Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daring Bakers Make French Frasier

Usually I wait until the last weekend of the month to attempt my daring baker's challenge. I know this probably isn't the most ideal approach to the challenge, but sometimes it just seems so daunting I'm not sure when to start! This time, however, I was so ready for the challenge.

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make French Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

After months of owning the Tartine cookbook, I was finally able to try my hand at making one of their beautiful cakes (I visited Tartine a couple of years ago, and boy, was it soooooo AMAZINGFABULOUSTASTYDELICIOUSAHHHSOOOGOOD!!!!) The French Frasier has several components. The cake, the pastry cream (which is later folded into the whipped cream, and the fresh fruit. I made all of the components and assembled the entire cake in a single day (we had the cake for dessert after dinner :] ) It was a lot of work, but totally worth it. The cake was light and fluffy, and the stabilized cream was the perfect match for the fresh fruit and fluffy cake! YUM!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fruit Tart for Summer

Ah, I love fruit tarts. Fresh fruit, pastry cream, a flaky tart shell. Yum, three essential components of a fabulous summer dessert. Although the weather, mangoes, and pineapple are great in Hawaii, we have some pretty bad berries (except strawberries!). So whenever I do get really good fresh fruit, I usually just eat it fresh. But.....I just couldn't resist after flipping through Sarabeth's Bakery's cookbook(which is where the recipe is from.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

La Palme D'or

La Palme D'or is a French / Japanese bakery located on the ground floor of Ala Moana. They make beautiful desserts and drinks, and definitely worth a stop if you're in the area!
 Pear tart: Yum. I loved the crunchy crust!

Strawberry roll cake: I was hoping their strawberry roll cake would be as delicious as their vanilla roll cake. The cake was fluffy, but didn't really have that strong strawberry flavor I was looking for. The vanilla version is still my favorite...

Mont blanc: I've always seen these at Japanese bakeries, but every time I try one I'm always a little disappointed. I mean it's not bad, but it just looks so much cooler than it actually tastes! Anyways, I thought there was a wee bit too much chestnut mouse/cream. The whipped cream covered blueberry cake in the middle was an interesting surprise, but still way too much cream for the amount of cake.

Apple pie turnover: I love apple turnovers. Flaky buttery crust and spiced apples...Yum. Anyways, in addition to the apple filling I think they added some kind of almond paste (?). It was good, but not great. I think I'll stick with the vanilla roll cake.

On a side note, their drinks are pretty darn fancy. Darn, I should've taken some pictures....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Butterscotch Blondies

    These bars remind me of one of my favorite bodywash/shampoo by Philosophy. Actually, I love all of them, except for vanilla and sugar cookie. They just smell strange. Their butterscotch bodywash smells warm and buttery. It makes me crave these bars! Wait, can a body wash smell warm? Thinking, thinking....Definitely. I currently am using the Coconut Frosting bodywash, but my all time favorite is their cinnamon roll bodywash. It's amazing! Even better than a cinnamon roll. Oh, and did you know on the packages they print recipes. I've never tried making any, have you?

    Butterscotch Blondies
    Printer Friendly Version

    Adapted from Smitten kitchen
    8 tablespoons butter, melted
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    Pinch salt
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup butterscotch morsels

    1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and butter an 8×8 pan

    2. Mix melted butter with brown sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla.
    3. Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any butterscotch morsels.
    4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until set in the middle.

      Friday, July 22, 2011

      Strawberry wild smoothie

      Oh my gosh, I just had The Best Smoothie Ever. No, it wasn't an actual strawberry wild smoothie from Jamba Juice, but a homemade-almost-tastes-exactly-like-it-but-better smoothie! It was Amazing. Cool and refreshing with the perfect balance of strawberries, bananas, and creamyness!

      Darn, it's too bad I didn't write down the recipe. I used some homemade strawberry frozen yogurt, one homegrown bananas (can you see them all in the background?!), a splash of milk, couple of sliced strawberries, and voila, a delicious post run snack. Oh, and it tastes just like a dessert if you add some cinnamon cheerios!

      Wednesday, July 20, 2011

      Mutant English Muffins?

      When I saw Sarabeth Bakery's recipe for English muffins I knew I just had to make them. I love english muffins and they didn't call for first cooking them on the stove top then baking them. I have english muffin rings (I've been meaning to make the real thing) but they weren't tall enough to use in this recipe. Rather than buying some more kitchen tools I'll only use a couple times...I baked my muffins in a popover pan.
      The final product didn't remind me of an english muffin at all, but they still tasted great with some fig jam!

      English Muffin
      From Sarabeth Bakery
      1 cup whole milk
      1 cup water
      2 ½ tbs butter
      2 tbs gran sugar
      1 tsp salt
      3 ½ tsp yeast
      1 egg
      4 cups flour
      butter for rings
      ½ cup instant polenta

      1. 4 hours before making muffins, bring milk, water (3/4 cup), butter, sugar, and salt to a simmer. Transfer to a stand mixer and cool to room temp
      2. Sprinkle yeast over reaming water. Whisk to dissolve. Add to stand mixer. Add egg. Beat with paddle attachment. Gradually beat in flour. Once a stiff batter forms, increase to high speed and beat for 30 seconds. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
      3. Butter the inside of 12 entrement rings (3 inch diameter 1 ½ inches tall). Coat insides with polenta. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and arrange rings on it. Sprinkle approx ¼ tsp polenta in each ring
      4. Stir down batter, and fill rings using a 2 ½ inch scoop. Sprinkle with remaining polenta
      5. Proof for 1 ½ hours
      6. Preheat oven to 350˚F bake for 25 minutes, let stand for 5 minutes, then remove rings.

      Tuesday, July 19, 2011

      I think I've been writing too much...

      Remember how I said I was going to practice my photography? Well, it seems I have not had time, and well, these post have just been a wee bit too long and filled with words. So, I'm going to minimize the words of this post and just let the pictures speak for themselves.

      I've done it! And it's all thanks to the step by step tutorial from Pastry Pal!

      Sunday, July 17, 2011

      One of my fav cereal!

      You guys all remember my review on Nature's Path cereal? Well, my dad loved the cereal so much that when he saw this cereal at Trader Joe's, he just had to buy it. Plus, it was only 3 bucks, which is pretty cheap considering cereal is running about $5 per box!

      Anyways, my dad thought it was going to taste like wood, so he was planning on just giving it to me. Little did he know that this cereal is amazing! So much better than corn flakes. He actually ended up eating some too. At least the little bit I hadn't eat yet!... :) 

      These flakes are comprised of several whole grains, such as spelt flour (<---my favorite grain....spelt pancakes = delish saturday breakfast). I looked for it at the whole foods near my house, but couldn't find it! :( Oh, well. I'll just eat their flax version! (Which my dad also bought-it's not as nutty tasting or delish, but it's pretty good)
      This cereal tastes delicious on it's own, but if you add some homemade yogurt and fresh fruit, it'd make a delish parfait!
      Note: Nature's Path did not provide me with this cereal and these reviews here are all my own.

      Friday, July 15, 2011

      HARRY POTTER IS AMAZING...and Cheddar Scallion Scones

      OMG HARRY POTTER WAS AMAZING!!! I know the time difference and all means I've seen the movie a few hours after those east-and-west-coast-harry-potter-premier-attenders-diehards, but I just gotta say it was soooooo good! This was actually my first ever movie premier and it was AWESOME!! Well, not standing in line from 10 in the morning, but good thing my friends came to take my place :) I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone else, so go watch it before I do! Just kidding, I'd never intentionally spoil the last and greatest movie of all times!

      What are those funny looking hunks of browned dough? Well, they are, as you can tell from the title of this post, Cheddar Scallion Scones, which btw are delish are perfect at 3 in the morning if you were wondering....The recipe comes from Flour, and like most of her other recipes is filled with butter, sugar, cream, and most of all...deliciousness! The cornmeal added an interesting texture, which I didn't love, but didn't hate, kinda mealy, but added to the overall flavor. I think next time I would add more cheese because you can never have too much!!! :P

      Thursday, July 14, 2011

      The sweet stuff....FINALLY! :D

      I know the past few posts have all been pretty healthy, so I'm going to sweet stuff. S'mores. Yes, the all time favorite summer camping treat. But who has time to go camping? Or really, who wants to have to do their business in an outhouse? Ew, sorry that was a little gross. Anyways, I'm not much of a camper, I do like to go on hikes and all, but really, that outhouse porter potty thing is just too nasty. So I set out to turn my favorite flavor combo (marshmallows, chocolate, and graham cracker, or sweet, sweeter, and sweetest) into a dessert that can be enjoyed and made in the comfort of my home.

      What do you think? It was a graham cracker layer topped with a chocolate chip marshmallow cookie dough and then studded with Hershey's pieces. YUM :)

      S'mores Bars
      Bottom Layer:
      5 ounces graham crackers * May need a little bit more (6-7 oz) to cover bottom of pan
      1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
      2/3 cup butter, melted

      Top Layer:
      2/3 cup butter, softened
      1 cup light brown sugar
      1/2 cup sugar
      2 eggs
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
      1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
      1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
      3 regular sized hershey bars, broken into pieces

      1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan lined with aluminum foil.
      2. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers until crumbs are evenly fine. Add in brown sugar and process to combine. Drizzle the butter over the crumbs and pulse until mixture is evenly moistened. Press into bottom prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool on a rack while making top layer. Do not turn off the oven.
      3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add in the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt. Mix into the butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows. Evenly spread the dough over the cooled graham cracker layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Take out and press Hershey squares on top. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
      4. Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting.

      Tuesday, July 12, 2011

      Recap and a cool new oil!

      Hey guys! So, what did you think of the 5 grain salads? It's a healthy start, right? Well, since I've been bombarding you guys with healthy stuff, well, I thought I'd take a break and maybe share some of the sweeter items I've made lately. (Actually, it's a little healthy.) But first, a little recap of the 5 Days of Grains.

      Day 1: Quinoa. It's the new superfood, right? Plus, it tastes great.
      Day 2: Couscous. Whenever I'm in a rush, this is my go-to grain.
      Day 3: Scarlet Quinoa. A red version of the super healthy superfood? Yes!
      Day 4: Israeli Couscous and Scarlet Quinoa Salad. Cook and easy, sign me up!
      Day 5: Barley Salad. A new grain, one that I wasn't really sure how to cook, but nonetheless tasty! Agh, I keep spelling it barely, not barley. Oops o.O

      Now onto a sweeter note....these Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies. They're vegan and made with coconut oil! First off I want to say Coconut Oil smells AMAZING. No coconut body lotion could ever smell as good. It's not that fake coconut fragrance, but the true authentic coconut oil smell. I don't think I can do the smell justice, but trust me on this, it smells out of this world! Also, it makes a pretty darn good cookie. My dad said they taste more like oatcakes than cookies, but that's okay because he said they're still extremely tasty. I may have baked the cookies a little too long (hence their oatcake-like-texture) but they were really tasty. Even after baking they smelled and tasted faintly of coconut.

      If I ever make a coconut or haupia cake (which I hope I will soon) I plan to use this coconut oil. Yup, I bet it will bump up the coconut flavor even more YUM! :) I also used the coconut oil to make some spelt pancakes. But sadly I didn't take any pictures. Darn, I should've taken some because they were pretty tasty. And by that I mean I inhaled those delicious hotcakes! I'll probably make another batch this weekend, so hopefully I'll take some pictures.

      Oatmeal Raisin
      ⅓ cup soy milk
      2 Tbs ground flax seed
      ⅔ cup brown sugar
      ⅓ cup coconut oil
      1 tsp vanilla
      ¾ cup flour
      ½ tsp cinnamon
      ⅛ tsp nutmeg
      ¼ tsp baking soda
      ¼ tsp salt
      1 ½ cups quick cook oats
      ½ cup dried cranberries
       1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

      1. Preheat oven 350˚F
      2. Beat together soy milk and flax. Add sugar and oil. Beat until resembles caramel
      3. Mix in vanilla
      4. Sift in flour, spices, and salt. Mix in oats, cranberries, and almonds
      5. Drop tablespoons onto a cookie sheet, flatten slightly
      6. Bake for 10 minutes or until very lightly golden. (For firmer cookies / oatcake-like-texture, bake slightly longer until golden brown)

       Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.