Friday, December 20, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Matzoh Crunch

Pardon the pics as I didn't have the best lighting when I made these. I'm also not a very good photographer, but hopefully that will improve. Anyway, I was introduced to Chocolate Matzoh Crunch at our extended family gatherings that take place about twice a year. There is never a shortage of good food at family gatherings, in my opinion anyway. These are a favorite whenever they make an appearance and though they are delicious and quite impressive I think, they are super simple to make. The recipe comes from David Lebovitz who adapted it from Marcy Goldman and the recipe can easily be scaled up or down. The hardest part here is making a caramel and melting chocolate.

The sweetness level can also be easily adjusted by spreading more or less caramel and chocolate on each matzoh. If you're using less, then you can just make several more sheets of matzoh.You could also use a darker or sweeter chocolate depending on your preference. I normally have to wait until Christmas to have these, but now that I know how easy they are to make, it'll be no problem to have them all year round.

Chocolate Caramel Matzoh Crunch
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz who adapted it from Marcy Goldman

6-8 sheets unsalted matzoh
1 cup(230 g) unsalted butter
1 cup(215 g) light brown sugar, firmly packed
large pinch of salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup(160 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
1 cup(80 g) toasted sliced almonds

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Preheat the oven to 375 deg F. Line the baking sheet with your matzoh, breaking it into pieces to fit if necessary.

In a medium heavy duty saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar together. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla. Pour the sugar mixture over the matzoh spreading it out with a  heatproof spatula.

Reduce the oven to 350 deg F. Bake the matzoh for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure the sugar is not burning. If the sugar is not caramelizing evenly, remove the pan from the oven and reduce the temp to 325 deg F.

Once the matzoh have been removed from the oven. Cover them with the chocolate chips and let it sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, spread out the chocolate chips with an offset spatula. Top with toasted almonds.

Let cool completely, then break into smaller pieces. Store matzoh crunch in an airtight container at room temp for up to a week.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sweet Potato Pie

One of my favorite desserts during the holiday season and probably of all time is sweet potato pie. Pumpkin pie is a very close second followed by apple pie. Pumpkin tends to be more popular around this time of year, but sweet potato actually makes a sweeter, richer, more luxurious pie in my opinion. If you love one, you'll most likely love the other. I always like to make one or the other for Thanksgiving although in recent years, it seems less popular with my family compared to some of the other glitzier holiday desserts I make. I have a kabocha squash pie posted on this blog that is basically a take on the classic Libby's pumpkin pie that most of us know and love if you want to make a pumpkin pie. This year, I decided to try out this sweet potato pie from Joy the Baker and boy, am I glad I did.

I thought the spice profile and overall flavor of this pie was spot on, maybe the best I've ever had. Coriander is not something I normally put in my fall pies, but I really think it brought everything together nicely. The filling has quite a lot of sweet potato in it, so it's not as custardy as a typical pumpkin pie, but that's fine with me and it should be fine with you too I presume.

As Joy says, you definitely need a deep dish pie plate for this if you're making a 9 inch pie. I used a 9.5 inch pie plate and it was filled right to the top. This time, I used my standard pie crust recipe from Martha Stewart, but I'm sure Joy's buttermilk version is also fantastic.
Sweet Potato Pie
Pie Crust from Martha Stewart, Filling slightly adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes one 9 inch pie

Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/8-1/4 cup iced water

Pulse the butter, sugar, salt, and flour in a food processor until the butter is the size of peas. Gradually add just enough iced water as the processor is running until the dough just holds together when squeezed in the palm of your hand. Dump out onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a round disk. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days or freeze up to a month and thaw in the fridge overnight.

When ready to use, roll out the pie dough to a round big enough for a 9 inch pie plate. Fit into the pie plate, crimp, dock with a fork, then freeze for 10 minutes. Line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 30-35 minutes removing the parchment and pie weights halfway through so that the crust can begin to brown. Remove when the crust starts to color nicely. Let cool while you make the filling.

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, about 2 medium sweet potatoes
3/4 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter
10 ounces evaporated milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a medium-large pot, add the mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, spices, salt, butter, and 5 ounces of the evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring thoroughly and frequently. Set aside and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, and the remaining evaporated milk making sure everything is well combined. Add the egg mixture to the sweet potato mixture and combine thoroughly.

Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Bake on the middle rack for 10 min at 375 deg F, then reduce the oven to 325 deg F and bake for another 45-50 min until there is a slight jiggle in the center. Let cool completely before cutting. Pie will keep for a few days at a cool room temp. Refrigerate up to several days.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Julia's Banana Bread

I've been to Hawaii exactly one time, specifically the island of Oahu. If I had known about the several well known banana bread places on Maui at the time, I would've stayed there a few days just to try it out. Since I knew I wouldn't be making it back to Hawaii anytime soon, I thought I would give this banana bread from Julia's a try. I got the recipe from the March issue of Bon Appetit and the author describes this banana bread perfectly as a "sultry night, dark in color and sticky-moist". My sister and I agreed it's the best banana bread we've ever had. It's a rich, dark, stick to your fingers type of banana bread. However, it's quite different from what you might typically think of banana bread and so, if that's what you're looking for, you might be disappointed with this.

Nevertheless, I highly urge you to give it a try because it's super simple to make and you can try a little piece of Hawaii without leaving your kitchen, assuming you have the few basic ingredients this recipe requires.
Julia's Banana Bread
Recipe from Julia's Banana Bread Treehouse via Bon Appetit
Makes One 9 by 5 inch Loaf

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt or 3/8 tsp fine salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 large bananas)
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with parchment or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, you may also sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Whisk the eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large bowl until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 60-70 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the pan on a wire rack for 15 min. Then take the bread out of the pan and let cool completely on the rack. Store airtight at room temp up to 3 days.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chunky Lola Cookies

I was trying to think of a creative title to this post, but realized the name itself was unique and interesting enough. The Chunky Lola Cookie, which hails from Flour Bakery + Café in Boston, is basically a kitchen-sink cookie. The base is a chewy and crisp oatmeal cookie mixed with chopped pecans, bittersweet chocolate chunks, and coconut. You could certainly add whatever add-ins you wanted as that's the idea behind this cookie and how it came to be.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are at the top of my cookie list. However, I don't make them very often since I'm always trying new cookie recipes and for a long time, was on a quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I've since found it, but inevitably will continue to try out new recipes. Even when I would make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies in the past, I didn't usually use the same recipe twice. In my years of making my favorite cookie, I haven't yet come across what I would consider a perfect chocolate chip oatmeal cookie. Many of them have been good, but not quite perfect. However, I recently decided to try these Chunky Lola Cookies from Flour by Joanne Chang and they turned out pretty perfect.
The addition of chopped pecans to chocolate and oatmeal sounded like a sure winner and I liked that the recipe called for an overnight resting period before baking. Many of the cookie recipes in Flour are made the same way and it certainly made for fantastic chocolate chip cookies, so I thought I would give these a try. I made the cookies a bit larger than called for which resulted in a larger chewy center. If you want them more crisp, just make smaller mounds on the baking sheet. I didn't have any coconut on hand, so I left it out, but really this recipe would work with any add-ins you wanted.

These cookies turned out perfectly crisp, chewy, and were still delicious several days after. They're best when completely cooled, though they're still perfectly delicious, soft, and warm fresh from the oven. Surprisingly, they weren't too sweet at all which is often the case if you want chewy and crispy cookies. Everyone in my family thought they were great and I'm happy to have found a chocolate chunk oatmeal cookie that I think will be revisited many times in the future.

Chunky Lola Cookies
Recipe from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang
Makes about 18 cookies

1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp.(1 3/8 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 cup (140 g) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (150 g) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (175 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (70 g) rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt or 1/4 tsp fine salt
9 ounces (255 g) bittersweet chocolate chunks, 62-70% cacao
1 1/4 cups (125 g) pecan halves, toasted, chopped
1 cup (120 g) sweetened shredded coconut

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a bowl with a hand mixer or wooden spoon, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed for 5 minutes. If done by hand, it will take about 10 minutes. Occasionally scrape down the paddle, sides, and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the eggs and vanilla for 3 minutes until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate, pecans, and coconut and mix until combined. On low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture slowly and mix until completely incorporated. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 deg F and position a rack in the center. Drop dough in 1/4 cup balls (I made 2 oz balls) onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Space them about 2 inch apart and flatten slightly.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and slightly soft in the center. Let the sheet of cookies cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes until they can be transferred to the wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temp up to 2 days.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Carrots in my Cake, Yes Please!

Recently, I was in one of those moods where I wanted to bake something. While I enjoy cooking as well, it just doesn't provide the same type of gratification that comes from carefully measuring ingredients, mixing them together, and putting something in the oven. I understand that not everyone finds this gratifying. These baking moods also come along rather sporadically which is why there's rarely any consistency in my blog posts. Additionally, they're usually accompanied by a strong desire to try out a new recipe or a new book.

The other day, I happened to be flipping through Flour by Joanne Chang in one of these moods and came across this carrot cake. I'd been thinking about carrot cake for a while since my friend mentioned she likes carrot cake and my sister recently bought a carrot cupcake that I found quite dry and overly sugary.

On a side note, I didn't get the chance to give some cake to my friend, but I will be sure to do so in the near future.

Since I also had an abundance of carrots and pretty much all the ingredients except buttermilk, that was all the motivation I needed to promptly head out to the store and make these that day. You can make a buttermilk substitute yourself since this recipe doesn't require much of it, but for some reason, that thought never occurred to me that day though I've made buttermilk many times before.

I decided to make cupcakes rather than an actual cake so it could more easily be shared. I also left out the walnuts and raisins making them less classic, but despite that, they turned out wonderfully. They were one of the best tasting carrot cakes I've ever had and definitely the best one I've made in recent memory. It's not quite as dark or rich as other carrot cakes I've had, but it's spiced perfectly and the frosting is not too sweet unlike most bakeries. I would definitely recommend including the walnuts and raisins for those who prefer a more traditional carrot cake, but you can't go wrong either way.

Note: When measuring the sugar with a measuring cup, I found that I only had about 180 g of sugar in a packed cup, so that's what I used and it worked great. The original recipe calls for 220 g. Also be sure to leave your cream cheese and butter out for the amount of time it says as it makes a difference. If you've forgotten, warm up your cream cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds or over a double boiler.

Classic Carrot Cake
Recipe scarcely Adapted from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang
Makes one 8 inch 2-layer cake or 12 cupcakes

Carrot Cake
2 large eggs
1 cup (180 g) light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup (150 g) canola oil
3 tbsp. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp.(160 g) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt or 1/4 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups (260 g) packed shredded carrots
1/2 cup(80 g) raisins
1/2 cup (50 g) walnuts, toasted and chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temp
12 ounces (340 g) cream cheese, at room temp for at least 4 hours
1 2/3 cups (230 g) powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Candied Carrot Strips(Optional)
1 carrot
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (180 g) water

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Prepare an 8 inch cake pan by lining with parchment, buttering, and flouring. If making cupcakes, line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for 3-4 minutes on medium high speed. It will take 8-10 minutes with a hand mixer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Add the mixture to the eggs and sugar slowly and mix on low speed.

In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet with a spatula. When the flour is almost all incorporated, fold in the shredded carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 80 minutes for an 8 inch cake and about 45-50 minutes for cupcakes until the top is golden brown and the middle springs back when touched. Check with a cake tester. Let cool completely on a wire rack before removing.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for a minute until smooth. Add the butter and beat for another minute. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and add the powdered sugar. Mix for another minute.

Refrigerate the frosting for 2-3 hours until it has firmed up for piping or spreading.

If making carrot strips for decoration, peel the carrot with a vegetable peeler and make lengthwise thin strips with the peeler. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil dissolving the sugar. Add the carrot strips and boil for 10 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool.

When ready to assemble, remove the cake from the pan and slice into two layers. Spread about half the frosting onto the bottom layer with an offset spatula, top with the top layer, and spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake as a crumb coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Then, spread the remaining frosting over the cake. If using, place carrot strips in spirals on top for decoration.

For cupcakes, remove them from the muffin tin and spread frosting on top with a small icing spatula or pipe the frosting on with a piping bag.

Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and remove from the fridge a few hours before serving.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Italian Chocolate Kisses

I've had these cookies bookmarked for the longest time and like most of my other bookmarked recipes, never got around to making them. Then I finally made them and never got around to posting them. It's a vicious cycle, but finally they make their appearance here on the blog many months after. Unlike the journey behind these cookies, you should make them immediately because they're fantastic and deserve to be made. Not only that, those you share them with will love them and thank you for it. The recipe originally comes from Gina DePalma's Dolce ItalianoI got the recipe from Chez Pim.

The recipe is just a teeny tiny bit time consuming, what with the rolling of the cookie dough, filling, and all, but I assure you it's worth it. Just get someone to help you and it will go twice as fast, right? Whenever you sandwich a cookie with filling, it automatically becomes great, especially when the filling is rich chocolate ganache. These cookies are nutty, moist, and super chocolaty. They're not too sweet and just perfectly crumbly.

My cookies turned out a bit more dome shaped than I wanted which made them a bit harder to eat. Next time, I might make them a bit smaller. Like Pim, I also didn't have any blanched almonds, so I just used regular whole almonds and they turned out fine. I also didn't have any dutch-processed cocoa powder, so I used natural cocoa powder and they turned out a bit lighter in color. With my leftover ganache, I made sandwiches out of some cutout cookies I happened to be making at the same time. I seriously urge you not to wait as long as I did before trying these cookies. Make them and you won't be disappointed.
Baci de Cioccolato (Chocolate Kisses)
Recipe adapted from Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen by Gina DePalma
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1 tbsp granulated sugar + about 1/4 cup for rolling cookies
1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp (190 g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (35 g) dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp fine salt
1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk (original recipe calls for rum)

Chocolate Ganache Filling
8 oz (225 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp softened butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsp liquor, rum, cognac, etc. (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 deg F. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet for 15 min until golden brown. Remove the almonds and turn off the oven. When cooled completely, grind the almonds in a food processor with the tbsp of sugar until finely ground.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract and milk. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Then add in the ground almonds. Continue beating until everything is thoroughly incorporated.

Cover the dough and refrigerate for an hour until it is firm enough to handle.

Preheat the oven to 325 deg F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner. Scoop teaspoonfuls of the dough, roll into a ball, roll in the sugar, and line them on a baking sheet with about 2 inches between them. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. The cookies are done when puffed and slightly cracked. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. While the cookies are cooling, make the ganache.

To make the ganache, place the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. In a small pot, heat the cream over low heat until it just starts to boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter. Let stand a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the liquor, if using. Let the ganache cool, whisking occasionally, until it is firm enough to pipe. Transfer the ganache to a pastry bag with no tip or a round tip. Pipe mounds of ganache onto the cookies and top with another cookie pressing down gently until the ganache spreads to the sides.

Store cookies in an airtight container up to a week.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Another Banana Recipe

Who doesn't need a simple and delicious banana bread recipe in their arsenal, right? This one from The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook lives up to its name. It comes together quickly and what you end up with is a classic loaf of banana bread. It's important to use bananas that are as ripe as possible  for the best flavor and not to overbake it. I baked it as a large loaf and also as mini-loaves which is what's shown here in the pictures. The original recipe uses yogurt, but I happened to have sour cream on hand, so that's what I used. I also omitted the walnuts because I like my banana bread nut-free, but add in whatever you like. The recipe originally called for 1 1/4 cups of walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped.

Classic Banana Bread
Recipe from America's Test Kitchen
Makes one 9 inch loaf

2 cups(10 oz) all purpose flour
3/4 cup(5 1/4 oz) granulated sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large overripe bananas, mashed(about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt/sour cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tbsp unsalted butter(3/4 stick), melted/cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add ins:

Nuts, Chocolate Chips, Shredded Coconut, etc.

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Prepare a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, grease and flour or line with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt or sour cream, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract together in another bowl. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula until just combined. Fold in any add-ins.

Scrape into loaf pan and bake about 55 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Good Ol' Coffee Cake

When I think of coffee cake, I think of that Seinfeld episode where everyone's loving Drake's Coffee Cake. I don't believe I've ever really been a fan of coffee cake and may only have eaten it on the rare occasion that someone gifted it to my family. It's not something that I grew up on nor is it something that I would choose to go along with my occasional sleep-deprived early college morning lattes. I usually went with a muffin(often a bran muffin because I like to eat healthy or at least think that I do) or a croissant because they just seemed less messy by not having to deal with a crumbly topping.

One day a few months ago, my sister mentioned that she was in the mood for some sort of a crumb cake type dessert. So when a dinner occasion came up that called for or rather left open room for dessert since dessert is not typical in my household, I decided to make a coffee cake. My sister helped me make the topping and it came together very quickly.

The recipe is a downsized version of a coffee cake from the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook and to me, it seems like the dictionary definition of coffee cake. It's not too sweet, very cinnamony, moist, and as its name suggests, goes perfectly with coffee or tea. Since we were unfamiliar with coffee cake, the amount of topping/filling seemed like too much to us and so, we didn't put it all in, but it really isn't. It bakes nicely into the cake and gives you the cinnamon swirl you want running through your cake.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Makes One 8-inch Cake

3/8 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/8 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp unsalted better

In a food processor, process flour, sugar, 1/8 cup of the brown sugar, and the cinnamon until combined. Take out 1/2 + 1/8 cup of the mixture, set aside in a small bowl, and stir in the remaining 1/8 cup of brown sugar. Add the pecans and butter to the remaining mixture in the food processor and pulse until it comes together in small pieces.

6 tbsp softened unsalted butter, diced, plus more for greasing pan
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 + 1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch cake pan with butter and line with parchment. Whisk 1/2 cup of the sour cream together with the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl.

In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed until combined. Then, add the butter and the remaining 1/4 cup sour cream and mix on low speed for about a minute and a half. Increase to medium speed for 10 seconds before adding egg mixture slowly as you mix. Scrape down the sides with a spatula if necessary. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another minute until the batter is light and fluffy.

Add about a cup of the batter to the pan, sprinkle with half of the filling without nuts/butter. Add another cup of batter on top and sprinkle with the remaining filling without nuts/butter. Add the remaining batter on top and sprinkle with the topping with nuts and butter.

Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes before inverting, removing the parchment, and serving. The cake may be served warm or at room temp. Wrap in foil and store at room temp for up to 5 days.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Coconut Jello

This recipe really could not be any simpler or quicker for a great tasting light dessert. Coconut jello is my favorite dessert at chinese restaurants, but I stopped ordering it just because I felt like it was something I should easily be able to make at home at a much lower cost. It was also a hit or miss ordering it in restaurants because it never tasted quite rich or coconutty enough to me, like they were trying to skimp on the coconut milk. Well, after my recent foray into jelly desserts with the Osmanthus jelly, I thought I would give coconut jello a go as well.

After scouring the available recipes for coconut jello, I settled on this one from HI Cookery and it was fantastic. It's rich with coconut flavor and sooo easy to make. If you include some of the possible add-ins, it takes a little bit longer, but it's still really easy.
Coconut Jello molded in mini muffin cups

Coconut Jello
Recipe from HI Cookery

1 can unsweetened coconut milk(13.5 oz)(I like Chaokoh brand)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup milk(whole or reduced fat milk)

In a sauce pan over low heat, mix the coconut milk and sugar until dissolved. Measure the 1/2 cup water in a measuring cup and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let sit for a few minutes. Stir the gelatin mixture into the coconut milk. Turn off the stove and mix in the milk.

Pour mixture into an 8 by 8 inch pan or a 9 inch pie dish to set. You can pour the mixture through a sieve if there seems to be any bits of undissolved gelatin. At this point, you can mix in your add-ins. They tend to sink to the bottom, but as the jello cools and begins to set up, you can stir it up to redistribute everything.

Let the mixture come to room temp before chilling it in the fridge for at least a few hours until completely set. Cut into squares and serve.

Cooked Adzuki beans, mung beans, cooked and rinsed tapioca pearls, shredded coconut, etc.

Add as much of the add ins as you'd like, but not so much that it's hard for the coconut mixture to come together. I've found that the tapioca makes the jello a bit firmer. I boiled about an 1/8 of a cup of dried tapioca pearls until translucent, drained, and rinsed them and found it to be plenty.