Beef soboro is an easy weeknight dinner. Ground beef is flavored with a delicious Japanese sauce, and eaten over hot rice with an egg on top. This recipe comes together in no time at all!
I mentioned before in my Keema curry post the necessity of having easy ground beef recipes in my arsenal. I go through phases where I really plan out my week, and I know on Sunday night what I’ll be making for the entire week. Those are good good times and I feel really put together.
Aaaand then there’s the flip side. I’m scrambling around at 4 pm trying to figure out what I’m going to make for dinner. Want to know what we had for dinner tonight? Blueberry pancakes, bacon, and a kale and beet smoothie to make the meal healthy. I’m not even kidding.
Actually, the kids LOVE those kinds of dinners and it usually means they will just sit there and eat, instead of getting up every 5 seconds, and complaining about how they don’t like *insert basically any ingredient* every 10.
Okay, so usually I’m in between those two extremes, and I have a decent dinner prepared. And decent dinner is really really easy when it’s this beef soboro. I always have the sauce ingredients on hand, and I always have ground beef in the freezer, so this is a meal I can make anytime. It’s definitely one of my go-to’s!
Not to mention, the kids eat this one up! Well, as long as I leave the green onions off the top. Compromise, my friends.
Add this quick and easy beef soboro to your weeknight dinner list!
Ground beef is flavored with a delicious Japanese sauce, and eaten over hot rice with an egg on top. This recipe comes together in no time at all!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 T fresh grated ginger
- 4 T soy sauce
- 3 T mirin
- 3 T sake
- 3 T sugar
- green onion for topping
- eggs for topping
Combine ginger, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar in a small bowl.
Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium high heat and cook the ground beef, breaking it up into small pieces. We don't want any big chunks here! Actually, the pictures you see above are too big of chunks. I actually like mine a little more chunky, but that's technically not the correct way. Do what you want! You can either use chopsticks (a bundle of chopsticks is the traditional method), or a whisk to break the meat up into small pieces.
Once the meat is nearly cooked through, add the sauce and stir until the beef has absorbed the sauce and the pan is mostly dry.
Serve over hot rice and top with green onion and egg. I poached mine, but you can sunny-side-up it, of throw just a raw egg yolk on there!
Adapted from: cookpad (Japanese)
“Chocolate dipped strawberry” hi-hat cupcakes- a play on the classic romantic treat, the buttercream uses freeze dried strawberries to get its beautiful pink hue and intense strawberry flavor.
The first time I saw a hi-hat cupcake, on Pinterest, I fell in love. They are just so pretty and FUN! They kind of remind me of those dipped cones you can get at DQ. I’m usually not a fan of food coloring and artificial flavors, but for some reason I always find myself getting the cherry dipped cone at DQ. I hate myself during and after eating it, and yet it’s what I get every time. Such a mystery.
Well, this cupcake has neither artificial colors OR flavors. Yep, that vivid pink hue is au naturale, baby.
I got the idea to make this cupcake when I was trying to brainstorm fun Valentine’s day ideas. What’s more classic on Valentine’s day than chocolate covered strawberries? (Answer: Roses. But do we eat those? Exactly)
I made this great connection in my head. Chocolate dipped strawberries… chocolate dipped hi hat cupcakes… chocolate dipped strawberry buttercream hi hat cupcakes… Oh YES I was onto something! Seriously, I thought I was such a genius, and then I went to Pinterest and saw that, of course, someone had already done it. Oooooof course. I mean, are there any untried food ideas left in the world? I feel like we are all just tweaking and “adapting” each others’ recipes over and over.
BUT I took it a step past just regular hi-hat cupcakes because I wanted my buttercream to actually resemble a chocolate dipped strawberry. Because that’s just adorable. The outrageous (albeit awesome) amount of frosting on a regular hi-hat is like, 5 strawberries-worth. Mini cupcakes are the perfect size! Plus, you won’t feel overwhelmed. I mean, you can eat one and be done. Or you can eat 5 and be done. Whatever you want.
A few notes: 1. I’ve seen freeze dried sliced strawberries at Trader Joe’s and Target. 2. This buttercream is stiffer than your average swiss meringue, but that works well for dipping. Probably would not work as well for frosting a cake. 3. The mint is supposed to represent the stem, DID YOU CATCH THAT?! 4. Swiss meringue buttercream is a little more work but the taste makes it worth it! It’s less sweet than your normal American buttercream, which works well with the strawberry and the chocolate coating.
And also, here’s how big it is. Aww, so cute!
AND ALSO here’s my first video everrrrr how exciting.
"Chocolate dipped strawberry" hi-hat cupcakes
"Chocolate dipped strawberry" hi-hat cupcakes- a play on the classic romantic treat, the buttercream uses freeze dried strawberries to get its beautiful pink hue and intense strawberry flavor.
- 1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa NOT "natural" cocoa
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 t baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 t vanilla
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 4 egg whites
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened, but still cool
- 1 oz freeze dried strawberry slices
- 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 5 t crisco optional
- small mint leaves for garnish optional
Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F. Line your mini muffin pan(s) with 36 mini cupcake liners.
In a small bowl, combine boiling water and cocoa powder and stir until smooth (again, make sure you are using dutch process cocoa). Allow to cool.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and the sugar. Add the egg, mix, scrape down the sides, and mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the cocoa mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir in until smooth.
Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full (or equally amongst the 36). Bake for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven, allow to cool on a wire rack.
Make the buttercream: Clean the bowl of your stand mixer, the whisk attachment, and a handheld whisk, to make sure there is absolutely no oil on them. In the bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set over a small saucepan with about an inch of simmering water (medium low heat), making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisk the mixture continuously until hot to the touch and no longer grainy.
Move the bowl back to the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment to whip the egg whites into a meringue. This will take several minutes. Once the bowl is completely cooled and the meringue is whipped up, fluffy, and glossy, stop the mixer and switch out the whisk attachment for the paddle. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time until all the butter is incorporated.
While your buttercream is whipping up, crush the strawberries into a powder. I do this by cutting a tiny hole in the top of the bag (if you bought a one ounce bag of strawberries) and using my hands or a rolling pin to crush to a fine powder. Make sure the hole is small, enough to get the air out but not big enough for the powder to come out of.
Warning: your buttercream may turn into a goopy separated mess, if the meringue and the butter are not at the same temperature. If it does, try mixing it for a little longer, cranking up the speed. If it doesn't come back together after a few minutes, try taking a couple spoonfuls out, place in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for a few seconds to melt it (don't make it too hot!). Drizzle the melted buttercream back in while whipping, and it should come back together!
Frost: Using a large round tip, frost the cupcakes, piping the buttercream tall, to form a "strawberry" shape. Once the buttercream is piped, place the cupcakes in the fridge to firm up.
Dip: Melt your chocolate and crisco (optional but makes for easier and smoother dipping) either in a double broiler or in the microwave. If you use the microwave, make sure to take it out every thirty seconds and stir, to prevent burning/scorching. Place melted chocolate in a container that is not too wide, and deep enough that you can dip your buttercream in it. Holding the cupcake by the base, dip the buttercream into the frosting, leaving a bit of pink showing around the base. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden completely.
Garnish with mint leaves to make the strawberry "stems"
Chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from: Joy of baking.
Feel free to use your favorite cupcake recipe!
These cinnamon chocolate truffles are inspired by Japanese nama chocolates. A few simple ingredients come together to make a truly spectacular confection.
When Slofoodgroup asked me if I was interested in trying their products, I was beyond excited! I LOVE gourmet ingredients, and I am always up for the challenge of creating a recipe highlighting a special ingredient. It’s so much fun cooking up ideas in my head and then testing them out!
Slofoodgroup sent me some of their cinnamon quills and vanilla beans to try out. When I say cinnamon quills, I’m not talking about what you can find at your local grocery store. Those are Cassia and, well, suddenly I’m a cinnamon snob (okay okay, they are both good), but what they sent me were Ceylon cinnamon quills. Basically, according to some basic Google research, Ceylon is “true” cinnamon, and Cassia bark is similar, but not quite the same. Cassia got marketed as a cheaper cinnamon, but now it’s basically all there is in the USA, unless you go to a specialty store or buy online.
Cassia is strong, sweet and spicy, and it’s what you have in your cinnamon rolls. Ceylon is more delicate, sweeter, and has floral notes. When you use Ceylon, I would suggest going with more simple ingredients. Rather than throwing it in to compete against other spices, like in pumpkin or apple pies, I would use it with chocolates, vanilla, or other applications where its smooth flavor can really shine. By the way, I wanted to see what it tasted like, so I just flaked off a piece and ate it and… it was actually quite good just eating plain! Kind of crazy, but it has a natural sweetness and I found myself picking at the quill and eating bits and pieces of it.
I played around with different cinnamon ideas. When I looked up ideas for using cinnamon, I kept getting cinnamon rolls, snickerdoodles, apples, etc. etc. No no no no! Those are classic American dishes and yes they are good, but I wanted to make something that was… elegant. Something that really let the cinnamon stand out. And also, something that wasn’t so AUTUMN. I also wanted it to be an option for Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate was the only way to go. Once I decided on the chocolate route, it was pretty easy for me to decide on nama chocolate. It’s quite popular in Japan, and is simple to make and absolutely delicious. It’s basically what we in America call truffles, but it’s in squares, rather than balls. The basic nama chocolate recipe is just two ingredients. Cream and chocolate.
This recipe uses dark chocolate, which tends to work well with a 3:2 chocolate to cream ratio. Now, my next question was whether to use cinnamon powder mixed into the chocolate, or to infuse the cream with cinnamon. I decided to take the infusing route, because I wanted my chocolate to be absolutely silky smooth.
I also added vanilla to the cream, to add extra warmth. By the way, when I opened the package that the cinnamon and vanilla came in, the vanilla smell wafted out and it. was. divine.
I really hope you’ll try these truffles/nama chocolate. The dark chocolate with the floral notes from both the ceylon cinnamon and vanilla bean made it so… I don’t know… just, “grown up”. It’s really something special, and if you love dark chocolate, I know you’ll love these.
Want to try out Ceylon cinnamon? Get some at slofoodgroup, and you won’t be disappointed!
If you really can’t get Ceylon, then try these out with your regular cinnamon quills. Try subbing in vanilla extract right before pouring into the baking dish, if you can’t get your hands on vanilla bean. I can’t say if it will be QUITE as good, but I think it’ll still taste delicious!
Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles (nama chocolate)
These cinnamon chocolate truffles are inspired by Japanese nama chocolates. A few simple ingredients come together to make a truly spectacular confection.
- 8 oz good quality dark chocolate I used 60% bittersweet Ghirardelli
- 1 cup heavy cream you will be using 5.3 ounces of it
- 6 in Ceylon cinnamon quills 2 three inch quills or 1 five inch quill plus another small piece
- 1-2 vanilla beans split lengthwise
- dutch process cocoa powder
- ground cinnamon to taste
Line a 6x8" baking dish with parchment paper (or be lazy and use plastic wrap like I did). My baking dish said 6x8 but the bottom was closer to 5x7. The thickness of the final product will depend on how big the dish is, so be careful not to go too big! You can always double the recipe and use a bigger container.
Pour the heavy cream in a small saucepan with cinnamon quills and vanilla beans (split lengthwise). Heat over medium-low heat until simmering. Keep at a bare simmer for a few minutes, cover, and set aside to cool.
Cut the chocolate into shavings or small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Strain the cream (I squeezed the cream out of the cinnamon quills to get that extra cinnamon-y cream out) and measure out 5.3 ounces of it, to get the 3:2 ratio. Pour the 5.3 ounces over the chocolate shavings, and set aside the rest (you can add sugar and whip it, or add it to a drink perhaps?). Place the bowl on small saucepan with about an inch of water in it, and heat over medium-low heat. Make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Also, make sure that water doesn't get into the bowl of chocolate, or it will seize and be RUINED! Gently stir the chocolate and cream until it starts getting warm and the chocolate starts melting. Be careful not to let it get it too hot, or the chocolate will start to separate. Once most of the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and keep stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into the container, smooth the surface, and place in refrigerator to set. This can take several hours.
Remove the chocolate from the baking dish and place on cutting board. Cut the rounded edges off, and cut into squares. Toss in a mixture of cocoa powder and cinnamon powder. I grated my cinnamon quill on a microplane, and added to taste. I liked mine with lots of cinnamon!
Cover and store in refrigerator.
Infused cream recipe adapted from: Amazing food made easy
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.#Welchs #WelchsChia #CollectiveBias
This yogurt mousse is an easy, lightened up dessert, delicately sweetened with Welch’s Chia Strawberry Fruit Spread.
Today I’m sharing with you a lightened up dessert that you can feel pretty good about eating. I mean, it’s not totally guilt free. It’s not like, sweetened with dates, and vegan (it’s actually quite far from vegan. sorrynotsorry). But it is simply made with ingredients that you can feel good about.
Do you have any New Years resolutions? I totally forgot this year. I don’t know, I’ve been busy, I guess! I never keep them anyways, and I’m pretty sure I just say the same thing every year. Exercise more, eat healthier, lose baby weight. Same ol’ same ol’. Unfortunately, I eat a lot of sweet things. I blog about food though, and mostly desserts! What can I do?
I suppose one step is to at least occasionally introduce you to desserts that are a little more on the healthier side, right? So that’s what I’m doing today. I think this would actually be a good Valentine’s dessert for someone who wants to keep things lighter. The yogurt mousse is an off-white, sliiiiightly leaning towards pink, and the topping is red. Pink(ish… okay fine, off-white) and red. Perfect.
First, that red stuff that I so artfully placed on top of the mousse. It’s Welch’s chia strawberry fruit spread. It’s like jam but… it uses chia seeds (700 seeds per serving!) to get that “jam” consistency. Cool huh? Chia seeds are super good for you, so it’s kind of a cheater way to get some extra goodness in your diet. The ingredient list is pretty simple, without any GMO’s, preservatives, artificial stuff, or high fructose corn syrup. You can read all about it at Welch’s. It also comes in their classic concord grape!
This mousse has no extra added sugar (note: there’s sugar in the spread), and it’s rather lightly sweetened. If you have a sweet tooth, just spoon a little more of the spread on top, to taste. Disclaimer though… it’s not low fat. It has cream in it, and I personally used full fat Greek yogurt in it. You can sub a lower fat Greek yogurt, but you gotta keep the cream.
Can I tell you something though? I don’t think high fat dairy products are necessarily bad for you. In moderation. I mean, I feel good about giving this to my kids, because I give them 2% or whole milk (per pediatrician instruction) and I always give them full fat Greek yogurt!
It’s such a light fluffy dessert that I actually found myself eating it for breakfast. I mean, follow along here…if you can have jam on toast of breakfast, and you can have yogurt with granola, then why can’t you have yogurt mousse that’s only sweetened with jam/fruit spread? RIGHT? Genius.
By the way, I picked up the chia spread at Walmart. It’s in the Jelly, PB, ketchup aisle. You know the one. I think I might go back and get the chia grape when I run out of the grape jelly I have in the fridge. Honestly, it’s about the baby steps when it comes to eating healthier. Grape spread with a bunch of chia seeds is an upgrade from just grape jelly. HEY! I’m fulfilling my New Years resolutions that I didn’t even make this year. Woohoo!
How’s this for an artsy little picture? My husband was helping me take pictures and he said, “Oooh! Why don’t we do one where… The spoon is vertical”. And there you have it, folks. Vertical spoon. What do you think? Totally artsy and cool? Or so awkward looking?
Anyways, I hope you will give this yogurt mousse a try! Feel free to mix it up by using other flavors as well! It’s quite versatile! And as I mentioned before, you can also switch up the fat contents of the dairy products (except the cream, cream is cream and you can’t whip milk). Have fun, I won’t tell anyone that you ate it for dessert and then breakfast the next morning!
Strawberry Yogurt Mousse
This yogurt mousse is an easy, lightened up dessert, delicately sweetened with Welch's Chia Strawberry Spread.
- 200 ml Greek yogurt I used full fat
- 50 ml milk I used 1%
- 100 ml whipping cream
- 3 T Welch's chia strawberry fruit spread or jam of your choice
- 2 T cold water
- 1.5 t gelatin
- mint for garnish
- Welch's chia strawberry fruit spread/jam of choice for topping
Bloom the gelatin by sprinkling it over the cold water in a small container. Set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and the chia spread and heat until hot, but not simmering. Add the bloomed gelatin and stir in to melt. If milk gets separated/curdled, don't worry, it won't affect the final outcome. Set aside to cool down.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the yogurt, and add the milk/chia spread mixture (should no longer be hot to the touch). Stir until fully combined, and ladle into individual containers. Cool in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
Before serving, spoon some extra chia spread on top, to taste, and garnish with mint.
This salmon gratin with broccoli and mushrooms is a healthy, nutritious, weeknight meal that your family will love!
Gratin is a French dish… originally. But strangely enough, it’s really popular in Japan!
So Japan does this thing where… they take things from other countries and then go crazy with it. Liiiiike have you ever had Japanese crepes? Oh baby. And how about cars? Any type of electronic device? Yeah, Japan is all about taking things from other countries and making it better.
You might not think gratin, which is basically any dish that has either a cheese or breadcrumb (or both) topping that gets browned in the oven, would be very Japanese. But, it’s just one of those things that took off, and now it’s a typical weeknight meal.
I thought it was a popular dish in America, since I grew up eating it, but turns out it’s actually not so common. My husband had never heard of it before, which made me realize… I had eaten it because my Japanese mother made it as a Japanese dish, not an American one.
Weird. I mean, doesn’t it just seem so… American? A white sauce, cheese, bread… a lot of times it’ll have potatoes or pasta in it… It seems so American! Well, I guess we DO eat scalloped potatoes a lot here. But there just isn’t the variation that you see in Japan.
The recipe I’m sharing with you is a healthy salmon gratin, with lots of vitamins and nutrients! It’s packed with salmon, mushrooms, broccoli, and onion! If broccoli and mushrooms aren’t your thing, you can substitute other veggies in there. Just make sure you cook or steam them first. The oven stage is just to melt the cheese and brown the top.
This gratin is easy to prepare, and SUCH a comfort food. Not to mention, if you make it in the individual dishes, it’s kind of a fun presentation. Of course, if you don’t have individual gratin dishes, you can make it in a bigger dish and just scoop it onto a plate!
Look at thaaaat. Mmmsalmonyumyumyum.
This salmon gratin with broccoli and mushrooms is a healthy, nutritious, weeknight meal that your family will love!
- 2 6-8 oz salmon fillets skin removed
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 4 oz crimini mushrooms
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 400 ml milk
- 3 T butter
- 6 T all purpose flour
- salt to taste
- mozzarella or white cheese blend
Make the white sauce: combine the thinly sliced onion and flour. Heat a skillet over low heat and add the butter. Add the onion and cook until no longer powdery and white. Add the milk a little bit at a time, stirring well after each addition. Once the milk is added, continue to stir until thickened. Salt to taste.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the broccoli florets into bite sized pieces and either boil in salted water, microwave and salt, or steam and salt. Cut salmon fillets into bitesized pieces and salt. Cut mushrooms into quarters (or in half, or in sixths according to size) Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and brown the salmon pieces. Remove salmon and saute and salt the mushrooms.
Put the broccoli, mushrooms, and salmon into either individual gratin dishes or a casserole dish. Pour white sauce on top and lightly stir to help bring pieces to the top. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and cook in oven until melted. Do a quick pass under the broiler to brown the top more, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Mebae "&" magazine, February edition (Japanese).
Ahhh, Maui. Beautiful paradise. At the beginning of January, my husband, kids and I went to visit family in Maui. While we were there, I decided to contact and visit my favorite places to get sweets! I also got to go to a couple of new places, based on recommendations from local friends and family. THESE are the places you need to go to get your sweet fix on Maui!
Hands down, this is the best shave ice you can get on Maui (I’d say the world, but I haven’t actually tried shave ice all around the world, so, you know…). I had my first Ululani shave ice experience about 5 years ago, and my world was changed. Never again could I enjoy shave ice that was icy. It needed to be fluffy. No more store bought syrup after I tasted their handmade recipes. Really, it’s their fault that I’m such a shave ice snob now. By the way, don’t go calling it shaveD ice, or people will know you’re a tourist! Shave ice, guys. Shave ice.
So what makes Ululani’s so special? I got to speak with David Yamashiro who, with his wife Ululani, turned a small side business into a shave ice empire! He told me about several things that make them stand out. First, their ice- soft and fluffy… not icy, not crunchy, just… fluffy! It’s unlike any snow cone you can get on the mainland, I promise.
Second, the syrups. Now, I’m not really a fan of store bought fruit syrups, and this is where Ululani’s really shines. They hand make all of their syrups, and many of their fruit flavors are made with fresh fruit puree. As a matter of fact, their mango syrup is 33% pureed mango, wow! Their goal when they first opened shop is to make “every flavor exceptional” and, my favorite, they wanted their flavors to be “punch-you-in-the-mouth”.
The third thing that makes Ululani’s special, is their commitment to customer satisfaction. “If we heard it once, we make note of it, if we heard it twice, we addressed it… Everything that we do is based on feedback.” Over the course of eight years on Maui, they have tweaked, improved, and perfected the art of shave ice. By the way, the reason there are holes in the ice? Well, it’s to help the syrup reach alllll of the ice. Something they started doing after feedback about the bottom ice not having flavor. Like I said, perfecting their trade.
Oh, and can I say one more awesome thing that I learned from David during my visit? They use Roselani ice cream at the bottom of their shave ice (ice cream on the bottom is typical for Hawaiian style shave ice. Optional, but why wouldn’t you???) but there are three tiers of quality that Roselani sells: economy, premium, and gourmet. Guess which one Ululani’s uses? Yup, the gourmet. And their mochi topping is fresh from Maui Specialty Chocolates (more on that below)! Mmm, quality ingredients=amazing end product!
By the way, we tried the Haleakala (leche, coconut) topped with toasted coconut, the Sunset beach (mango, guava, passion orange), my personal go-to combo of almond, lychee, melona with a snow-cap and topped with mochi, and we got a sneak peak at their new flavors from the “crackseed store” line (li hing mui, pickled mango, wet lemon peel). The last one is all about local flavors and is so unique. I’ve never tasted shave ice like that, and it was delicious! As a matter of fact, they were all amazing!
Located in the non-descript Maui mall (not to be confused with the Kaahumanu mall), Tasaka Guri Guri is a place I have to visit every time I visit Maui, no exceptions. I got to speak with Gail, who is the great granddaughter of the founder of Maui’s Guri Guri. Guri Guri has been around for over 100 years (!!!!!!) and they’ve somehow managed to keep their recipe a family secret! As a matter of fact, she and her sister are the only ones (besides a retired uncle) who know the secret recipe. How cool is that?
So what is Guri Guri? Well, that’s hard to explain. It’s kind of sherbet-y, but it’s not sherbet because there is dairy in it. It’s not ice cream… “you just gotta try it”, says Gail. And when you try it, make sure you try at least a scoop of each. Although, you’ll probably wish you got the four scoop.
There are two flavors. Just two. Strawberry and pineapple. “Have you guys ever thought of expanding the number of flavors?”, a question I’m surely not the first to ask. But, “we just like to keep things simple”. Fair enough. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right?
By the way, my mom came to Maui for my wedding, and she tried Guri Guri and loved it (obviously), and tried to recreate it at home. The result? Less than stellar. “We see people put their recipes in local cookbooks and things? And we look at it and it’s like, no… not even close”. So if you see a recipe online that says it’s JUST LIKE GURI GURI!!! Well, sorry, it’s probably not. Only Gail and her sister can make Guri Guri so just stop trying and come back to Maui if you want some more.
Anyways, you really have to try this Maui classic.
I had been eating Maui Specialty Chocolates since the first time I visited Maui back in 2009… I just didn’t know it. All I knew was that there was peanut butter chocolate mochi and it was delicious. Any mochi lovers out there? You HAVE to go eat the mochi at Maui Specialty Chocolates. While I was in there taking some pictures, a few customers walk in and one of the guys said, “Dude, the mochi here is SO soft, you have to try it.” Which basically sums it all up.
I talked to Tony, who started Maui Specialty Chocolates with his wife Valerie. Although, as he told me, “She does it all. She just makes me work here”. Hehe. They’ve been in business for 27 years, and their recipes and chocolate blends (top secret, by the way) are all created by Valerie. She went to the Culinary Institute of America, so she has a solid background in sweets making.
This is how they started. She’d make chocolates for holiday gifting and people would keep coming back asking her if they could get an extra box to give to so-and-so, or… maybe just for themselves. And the business started because, and I quote, “they’d say, you should sell it! And so hey, let’s sell it”. So beautifully simple, I love it.
They started selling mochi about 10-11 years ago, and it’s since become their most popular item. The secret to success? The sooooft mochi. It’s so soft, and then there’s crunchy peanut butter chocolate inside, or if you get the chocolate ganache, then… well, there’s chocolate ganache inside (bonus! The chocolate ganache one is wrapped in chocolate mochi!).
Something they want people to know? Well, they make everything themselves, and they ONLY sell it at the store. Don’t try to find it off-island, and don’t think you can find it at a local grocery store. Nope, you have to go to the store. So exclusive! And make sure to go early! When I was there right at opening, there were several customers coming in and buying multiple boxes of the mochi. First come first served!
Oh, and remember the mochi topping at Ululani’s that I mentioned? Made fresh every morning by Maui Specialty Chocolates.
I love this quote on their About Us, “the goal of Maui Specialty Chocolates has never been to sell the most chocolates but to make the best chocolates possible using the finest chocolates and freshest ingredients”. It’s so refreshing when businesses truly focus on quality over making money. You can really feel the love and passion these two have for their shop.
Now here’s an inspiring story. A girl grows up in a pie shop. Okay that sounds weird. What I’m saying is that her parents owned a pie shop and she spent a lot of time there. She grows up and thinks, I don’t want to do what my parents did. I’m going to do my own thing… so she goes into the corporate scene, realizes the corporate grind sucks, and comes back to… you guessed it, baking pies!
Maui Pie was opened about a year and a half ago, in July 2015 by Kellee and Ryan. They are both from Michigan, but always loved, loved, LOVED Maui. They visited several times over the course of 10 years, and always felt so sad when they had to leave. When they got married, two and half years ago, they decided, yeah, let’s move to Maui. So, 6 months later, they were in Maui, and 6 months after that? Maui Pie was opened.
I mean, everyone has dreams, but how many people just get up and go DO what they want to do? I think it’s awesome! They’re still new but are quickly growing, and feel confident that they have now staked their place in Maui. They love being active in their community, and are always looking for ways to give back. I mean, these guys are so super nice, I’m really glad I got to chat with Kellee! I felt personally inspired to go after my dreams!
Anyways, back to the food. Their most popular sweet pie is their mango strawberry. And yes, it was delicious. I also tried their lilikoi (passion fruit) cream pie. Like key-lime, but better. Their pies are “grandma-approved” and don’t use any preservatives, fillers, gels, etc. Basically their pillars are sugar, butter, flour. Good, good, good. I am generally not a huge fan of pie crusts, but the crusts on Maui Pie pies completely changed my mind. If pie crust were always that good, well, I’d be eating pies a lot more.
Need something savory to balance the sweet? Their most popular item in the store is actually their chicken pot pie. And yes, I tried that too and it was delicious. Flaky flaky crust.
My sister-in-law told me I just had to try Maui Pie out, and I’m so glad I did! By the way, my lifelong dream is to just get up and move to Japan. On our drive home I told my husband, “can we be like Maui Pie and just get up and move to Japan, please?” But apparently it’s not that easy. So he says… we’ll see.
When I asked for recommendations of where I should go eat, I kept hearing that I needed to check out Leoda’s and try their cream pie. So, even though I’m not a huge banana cream pie fan, I had to give it a try (guess who is now a banana cream pie fan? This girl). It’s on the way to Lahaina, so it would be a great place to stop by if you are going to do a day trip out there.
Leoda’s just celebrated their 5th year in business, but the company that owns it has been in Maui for a long time. They started off with Old Lahaina Luau 30 years ago and have since added Aloha Mixed Plate, Star Noodle (we went there for dinner… get the brussel sprouts. TRUST ME), and then Leoda’s. Leoda is actually the mother of one of the owners, and she grew up in Olowalu, which is where the shop is located. So basically, the shop is a homage to her. Cool huh?
The number one thing you should know about Leoda’s? 90%… yes NINETY percent of their ingredients are sourced on Maui. I mean, Maui is a tiny little island. I don’t know how they do it, but apparently they do, so, great! Locally sourced means fresh, in season, and delicious! As an example, their sauerkraut is made in store using local Kula cabbage. They tinkered with the recipe for 3 months to perfect it. It’s amazing what can happen when chefs are given the freedom to experiment, be creative, and really work out recipes, to bring the very best product to us, the customers!
Leoda’s most popular sweet item is their banana cream pie, which is what everyone was telling me I needed to try. However, the staff favorite is, hands-down, the key lime pie. So, I tried both. Which one is better? Well, what are you in the mood for? Light, fluffy, creamy banana cream pie? Or tart, rich, smooth key lime? I don’t know, they were both amazing. I’d recommend getting both.
While you’re at it? Get their Reuben sandwich. I didn’t have the opportunity to try it, because of some time constraints, but I was just dying over the description of it. They make their corned beef in house by brining it for three days and smoking it. They make their own sauerkraut and thousand island dressing (which is 100x better than the stuff you can get at the store). And apparently it’s ah-mazing. I don’t doubt it at all.
I really liked the feel of Leoda’s. The interior is really cute, and it would be a great place to have lunch, and of course, pie!
So there you have it, my top 5 recommendations for Maui sweets! Do you have any favorites that aren’t mentioned here? Let me know below in the comments!
This stovetop cake with pomegranate cream is easy to make and you don’t need an oven! Chocolate and pomegranate come together to make a rich but fresh dessert.
So I just came back from a trip to Maui to visit my husband’s family. I haven’t posted in TWO WEEKS! Which I guess isn’t that long, but by the end of the trip I was itching to get back into the kitchen and make something.
The day I got back from Maui, I went to the store to restock the kitchen and came across some pomegranate arils. I usually am not a huge pomegranate eater since they are a tad expensive (especially when they are just the arils), but something stopped me from walking away that day. I thought, I just flew for almost an entire day with three little kids, so I should treat myself. So into the basket they went. And then I added a container of pomegranate juice, because I had a dessert idea brewing in my mind…
Aren’t pomegranate arils just beautiful? I knew I wanted to pair that rich ruby color with chocolate, to make a perfect Valentine’s day dessert… although this could work any time of the year. I mean, fruit and chocolate. Can’t go wrong.
This cake is extra special because it’s made SANS OVEN! So, yes, basically it’s kind of sort of a pancake cake, but, not really. It’s a cake, and it’s made in a pan, but it doesn’t have the texture, bite, or flavor of a pancake. It’s much better!
It’s easy to make. You mix up the batter, and then you cut out a parchment paper to fit in the bottom of your skillet (I used my 9 inch). You heat it over medium low, pour some batter, throw on the lid, and let it cook through. Peel off, repeat. I used the one piece of paper for all my layers. Then, to make it pretty, I used my big round cookie cutter. It’s a little over 5 inches in diameter, so actually, it’s probably not for cookies… I wonder what it’s for?
You can choose to make your cake whatever diameter you want. Just make sure you pour bigger than the diameter of the round cutter you are using. Smaller diameter means more layers and a taller cake. Don’t get too crazy or you’ll get the leaning tower of cake!
Chocolate Stovetop Cake with Pomegranate Cream
This stovetop cake is easy to make and you don't need an oven! Chocolate and pomegranate come together to make a rich but fresh dessert.
- 4 large eggs
- 90 g cake flour
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 100 g sugar
- 25 g unsalted butter
- 2 T milk
- 1/2 t vanilla optional
- Parchment paper
- Large round (cookie) cutter 5 inch diameter, or whatever size you want to use
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 T powdered sugar
- 1 cup 100% pomegranate juice
- 1/4 t vanilla or 1/2 t, to taste
- 1 T cold water optional
- 1 t gelatin optional
- pomegranate arils for garnish
Take one cup of pomegranate juice and heat in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Allow to simmer away until it reduces to about 1/4 cup. Place in a container and allow to cool while making the cake.
Place eggs in warm-hot water bath while you measure out your other ingredients. Sift together the cake flour and cocoa powder. Combine milk with butter and melt. Crack warm eggs into large mixing bowl and beat with hand mixer until slightly frothy. Add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy and tripled-quadrupled in size. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the eggs and fold in. Add 1/3 of the butter mixture and fold in. Repeat until all the ingredients are combined. If adding vanilla, add with the last bit of butter.
Heat a 9-inch (or whatever size you are using) skillet over medium low heat. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the skillet and place on the skillet while heating. Using a ladle, scoop the batter onto the parchment paper and use the bottom of the ladle to spread it out a little. The batter should be about 5mm in thickness. Make sure your diameter is larger than the diameter of the round cutter you will be using to cut it. Place lid on skillet and cook through. This should take anywhere from a couple of minutes to 6 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back when poked in the middle and doesn't stick to your finger. Using tongs, remove the parchment paper and peel the cake off and set aside. Repeat with the remaining batter. Using the round cutter, cut out the circle and discard (read: eat) the outer scraps. Set aside.
Place 1 cup heavy whipping cream in a large bowl and add the powdered sugar. Whip the cream until medium peaks form. Add the reduced pomegranate syrup and vanilla, and whip until stiff peaks form. Make sure not to overwhip, or your cream will start turning into butter and won't be smooth and shiny.
Optional: For a firmer cream that tastes the same, sprinkle 1 t of gelatin over 1 T of cold water and allow to bloom for a few minutes, while initially whipping the cream. When you add the pomegranate syrup, heat the gelatin in the microwave for about 5 seconds. Watch closely. You want it to melt, but not boil! While whipping the cream and pomegranate, drizzle in the melted gelatin. This will result in a cream that will hold up better to multiple layers, and won't gush out the sides when slicing the cake.
Spread a layer of pomegranate cream over each layer of cake and stack. The amount you use per layer will depend on the diameter of cake. On the top layer, add some more cream, and garnish with pomegranate arils. Refrigerate to set the cream.
Stovetop cake idea from Orange Page Cookbook- はじめてのお菓子
Belgian liege waffles are made with a raised yeast dough, and filled with pieces of Belgian pearl sugar.
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. 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.
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).
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
Belgian liege waffles are made with a raised yeast dough, and filled with pieces of Belgian pearl sugar.
- 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
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.
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).
Adapted from the recipe on the back of the Lars' Own Belgian Pearl Sugar (affiliate link, at no extra cost to you).
These soy sauce sticky wings are baked, but SO crispy, with a sweet and salty glaze.
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.
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.
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
These wings are baked, but SUPER crispy, and tossed in an irresistible soy sauce-sugar glaze.
- 2 lb chicken wings
- 1 T baking powder
- 4 T soy sauce
- 3 T sugar
- drizzle sesame oil to taste
- sesame seeds
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.
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!
Baking wings recipe from: The Cookful.
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.
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
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.
- 1 can chickpeas 15-16 oz
- 1 T sesame oil
- 1 T miso paste
- 1 T soy sauce
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.
You can also reduce the sauce to 2 teaspoons each for a more subtle, less salty flavor.