Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Granola Cookies

Have you ever made/bought too much granola and had no idea how you were ever going to finish? Or you just got sick of it? I know, absurd question. Who could ever get sick of granola? It's my favorite food, well after ikura, and raspberry macarons, and fresh kula strawberries, and..okay, I guess I should stop before this post is entirely composed of my favorite foods. Well anyways, I had a bunch of granola, and after my fifth bowl (yes, I ate five huge bowls of granola. my jaw is now sore..) I decided I needed some other way to eat my granola. What better way to eat something that in cookie form?!

These cookies were delicious. Hearty and healthy from the granola, and chewy from all of the oats, or at least I think. The granola didn't have any dried fruit in it, so I decided to throw in some dried cranberries to give the cookies a little color. Enjoy!



Granola Cranberry Cookies
from Culinary Adventures of a New Wife
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup granola, slightly crushed
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and both sugars until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk together cooled butter (room temp), egg and vanilla extract. Pour into flour mixture and stir well to combine.
3. Stir in granola and chocolate chips until all are well-distributed in the dough.  Place rounded tablespoons on a cookie sheet
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies just begin to take on a light golden brown color.
Cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Coffee Cake with Meringue and Cinnamon Chocolate Pecan Filling


 The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. Doesn't it look beautiful?

Actually, I can't take credit for making this bread all by myself. My cousin from D.C. visited for spring break, and as a sweet treat for breakfast, we made this coffee cake. Erica, my cousin, is not only an amazing ballet dancer, but also loves to bake. And guess what?! She has her own blog too. While she was here we baked many sweet treats besides this yeast cake, including daifuku mochi, dorayaki, a neopolitan cake, and visited many of Oahu's best restaurants. Don't worry, I'll post the recipes and pictures :) Or if you can't wait for the daifuku recipe (mochi with anko) you can check out Erica's blog.
 Now on to the bread or is it a cake? Well anyways, it was amazing. Soft and fluffy sweet dough encasing a chocolate filling. The meringue seemed to melt in to the bread, but where the meringue had oozed out were slightly chewy, slightly crisp, and very yummy meringue bits. We made this bread early in the morning and enjoyed this as a brunch treat. It was the perfect baked item to start our day, and would be perfect for a brunch or afternoon snack.


Coffee Cake with Meringue and Cinnamon Chocolate Pecan Filling
Ingredients
Dough:
2 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/8 tsp (1/2 package) active dried yeast
3 fl oz. milk
2 fl oz. water
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large eggs, room temperature


For the meringue:
1 1/2 large egg whites at room temperature
pinch salt
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄4 cup sugar

For the filling:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup  semisweet chocolate chips

1 beaten egg

Directions:
For Dough:
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
2. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.
3. With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.
4. Add the egg and remaining flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
5. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
6. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes.

For Filling:
1. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, nuts, chocolate, and sugar

For the Meringue:
1. In a clean mixing bowl beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque.
2. Add the vanilla then start adding the 1⁄2 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.





To assemble:
1. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper
2. Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time, roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 1⁄2 cm) rectangle.
3. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. 4. Sprinkle filling evenly over the meringue
5. Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.
6. Using kitchen scissors, make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 1⁄2 cm) intervals.
7. Cover  with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
8. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
9. Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash.
10. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
11. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.


In just ten minutes we ate over half of the cake! We didn't even have time to remove it from the pan!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Moo!

 I never understood how some people can skip breakfast. Not eating for over 12 hours? Unbelievable! Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. But tied with dessert, of course. How can you not eat breakfast, especially if it involves homemade yogurt?

My dad has always been a breakfast person. He eats several bowls of cereal/granola/muesli/whatever-other-breakfast-item-you-can-pour-in-a-bowl-and-eat-with-milk a day. And, he makes some darn good yogurt. It's tangy, it's yummy, and it goes great with multigrain cheerios.

Now some photos on how to make yogurt! First, we need milk. We use organic low fat 1% milk from costco. My dad always uses a new carton of milk and opens it with a fork so that bacteria isn't transferred to the milk. (We want to limit the amount of outside bacteria in our yogurt)

This is the brand of yogurt we often use. Sometimes we use their baby version, as it comes in already pre-portioned 1/4 cup servings, but we can always eat the leftovers, right?

Below is the yogurt machine we use. We bought our from amazon, but if you don't want to go out and buy one, there are several recipes that do not call for a yogurt machine (which heats the mixture) and instead the containers are placed in a slightly warm oven for several hours. We have tried both methods, and decided the non-yogurt machine way is too variable in texture and taste.
Make sure you whisk well! Those are my dad's hands, btw.
After it's all been whisked nice and frothy...
Now it's all set to go in to the machine.


Plain Yogurt
Recipe from my dad
Ingredients:
about 1/4 cup water
32 oz. ultra pasteurized milk
1/2 cup milk powder
1/4 cup plain stonyfield yogurt

Directions:
1. Microwave water in yogurt container for 30 seconds to kill off any bacteria
2. Pour out water and fill container with milk
3. Microwave for 2 min 45 seconds
4. Remove from microwave and whisk in milk powder
5. Whisk in yogurt, making sure to completing blend together
6. Place container in yogurt maker and plug in for 10-11 hours.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An uber healthy, yet delicious, salad made with a fancy shmancy grain

I'm not much of a salad person. I've never found raw green veggies that appealing, and would much rather eat them cooked. At least that was until I found out salad doesn't have to only consist of raw green vegetables. Salad can contain grains, fruit, beans, pasta, almost anything you can imagine, and still be labeled a salad! Amazing, huh!? Now I guess I can say I like salads. Gasp, I never thought I'd ever write that.

My favorite, and super duper healthy, sald that contains spinach, mushroom, and red quinoa is this Spinach Mushroom and Scarlet Quinoa salad. Ha, this was such a hard decision, choosing from the many dish I had containing specifically those ingredients. :)

I love the flavor and texture of the red quinoa, and doesn't scarlet quinoa make is sound so fancy shmancy? Anyways, I find black and normal quinoa slightly too bitter for my taste, and instead use the scarlet quinoa. The mushrooms and spinach and some contrasting colors to the red, I mean, scarlet quinoa. 


Spinach Mushroom Scarlet Quinoa Salad
from Milk 'N Cookiezzz
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients:
1/2 cup red quinoa
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon mirin
2 large handful spinach, washed
3/4 cup mushrooms, about 6 or so, washed

Directions:
1. In a medium sauce pan combine chicken broth and mirin. Stir in quinoa and heat, simmering about 15 minutes, or until white rings are visible.
2. Stir in mushrooms and spinach, cook until tender and done
3. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Li hing mui powder....cookies?!

As I was rummaging through my pantry, I found a bag of li hing mui powder. Have you ever heard of li hing? If you don't life in Hawaii then I would most likely guess you haven't. Li hing mui is a salty dried plum, often eaten by itself, in its seed form, or as a powder, mixed with fruits or candy. Li hing is slightly sour, but also sweet and salty at the same time.

I wanted to see how the flavors would work in a cookie, so I used a snickerdoodle recipe but replaced the cinnamon with li hing mui powder and added some li hing to the batter. Too bad I didn't take a picture of the initial cookie dough. It was bright orange! After they had baked, the color turned a couple shades darker to a more pinkish orange color. Darn, these would've been perfect for Valentine's Day, especially if I cut then in to hearts!

I originally thought the flavor might be too strange, but surprisingly they weren't too bad. I found the cookies to have a very strong li hing taste, but others who tried it said it was more of a subtle hint of li hing. The sweetness of the cookie nicely balanced out the tart/sour-ness of the li hing. If you want a more bold flavor I would recommend adding another tablespoon or two to the initial batter.

Li Hing Cookies
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons li hing powder

1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons li hing powder

Directions:
1. In a bowl cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs
2. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and li hing. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture.
3. Place dough in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 hours, or until dough is firm and easy to roll into a ball.
4. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
5. In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons li hing.
6. Coat rounded tablespoons of dough in sugar mixture.
7. Place coated balls on a cookie sheet, and bake for 12 minutes

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One of my favorite chocolate chip cookies.

I've found the NY times chocolate chip cookie recipe to be a keeper. It always make chewy, thick cookies, that are chock full of chocolate chunks (or chips). The other time I posted the recipe (here), the cookies looked slightly different than those below. I may have baked them a tad too long. Oh, and the spread sheet of CCC recipes I was talking about. Well, let's just say it was getting a little too long. Plus, after a while the recipes all started to jumble up together in my head!
Anywho, I once again left out the sea salt on the cookies in the pictures. I've found a small, small, amount of salt actually does heighten the buttery chocolate-y goodness. I think last time I may have sprinkled a tad too much. Oops!

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie - From here
Ingredients:

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds good quality chocolate
Sea salt.

Directions:
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside. (If making all at once set oven to 350˚F)
2. Cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them.
4. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. 
5. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough the size of generous golf balls onto baking sheet. (You can make them whatever size) Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.
6. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more.
7. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Heaven in a bar

Yum. That's all I have to say. There are no other words to describe these moist, chewy, and soft peanut butter blondies with white chocolate chips. Surprisingly, these bars aren't too sweet like I initially predicted. Considering there's a pound of brown sugar (yes, you read correctly, one entire pound of brown sugar), I was pleasantly surprised.

I found the recipe on Bakerella's blog, and I was fascinated by the name, Congo bars. Why Congo? Are these from Congo? Don't you find it quite interesting? Okay, maybe I'm more interested in the dessert itself, but still, history's fun....right?
Side note: Be careful not to overbake!
Look at the chewy, fudgy, soft peanut butter blondie studded with white chocolate chips.
White Chocolate Peanut Butter Blondies
Adapted from Bakerella
Ingredients:
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
11.5 ounce package white chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used smooth and creamy)

Directions:
1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
2. Stir brown sugar into softened (not melted) butter in another large bowl until butter disappears.
3. Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture and stir well after each egg. Stir in peanut butter.
4. Add vanilla and chocolate chips. Mix well.
5. Add dry flour mixture and stir until well combined.
6. Coat a 13 x9 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Random Pictures



Maui 2010

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thin and Crispy CCC

My brother loves Tate's chocolate chip cookies. He's not much of a sweets person (he'd much rather be eating a 14 oz. filet mignon and garlic mashed potatoes) but he happily eats these cookies sandwiched around a large hunk of vanilla ice cream. You might think Tate's cookies aren't the best for ice cream sandwiches, being extremely thin and all, but surprisingly my brother likes the contrasting textures of the slightly crispy edges and soft and chewy center. His tip for making ice cream sandwiches is to place the ice cream in the cookie right before serving because it keeps the cookies from getting soggy.





The Tate’s Bake Shop Clone Chocolate Chip Cookie
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup sugar 
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 
1 teaspoon water 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 large eggs
2 cups good quality chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In a small bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt
3. Cream the butter and both sugars. Beat in the water, vanilla and eggs.
4. Add the flour mixture gradually and stir until almost combined, then add the chocolate chips and stir until all flour is incorporated.
5. Scoop up tablespoons of dough and arrange 2-3 inches apart on cookie sheets. (They spread!)
6. Bake or 12-14 minutes or until cookies are browned and look done.Let rest on cookie sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
7. Enjoy!

To those in Japan...

This post is for everyone who has been affected by the tsunami.
For those who are safe, please stay safe. For those who are still waiting to be rescued, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
気をつけて下さい。

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finally. I've finally made macarons!

Finally! I've finally made macarons that turn out how they're supposed to turn out! Hooray! After countless attempts, some I'm too embarrassed to post, I've made strawberry macarons with chocolate ganache. Decadent? Yes. Delicious? Yes. Perfect? Sadly, no. They didn't have the same texture as the ones from Japan, but they were tasty, and my closest attempt to making macarons.
After baking many batches and reading about different techniques, I've discovered a couple tips. When I first started making macarons, I had trouble removing the baked shells. Tartelette had a useful tip of using steam to remove the shells. Just put a little water on the still warm cookie sheet, slide the parchment paper over the water, and peel away!
Oh, and another tip. I've read on other sites and recipes that you should a silpat instead of parchment paper to remove the shells, but I've actually found when I used parchment paper it was easier to remove the shells. When I used silpat, the macarons initially rose, but fell flat and spread out quite thin.
Vanilla Bean Macarons -From Cannelle et Vanille
180 grams almond flour
240 grams powdered sugar
140 grams organic egg whites, aged
3 grams egg white powder
2 grams fine sea salt
80 grams sugar

10 grams freeze dried strawberry powder  (can be made by pulsing freeze dried strawberries)

(Make sure that the egg whites have been separated from the egg yolks the night before. This bit of aging really makes a difference in the macarons)
1. In a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar and sea salt. Set aside.
2. Whip the egg whites with the egg white powder until very fluffy, almost fully whipped. Start adding the sugar and strawberry powder slowly while whipping. Whip to stiff peaks but not too much or the meringue will dry out. We want semi soft "ripples" still in the meringue.
3. Add the meringue to the almond flour mixture and fold with a spatula until a shiny mass forms. We want to achieve a batter that makes ribbons. You might have to test it to see if it's done. Pipe a small amount on your sheetpan. If it keeps a little bit of a top when piped, then you have to mix it a bit further, if it spreads really fast, you have gone too far and your macarons will turn out flat.
4. When you have the right consistency, place the mass in a pastry bag with a number 5 tip and pipe small rounds onto sheetpans lined with parchment or silpat. Let them dry at room temperature for at least 45 minutes to an hour.
5. Have the oven preheated to 350 degrees. Place one sheetpan in the oven at a time and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes and rotate sheetpan and bake for another 10 minutes. Test to see if they are done by picking one up and seing if it still sticks to the paper or not.

6. Let them cool and then fill them with chocolate ganache
 
Tips: 
-Use parchment paper instead of silpat 
-If you are having trouble removing the macaron shells, spread a little water under the paper on the warm baking sheet. The steam should help make removing the shells easier (via tartelette)

Bittersweet ganache
from Tartelette

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate


In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the stove and add the chocolate to it. Let stand 2 minutes and then stir until fully combined. Let cool until firm enough to put in a small piping bag.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fig Bread

Whenever I'm not busy on a Saturday morning, my mom and I bike/drive to the KCC farmers market. Actually, we usually drive there. We buy too much stuff to bike! But anyways, we usually buy a loaf of bread from Ba-le bakery. My dad loves figs, and so our usual choice of bread was their fig and walnut, at least until recently. I think they've changed their recipe or something because, well, let's just say it's more of a walnut bread than a fig walnut bread.

Disappointed by the last loaf we tried, I set out to make my own, and this time the bread would be chock full of figs. So I made the bread, and let's just say my mom and I will be buying a different loaf. The fig bread wasn't bad, it was just too much work. Okay, maybe not a lot of work. I accidentally left a pan of water in the oven, and so there was an extra extra crunchy (almost too hard) crust on the bread.

The bread itself was a little too spongy, and wasn't the dense whole grain loaf I wanted. I'll probably tackle a fig bread recipe soon, but until then I think I will be at the farmers market on saturdays!
Fig Bread
Adapted from Pastry Pal
Ingredients:
4 cups (454 g) all purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling
1 cup wheat flour
2 1/2 (12 g) teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon (4 g) granulated yeast
2 1/3 cup cool tap water (about 70 degrees F, a comfortable room temperature)
1 cup dried figs, chopped

1. Combine flours, yeast, and salt
2. Add water and knead until forms a stick ball, continue kneading. Knead in figs pieces
3. Allow dough to rest for 12-14 hours
4. Punch dough down and place in on a parchment lined baking sheet
5. Allow to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours
6. Preheat oven and baking stone to 425˚F
7. Spritz water in to oven or leave a small baking dish filled with water inside the oven while preheating
8. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 400˚F and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Macarons...attempt number: well, I've lost count by now

Why do macarons have to be so fussy? Why can't they just be simple, like a chocolate chip cookie? Why, oh why? Sorry about my little rant about macarons, I've just been having a little trouble lately with those finicky treats. But I'm much closer than before. So that's a good sign, right?
The first tray looked okayish. The feet were a little too far out, but they looked similar.

Uh oh. Trouble. What happened? They look flatter than pancakes?!
And what's with the feet going up?!
But the first tray looked all right, so I used those and well, chucked the rest...


Plain Macarons - From here
Ingredients:
200 grams confectioners’ sugar
110 grams almonds flour
90 grams egg whites (aged at room temperature for 1 day or 3-5 days in the fridge)
25 grams granulated sugar
Jam, jelly, caramel, etc. of choice for filling 

Directions:
1. Sift together confectioners’ sugar and almond flour, set aside.  
2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  
3. 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!).  
4.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.
5. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Pipe small rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½ inches in diameter.  Let the piped rounds sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to harden their shells.
6. Preheat the oven to 280˚ F.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool 15-20 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.  Let cool completely before filling or storing.
7. Fill with choice of filling.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Muddy Buddies

What's brown and crunchy, and white all over? Why Muddy Buddies, of course. Each crunchy chex cereal is enveloped by a layer of decadent chocolate peanut butter and then tossed in powdered sugar for the finishing coat. Perfect as snacks, lunch boxes sides, bakesales, and if you're really daring, maybe even breakfast. It's cereal, right?  Plus, you know you can't wait to start your day with a bowl of chocolate-y powdered sugary goodness.

The great part about Muddy Buddies, aka puppy chow, is that it comes together in a few minutes, can be made in the microwave, and creates large batches at a time. Enjoy!

Muddy Buddies
from the back of the chex cereal box
Ingredients:
9 cups Chex Cereal (I used rice chex)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Measure cereal and put in a large bowl
2. In a separate microwaveable bowl microwave chocolate, peanut butter, and butter for 1 1/2 minutes or until smooth stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla
3. Pour over cereal and mix to evenly coat. Pour cereal in to a gallon size ziploc bag
4. Pour powdered sugar in to the ziploc bag and shake until evenly coated
5. Evenly spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper until cool. Store in an airtight container.




















Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kasutera

I love every type of sweets, but I've always had a sweet spot for Japanese sweets, aka, wagashi. Kasutera is made with honey, and is similar to a sponge cake. Immediately after being taken out of the oven, a plate is placed over the pan to lock in the moisture. The cake is then wrapped in plastic wrap to further trap moisture and prevent the cake from drying out. Being me, I couldn't help myself and I had to try it even before the cake had a chance to cool. A thick slice with some berries and whipped cream was the perfect okashi or snack.

I was a little hesitant to make kasutera at first, just because I wasn't sure if I would be able to obtain the light and fluffiness I was so used to when eating it. The eggs are whipped until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes in a stand mixer, to obtain the fluffy texture. Yes, I know it sounds like a long time to be whipping something, but these are whole eggs I'm talking about, whole eggs. Not just egg whites, yolk too!



Kasutera カステラ
from SugarBar
Ingredients
    2 eggs, at room temperature 
    80g caster sugar 
    15g raw honey 
    10ml water 
    60g cake flour 
    15g coarse brown sugar
1. Line the bottom and sides of a small loaf tin with baking parchment. Sprinkle coarse brown sugar in an even layer on the bottom of the tin on top of the parchment paper. Preheat oven to 160d Celsius.

2. Lightly mix the honey and water together in a small bowl to form a thick syrup. Set aside.
In a bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat on high until the mixture pales and thickens. The mixture should be ready when the electric whisk leaves a slow dripping, thick trail when lifted, taking a while to disappear into the rest of the batter. (after reading more recipes for kasutera, the general feedback was to whisk for a long time until soft peaks are formed, around 15mins; I think I whisked mine for about 5-7 mins. Will give this method a try next time round for a fluffier cake.)

3.Mix in the honey syrup. Then sift in the cake flour (you may want to double sift this cake flour before adding to the batter) and lightly beat this in. Set aside the electric mixer, using a rubber spatula, use the folding method to gently mix until incorporated. Ensure no pockets of flour are left.
Pour the batter from a high point into the prepared loaf tin. Use the rubber spatula to slice the batter in the middle from top of the tin to the bottom in a straight line. Then, using both hands, pick up the tin and lightly tap the bottom on the table to release excess air bubbles.
Place loaf tin on a flat cookie tray and bake in the oven for 30mins, or until cake tester when inserted comes out clean.

4.Once baked, remove from oven and place loaf tin on a wire rack. Top the cake surface with a piece of baking parchment and place a long flat dish over it to keep the cake surface flat for 5 mins. Thereafter, remove the dish and parchment paper and let cool in the tin for a little while (another 5mins thereabouts) until cool enough to handle with your hands but still warm. Tip the cake out from the tin, baking parchment and all. Place the cake into a plastic ziplock or using clingfilm, wrap it up. This is apparently to seal the moisture within the cake. Letting it cool completely standing on its own will dry out the cake a little.