Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Oy. Happy Leap Year Day everyone! I wish I could say that I had something exciting and rare to post for you here today, but I'm just stopping by to say hello. I currently have an annoying cold, and I'm too tired/don't want to infect anyone with my germs to bake. Oh, exciting piece of news if you haven't heard though. Stephanie from Steph's Bite by Bite is hosting an online bake sale to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I'm donating a batch of confetti cake chocolates. So if you'd like to help this excellent cause, head on over to Steph's website this Friday to bid on your favorite items :)

Drink lots of tea in my honor,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Truffles

I had grand plans. To experience the anticipation at the top of the hill, hitting the jump and barrel rolling into the snow as my penguin shaped sled flew off in a different direction. I waited for that fresh, fluffy snow. And waited. And stopped wearing my jacket. And noticed some plant life peeking out of the mushy ground. Where the heck was my snow?!

Eventually I resigned myself to the fact that this was going to be the winter without a winter. Then two days ago, out of the blue, I walked outside and was slammed with a faceful of snowflakes. Windburn, ow! I mean, sledding, yes! Better late than never, right? Tomorrow I'll pull out the ol' penguin and everything will be right in the world, I thought. 

The next day, most of the snow was gone, leaving puddles and patches of dead grass behind. Sigh. I guess I'll just have to stay inside and sulk. Truffles are a good sulking food. This recipe is different from anything I've ever had. As one friend put it, "It's a flavor explosion!" Be sure to keep these refrigerated or even in the freezer until they are to be served. They get mushy fast. 

Mint Chocolate Chip Truffles

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
4 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
2-3 tsp mint extract
green food coloring
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Microwave to melt the white chocolate chips, salt, and butter (about 45 seconds, depending on your microwave). Pour the cream in a small saucepan and place over medium heat until simmering. Remove the cream from heat and add in the white chocolate mixture, whisking until completely combined. Then add the mint extract (to taste) and a few drops of green food coloring (too much will look funny). Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, add the mini chocolate chips and mix.

Place in the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours. Remove from the fridge and use a spoon to scoop out small portions that can be rolled into 1" balls. A way to prevent getting your hands sticky is to transfer the mixture from the spoon to a small piece of plastic wrap and use the wrap to pinch it into a ball. Then drop the balls into the cocoa powder and roll them around until thoroughly covered. Chill the truffles until solid. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat; serve at room temperature.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Scones

Oof. I just found a large cocoa patch on my jeans. I'm not sure how it got there, but it's rather unsightly and I hope it hasn't been there for long. I'm glad no one walked in to the bathroom, only to find my scrubbing my inner thigh while wearing these bad boys (don't ask).

This recipe was chosen via poll on the facebooks. If you aren't already a fan of me there, you should totally get on that. Don't you want more me in your life? Ahem, okay, I feel like I've talked about how freezing bananas and then thawing them out makes them slither out of their skins but I'm not sure I emphasized how creepy it is. I was holding them at arms length the whole time. I don't think I will ever get over this. It's like living in fear of those tubes of biscuit.

Mkay, scones. I've made british-y type scones before, with clotted cream and lemon curd, but never this type of thing. The important thing with scones is cold butter. This makes little pockets in the dough that creates layers, since the butter isn't like, fully incorporated. It separates the dough! Make sure to work quickly, so the heat of your hands doesn't melt the butter. Got it? Now off you go!

Scones taped to the wall outside my friend's door. Haha.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Scones
adapted from the family kitchen

2 very ripe bananas (about 8 oz or 1 cup once mashed)
2-4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
For the glaze:
1 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1.In a large bowl mash the bananas, add the milk and yogurt and stir together. Set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking power, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut the butter into several pieces and work it into the dry ingredients with a fork or your fingers until the butter is completely worked in the looks like small peas.

3. Pour the flour mixture into the banana mixture and stir well until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

4. Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and pat it into a disk about 1-inch thick and wrap it tightly. Freeze the disk for about 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 400F.

6. Remove the plastic wrap and place the disk on a lined baking sheet and cut into 8 even wedges. Pull them apart a little bit to allow for expansion. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until just golden.

7. To make the glaze, melt the butter and milk together in the microwave. Whisk in the brown sugar, vanilla and confectioners sugar until completely smooth. Once the scones have cooled drizzle the glazed directly over them and serve.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Secret Recipe Club - Vegan Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting!

Guys, the Secret Recipe Club is back! Yay! This month my assignment was Biking and Baking by the very cool Sarah Bligh. She's a road biking, vegan resident physician. Is that intense or what? Since Sarah's a vegan but her husband is not (as far as I can tell from the blog) she has tons of recipes that are easily adaptable to fit any dietary needs. 

I think she has a bulldog as well. This is not a bulldog, but still. I consider us kindred spirits :) 

This recipe is coming at you right in time for Valentine's Day. Decorate these tiny cupcakes with hearts and stuff and give them to your dashing gentleman caller. Or put them in your friends' mailboxes (not anonymously. I wouldn't eat a mystery cupcake).

I used my homemade vanilla!

This recipe is definitely a keeper. There's nothing weird or inaccessible in the cakes, and they're SO moist. The frosting is not vegan, but it's amazing, just for eating off a spoon, haha. I adapted the original recipe a bit in that I made them mini, cut the recipe in half (and I still got 30 minis) and didn't fill the cupcakes with peanut butter like Sarah did. If (more like when) I make them again, I think I'll try them out with the filling. It's like a peanut butter cup, in cake form! 

Vegan Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
adapted from Biking and Baking

1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar (use something like and plain like white wine or good old white distilled)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease mini cupcake tins.
Mix flour, cocoa, soda, and sugar.  In another bowl mix oil, vinegar, vanilla, and coconut milk. Beat the wet and dry ingredients together (you totally don't need a mixer). Fill cupcake tins.  Bake 9-12, or when a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool and frost with peanut butter frosting (below) 

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup heavy cream

butter and sugar until combined, then add the rest of the ingredients. Beat until frosting has a smooth, fluffy consistency.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Banana Sandwich Bread

Back at school, back in normal life with four classes, and four classes worth of homework. Such is life. Couple that with applying for summer internships and study abroad, socializing, alone get the idea. Now that I don't have it anymore, I miss the relaxed atmosphere of interim. No cafeteria lines, little to no always want what you don't have, right? 

Anyway, I made banana bread. Probably not the kind you're thinking of. I've tried many times to make that delicious quick bread on here, but my pictures always turn out ugly or I get distracted or I just want to eat my dang bread and not worry about blogging. Haha. I assure you, I make an awesome banana bread. Come visit and I'll make it for you sometime.

Truth: every time I've tried to make sandwich bread it turns out flavorless and most likely raw in the middle. It seems I have lifted that curse. Is the secret that this bread contains a banana? Maybe it's the fresh cake yeast (which, by the way, had a totally different texture than I was expecting!). Or, most likely, I've just gotten better. Practice makes perfect. Make this and you'll end up with something almost like a Hawaiian bread. I think it makes lovely sandwiches, but then again, I enjoy adding a little sweet to my savory.

Or just more sweet to my sweet, haha. 

Banana Sandwich Bread

  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 3 cups Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 2 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (or 21 g crumbled fresh yeast)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 medium-sized bananas, cut into chunks, about 3/4 cup
In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough. Knead the dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by mixer (5 minutes) until it's smooth. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rest for 1 hour.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into a log. Place the dough in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it is full and rounded.
 Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Brown Sugar Coconut Bubble Tea

Ever since I was a little kid, I've had the tendency to get a one track mind about certain things. For example, I was convinced I was going to have a summer job washing dogs when I was younger (there's still one of my hand drawn promotional posters hanging in the house). Or the time I got really into Neopets (let's not talk about it...). And when I was 13 or 14, I somehow learned about bubble tea and became completely obsessed. 

My first bubble tea was consumed here and I have to admit, I didn't like it very much. The bubbles were little cubes! That's not what it looked like on the internet! I think honestly that the concept of chewing my drink was very cool in theory, but I didn't appreciate it in practice. But I would grow to acquire a taste for it.

If you're not familiar, the "bubbles" in bubble tea are large pearl tapioca, which, up until recently, I had a hard time finding. But they should be readily available at any asian grocery store. Don't try and substitute the small ones used in tapioca's just not the same. The nice thing about making bubble tea at home is that you can control what goes into it. A lot of stores use weird, artificial flavor powders and lots of sugar. Mine used fresh brewed almond-coconut tea and coconut milk! Nom.

Brown Sugar Coconut Bubble Tea
adapted from The Pastry Affair

Yields 2 servings
1/2 cup large pearl tapioca
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup black tea, cold
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp coconut extract

To cook the tapioca, follow the directions on the package. Different brands of tapioca pearls cook at different rates and require varied amounts of water. Mine were a 5 minute variety, but if yours take longer to cook, it would be a good idea to cook more than a half cup if you'd like more bubble tea later in the week. When cooked, drain the pearls and rinse with lukewarm water to remove the starch. In a small bowl, coat the tapioca pearls with the brown sugar. The tapioca pearls can be refrigerated for up to 3 or 4 days, but are best if used immediately.
To make the bubble tea, blend together the black tea, coconut milk, and coconut extract. I used a cocktail shaker. If you want a thicker tea, I would combine the ingredients in a blender with some ice. In a tall glass, place 1/4 cup of tapioca pearls (but if you want more, add more!). Pour the tea over top. More brown sugar may be added to adjust the tea to your sweetness level. Drink with a large straw!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Aebleskiver/Takoyaki/Pancake Spheres

Let's pause for a moment of silence as I mourn the loss of the KitchenAid mixer. After 17 years, the motor finally quit on us. I made my first chocolate chip cookies with that has a special place in my heart. It's been replaced by a sleeker, slightly fancier model (the bowl has a HANDLE!) but I will always never forget the classic model I grew up with. 
On to brighter subjects. I made solid balls of pancake! Pretty cool, right? My mom bought this pan on a whim, and I remember using it exactly once. The result was amusing, but time consuming and tedious. Since I currently attend a VERY Scandinavian school, I've crossed paths with aebleskiver again recently. They weren't tedious at all! I filled some of mine with a mixture of cream cheese and powdered sugar, others with nutella, and some were left plain.

I love finding out that certain foods are enjoyed in different ways all around the world. Aebleskiver go by the name takoyaki in Japan and are commonly enjoyed as a savory street food, filled with octopus. Mm. Food connects everyone. Isn't that a lovely thought? 


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or ground cinnamon
1 large egg 
1 cup milk 
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine 

In a bowl, mix flour with sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. In a small bowl, beat egg to blend with milk and 2 tablespoons butter. Add liquids to dry ingredients and stir until evenly moistened. Place an aebleskiver pan over medium-low heat. When pan is hot enough to make a drop of water dance, brush pancake cups lightly with melted butter (or cooking spray) and fill each to slightly below the rim with batter. In about 1 1/2 minutes, thin crusts will form on bottoms of balls (centers will still be wet); pierce the crust with a slender wood skewer and gently pull shell to rotate the pancake ball until about half the cooked portion is above the cup rim and uncooked batter flows down into cup. Cook until crust on bottom of ball is again firm enough to pierce, about another minute, then rotate ball with skewer until the ridge formed as the pancake first cooked is on top. Cook, turning occasionally with skewer, until balls are evenly browned and no longer moist in the center, another 10 to 12 minutes. Check by piercing center of last pancake ball added to pan with skewer--it should come out clean--or by breaking the ball open slightly; if balls start to get too brown, turn heat to low until they are cooked in the center. Lift cooked balls from pan and serve hot . Repeat to cook remaining batter.