Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Churros and Crumb Buns

It's been a while since I've posted on my blog, so I thought let's start off on a sweet note. Today I wanted to try a certain fried creation that I see often being sold in my nearby shopping mall. They are Churros! 
For those who don't know what a Churro is, then here is my take on it.

Churros are considered a Spanish doughnut and usually are served piping hot with a side of hot chocolate or drizzled a bit of melted dark chocolate. Churros are also made from a familiar batter that you may have cooked with. They are made with a cream puff batter, but instead of baking the batter, you fry it! And who doesn't love fried dough. 

I took the liberty to research some Churros recipe and I came across Laura Vitale's recipe from YouTube. I've had a great experience with her recipes, they always come out with the perfect balance of flavors. I can honestly say, she is my first "go-to" person to get the recipes for me to play with. 

Laura Vitale's Churros Recipe: http://www.laurainthekitchen.com/all/episode.php?episodenumber=382

After frying the dough and dusting it with cinnamon sugar, I took some pictures. 

How do they look? Delicious enough to eat? Looks like french fries, don't it? 

I was wondering when I was dusting these beautiful treats while they were being fried by my friend, one side of the churros is beautiful with the ridges, but the other side exploded outward. Why did that happen? Leave in the comment box below. 

I didn't just want one treat today, so I've decided to make what everyone calls it in New Jersey, a CRUMB BUN! I've been watching a lot of videos from the Crumb Boss who own Woodland Bakery, which is located in Chatham, New Jersey. I love her recipe because they too have the perfect balance of flavors. If you live close to Woodland Bakery, try their Crumb Buns and then make these. I really want to compare, but I don't have the transportation to go to New Jersey from New York City. 

So I thought today would be a great day to make these very popular treats that the Crumb Boss sells out everyday in her shop. 

Crumb Boss' Crumb Bun Recipe: http://www.crumbboss.com/crumb-bun-2/

When I took them out of the oven, I let them cooled down completely and then dusted each one with powdered sugar. 

The picture below shows the Crumb Buns that look very similar to a Coffee Cake!

When I started cutting into the buns, they were pretty thick and very airy as well. After having a bite of Crumb Buns, my definition for Crumb Buns is a light, airy, and chewy bread base with a crumbly streusel topping, which is similar to a classic coffee cake. Speaking of coffee cake, this crumb bun would be GREAT with a cup of joe or latte. Perfectly sweet and slightly salty to create a harmony of flavors. I hope you would try this recipe out, and let the Crumb Boss know how it turned out. (I know I will have the Crumb Boss look at her own creations). 

All I know is that I have leftover Crumb Buns and I will have a great breakfast with a cup of coffee. Thank you Crumb Boss! 

I have great news about myself in the upcoming month of March and possibly more creations! So.....

Stay Tune or Subscribe! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Toffee Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

This GIANT but flat Cookie is so DELICIOUS! I made one batch of Toffee Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Crumb Boss and it produced 29 3-ounce cookies. The name of the cookies really caught my attention! It's long but has everything that I LOVE! Crunchy Toffee Bits, Crunchy Walnuts, and Smooth Chocolate chips; all in one giant cookie! Before I provide the link to the Cookie Recipe, the pictures below will show how soft and chewy they are even after 2 days. 

Like I said above, the cookies were soft, chewy, and crisp around the edge. They are also 3 1/2 inch long in diameter, so each cookie is about 2 servings. 

Check out Crumb Boss and also the hilarious Steph the Producer on YouTube! 

They were too flat for my liking, but I think if I chilled the batter before I baked the cookies, then it might keep its shape better. Please let me know if they're other ways to keep cookies from flattening out too much.

All in All, these cookies are great for bake sales, parties, small gathering, or just a Friday night dessert with a glass of milk. Just typing this is making my mouth water; too bad I only have 3 cookies left. 

Try this recipe out and let me know in the comment box below! If you haven't already, Please Subscribe to see my latest updates! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day; Hope everyone is spending time with someone special. I made these cookies that could be a nice treat to have after dinner with a cup of coffee.

Around the Valentine's Day holiday, Hershey's Kisses comes out with their limited edition Kisses called Hugs. They are my favorite chocolate for this time of year. For those who don't know what Hugs are; they are chocolate shaped like Kisses but each Hug has a Milk Chocolate center covered with white chocolate. The packaging looks like this:

Since Hershey's Hugs are only a limited time, I wanted to make something with it. I decided on a recipe from Allrecipes.com. It's called Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies.


I believe this recipe would be considered gluten-free cookies. If I'm incorrect, please let me know.

My cookies turned out something like this:

They spread out a lot, so space them out wisely. Other than the large thin cookies, the appearance isn't so bad. The taste of these cookies were really sweet for my taste so use 3/4 cup of sugar for this recipe. The Hershey's Kisses adds a pleasant creaminess and parts well with the peanut butter flavor. You can never go wrong with the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. 

Another alternative is to use Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses, which would add a nice bitterness to contrast the sweetness of the cookie base. 

Hope you enjoy this! Leave a comment down below and Subscribe for new updates! I'll be making something that I've love since I was young. Stay Tune! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy New Year Everybody!

It's that time of year where families come together and celebrate the wonders of the upcoming new year. It is also a time for little children to enjoy the lovely red envelopes filled with money to start the new year on a wonderful note!

On this New Year, I've decided to take photos of the routine that my family undergoes to bring in the New Year. Additionally, it is a way for me to remember the great work my Grandma does every year and hopefully continue the tradition in the far future. Hopefully it will be an insightful view for my cousins to see what our Grandma does every year as well.

This year the Chinese New Year date was February 10th 2013, but the preparation is completed the day before. Additionally the first day for my Grandma to start praying for those who've passed away in my family. (I'm not completely sure who we pray for)

So I've started taking pictures on February 9th and they are the following:

Rice Cakes that are made from a combination of rice flours
(I'm still trying to learn how she does it so well)

These are called Zongzi (in Chinese), or Steamed Rice with Pork wrapped in Bamboo Leaves
Normally my Grandma and me would sit down one entire day to make these from scratch,
but this year it was store bought.  

Fried Dumplings with a Sweet filling made with Candied Melon Peels, Peanuts, and Sesame Seeds.

Fried Dumplings with a Savory Filling
Made with Chinese White Radish (or Chai Gou) and Chinese Sausage

My Favorite Prawn Chips! (Not from Scratch)

 Fried Rice Noodles and Bean Curd Sheets
(We don't eat the Bean Curd Sheets)

That just was the preparation for the actual date of Chinese New Year. From start to finish, the process of getting the fried items done was about 6 hours. After each goodies were cooled, we stored them in plastic bags. The dumplings and rice cakes need to go to the fridge, while the prawn chips and rice noodles can stay at room temperature. 

On the day of Chinese New Year, the morning isn't so hectic. The only thing we had to do was cook a chicken and make one side dish.  

Boiled Chicken to perfection with a piece of Pork Belly

 Side Dish: Stir fried Rice Noodles with Napa Cabbage and thin celery stalks

With these dishes and all the goodies from yesterday, we can now break out the rice wine, the "fake" money envelopes, long red sticks, and then pray. Now in my family, we pray at two different place with the same bird. If my Grandma says it's ok, then it's ok. I've only taken one photo of only one of the place and this is what it looks like.

Unfortunately, this photo didn't feature the side dish but the other one did. I wanted to take the other one but my Grandma just finished the other place. Nevertheless, I've captured this photo to remember everything I need to pray. 

In a few minutes, my Grandma would pray and three long red sticks will be on the small "cup" on the upper left corner. The rice wine will be in the three red cups using the metal pot on the right. The small empty plate in front will have the Boiled Chicken's lower jaw, one wing, giblets (liver and gizzard), and a small piece of the pork belly to serve. There are two chairs in the front of the three cups, but I didn't get to capture it. 

If you like what you see, let me know in the comment box below. 

If you like some of the dishes that I've featured on this post, let me know in the comment box and I'll get to work on them.

Please Subscribe and Share with your Family. Stay Tune for another post in a few days; A Sweet Treat! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Red Velvet Cake (Cut)

 As promised from the previous post, I've cut into this cake. The pictures are as follows:

The cake has a red chocolate cake base with a cream cheese filling and buttercream icing. This cake is perfectly sweetened and has a slight bitterness, which is pleasing. The buttercream will be my new favorite and I highly recommend trying Crumb Boss' recipe for your cakes. 

I hope to those individuals I've given this cake to enjoy the beauty and complexity. 

As some of you may know, February 10th is Chinese New Year. The upcoming post will show how my family celebrate this holiday with pictures. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Red Velvet Cake

A few days ago, I was thinking about the making something for the upcoming Chinese New Year. During Chinese New Year, the most prominent color is Red. We like red because it provides good fortune and joy, so I decided to make something red for this Chinese New Year. This isn't the most traditional dessert for Chinese New Year, but it is red so it works. I researched a lot of recipes before I decided, and I came across a recipe from the #1 YouTube Pastry Chef, Crumb Boss! She is a certified pastry chef and owns a bakery that sells a lot of Red Velvet Cakes and Cupcakes. Since the Crumb Boss and her community says it's good, then it must be worth a try. 

For those who may not know what a Red Velvet Cake is; it is a chocolate cake dyed with red food coloring.   A simple cake with the basic ingredients of flour, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, buttermilk, and vinegar. These ingredient with the right proportion will create a sweet, moist, and slightly bitter (from the cocoa powder) cake. The Crumb Boss has created a fabulous recipe. 

Red Velvet Cake Recipe: http://www.crumbboss.com/red-velvet-cake/

Traditionally the Red Velvet Cake would have a Cream Cheese Icing, but I decided against it because some cream cheese icing recipes are too tangy for my taste. Instead of a Cream Cheese Icing, I made Homemade Vanilla Buttercream for the first time in my life and it turned out GREAT! The meringue base was stiff enough to hold on to pockets of butter and shortening. Additionally, it has the right sweetness for an icing of any cakes. I got this recipe for the Crumb Boss and she uses buttercream in almost all of her cake decorating videos. 

Vanilla ButterCream Recipe: http://www.crumbboss.com/drum-roll-buttercream-is-here-tada/

Now I didn't want to leave out the Cream Cheese Icing entirely, because it wouldn't taste like a traditional Red Velvet Cake. I decided to take a small batch of Cream Cheese Icing and use it as a filling. The end product has a great balance of sweet and tangy, it is very enjoyable to the palette. 

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe: http://www.crumbboss.com/cream-cheese-icing/

The three links were the 3 recipes, I've used to make this 1 two layered 8 inch cake. 

Here are some photos that I've taken during the process:

This cake is what is known as a Crumb Iced Cake 
(which prevents crumbs from appearing in the end product)

Learn how to crumb ice a Cake from the Crumb Boss: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VW3y_Hs3AA

Leftover crumbs that I removed from the tops of the cake; you'll see what I do with them.

 The end product with an extra layer of buttercream on the outside and a Shell Border with leftover crumbs adhere to the side of the cake. 

At the end, I wanted this cake to be for Chinese New Year, so I took the cream cheese icing and dyed it yellow (because I didn't have any red dye left). I wrote in yellow the Chinese characters for Happy Chinese New Year. 

I will admit that my piping skills needs more practice, but I'm willing to learn. In addition to that, I wished I had a Turning Cake Stand, so I have easier time handling the cake and there wouldn't be such a mess at the end. All in all, the cake looks good for an amateur cook looking for a job or an education to evolve my knowledge of food. Hope you like the look of this, I'd say I've improved from my previous works, but I wouldn't have improved if I didn't stumble into #1 YouTube's Pastry Channel Crumb Boss. Thank you Crumb Boss! 

Let me know what you think by commenting in the box below! 

As you can see, I didn't cut into this cake yet. My next post will consist only of the photos of the cut cake. Stay tuned or Subscribe to me for more tasty recipes!

Friday, February 1, 2013

It's Friday!

It's Friday today! I wanted to make something that took all day, so I decided to attempt a Cinnamon Roll Recipe again. This recipe is from Laura Vitale (popular YouTube home cook). Laura Vitale isn't a certified chef, but she would say "you don't have to be certified to cook good food" and in her YouTube channel that's what she does for every recipe she comes up. I love her recipes because all the recipes are properly balanced. If I could, I'd make every recipe she has in her channel.

Normally I would change a small part of any recipe, but this recipe is perfect to me. The written instructions have some mistakes that I will point out. If you follow the video, you shouldn't have any problem.

When it's time to add the flour and yeast mixture into the bowl, the instruction says to add more water. That is a typo, so ignore that because the water was proofing the yeast. Additionally, the bake time was shorter for me; it took about 25 minutes for the top of the Cinnamon Rolls, to turn a Golden Brown color.

Ok, enough talk! The pictures are coming up! Enjoy the small puddle of the glaze on the side of the plate.

Fresh out of the oven and drizzled or drowned in the glaze

This was the middle piece, where it's soft and fluffy!

 That small puddle of glaze on the side makes me smile! Does it?!

 This is the cross section of the cinnamon roll; all those layers!

 Two down and 14 more to go! 

At the end of making the dough part of the recipe, I've used 3 1/2 cups of flour, so be carefully on adding flour because you will end up with a dense cinnamon roll. 

This recipe is a keeper! Check it out, let me know how your turn out! Make it over the weekend and have fresh Cinnamon Rolls for your family on Sunday! Remember to heat leftover cinnamon rolls in the microwave for 10 seconds, that is if you still have any.