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Summer Baking (Part 1)

4 Sep

Blueberry Oatmeal Crumble

Adapted from: The Farm found on “Leite’s Culinaria

The Recipe & Procedure

1. Gather 12 ounces of fresh blueberries…

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2. Mix blueberries with 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 to 2 tablespoon lemon juice. Then transfer berry mixture into buttered 9-inch pie tin.

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3. In another bowl, stir together 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then blend 1/2 stick unsalted butter cut (already cut into cubes) in the flour mixture.

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4. Bake in preheated oven (375F) for 25 to 35 minutes or until berry filling is bubbling and the crumble is browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on top!

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Skillet Brownies, Pesto Pasta, & Walnut Banana Bread

30 Mar

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies

Recipe from theKitchn here.

My last post was about Nutella Oreo brownies, and now this post also includes dark chocolate hazelnut brownies… You may start to be seeing a theme with what I’ve been baking lately. I’ve got to say that I’m enjoying making all these cookies/bars/brownie recipes though because back home if I made any of these I wouldn’t have people to eat them! The recipes always produce 24+ pieces and there was no way my friends and teachers could eat all of them. Some are dessert fans, others are watching their sugar intake, and still others are just watching their weight. But with starving college kids, no one is really that picky. :)

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies

Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Skillet Brownies 2

Pesto Sauce: perfect for pastas!

Recipe from Allrecipes.com. 

But you’ll also notice that this title includes pesto pasta, which is a savory dish. I’m also trying to cook more and utilize the kitchen I have in my apartment.

I haven’t always liked pesto sauce but just within the past year or so I’ve grown to like it, especially on pasta and pizza. It’s green color isn’t a bright green. It’s more muted. Yet it’s made of olive oil, nuts (pine nuts or walnuts), basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to like?

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the final product (pesto penne pasta)…but (to my amazement) people finished the entire container at the potluck!

Pesto sauce ingredients

Pesto sauce ingredients

In the blender

Pesto sauce ingredients in a blender. (I wish I had a food processor.)

Walnut Banana Bread

Recipe adapted from Tartine bakery cookbook.
I found this recipe in a cookbook so there’s no website. However, if you want the recipe, please email me at nell.notebook@yahoo.com I would be happy to share with you.

Because my mom requests banana bread so often, I’ve posted several times about it already. I’ve even found my favorite recipe too. The recipe comes from Tartine, a San Franciscan bakery in the Mission District. It’s a small, homey bakery with friendly people. I’d go there more often if I didn’t live on the opposite side of town. Alas!

Walnut Banana Bread

Remember to toast the walnuts before adding them to the batter. This makes them so much more flavorful!

Gotta Love Nutella Oreo Brownies

4 Mar

Greetings! I am back with some pictures and comments of a  monostrously crazy-looking baking endeavor.

For the volunteer club I am a part of (Circle K), I baked a brownie-like dessert for the annual Spaghetti Feed auction.

Here’s what I made:

Nutella Oreo Brownies

“What is THAT?” you might be thinking (not necessarily in a good way). I know, I know they look sort of funny. But trust me when I say that these brownie-like things are delicious.

First of all, they are NUTELLA brownies. It’s more nutalla than flour! What’s better than sweet, chocolate-y, hazelnut brownies? …

Nutella and Oreos

Of course, ones that have whole Oreos inside it. This is the second reason why these brownie are delicious.

The Layers

And as if Oreos and Nutella weren’t amazing enough. I added other layers of yumminess on top of the oreo: a small teaspoon of marshmallow cream, four M&M’s, and graham cracker bits. Then I topped it off with another scoop of the Nutella brownie batter. Ta-da!

Packing up the monster brownies

Yep, that’s my monster brownie! NOW, what do you think? Delicious, yes? Fattening? Yes, that too. ^^; Ah, but that’s why whoever bid on the boxes of monster Nutella-Oreo-M&M’s-Marshmallow-Graham Cracker brownies should have shared them.

Brownies all packed up

If you’re looking for the recipe, here’s the original recipe that I adapted mine from: http://butterbaking.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/oreo-and-nutella-brownie-bites/

Mummy Cupcakes, Anyone?

5 Nov
Blue-eyed Mummy Cupcake

Blue-eyed Mummy Cupcake

It seems like I have been a lot of baking lately with the huge batch of cookies last week and then with my latest adventure: mummy cupcakes.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to bake. But baking on a schedule with classes right after and homework and studying that needs to be done, enjoying the process of baking is hard (especially the cleaning up part -of ugh).

So these mummy cupcakes are probably going to be the last of my baking until Thanksgiving. That’s when the baking-cooking marathon really starts. And this year’s menu is changing too. There’s going to be more Filipino food and vegetables. I am personally going to make sure we have eggplant Provencals like the ones I had in the Dining Commons here in Davis.

I don’t want to give away the whole menu quite yet so instead I’ll tell you about the mummy cupcakes.

I made these for Cooking Club because the theme was Halloween (duh!). I saw these on the Joy of Baking website (my favorite resource for baking recipes!). I didn’t have my piping bag with me so I couldn’t make the cupcakes quite as nice of Joy of Baking but they turned out cute I think. And, I put in the extra effort to design their faces. (Yes, I put the chocolate sprinkles one by one.)

Mummy Cupcakes Recipe found here from Joy of Baking.

The family of mummy cupcakes. Every family has to have its personalities right? :P

Happy Fourth of July!

2 Jul

I’ve been so busy between volunteering as a Teacher’s Assistant for a week at my old school, then starting my Nutrition class at Skyline College, and interning at the Chinese Hospital to publish their annual newsletter.

Whew.

I know my friends may think I’m crazy for doing all this during summer, but to be honest, I love to keep myself occupied. I enjoy lounging at home but it’s nice to have stuff to do, things to do, and people to see.

Because I’ve been so busy  I haven’t had time to update the blog. I’ve been meaning to update it with fabulous pictures of the restaurants I’ve been to so I finally did that in the first post of today. Haha. I go about a month with not a peep and suddenly two posts in a day. Look out!

Red, White, and Blue Berry Yogurt Cake

Inspired by Nicole Weston (Baking Bites).

With my new Android phone I’ve been able to receive tweets directly on my phone. I use my Twitter account basically to follow other bakers, bloggers, and food-related people/organizations like SF Food Carts (@sfcarts). One of those bakers is Nicole Weston (twitter alias: @bakingbites).

She tweeted “The perfect cake for 4th of July. Or any day in July, really. http://fb.me/E50y6aCr” on June 24th.

Nicole Weston's (aka Baking Bites) original Red, White, and Blue Berry Yogurt Cake. All credits to her. Delicious looking, ain't it?

Always wanting to bake for a holiday, I clicked on the link. When I saw her picture of the cake (shown above) and read the directions, I knew that the cake was within my ability.

“I can do that!” I remember thinking my mood suddenly lifting.

Adding the berries in

And that’s just what I did today. I baked that cake and made the frosting. I’m going to cut a slice for my dad so he can try it as well as cut more slices to share with Eric (my friend, buddy, and family friend). Of course, if I remember any other people who would like to have some, I would share with them too! That’s the best part of baking: sharing with others.

Please see Nicole’s site “Baking Bites” for the recipe.

Red, White, and Blue Berry Yogurt Cake

My version of Baking Bite's Red, White, and Blue Berry Yogurt Cake

Slice of Berry Cake 2

Slice of Berry Cake

Moist Banana Walnut Bread

Tartine's Banana Walnut Bread

Adding the toasted walnuts and sprinkle of (improvised) oatmeal

I can’t remember how many times I’ve posted a recipe for banana bread here. My go-to recipe for this has been from this random blog I found about two years ago, but I’ve found another favorite.

This recipe for banana bread is from San Francisco’s beloved bakery Tartine. I went here last year for my birthday and loved the experience. Luckily my mom anticipated my attachment to Tartine and gave me the cookbook right then there too.

I don’t think I’ve made anything from the cookbook until now because I was looking for another banana bread recipe for my mom’s coworker on his birthday.

This banana bread is rich with a tender crumb. It uses three bananas  – most recipes I’ve come across only use two – and real butter – not oil like most recipes. Oh, but this makes all the difference.

If you would like this recipe, please email me at: nell.notebook@yahoo.com

I would be happy to share this wonderful recipe with a fellow baker. :)

Tartine's Banana Walunut Bread

Finally, Happy 4th of July to you all!

Summertime Calls for a Feast

7 Jun

One Red Bell Pepper

With no more school (until September – yay!), I’ve had a lot of time on my hands.

I’m not complaining though. I get to wake up late, lounge around the house, finally get dressed after 2 hours, go outside and walk around my neighborhood, and annoy my cat to no end. Of

Three zucchinis course there are other days when I actually see friends but having all this me-time is wonderful. I can feel my batteries recharging. I suppose that

makes me a introvert, right?

Anyway, today started off as the same except that I knew that I was going to do some baking Two Carrotsand cooking. Yesterday my mom was craving a “brownie-like chocolate cake without frosting” but because of my doctor’s appointment, I didn’t have time. And just last Friday I was craving chili because of the chilly weather, which then got my mom excited for chili too.

She told me that I had the optiOne and a half cups of beanson of making

either today but I decided that I had the whole day why not make both? So that’s exactly what I did. I even made fresh corn bread!

 

 

The Dinner Table Components

Bowl of Chili sprinkled with Chopped Chives and Cheddar Cheese

Bowl of chili sprinkled with chopped chives and cheddar cheese - turned out a little sweet due to the canned diced tomatoes but with the ground Cayenne pepper it still had a kick!

Buttermilk Cornbread

Buttermilk cornbread - reminded me of the potluck at UC Davis

Oranges and Blueberries

Oranges and blueberries - to clean the pallet of course!

Chocolate Almond Torte

Chocolate almond torte - delicious, delicious delicious! A thin little slice of this dense (yet flaky) chocolate torte is all you need to satisfy any chocolate craving. Recipe from Joyofbaking.com

Mom and I also had an mixed green salad with chopped apples, mushrooms, and candied walnuts but I forgot to take a picture of it – whoops! Next time.

If you want any recipes, comment or email and I will be happy to share them with you.

Until next time, I hope summer is treating you well!

Whipped egg whitesChopped toasted almonds and chocolate butter mixture (Chocolate Almond Torte)Glazing the chocolate almond torte

Summer Tip: Check out your local Farmer’s Markets because summer fruits (melons, blueberries!, peaches!, etc.) and veggies are in season. This means great-tasting produce for good prices and a big “thank you” from Mother Earth. :)

Crazy for Cupcakes

20 May

I graduate tomorrow.

Since I’m leaving, I knew I would have to bake something special for all my teachers and special faculty.

Without any real finals (I took a lot of AP classes), I had time last weekend to brainstorm my game plan. I knew I had to bake for a lot of teachers and faculty and I had recently been inspired by the current cupcake frenzy, so I decided to bake my own cupcakes from scratch.

Naked Cupcakes

The (mix) red velets are at the top. The toasted bananas are the brown ones. The lemons are the ones in the red cupcake pan.

My original plan included four cupcakes for each recipient in a cute plastic container made specifically for cupcakes given out by Kara’s Cupcakes or Cako. I did get the four varieties done, but the cute plastic container was out. Instead, I found a round 8-inch foil container with a plastic lid – not too far off from the original idea. Still, transporting them was a pain. Thanks to my friends Amy Ruth and Michelle all worked out well.

I don’t have too much time to write about the whole story and process so I’ll just show some photos instead.

Recipes can be found below their corresponding pictures.

The Pretender

This cupcake wishes it were homemade, but it’s not. I had to make these from a mix to present a newspaper party on short notice.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (all mix)

I love the paper liners, don't you?

1. Toasted Almond Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Butter Frosting

If this title doesn’t get you drooling, then maybe this photo will.

Cupcake Recipe from Simple Daily Recipes: here
*I use this banana cake recipe for banana bread too
Brown butter frosting from My Kitchen Addiction: here

Toasted Almond Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Butter Frosting

Yep, those are bits of toasted almonds on top as a garnish. S'mancy, yes?

Cinnamon Brown Butter Frosting

First time making brown butter at home. I wasn't sure if I was cooking it right at all, but it turned out brown and unburned!

2. Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting

I didn’t used to be a fan of lemon baked goods until I tried a piece of lemon pound cake from the corner store near my school. Now I can appreciate such lemony goodness. For those who’ve never tried lemon baked goods, they’re usually not too sour. Rather, they’re tart but sweet at the same time. The lemon cuts the sugar like a hot knife in butter!

Cupcake recipe adapted from Joyofbaking: here
*I did not add the lemon curd or use the whipped cream topping

Buttercream Frosting adapted from Joyofbaking: here
*I only added 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and added 1 tsp of lemon extract

Lemon Cupcakes

This reminds me of something I'd see at a baby shower or Easter party because of the pastel colors.

3. (Fightin’ Irish) Mint Cupcakes with Mint Chip Frosting

I have mint chips at home so I thought, “Well, I’ll just make some kind of mint cupcake – easy!” Ah hah hah – No.

Instead all the recipes I found called for peppermint extract, which I didn’t have so what do I do? Improvise using a red velvet cupcake as the base; substitute in melted mint chips; and cross my fingers that the ooey gooey mud colored batter I just created actually turns out edible let alone delicious.

Red velvet recipe and frosting adapted from Joyofbaking: here
*I melted about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of mint chips shown below and added this to the batter. For the frosting, I added a little less than 1/4 of melted chips.

Melting Mint Chips

I just microwaved them so they're glistening. Right after this picture, I smushed them with a fork. By the way, like my fat cat bowl?

Mixing the Mint Cupcake Batter

It was so pretty before I mixed it! You can actually see green mint butter-egg mixture underneath the flour-cocoa powder mixture. After I mixed it, it turned a hideous forest green color.

Mint Chip Cupcake

Even after it baked, you can see the gross green color underneath but at least the frosting turned out good and more importantly, the whole cupcake was delicious!I had to taste test this one because if it tasted bad there was no way I was going to give this to my teachers or friends.

Mint Chip Cupcake

Ta-dah!

 4. Cookies-n-Cream Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

These were my inspiration for doing cupcakes. When I found this recipe, I knew I had to do it especially since it seemed easy enough.

The cool part of this cupcake besides the obvious garnish was the cookie bottom. I split the Oreo and took the side with the cream and placed it frosting-side up in the bottom of each cupcake liner. I believe it was Beantown Baker who came it with this ingenious idea.

Original Recipe from Beantown Baker: here.

Oreos on bottom of cupcake liners

Beantown Baker's ingenious idea

Oreo bottom of cupcakes

Oreo bottom of Cookies-n-Cream Cupcakes

Oreo bottom of cupcake (sideview)

Sideview of Oreo bottom

Cookies-n-Cream Cupcake

Isn't it beautiful? I'm so happy it turned out the way it did.

The Packaging & Finished Products

All the tins of cupcakes

All the tins of cupcakes. There were 15 total.

The finished cupcakes

The finished cupcakes. Cute, right?