Archive for the ‘Sweets’ Category

I’ve moved! See the rest of this post at my new home.

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**I’ve moved!  Read the rest of the post at my new home**

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**I’ve moved! Recipe is at my new home**

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Chinese Donuts

A lazy day. I blog-surfed and came across Evinrude’s blog and 15 seconds after reading her post about nostalgic foods, I gracefully glided to the kitchen tripped over my kid’s !@*?/#% toy train to make Chinese donuts (Yao Tiew).

To an obsessed cook, which is more convenient?

A) Clean kitchen, lug out the 20lb KitchenAid, mix dough, knead dough, let rest, knead more, let rise, roll out, cut, shape, rest, lug out deep fryer, heat up fryer, stretch donut, fry donuts, let cool, dust with powdered sugar, spoon granular sugar (to dip in – because you can never have too much sugar with donuts), heat up espresso machine, make espresso. Eat.


B) Get in car. Drive 3 blocks to gas station at corner. Buy Krispy Kreme donut and cheap coffee. Eat.

I was so lazy that I just couldn’t get myself to get into the car and drive.

Chinese Donuts

Not from scratch – I used a Thai box mix called Tippy Patangco. It was easy- add water and oil. Looking back, I should have just made it from scratch – but I was too lazy to call my Mom for the recipe.

If you are brave enough to make from scratch – check out Lily’s site

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Espresso con Panna

My 3:00pm caffeine fix: Espresso with a dollop of whipped creme – Espresso con Panna!

My routine is even more special with my brand new Bodum Pavina Double Walled Glass. Those are 5 beautiful words which means, “Expensive, breakable, don’t drop me”

Just kidding – they weren’t that expensive, about $7 each. They are hand-blown and simply gorgeous. I love using them because a shot of espresso is so teeny tiny and I feel like I really need to savor every little sip. The set I have is the 5oz “tea glass” since I like to leave room for lots and lots of cream!

If you love coffee – have some Tiramisu

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Easy Apple Tart

My forte has never been baking desserts, so I always look for easy recipes that I can pull together at the last minute. Going through my stash of recipes that I’ve ripped out over the years from cooking magazines, I came across one from Martha Stewart Everyday Food for Rustic Apple Tart. I think after 3 years of subscribing to that magazine, this was the only recipe that looked interesting enough to rip out. Interesting because it was such a simple recipe that produced a beautiful dessert. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry is a staple in my freezer and makes an elegant tart crust with minimal work.

Since this is such a healthy recipe, I just had to top it with some Bourbon Whipped Cream!
Easy Apple Tart serving

Carmelized Apple Tart
1 sheet of Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed for 20 minutes but do not unfold
3 Granny Smith Apples
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 t water, for egg wash
2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
2 T apple jelly or apricot jam

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry sheet (still folded) to an 8 inch by 14 inch rectangle. Trim edges with a sharp paring knife. Transfer to baking sheet, place in freezer.
Peel, core and slice apples ¼” thick, toss in bowl with sugar.
Brush pastry with egg wash, avoiding edges. Use a sharp paring knife to score a ¾” border around the pastry (do not cut all the way through). Place apples inside border, and dot with butter. Bake until puff pastry is golden and apples are tender, 30-35 minutes.

In microwave, heat jelly with 1T of water until melted. Brush apples with glaze. Serve tart warm with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Bourbon Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
Beat or whisk the cream, sugar, and bourbon until soft peaks form.

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If the food gods could create the most perfect dessert, it would combine my three favorite ingredients: espresso, chocolate and dark rum. Surprisingly, Tiramisu is very easy to make, especially since it sounds so fancy and costs $8.95 at an Italian restaurant.

If you don’t have an espresso maker, you can just brew super-strong coffee or even use instant espresso granules in a pinch. You can make Tiramisu in a large pan, or as I prefer, in cute little individual dessert cups. These were made in ice cream bowls I found on sale at Marshalls.

The recipe is adapted from Barefoot Contessa, however I have made some minor changes to the recipe. The biggest change that I made was the size of the pan. Goddess Ina Garten’s recipe calls for a 9×12 pan. However, I made the recipe 3 times using that sized pan, and each time I ran out of the marscapone creme and the Espresso Syrup for dipping. Its very frustrating when you’ve run out of an ingredient – especially for this dessert because once you’ve laid the soaked ladyfingers in the pan, you can’t really move them or they fall apart.

I’ve been very successful using an 8.5 x 8.5 x 2.5 Pyrex square pan or my individual dessert cups pictured above which hold about 1.5 cup capacity. In case you do run out of the Marscapone creme before you finish assembly – you can just spread the creme as evenly as you can and then top with whipped creme to cover. I often use whipped creme to add more height to the dessert. Sometimes I sneak a little more dark rum into the whipped creme too!

More tips on the Marscapone Creme: If you don’t soften the marscapone cheese to room temp before mixing it in, your creme mixture will be lumpy. If you don’t cool your espresso before adding to the egg yolk/sugar, the creme mixture becomes too runny.

Tiramisu ( serves 6-8 )

6 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature (or 7 large egg yolks)

1/4 cup sugar

Marscapone Creme

1/4 cup dark rum

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee – cooled to room temperature

16 oz marscapone cheese – softened to room temperature

Espresso Syrup for dipping

1/3 cup dark rum

3 T Frangelica (if you don’t have, you can substitute any one of the following: Brandy, Kahlua, Amaretto, or just add a little bit more of the dark rum)

1 1/2 cup espresso or strong coffee – cooled to room temperature

30 -40 Italian lady fingers

Semi-sweet chocolate, shaved with vegetable peeler

8.5 x 8.5 x 2.5 pan or 6 individual dessert cups (my dessert cups pictured above hold 1.5 cup capacity). If you have a slightly larger or smaller pan, thats ok too.

1. In your mixer with whisk attachment , whisk yolks and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes. It should be creamy and light yellow color. Add the cooled espresso, vanilla, rum. Mix on medium for 30 seconds. Add marscapone, mix on low for 30 seconds until mixture is creamy. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients of the Espresso Syrup together. Set up your assembly line – from left to right:

Ladyfingers – Espresso Syrup – Pan/Indiv Cups – Marscapone Creme

Quickly dip the ladyfinger in the Espresso Syrup – a 2-second dip is all that you need. If you dip too long, too much of the syrup gets absorbed and the ladyfinger will get too soggy to lift out of the bowl. The ladyfinger should still be a little hard – don’t worry, they will all soften up in the refrigerator. Line the dipped ladyfingers on the bottom of the pan/cups).

If you are using a large pan: Top the ladyfingers with 1/2 of the Marscapone Cream. Follow this will another layer of dipped ladyfingers. Finish with remaining Marscapone Cream. Sprinkle chocolate shavings on top.

If you are using individual dessert cups, measure & divide the ladyfingers AND marscapone creme evenly between the cups BEFORE you start assembly. You don’t want to run out of creme or ladyfingers!

Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving.

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tapioca pearls with sweet coconut dessert

Looking back through my blog stats, this is by far the most popular recipe searched. There aren’t a lot of Chinese cookbooks that feature this recipe, I wonder why? Its such a beautiful, exotic dessert.

This is a recipe from my Mom – she used to serve this in the summer time to cool off. Usually its made with honeydew, but the cantelope was on sale, ripe and smelled so fresh! This isn’t a very well-known dessert in Asian American restaurants, but it can be found in dim-sum eateries in Hong Kong as a perfect ending to a meal.

We served this as dessert after our Korean BBQ feast. It was just the right dessert to enjoy to cool us down after all the smoky heat of BBQ.

Tapioca Pearls with Sweet Coconut & Cantelope
2/3 cup Tapioca (tapioca pearls – not the instant stuff! I used a very small size)
1 cup whole milk
2 cups coconut milk (full fat)
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
Fruit: honeydew or cantelope, diced small

Bring water and sugar to boil. Turn heat down to low, add the milk and stir. Once the mixture is almost back to a boil, turn off the heat. Add the coconut milk and stir. Remove from heat and cool in refrigerator.

While coconut milk mixture is cooling, soak tapioca pearls in cold water for 20 minutes. The pearls will expand a little and turn bright white. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil – and add the tapioca pearls. Stir constantly for 2 minutes. The pearls will turn translucent. Turn off the heat and drain the pearls in a fine sieve. Immediately use cold running water to rinse the pearls and stop the cooking process. Set the pearls aside until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, ladle the coconut milk into each bowl, add a spoonful of tapioca and top with diced fruit. Enjoy!

Some Notes
Don’t boil the coconut milk – it makes it oily. For curries, its fine, because its a hot spicy dish. But for a cool, simple dessert, you need to make sure that the heat is turned off before stirring.

Do not overcook the pearls. If you are using the small sized pearls, 2 minutes is exactly the amount of time you need. If you use larger pearls, cook for a little longer time, maybe 15-30 seconds more, taste it and adjust time.

Don’t add the tapioca or fruit until right before serving. If you add it in and let it sit, the dish will become bitter. Why? I don’t know….my momma said so!

Use full fat coconut milk. I rarely use lite because its just not worth it. Save your calories on something else, but not the coconut milk! I also get my coconut milk at an Asian market. I’ve tried other brands at regular supermarkets, but they never are as full flavored, thick and rich as the Thai brands. The brand that I consistently reach for is “Chaokoh.”

Tapioca pearls come in different sizes – I like using small size pearls, it goes really nicely with finely diced honeydew or cantelope.

Other variations: Use canned lychee or diced mangoes instead. Top the dessert with shaved coconut. Add ginger to the coconut milk mixture (grate the ginger on a rasp or a traditional Japanese ginger grater, squeeze the pulp and only use the juice.
there is nothing more annoying than getting ginger fibers stuck in your teeth!)

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Bananananna Bread

What do you with 6 over ripe bananas? Why make Banana-nanna Bread of course! This is by far the best Banana Bread I’ve ever had.
Its perfectly moist and is packed with bananas so you get the full flavor of the fruit.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 4 bananas)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir until well combined. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

I love using my Pampered Chef loaf pan for this. The kids LOVE this bread warm with some butter.

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