The Gaming Series: Pokémon Doughnuts

Pokemon doughnutsI remember holding a Gameboy Color in my hands for the first time. My brother had bought it with months of saving up for it and I couldn’t believe the handheld color display. Along with the Gameboy he purchased Pokémon Red, which was just starting to get its hype. I loved that game and spent hours leveling up Pokémon and discovering glitches like the MissingNo.. This glitch let you duplicate rare candies infinitely which you then used to up your team to level 99. Honestly, leveling up your team so high is useless because you can beat the whole game with much less, but bragging rights seem to never go out of fashion. And while Pokémon Red has a special place in my heart, Pokemon Silver has to be the best one out there. (Don’t @ me, please.)
pokemon doughnutsI’ve made Star Wars doughnuts in the past, so I thought it’d be fun to do a Pokémon version. Only this time I decided to make them into Ditto versions. If you didn’t know, Ditto is a Pokémon that copies the abilities and appearances of other Pokémon except for their face.  I guess this was a way of keeping the same simple face while making fun appendages. But honestly, I think they’re very cute in their own right. Just look at all the plushies that are made of them!
pokemon doughnutsIf you follow me on Instagram, you can see the process of making some of these. Click below to be taken to the page:

Pikachu Doughnut Tutorial
Bulbasaur Doughnut Tutorial
Magnemite Doughnut Tutorial

Mini Doughnuts
makes about 3 dozen mini doughnuts

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ c. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 large egg
½ c. whole milk
¾ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ⅓ c. all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven 350˚F. Spray non-stick cooking spray on your mini doughnut pan.
    2. In a medium bowl, whip butter, vegetable oil, and both sugars with a hand-held mixer until smooth.
    3.            Mix in egg and milk until completely combined.
    4.            Stir in baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.
    5.            Stir in flour until smooth, do not over mix.
    6.            In a piping bag, fitted with a medium round tip, fill each doughnut cavity about ½ full.
    7.            Bake 5-7 minutes until the doughnuts spring back when you touch it. Do not wait until the doughnut is golden brown, you will over bake it.
    8.            Let cool in pan about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
    9.            Repeat steps 6-8 until all of the batter is used.

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.

French Onion Mashed Potato Soup

French Onion Mashed Potato SoupOh, hello. It’s been a while. It’s been a whirlwind of a month since my last post. During the time I was away, I made a wedding cake, 200 cupcakes and threw an engagement party for my brother. There was a dessert bar, which I’ve wanted to do forever and a beautiful mini cake filled with flowers. I need to share photos with you guys asap as possible (<=the office).
French Onion SoupI almost called this soup, a shepherd’s pie French onion soup because of the mashed potato. But, as shepherd’s pie usually has beef and this does not, I felt like I would be misleading you. It has a ring of mashed potato that floats around the crouton, like a delicious moat around a castle of bread and cheese. The mashed potatoes meld into the soup once you dig into it giving it a velvety finish similar to potato soup.
French Onion Mashed Potato SoupI didn’t even plan on making it this way until I realized that I had some mashed potatoes left over from dinner the other night and thought that it was a great way to use up the rest of it. Because in the world of food math: potatoes + onions = winning. But really, you don’t have to go out of your way to make mashed potatoes because even without it, it’s a pretty darn awesome French onion soup.
French Onion Mashed Potato SoupFrench Onion Mashed Potato SoupI know it’s customary to put either gruyère or mozzarella on top of French onion soup, but I had some sliced Muenster cheese in my fridge and it melted beautifully. Insert heart eyes emoji .
French Onion Mashed Potato SoupP.S. I have this really awesome Christmas cake coming your way. Like my-mind-can’t-handle-it-cute. I can’t wait to share it with you as soon as I put it together. Hopefully, by next week!

French Onion Mashed Potato Soup

Makes about 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large onions, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ c. red wine
1 ½ tbsp. flour
1 qt. beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
2 slices muenster cheese
mashed potatoes (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and cook until the wine evaporates and the onions are dry.
  3. Discard the bay leaf and thyme spring. Stir in flour.
  4. Cook the flour over low heat for about 2-3 minutes (do not burn the flour).
  5. Slowly add in the beef broth while stirring.
  6. Simmer the soup for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Preheat your broiler. Fill your soup bowl or crock bowls with the soup.
  8. Place a large baguette slice in the center of the soup.
  9. Fill a piping bag fitted with large frosting tip with the mashed potato. (I used one with a lot of teeth hoping that it would make a pretty presentation with the toasted edges, but once the cheese covered it, it didn’t matter. So, any large cake tip will work.)
  10. Pipe around the floating slice of baguette.
  11. Place a slice of cheese on each bowl and broil until the cheese gets nice and toasty.
  12. Serve hot.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
1 stick butter, melted
1 c. heavy cream, divided
about ½ c. low-sodium chicken stock
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook potatoes until tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Drain and peel potatoes under cool running water.
  3. Pass potatoes through a ricer into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  4. Add the melted butter and half of cream.
  5. Whip on low speed until cream and butter are incorporated. Move to a higher speed and whip until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
  6. Adjust the taste and consistency with more heavy cream or chicken stock.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve warm.

French onion soup recipe adapted from The Food Network.
Mashed potato recipe adapted from Serious Eats.

{Simple Sundays} Giant Popovers

Giant PopoversIt’s been a while since I’ve done a Simple Sundays post. I’ve been too busy trying to be creative and unique that I’ve put the effortless recipes on the back burner. But I’m back with this super simple popover recipe.
giant popoversgiant popoversIf you’ve never had a popover, I would say that it kind of reminds me of a dutch baby but in a muffin form. Light and crisp on the outside and moist and eggy on the inside, it’s the perfect breakfast food served with jam and butter. Actually, you can pretty much use them for dinner rolls too.
how to make a popoverIf you loved my blueberry cruffins, but feel like it’s too much work to do, I highly recommend this recipe instead. It’s lighter and you can use any kind of filling that you like. Plus, that vertical lift is insane! I mean just look at them. They’re literally popping out of the pans. You don’t even need a blender, mixer or a food processor. All you need is a whisk and a bowl. Oh! And a popover pan of course. 🙂
giant popovers
Giant Popovers
makes 6 very large popovers

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ c. whole milk, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Use a pastry brush to brush your popover pan with melted butter.
  2. Turn on the oven to 425˚F, and place your popover pan in the oven while the oven preheats. (As shown in picture #1)
  3. In a large bowl (preferably one with a spout), whisk salt and flour together. (As shown in picture #2)
  4. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together milk and eggs. (As shown in picture #3)
  5. Slowly add the egg mixture into the flour mixture while continuously whisking to make a smooth, liquidy batter. (As shown in picture #4)
  6. Whisk in the rest of the melted butter to the batter. (As shown in picture #5)
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter into each cavity about halfway full. (As shown in picture #6)
  8. Bake the popovers for about 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and very tall. DO NOT OPEN the oven door during this time.
  9. Remove the popovers from the pan and puncture each popover to let the steam out. (As shown in picture #7)
  10. Serve warm.

Recipe barely adapted from Food 52.

 

 

Blueberry Cruffins (Crossiant + Muffins)

blueberry cruffinHybrid food seems to be the trend these days and they usually involve a doughnut.  Doughnut ice cream sandwiches, cronuts (doughnut + croissant), macaron doughnuts, and doughnut bagels are all examples that have popped up on our social media feeds. I freaking love doughnuts and I think they’re perfect as they are so I’m moving onto the cruffin. A cruffin is a croissant + muffin. Insanely crisp and flaky on the outside and fluffy, buttery and moist on the inside, it’s the perfect combo of both worlds. Oh, and because Mr. H loves jam filled doughnuts, I filled mine with my favorite blueberry jam (seriously, my favorite for years! I used for my blueberry pie cookies and blueberry pie doughnuts too) and dusted it off with powdered sugar.
blueberry cruffinCruffins have become popular in the U.S. by Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco.  In fact, they are so desired that someone broke into the bakery to steal the recipe in 2015. The thief didn’t steal anything else, not even the cash. In a way it sounds like a ridiculous reason to risk going to jail, but it also shows how awesome a cruffin is. You know how they say there is no such thing as love at first sight but there is lust at first sight? When I first saw the photos of the cruffin from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, I fell in deep lust. I needed to have this cruffin, like now. But San Francisco is on the other side of the continent, what can I do? The only other way was to bake it on my own.
blueberry cruffinThere is a very popular cruffin recipe that is on Pinterest by Lady & Pups. They’re ridiculously cute and have tons of layers, but they weren’t tall like the cruffins I was looking for. Enter the popover pan. It’s twice as tall as a muffin pan and perfect for the recipe. Am I telling you to buy a popover pan just for this cruffin? Heck yes. Before this recipe, I’ve even settled for making popovers in muffin pans but there is just no other way around it. I think if you make these in a muffin pan, there isn’t enough surface area for the fluffy interior and the ratio of the crisp to chewy would be off.
irish butter cruffin layersSo how difficult is this recipe? If I’m being completely honest with you, it’s not easy. It is labor intensive and the yield is very small. Only 6 cruffins. But the6 cruffins are worth it. It’s like asking someone would you rather eat one fresh-off-the-conveyor-belt Krispy Kreme doughnut or a dozen stale supermarket ones? If you are the type of person who would go for the dozen stale ones, this recipe is not for you. But if you, like me, would rather have that one delicious doughnut, then dust out your pasta roller. Yes, you need a pasta roller. I’m going to say it is impossible to roll out the dough this thin with a rolling pin. Also, I recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh out your ingredients.
blueberry cruffin blueberry cruffinThe ingredient list is short so you want to use the best ingredients on hand. I love King Arthur flour and I used the best butter I could get my hands on which was Kerrygold’s Irish butter. Irish butter is much more flavorful and rich than American butter and every penny was worth buying it for this recipe. I changed my technique just slightly from Lady & Pups. Her post has beautiful photos of how she did it, and I recommend looking through the photos if you have a difficult time understanding how to put this together. It does look a little intimidating, but don’t get scared because once you get the hang of it, it becomes a rhythmic process, kind of like knitting.
how to make a cruffin

I promise you, it’s worth it. 🙂 blueberry cruffin

Blueberry Cruffins
makes 6 tall cruffins

Ingredients:

150 grams (1 cup + 1 tbsp) bread flour
150 grams (1 cup + 1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp (6 grams) instant dry yeast
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
160 grams (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) luke-warm filted water (not tap)
50 grams (3 1/2 tbsp) salted butter, soften and cubed
165 grams (11 1/2 tbsp) salted butter, room-temperature
blueberry jam
powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl of a standing mixer attached with a dough hook, mix bread flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, and sugar.
  2. Once mixed, add in your water and knead on low speed until a shaggy dough forms, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the 50 grams of softened and cubed butter and knead for 5 minutes on low speed until the butter is incorporated and then raise your speed to medium and knead for about 10-15 minutes until a smooth ball of dough forms.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, the dough will puff up and be larger in size.
  5. Prepare your popover pan by lightly greasing the inside with shortening and dusting it with flour. DO NOT skip this step. It would be very sad if the cuffins do not come out of the pan as one whole piece.
  6. Move dough to a lightly floured surface, and divide into 6 equal portions. (as shown in the above picture # 1). Take one portion out and cover the remaining under plastic wrap so the dough does not dry out.
  7. Flatten the dough with your hands to about ½ inch thick and with your pasta roller on the widest setting (or the lowest number), work the dough through your pasta roller.
  8. After you move the pasta through the widest setting once, fold the dough in thirds and then move it through the widest setting again. Repeat this step once more before moving onto the next step.
  9. Once the dough has been moved through three times on the widest setting, cut the dough in half.
  10. Lightly dust both sides of one half of the dough and move it through your pasta roller from the widest to the thinnest setting or as thin as you can get it without the dough tearing. (My pasta machine goes from 0-9, 9 was too delicate of a dough to work with so I only went to 8. It was still tissue thin and that is what you are looking for.)
  11. Set the first half of the dough aside and work the second half of the dough in the same way until the same thinness is reached. (as shown in the above picture #2)
  12. With an offset spatula, lightly butter one side of each half of the dough with the 165 grams of the room temperature butter (not all at once, divide the 165 grams for all the flattened dough). Be careful not to tear the dough and to completely cover each side with butter. (as shown in the above picture #3)
  13. Roll up one half of the dough, kind of like a fruit roll-up. (as shown in the above picture #4)
  14. Take the rolled up dough and place it on one end of the second buttered dough. (as shown in the above picture #5)
  15. Roll up the dough in the same way as the first dough to make one fat roll of dough. (as shown in the above picture #6)
  16. With a very sharp knife, cut the rolled up dough in half lengthwise. (as shown in the above picture #7)
  17. Place both halves of the dough into one cup of the popover pan with the layers (cut-side) facing outwards. You want to curl the first half of the dough in on the bottom, and then layer the second half of the dough on top of that one. Do not squish the dough into the pan, because it needs room to rise. (as shown in the above picture #8).
  18. Repeat steps 7-17 until you are done with all 6 pieces of the original dough.
  19. Loosely place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the popover pan and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until the dough is fully doubled in size. (as shown in the above picture #9)
  20. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place a sheet pan underneath the popover pan (to catch the butter drippings) and bake until golden brown and puffed up, about 20-30 minutes.
  21. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it to a wire rack.
  22. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip with blueberry jam.
  23. Find a divot on top of a completely cool cruffin and wedge the tip into the cruffin.
  24. Squeeze the piping bag to fill the cruffin with jam until you feel resistance.
  25. Repeat with the other cruffins.
  26. Lightly dust the top of each cruffins with powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from Lady & Pups.

Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry Cream

Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry CreamThere are a few things every experienced baker thinks of trying in their lifetime. They are recipes that are known to be notoriously finicky and difficult, usually French. The kind of desserts you buy at the bakery because it’s not worth the trouble making in your own kitchen. One of these recipes is the croquembouche. In fact, if you google “difficult desserts to make”, the croquembouche makes the list almost every time.
pate a choux cream puffsSo what is a croquembouche? I would describe it as a tower of caramelized cream puffs, held together only by caramel and covered by delicate sugar threads. It’s definitely looks impressive and I can see why some people would choose one over a traditional wedding cake. Plus, that crunch of the caramel over the cream puff is really delicious. Almost like a crème brûlée wrapped up in a cream puff.
ombre cream puffsThis was a trial run that I did before a friend’s bridal shower and I learned that it takes a lot of time if you try to do it all in one day. What I did learn was that it’s not very difficult if you divide the work between three days. If you make the pastry cream two days before, and bake the cream puffs the day before and fill, dip and assemble it the day of, it is quite manageable in a decent amount of time. Here are my thoughts on the process:
croqeumbouche1) I think the most difficult/scary part of making this is the hot caramel. I am not embarrassed to admit that I burned my fingers a few times while making this. Have a bowl of ice water on hand just in case you do burn yourself. Your gut reaction may be to put the finger in your mouth to cool it (at least mine was), but that will not help the burn. Take your time when dipping the creampuff into the caramel, and if the cream puff gets stuck in the sugar, then use a spoon to fish it out. DO NOT attempt to take it out using your fingers. This is not something that can be done in a hurry, so make sure you have plenty of time before doing this step.
croqeumbouche2) No matter how carefully and evenly you try to pipe the pâte à choux (the cream puff batter), you will end up with unique looking cream puffs. At first, you may be disappointed, but the funny shapes come in handy later on when you’re assembling the croquembouche. It becomes kind of like a game of Tetris, where you try to find that perfect piece to fit that nook.
croqeumbouche3) The most fun part is making the sugar threads. When the caramel is somewhat cool, you take your fork and spin it around the croquembouche making a fine web of sugar strings. It makes you feel like a spider and you can do as much or as little as you like.
croqeumbouche4) I tried to put fondant flowers on it and realized it was not worth it. The fine sugar threads harden as soon as they touch the cream puffs and there is no way for the fondant to stick to it. I just wedged it in between the gaps that were created. I wouldn’t recommend trying it. It wasn’t worth the work.

Croquembouche with Vanilla Orange Blossom Pastry Cream
Makes 1 medium-sized croquembouche

For the pâte à choux:

Ingredients:
1 c. water
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. granulated sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
4-5 large eggs, plus an extra egg for the egg wash

Instructions:

  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425˚F.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt, and sugar to a boil.
  3. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove pan from heat and dump in flour at once and quickly stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Once all the flour is incorporated, return the pan to the heat and cook the mixture for 30-60 seconds by continuing to stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until a thin film forms on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Move the dough into a mixing bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix for about 1-3 minutes until the dough is cool enough for you to stick your finger in. After that point, add 4 eggs, one at a time until incorporated. If the dough does not fall off the paddle in a “V” shape, add the fifth egg.
  6. In a pastry bag fitted with a large plain piping tip, pipe 1 inch circles of dough.
  7. In a separate bowl, make an egg wash by mixing 1 egg and 1 ½ tsp. water with a fork until well mixed.
  8. Use a pastry brush and lightly brush dough with your egg wash, brushing down any peaks you may have formed when you piped out the dough.
  9. Bake your cream puffs one baking sheet at a time in the center rack of your oven. Bake for 7 minutes and reduce the heat to 375˚F and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  10. As soon as they come out of the oven, poke holes in each puff with a toothpick to release trapped steam.
  11. Once cool, use a small star pastry tip to make holes on the bottom of all the puffs

For the vanilla orange blossom pastry cream:

Ingredients:

4 c. whole milk
1 c. granulated sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
2 large eggs
½ c. corn starch
1 pinch of salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. orange blossom water

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring milk and ½ c. sugar to a boil.
  2. While the milk is heating, whisk egg yolks, eggs, ½ c. sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. When the milk boils, slowly add milk to the egg mixture while whisking, one ladleful at a time.
  4. Once half of the milk mixture is added, add the egg mixture back into the milk mixture.
  5. Continuously whisk the mixture over medium heat until the cream thickens.
  6. Once thickened, take the mixture off the heat and mix in the butter until completely incorporated.
  7. Stir in the vanilla extract and orange blossom water.
  8. Strain the mixture through a sieve and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready for use.

For the caramel:

Ingredients:

2 ½ c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
½ c. water

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a metal bowl with ice water.
  2. In a saucepan, boil sugar, corn syrup and water until light amber. Do not stir while the sugar is cooking, it can cause crystals.
  3. Once the caramel becomes light amber, place pan into the ice water to prevent further cooking and cool the caramel.

Assembly:

  1. Place a 5 ½ inch cake board on a sheet of parchment paper.
  2. Fill the cream puffs with the pastry cream.
  3. Dip the top of each cream puff into the hot caramel, reheating it if caramel becomes too hard to dip. (CAUTION: Be careful not to touch the hot caramel, the hot sugar will stick to your skin and burn you. Keep a bowl of ice water on hand just in case to cool the burn asap.)
  4. Use the larger cream puffs for the bottom of the croqeumbouche.
  5. Dip the bottom of the first creampuff and stick to the outside of the cake board.
  6. Dip the next cream puff on the bottom and to the side, to stick to cream puff that is already on the cake board. Repeat the process until the first layer is done.
  7. When doing the second layer of cream puffs, arrange the cream puff in between each cream puff on the first layer, to create a stable tower.
  8. Continue to dip and build, heating the caramel if it becomes too hard.
  9. Once the tower is built, cool the caramel until it forms a thread when you lift it from the pot with a fork.
  10. Dip the fork into the caramel and circle around the croqeumbouche to create a web of caramel strings around it.

Pâte à choux recipe adapted from food network.
Pastry cream recipe adapted from all recipes.
Caramel recipe adapted from bon appetit.

Tiramisu Cinnamon Rolls

Tiramisu Cinnamon RollsIf I bottled the scent that came out of the oven while this baked, I would be a millionaire. It smells as if your house was smack dab in the middle of a Starbucks and a Cinnabon store. Er.. kind of like a mall. (I suppose living in the mall would be a nightmare for some people.) Everyone knows the best part about going to the mall is passing by a Cinnabon or a Weltzel’s Pretzels store. I’m always battling my inner fat kid every time I walk by.
Cinnamon RollsFilled with a cinnamon-coffee sugar, topped with a whipped mascarpone frosting and dusted with a generous dose of cocoa powder, it highlights the best parts of both worlds. I would suggest taking the buns out of the pan about 5-10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. The coffee cinnamon sugar creates a caramel when it bakes, and if you let it cool completely in the pan, it will become a type of glue which makes it nearly impossible to get clean cuts out of the pan. Also, don’t be like me and roll the dough out too thinly, I originally wanted just 8 cinnamon rolls, but I had to slice the dough more because it was too tall for the pan. Boo.

Tiramisu Cinnamon RollsCinnamon rolls are definitely not an on-the-whim kind of treat. But if you do decide to make it, I can imagine it being part of an awesome Christmas morning breakfast.
DSC_0579

Tiramisu Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

For the Cinnamon Rolls:
1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
½ c. water, warm (110-120°F)
¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tbsp buttermilk
1 large egg
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt

For the Filling:
¼ c. unsalted butter, softened
¾ c. light brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 ½ tbsp. coffee emulsion
For the Frosting:
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temp
2 tbsp. butter, room temp
⅓ c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. heavy cream
cocoa powder, for dusting on top

Instructions:

  1. In a microwave safe cup, warm ½ c. water until 110°F-120°F or lukewarm. Stir in 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar until dissolved. Stir in dry yeast and let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. While the yeast is proofing, mix flour, buttermilk, 3 tbsp. sugar, egg, salt, and the melted butter into a bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Add the water mixture into the flour mixture and stir until a loose dough forms.
  4. Let stand for 8 minutes to hydrate flour.
  5. With the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on speed 2 for about 8 minutes until dough is pliable and stretchy.
  6. Move dough to an oiled bowl and cover the bowl and let the dough rise until double its size, about 1 to 2 hours.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, corn starch, butter, and coffee emulsion until combined. Set aside.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 9” x 12” rectangle. Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly, except 1” along the bottom of the dough.
  9. Roll the dough tightly, using the uncovered border to seal the roll.
  10. Cut the roll into 8 even rolls.
  11. Grease a 9×13 inch pan, and evenly space out the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 – 1 ½ hours until rolls have doubled in size.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  13. Bake for about 20 minutes until rolls are golden brown.
  14. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before turning out the rolls onto parchment paper or a nonstick surface.
  15. While the rolls cool. Make the mascarpone frosting.
  16. Using a handheld mixer, whip butter and powdered sugar in a medium bowl.
  17. Add mascarpone cheese and heavy cream and mix until light and fluffy. Do not overwhip.
  18. Spread frosting over cooled rolls and dust the top generously with cocoa powder using a fine meshed sieve.

Cinnamon roll recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian.

Green Tea Beignets

Green Tea Beignets “Green tea beignets,” my sister said as she shoved her iPhone screen in my face. It is one of Dominique Ansel’s creations in his newest café and she is already making plans in our family group chat to go pay a visit. Even though NYC is just across the bridge, it isn’t simple to make plans and go on a moment’s notice. After all, we all work and have personal obligations. But dang, ever since she said it, I could not get it out of my head. The thought would not stop haunting me, and before I knew it I was googling recipes for beignets and looking up photos of green tea beignets.
Beignets RecipeGreen Tea Beignets Turns out, it was simpler than I thought (which in hindsight, is not necessarily a good thing because it means that I can make beignets on a whim). The dough does not need a mixer or kneading, and it doesn’t even require a second rise! It puffs up beautifully with a honeycombed interior and is just barely sweet. This leaves you with the option to give it a generous shower of powdered sugar.
Beignets RecipeGreen Tea Beignets RecipeGreen Tea Beignets My matcha is not the highest grade because I didn’t think I would ever need a high quality powder. (In case you didn’t know, matcha can get quite pricey by the ounce.) But for this recipe, I think it is necessary. My green tea powdered sugar does not have the vibrant green that would make it scream, “Hey, I’m green tea flavored!” Instead, it whispers, “I might be something different from regular ol’ powdered sugar, you’re going to have to taste me to see…” This is not the message I wanted to send, but then again you get what you pay for and it is a lesson learned.
Green Tea Beignets Either way, how wrong can you go with fried dough and sugar? The only thing is, you need to eat them within about 4 hours (and that’s with using a low heated oven to keep them warm). Past that, the dough starts to get very stale and loses its magical deliciousness.

Green Tea Beginets

Ingredients:

1 c. water, 110˚F and not from tap
3 tbsp. sugar, divided
1 ½ tbsp. active dry yeast
3 c. all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
vegetable oil for frying
green tea powdered sugar (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. Combine water, 1 tbsp. sugar, and yeast in a bowl until foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, eggs, and 2 tbsp. vegetable oil until combined. Add the water mixture and stir until a smooth, sticky dough forms.
  3. Spray another bowl with nonstick spray and transfer dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for the dough to rise and double in size, about 1-2 hours.
  4. On a large surface, generously coated with flour, dump out cold dough and roll out to a rectangle that is ¼ in. thick. Cut into 24 squares with a well lubed pizza cutter.
  5. On two baking sheets, set each sheet with a wire cooling rack.
  6. Heat oil in a Dutch oven until 350˚F, fry dough 5 at a time until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes. Keep oil temperature between 325˚F – 350˚F. Transfer fried dough onto wire cooling rack
  7. If you want to wait until all of the dough is fried, keep it warm in a 175˚F -200˚F oven.
  8. Dust generously with green tea powdered sugar and serve.

Green Tea Powdered Sugar

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. matcha (green tea) powder
1 ½ c. powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Sift matcha powder and powdered together with a mesh strainer and mix until homogenous.

Garlic Naan

Garlic Naan 1As much as I love trying out new restaurants and cuisines, I have a terrible habit of ordering the same menu items wherever I go. It’s not that I don’t like trying new things, I suppose I know what I like and I always crave that same dish every time. For example, at Thai restaurants it would be pad thai, chow fun at Chinese restaurants, gyro at Greek restaurants and chicken tikka masala and naan at Indian restaurants. Which brings us to today’s recipe, naan. As a lover of all things bread, fresh naan is one of those things that I can eat every day without complaint. (My waistline on the other hand is another story.) Glistening with melted garlic butter and specks of kosher salt, this buttery, chewy, slightly salty, sweet and crispy yeast bread is amazing.
Garlic Naan 4Garlic Naan 8What makes this garlic naan extra garlicky is the addition of granulated garlic to the yeast dough. That plus the chunks of fresh garlic in the melted butter makes this a flavor bomb that is just waiting to be consumed.
Garlic Naan 7 Garlic Naan 6If you’ve never worked with yeast before, I can understand why you would be wary of this recipe. Don’t be scared! Yes, the yeast can die on you but you can easily dump it out and try again if it fails. Just make sure that the filtered (don’t use tap water!) water is not over 115˚F when you add the yeast. Before I got a thermapen (Which btw, is awesome. It is worth every penny), I used to stick my finger in the water and if I didn’t have to immediately pull out my finger from the heat, I knew it was ready to go. Silly I know, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Garlic Naan 3Cook it under the broiler for that perfectly brown, slightly charred taste that you can probably replicate on the grill. I once read that it also works well on a George Foreman grill and also a greased pan on a stovetop. I’ve tried both methods and the broiler is the best. Hands down.
Garlic Naan 5Garlic Naan

Ingredients:
1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
1 c. warm water* (not above 115˚F)
¼ c. sugar, divided
3 tbsp. milk
1 egg
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
4 to 4 ½ c. all purpose or bread flour**
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
6 tbsp. unsalted butter

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir water, 1 tbsp sugar and yeast together until yeast is incorporated.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix 3 tbsp sugar, milk, egg, salt, garlic and 4 cups of flour until combined.
  3. Once yeast has proofed, add it to the flour mixture and mix in the standing mixer with the dough hook attachment until combined. The dough should look fairly wet.
  4. Let the dough rest for 8 minutes.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low speed, knead dough until dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl, about 6-8 minutes. If the dough does not pull away or show signs of it at 5 minutes, add the additional ½ c. of flour ¼ c. at a time until desired consistency forms.
  6. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour or doubled in size.
  7. On a floured surface, deflate and divide the dough into 16 even pieces and form into smooth balls.
  8. Place dough balls on a baking sheet and let rise for 30-45 minutes, or doubled in size.
  9. While the dough is rising, preheat the broiler in your oven. Line the broiling pan with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  10. In a microwave safe bowl, add the minced garlic and the butter and gently melt the butter.
  11. Once the dough has risen, flatten out the dough into a round or oval shape by gently stretching it out. The naan becomes crisper the thinner you stretch it.
  12. Place dough onto the broiler pan and cook 1-2 minutes until golden brown and slightly charred.
  13. Flip the dough over and cook for another minute or two until desired color is reached.
  14. Take naan out and while it is still hot, brush on melted garlic butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  15. Continue this step until all of the dough is cooked, buttered and salted.

*Make sure the water is not above 115˚F
**Both types of flour work well, but the bread flour produces a chewier naan.
***Recipe adapted from allrecipes.

Blueberry Pie Doughnuts

Blueberry Pie Doughnuts 3It’s the ultimate Pi Day! As you may or may not know March 14th (3.14) is Pi Day, but this year is extra special because it is 2015 which makes it 3.14.15 = 3.1415. Last year I made some pie pops which were tasty and cute but this year I fused two of my favorite things… pies and doughnuts.
Blueberry Pie Doughnut 2This blueberry pie doughnut is a light yeasted doughnut filled with blueberry filling and topped with a vanilla and blueberry glaze. I won’t lie, the recipe takes time and it’s a messy process, but definitely worth it. A word of warning, putting the blueberry glaze is the messiest part. The glaze sets quickly so it is similar to working with hot candle wax. Just go Jackson Pollock on it and have fun. As for the mess you make, some things are just worth the extra effort.Blueberry Pie Doughnuts 4

Blueberry Pie Doughnuts

Ingredients:

1 ½ c. milk
⅓ c. vegetable shortening
2 tbsp. active dry yeast
⅓ c. water (95 to 105˚F)
2 eggs
¼ c. sugar (divided)
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
5 1/4 c. all purpose flour
Oil, for frying
Blueberry filling (recipe below)
Vanilla glaze (recipe below)
Blueberry glaze (recipe below)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine milk and shortening and heat until shortening melts.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir water, 1 tbsp sugar and yeast together until yeast is incorporated.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix eggs, 3 tbsp. sugar, salt, nutmeg and flour until combined.
  4. Once yeast is proofed, add the milk and yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix in the standing mixer with the dough hook attachment until combined.
  5. Let the dough rest for 8 minutes.
  6. With the mixer on medium-low speed, knead dough until dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl, about 6-8 minutes.
  7. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour or doubled in size.
  8. On a floured surface, roll out dough to ¼ in. thick and cut dough using a 2 ¾ inch round pastry ring and 1 inch round pastry ring for the center of the doughnut.
  9. Set punched out dough onto a baking sheet and cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oil in a pot to 365˚F and cook for 1 minute per side.
  11. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before glazing.
  12. Cut cooled doughnuts in half using a bread knife.
  13. Dip top half of the doughnut in the vanilla glaze, and generously cover the bottom half of the doughnut with blueberry filling.
  14. Assemble the doughnut and splatter blueberry glaze over the top.

Blueberry Filling

Ingredients:

3 c. of blueberries*, divided
⅓ c. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, combine 2 cups of blueberries with ⅓ cup of sugar.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until all the berries burst and sugar is completely melted; about 5 minutes. The mixture should look very liquid.
  3. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until it becomes a slurry.
  4. Add to the blueberry mixture and cook until it becomes thick. It will become almost paste-like.
  5. Transfer blueberry mix to a bowl and rest of the blueberries and lemon juice.
  6. Add more lemon juice if needed.

Vanilla Glaze

Ingredients:

¼ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a saucier, heat milk until it simmers.
  2. Slowly add sugar, whisking in one cup at a time.
  3. Add vanilla extract.

Blueberry Glaze

Ingredients:

1 ½ tbsp. milk
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. blueberry filling (more or less depending on how deep of a purple you want)

Insturctions:

  1. In a saucier, heat milk until it simmers.
  2. Slowly whisk in powdered sugar.
  3. Mix in blueberry filling.