Easter Egg Faultline Cake (Milk Bar Carrot Cake)

I can’t believe Easter is this Sunday! I don’t know about you, but personally, all the days seem to blend together these days. (I honestly thought today was Saturday and was panicking that I didn’t write this up fast enough for you guys.) Like most holidays, Easter was the most memorable to me as a kid. While I never got to participate in Easter egg hunts, I knew I would get some sort of treat at church. Whether it was opening up the contents of a hollow plastic egg, or getting a chocolate bunny, it was a day of celebration and joy. As an adult, Easter arrives with a depth of meaning but that undertone of childlike excitement still persists in my heart.

A year ago, faultline cakes became super popular. A cake that has a fracture in the center of a cake to display a fun interior was a novel design that took the Instagram world by storm. It was always an idea that I had pinned in the back of my mind but never got to try. So with Easter coming, it was natural to marry those ideas together. This faultline cake features super cute Easter sprinkles and pastel hued candy. The pastel candy against the yellow buttercream background cheers me up just by looking at it.

From Left to Right: Carrot Cake, Milk Crumbs, Graham Crust

The cake itself is inspired by Momofuku’s carrot cake. It features a graham cracker frosting, their signature milk crumb, a cheesecake filling and a sunken in carrot cake that serves as a pie crust like layer for the filling. Is it a lot of work? Yes. Is it worth it? A resounding  YES. If you prepare for the cake in advance and make each component a few days ahead, it’ll save you time and sanity.

And yes, I had to shape the cake into an egg shape. The top of the cake is actually a molded cake ball out of all the cut scraps of the cake, so you don’t waste any of the delicious bits. Unlike a traditional cake that has more structure, this was not a clean cut project. You try your best to make it into an egg shape and stop cutting if you  think you are shaving off too much. You can always add a bit more frosting to cover up your mistakes. But shaping the cake is an optional task. All of this is. If you want to just make the cake without decoration? That’s cool. If you want to decorate the cake without shaping it? That’s awesome. If you just want to bake the liquid cheesecake filling and eat it with a spoon? I caution you that it’s addictive and please, save me some. The point is, do what brings you the most joy and go with it. Happy Easter.

Easter Egg Faultline Cake (Milk Bar Carrot Cake)

You will need:

1 batch of carrot cake (recipe below)
1 batch of liquid cheesecake (recipe below)
1batch of milk crumbs (recipe below)
1 batch of graham frosting (recipe below)
1 batch of vanilla swiss meringue frosting, ¼ of the batch tinted yellow (recipe below)
assortment of Easter candies
5 inch cake board
thick straws

Assembly:

  1. On a cake board, place one 6-inch cake with the concave side facing up.
  2. Using an offset spatula spread a third of the liquid cheesecake in an even layer over the cake. The cake layer should now be a flat and even surface.
  3. Sprinkle one-third of the milk crumbs evenly over the cheesecake. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
  4. Using an offset spatula spread an even layer of graham frosting taking care to smooth the edges of the cake.
  5. Chill cake until firm in freezer. About 10-20 minutes.
  6. Remove cake from freezer.
  7. Top the cake with the 7-inch cake with the concave side facing up.
  8. Fill with liquid cheesecake, and layer milk crumbs and graham frosting.
  9. Chill cake until firm in freezer. About 10-20 minutes.
  10. Remove cake from freezer.
  11. Place a 5 inch cake board in the center of the cake and trace outline of the cake board. Remove cake board.
  12. Mark halfway between the center of the cake and the center of the traced circle at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock position.
  13. Insert a straw into the 12 o’clock mark on the cake and snip the straw where the straw sticks out of the cake. Continue for the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock position.
  14. Place the 5 inch cake board back on the center of the cake. The cake is now stable and will not sink from the extra weight of the upper layers.
  15. Place one 6-inch cake with the concave side facing up.
  16. Fill with liquid cheesecake, and layer milk crumbs and graham frosting.
  17. Chill cake until firm in freezer. About 10-20 minutes.
  18. Remove cake from freezer.
  19. Top the cake with the 5-inch cake with the concave side facing up.
  20. Fill with liquid cheesecake, and layer milk crumbs and graham frosting.
  21. Chill cake until firm in freezer. About 10-20 minutes.
  22. Carve the cake to an egg like shape.
  23. Take the cake scraps, liquid cheesecake, and milk crumbs and mix to make a large cake ball. Add some graham frosting if the cake ball won’t hold together.
  24. Shape it to be the pointed part of the cake.
  25. Chill cake.
  26. Remove cake and crumb coat the entire cake with a thin layer of graham frosting.
  27. Chill cake.
  28. Remove cake and frost a thin, smooth layer of yellow buttercream in the center of the cake, and decorate the cake with sprinkles and candies.
  29. Chill cake.
  30. Remove cake and using a piping bag with a large, round decorating tip, pipe the upper and lower half of the cake as high as you desire.
  31. Scrape off the extra frosting with a cake scraper for a smooth finish.
  32. Enjoy.


For the Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

1 ½ c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
3 cups finely grated, peeled carrots (about 1 pound)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F and grease and line your baking pans with parchment paper. If you are planning on making the cake egg shaped, bake your cake in one 5-inch pan, two 6-inch pans, and one 7-inch pan. If you are making a standard cake, use four 6-inch pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together on medium speed until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
  4. On low speed add the dry mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Take the bowl off of the standing mixer and fold in the grated carrots.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into your prepared pans.  (If you are using different sized pans, divide the batter so the batter comes up evenly amongst all the pans. So if it comes up ¼ way up the pan for 5-inch pan, it should also come up ¼ way up the side of your 6-inch pan). Bake about 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean. Note: The cake will be sunken in the middle. This is done on purpose to have a pie crust-like cake for the filling.
  7. Cool cakes on cooling rack until ready to assemble.

For the Liquid Cheesecake

Ingredients:

16 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 ½ c. sugar
2 tbsps. cornstarch
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ c. milk
2 large eggs

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until homogenous.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated.
  4. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed, and stream in the egg slurry. Mix for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be set on the outer edges of the baking pan but still wobble in the very center. If the cheesecake is not set at all, bake for 5 more minutes. Avoid browning the cheesecake at all. If it does brown, remove immediately.
  6. Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack. Once completely cool, it is ready for use. If making ahead of time, the cheesecake can be wrapped and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

For the Milk Crumb

Ingredients:

½ c. milk powder
¼ c. flour
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp. (½ stick) butter, melted
¼ c. milk powder
3 oz. (90g) white chocolate, melted

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 250° F.
  2. Combine the ½ c. milk powder, the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and mix using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
  3. Spread the clusters on a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should have sand like appearance. Cool the crumbs completely.
  4. Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than ½ inch in diameter and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the ¼ c. milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixtures.
  5. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed. Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

For the Graham Frosting

Ingredients:

1 recipe Graham Crust
⅔ c. milk
¾ tsp. kosher salt
12 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp. light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Combine the graham crust, milk, and ¾ tsp. salt in a blender, turn the speed on to medium-high, and puree until smooth and homogenous. It will take 1 to 3 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugars, cinnamon, and ¼ tsp. on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and lighter in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. On low speed, add in the graham mixture from blender. Mix on medium speed until the color is a uniform tan and silky smooth.
  4. Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

For the Graham Crust

Ingredients:

1½ c. graham cracker crumbs
¼ c. milk powder
2 tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp. (½ stick) butter, melted, or as needed
¼ c. heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, add and mix the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as a glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1 to 1½ tablespoons butter and mix it in.
  3. Eat immediately, or use as directed in a recipe. Stored in an airtight container, graham crust will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or for 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

For the Swiss Meringue Frosting

Ingredients:

1 ¼ c. sugar
5 large egg whites
2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
a pinch of kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Bring a small pot filled with about an inch of water to a simmer.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites, sugar, and salt together.
  3. Place the bowl on top of the pot and whisk continuously until the mixture becomes slightly foamy and you cannot feel the grittiness of the sugar, about 5-8 minutes. The mixture will be hot. Be careful.
  4. Move the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip the egg mixture until the bowl feels cool to the touch.
  5. Add in the butter, and continue to whip until a smooth buttercream forms.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and continue to whip until incorporated.

Makgeolli Macarons (Feat. Makku)

It’s National Beer Day! While we are currently unable to enjoy a cold one at a bar with our loved ones, we can safely enjoy one at the comfort of our own homes. The silver lining being that we are all responsibly drinking and not driving. If you’ve never heard of makgeolli before, it’s rice beer! It tastes slightly sweet, tart and creamy. It also has a lightly carbonated body that makes it a refreshing drink for any time of day.

I first time I had this refreshing brew was on a trip to South Korea in 2014, on a sweltering summer day. I met up with an old friend at an outdoor food stall at Dongdaemun market and ate sizzling savory Korean pancakes, which we washed down with a swig of chilled makgeolli was perfection. Even back then, I remember associating makgeolli as something that my grandparents drank but within the past year or so, it’s come back as the new and hip craft brew. Makku definitely fits in that category with the modern packaging and it’s fun and fruity flavors (*whispers* I’m partial to the mango). A dear friend of my sister-in-law, Carol Pak, owns it and she reached out to me to make some macarons inspired by Makku flavors for her employees for Christmas, when times were cheerful. I really admire Carol for her work ethic and bravery in bringing her vision to life. With many small businesses, her company took a hard hit with Covid-19. It was heartwarming to see supportive and kind responses on her IG post about her hardship. In general, it’s been a small light of hope to see people pitching in and showing good will whether it be in healthcare, business or hospitality. Recently, Makku announced that they now ship nationwide, so if you have the means to, try something new and give it a go!

Making makgeolli macarons took a few tries of trial and error. Unlike traditional beer or wine, it has a very subtle flavor that is hard to capture. I tried boiling it down to a syrup consistency, which is my tried and true technique for flavoring frosting, but it failed miserably. The resulting syrup was extremely sour and off-putting. The trick is to replace half of the milk with makgeolli. The resulting macaron is unique, subtle in flavor but definitely makgeolli flavored. It hits you especially at the end.

Makgeolli Macarons (Feat. Makku)

For the Macaron Shells:

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal (aka almond flour)
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.
  11. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 325-350˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 325˚F, if not then 350˚F.
  13. Lower the heat to from 350˚F to 300˚F. (If starting from 325˚F, lower to 275˚F.)
  14. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macaron shell is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  15. Remove pan from oven and reheat oven to higher temperature for 10 minutes before baking the next tray, lowering the temperature when you start baking it.
  16. Continue until you bake all of the macaron shells.

For the Makgeolli Frosting:

Ingredients:
½ c. whole milk
½ c. makgeolli
3 tbsp. flour
⅛ tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
3-5 tbsp. makgeolli, as needed

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucier over medium heat, whisk milk, ½ c. makgeolli, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add 3 tablespoons of makgeolli and whip. If the frosting can use more flavor, add more tablespoons without compromising the texture of the buttercream. If you add too much liquid, the buttercream will break down and separate. Err on the conservative side.
  8. Pipe finished frosting onto cooled macaron shells and enjoy.

Weekday Update // Oatmeal Dressing

Oatmeal Dressing
  1. Mango Pocket Knit Cardigan in Medium Brown – A cozy topper for this finicky spring weather.
  2. H&M V-Neck Blouse in Light Beige – An airy, lightweight blouse that’ll camouflage the Covid-19 food baby.
  3. Significant Other Sabine Gathered Jersey Top in Neutral – Artfully gathered and twisted for a hint of skin when paired with a high-waisted  bottom.
  4. Wilfred Dancer Dress in Stockings Beige – Ballet  inspired shape that encourages free dancing in your living room.
  5. BLANKNYC Madison Jeans in Off White – A truly neutral jean that’ll easily pair with any top.
  6. Hermes Oasis Sandal in Blanc – An timeless Hermes style with a walkable heel to give you a little lift.
  7. Bottega Venetta Mini Pouch in Nude 20 – I’m really into the modern minimalist look and it has an optional shoulder strap.

{Simple Sundays} Everything but the Bagel Chicken

How’s quarantined life? We’ve been trying to eat somewhat healthy with the wedding coming up in October, but we gave in and had Five Guys to go yesterday. As blessed as I feel that I was able to eat a burger when I wanted, I felt as if I was missing something. After some thought, I figured it out. It was the experience of eating at a dining establishment. It is strange how being in an environment with other people changes the experience of eating food, isn’t it?

 

I haven’t done a Simple Sundays post in a while. It’s a series where I post a ridiculously simple recipe that seems kind of odd to write down and share. This chicken recipe can be done with two ingredients. It’s more the technique than anything. Lining your slow cooker with balls of aluminum foil to keep the chicken from braising in its juices gives you a roasted chicken. The best part is the delicious smell of chicken that slowly wafts through your house as it cooks.

 

No Everything but the Bagel seasoning? Try it with smoked paprika, salt, pepper and butter or Mexican or Cajun seasoning. Really anything goes.

Everything but the Bagel Chicken

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (3-5 lbs), innards removed, patted dry
Everything but the Bagel seasoning
salt and pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large slow cooker, place 4 medium sized aluminum balls in the bottom of the slow cooker pot.
  2. Season the chicken liberally inside and out with the EBTB seasoning. You can add salt and pepper to the chicken if desired. Go easy on the salt because the EBTB seasoning has salt in it.
  3. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 4-5 hours.
  4. Remove chicken from slow cooker and season again if desired. The initial seasoning will be softened from the chicken juices. If you want the crunch of the seasoning, season once more.
  5. Slice and serve.|

Weekday Update // Pretty Spring Things

Hi! Just sharing some cute spring finds that make me think of warmer weather. I don’t know about you, but I miss going to the movies, eating brunch, and generally walking outside without worry. Hang in there! Please keep up the social distancing, because the more stringent we are now, the faster we can flatten the curve.

  1. Self Portrait Lace Panel Midi Dress in White – This white lace dress has the most gorgeous mix of textures.
  2. Zara Faux Leather Biker Jacket in Light Mauve – A closet staple in a fun spring color which makes it the perfect transition piece.
  3. Wilfred Twirl Skirt in Camille – Permission to twirl, spin, swish, sashay all you want in this dramatic a-line skirt.
  4. H&M Hooded Jacket in Powder Pink – For when you’re social distancing and jogging outside with your playlist as your companion.
  5. Colourpop Sweet Talk Eyeshadow Palette – I purchased this coral hued palette a year ago and still use it almost daily!
  6. Self Portrait Grosgrain Layered Lace Maxi Dress in Mint – The perfect mint dress.
  7. Wilfred Odyssey Dress in White – Major early 00’s vibe here with the smocked bodice, but updated with a sexy slit and a waist defining silhouette

Continue reading “Weekday Update // Pretty Spring Things”

National Macaron Day 2020: Black Sesame Macarons

 

 

Open sesame. The sesame seed isn’t commonly used in American cuisine except for hamburger buns and it’s definitely not something that is synonymous to desserts. On the other hand, it is regularly used in Asian cuisine from sesame oil to garnishing almost every recipe with the tiny seed. So it’s not surprising that they also use it to flavor their desserts.

 

You can transform your everyday vanilla frosting into black sesame ones by adding black sesame paste. What does black sesame paste taste like? I would describe it as a nuttier, more roasted peanut buttery flavor or a stronger flavored tahini. It is too intense to eat straight out of the jar, which makes sense because it comes out of a tiny container.  It’s perfect for those who do not like desserts that are too sweet.

I painted my macarons with a little bit of edible food coloring and vodka. I think the black and copper make a pretty cool contrast. As a tip, try and use a drier brush when painting your macarons to keep the surface smooth. Too much liquid will turn the smooth shells into a bumpy texture.

It’s also National Macaron Day! If you’re quarantined and making macarons was something you’ve always wanted to try, this is a great time to hunker down and give these a try. It doesn’t have to be these macarons. I have so many fun flavors to try on the site!

Cereal Macarons with Cereal Milk Frosting
Chocolate Chestnut Macarons
Chocolate Frosted Flake Macarons
Coffee Macarons
Cookies and Cream Macarons
Funfetti Macarons
Injeolmi Macarons
Karamel Sutra Macarons
Lemon Basil Macarons
Okinawan Sweet Potato Macarons
Pumpkin Cookie Butter Macarons
Raspberry Rosé Macarons
Strawberry Macarons

Above all, stay healthy and safe. 🙂

Black Sesame Macarons

For the Macaron Shells:

Ingredients:

212 g. almond meal (aka almond flour)
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.
  11. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 325-350˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 325˚F, if not then 350˚F.
  13. Lower the heat to from 350˚F to 300˚F. (If starting from 325˚F, lower to 275˚F.)
  14. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The macaron shell is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  15. Remove pan from oven and reheat oven to higher temperature for 10 minutes before baking the next tray, lowering the temperature when you start baking it.
  16. Continue until you bake all of the macaron shells.

For the Black Sesame Frosting:

Ingredients:
½ c. whole milk
3 tbsp. flour
⅛ tsp. salt
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp – 3 tsp black sesame paste

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucier over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and sesame paste starting with 2 teaspoons and adding more if needed.
  8. Pipe finished frosting onto cooled macaron shells and enjoy.

Weekday Update

^This is the most recent celebration cake I made. Spacing polka dots is more challenging than you would think!

How are you doing today? I feel like it is more important now than ever to check up on the people around us. As a natural introvert, being isolated is not a problem for me. But the general atmosphere of cheerlessness even has this wallflower wilt a little. All the gyms are closed so I’ve been jumping rope for exercise and trying to learn how to jog while jumping rope like Rocky. I tend to laugh whenever I trip up and it echoes eerily in the air from the silence. It’s an uncertain time in the world, but I’ve been getting small joys in cooking good food, playing gin rummy and retail therapy (it’s proven to boost your mood). Here are some links to keep you entertained because cheers to social distancing and banding together to #flatteningthecurve.

The Movie Series: Chapaguri (aka Jjapaguri aka Rom-Don) from Parasite (2019)

chapaguri

I first caught wind of Parasite from The Big Picture podcast and it was clear that it was becoming a big deal. So when it hit theaters last October, I quickly made a movie date with a fiancé that was confused as to why I wanted to watch a thriller. I am not ashamed to say that I am a big chicken when it comes to movies in the horror/thriller genre. But the hype and the South Korean pride were too strong and I had to be a part of the wave.

 

how to make chapaguri

I won’t go spoiling the movie for you, because it is best seen without knowing anything. But there is an overall theme of class difference and it is illustrated in so many ways.  One such difference is the chapaguri (aka jjapaguri aka ram-don) dish that the maid makes for the family. Chapaguri is traditionally made with two packages of instant noodles: one package of chapagetti (“chapa”), a black bean noodle, and one package of Neoguri (“guri”), a seafood ramyun. The wealthy family puts a lavish twist to it by topping the dish with Hanwoo, a premium beef with dense marbling. It’s the equivalent of topping a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese with a prime+ steak.

 

jjapaguri ram-don

 

It’s been years since I’ve eaten a pack of instant noodles but I had to get my hands on this dish asap. I went to the nearest Korean supermarket and grabbed the noodles and beef. It was delicious. The savory noodles coated with a sweet and spicy sauce (thanks to the spice packets) interspersed with juicy umami slices of melty beef. I can see why it’s a crowd pleaser for anyone. As for the calorie content? Well, it’s the weekend and weekends are made for cheat days. 🙂 Continue reading “The Movie Series: Chapaguri (aka Jjapaguri aka Rom-Don) from Parasite (2019)”

The Gaming Series: Link Brownies (Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Brownies)

I’ve been taking a lot of baking orders for the past year. Not so often that it’s been unmanageable (or even often enough that I’d say it’s profitable), but enough that most of my spare time was spent creating for others. Only recently did I realize I was in a baking rut. I wasn’t making fun things that were inspiring to me. Yes, I tried out new recipes and that is always good but it never tapped into my creative side. So I’ve made a decision on making things for just me (and you, if you are reading this). What does this look like? Probably a smattering of posts of things that I like but mostly will be centered on a series of subjects that I am a fan of. All of the recipes that I’m sharing will be just as delicious, only that they’d reflect the selected theme. So I’m excited to announce that I’m kicking off this season with The Gaming Series.
I’ve loved video games when my brother got his very first Gameboy. I’m talking about that grey box with the monotone green screen. My three siblings and I would crowd around that one tiny screen and watch each other play for hours. Going forward, my younger brother and sister would eventually lose their interest, but my other brother and I would continue with our fandom for years.
Our very first console was a Nintendo 64, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the first RPG that we played. Because the game is meant for one player, I would be the backseat driver to his playing. And even though I rarely physically held the controller, I was every bit as immersed and taken by the storyline and the gameplay.  I could almost feel the heat of Death Mountain, the cool waters of Lake Hylia and the dryness of the Haunted Wasteland. I wanted to ride on Epona and drink a gallon of Lon Lon Milk. Link was probably my first video game crush. (Even now that blonde hair and blue eyes makes my heart sway a bit.)  So unsurprisingly, my first post is of Link.
First, I have to let you know this recipe is the bomb. The light, crispy, chewy and slightly salty brown butter rice krispy treat offsets the smooth, fudgy brownie base in the best way. Second is that I just love how the candy melts pop against the black background. I have to thank @emilylynncantera because her artwork is what inspired this project.
zelda browniesI hope you enjoyed the post and I’m looking forward to continuing this journey with you. The hint for the next theme has to do with a certain fungi kingdom.

Link Brownies

You will need:

Brownies (recipe below)
Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispies (recipe below)
2 to 3 cups Mini Marshmallows
Candy Melts in Black, Brown, Purple, Yellow, Orange, White, Green and Blue
Link Stencil

Instructions:

  1. Bake the layer of brownies. (*Important, the 8 inch pan must be at least 3 inches tall. Otherwise the recipe will not layer into pan.)
  2. When cool, layer the rice krispies being careful not to pack it in too tightly. This results in dense and tough rice krispies.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, melt and stir 2 c. mini marshmallows (melt 3 if you want your marshmallow layer to be thicker) in the microwave.
  4. Spread the marshmallow layer over the rice krispies layer.
  5. Melt enough black candy melt to spread over the top of the pan. (About ½ – ¾ c.).
  6. Let set.
  7. Put stencil over the top of the pan and using an x-acto knife, stencil the outline onto the candy melt.
  8. Remove the stencil and using candy melts of the right color, fill in the stenciled area. Let set and enjoy.

Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

Ingredients:

¾ c. dark chocolate chopped into small ¼ in. pieces
10 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ¼ c. sugar
¾ c. + 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
½ c. all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F, oil and line an 8” square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate, butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Microwave mixture about 1-2 minutes until mixture is melted and smooth when stirred.
  3. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract until batter is smooth and shiny.
  4. Fold in the flour until no streaks of flour remain.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 20-25 minutes until a toothpick poked in the center of the batter comes out with moist crumbs.
  6. Let cool completely before adding the rice krispies layer.

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispies

Ingredients:

8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
One 10 oz bag of marshmallows
¼ tsp. kosher salt
6 c. (160 g.) crisp rice cereal

  1. In a medium to large pot, melt butter on medium-low heat. Keep stirring butter with a rubber spatula until the butter foams and small brown bits form on the bottom of the pan. (The butter will smell nutty.)
  2. Once the butter is browned, stir in the marshmallows until the marshmallows melt into a smooth mixture.
  3. Stir in the cereal and salt and spread into the pan with the brownies.
  4. Do not firmly squish the cereal into the pan. This will result in jagged, hard rice krispies. Gently push it into the pan and into the corners. Let cool and set.

Brownie recipe adapted from the Feed Feed.
Rice Krispies recipe adadpted from the Smitten Kitchen.

Chocolate Banana Bread

This bread is not healthy. I repeat, this bread is not healthy. It’s interesting how every time you have a fruit or a vegetable in the title of a recipe, it sounds like a healthier option. (Did you know that carrot cake at the Cheesecake Factory is one of their highest calorie count desserts? I’m telling you.. vegetables/fruits in a dessert is a lie!) Instead it’s an indulgent, rich chocolate bread which is full of chocolate chips and banana flavor. I think the role of the banana here is not so much to provide banana flavor (which it does) but to give it a rich, moist crumb that is not heavy.

I’ve seen a lot of banana breads on Instagram that have the floating bananas on top and always wondered how it is done. And the interesting thing is, no one writes how it is done! Even recipes with the floating bananas don’t mention the bananas on top of the loaf, they just mention putting the batter into the pan and bake. WHY?

Turns out, the bananas do not sink into the bread like I worried. But to keep it from turning color, a light brushing of fresh lemon juice will help it keep its pleasing yellow shade. Sprinkle the top with Sugar In The Raw (aka demerara sugar) and it will glisten with crunchy sugar crystals after it is baked.  It really is one of my favorite banana bread recipes and I think I’ll have a hard time turning back to my older one. On second thought, I might on the days I want to be a little “healthier”… that one uses half whole wheat flour. 🙂

Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. Dutch processed cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 large brown bananas (1 ½ c. mashed)
¼ c. (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ c. packed light brown sugar
1 extra large egg (or large if you don’t have extra large)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ c. chocolate chips
1 banana, ripe but not browned
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
demerara sugar (sugar in the raw) for sprinkling on top of loaf

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350˚F, grease and line your loaf pan with parchment paper. (I used this gorgeous pan and it is on sale!!)
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and kosher salt in a medium bowl and set it aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, add the mashed bananas, melted butter, and oil and mix until combined.
  4. Add in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  5. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and add in the flour mixture.
  6. While there are traces of flour in the batter, add the chocolate chips and mix just until combined.
  7. Pour batter into your prepared loaf pan.
  8. Slice your banana lengthwise and brush with fresh lemon juice
  9. Place it side by side on top of the batter.
  10. Sprinkle the demerara sugar all over the top and place into the oven.
  11. Bake banana bread for about 50-60 minutes, checking at 50 minutes to make sure you don’t overbake your loaf.
  12. Stick a toothpick in the center of the loaf to check, making sure to check in a few places as skewering a chocolate chip would make you think the batter is undercooked.
  13. Remove pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before removing the bread from the pan.
  14. Let cool and serve.

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.