Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy New Years!

A new year is coming around the corner so you know what that means, right? It's time to set goals for the upcoming year! Here is a list of things that I want to make either just for the sake of making or because I love to eat. I have 365 days to complete this list, not bad. That's what I say now but I actually made this list 5 months ago and I only able to cross two things off my list. There was 20 but now I am 18 so hopefully I can actually stick to my list. I will keep you updated as well as providing a detailed experience of my successful or unsuccessful pursuit!

In case you wanted to know the two items I crossed off my list, they were no bake cookies and homemade somoas (Girl Scout cookies), and baked donuts.

2010 To-Bake List

1. sponge cake
2. crusty bread
3. Danish pastry
4. homemade oreo cookies
5. seven layer bars
6. Dutch crunch bread
7. cinnamon rolls
8. millionaire's shortbread
9. pita bread
10. chocolate brownie pudding cakes
11. English muffins
12. cinnamon raisin swirl bread
13. black and white cookies
14. New York cheesecake
15. molten chocolate cake
16. flourless chocolate cake
17. coconut cake

Chocolate Chip Mini Cupcakes (Black Bottom Cupcakes)

I know the name may sound fancy but these cupcakes are known as black bottom cupcakes. The reason why I didn't title this recipe as "black bottom cupcakes" is because I have spent my life calling them chocolate chip mini cupcakes. It wasn't until I bought this cookbook two years ago, I came across the black bottom cupcake to discover it was very similar to my cream cheese cupcake with chocolate chip recipe.

These cupcakes are a favorite in my house! My mom use to make these when I was little and I would eat 4-5 at a time and sneak a few when no one was looking. The cream cheese is really what makes the cupcake. It is cream cheese but sweet like a cheesecake with extra bursts of sweetness from the mini chocolate chips. If you don't have mini chocolate chips, I highly suggest chopping chocolate or regular chocolate chips into smaller pieces. It is simply not the same. Also, you have to use mini muffin containers because the size it just the perfect mouthful. I tried using the regular cupcakes and it was too much!

One thing to keep in mind while making the cupcakes is you want to bake the cupcake batter as quickly as possible once you combine the wet and dry ingredients because the baking soda and vinegar react together to make the cupcakes fluffy and puffy. Yay, for simple science!

When I got interested in baking, this was one of the first things I learned to make and now I make it for my family. Somehow, I always manage to make them around the holidays. I guess it's a tradition now and hopefully you can start a new tradition in your household too! Cheers!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oats N Yogurt Chip Cookies

Here is another one of those chocolate chip cookie recipes but this one is a more unique name than just the plain ole chocolate chip cookie, right? Essentially, this cookie is a chocolate chipper but varies in one way, yogurt. I am a huge fan of yogurt, particularly plain yogurt, because I can dress it up any way that I want and it is something that I always have on hand. This is different from chocolate chip cookies recipe in the fact that the yogurt makes the cookies have a cake-like texture. It still tastes like a cookie but it has a different texture. I like this recipe because if you are in a chocolate chip cookie rut, this will get you out of it!

Most of the sweetness come from the chocolate chips which is good because it doesn't feel like I'm shoving sugar in my mouth. The incorporation of oatmeal and yogurt may make these cookies healthier than most cookies but I would not put them in my "healthy" cookie file. At least they make me feel healthy and sometimes it is alright to tell yourself a white lie...well, at least for homemade cookies! 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hershey Kiss Filled Snowballs

It's the end of the year which can only mean one thing, cookie exchanges! Yes, the holiday season is the time to gain the weight and eat tons of cookies. At least, that is how it is for me! I am currently living a residential hall and even though I have access to the necessary kitchen equipment, I opted for a simple but satisfying cookie. The cookie is basically a standard butter/Mexican wedding cookie but the twist? A Hershey kiss in the middle so when people bite into the cookie, they are welcomed with a special treat! Have fun and happy holidays!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookie

During my usually browsing of baking blogs, I found this carrot cake breakfast cookie recipe from Cookie Madness. Just by looking at the name of these cookies, most people would be intrigued about what exactly this baking morsel is. Well, the name itself describes what the cookie is. It is a cookie with a cake-like texture, carrots, and the healthiness and heartiness of a complete breakfast.

I followed the recipe and added orange zest and although it gave the cookies an extra zip, I don't know if I will add it in the next cookies. It's not that it's bad, it was just slightly too much fragrance for my taste. I would suggest trying the cookies with the zest first before deciding to omit it. I think these cookies are pretty healthy and is a good option if you are health conscious. I think it uses a minimal amount of oil and sugar to make a delicious cookie!

Monday, July 27, 2009


What is usually the first thing that you think of when you hear homemade bread? I would assume that most people would get an uneasy feeling of fear, anxiety, or intimidation. Although I haven't made loaves and loaves of bread, the same feeling came over me as well. Bread is different from other baked goods because there are so many factors to take into account that could affect the final product. I think the hardest part about making bread is dealing with the yeast by making sure it is mixed with the right temperature liquid and is stored in the right temperature to proof. Another reason why people stray away from making their own bread is because of the amount of time it takes. From my experiences, I've had productive days while making a loaf of bread. I have gotten things done around the house and even run short errands.

Making bread is definitely doable, especially after a few trials. I decided to make a challah bread today. It is one of my favorite breads to eat because of its eggy taste which is funny because I do not like eggs! I have made this before but it did not use any butter and had a limited amount of oil. This recipe does include butter

Friday, July 24, 2009

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Although these cookies look like ordinary chocolate chip cookies, these cookies have little bit of a different take on the standard chocolate chipper. The difference is malted milk powder. It may sound different but it gives the chocolate a fuller chocolate flavor in my opinion. It twists your ordinary chocolate chip cookie to extraordinary. Although you taste the malted milk powder, it does not overpower the cookie. The malt also gives the cookies a nice brown color with a hint of pink. If you are a malted milk drinker or malt ball eater, this cookie is definitely for you! Even if you don't, you might be converted after these cookies!

Sugar Cookies

Ah, the famous sugar cookie! I feel that sometimes its simple appearance gives the sugar cookie a bad name but I believe it can be as complex or satisfying as any other cookie out there. What constitutes the perfect sugar cookie? chewiness? cake-like? cookie cutter shaped? crispiness and thinness? In my opinion, there is no perfect sugar cookies. Just like my chocolate cookie repertoire, my sugar cookie repertoire is no different. I have a sugar cookie recipe for every type of sugar cookie. Of course we all have a type of sugar cookie that we are partial to, but instead of calling it the perfect sugar cookie, I like to call it my "ideal" sugar cookie: thin, light, crispy, and a lightly brown around the edges.

Believe it or not, I have only eaten my ideal sugar cookie once. It was from a family friend that made them when I went to her house. These cookies were one of the most addicting cookies I had ever eaten. The cookies were thin, light, crispy, and a little brown around the edges - my "ideal" sugar cookie. On top of that, they were all cookie cutter shaped like a bunny. They were perfect! I remember on the way home, I was telling my mom how infatuated I was to those cookies that she told me I should learn how to make them. She told me that they key would be to use cake flour to get the cookies that light. I went home and started experimenting but never achieved my ideal sugar cookie. I began trying numerous recipes and altering different proportions but it seemed that my favorite sugar cookies were never to be seen or eaten again.

Now I know what you are probably thinking, why didn't I just ask for the recipe. To be completely honest, I was too shy. Also, I figured it wouldn't be that hard and I could figure it out on my own...boy was I wrong! Anyways, recently I went on a day trip up north with a bunch of my friends and I wanted to bake cookies. I figured sugar cookies is a neutral cookie that most people enjoy. I didn't want to use any of the recipes I had so I went to Cookie Madness' blog. I had been looking at the blog for the past several days and was anxious to try a recipe from it. As I was scrolling through the different sugar cookie recipes, one of them struck me. It used powdered sugar in addition to regular sugar as well as oil in addition to butter. I thought it was interesting and from my what I gathered, it seemed like it would make a lighter sugar cookie. The results?

A light, crispy, and brown around the edges sugar cookie! These were drop cookies but had I used a rabbit shaped cookie cutter, they would have turned out insanely similar to my family friend's. I will give up bunny shaped cookies to get the taste and texture of my ideal sugar cookie! Another great thing about this recipe is that you can cook them a little less and the cookies can be soft and chewy. I love these cookies and will be making them all the time!

Just for kicks, the description of this cookie on Cookie Madness is, "Random last minute cookies I made for T&F Day." What? Random? Last minute? I have been searching for this recipe for almost seven years! There is nothing random and last minute about these cookies!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Swispy Sandwich

I don't know if there is such an invention like this out there but I could not find one. This creation came to me one day when I wanted to make my little brother an afternoon snack. This sandwich can also be eaten for breakfast or dessert. This sandwich is sweet and crispy, hence the name swispy sandwich.

How did I come up with the swispy sandwich? Well, I am a huge fan of peanut butter sandwiches. I am also a huge fan of fluffernutter sandwiches. Then one day, I discovered the deliciousness of Nutella and began eating Nutella sandwiches, Nutella and peanut butter sandwiches, and Nutella and marshmallow sandwiches. So I thought to myself, why not combine peanut butter, marshmallows, and Nutella together? Since I didn't have any marshmallow fluff on hand, I had to melt the marshmallows to make it yummy so I used my sandwich maker. Another reason I used the sandwich maker is because it toasts the bread and melts everything together. When the marshmallows melted, it fluffed up the sandwich nicely and made the sandwich divine. No fears if you do not have a sandwich maker because you just warm it up on a griddle or panini maker. The only difference is that it won't turn out fluffy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Buttermilk Pancakes

What is a better way to start off you day than eating a nice stack of buttermilk pancakes? I can't think of anything better than these light and fluffy concoctions. I like this recipe because it has great flavor and turns out to be everything you expect in a buttermilk pancake!


What's mochi you ask? It is a Chinese snack made popular in Japan. Aside from finding mochi at Asian supermarkets, I have seen mochi bites at frozen yogurt places as one of the toppings. You can always try it with your fro-yo before you try to make it at home. It is essentially sweet rice flour with sugar and water and although it may sound simple, it can be just as complex as a cake or cookie. Inside the ball of flour, you can find some sort of filling. These filling varies from jellies, ice cream, pastes such as red or mung bean, or the classic peanut and coconut filling. If you have a weakness for chewy textured foods like myself, than this is the perfect little sweet treat for you! The key to the chewiness? The sweet rice flour, aka glutinous rice flour. This ingredient is used to make a lot of Chinese snacks. Some people are turned off by the chewy texture of mochi but I believe with some getting use to, these things can be addicting.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

I can't believe I have not posted a cake blog yet granted I only have a handful of posts but it always seem like I am making cupcakes or muffins. Throughout my blog browsing, I have seen numerous recipes for coffee or crumb cakes but never got around to making one. So what enticed me to finally try one? Well, my sister just started working and wanted something that she could grab for breakfast and run out the door. She is a huge fan of blueberry muffins and instead of making her a plain ole boring muffin, I opted to for something a little different.

I was very impressed on how the crumb cake turned out. It reminded me of a yummy accompaniment to a morning cup of joe, tea, or hot chocolate that you could get at a coffee shop. The cake was surprisingly light and tasty and the crumble on top was divine with its delectable brown sugar taste. Needless to say, I added this cake to my recipe binder!

Super Healthy Brown Sugar Cookies

I've been making quite a few cookies lately but never remember to grab my camera and take snapshots of each stage of the baking process. Well, you're in luck today because I remembered! Anyways, I found this recipe yesterday and was anxious to try it out. They are called brown sugar crackles. They have a vibrant brown sugar and vanilla flavor, with my ideal cookie texture: crunchy outer layer with a soft and chewy center. Also, these cookies are healthy with the addition of whole-wheat flour and using part butter and part oil. Each cookie has only 77 calories! What more could you ask for in a cookie? You can eat one...two...or three of these without feeling the guilt! That's my kind of cookie!

Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Once again, who doesn't love Ina Garten? If you want to make something delicious and amazing, Ina's recipes is a great place to search. I saw these cookies on Barefoot Contessa and they look absolutely scrumptious. Sometimes I feel like making cookies can be monotonous but there was something about this cookie that helped me get out of my cookie rut. Similar to what I said in my Chocolate Cake post, it is important to use quality ingredients such as cocoa, vanilla, and white chocolate. These cookies had a rich chocolate flavor and chewy inside. What makes these cookies so delicious is the combination of the chocolate. The texture is exactly what a cookie should be, a crisp exterior and a gooey and chewy center. I'm ending this post so I can go and grab a cookie!

Chocolate Cake

I have never been a big fan of cake. I think this is because I have had a lot of mediocre cake in my life and not enough great cakes to say, "I love cake!" Also, I am not a big fan of frosting so whenever I eat cake, I am basing my opinion on the cake alone. Now I know, some of you are reading this and screaming duh to why I don't like cake because the frosting is usually what "makes" a cake good. Frosting aside, isn't a cake suppose to be moist, flavorful, and have a nice texture to it? Yes! This is what has been lacking my cake eating experience. I have also had cakes that had just the wrong cake to frosting ratio where there was so much frosting that I might as well have eaten frosting from a can. This is not to say that I am a frosting or cake hater - gosh no! Surely when I have came across a good cake, I would eat it...ALL!

Focusing on this post, I have come across a cake that is moist, flavorful, and great texture. How could the Barefoot Contessa ever get it wrong? I knew once I saw the episode where Ina made this chocolate cake, that it had to be good. I think there are two things that make this cake fantastic. First, good quality cocoa really makes a difference between an ordinary chocolate cake and a good chocolate cake. Second, the coffee brings out the richness of the cake and makes it taste like it is from a professional. As you can see, there is a thin layer of frosting on the cake. I chose to try a ganache and it complemented the cake very well but the cake is good enough to eat solo!


This is one of my favorite cookies ever. My mom always made these for the family growing up and because of that, I like to call this cookie one of the classics. These cookies are nice and buttery with the perfect amount of sweetness from the jam. They are so delicious but as much as I love them, they are a bit time consuming to produce. However, the labor is definitely worth it! These cookies got their names because you are suppose to make a thumb imprint into the dough and fill the indent with jam or preserve. My family is a fan of the jam so we make our imprints much bigger than what the name calls for. That's one of the greatest thing about baking, if there is something you don't like, you can always find a way to change it. Also, many recipes of this cookie use strawberry or grape jam. Although both of those are good choices, nothing beats apricot preserves.

Cinnamon Bun Shortcut - Cinnamon Bun Bread

I stumbled upon this recipe from the blog Baking Bites. I'm a huge fan of cinnamon buns but not so much when it comes to dealing with yeast. Making bread from scratch is most definitely rewarding but can be quite time consuming. This recipe attracted me because it requires less time than regular cinnamon buns despite the fact that it requires yeast. Even though this recipe can be made in less time than regular cinnamon buns, the taste and satisfaction is not compromised in any way. Granted, this recipe does not yield individual spirals of cinnamon buns but it is still satisfying nonetheless. The bread reminds me of a coffeecake and the topping is bit reminiscent of a pecan pie. Don't get me wrong, it still tastes like a cinnamon bun.

Chocolate(s) Chip Cookies

The famous chocolate chip cookie. There are millions of recipes and variations to the chocolate chip cookie so it's just a matter of finding the recipe that suits you and your taste. I actually have looked at tons and tons of chocolate chip cookie recipes and after all that searching, I cannot say that I have a favorite recipe. I have a few recipes that I would put at the top of the list that I make depending on what kind of chocolate chip cookie mood I'm in. I have recipes with oatmeal, whole wheat, a touch of cinnamon and some that turn out crispy, chewy, a stronger brown sugar flavor, basically whatever I'm in the mood for. What recipe am I sharing today? It's actually a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe but I tweaked it to the mood I was in that day. I changed the ratio of brown sugar and white sugar and incorporated white chocolate chips with semisweet chips. It turned out to be rich in flavor and the perfect crispy edges and chewy interior!

Garlic Knots

I'm sure we have all had garlic bread some point in our lives. The combination of garlic, butter and oil on a nice crunchy piece of bread are just divine. It's so divine that we want to make ourselves whenever we have a desire for it... well, that's how I feel at least. There are tons of ways and recipes to make garlic bread. I started making garlic bread with toasting some bread and slabbing on some oil or butter, topped with garlic salt or powder. Then I moved on to rubbing pieces of garlic on my toast to heating up garlic infused oil and brushing it on toasted bread. One thing these techniques have in common is that they're quick. However, with a little extra time on hands, try making these 100% homemade garlic knots. I had my first garlic knot about two years ago and was anxious to make my own. The bread dough is super easy because it is a basic pizza dough. Do not be intimidated to make the bread, even if the bread does not turn out perfectly, the garlic mixture will make up for it! The garlic topping is made over the stove and when the knots come out of the oven, toss the knots with the garlic/butter/oil mixture and the heat from the bread will cook the garlic mixture and makes it absolutely delicious!

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

Around the holidays last year, my friend and I were making cookies for a cookie exchange party. I opted to make a simple sugar cookie but my friend decided to make a more labor intensive cookie. Even though the cookies were time consuming to make, they were definitely the best cookies at the exchange in my opinion. From its appearance, you would assume it was your average chocolate cookie drizzled with some white chocolate but little you would that inside the cookie lied a secret...a gooey, sweet, caramel surprise! The chopped candied pecans (pecans rolled in sugar) makes these cookies extra special and gives the cookies a sweet and nutty flavor. So, from what you thought as just an average cookie actually turned out to be delicious and unique morsel of goodness. What a nice holiday surprise but I guarantee I will be making these cookies all year round!

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