Friday, February 28, 2014

Skating Fridays

Club Wish List

Most serious skaters belong to a local figure skating club, where they pay dues in order to get testing and competition privileges. Since most skaters are under 21, the majority of the club members are minors. It makes sense that the local clubs cater to the youngsters since they make up most of the club membership.

I know that club leaders do their best and are made up of volunteers, and that I could run for the board to get my voices heard (I don't have the time or the interest). Instead, I thought I'd write down a wish list of things I'd love to see our local club do. This is not meant to be a complaint-fest, but instead a list of ideas on how to make our club better.

  • Celebrate our successes:  Gossip travels fast, especially during test sessions. We never seem to know who passed their tests, and the club doesn't post results. Our club used to congratulate skaters on the website, but that section hasn't been updated in over a year. I'd love to see how skaters are progressing and how they place in competitions as well. We need to celebrate our skaters' achievements.
  • Recognize skaters' major milestones: The club just displayed some new plaques that recognize skaters who have passed their Senior Moves, Senior Free Skate and Senior Dance tests. Um, what about the adults? And shouldn't we all be invited to their gold medal ceremonies or receive an email about these major accomplishments so we can congratulate them?
  • Maintain the website: Our website hardly gets updated, so it's nearly impossible to stay up-to-date.
  • Make the adult skaters feel included:  I'm already a lefty skater in a righty world, so I know I'm already an oddball. But I feel even more left out as an adult skater in our local club. I meet other adult skaters through classes and practices, but I don't feel connected to the rest of the club. There aren't any adult-specific events or mixers, and as I mentioned earlier, most of the activities are geared toward the younger skaters. I'd love to feel like I'm part of something.
I am sure there are other things I've left out, but that is all I could think of right now. I'd love to hear your thoughts on whether my wish list is consistent with yours or if our club is unique with these gaps.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chinese red bean paste steamed bao (豆沙包)

I've already declared my love of Asian pastries multiple times. There is nothing in the world like walking into an Asian pastry store and smelling the wonderful aromas of fresh baos and other baked goods. I wish we had a pastry store around us, but alas, I am a good 2 hours away from the nearest one. I was craving some bao recently and did the next best thing - I made my own.

I was a bit skeptical about making these since it takes quite a skillful hand (not to mention a lot of patience) to make such beautiful pastries. I tried making a simple red bean bao with my first attempt and figured that I could just build my skills from there.

Lo and behold, these baos turned out really well. The exterior was perfectly fluffy and light like a bao should be, and the interior was filled with my favorite filling - red bean paste. Addie ate pretty much the entire batch of these bao and wanted to make another trip to the Chinese store so I could make her some more. The "skin" of these bao seems like it would be perfect for some savory bao as well - like a pork and cabbage filled one or ones with Chinese chives and shrimp.

I'm super excited about these bao and will try making a few other varieties this year. As you can see from my photo above, the skin on my bao was a bit too thin in some places. Be careful not to roll the dough out too thin or else it will break and cause your filling to leak out. And I hope you enjoy these bao as much as my family did.

Chinese red bean paste steamed bao (豆沙包)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water, divided
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (if you have bao/ pao flour, use that instead; you can find it in your local Asian grocery store), divided
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour*
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 can of sweetened red bean paste
* I did not have any self-rising flour, so this is the substitution I used: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 2/3 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions
In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the yeast, 2 TBSP of the warm water, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of the all-purpose flour. Mix well until no lumps remain. Allow the mixture to sit for up to 15 minutes or until frothy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or in a large bowl if mixing by hand), whisk together the remaining all-purpose flour and self-rising flour (or the substitution if using). Add in the remaining warm water, sugar, the yeast mixture, and the melted butter. Mix on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. If mixing by hand, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.

Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and allow it to rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until doubled.

Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and transfer it to a floured work surface. Knead the dough gently for about 2 minutes. Roll it out into a log and evenly divide it into 12 portions.

Roll 1 portion of the dough out into a ball and flatten it with the palm of your hand. Stretch the dough out with your fingers to form a circle, but make sure that the dough doesn't stretch out too thin or else your bao will break once steamed. Scoop about 1-2 TBSP of the red bean paste into the center of the dough. Gather the sides up into the middle and pinch to seal. Repeat with the 11 remaining dough pieces.

C out 12 pieces of wax paper squares (about 2x2 inches) and place them in your steamer. Place one bao on top of each piece of wax paper. Space them generously because the bao will expand after they have been steamed.

Steam the bao on high heat for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm. If the bao isn't going to be eaten immediately, they can be stored in the refrigerator (or even the freezer) and re-steamed or microwaved.

Yield: 12 steamed bao

Source: Smoky Wok

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vanilla pudding

The dark chocolate pudding that I recently shared with you was a raging success in our household. We ate all of the servings in about 2 days. Addie asked me to make pudding again, but this time she wanted vanilla. Foolishly, I opted for a recipe that did not ask for egg yolks (I wanted to take a few shortcuts), so this vanilla version turned out a bit more... gelatinous than the dark chocolate version. The texture was a bit more like the refrigerated gel desserts that you'd normally find in your grocery store. Personally, I prefer pudding to be smooth and luxurious.

Yes, this pudding was still good, but it wasn't as thick, silky or creamy as the dark chocolate pudding that we have all come to love. The vanilla flavor in this pudding comes from the vanilla extract, so the next time I make this, I will try to find a recipe that uses vanilla beans and eggs so that the pudding is thicker, smoother and flavored from real vanilla beans.

If you are in a pinch and want a quick and easy vanilla pudding recipe, this is a good one to try.  Otherwise, hold out for another recipe (which I hope to find and try out soon).

Vanilla pudding
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit the salt from above)
Directions
In medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until no lumps remain.

Put your saucepan on the stove set over medium heat. Continuously stir until the mixture becomes thick and can coat the back of a spoon or spatula (it should resemble a thinner version of pudding). Do not allow the mixture to boil.

Turn off the stove and take the saucepan off the heat. Quickly whisk in the vanilla and butter until both are fully incorporated. The pudding should thicken.

Transfer to individual bowls or ramekins and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator before serving.

Pudding should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: Makes 4-6 servings

Source: Allrecipes.com

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Skating Fridays

New spin combinations

In addition to the jump combinations, I've also been working on altering my spins to make them Level 2. In order to get credit for a Level 2 spin, a skater must achieve 2 "features" that are listed in the IJS guidelines.

My first spin is a plain sit spin with a cannonball position and then a back tuck. Both the cannonball and the back tuck are difficult variations that make it a Level 2 spin (sorry no video yet).

The second spin is a combination spin - a camel into a sit spin, back sit spin into a back pancake. I think this is only a Level 1 spin since I have the one difficult variation (the back pancake). I'm hoping for positive GOE (grade of execution) so I can gain points. Take a look here:

Attempt #1

Attempt #2

The final spin is a back sit spin that is entered from a forward inside three-turn (difficult entry), into a forward sit spin with a side leg variation (difficult position). If this one is performed well, it should be scored as a Level 2 spin.

 Level 2 back sit spin

All this talk about IJS levels and points makes my head hurt, so I just listen to what Coach B says to do. After all, Coach knows best, right?

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Brown sugar toffee cookies

During a trip to our local grocery store one day, I saw package of Heath toffee bits in the baking aisle. I'd never had them before and decided to buy a bag and see what they were about. I put them in the pantry and almost forgot about them until I was sorting through my various bags of baking chips and found them.

I saw this recipe for brown sugar toffee cookies in my RSS feed and thought they looked promising. When I made the batter, it was way too dry and crumbly. The balls of dough were not sticking together so I added another egg. I tried rolling a few cookies in the brown sugar but that didn't work either. The adjustments I made to the original recipe are included in the instructions below.

My husband gave these cookies a "10 out of 10" when he snuck a bite. These cookies are crispier than I normally like my cookies, but they are still good. The toffee bits provide a fun crunch and butterscotch-y flavor, which I loved. The next time I see these baking chips, I'll be sure to grab a few bags so I can try making blondies and other bars.

Brown sugar toffee cookies
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package (8 ounces) Heath toffee bits
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat like I did.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until well incorporated. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the toffee bits (you can do this by hand or with the mixer on low speed).

Using a cookie scoop or two tablespoons, scoop up the dough and roll them with the palms of your hands into balls. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on your prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. The edges may be crispy, and the tops may look soft or slightly underbaked but they will continue to harden as they cool.

Cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. They can also be frozen and reheated.

Yield: I used a medium cookie scoop and got 30 cookies

Source: Slightly adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Corn muffins

I never had corn bread until I went to college in the South. It's slightly sweet, dense, and goes perfectly with some barbeque (I'm a Kansas City style BBQ girl, in case you are wondering). I've always meant to make corn bread but just never made it a priority.

One Sunday morning, I remembered that I had bought a copy of The New Best Recipe cookbook, which is written by the same folks that publish Cook's Illustrated. These guys test and re-test several iterations of recipes until they find the perfect one, and they publish the winning recipes in their magazines and cookbooks. I was flipping through my cookbook and decided to make these muffins on a whim.

These corn muffins could not have been easier to make. Addie helped me crack the eggs and whisk the batter. I'm finding that even though she can be a picky and non-adventurous eater these days, she will almost always eat whatever it is that she helps make. Even chocolate avocado ice cream.

My family enjoyed these muffins a lot, and we ate almost half the batch in a single day. They were slightly crisp on the outside and light, yet dense on the insides. The muffins were not overly sweet and produced a fluffy, tender crumb that is perfect for mopping up any extra barbeque sauce on your plate. The muffins even baked up nice and pretty and resembled a full cupcake with a perfect dome. Addie devoured hers and kept bragging about how she made these "all by myself." These would be perfect with a bit of honey, butter or jam.

Corn muffins
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) fine stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (5 and 1/4 ounces) sugar
  • 8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (or you can use salted butter but make sure to omit the salt from above)
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (I used one container of Chobani 0% plain)
  • 1/2 cup milk
Directions
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a standard muffin tin and set aside (I used a silicone muffin tin and did not grease it).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until they are pale; about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to whisk for another 30 seconds. Add the butter in 3 additions, mixing well in between each addition. Add half the Greek yogurt and half the milk and continue to mix until well incorporated. Add the remaining Greek yogurt and milk and mix well.

Transfer the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.

Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, evenly portion out the batter into your prepared muffin tin.

Bake in your preheated oven for 18 minutes until the muffins are a light golden color or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool slightly before serving.

Muffins should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep for at least 5 days (simply reheat in the microwave for about 15 seconds before serving). They can also be frozen for several weeks.

Yield: 12 muffins

Source: The Best New Recipe by Cook's Illustrated Magazine, pages 707-708

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Skating Fridays

New Jump Combinations

I've been working on adding a few new jump and spin combinations to my repertoire to gear up for Adult Nationals in April. For combination jumps in the IJS scoring system, the values of each individual jump are added together. So, if you do a 3-jump combo, all three values are added together for the combination's total value. For the Adult Gold level, we are allowed three separate jump combinations, one of which can consist of 3 jumps. The others may only have two.  I've been practicing an axel-toe loop-loop combination, which you can see here.

Attempt #1

Attempt #2

I'm not sure if this will actually go in my program yet, so we are also toying with a lutz-toe loop-loop combination as well. We'll have to see which combination is the most consistent before we make a final decision.

Next week I'll share some spin combinations that I've been working on.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Red velvet marbled cheesecake brownies

This month's What's Baking challenge is being hosted by my friend Kim of Just Baked. Kim chose a fun theme for us this month - red velvet. This was perfect since I have wanted to make red velvet desserts but just haven't gotten around to it yet (read: I have been lazy). Now I finally had a legit reason to make something red velvet. I was contemplating making Kelly's baked red velvet donuts with cream cheese glaze, but my husband vetoed the idea (Kelly, I am still going to make these soon). Instead, he asked me to make a cheesecake.

I like cheesecake and all, but it's hard to share. I can bring it into the office but it takes up a lot of room in the community refrigerator. It's hard to bring to the rink without getting smushed, so I wanted to make something more portable. I remembered that I had bookmarked these red velvet marbled cheesecake brownies from The Novice Chef a long time ago and knew that it was finally time to make them.

Mine didn't turn out nearly as red and pretty as the original, but they still tasted good. The bars weren't too sweet, and I purposely added less red dye so it wouldn't get my hands too stained. The cheesecake flavor is a bit more subtle than I prefer, but these are still some great bars that you can make for Valentine's Day (or any other day).

Red velvet marbled cheesecake brownies
Red velvet layer
  • 3 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 TBSP milk of choice, divided
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
Cheesecake layer
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease or line a 13"x18" jelly roll pan (if you don't have a jelly roll pan, make sure you bake this in a pan with high sides). Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, 2 TBSP of the milk, vanilla, red food coloring and vinegar.

Pour the egg mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. The batter will be smooth and appear like play-doh. Transfer 3/4 cup of the batter to a small bowl and set aside. Distribute the remaining batter into your prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth out the surface and ensure that the corners of the pan get filled as well.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until there are no more lumps.

Pour the cream cheese mixture directly on top of the brownie layer in the pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.

Add the remaining 2 TBSP of milk to the bowl with the reserved batter. Mix well until smooth. Drop spoonfuls of batter on top of the cream cheese layer and swirl it in with the tip of a knife.

Bake the pan in your preheated oven for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes. When the brownies are done, the batter should not jiggle when shaken.

Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Brownies can be served at room temperature or chilled. They should be stored in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: One 13"x18" jelly roll pan; serving size depends on how big or little you cut these!



Source: The Novice Chef

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Double chocolate Greek yogurt muffins

I despise getting sick. Thankfully, it doesn't happen to me very often. As luck would have it, I was healthy for maybe 2 days in the month of January. I started off New Year's Day with a sore throat. Turns out that it was strep throat. Two days after I finished my penicillin, it struck again. Halfway through my second bout of strep, Addie came down with the same thing (I actually think she was the carrier and passed it to me both times, but she had no symptoms).

When I'm sick, I just want comfort food. One of those things just happens to be chocolate. Since Addie wasn't able to go to school, and I was at home with her, I thought it would be satisfying to bake some chocolate chip muffins for us. I opted for a recipe that was somewhat on the healthier side and eventually made these with Greek yogurt and applesauce. I could have used whole wheat flour but didn't.

These muffins were extremely dense and chocolate-y and reminded me of a pound cake in muffin form. I only had half and it was very filling. If you want, you can sprinkle on additional chocolate chips on top for a prettier presentation. I was just lazy and skipped that this time. These muffins would be perfect for your special someone on Valentine's Day, or any other day "just because."

Here's to hoping that my family (and yours) are healthy for the remainder of the year...

Double chocolate Greek yogurt muffins
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1 6-ounce container of Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0% plain)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Generously grease a standard muffin tin (I used a silicone muffin tin and did not grease it) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda. Mix in the chocolate chips and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the egg, Greek yogurt, milk, applesauce and vanilla. Slowly transfer this mixture into the large bowl with the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick.

Evenly portion out the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Bake in your preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. They can also be frozen and reheated.

Yield: 12 muffins

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Skating Fridays

A Brand New Program

I am still in shock about the results of my recent figure skating test. Seriously. Like my-jaw-is-still-stuck-on-the-floor-and-I-can't-pick-it-up type of shock. Knowing that I have about 8 weeks left until Adult Nationals, I knew I needed to perfect my freestyle program.

Or so I thought.

Coach B and I had a lesson this past weekend, and she said something to the effects of, "I'd like you to consider changing your music. You need something that the judges and audience can relate better to."  Oh, so you don't think that everyone will relate to a flute concerto that I performed in college? Kidding, of course.

While the flute concerto I skated to for my test (Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto Pastoral) had a soft place in my heart, I knew Coach B was right. I did some research and looked for wind ensemble, chamber music, orchestra and All-State Band pieces that I've performed. There were a few that have really left an impression on me, but they wouldn't work for a freestyle skating program.

I finally found two pieces of music that I loved and sent them to Coach B for her opinion. She agreed with one of them, so I bought the music and cut it. Every time I hear it, my heart aches. That's a good feeling because it will help me interpret the music better.

Now comes the difficult part - choreographing a 2 minute and 40 second program and memorizing it in the next few weeks. I hope I can keep most of the structure from my old program and simply make a few tweaks here and there to fit the music.

I hope I can do it. But hey, at least I have 8 weeks. The first time I took my Gold freestyle test, we re-did half of my program the week before the test. So this is nothing, right? Sigh...

P.S. I am going to keep my music a secret until I can share a video of my program with you. I know, I am so mean!

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

White chocolate raspberry cookies

One of my old Delaware friends (who was a grade above me) moved during her senior year of high school. She was the one that convinced me to go to college at my alma mater. I visited, loved the area, and got accepted. Soon I was on my way down South.

My friend J was the only person I knew out of the 20,000+ people on campus. She looked after me like I was her little sister, and she and her family gave me a place to stay during breaks when I wasn't able to fly home to see my family. J always made sure I had a ride to and from marching band practices, and she taught me a lot about being an adult.

J gave me a batch of these white chocolate raspberry cookies one day. I was hooked. These cookies were a bit crispier than I normally like my cookies (I'm a chewy cookie kind of girl), but they were topped with raspberry jam and drizzled in white chocolate. I wasn't a fan of raspberry jam until I had one of J's cookies. I asked her for the recipe, and she happily gave it to me.

The recipe has been sitting in my recipe binder from many years ago. I have only made these cookies a few times, but I'm not sure why because I need to bake them more often. The cookies have a ton of white chocolate and aren't too sweet. They pair really well with the raspberry jam and drizzle and remind me of a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake (let's be clear: this doesn't taste like cheesecake).

Thank you, J, for being the older sister I never had.  And thank you for sharing your cookie recipe.

White chocolate raspberry cookies
  • 12 ounces white baking bar, divided (or you can use one 12 ounce bag of white chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/8 TBSP) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon shortening or vegetable oil
Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease or line two cookie sheets and set side (I used my imitation Silpat).

Melt 4 ounces of the white chocolate and set aside. Chop another 4 ounces of the white chocolate and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Add the eggs and melted white chocolate until combined. Slowly add the flour and beat with the mixer as much as you can. If the mixer cannot handle any more flour, stop the mixer and incorporate the remaining flour by hand (use a spatula or a wooden spoon). Stir in the chopped chocolate.

Portion out rounded teaspoons of dough using two spoons or a cookie scoop onto your prepared cookie sheets. Make sure you leave about 2 inches of clearance around each cookie. I found that the cookies turn out prettier if you roll the dough into balls with the palms of your hands, but this is up to you.

Bake in your preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or until the tops are a light golden color. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool for at least 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely.

In a small saucepan (or a microwave-safe bowl), melt the raspberry jam over low heat. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the melted jam onto the centers of each cookie.

In another small saucepan (or microwave-safe bowl), melt the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate with the shortening/oil until smooth. Using a fork, drizzle the melted white chocolate mixture onto the tops of the cookies. If desired, you can put the melted white chocolate into a zip-top bag and cut a hole in one of the corners in order to decorate the cookie.

Cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep for several days.

Yield: I used my medium cookie scoop and got 30 cookies

Source: Slightly adapted from my friend JKW; original source unknown

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Red bean sticky cake (紅豆年糕) for Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! OK, so I am a bit late on this post, but since the Chinese New Year celebrations usually last several days, I'm technically still good. 2014 marks the year of the horse and I thought that I'd ring in the new year with some red bean sticky cake, which is pronounced nián gāo (年糕). It literally translates into "sticky cake" or "year cake" and is thought to bring good luck to your family during the new year.

You all know how much I love red bean desserts (red bean moon cakes, red bean pastry rolls, Japanese red bean pancakes and red bean paste mochi), so here is another one for you to try. This sticky cake is chewy, sticky and sweet and filled with dollops of sweet red bean paste. It was one of my favorite things to eat during Chinese New Year growing up, and it's something I hope our daughter will enjoy as well.

May you all have a healthy and prosperous year!

Red bean sticky cake (紅豆年糕)
  • 2 cups glutinous rice flour (or one 16 oz. box Mochiko sweet rice flour)
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 and 1/2 cups milk Milk
  • 3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you like your desserts)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 can red bean paste
Directions
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Generously grease or line a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the glutinous flour, oil, milk, sugar and baking soda until well-incorporated. The batter will look really runny. Add the beaten eggs and mix well.

Transfer half of the batter to your prepared pan. Dollop the red bean paste on top of the batter. If desired, you can transfer the red bean paste to a pastry bag or a zip-top bag with a corner snipped off and "pipe" on rows of red bean paste. Top with the remaining batter.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 50 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool before slicing and serving.

Cake should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container and will keep for several days.


Yield: I halved the recipe, baked in an 8x8 inch pan and got about 16 squares

Source: Hotpot

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