Belgian Liege Waffles

Breakfast, Dessert, Snacks | January 5, 2017 | By

Belgian liege waffles are made with a raised yeast dough, and filled with pieces of Belgian pearl sugar. 

Belgian liege waffles

Regular waffles are good. However, my husband makes them too often, so I’m in this perpetual “sick of them” stage. Same with pancakes. Seriously, it’s Saturday morning and my husband says, “I think I’m going to make pancakes”, and I say, “Please noooo moooooore pancaaaaakes I’m so tired of themmmmm”. I’m so ungrateful, right?

Pancakes and waffles are so easy to whip up, so it’s his go-to special weekend breakfast. But we have a special special waffle that we make on very special occasions. It’s way better than a normal waffle. So much so, that you can’t really even compare the two.
Liege waffles

Liege. waffles. Made with a yeast dough, filled with Belgian pearl sugar that caramelizes and crisps up as you waffle iron it. Not to mention the butter that goes into it… yum. It’s seriously our favorite sweet breakfast, and that’s why we had it as our very first meal of 2017. Start the year off right!

These waffles aren’t the kind you can just whip together and have on the table in twenty minutes. These take a little love and patience. But good things are worth the wait. You gotta sit there for thirty minutes, letting the yeast rise. Otherwise, though, it’s quite straightforward to make.

Liege waffles

I’m gonna be honest, this recipe is adapted from the back of the box of Belgian pearl sugar. I won’t take any credit for creativity here… I just want to spread the love of liege waffles. Anyways, I increased the yeast a tad, by preference, and halved the recipe. If you make a full recipe you WILL eat it all and that’s very very dangerous. I think half a batch is a perfect amount for 3-4 people to share.

Also, PLEASE please please don’t try and make this without Belgian pearl sugar. It just can’t be made without it. It really can’t. It’s what makes the whole thing work. You can buy it on Amazon here: Lars’ Own Belgian Pearl Sugar 8 Ounces (Pack of 2) (affiliate link, at no extra cost to you).

Liege waffles

Feel free to top these with things like nutella, whipped cream, maple syrup, chocolate sauce, fruit compote, whateeeever you want! But can I be honest? My favorite way to eat them is plain, MAYBE with a little whipped cream.

Belgian liege waffles
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Belgian Liege Waffles

Belgian liege waffles are made with a raised yeast dough, and filled with pieces of Belgian pearl sugar.

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 7 waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 t instant dry yeast
  • 6 T lukewarm milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 4 oz Belgian pearl sugar or less, to taste

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk in a small container and let sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, place the flour in large bowl, add the softened butter, and combine using your hand. Add egg, salt, vanilla, and mix together. Add in the yeast and milk and mix to fully combine. The dough will be quite sticky and messy. 

  2. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise (about 30 minutes). Add the Belgian sugar and knead in until evenly distributed. Divide into approximately 3 ounce balls (to make about 7 total), and bake in a heated waffle iron (I did level 5 out of 6 on mine, but your temp will vary according to the make/model of the waffle iron). 

Recipe Notes

Adapted from the recipe on the back of the Lars' Own Belgian Pearl Sugar (affiliate link, at no extra cost to you).

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Baked Soy Sauce Sticky Wings

Main, Side Dish | January 2, 2017 | By

These soy sauce sticky wings are baked, but SO crispy, with a sweet and salty glaze. 

Baked soy sauce sticky wings

Baked soy sauce sticky wings

I didn’t eat my first wings until college. I’m not even kidding! I grew up in America and I never ever had wings! My mom is anti having bones in chicken, so I just never had the opportunity to eat it. My husband introduced me to wings when we were dating, and I haven’t looked back since.

Well, no, that’s not completely true. My first few times eating it I was apprehensive, because… there are BONES in this chicken and I am picking meat off the BONES, whaaaat?! But then I got over it, because it’s so delicious.

Baked soy sauce sticky wings

Anyways, I don’t really like to fry food when I don’t have to because, while delicious, it’s kind of a lot of work! I’ve fried wings before and they turn out… okay. Not as crispy as I would like. So, whoda thought that BAKING wings can make super super crispy yummy wings?! I discovered the recipe on The Cookful and now it’s my go to method for making wings!

The glaze is a simple but delicious combo of soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Soy sauce and sugar is seriously one of my favorite combinations (remember these gnocchi mochi?), and you basically can’t go wrong with it. Unless you burn the glaze. That would be very wrong.

Baked soy sauce sticky wings

So, one thing to note… baking wings takes time! BUT let’s not forget that it’s hands off time. You just pop it in the oven, and there’s one temperature change. That’s it! No slaving over hot oil! If you haven’t tried baking wings yet, you HAVE to give it a try!

Baked soy sauce sticky wings
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Baked Soy Sauce Sticky Wings

These wings are baked, but SUPER crispy, and tossed in an irresistible soy sauce-sugar glaze.  

Course dinner
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 20 wings

Ingredients

  • 2 lb chicken wings
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 4 T soy sauce
  • 3 T sugar
  • drizzle sesame oil to taste
  • sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place a cooking rack in a sheet pan. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with 1 T baking powder (not soda!!!) to evenly coat. Place the wings on the cooking rack, and bake for 30 minutes. Then, without opening the oven, turn the heat up to 425 degrees F. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until they are crispy and golden. 

  2. When wings are done, or just about done, start making the glaze. In a small saucepan, heat the soy sauce and sugar over medium heat and stir until sugar is completely melted. Allow the mixture to simmer and thicken, about 5 minutes, and add a drizzle of sesame oil, to taste. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the wings. Serve topped with sesame seeds!

Recipe Notes

Baking wings recipe from: The Cookful.

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Miso Roasted Chickpeas

Snacks | December 29, 2016 | By

Miso Roasted Chickpeas

Miso Roasted Chickpeas

Does anyone else get all sugared out after Christmas? First you have Thanksgiving where you eat a crazy amount of pie, and then you just don’t stop until Christmas is over. Or, well, at least that’s what I did… no? Just me?

Now I’m in this snacking mode, where I just want to eat food constantly because that’s all I did for the past month and a half. It takes me a few weeks to wind down from the holidays. In other words, I need some healthy snacks. Preferably not sweet (I’ve got fruit for that).

I’ve made roasted chickpeas several times. I go through phases, actually. I’ll buy 3 or more cans of chickpeas and then roast them one day after another because it’s yummy, but then I’m just DONE and tired of it for like, a few months… until I remember I like it and I go out and buy 3 more cans! And the cycle repeats itself.

Miso Roasted Chickpeas

In other words, tomorrow I’ll be eating chickpeas again, and probably the day after that.

Today I did one of my go-to’s. Miso, soy sauce, sesame oil. Savory and so flavorful! I love all three of these ingredients individually, and they work together wonderfully.

Not to mention, these are SO easy to make. Maybe it would be a fun snack to make with your kids? I know mine really enjoy eating it, although I haven’t let them help me make it yet (they are small, and such messy helpers). Maybe I’ll give them a chance tomorrow…

Miso Roasted Chickpeas

 

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Miso Roasted Chickpeas

Canned Chickpeas are tossed in miso, soy sauce, and sesame oil and roasted in the oven to make an easy and healthy Asian inspired snack. 

Course Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas 15-16 oz
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T miso paste
  • 1 T soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the chickpeas and rinse. Dry completely by patting with paper towels and allowing to air dry for a few minutes. The chickpeas should be matte looking and dry to the touch. Combine sesame oil, miso paste, and soy sauce in a medium bowl until smooth. Toss the chickpeas in the paste until evenly coated. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes until crispy, shaking the cookie sheet every 10 or so minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

Recipe Notes

You can also reduce the sauce to 2 teaspoons each for a more subtle, less salty flavor. 

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Chocolate Ganache Tart with Macadamia and Coconut

Dessert | December 21, 2016 | By

Chocolate ganache tart with macadamia and coconut

Chocolate ganache tart with macadamia and coconut

The other day I got a Christmas care package in the mail from my mother-in-law, who lives in Hawaii. Obviously it was filled with toys for the kids, but there were a couple of things for me in there too! Namely, a bag of dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts. In the past she’s sent the chocolate covered toffee mac nuts which I LOVE, but when I saw the plain salted ones, I thought, “oooh I should make something with these!” And so this chocolate ganache tart with macadamia and coconut was born.

I kept the recipe really simple. Graham cracker crust, ganache filling, and macadamia nut and coconut topping. It’s the holidays, aren’t we all crazy busy?!

Chocolate ganache tart with macadamia and coconut

To add a little Hawaiian flavor note into the tart, I added coconut flakes to the crust, and used coconut milk instead of heavy cream for the ganache. To make the coconut milk thick enough, you will first need to get all of the thick cream out of the can, and then top it off with the more watery left overs. If you shake the can up and use the mixed up coconut milk, your ganache will probably not set hard enough.

Now, this tart is SUPER RICH! The filling is just straight chocolate and coconut milk (which also means it’ll be delicious… use good quality chocolate please!), so I wanted to take the sweetness of the crust and toppings down a bit. No additional sugar is added to the graham cracker crust, and I used unsweetened coconut flakes. If you want it to be sweet sweet sweet, then feel free to use sweetened coconut flakes.

Chocolate ganache tart with macadamia and coconut

So, for the picture, I didn’t put all of the nuts and coconut on… I thought it was enough. When I started eating it, the salty macadamia nuts on top were so good that I added the rest of it on. So, realistically, your tart should be covered with nuts and coconut flakes.

Yum yum yum :), have fun!

Chocolate ganache tart with macadamia and coconut
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Chocolate Ganache Tart with Macadamia and Coconut

A graham cracker crust tart is filled with a sweet ganache made from milk chocolate and coconut milk. Salted macadamia nuts counter the sweetness and add a nice crunch!

Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

Graham Crust

  • 9 graham crackers whole rectangles
  • 6 T unsalted butter melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or sweetened
  • pinch of salt

Ganache Filling

  • 12 ounces good quality milk chocolate
  • 1 can coconut milk unshaken

Topping

  • 1/2 cup dry roasted and salted macadamia nuts
  • unsweetened coconut flakes or sweetened

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

    Make the ganache: Open your unshaken coconut milk can. Scoop out all of the cream into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup to the 1 1/4 cup line with the rest of the liquid. Set aside remaining liquid for another use (I recommend putting it in a smoothie!). Cut milk chocolate into small pieces or shavings (not necessary if you are using chips). Put the coconut milk in a medium bowl and microwave until very hot and just starting to simmer. Add the milk chocolate to the coconut milk and stir until completely melted and smooth. Set aside. 

  2. Make the tart crust: In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and pulse until completely combined. Press into a 9-in. tart pan and bake until golden, 10-12 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

  3. Assemble: Pour the ganache into the baked and slightly cooled tart crust, and allow to cool completely. Transfer to fridge for several hours or overnight to set. Once set (top is no longer jiggly), crush macadamia nuts in a plastic bag and garnish with the macadamia nut pieces and coconut flakes. 

Recipe Notes

This tart is very rich, so I used unsweetened coconut flakes. You can use sweetened flakes for a sweeter crust and topping. 

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Swedish Pearl Snowball Cookies

Dessert | December 15, 2016 | By

Swedish Pearl Snowball Cookies

I LOVE browsing specialty stores. I’m talkin’ the ones that have fancy cheeses and chocolates and ingredients that you can’t find at a normal store. I usually end up walking out with a ten dollar chocolate bar and a five dollar bottle of some kind of fancy soda. The other day I was walking around a store called Better Cheddars and saw some Belgian pearl sugar, which I use to make liege waffles (recipe coming soon, I hope! But meanwhile… waffle luv copycat liege waffles). Anyways, my husband said I should grab TWO boxes so that we will never have a craving to make some and realize we are out of pearl sugar. When I got home and took the boxes out to put away, I realized… I had bought one box of Belgian, and one box of Swedish pearl sugar!

Swedish pearl sugar is small pieces, versus the large Belgian chunks. I looked at the back and saw that you can sprinkle them on top of cinnamon rolls and the like… But to me it kind of reminded me of how pretzels look like, with the big salt pieces. I LOVE the bite of pearl sugar, so I wanted to incorporate it into a dessert instead of just sprinkling it on top.

Swedish Pearl Snowball Cookies

Anyways, long story short, I racked my brain for days thinking of how I can use them, and one day as I was walking along the grocery aisles, I saw that the mini chocolate chips were on sale. I thought, small pieces of sugar should go with small pieces of chocolate… and put it in my basket.

And that’s how this recipe came about. These snowball cookies are packed with mini chocolate chips and Swedish pearl sugar. The pearl sugar gives it this fun bite that’s hard to describe… But it really adds a uniqueness to these snowball cookies that I think you’ll love!

Need some Swedish Pearl Sugar? (affiliate link) Happy baking!

Swedish Pearl Snowball Cookies

 

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Swedish Pearl Snowball Cookies

These melt-in-your-mouth snowball cookies are bursting with mini chocolate chips, and Swedish pearl sugar adds a fun bite! 

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T powdered sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 T Swedish pearl sugar
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the room temperature butter, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour in 1/4 cup at a time and beat well after each addition. Add the pearl sugar and chocolate chips and fold in using either a wooden spoon or hands. Once sugar and chocolate chips are mixed throughout the dough, take 1 tablespoon of dough at a time and roll into balls. Place on silicone baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until very lightly golden. Let rest for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sift powdered sugar over the cookies once they are slightly cooled. 

Recipe Notes

Swedish pearl sugar can be bought at specialty stores or -> Lars' Own Swedish Pearl Sugar, 10 Ounce (affiliate link)

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Perfect Umami Puffs

Side Dish | December 12, 2016 | By

Perfect Umami Puffs

Perfect Umami Puffs

Umami- different from savory… not exactly “salty”, but a flavor profile that brings a depth and deliciousness to foods. You’ll find it in soy sauce, anchovies, tomatoes, parmesan, and these umami puffs. These puffs are topped with umami filled crimini mushrooms, bacon, caramelized onions, and parmesan cheese. Each ingredient is delicious on it’s own, and with their combined powers… oh boy.

Sure, caramelizing onions can take a while, but they are well worth the effort. I always find myself picking at pieces to see “if they are done yet”… like every few seconds. As a matter of fact, I can single handedly eat an entire onions worth in one sitting. Yeah, a whole onion.

Perfect Umami Puffs

To make up for the caramelizing onions taking forever, I used puff pastry to make things quick once you have your ingredients assembled. Just spoon the mixture on the dough and throw it in the oven!

There is just so much umami flavor in these little puffs, I dare you to stop at one! They are perfect for party appetizers, or as a side with your dinner. Or… well, you could even eat these as a light dinner on their own!

Ok, and for those of you who don’t like mushrooms… ugh, come on, they are SO good! But, I guess you can leave them out. I think you should try it though, just chop it up smaller and you will forget they are there (maybe)!

Perfect Umami Puffs

You can make the filling earlier in the day and just pop it on the puff pastry and throw it into the oven right before your guests arrive! Try this at your holiday party!

 

Perfect Umami Puffs
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Perfect Umami Puffs

Full of umami packed ingredients, these puffs are perfect for a party appetizer or side dish.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Prep Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 12 pieces

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions
  • 1 T butter
  • balsamic vinegar, white wine, or chicken stock for deglazing pan
  • 10 crimini mushrooms
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 t balsamic vinegar
  • 5 slices thick cut bacon
  • parmesan cheese for topping
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Caramelize the onions: Thinly slice the onions and heat a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter and add the sliced onions. Stir occasionally, and cook until onions are soft, caramelized, and a nice brown color. If frond is sticking to the bottom of the pan and won't come up with stirring, add a small splash of balsamic vinegar (or chicken stock or white wine), and deglaze the pan. Onions are done when they are very soft and sweet, about 40 minutes to an hour.

  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Take puff pastry out of freezer and set aside to thaw. Chop the bacon and cook over medium heat until crispy. Quarter (or cut into sixth for larger pieces) the mushrooms and saute in 1 T of left over bacon grease (or regular oil such as canola) over medium heat. When softened, add balsamic vinegar and dried thyme and stir, cooking for a minute or two longer. 

  3. When puff pastry is sufficiently defrosted, unfold and lay out on a cutting board. Cut each sheet into 6 squares. Taking a paring knife, cut another square inside each square, about 1/2 inch in from each side. We want to set the filling on the smaller square and have the sides puff up around it. Beat the egg with a splash of water and using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash onto the puff pastry (you can just do the outer portion since the middle will be covered with the onion mixture). Combine caramelized onions, bacon, and mushrooms in a bowl, and spoon onto the centers of each puff. 

  4. Bake in oven until lightly browned and puffed, about ten minutes. Remove from oven and grate parmesan cheese over each piece. 

Recipe Notes

Feel free to change the amounts of each ingredient according to taste. 

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Strawberry Balsamic Brownies

Dessert | December 8, 2016 | By

Strawberry Balsamic Brownies

When I think of desserts I want to make, I like thinking outside of the box. I mean, there are a million brownie recipes out there, right? I had some leftover strawberries from making my strawberry mousse cake earlier in the week, and I wanted to use them in brownie form because December 8th (today!) is national brownie day. I walked to my pantry and opened it and saw balsamic vinegar… which totally goes with strawberries, duh!

So I’m thinking, strawberries go with chocolate, because chocolate dipped strawberries. Strawberries go with balsamic because strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. Balsamic and chocolate… Hmm. Well, we’ll just say that works too. Therefore by some mathematical property, they should all come together deliciously.

Strawberry Balsamic Brownies

And they did! The thing I love the most about these is that you have a super rich fudgy brownie, which is maybe a little too much on it’s own, and you add a little tart and tangy. It balances the rich and sweet, and adds a little punch of fresh.

I also tried to lighten this up a little bit by switching out half the butter with plain greek yogurt and reducing the amount of sugar. Let’s be honest, there’s still a ton of sugar in it, but we’re eating brownies here, not muffins! You can also just add the strawberry topping to your favorite brownie recipe!

Happy baking!
Strawberry Balsamic Brownies

Strawberry Balsamic Brownies
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Strawberry Balsamic Brownies

Fudgy brownies topped with a swirl of fresh balsamic strawberries. Rich chocolate pairs perfectly with a little tang and tartness. 

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt or regular yogurt
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1.5 cups chopped strawberries
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

    Melt the butter and mix with yogurt in a large bowl. Add the sugar and beat with a hand mixer. Add in one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and use a spatula to mix together. Grease a 9x13 inch pan and pour batter into pan. Smooth the top and set aside. 

  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the strawberries, sugar, and 1 T balsamic vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook, while smashing down the strawberries with a spatula. When the mixture has reduced a little, remove from heat and stir in the second T of balsamic vinegar. Add spoonfuls of strawberry mixture over the brownie mixture and swirl it in. The strawberry mixture should mostly remain on the top, so don't mix too much! Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and place in oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (make sure you aren't poking through a chocolate chip or it might not look clean!). 

  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve!

Recipe Notes

Adapted from: Honest Cooking

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Strawberry Mousse Cake

Dessert | December 6, 2016 | By

Strawberry Mousse CakeIt’s already December but I just don’t feel very Christmas-y yet. I think December just snuck up on me too fast, and I’m in denial about it… Anyways, this strawberry mousse cake is my big leap into the Christmas spirit.

Strawberry Mousse Cake

Strawberry mousse cake is always a good option. Soft pink is very spring-y, strawberries=summer, and… I don’t know about fall. Maybe not fall. But just by adding these cute little Santa strawberries on top, you get a perfect Christmas cake.
Strawberry Mousse CakeNow, I’m going to warn you, this isn’t just a mix it up and throw it in the oven kind of cake. It takes some effort, but it is well worth it. I like to make this to serve when guests come over for dinner, or if I’m having a get together.

Growing up, it was one of my mom’s go-to cakes. She’d make strawberry sponge cakes a lot, but when she wanted to up the wow-factor, she took it a step further and made it a mousse cake. She also introduced me to the Santa strawberries. Aren’t they adorable? Well, even if it isn’t Christmas, this cake is still a showstopper with regular strawberries on top.

Strawberry Mousse Cake

 

Some notes about this cake: you need a springform pan, and it’s not a super sweet dessert. Okay so first, the springform pan. You gotta have it, because you harden the mousse in the mold and take it off afterwards. Imagine trying to dig the cake and mousse out of a regular cake tin. Not happening. Second, this is a Japanese style cake, and that means it’s sweetness level is not at the American standard. That’s a good thing, by the way. It’s light and refreshing, and you don’t feel like you’re in a food coma after eating a slice. Well, that can be good too but… Anyways, it’s light and fluffy and a little tart from all the fresh strawberries you put in it.

Strawberry Mousse Cake

Go ahead, impress your guests with this one.

Strawberry Mousse Cake
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Strawberry Mousse Cake

A sponge cake enrobed in strawberry mousse and topped with strawberry jelly. Add Santa strawberries for Christmas!

Course Dessert
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

Sponge Cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 T light corn syrup optional
  • 1/2 T butter melted
  • 1 T milk

Strawberry Mousse

  • 300 g strawberries
  • 100 ml milk
  • 50 ml water
  • 4 t powdered gelatin
  • 1.5 T lemon juice
  • 150 ml heavy whipping cream

Strawberry jelly

  • 150 g strawberries
  • 15 g granulated sugar
  • 1 t powdered gelatin
  • 1 T water

Topping

  • 8 nicely shaped strawberries
  • sweetened whipped cream
  • mint leaves for garnish optional

Instructions

  1. Prep: heat oven to 350 degrees F, and line the bottom of a 9-in. springform cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside your 8 best looking strawberries for topping the cake.

  2. Cake: Get a medium and a large bowl out. Make sure the medium bowl is *spotless* as you will use it for whipping egg whites. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in the medium bowl and the yolks in the large bowl. Pour about half of the sugar in with the yolks. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites, adding the remaining sugar in increments, until stiff peaks form. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Add the melted butter, milk, and light corn syrup, and beat to combine. Sift in the cake flour and beat to combine. Do not over-beat, but just until combined. You may need to scrape down the sides and stir with a spatula. Add 1/4-1/3 of the egg whites to the batter, to lighten. Mix until completely combined, and add the remaining egg whites. Gently fold until combined. Pour into prepared springform pan, and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden and toothpick comes out clean. Set aside, and when cool to the touch, remove spring form outer shell and wash. Once cake is cooled, cut about 1/2-1 cm width of the outside circumference and remove. We will not be using this, so feel free to snack on it. Now we have a smaller circle of cake, so the cake will be completely hidden by the mousse. 

  3. Strawberry Mousse: Sprinkle the gelatin over the 50ml of water and stir if it doesn't fully combine on it's own. Let bloom for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, remove stems from strawberries, and place in blender or food processor to puree. Place puree in a medium or large bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and sugar together and stir until barely simmering. Remove from heat and add the gelatin. Stir until melted and fully combined. Add the gelatin mixture to the strawberry puree and stir together to combine. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until very soft peaks form (80% whipped). Pour the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture and fold in until combined. Place outer springform back onto the base with the cake on it, and pour the mousse over the cake. Smooth the top, and place in fridge for 30 minutes to set.

  4. Strawberry Jelly: When mousse has set in the fridge, sprinkle gelatin over the 1 T water and allow to bloom. Meanwhile, puree the strawberries, and add to a small saucepan with the sugar. Stir and heat over medium heat until barely simmering. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin. Pour through a sieve to remove the seeds. Once the mixture is no longer hot, pour over the mousse and return to the fridge to firm up.

  5. Topping: Remove the cake from the fridge and run a thin, sharp-bladed knife around the cakes edge. Remove springform side. Decorate your cake with the whipped cream and strawberries. Add mint for garnish. 

  6. Santa Strawberries: If you would like to make Santas, take the 8 topping strawberries, and cut the top 1/3 off. This will be your hat. Pipe whipped cream onto the bottom half, and gently place hat on top. Use black sesame seeds, flax seeds, mini chocolate chips, etc. to make eyes. Pipe a small dot of cream on the tops of the hats, and buttons on the front. 

Recipe Notes

Mousse recipe adapted from: Cookpad (Japanese). 

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Milk Chocolate Florentine (Lacey) Cookies

Dessert | November 30, 2016 | By

Milk chocolate Florentine (Lacey's) cookies

Milk chocolate Florentine (Lacey's) cookies

Anybody else love Trader Joe’s? Good price, fun selection, small, friendly… little kid carts that you try and sneak past so your kids don’t see… Anyways, love it. It’s a little far away so it’s always a bit of a treat to go. Speaking of treats, that’s probably the best thing about the store… so. many. treats. One of my favorites is their Lacey’s cookies. Have you tried them before?

They are crispy, almondy, toffee-y, chocolatey, and incredibly addictive. I usually don’t buy them because my husband doesn’t love that they use dark chocolate. In other words, he doesn’t eat any and I eat the whole container by myself after the kids go to bed. And we all know that the best time to eat dessert is late at night right before going to sleep!

Milk chocolate Florentine (Lacey's) cookies

It’s almost Christmas and I’ve been thinking about cookies, cookies, and cookies. I decided to kick off my cookie baking with a milk chocolate version of these laceys (you’re welcome, husband). By the way, they are traditionally called florentine cookies, but I think the name Lacey’s might be more well known!

These are absolutely delicious, and you won’t be able to stop at just one! They’d also make a great gift… Christmas cookie exchange anyone? Happy baking! Make sure you have a glass of milk with these!

Milk chocolate Florentine (Lacey's) cookies

Milk chocolate Florentine (Lacey's) cookies
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Milk Chocolate Florentine (Lacey's) Cookies

Crispy cookies with toffee, almond, and milk chocolate. Easy to make and incredibly delicious!

Course Dessert
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 15 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 T brown sugar
  • 1.5 T all purpose flour
  • 3 T butter unsalted
  • 1 T light corn syrup
  • 1/4 t vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 oz milk chocolate

Instructions

  1. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Combine almonds, flour, and salt in a medium bowl.

  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally, to completely dissolve the sugar. Let boil for about a minute, remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Pour the mixture into the almond bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside for about a half hour, to cool.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie trays with parchment paper. Using a teaspoon, scoop batter one teaspoon at a time onto the parchment paper. Roll into balls, and place with at least 2-3 inches of space between each cookie, as they will spread while baking. Bake one pan at a time, for 8-10 minutes, or until flat and a golden brown color. Cool on the baking pan for a few minutes, and transfer to a wire rack.

  4. Once all cookies are baked, place 4 oz of good quality milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave on 50% power for one minute. Remove and stir, and heat for additional 30 second increments until melted. Match each cookie with a similar sized pair. Flip one cookie over, spoon some melted chocolate on, spread around, and place the other cookie one top. Set aside to cool and set. 

  5. Store in an air-tight container. You may want to place parchment paper between cookies if you are stacking them. 

Recipe Notes

Adapted from: food network

 

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Easy Red Bean Bubble Tea

Uncategorized | November 26, 2016 | By

Easy red bean bubble tea

Easy Red Bean Bubble Tea

I mentioned before, my love of homemade bubble tea. It’s easy to make, and wayyyyy cheaper than buying it at a bubble tea shop! Also, I don’t drink certain types of tea, so I love that I can make a milk based bubble “tea” that… isn’t actually tea. So I guess my title is misleading, and I should call this red bean bubble milk, but that sounds kind of weird and I don’t think you would’ve clicked through if that had been the title.

When I DO go to bubble tea shops, I usually either get honeydew, almond, or red bean. Does your local shop have red bean flavor? I think it’s becoming increasingly popular, and the “eh? Bean?” reaction is starting to fade. Red bean is a super common Japanese dessert ingredient, and it actually goes great with dairy (like this red bean chestnut cake).

Easy red bean bubble tea

This recipe is so easy, because the drink only has two ingredients: milk and sweet red bean paste! You just mix mix and add your boba! I soak my cooked boba in simple syrup, to add a little sweetness. This time I used an equal portion brown sugar to water, and it was delicious! I’m thinking brown sugar works with boba pearls even better than regular sugar.

How do you like your bubble tea? I like mine as a regular drink, while my husband insists on slushy ones. You can go either way! Just add ice when you blend to make it slushy. I actually don’t have an ice maker right now, so I made mine sans ice. Whatevs, it’s good either way.

I think when it’s cold outside, slushy doesn’t feel quite right… Like I’m pretending it’s summer or something. I think when I make this in the summer, I’ll add the ice. I should have an ice maker by then!

Easy red bean bubble tea

Another thing I love about this drink, is that you don’t have to have powder. Did you know that most, if not all, of the places that sell bubble tea just use different flavored powders? I mean, it’s yummy and it’s fine, but… I just like the fact that I’m using real red bean, and that there are pieces of red bean in my drink. Feels authentic or something. By the way, if you don’t like little pieces of red bean in your drink (my husband complained to me about this), make sure to use “koshi-an” instead of “tsubu-an” when you buy your red bean paste (I just get the Shirakiku brand at my local Asian market).

Today when I was snapping pics, my cat came and joined me. He loves when I open the windows, because he can jump up and sit on the sill. It doesn’t happen very often now that it’s cold outside, so as soon as he heard me open it, he was there! Isn’t he cute? His name is Kona, named after the city Kona on the Big Island in Hawaii where I got married. He’s a fatty and all he does is sleep all day. I’m surprised he was able to jump up to the window sill. Seriously.

cat in window sill

 

Easy red bean bubble tea
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Easy Red Bean Bubble Tea

A quick and delicious red bean bubble tea you can easily make at home.

Course Dessert, Drinks
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sweet red bean paste
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup boba pearls
  • water
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T water

Instructions

  1. Combine brown sugar and water in a small bowl and heat in microwave. Stir until the brown sugar is completely dissolved in the water. 

  2. Cook the boba pearls according to package directions. Typical instructions: Heat 6 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add boba pearls and cover with lid. Simmer for 3 minutes, remove lid and simmer for additional 3 minutes. Drain boba and place in the brown sugar syrup. Allow to cool.

  3. When boba pearls are cooled, combine red bean paste and milk in a blender. Blend on low speed. Do not over-blend, or else the milk will become very foamy. Low quick pulses help reduce the amount of foam produced. Place drink in cups and add boba pearls. Add sugar syrup to taste for added sweetness. Drink with boba straws. 

Recipe Notes

Change this recipe up by using black tea, milk, and red bean paste if you prefer a tea based bubble tea. 

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