Maui- Top 5 local sweets you HAVE to try

Dessert | January 24, 2017 | By

Maui- Top 5 local sweets you HAVE to try

Can’t make it to Maui anytime soon? Tide yourself over with my Chocolate Haupia Pie, Pumpkin Mochi, or Mochiko Chicken recipes!

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!

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Soft and fluffy ice plus delicious house made syrups equals perfection.

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”.

Haleakala, Sunset beach (back left), and their new “crackseed” line (right)

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!

Tasaka Guri Guri

Gail (right) and her cousin Kelly (left). Guri Guri is 100% family owned and operated!

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.

Super scooping technique. So fast, the camera could barely catch it.

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.

Maui Specialty Chocolates

Their most popular item, peanut butter milk chocolate mochi, with their chocolate ganache mochi (my personal favorite)

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.

Their new Himalayan salted dark chocolate was also delish!

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.

Maui Pie

Mango strawberry pie is their best selling dessert pie!

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!

Lilikoi cream pie on the left, their best selling chicken pot pie on the right. Both amazing.

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.

Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

Their famous banana cream pie! The outdoor seating area was so cute!

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!

Loved the interior of this shop, too!

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!

 

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Chocolate Stovetop Cake with Pomegranate Cream

Dessert | January 19, 2017 | By

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.

Stovetop Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Cream

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…

Stovetop Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Cream

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!

Stovetop Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Cream

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!

Stovetop Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Cream

Stovetop Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Cream
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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.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 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

Pomegranate Cream

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 

  3. 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. 

  4. 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. 

  5. 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.

Recipe Notes

Stovetop cake idea from Orange Page Cookbook- はじめてのお菓子

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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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