11 December 2014

Macarons au chocolat et à la crème de Marrons {chocolate macarons + chestnut cream}

Oh look at me being all fancehhh. Who am I kidding? I learned French for 7 years and I still can't speak a lick of it, so I guess that makes me kind of useless :(. Although, I can say "I would like some fries" so I will be able to navigate at least in McDonald's in Paris ("ze fries, plz").  But!! I do make mean macarons and this super freaking deliciously creamy chestnut puree.  If this doesn't scream christmas, I don't know what does.

Bahhh, I can't wait for winter break already. My body is currently in lecture, but my mind has checked out a long time ago. Probably since thanksgiving, which is no bueno because I have 3 exams and a paper to look forward to until the sweet escape of Christmas and.. GIFTS!! The only thing that is worth getting this year is this Individual ice cream maker. It is almost like having ice cream on demand. Unless you can train your bf to do this, although this never happens, but I'm working on it (and he's not going to be happy reading this hahahaha).

Chocolate Macarons with Chestnut Cream

Chocolate Macarons
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg whites (aged 2 days in room temperature)
5 tbsp granulated sugar
pinch of cream of tartar

Chestnut Cream
1 cup heavy cream
200g roasted chestnut (I buy these in Asian supermarkets, roasted, shelled and ready to eat)
1.5 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp cornstarch (if necessary)

Chestnut filling
  1. In a small pot, add all the ingredients except cornstarch and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, while stirring it from time to time to prevent burning. The cream will become quite thick and a layer will form on the top, but you can just stir that back in.
  2. Using an immersion blender, blend the paste until smooth, keep heating and stirring vigorously now until you reach desired consistency. It should be very thick, almost like the consistency of mashed potatoes (but not quite there). If not, add cornstarch.
  3. Let it cool and then transfer into a pastry bag and refrigerate. It will become more thick as it cools too. You will only need about 1/2 of the cream but this is SO delicious on toast

Detailed macaron making here
Chocolate Macaron Shells
  1. Prepare at least 2 baking trays lined with parchment paper or silicone and a pastry bag with a 1/2" tip 
  2. Pulse almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor until mixed and airy. Set aside.
  3. Whip egg whites on low speed until frothy looking and gradually add the granulated sugar on medium until soft peaks form. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and continue to whip on high speed just until the peaks are stiff and does not deflate/wilt under gravity when you hold it upright
  4. Add half of the dry mix and gently fold into the egg whites with a spatula. Once half incorporated, dump the rest of the dry ingredients and fold. Start to squish the batter on the sides of the bowl to squeeze out the air. You can be very rough with the batter now. Mix for about 50 turns or until a drizzle from your spatula disappears into the batter 
  5. Transfer batter into pastry bag and pipe out circles to your desired size. Rap the baking trays onto the counter to allow bubbles to pop from the batter. You can use a toothpick to pop the ones that didn't rise to the surface. Allow to dry for at least 1 hour or until the batter is dry to touch (timing depends on the weather)
  6. Preheat oven to 310F. Bake dried shell batter for 15-17 mins. I usually er to 16-17mins so that I don't get soggy shells. 
  7. Pipe filling onto cooled shells, sandwich and PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE in an airtight container. Literally, don't eat them on the first day. They don't taste as marvelous. These chocolate macarons especially taste so so so amazing when the chestnut cream has softened the macaron shells and imparted some flavor onto the shells.

27 November 2014

Green tea Crêpe Cake

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Woah. I'm doing back-to-back blog posting. I never do this, but I made this crepe cake for friends-giving and wanted to just shout it out on the blogosphere :P. It's just like the ones you find in Lady M bakery (NYC) but obviously 100x less refined and 100x less pretty :( . Have I ever mentioned that I used to work at a boba shop that also sold crepes and hookah. Pretty strange combo, but I guess it worked out so well that it expanded all over LA and in Hong Kong! I was their very first employee AND I came up with the crepe recipe. At least I know, if med school doesn't work out, I'll be a crepe maker :P

I also made a christmas tree stencil for the cake, but I forgot to take a picture of it ughh. This took a whole day and a half to make, but I plopped my computer right next to the stove and made crepes and watched "The Mindy Project" for 2 hours. Yea... I now have carpel tunnel from twirling my frying pan and batter all over my keyboard. I really need to invest in a keyboard cover because when I type I hear a lot of crunching... too much snacking while studying (oops)

Green tea Crêpe Cake

makes one 8" cake

1.5 cups flour
1.5 cups milk
1 cup water
4 eggs
6 tbsp butter, melted
5 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp matcha powder
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Pastry Creme Filling
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1.5 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp matcha

  1. Filling: In a medium pot, add yolks, flour, sugar, milk and vanilla. Whisk together and heat over medium fire. Keep whisking until it is pretty thick...probably about 5 mins. Take off heat and let it cool. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Whip in the sugar and matcha powder until medium-stiff peaks.  Fold into the cooled down custard and keep in the fridge until ready to assemble.
  2. Crepes: In a blender, add all the ingredients. Pulse for 15-20 seconds. Refrigerate it for at least an hour to overnight. This helps to get rid of the bubbles so that it is less likely to tear while making them
  3. In an flat 8" non-stick frying pan, heat on medium and melt about 1/2 tbsp of butter. Work with less than 1/3 cup (between 1/4-1/3 cup) of the batter and pour into your frying pan. Immediate tilt the batter to cover the bottom of the pan
  4. Wait until the bottom is slightly brown (about 2-3mins), flip with your hands. I found this a lot easier than trying to use a spatula. Heat the other side for 1 min
  5. Lay over wax paper and continue with the rest of the batter. I didn't stack them up because they can steam and make the other crepes soggy. I spread them out and would stack them when they cooled down.
  6. Assembly: In a 9 or 10" freeform cake pan, wrap the bottom tin with plastic wrap. Lay a crepe on the bottom (your largest and prettiest one). Spread thin layer of filling and stack with another crepe. I added way too much creme and it kind of oozed everywhere. Make it as high as you like (but keep some filling left over to spread the top)! I think I stacked 20 crepes.
  7. Lay your last one over and let it set in the fridge with plastic wrap on top overnight. This will stiffen the cake up some so the layers don't slide everywhere. The cake is best left to develop the green tea flavor and soften the crepes for 1-2 days!
  8. Get a pretty plate and invert the cake onto the plate. Cover the top with the leftover creme and dust with matcha or powdered sugar

26 November 2014

Apple Pie Biscuits

I can't believe it's been a month since I last blogged. :O I've been too caught up at school. We're studying Neurology and literally my brain hates learning about the brain. Is that too meta? lol. This is going to be a quick post, because I'm on a cooking frenzy to get ready for Friendsgiving with all my stranded Californian buddies. I hope it turns out well so I can share the recipe with you guys! Fingers crossed!

For now, I leave you with a recipe you could make with your eyes closed! Apple Pie Biscuits! And yes, the picture below is my bf still in his scrubs from a long shift at the hospital (don't worry, they're clean). Even if he's dead tired, I still need a prop holder/hand model haha. He thinks I need to give him more credit on the blog. *eyes trying so hard not to roll* :P

Apple Pie Biscuits

adapted from Joythebaker
makes 12 biscuits

Apple Filling
1-2 fuji apples, cored and sliced v thin
2 tbsp unsalted buter, cubed + cold
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp packed brown sugar

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, in small cubes
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp white sugar
3/4-1 cup cold butter milk

1 large egg beaten
2 tbsp raw sugar (demerara sugar)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 425F for 10 mins (rotate 1/2 way)
  2. Filling: In a small pot, melt the butter and stir in cinnamon and sugar. Add the apples and cook until the apples become a little limp and the sauce has thickened. Set aside to cool
  3. In a food processor (or by hand), stir all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, white sugar). Pulse the butter in until the dough resembles small peas. Add buttermilk gradually until moistened and holds together (start with 2/3 cup and add more if necessary)
  4. Roll gently and pat dough into a rectangle 8x10", a little less than 1/2 inch thick. Arrange the cooled apples into a 1-2 layer over half of the rolled dough. Fold the bare half of the dough over the apples and press the edges to seal and pat in the edges.
  5. Use a sharp knife and slice the dough into 9-12 squares. Carefully transfer biscuits to a lined baking tray using a flat spatula
  6. In a small bowl, whisk topping (sugar, cinnamon, salt). Brush tops of biscuit with a beaten egg and sprinkle the topping generously over them
  7. Bake for 12-14 mins until the biscuits are risen and golden brown

31 October 2014

Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake

Happy Halloween! Today, I feel like I have to rant (when do I not?). I came to school dressed like Wednesday Addams (yea I still dress up >.<), with stripy socks, collared shirt buttoned to my neck and braided pigtails. I thought I was dead on with the costume, but I have had 2 people in my class think I was Britney Spears. Yes, the Britney Spears in her school girl outfit. I mean... my dress up is SUPER conservative. I'm choking in my buttoned collar and have absolutely no skin exposed! Other than that, I've been told I look like a Japanese schoolgirl. Ungh...

On a brighter note, this pumpkin cheesecake was such a hit! It has a subtle spicy-ness and warmth with a definite pumpkin note. This is a cheesecake I need to make again! 

Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake

adapted from allrecipes.com (makes a 5" cake)
*double ingredients for 9" except use 3 eggs not 4

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1.5 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
2 tbsp butter, melted

12 oz cream cheese, softened (1 1/2 packages of 8oz)
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk (7oz)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (drained*)
2 medium eggs
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice + 1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. layer 2 kitchen towels in a bowl and put 1 cup of pumpkin puree and let it drain for 10 mins. Cover it with another 2 kitchen towels again. The puree won't stick at all but this gets rid of all the excess water. You should end up with 3/4 cup of a ball of pumpkin that you can pick up
  3. To make the crust, mix the crumbs, sugar, ginger together. Drizzle in the butter and mix. Pat the crust mix into a 5" spring form pan. Bake for 8-10 mins and let cool
  4. For the cheesecake, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in the condensed milk. While beating, add the pumpkin puree, eggs, syrup, vanilla and salt and spices.
  5. Gently mix the flour in (try not to over mix). Bake at 325F for 50 mins.
  6. DO NOT take it out of the oven. Just switch the oven off and let it sit there for 3 hours. This prevents the surface from cracking and no meddling with water baths!
  7. Chill for at least 2 hours and best overnight for a perfect cheesecake texture. Enjoy!

26 October 2014

No-Churn Rocky Road Ice Cream (over waffles!)

I'm finally done with the kidneys!! Gosh, they are just 2 small little beans, but they are so complex. Ugh, worst organ ever to study for. Up next is the brain... I still have no idea what I want to do yet after med school. All I have been doing is eliminating fields I could never see myself in. Like pediatrics (I just don't mesh with kids), dermatology (don't ever let me touch that oozing lesion on your skin) or cardiology... can barely hear my own heart beat with my stethoscope ;). Learning each organ and body part makes me dislike them even more. Can't wait until I never have to study again... oh wait, studying is mah lyfe foreverrrr :(((((

Anyway, making no-churn ice cream has been on my bucket list for ages! I can't believe how easy and delicious you can make ice cream without an ice cream maker. I had about 10 different ice cream machine models saved on my Amazon account, because I was thinking of buying one and making ice cream all day everyday. But, now I can save even more $$$ and make delicious ice cream all day everyday!! I have so many ideas and ice cream things to do and I'm so excited I'm going to burst :D (sorry, a little hyper because I had ice cream for dinner :P)

No-Churn Rocky Road Ice Cream

inspired by Nigella.com
makes 2-3 pints

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp vanilla extract (good quality)
heaping 1/4 cup marshmallow
heaping 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
heaping 1/4 cup walnuts (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
more marshmallow, chocolate chips, nuts to top

** Waffle recipe below
  1. Whisk whipping cream, condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla together at low speed first to prevent splashing. Gradually increase speed to medium high.
  2. Whisk until soft peaks form, about 5 mins and it should have a light brown airy mixture
  3. Fold in toppings (marshmallow, choc chips, nuts) gently and fill 3x1-pint airtight containers
  4. Freeze at least 6 hours or overnight

Buttermilk Waffles

makes 6-8 square waffles (serves 2-4)
double for a crowd!

1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 tbsp melted butter
1 cup buttermilk (or more)
  • Preheat your waffle machine. Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder & soda), salt. Mix wet (egg, vanilla, butter, buttermilk). Stir together. Add more buttermilk if the consistency is not runny enough.
  • Place in your waffle machine according to instructions. Or about 2 mins.

14 October 2014

Kimchi Fried Rice Waffles

This is a quick post before I get back to studying! We are currently learning about how the kidney functions and these organs cannot get anymore interesting...uh naahhtt. The only thing I've learned so far is that I have a drinking problem. As in I drink too much water (please... what else would I drink?). And if you see blood in your pee, it's time you paid a visit to your doctor!

Yay, I'm finally posting about something other than sweets and desserts today! I just have a wicked sweet tooth and probably a lot of cavities :(. I can happily eat ice-cream for dinner, I dream of eating donuts while I'm eating my salad and you'll probably find a muffin stuffed in my bra on any given day.

Soo anyway, I decided to waffle my rice one day, because I think I saw it on my instagram or something. But, waffling makes the rice super crispy on the outside, like that burnt rice you find on the bottom of a hot stone pot (called noo-roong-ji 누룽지). Yum, it's so chewy and fragrant! I just got a waffle maker so I'm excited to use it. Although, my mum is probably going to kill me for buying another kitchen appliance... eek!

Waffle Kimchi Fried rice

makes 2 large waffles

1 cup kimchi chopped into bits (use cabbage kimchi centers and not the leaves)
1/4 cup kimchi juice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
1/2 jalapeño, chopped finely
1-2 tbsp gochujang/Korean chili paste (according to taste)
3 tsp sesame oil
2-3 cups day-old rice, cold
sesame seed, dried nori, green onion (optional)
fried egg

  1. Fry garlic until fragrant, add onions and jalapeño and let it sweat a little (~2 mins)
  2. Add kimchi and saute until softened (2-3 mins). Add gochujang and mix until homogenous
  3. Add cold rice and break it up thoroughly. Drizzle in kimchi juice
  4. Saute and toss frequently for 5 mins. Adding sesame oil and a handful of chopped green onion at the last minute (you want your rice to be a little more dry than usual - for waffling)
  5. Let it cool or stick it in the fridge for a while (skipping this step is fine but waffles are more to fall apart)
  6. Preheat waffle machine. I don't have fancy one so it is all 1 heat setting. Stuff the machine with more kimchi fried rice waffle "batter" than usual. You will squish it all down and the outside will crisp up. I kept it in my waffle maker for 3-4 minutes.
  7. Enjoy with a fried egg on top! 

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