Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tiramisu

Despite having made Tiramisu Cake a bunch of times, I've never had real Tiramisu until now. I can't believe it took me this long.

Tiramisu

I took a risk and went for the recipe that uses raw eggs. That is how authentic Tiramisu is made so if I'm going to make it, I'm going to make it right. My body's used to that anyway. I've been eating homemade ice cream recently that I made with raw eggs as well and I love super runny sunny side up eggs. Everything about this dessert is so fluffy, it's like you're eating a cloud with the perfect amount of sweetness. My ladyfingers did not turn soggy at all and soaked up the perfect amount of coffee. I halved this recipe to fit into a 9-by-9 pan and it still turned out great.

Tiramisu

The only change I made in this recipe is substituting Marsala with rum. I didn't have Marsala on hand and some other recipes I had Googled used rum or brandy or Kahlua instead. I liked the idea of rum so I went with that. I went picture crazy for this post. It was a nice day with lots of sun and I had time. It felt nice to relax for once. This is the best dessert to relax with.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu
From Kitchen Joy Blog

6 egg yolks, at room temperature
4 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups (16-ounces) mascarpone
36-48 Savoiardi ladyfingers
1 1/2 cups Italian coffee made in Moka pot, cooled
2 tablespoons Marsala
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, shaved

Brew coffee and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar until pale, doubled in volume, and "ribbons" remain for a few seconds when spoon is lifted from the mixture, about 3-4 minutes.

Tiramisu

Whisk in marscarpone a little bit at a time. In another large bowl, beat egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Tiramisu

Fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture.

Tiramisu

Add 2 tablespoons Marsala to the coffee. Dip Savoiardi ladyfingers quickly into the coffee and arrange in a layer in the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan. Do not "soak" the ladyfingers in the coffee or your Tiramisu will turn out soggy.

Tiramisu

Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top of the ladyfingers. Top with another layer of dipped ladyfingers. Spread remaining mascarpone mixture evenly on top of ladyfingers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving. (Overnight works well too.) This allows the filling to set and the ladyfingers to soften and absorb the coffee. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings immediately before serving.

Tiramisu

Monday, January 19, 2015

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken

For Christmas this year, I was spoiled and received many kitchen gadgets. One of them is an all-purpose kitchen kettle. I have actually thought about getting a deep-fryer and was pleasantly surprised by this multi-use appliance. It can steam vegetables, it can make rice, and you even make soups with it. I might stick to using it just as a deep-fryer though.

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken

But with this appliance, I don't have to pan fry every little piece of chicken and wait five hours for all of it to finish cooking. I might be exaggerating a bit but when you're the one standing at the stove cooking all of the little pieces, it sure can feel that long. Plus, my stove gets super greasy with all the oil splattering everywhere and deep-frying the chicken makes it that much easier and cleaner for me. I have been avoiding this recipe for a while just because of the fact that I'd have to pan-fry the chicken, but last night I was able to make this with ease.

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken

The juice of two lemons seemed like quite a bit to me when I was making the marinade but it was the perfect amount. The chicken had just the right amount of lemon-y tang to it. I didn't dip the chicken pieces into the honey and lemon zest dip that the original recipe provides. I just drizzled a little honey on top along with Sriracha hot sauce and ate it like that! It tasted great.

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken

Deep frying has a bad reputation that it doesn't really deserve. Yes, all that oil is definitely not good for you, but it's all about moderation. Have some deep fried food once in a while -- it won't hurt. Pan-frying can be just as bad if you don't do it the right way. Both the deep fryer and the pan must be hot and ready to go before adding any food. Otherwise, the food will just absorb the cold oil, excess oil that you don't need. I know my impatience has gotten the best of me sometimes and I have added stuff to a pan filled with cold or lukewarm oil plenty of times. With a deep fryer, for some reason, I always make sure the big ol' pot of oil is ready to go before adding anything. Plus, anything made at home has better taste and ingredients than what you might find eating out. You know where your oil's been too!

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken
Adapted from How Sweet Eats

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
2 large lemons, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tbsp honey, all the lemon juice, 1 tbsp lemon zest, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Whisk ingredients together, then add chicken pieces to a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over top. Let sit for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

When ready to make, add flour, cornstarch, 1 tsp lemon zest and the remaining salt and pepper to a large bowl. Mix well.

Heat your deep fryer to 350F. Wait until it is very hot and ready to go (you do not want the chicken to absorb more oil than necessary). Fill your deep fry basket with a single layer of chicken and place into the oil when ready. Let it fry for 5 to 6 minutes. When ready, take the basket out of the oil and let it drain for a bit, then place on a plate covered with paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken in batches.

If you would like to pan-fry your chicken, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, and once it is very hot, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Coat chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then add to the skillet and cook until each side is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and set chicken on a paper-towel covered plate. Cook remaining batches, adding more/less oil if needed.

Serve with rice and a few tablespoons of honey mixed with lemon zest for dipping or drizzling.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cream Cheese Braid Pastry

For the last post of the year 2014, I share an easy pastry recipe. If you're thinking of serving a New Year's Day brunch with your family or friends, consider serving this! I stumbled upon a cream cheese braid pastry recipe by Sally's Baking Addiction a while ago and it's finally time I share it. I immediately wanted to make some because the blueberries looked so delicious in her pictures! My mom likes to pick blueberries, a lot, so there's always some for us to eat all year round. Blueberries in baked goods are always delicious. I've made this with peaches too and it was also delicious! Any fruit will work in this recipe or you can even leave them out altogether.

Cream Cheese Braid Pastry

I should note that I altered Sally's recipe by a lot. Sometimes I get lazy even when it comes to baking so I didn't want to deal with all the original ingredients. I searched for similar recipes and saw that some used only cream cheese and sugar. I don't even have to make my own dough. I have used pie crusts and puff pastries and both have turned out great. The pastry has turned out great every single time so change it up! It's really a great spontaneous recipe as there are only 4 ingredients, all of which should already be in stock. No need to make a grocery run.

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Happy New Year! I look forward to more wonderful recipes I will share with you in 2015!

Cream Cheese Braid Pastry

1 puff pastry, pie crust, or homemade dough

8 oz cream cheese or Neufchâtel, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup fruit of your choice, diced

1 egg

Cream together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. No need for an electric mixer, the cream cheese should be soft enough for you to mix by hand. Set aside.

Roll out your pastry dough on a surface and cut out as pictured below:

image

Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly throughout the center of the dough. Sprinkle blueberries or your fruit of choice on top. Then braid the pastry. Brush the top with whisked egg.

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Bake at 400F for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Amish" Snickerdoodles

For this year's Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I wanted to incorporate the Amish Friendship Bread Starter and surprisingly, there are many cookie recipes that use the starter! The one that stood out to me in the long list of recipes were Snickerdoodles. I love Snickerdoodles and I don't make them often enough. The cinnamon-y goodness is one that is welcome at any time of the year. I decided not to mess with the recipe and stick with a traditional Snickerdoodle taste (besides the fact that I used the starter).

"Amish" Snickerdoodles

For the ones above, I baked them on the top rack and for the ones below, I baked on the bottom rack.

"Amish" Snickerdoodles

It's really weird how the two batches yielded different results despite being from the same recipe. The ones on the bottom ended up a little burnt on the bottom so I didn't send those out. The bottom ones had a thicker and more cake-like texture compared to the others but both were still delicious. I didn't quite get 60 from the recipe as the original states but I still got quite a bit. I would say about 4 dozen.

Ready for delivery

I am so glad I got to participate in the Cookie Swap again. This is the part I love about baking: sharing! I get to share a lot of my baking and cooking with other people in my life all the time, but this is even more special because I get to put a smile on a complete stranger's face. Who doesn't love getting cookies in the mail?! I loved writing a message to each one of my matches, choosing the containers for the cookies, and wrapping them, hoping at every moment that the presentation and results would be good enough for my matches. I know when I received each of my 3 cookie packages, I got really excited. My eyes widened as I opened my mailbox and I had obsessively checked my mail every day to see if I had gotten another one yet. And I normally check my mail once a week! (Yeah, I'm popular.) Here are the lovely cookies that I received from my three matches:

Glazed Butter Cookies from KoKo at KoKo Likes - these melt in your mouth! I love the gold specks too.

Gold-Speckled Glazed Butter Cookies

Caramel Studded Snickerdoodles from Renee of Awesome on 20 - great minds think alike! I love Snickerdoodles! What a cool twist too with caramel. I have never thought to mess with the classic but this is great.

Caramel Studded Snickerdoodles

Pina Colada Cookies from Andrea at Recipes for Divine Living. Love the tropical twist!

Pina Colada Cookies

Hope you think about joining next year if you have a food blog yourself! I can't wait for another round of baking and sharing in 2015.

"Amish" Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Friendship Bread Kitchen

1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C).

In a large mixing bowl, add in wet ingredients. Mix in rest of ingredients except the last sugar and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Add more sugar or cinnamon depending on your preferences.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. The dough will be a little sticky! Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place them 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Apple Pie

Last month, I went apple picking at a local family farm called Chiles Peach Orchard. I love this place because the prices aren't bad, the fruits are plentiful and delicious, the people are friendly, and I get to eat at Blue Mountain Brewery for lunch every time I go fruit picking. I have picked their cherries, strawberries, and peaches as well and they have all been worth the trip so when I saw that they had Fuji apples available, I wanted to go again before the place closed for the season. It was in the 40s temperature-wise but I had my gloves on so I managed to get myself at least 30 pounds of apples! What do you do with all that?! Make pies, of course.

Apple Pie

I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe and had to adapt the spices because I am not a fan of allspice and it was a little overpowering. Smitten Kitchen suggested doubling the spices, but I was actually okay with the original amount. I liked letting the flavors of the apple come through instead with just a hint of the spices. I didn't use the crust recipe that she provided in the same post and I decided to change it up in terms of the design as well! I bought a leaf cookie cutter on Amazon, stamped out leaf-shaped pieces from the pie crust, and layered them on top of the pie. It actually turned out better than I thought and people were impressed! I saw the idea on Pinterest while just browsing around and I'm glad I decided to give it a try.

In addition to making four pies (only one was for myself!), I also snacked on the apples every day and shared some with coworkers and friends. But guess what...I still have lots of apples left! They are surprisingly staying in good shape in the fridge so I am still snacking and adding them in my oatmeal in the mornings sometimes. I just got a box of oranges from my school's FFA as well so I think I'm good on fruits for a while!

Apple Pie

Drop a scoop of ice cream on this slice of warm apple pie. Mm mm good.

Apple Pie
Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

4 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 7 or 8 medium apples)
1 tbsp juice and 1 tsp zest from 1 lemon
3/4 cup (5.25 oz) plus 1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1 egg white, beaten lightly

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat rimmed baking sheet and oven to 425°F. Remove one piece of dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable).

Roll dough on lightly floured work surface or between two large sheets of plastic wrap to 12-inch disk. Transfer dough to pie plate by rolling dough around rolling pin and unrolling over 9 1/2-inch pie plate or by folding dough in quarters, then placing dough point in center of pie plate and unfolding. Working around circumference of pie plate, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs lip of plate in place; refrigerate dough-lined pie plate.

Peel, core and cut apples in half, and in half again width-wise; cut quarters into 1/4-inch slices and toss with lemon juice and zest. In a medium bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar, flour, salt and spices. Toss dry ingredients with apples. Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center.

Roll out second piece of dough to 12-inch disk and place over filling. Trim top and bottom edges to 1/2-inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute edging or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits on dough top. If pie dough is very soft, place in freezer for 10 minutes. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Place pie on baking sheet and bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375°F; continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer.

Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours.