I hope all of you had an amazing Christmas! This holiday season I finally felt as though I could say I have perfected perfected the French macaron. After many... many attempts I finally had a batch come out perfectly! They were very much a hit at our holiday party so expect to see some more on the blog soon!

This week I decided to break open a cookbook rather than go to the Internet for inspiration. (Shocker I know.) However, I picked up a new book focus on Irish dishes and I couldn't wait to test a couple. Its been a while since I have made a roulade cake, so I thought I'd give it a try!

noun: roulade; plural noun: roulades
a dish cooked or served in the form of a roll, typically made from a flat piece of meat, fish, or sponge cake, spread with a soft filling and rolled up into a spiral.

The great thing about a roulade is that it can be filled with anything, so feel free to get creative!

On another note, I'm trying something a bit different with my food photography today. I was inspired by some food blogs to try some messy food photography and a messy roulade cake seems like the perfect starting point!

Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Roulade

Serves 10

For the cake:
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
250 g icing sugar
25g baking soda
100 g cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking tray measuring about 12x16 with a little butter and line it with baking parchment. Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolks and 175g of the icing sugar on high until very pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Set aside. In a clean bowl with clean beaters, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until very glossy stiff peaks form.
Sift the cornflour and cocoa together. Fold this into the egg-yolk mixture alternately with the egg whites until well blended. Spread mixture evenly on prepared baking tray. Bake until edges are firm and middle is still very soft to the touch, about 8-10 minutes. Cool completely and remove from pan.

For the Filling:
12 oz whipping cream
50 g caster sugar*
1/8 tsp. vanilla paste
350 ml raspberry jam
2 Tablespoons water
8 oz fresh raspberries

Whip cream until it holds still peaks. Fold in caster sugar and vanilla and set aside. Stir the raspberry jam and the water together. Brush diluted jam atop the cooled cake, covering the whole surface. Then, layer the whipped cream atop the cake, leaving about a 2 inch border. The whipped cream layer should be approx. 3/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle raspberries atop the whipped cream layer.
Starting at the side farthest away from you, roll the sponge up lengthwise, curling it over on itself with the help of the parchment. Carefully transfer to a serving tray and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

*To make cater sugar, place 50g granulated sugar in a coffee grinder and pulse until very fine. 

The cake should be super moist, almost fudge-y. Hope you enjoy!
Until next week.

Want something impressive to bake this holiday season? Skip the trite sugar cookies and kiss cookies, and try the French macaron. They can be made in a variety of flavors, from egg nog to candy cane!

This week I'm sharing one of my favorites: candy cane macarons.

Now, these cookies do have an air of difficulty about them. However, this shouldn't stop the beginner baker. My first few times making these cookies were a disaster, and was eventually scraped, however, I've picked up on a few tricks to help you out! Trust me, people will love these unique cookies for Christmas, or any other occasion!

Candy Cane Macarons

Makes approx. 20 cookies
**Must use food scale for the cookie shells**

For the macaron shells:
200 grams confectioners’ sugar
110 grams slivered almonds (no skin)
90 grams egg whites (aged at room temperature for 1 day or 3-5 days in the fridge, do not skip this step!!)
25 grams granulated sugar

To make the macaron shells, combine the confectioners’ sugar and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are finely ground and the mixture is well blended. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat, gradually adding the granulated sugar. Beat until a stiff, glossy meringue forms (do not over-beat). 

Add the ground nut mixture to the bowl with the egg whites. Fold together with a spatula until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the batter is thick and smooth. (Do not over mix, but be sure all ingredients are combined.)

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a plain round tip and pipe small rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½ inches in diameter, by holding the bag perfectly perpendicular to the counter and smoothly giving pressure without moving the tip. Let the piped rounds sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to get "skins" on the tops of the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 280˚ F. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 15-20 minutes before removing from the baking sheet. (Do not touch while cooling.) Let cool completely before filling.

For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the butter cream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Divided the butter cream in two portions.

For garnish:
Crushed candy canes

To assemble the macarons, pair up the shells by size. Add the finished frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe a small round of frosting onto the flat side of one shell from each pair. Sandwich together with the other shell and push gently together so that the frosting reaches the edges of the cookies. Place the crushed candy canes in a shallow dish. Gently roll the assembled macarons in the crushed candy canes so they adhere to the frosting.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Stay tuned for more macaron recipies, as I'm looking forward to making some more!

Until next week!

So, as it turns out I was going to meet a friend for doughnuts today, but she canceled, so I decided to make some myself! Doughnuts are the perfect breakfast to make the night before and fry the next day! Along with a simple glaze, these doughnuts are perfect for any brunch, or even just a snack.

Banana Doughnuts

Makes about 16
From: Tartlette

For the doughnuts:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
2 small bananas, mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
canola oil for frying

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt twice and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and honey for one minute at medium speed, until light and airy. Add the bananas and sour cream and beat until well incorporated. Turn the speed down to low and add the dry ingredients (little by little). The dough will be soft. Transfer to a medium bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
On a well floured board or countertop, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut rounds either with a 3-inch doughnut cutter or use a 3-inch cookie cutter and a 1-inch small cutter to make the holes in the middle. Reroll the scraps as you go. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes if it starts getting tough as you reroll and cut, to relax the gluten.
In a large cast iron skilet, heat enough oil (2 inches deep or so) to 325F and fry the doughnuts 3 to 4 at a time, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, turning them once. Do not over crowd your skillet or it will drop the temperature of the oil and you will end up with soggy doughnuts. Drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk

In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add the milk and whisk until smooth.
Dip the doughnuts into the glaze and let drip on a wire rack set over a piece of parchment paper.

So, has we get closer and closer to the holiday season, the baking cookbooks start to appear. There are already Christmas decorations in stores, and Thanksgiving meals being planned. However, if you go into your pantry you may notice the old Halloween candy is still there... and you have no idea what to do with it.

Well, look no further because I have the solution: Kit Kat Cheesecake Bars. These impressive little bites are very easy to make and can take less than an hour to prep. They are, however, 100% addicting, so be careful!

Kit Kat Cheesecake Bars

Adapted from:  Baker's Royale

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
7 tablespoons of butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place graham cracker crust and sugar in a bowl and toss to combine. Add in melted butter and mix to combine. Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while making cheesecake portion.

For the Chocolate Cheesecake:
12 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
6 Kit Kat packages

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat until fully combined and smooth; set aside. Place Kit Kat bars on top of crust. Pour cheesecake mixture over Kit Kat bars and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. 

For the Ganache:

10oz. chocolate
8 tablespoons butter
4 oz white chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl over simmering water, gently stir until chocolate is melted and butter is fully combined. Pour chocolate over baked cheesecake.

Place white chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Boil heavy cream. Pour boiled heavy cream over chocolate and let sit. Do not stir for 3-4 minutes. Then using a sturdy spatula gently stir and fold chocolate, continuing until chocolate is completely melted. Chocolate may appear lumpy for the first few stirs, but will melt into smoothness. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a number 2 round tip or a place mixture in a Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in one corner.
Pipe white chocolate horizontally across from top to bottom. Use a toothpick and starting at the top drag the toothpick vertically through horizontal lines. Starting from the bottom drag the toothpick to the top. Continue to alternate starting points with toothpick.

 So that is it! It seems like a lot of work because of all of the layers, but it goes by quickly!
Until next week!

Another panna cotta recipe today! If you haven't been following this blog recently you might not know how much I love panna cotta. If you haven't tried it yet it is absolutely amazing and very easy to make at home! It's also very easy to customize, so you can substitute, change, and experiment with the ingredients.

If you want to check out my earlier panna cotta posts here they are!
Tea Panna Cotta -- I recommend the chai flavor
Salted Carmel Panna Cotta

So here is another one to add to the list!

 Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Yields approx 8 servings
Adapted from: Pastry Affair

For the Panna Cotta:
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp allspice

Place milk in medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften gelatin.

Whisk together, combine heavy cream, sugar, pumpkin puree, and spices. Blend until smooth. Whisk together pumpkin mixture with milk. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to steam , stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and ladle mixture into containers of your choice. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Ift's that time of year again when you walk into a store and start to wonder if the next holiday isn't Halloween but Christmas. I had to do a bit of shopping this weekend and a few stores already had lights strung up on plastic evergreens, and inflatable santas poking out between the isles.
So when I decided to make something pumpkin this weekend I thought it would be super easy to find the pumpkin puree, as fall is now upon us and pumpkin spice is pretty much a staple. I spend twenty minutes walking around the store finding it absolutely no where. Eventually I wound my way to the baking section for the fourth time and found it on the bottom shelf. It's mid-October and the pumpkin puree is on the bottom shelf while the santa cookies greeted me when I walked through the door.

But enough of my complaining, lets get to the good stuff! This week I made Pumpkin White Chocolate Snickerdoodles and they were amazing. Also for an added bonus, the dough had no egg in it so go ahead and eat all you want!

Pumpkin White Chocolate Snickerdoodles

From (with edits): Sallys Baking Addiction

For the Cookies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice.
1/2 cup white chocolate chips or chunks

Melt the butter in the microwave. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, nutmeg, ground clove, and allspice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. Stir in white chocolate chips. Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Roll the dough into balls, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each. Mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Roll each of the dough balls generously in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and arrange on 2 baking sheets. Slightly flatten the dough balls because the cookies will only slightly spread in the oven.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and under baked. Keeping them in the oven for longer may dry them out. Remove from the oven and press a few more white chocolate chips onto the tops, if desired.
Allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack.

So hopefully you have better luck finding pumpkin puree than I did, but believe me these cookies are worth whatever trouble they put you through! 

Until next week!
There's something about cold weather that makes you want fresh warm bread and Chinese take out. Just saying, I have more than one white takeout box in my fridge right now. So, along with the Japanese water cakes, I whipped up a batch or two of steamed coconut buns! I haven't used a steamer to bake in a while (over a year...?) so I thought I'd give it another go.

These buns are super simple with a 1:2 ratio of coconut milk to self rising flour. Just throw it all in a food processor with a bit of salt and you're good to go. (More in depth recipe follows of course.)

I thought the buns turned out nicely. They just have a hint of coconut that really gives them a different, but great, flavor. I would definitely eat them as dinner or breakfast rolls with honey or butter, as they are pretty bland by themselves.

Steamed Coconut Buns

Yields: 12
From: The Little Things

For the Buns:
1 14oz can of full fat coconut milk
2 empty coconut tins of self-raising flour
pinch of salt

Pour the coconut milk into a food processor. Use the empty tin to measure out the self-raising flour. Add the flour and salt to the food processor and process until a smooth dough.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and form into a large roll. Cut out 12 equal parts  and place these balls into double paper muffin cases. (I used silicone muffin liners.)
Place muffin cases in a single layer into a steamer over a large pot of simmering water. Cover and let steam for 12 minutes.
Best served warm.

That's it for this week! Until next!

Hey again! How long has it been... 2 months? ... or something like that at least. My summer got crazy and when school began I was kepts super busy. But things have gotten back in the swing of things so I'm exctied to start blogging again.

Prostart Culinary has started up agian, and I'm happy to announce I'll be working on perfecting a Japanese Water Cake made with tea and mint extract! I'm going to have to do A LOT of experimentation though because my first attempt at the recipe was a complete failure. Once I start working on it again I'll be creating a post about it so stay tuned!

This week however I have a bit of a different cupcake recipie, the frosting is made from brownie batter... need I say more?

Chocolate Cupcakes with Brownie Batter Chili Frosting

For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup Guinness extra stout beer
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
5 tbsp sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Combine the Guinness and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sour cream. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture and continue to beat until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup brownie mix
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
chocolate chips (optional)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the dry brownie mix and cocoa powder and continue to beat for another 2 minutes until smooth. Add the vanilla and milk and beat again. Add the powdered sugar slowly, then beat on medium speed for another 5 minutes. If the batter appears too thick, add another tablespoon of milk, and if it's not thick enough, add powdered sugar in 1/4 cup increments until you get your desired consistency.

Load the frosting into a piping bag with a large star tip. Pipe swirls of frosting on each cupcake and sprinkle on some chocolate chips.

Here, finally, is the long overdue post I hinted at in my previous one. Needless to say, this pie was gone in less than 24 hours... I'll let that speak for itself.

Strawberry Pie
From (with edits to): Joy the Baker

For the Crust:
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1/2 cup cold milk
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture. Some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes; some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold milk. Use a fork to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. Divide the dough in two and gently knead into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the Filling:5-6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in fourths (or halves depending on how large the strawberries are, you don't the pieces very large)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
large pinch of salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl toss together strawberries, sugars, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and ground ginger. Toss until all of the cornstarch has disappeared into the strawberries and let rest for 10 minutes. The strawberries will begin to produce juice.
For Assembly:1 large egg, beaten
granulated sugar for topping
On a well-floured surface, roll the bottom crust 1/8″ thick and about 12″ in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan by: folding the circle into fourths, setting it in the pie plate, and unfolding the crust. Pinch the edge, folding over when necessary so the edge of the dough is almost even with the edge of the pan.
Spoon filling into pie crust.
Roll out the top crust in the same manner. Use a pizza slicer to slice the dough into 1-inch wide strips and weave the crust strips on top of the pie. (This can be a little tricky but you can totally do it, or give it a quick google search if you want more instruction! The lattice is totally optional; feel free to do whatever you wish for the top crust.)
Brush the egg wash over pie crust, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake the pie for 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden and the cherry filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, at least 4 hours, before serving. 

 Adding whipped cream makes it all the more heavenly...

I had a friend stop over yesterday and we made these amazing dulce de leche sandwich cookies, but I have to get pictures of them before they are all eaten! (I've taken to hiding things under all the bread in the highest cupboard in our kitchen, but even then they disappear.

Until next week!

"Did I hear you right? Bacon... Rosemary... Cupcakes?"
It's about the reaction you hear from everyone, followed by a
"This is actually amazing."

I got the whole crazy cupcake idea from watching too much TV (what can I say, I like cooking shows). Shows like Cupcake Wars were my inspiration for this amazing treat (that and the Internet of course).

I've been doing more baking than blogging recently, this recipe was actually from last week, I currently have a strawberry pie in the oven right now that I might make a post about later this week.  I've just been really behind on editing photographs recently, so my food photos have been getting lost in the mix.

See, I'm trying to put together a portfolio to send to colleges in hopes of getting into a BFA program for photography! But, it's a ton of work, and the editing process has been very extensive.

Maple Rosemary Bacon Cupcakes with Candied Pecans
Makes 12 cupcakes
Adapted from: Twigg Studios

For the Bacon:1/2 lbs. bacon
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, pulled apart into small chunks
1/2 cup maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat bacon with maple syrup and sprinkle rosemary. Fry in a meduim sized frypan until crispy. Cool to room temp.
For the Cake: 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbs.  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbs. maple syrup
1/2 cup milk

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla and maple syrup. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
For the Frosting:200g butter, room temp
250g icing sugar
3 Tbs. maple syrup
Beat butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the icing sugar. Stir in maple syrup. If frosting becomes too thick, add a bit of milk.
For the Pecan Topping:1/2 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup sugar
Toast pecans in a small pan until golden. Remove pecans from pan, and set them side. Place sugar into the pan and allow it to melt. Stir pecans into melted sugar, then remover from heat to cool. Once fully cool, place on top of cupcakes.

I'm now going to pull out my strawberry pie. Until next week!

I've actually tried out many different recipes this week from a Japanese Water cake to creme brulee. I was going to post about the Japaneses water cake, but it didn't quite work out as recipe translation hasn't been going too well.

However, I have an Indonesian recipe today shown to me by an Indonesian foreign exchange student who is going to my high school this year. It's called Kue Cubit, and its a basically an undercooked, gooey, sweet pancake.
In other words its amazing.

Mine were a little bit over done, actually just perfectly fully cooked, but the point is to have the gooey center.

My second batch, however, was perfect. They key is a low temp oven and keeping a good eye on the cakes, something I can't say I excel at.

Kue Cubit

Yields approx. 18 

For the Kue Cubit:
3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
a pinch of salt (if you use unsalted butter / margarine)
2 Tbsp. chocolate chips
Preheat oven 325 degrees F. Place chocolate chips in a food processor and pulse until fine. Combine all the ingredients(including the chocolate) together, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.  Butter and flour a cupcake pan. Place 1 1/2 Tablespoons of batter into each cavity, place in oven until set, but the tops are still runny, about 10 min. Keep an eye on these, as they will become overdone quickly. Serve warm.

They are an amazing sweet little snack, and although they aren't traditionally made in a cupcake pan, the adaption works really well! It you want, sprinkle some extra chocolate shavings on top!

Until next week!
This weekend my friends hosted a great brunch party in order for us to study for finals. Everyone had to contribute, and many people were making sweet things such as lemon blueberry french toast and smoothies. I realized I should go for something savory that can be still eaten for breakfast. I originally had a recipe, but it was the night before the party and, let's face it, I was too lazy to drive to the grocery store.

So, scone recipe aside I dug through my refrigerator and discovered that my family doesn't do that often enough. Between too far gone cucumbers and rosemary sprigs, I didn't find much to go on. (Maybe I shouldn't be so lazy about going to the grocery store.)

However, I found a nice fresh onion from the pantry, and some brand new parmesan cheese that seemed to do the trick.

The great think about the onion, is it gives it tenderness without bad after breath, making the scone perfect for breakfast. 

Parmesan Savory Scones

Makes 8 scones

For the Scones:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup skim milk)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley minced

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until coarse clumps form. (There will feel as if there are too many dry ingredients in the bowl.)
Add eggs, milk, and lemon juice. Mix until well combined. Stir in cheese, onion, and parsley.
Remove from bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead with hands for 1-2 minutes until cheese and onions are well integrated into dough. (The dough will be very sticky, so don't be afraid to use more than a little flour.) Shape dough into circle that is about 1 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, divide in half. Cut each half into 4 triangles. At this point, you can freeze the scones. (This is what I did so they could be freshly baked the next day.)
To bake, place scones in a 400 degree F oven on a parchment lined baking dish. Bake for 20 min.

A great idea is to keep them frozen and then bake a few everyday to continuously have fresh scones for breakfast!
They are best served fresh with butter or, if you want them for lunch, with soup.

It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, I've been extremely busy, but this week I was very excited to try something I've been wanting to attempt for a while: a crepe cake. If you want something that looks very impressive, and tastes amazing this is perfect.

When the cake is topped with candied rum pecans and toasted coconut, basically nothing can go wrong. So even though the recipe list is long and the instructions longer, don't get daunted. It's completely worth it. Kind of reminds me of when I went to Chicago a few weeks ago and stood in line for 45 min to stand on the glass ledges on top of the Willis Tower. It was aggravating and tedious, but well worth it.

Coconut Rum Chocolate Mousse Crepe Cake

From (with edits to): Half Baked Harvest

For the Chocolate Mousse:
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum

To make the mousse. In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate. Microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Stir in the melted butter, it will thicken. Set aside to cool. In a small saucepan whisk together the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons water and sugar. Place on the stove over medium heat and stir constantly until the sauce thickens slightly and just coats the back of a spoon, about 2-3 minutes. Make sure to remove the eggs from the stove the minute they begin to curdle and thicken. Stir the melted chocolate into the egg mixture until completely smooth. Place in the fridge while you whip the cream. Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand mixer) and whip cream until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and coconut rum (if using) and whip until combined. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like. Now add half the whipped cream with cooled chocolate mixture. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate until no more streaks remain. Add the remaining cream and gently fold into the mousse. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for two hours or overnight.

For Coconut Rum Cream:
1 can coconut milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons rum
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

In a medium saucepan combine the coconut milk and cornstarch. Whisk until the cornstarch is completely dissolved and there are no lumps. Add the sugar, eggs and salt, whisk until smooth. Place the pan on the stove and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer until the cream thickens and is smooth like pudding, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, rum and shredded coconut. Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover and chill two hours or overnight.

For the Crepes:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup water + an extra 1/4 cup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Swirl gently until brown bits appear on the bottom, about 5-6 minutes, then immediately remove from heat and set aside. Combine the eggs, milk, flour, the melted + browned butter, salt, 1 cup water and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds or until well combined. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours. Remove the batter from the fridge and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup water. Heat a 10 inch non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add cooking spray to coat. In a circular motion pour 1/4 cup of batter (I measure it out for every single crepe) into the skillet. Quickly pick the skillet up (using an oven mitt, especially if using a cast iron skillet!) and swirl in a circular motion to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to a cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool on a piece of parchment paper. After 5 minutes or so I like to flip the crepes to make sure they are not sticking to the parchment. Continue until all batter is gone. Makes 20 crepes.

For assembly:1 can very cold coconut milk (chilled in the fridge overnight)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
toasted coconut, for topping
toasted coconut rum pecans, for topping (optional) (coconut rum + brown sugar + pecans)

Place the bowl of a stand mixer and your whisk attachment in the freezer. Lay all 20 crepes out on a large clean counter. Remove the chocolate mouse and coconut cream from the fridge and evenly divide both the mouse and coconut cream among all 20 crepes (10 with chocolate mousse, 10 with coconut cream) and spread in an even, thin layer. Now place one crepe in the center of your serving plate and layer on the rest alternating between the chocolate mousse and coconut cream (one coconut cream layer, one chocolate mouse layer and so on). Do your best to try and keep the stack straight. Once you have used all the crepes and the cake is assembled place it in the fridge while you whip the coconut cream.

Flip your cold can of coconut milk upside down and open it. There should be around 1/2 cup of coconut water at the top. Pour this into a container and save for another use. Scoop out the coconut cream and place in a bowl. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. It will not be stiff like regular whipped cream. Beat in the powdered sugar. Remove the cake from the fridge and top with your desired amount of coconut whipped cream. Place back in the fridge for 30 minutes or until ready to serve. When ready to serve, top the cake with toasted coconut and rum toasted pecans.

So that's it! It can be a little daunting just going through all the parts to this cake, but its really not that bad and the product is well worth it!
Until next week!

It has been a while hasn't it. Well, last weekend I attempted to make ice cream mochi after being inspired by my trip to United Noodles, the largest Asian Grocery Store in the Mid-West. I bought the special rice flour and everything and was super excited to post about it. Then I actually tried to make it...

Everything started out fine, I got the mochi cut in circles and the ice cream in perfect spheres. However then I actually tried to encase the ice cream in the mochi, and that's when the whole thing became a very literal mess. So I ended with some kind of chocolate soup spilled all over the floor and ended up just eating the sweet rice paste.

Well this weekend I made a cake for my church's bake sale, so after my failure last week I thought I would go with something easier that I have made plenty of times: chocolate cake.

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake

From: Raspberri Cupcakes

For the cake:
 8 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup milk
Grease and line the base of a three two 9 inch cake tins and preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) (lower by 10°C for fan-forced). Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarb soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Using an electric mixer with a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on high about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.Mix together the water and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the milk mixture. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients until smooth. Split batter mixture between the prepared tins. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in tin about 5 mins, then place on a wire rack and cool completely before icing. Cake can be baked the night before and stored in an airtight container overnight before assembly.
For the raspberry ganache:
250g good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
150ml heavy cream
125g fresh raspberries, pureed and strained
 Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Heat cream over low-medium heat in saucepan until just boiling, pour over cream and set aside for 5 minutes. Use a whisk to combine mixture until smooth, then gradually add raspberry puree to taste. Chill until it thickens but is still pourable (take care not to leave too long or it will make it hard to spread). This mixture is prone to splitting as it cools, if this happens just reheat the bowl over a simmering saucepan of water and add a bit more cream. Place one layer of chocolate cake on your cake stand and cover with ganache. Sandwich second layer on top and repeat.
For the chocolate ganache:
400g dark chocolate, finely chopped
300ml heavy cream
Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Heat cream over low-medium heat in saucepan until just boiling, pour over cream and set aside for 5 minutes. Use a whisk to combine mixture until smooth. Chill until it thickens and just holds its shape but is still pourable. Use a spatula to spread over the outside of your cake. I used an offset spatula to smooth the surface. Place macarons around the border of the top of the cake. Decorate center of the cake with raspberries. Chill cake until ready to serve, remove from fridge at least 30 mins before serving.
 Until Next Week!
It has been a few week's since the last post because I've been working on creating a dessert for the ProStart competition I've been talking about! The competition is in two weeks and our menu is really coming together. I will be sure to post pictures of our final projects after we compete!

I also went to a great restaurant in Minneapolis last night called Victory 44 and tried their chocolate textures dessert. It had your standard chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream, chocolate shavings, ect. But then, it incorporated caramelized white chocolate powder, which was an amazing concept I had never seen before.

I also drove over to the University of Minnesota to visit my sister, and she took me to an Asian grocery store called United Noodle. However, it was quite a walk from her dorm, made even longer by the 4 degree weather. Not to mention my calves cramped up and I was slipping on ice left and right making a downright fool of myself. But it was well worth it because I now have ice cream mochi in my freezer and am drinking a home-made bubble tea while writing this post.

So for the dessert this week I wanted something I could make last night and eat for breakfast this morning because it's President's Day and I didn't have school. So, I found a very interesting cake recipe that would make a perfect breakfast!

**This cake batter is more like a dough. It also doesn't rise so fill the springform pan all the way to the top!

Apple Coffee Cake

For the cake:3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
6 oz butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large apples (your favorite kind, I used honey crisp)
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
Grease and flour a 9" round springform pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to allow room for the apples to be folded in. Cut the butter into the flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the sugar to the flour mixture and mix in. Peel the apples and slice them into large uniform pieces. Toss the apples into the flour mixture and combine them thoroughly. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Add to the apples and flour and mix in with a large spatula until just combined. Batter will be thick and dough-like. Transfer the dough into the prepared cake pan and flatten the top surface using the back of your spatula. Generously sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cake. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Test the center for doneness. The top of the cake should be golden brown.

That's it! It's a great recipe and I hope you enjoy!
Until next week!

So how have I been? Very busy, being the short answer. At my school, I'm on the Prostart Culinary Team. Prostart is a program for high school students, and they host a cooking competition every year. So everyday after school, I've been working on our menu and trying out new cooking techniques. I am in charge of creating the dessert... shockingly.
 The hard part is, we don't have access to electricity, just propane burners and metal campfire ovens. That and a one hour time limit put up many roadblocks to what can be made. But we are still working on it, and the competition is in about a month so we have plenty of time!

For people that have been reading this blog, you may know one of my favorite desserts in panna cotta. I made a salted caramel panna cotta a while back that was amazing! Panna cotta can be flavored in so many ways, so I decided that a would use all the extra tea I had stockpiled in my cupboards to taste test some tea flavored panna cotta.

I tried four different kinds of tea using the same panna cotta recipe. I found the best two (in my opinion of course) was the chai and the jasmine. They both had great flavor and were not too strong.

Tea Panna Cotta

Adapted from: Hummingbird High

4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup loose leaf tea or 2 tea bags (I recommend Chai or Jasmine)
2 teaspoons powdered, unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Infuse the cream by combining 4 cups heavy whipping cream and tea in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Once the mixture has simmered, turn off the heat and cover the pan with aluminum foil, poking a few holes into the top to allow steam to release. Let steep for 1 hour.
When the cream has finished steeping for an hour, bloom the gelatin. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin into the surface of a small cup or ramekin filled with 3 tablespoons cold water. Let sit for 5 minutes, until the gelatin softens.
As the gelatin is blooming, strain the infused cream through a cheese cloth into a bowl, pressing on the tea leaves/tea bag with the back of a spoon to release all the liquid. Discard the tea leaves/bags. Transfer the cream beck into the saucepan and add 3/4 cup granulated sugar and the bloomed gelatin, stirring over medium-low heat until the sugar and gelatin is melted. DO NOT boil the mixture.

Once the sugar and gelatin are fully integrated into the cream, divide the cream amongst eight 4-ounce ramekins. Chill overnight. Once set, the panna cotta can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

So that's it! It doesn't take that long to put together, and its a really fun time finding different flavors of tea to use.

 Until next week!
We are well into January and not only am I going crazy with my over-booked schedule, I'm starting to resent the -3 degree weather. However, it does give me a good excuse to turn on the oven and start whipping up whatever recipes my Pinterest home feed decides to show me!

The idea of avocados and chocolate was not one I had heard of before, but I'm all up for trying new things so I decided to put it to the test. I'm super pleased with the results and its super simple to make!

Chocolate Avocado Mousse Tart

Adapted from: Le Passe Vite
Makes one 9 inch tart

For the Crust:
175 g grated sweetened coconut
250 g roasted salted cashews
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 Tbsp cacao powder
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp cold water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a 9 inch round tart pan. Place the grated coconut and cashews in a food processor and grind into a coarse flour.
Add cacao, cinnamon and salt and pulse to combine. Scrape the bowl before adding the coconut oil, sugar, and water, and pulse to combine. Press the dough into the bottom of then pan as evenly as possible. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.
Let cool completely before filling with mousse.

For the Mousse:
2 medium avocados
4 tsp cacao powder
75g semisweet chocolate, melted
1 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla paste, or extract
1 pinch of sea salt
Cut the avocados in half, and remove the pulp with a spoon. Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix until a smooth cream.

For Assembly:
slightly toasted pistachios
sweetened shredded coconut

Fill the tart with mousse, even with a spatula, and sprinkle with pistachios and coconut.
The tart should be eaten the day it was made. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Until next week!