make sure you don’t skip the the sugar sprinkling step! Even though it’s a breakfast cake, the extra sugar adds a much-needed crunchy sweetness. If you like figs, you’ll definitely love the cake! If you’re like me and you really don’t enjoy figs (FIGured that one out after trying this recipe), just pick the figs off and eat the cake. No big deal. It’s lovely by itself as well!

Happy fig eating, or fig picking!Fig Cake- 3

P.S. Hi. I’m still alive. Just casually decided to forget to blog for the past three months. Summer was crazy busy, but I’m back! For those of you who are interested, I started a flickr account that has some of my food (and non-food) photography on it. Thanks for reading!

Fig and Almond Breakfast Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract (didn’t use it because I can’t stand the the flavor)

Toppings:

  • 6-8 fresh figs, washed and sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 tbsp. turbinado sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 or 10-inch cake pan. Set aside,
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients for the cake.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, and extracts. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour all of the buttermilk mixture into the well. Stir until just combined and no lumps remain.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and top with the figs, almonds, and sugar. Push the figs down into the batter a bit to make them stay in place. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature in the pan. Then, slice and serve! This is one of those cakes that you keep in the pan- no flipping or inverting or anything.

The cake will keep for up to three days well-wrapped and refrigerated. The refrigerating part is really important, hence the italics. I thought Joy was kidding when she said that (I wasn’t thinking), but after two days of sitting on the counter, the cake sprouted mold on the figgy parts. So, don’t be me; listen to Joy and refrigerate the cake.

Enjoy!

Source: joythebaker.com

French Yogurt Cake

French Yogurt CakePound cake is an interesting specimen. Dense, heavy, and tight-crumbed, it is so unlike its fluffy, layer-y counterparts that it should really have its own separate dessert category. Pound/bundt cake barely even tastes like regular cake; if anything, it is more similar to quick bread. I really appreciate the uniqueness and diversity it brings to the cake world.

You know why?

Because I don’t like (layer) cake.

Say WHAAAT?!  Yep, I said it. You read that right, I’m a cake-hater.  Did I just lose a little bit of your respect?

#sorrynotsorry (“hashtag sorry-not-sorry”)

It’s not that I absolutely will not let a crumb of birthday cake or cupcakes pass my lips. I’m not that weird. It’s just not something that I want to keep eating. The thought that usually runs through my head is: “Why am I eating this cake when I can be eating a double serving of ice cream instead?”

That said, I love pound cake and bundt cake, especially of the citrus and zucchini varieties. Costco used to carry this lemon cooler(?) cake… oh my goodness it was, quite honestly, the best cake ever. Of course they replaced it with this squat, dry, gross lemon bundt cake thing that is not worth consuming. Thanks a lot, Costco; you pulled a “Trader Joe’s” on me.

Now, let’s talk about this French Yogurt Cake. It’s nothing like that fabulous Costco cooler cake (and I didn’t expect it to be). It caught my eye while I was leafing through an old Bon Appetit magazine last week (the picture was interesting). I’m kind of obsessed with Greek yogurt, so naturally I had to try it!

Verdict? Keeper! It’s tender, pleasantly lemony, and very moist. Best of all, it’s a breeze to make!  Ten minutes of prep, and it was in the oven. BOOM! Because it has yogurt and vegetable oil instead of hoards of butter, I’m going to deem it a “healthy-ish” variety of pound cake. So basically, yes, you have permission to eat it for breakfast. Actually, I think it’s more of a quick bread, so really it is meant to be a breakfast food. You’re so welcome :)

French Yogurt Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust the pan
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (I used just under 1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest (lime or orange works too!)
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (any percentage, I used 2%)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4-inch loaf pan (cooking spray is fine instead of butter.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest. Whisk in the eggs, yogurt, oil, and vanilla until blended. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45-50 minutes.
  5. Allow the cake to cool in its pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, invert it on to the rack and let it cool completely.

Cake will stay, wrapped tightly at room temperature, for three days.  Enjoy!

Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit Magazine

Peach Crumble Ice Cream Cake

Peach Ice Cream Cake-MainA  l  m  o  s  t    d  o  n  e  .

That was my go-to phrase for this recipe.

“Aren’t you finished with that cake yet?”

“I’m almost done!”

“Geez, how many days is this going to take?”

“I’m ALMOST DONE!”

“Do you actually have to take 500 pictures of this cake? When will you be done? We want to taste it!”

“Hey now, I’ve only taken 60, OKAY; it’s a struggle in the picture department. Gosh, I’m ALMOST DONE!”

Don't worry, he was just looking, not licking.

Don’t worry, he was just looking, not licking.

Needless to say, this eight-pound, bourbon-spiked hunk of a cake was a challenge. It took me three days of focus, improvisation, and perfectionism (along with a fair amount of fuming) to produce this sinfully rich, peachy monster. But, don’t let me scare you away from trying this recipe; I totally brought on the struggle myself. I have this thing where I see a recipe that calls for pre-made cake or ice cream (or in reeallly pathetic cases, marshmallows), and the first thing that goes through my head is, “Oh no no, that won’t do. I better make everything from scratch.” It always seems like such a cool idea, but it stretches projects out for daaays. By the time I finish completely homemade recipes, the phrase that runs through my head is, “You are actually ridiculous.”

It’s totally true, and I’m embracing it. The cake was very decadent and creamy, with a subtle peach flavor, so it was worth it! But, that doesn’t mean YOU have to be Martha Stewart and bake your own graham crackers for the crumble. No. M-Stewwz is a stud and all, but don’t do that to yourself.

That said, I do recommend baking a pound cake from scratch using a 9-inch round cake pan. The original recipe calls for carving up rectangular pound cakes, and that’s just unnecessary. Also, I should mention that I added 1 tbsp of Bourbon to my homemade ice cream base, and therefore accidentally turned the cake into a drunken peach BOURBON ice cream cake. I came to the conclusion that I really don’t care for the flavor of bourbon. Whoops.

Moral of the story? Don’t add too much booze to homemade ice cream and don’t be M-Stewwz. Buy good-quality store-bought vanilla ice cream and graham crackers and move on with your life.

Happy baking assembling :)

*(Thank you, Auntie B. and Uncle K., for the fresh peaches!! They were delicious!)Peach Ice Cream Cake-3

Peach Crumble Ice Cream Cake

  • 1 pound cake, baked in a 9-inch round cake pan
  • 4 pints vanilla ice cream (homemade if you want…)

(For the Crumble)

  • 9 graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

(For the Peach Filling)

  • 4 peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

(For the Whipped Cream)

  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the Peach Filling in a pot; allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes. Then, bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the peaches are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove 3/4 cup of peaches from the pot, and set them aside for the cake topping. Puree the remaining peaches and syrupy liquid until smooth. Transfer the peach sauce to a bowl and freeze until thick, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Roughly crush the graham crackers, and toss with the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, pecans, and melted butter. Spread the mixture out in a thin layer on the prepared baking sheet for 7 minutes. Then, toss the crumble and continue baking until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Allow it to cool and harden; then crumble and set aside.
  3. To Assemble the Cake: Allow 2 pints of the vanilla ice cream to soften until spreadable. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray, then line the bottom and sides with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Spread the ice cream into the bottom of the pan. Then, spread the peach filling evenly over the ice cream. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.
  4. Allow the remaining 2 pints of ice cream to soften. Then, spread it over the    peach filling. Sprinkle one cup of the crumble over the ice cream and press it down a bit. Place the pound cake round on top of the crumble layer. Cover the entire cake with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  5. For the Whipped Cream: Beat the heavy whipping cream, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Uncover the cake and invert it onto a plate, removing the springform ring. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the cake and top with the reserved peaches and crumble. Freeze for 1 hour.

*Let the cake sit for a few minutes before you slice it. Nobody wants to cut or eat a rock.

Pheww!! Enjoy :)

Barely adapted from foodnetwork.com

Plum Galette

IMG_0099HOT.

That’s what today is. One word pretty much sums it all up. We’re currently in the middle of a California heat wave. It was 104 degrees at the peak of hotness, and the AC is still going strong.

Of course, I’m sure this is nothing compared to the weather in other regions. You’re probably laughing at me right now. I know, we’re so spoiled here!

The dry hotness is an interesting contrast to the tropical weather we had last week: balmy, drizzly, and oddly humid. Yep, it was basically Hawaii outside. As a result, outdoor activities, such as tennis, were a no-go that afternoon. So, it was either baking and picture-taking or practicing the violin for four hours. Seeing that I struggle to practice for more than thirty minutes without having a mini-meltdown, the choice was obvious.

Last weekend, our neighbor let us pick plums from her plum tree in her front yard. We literally came back with fifty clementine-sized ripe plums. They were delicious, but we couldn’t eat all fifty fast enough, so I baked some of them into a galette. By “some”, I mean six; I really made a dent in our plum supply, obviously.

IMG_0066That brings me to my next point: the techniques and how-tos of plum-pitting. How the heck am I supposed to pit six tiny plums, by hand, in a timely manner? I still don’t know the answer to that, since it took me a good half-hour to pit and slice. It was kind of an ordeal. I highly suggest using plums that are on the heftier side or investing in a plum pitter, just to save time and prevent excessive frustration.

Despite my troubles with the pitting process, I am really pleased with the finished product. This was my first time baking a galette, so I really didn’t know what to expect. The crust is flaky and pleasantly crunchy thanks to the sugar, which contrasts nicely with the tart plums. I’m not the biggest fan of cooked fruit, but this passed the test! A scoop of vanilla ice cream served on the side is diviiiine. So elegant and classy.

IMG_0087Plum Galette

Dough:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp. butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp. cold water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg beaten with one tbsp. water
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

For the Plum Filling:

  • 5 plums, pitted and sliced into small wedges (the number varies depending on the size of the fruit)
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Start with the dough. Combine the butter chunks, flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it has the texture of coarse meal. Add the vanilla extract, and pulse briefly until combined. Transfer the loose mixture to a medium bowl. Add the cold water a tablespoon at a time, and stir with your hands until the dough holds together; you may not need all three tablespoons of water. Pat the dough into a small disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for thirty minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Toss together the sliced plums with the sugar, flour, lemon zest, and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle the parchment with flour and a generous amount of turbinado sugar.
  3. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to soften enough so that it doesn’t crack when you roll it out. Then, roll it out into a circle on a lightly floured surface. Trim the edges to create a nice, clean round circle. Transfer the dough circle to the parchment-covered pan. Arrange the fruit in the middle of the circle, leaving a two-inch border of dough. Carefully fold the edges over the fruit, lightly pinching the folds so that they hold together. It doesn’t have to be perfect (unless you’re a perfectionist like me)!  Brush the dough with the egg/water mixture and sprinkle it with turbinado sugar.
  4. Bake the galette for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Enjoy!

Adapted from honestfare.com

Browned Butter “Dressed-Up” Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_0041Finals? What finals? I’ve spent the last two days baking and sleeping instead of studying. Seriously, the only school-related work I’ve done this week is scheduling interviews; I have yet to crack open a textbook. I am legitimately one of the best procrastinators ever. As in, if there were awards for productive procrastination, I would win ALL of them. Right now, I’m procrastinating by writing about procrastinating. Yes, I know. I’m THAT good.

Procrastination Quote

This is my favorite quote. I found it on Pinterest, and it’s just really well-written and lovely.

It’s really a terrible, terrible talent, but there are definitely some good things that come out of it. Take these cookies, for example. It was Sunday evening, and I was considering studying, but instead, I decided that baking cookies sounded like a much better use of my time. I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, and I decided that it was perfect- a bit fancy, but not time-consuming-fancy. Plus, who doesn’t like extra-chocolately chocolate chip cookies?

My friends thought these were pretty awesome, and I agree. They’re like a chocolate chip cookies wearing tuxedos! The original recipe calls them “double-fudge” cookies, but the dark layer really isn’t  fudgy; it’s just extra dark with a bit more chocolate flavor.

Recipe Notes: Don’t fret about getting the doughs (that sounds odd) to bake exactly on top of each other. Sometimes, the light layer melts over the dark layer in strange ways, but it just gives each cookie a unique character. I like to use chocolate chunks versus chocolate chips because they melt more easily and make gooier cookies. But, either way, they will be delicious!

“Dressed-Up” Browned-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks, depending on how much chocolate you like in your cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit
  2. Brown the butter in a medium saucepan, swirling the pan to prevent uneven browning. Remove the browned butter from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars and cooled butter until well combined. Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Divide the butter/sugar mixture evenly into two medium bowls. To do this, place a bowl on a kitchen scale, zero the scale, and pour all of the mixture into the bowl. Take note of the number of grams, and divide that number by two. Then, remove the bowl from the scale, replace it with the original bowl, and zero the scale again. Pour half of the mixture back into the original bowl; try to be as precise as possible, since you want to end up with equal ammounts of dark and light cookie dough.
  5. Add 1 cup of flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and a pinch of kosher salt to one of the bowls; stir until just combined. Then, fold in half of the chocolate chips. Refrigerate this dough while you work on the chocolate portion.
  6. Add the cocoa powder, remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and pinch of salt to the second bowl. Mix until just combined, and fold in the remaining chocolate chips. Scoop the finished dough into 12 equal balls. Roll each portion into a smooth ball; then, pull each ball apart so you have two equal halves. Refrigerate the dark halves of dough while you scoop and roll the light-colored dough. Once all the dough is portioned out, take one light half and one dark half and smoosh the round, smooth sides together. Place the dough rough dark-side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough halves, evenly spacing 12 dough portions on each sheet. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until soft in the center and golden around the edges. Allow the cookies to cool for ten minutes on the pan. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Enjoy!

Source: howsweeteats.com

Magic Custard Cake with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

IMG_0303Gang aft a-gley.

This phrase is from the 18th century Scottish poem ”To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns. It translates to “often goes awry.” John Steinbeck derived the title for his novel, Of Mice and Men, from these lines in Burn’s poem: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” Like the title implies, one of the main themes in OMAM is that plans often go awry.

I was reminded of this today. I thought I was going publish this nice little piece about how my world is currently free of AP and Blueprint stress and I’m just happy as a clam. That draft is currently lost in cyperspace somewhere. But, at this point, the blurb is stale and irrelevant, so it doesn’t matter anyways.  I also thought I was going to have my dream class schedule for junior year. That fantasy went out the window today.  Actually, it didn’t just “go out”;  it was defenestrated.

The only bright side to this unfortunate situation is that it has given me a big wake-up call. I have an opportunity to reconsider what I really want for the next few years and maybe make a few smart changes. Do I want to be that kid who takes three AP/honors classes (plus Blueprint, so really five APs), has no life, but has a good chance of getting into GOOD colleges? Or do I want to take it easy and lessen my chances of going wherever I want to go? Which will I regret more? Where are my priorities? I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW.

Truthfully, even if I got my dream schedule, it wouldn’t be a dream at all. So there’s that.

I don’t know what I’m going to do at this point. I’m sure everything will turn out the way it should in the end. It will be okay. Everything happens for a reason. I just keep trying to tell myself that.

Gang aft a-gley.

Magic Custard Cake with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Recipe Notes: This cake is very unique; that’s one thing I do know. It separates into three “magical” layers: cake, soft custard, and a firm custard base! Check out Todd and Diane’s post for a chocolate version of this recipe. I haven’t tried it yet myself, but I’m sure it’s fantastic. If you like custard anything, I imagine you’ll enjoy this!

(For the Cake)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups reduced-fat  milk
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups (150g) confectioner’s (powdered) Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. (15ml) Water
  • 1 cup (115g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) Vanilla Extract
  • pinch of salt
  • extra confectioner’s sugar for dusting

(For the Sauce)

  • 1 1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

(For the Cake)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8 baking dish with buttered parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and set aside to slightly cool. Warm the milk to lukewarm and set aside.
  3. Whip the egg whites and drop of vinegar until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light. Whisk in the melted butter and the tablespoon of water for about 2 minutes or until evenly incorporated.
  5. Mix in the flour until evenly incorporated. Slowly beat in the milk, salt, and vanilla extract by hand until everything is evenly combined. Be careful, as the batter is very thin and will splash if mixed too vigorously.
  6. Fold in the egg whites, 1/3 at a time. Repeat until all of the egg whites are incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan; it will almost reach the top, which is fine. Bake the cake for 45-60 minutes or until the top is golden.The center will still jiggle a bit if shaken gently.  Allow the cake to cool completely. Using the sides of the parchment paper, lift the cake out of the baking dish and place it on a cutting board. Slice the cake into sixteen squares using a serrated knife. For clean cuts,  wipe the knife blade off with a wet paper towel after each slice.  Dust the squares with powdered sugar and drizzle with the strawberry balsamic sauce.

Directions for Strawberry Sauce

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture until the sugar dissolves; stir constantly.
  2. Add in the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper. Cook the mixture for an additional 10-15 minutes until it is syrupy. Stir occasionally, and mash the strawberries a bit. Remove the finished sauce from the heat and cool completely.

Adapted from whiteonricecouple.com

Mochi Cake

IMG_0235Hi!  I just got back from a little adventure in SoCal. Actually, it was a whirlwind four-day band/orchestra field trip that included a trip to Disneyland, a tour of UCLA, and a couple other activities that were quite interesting.

It was great to get away for a bit, but honestly, I’m exhausted. For some reason *, our director planned the schedule in a way that allowed us, AT MOST, eight hours of sleep per night. That’s assuming that we hit the sack the moment we walked back into our hotel rooms and didn’t shower (gross), talk, or complete any homework. Yeah right.  It wasn’t the most relaxing experience. But, nevertheless, SoCal was a blast! I mean, who wouldn’t want to skip two days of school and go to Disneyland?

* Ok. I figured it out! Teens + too much free time = partaayy

Let’s get back to the recipe, which I’ve been putting off for the last month. I told myself I would blog every day during the trip, but that plan went out the window once I realized that our schedule was super packed. (The fact that my computer isn’t allowing me to upload pictures is also a bit of a problem.)

Are you familiar with mochi? Yo’ve probably tasted ice cream mochi before, right? The thin, soft layer covering the ice cream is the mochi part. In general, mochi is a sticky, chewy Japanese rice cake. It’s often sweetened, but during New Year’s we put it in a savory soup. Honestly, mochi is one of those things that you either love or hate. The texture is VERY different than that of pretty much any western food. I honestly can’t think of anything that really compares. That being said, you should try it! Mochi is kind of amazing.

This particular recipe has eggs, two different types of milk, and butter, which make it very rich. You only need a small square, so I would recommend cutting the recipe in half. However, having half a can of evaporated milk hanging around is annoying, so you can bake a full batch and freeze the squares! They defrost beautifully.

Recipe Notes: Dont’ use Trader Joe’s light coconut milk; it tastes perfumy to me.

Mochi Cake

  • 1 16 oz box Mochiko rice flour (found in the Asian section of most grocery stores, excluding Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 14 oz can light coconut milk (regular is fine too, but really… that’s a lot of fat)
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs, beaten well
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper sprayed with non-stick spray. Set aside.

2) Whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour in the liquids and stir the mixture with a rubber spatula or wood spoon until it is completely smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 55 minutes – 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely (it’s a sticky mess to cut if you don’t) and then slice it into small squares.

Enjoy!

Adapted from http://une-deuxsenses.blogspot.com/2009/12/coconut-mochi-cake.html

Mac ‘n Cheese Bites

IMG_0212Life can be so dang unpredictable sometimes; it’s beautiful and completely annoying at the same time. I felt like the world just came hurtling towards me at full speed this week. People were snarky, I was frustrated and a bit more vulnerable than usual, and life was just happening. Due to a higher than normal level of sleep deprivation and fifteen hours of playing the violin, I was a little crazy. I’ll admit it.

It’s days like these that call for food that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Mac ‘n cheese fits the bill. These “bites” should actually be called “muffins”; it’s a more accurate description. But, nonetheless, they are a crowd pleaser. They also take very little brainpower to whip together, which is ideal when life is crazy. I recommend making these for parties are potlucks; they’re perfect appetizers or finger food for little ones!

Happy weekend folks!

P.S. Sorry to the parent I ticked off during an interview. I didn’t mean to make you feel defensive. However, I’m pretty sure you fully intended to make me feel like an incompetant, horrible journalist. It’s funny how you decided to lecture me while I was recording. I don’t appreciate that.  IMG_0192

Mac ‘n Cheese Bites

Crust:
2 cups butter cracker crumbs (such as Ritz)
⅔ cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Mac n Cheese:
12 oz. elbow macaroni noodles
2 ½ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 (5.2 oz.) package Boursin garlic herb cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
2 large eggs
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup sour cream (regular or low-fat) or plain greek yogurt
¼ tsp. salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions until it is almost al dente.
2. Lightly grease standard size muffin tins with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together the shredded cheese and cracker crumbs. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix with a fork to combine.  Spoon the crust mixture into the bottom of each muffin tin and press down with the bottom of a glass or a small spoon.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the cold butter, Boursin cheese, and remaining shredded cheddar until roughly combined. Dump in the drained pasta and stir until evenly coated. It may be a bit difficult to get the cheese mixture evenly distributed, but it will come together eventually! Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and sour cream or yogurt in a medium bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the pasta and stir to combine.
4. Divide the macaroni mixture between the prepared muffin wells. Bake until light golden in color, about 20-25 minutes. Let the macaroni bites cool in the muffin pans at least 10-15 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan and serve warm. They are best served soon after they are baked.

Enjoy!

Slightly adapted from annieseats.com