Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Onigiri Couple Amigurimi Crochet Pattern

Wow, now I realize how true the phrase "can't believe how time flies" is.  This coming Sunday, April 29th...My husband and I will celebrate our 3rd Wedding Anniversary! or the day we signed the papers, since we didnt have an actual wedding. 
 Recently, actually 2 days ago, I began crocheting, and I thought why don't I crochet something as a gift for Hubbie?! At least make use of my new found skill! I think I did a pretty darn good job for someone who just started!   When I saw these two A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E onigiri couple crochets at HandemadeKitty's blog, I just HAD to make them, I mean if you haven't know already my Hubbie is a sushi chef and this totally will make a awesome gift!!

Onigiri Couple Amigurimi Crochet Pattern

Size: 8cm approx.
DK or worsted weight yarn in Black, white, pink.
Black and red thread.
Safety eyes 9mm
Hook 3mm
Tapestry needle.
Crochet pattern abbreviation:
Ch: chain
sc :single crochet
Rnd: round
2sctog: 2 single crochet together.
sl st: slip stitch
St :stitch
FO: fasten off

Rice body:
Working in rnds and joining with sl st
from bottom to top:
With white yarn:
Rnd1: Ch9,sc in second chain from hook, sc in next 6chs, 3scs in next ch, working in opposite side
of chains, sc in next 6chs, 2sc in next ch (18)
Rnd2:  Ch1, 2sc ,sc in next 6scs,2scs in next 3sc,sc in next 6scs, 2scs in next 2scs (24)
Rnd3:  Ch1, 2sc in next 2scs ,sc in next 8scs,2scs in next 4scs,sc in next 8scs, 2scs in next 2scs(32)
Rnd4-7:Ch1, work 32scs around (32)
Rnd8:Ch1, [2stog,sc in next 14scs] 2 times (30)
Rnd9:Ch1, [2stog,sc in next 13scs] 2 times (28)
Rnd10:Ch1, [2stog,sc in next 12scs] 2 times (26)
Rnd11:Ch1, [2stog,sc in next 11scs] 2 times (24)
Rnd12:Ch1, [2stog,sc in next 10scs] 2 times (22)
Rnd13:Ch1, [2stog,sc in next 9scs] 2 times (20)
Install safety eyes between Rnd8 and Rnd9 separated 4scs.
Rnd14:ch1, 2sctog around (10)
Rnd15:Ch1,2sctog around (5) FO
Stuff more if needed.
Close **Finishing:Cut yarn and thread through a tapestry needle.  Draw it through the remaining stitches and pull tight.
Poke the tapestry needle inside and hide yarns.

Nori (seaweed):
Working in rows:
With black yarn:
Row1: Ch13, sc in second ch from hook and in next 11chs. Turn (12)
Row2-6:Ch1,sc in each sc across. Turn (12)
Sew it on the body..

Embroider eye lashes and lips with black thread and red thread.Add blush in both cheeks ! :D :D
For the onigiri girl (bow) ;  pass a pink yarn though and sc on the the side and make a bow.
For the onigiri boy (tie); same as girl pass trough white yarn on the nori and the remaining yarn poke inside and hide yarns.

Have fun!!! <3

Iphone Cake, Mega Man Cake, Lavender and Black Giftbox Cake

Wow, lately I've been either constantly sick or just too busy with cakes that I haven't really had time to do a post.  I am quite busy today too, but I guess I'll still do a quick post to show the cakes I've been working on.  

 I think my Iphone cakes have been quite popular, it's been asked a couple of times and last week I made a White Iphone with Pink Box cake, a very similar replica of one I did last year [shown below]


                                                                         *          *          *

A customer had came to me, last minute...yes again, to create a simple cake for her boyfriend's birthday.  She said he loves the anime Mega Man and would like a sugar topper of the character, then the cake is to be red with Mega Man's Dog's with little time at hand, this is the final creation. : )

At the same week, my high school friend is turning 27, wow!!!! Her husband had planned to give her a surprise party, so he contacted me to do a cake, something with the color lavendar.  I couldnt really decide what to do until he said why not do a gift box cake, perrrrfect! I had been wanting to do one! I decided to go the lazy way and used fresh flowers instead of sugar ones hehehe.  As you can see the final product is...hmmm very shiny due to the rainy season here in Chicago, gosh humidity is rocketing high!! Well, I hoped that she had a awesome birthday and enjoyed the cake. 

Thanks for looking!!!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spinach - Green Monster Smoothie, 3D Chihuahua Cake, Sanji 海贼王 Cake, Trafalgar Law 海贼王 Cake

Hello Helloooo! Wow, seems like a while since I posted, I have been busy with cake orders as you seen from my last posts. You may think it's just a few cakes but to me as a stay home mom with a non-stop 2 year old, it's very difficult to make just a "few" cakes because I'm just one person who have to do the prep work, baking, icing, stacking and decorating while I have to cook 3 meals, do chores, take care of a baby, all at the same time.  So to finish all the cakes in time I pull another one of my amazing All-Nighters, this time its 3 days and 3 nights without sleep...well I did take a 2 hour nap, but still tired plus I had my period so extra extra T-I-R-E-D!!!  Mostly I recover after a good uninterrupted 6 - 8 hour sleep, however, my little one caught a little bug on her day out to the park so she was vomiting all night so that's 4 nights with no sleep! I finally got REAL sick, so sick I cant get out of bed for 2 days! I never had that before because whenever I'm sick I still run a normal life,that's how sick I was.

Feeling very weak I asked, actually I begged, my husband to watch baby so I can get to bed early, he unwillingly agreed.  I woke up for a bathroom break only to find him with his eyes glued to the TV screen and our gorgeous baby girl sitting on top of the kitchen table in which she climb up to reach for a box of chocolate on top of the fridge which, I had thought, is out of her reach!  I nearly burst to tears with anger because I was just so tired and for the rest of the night she is literally bouncing off the walls!!!!!! There goes 5 days with less than 4-5 hours of sleep. 

Now after almost 2 weeks I'm slowly recovering from being sick and very tired.  Baby and I need something very healthy and yet taste good, so I took out this recipe I had since last Halloween of this healthy drink that is lovable even by the little ones!!  I think it's the name that got
I was a little hesitant when I read that one of the ingredients is Spinach...I was like eww, blended spinach?!
if that original blogger didnt swear that even little ones will drink it and that it's healthy, which we really need, I wont even try it.
I mean, every mom probably go through with one of the kids being a picky eater or even if not a picky eater, we always worried about the kids not getting all the veggies and fruits needs for the as summer is coming, they get the nutrients and able to quench their thirst?! bring on the blenders!!!!!!!

Note: There is green smoothies made with different greens such as kale or chard, and all sorts of combinations of fruits.  The person played around with various combinations and this is her favorite version.

Green Monster Smoothies
Yield: 2-3 servings
1 banana (frozen or not), cut into chunks
1 cup chopped frozen pineapple
1 pear, coarsely chopped
1½ cups orange juice (In my opinion, I'll add more next time since I actually like it more liquidy)
2½ cups baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried, I'd put less the first time
1-2 tbsp. honey  (it was pretty sweet from the orange juice and fruits already but add to your taste)
3 tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional, I recommend only put in for adults)
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth.  Taste and adjust sweetness with additional honey, if desired.  Serve immediately.

Try it with apples, strawberries, mangoes or even carrots! There is so many options you can play with!!

Cheers to good health!!!!! EnJOy!
Continue down for pictures of this week's cakes I've made!

 This is a 3D Chihuahua Cake with white suit and red bowtie! I made it for a guy who ordered it for his friend's birthday, it was a very rushed order since it was made at the last minute and I think I'll need to work on it's ears, I was laughing as I put it on, looks like elf ears! hahaha.  This was my 2nd carved dog cake...Look at my first 3D dog cake which was made like errr...around Christmas? hence the Christmas tree : )

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Here is another cake from this week, a 海贼王 Cake with a sugar Sanji topper.  I have no idea what the anime is called in English.  To tell you the truth I never saw it before, though I need to watch it since there is a lot of inquiries about 海贼王 themed cakes.  I actually made another 海贼王 cake last year, a Trafalgar Law Cake, I'm guessing that's another character in that anime, all I know is that they are all pirates that are outlaws or something.  :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Japanese Cheesecake, Interior Designer Cake and White & Red Cake

 This week has been quite a busy week and I haven't been able to take pictures of all the cakes I've done but here is a few.  One of the cakes was a Japanese Cheesecake, it may be known as Japanese Souffle Cheesecake or Japanese Cotton Cheesecake.  Whatever it's called it's a favorite amongst my family and friends. 
It's soft & creamy, less fat and less dense than the original American Cheesecake because its main ingredient is LOTS of egg whites, which also serves as a healthier choice!  

Another highlight, the cake is topped with whipped cream that is specially sweetened with a Logan flavored Honey, absolutely amazing with the cheesecake.

 My friends & I can finish one 8 inch in one sitting, I can possibly do that myself with a awesome pot of hot Dragonwell Tea or some soothing green tea!  MmmMm!
It took me a long time to find a good recipe and after like 40 pounds of cream cheese used in the process of finding the perfect recipe for myself...I finally got it! There is so many recipes out there and many had produce a very dense type of cheesecake that can make someone say "oh, nothing special about it" but I finally made one that can live up to it's name Cotton...Souffle, so soft and moist a perfect marriage of  cheesecake & sponge cake.

 This cake was requested by a awesome guy for his girlfriend.  Chocolate cake with whipped dark chocolate ganache, definitely for a chocolate lover!  When he first contacted me to make the cake, he also sent me the sketches he drew as an idea for how he wanted the cake, I was actually pretty amazed at how well he can draw, but mainly I admire people who is prepared...ready and knows what they want.   Although I didn't really go with his design, I took the main ideas and make it the way I envisioned it.  I mean I always have to put their budget in mind and design it the best I could within that limit. ^^
So there you have it!  Happy Birthday Miki! - a mickey/minnie mouse lover and a interior design student with a love for red and black. I think I have a talent for interior designing, dont you think? hahaha   


Here is the other cake, a 3-tiered cake...white with red floral designs and a pretty bow with spiral curls.  After changing his mind 3-4 times, the birthday boy finally decided to settle on this style cake.  He had his friend send me a picture of this design from another cake decorator and hoping I can reproduce, so I cant take credit for this design.  Although we changed red ribbons around each base with white bead border instead and added the bow topper too.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pistachio Financiers with Candied Kumquats

On my weekly trip to the Chinese Markets, some Kumquats caught my eyes.  For those who are unfamiliar with Kumquats, they are little citruses that really resembles oranges, except in oval shapes and is much smaller in size. In many cultures Kumquats are grown in pots and put around the house as an ornamental plant,  I'm of Chinese heritage, so these little citruses are not a unfamiliar sight as I was growing up.  Kumquats normally tend to pop up in the markets around Chinese New Years since the name in Chinese meant "Good Luck" "Good Fortune" or something similar.   I remember when I was young, Kumquats were bought and put around the house during New Years, and after a week or so, my parents tend to put them in a huge glass jar and preserve them in salt. Over time, all the juice from the fruit is diffused into the salt. Then throughout the year they appeared again many times, and why? because I was told that a few salted kumquats with a few teaspoons of the brine/juice may be mixed with hot water to make a remedy for sore throats.  A jar of such preserved kumquats can last several years and still keep its flavor, so I guess it's a pretty good investment.
However, I'm born the States so I never really have the tendency to buy or preserve these Kumquats, and OH MY! it's been like 10 years since I even touched one of these! hahaha, gosh and I thought I was more Chinese than most of the ABCs  [American Born Chinese] that I know.  I mean, I cant survive one day without eating rice! Chinese enough? XD 

Normally I'd pass them in the market without giving it a second look, but this time, upon seeing these Kumquats, I suddenly really missed Mom and even those not so good childhood memories.  In the mist of memory recalling I mindlessly put a package of these little orange-y goodness in my cart and brought them home.  Since the Lunar New Year, which was the end of January, has long passed, there isn't a lot for me to buy to preserve in salt.  So I decided I'm going to candy the Kumquats because, gosh, as a sweet/pastry lover, it's not surprising that when I look at everything I tend to think of a way and try to incorporate it into a dessert. ^.^  I never thought I can use it this way!  I'm actually all late into the excitement of Kumquats since it has made a decent impact in the food industry in these past couple of years, I see them in desserts, food, cocktail drinks and even once in a Japanese restaurant I dined in!  Sushi & Kumquats? heck yea! it tasted really good, surprisingly.

So I saw these delicious looking Pistachio Financiers at the Cannelle et Vanille blog and yes...with Candied Kumquats!! I got so excited and decided to try her recipe! I was sooo excited! It was also really good!  Next time I want to try it with All-Purpose Flour since it didn't list what flour she used and I tried it with Pastry Flour like we did in the French Pastry School. 
I also want to say how much her blog inspire my baking AND photography, amazing lady!

 Candied Kumquats

200 grams sugar
200 grams water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1 pint of kumquats

- Bring some water to a boil in a small saucepan (enough to cover the kumquats) and add the kumquats. -Blanch them for about 30 seconds and drain them. Discard the water. Repeat the process two more times. This will eliminate any bitterness from the kumquats.

Make a simple syrup with the first three ingredients by bringing them to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the blanched kumquats and simmer for about 15 minutes in low heat. You can drain them, let them dry and coat them in sugar or you can store them in the simple syrup in the refrigerator.

Pistachio Financier

120 grams egg whites
125 grams sugar
Zest of half a lemon
55 grams flour
25 grams almond meal
30 grams pistachio meal
150 grams unsalted butter, browned and strained, cooled

- Cook the butter in a small saucepan until it starts to foam and dark particles start to form on the bottom of the pan. It will smell nutty. Strain the butter and let it cool.
- Whisk the first six ingredients together in a bowl. Slowly add the brown butter and whisk until it is incorporated. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator overnight.
- Pipe batter into silicon mold, top with candied kumquat and bake at 375F for about 10 minutes or until golden. Time will vary depending on the size of the mold.

Source: Cannelle et Vanille

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pipe Cleaner Daisy Rings Tutorial & DIY: I [heart] Sweets cell phone cover

Being that it's March already, I yearned for the beautiful flowers and lushes green grass.  However, I live in Chicago so Spring never really touches us until late April and it won't be until around Mid-May before we are guaranteed to have stable warm weather. >.<
This post's highlight is the tutorial of how to make Daisy Rings out of your very common and over-looked childhood craft object...yes...pipe cleaners.  I first encounter this was when the Pipe Cleaner Lady was a guest on Martha Stewart's Show.  I was just simply fascinated on how easy yet how darling this rings are,  I was like wow! those are soooo cool! I can't wait to make some for all my girls!  Hope you have as much fun as we did!

Step 1:  Choose 3 pipe cleaner of your favorite color, twist the middle, fan out like cat whiskers

Yup! Just like cat whiskers! Here is my sweet baby wanting to make one also!

 Step 2:  Wrap it around the finger you like to wear it on, and twist the pipe cleaners together but make sure it's fits nicely and just enough tightness so you can slip it on and off without complications!
 Step 3:  After you twist it to ensure it stays together, fan out the pipe cleaners to get the idea of where your petals might go.

 Step 4:  Start rolling them up starting at the end, make sure you roll them tightly or they might come apart later

 Step 5:  There you have it! you can know adjust the petals so they are nice and evenly separated.
 Step 6:  On Martha Stewart's Show the Pipe Cleaner Lady rolled up another pipe cleaner for the center. What I did was I just bought some of these cute little pom pom balls and used a hot glue gun to secure it in the center...SO cute! aren't they?!

*     *     *

But it seems like my DIY mood haven't been satisfied with just those adorable rings, I decided to add some sweetness to my cell as well.  Don't laugh! I mean, Hey! I'm a pastry chef/cake decorator! I make sweets for a living!
So here's at my latest DIY project! This cute I [heart] Sweets cell phone cover for my lovely Sony Ericsson. It's my first time, I kind of messed up a little with the over-use of "whip cream" because I was just trying to cover up some flaws. Ok, I'll tell you, I finally went to sleep after finishing this cute cover, then I wake up in the morning with my cell gone, OMG! I panicked and ran out to the living and saw my baby sitting on the living room floor, patiently picking the pearls and plastic sweets off my phone!!!! you just can't believe how ANGRY I was!!  Sighs...
So now here is the picture of the restored Sweetness Cell Phone Cover.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Nursing & Cats Cake, Panda Cake

This week I made a cake for a special girl whose turning 6 on February 29th, yup the 29th!! LOL, so with a birthday that come every 4 years, she is would then be actually 24 years old. (o^.^o)

Her wonderful boyfriend have came and asked me to design a cake around a nursing theme, I'm guessing she is in school for that field.   Cats was also one of her favorite animals, so I was ask to incorporate them in the cake.  I remember she also loves pandas since I had made her birthday cake last year. (shown in picture below) 

To start off the cake, I made a vintage styled nursing uniform dressed on a mannequin, of course with my own twist of style to it. Then I asked myself what do I think of when I think of the word "Nurse" then I just started to add the details.  I made medicine being spilled out of it's orange container and a stethoscope as the border around the cake, I was also going to add a needle but I'm SO afraid of sharp needles so I was a little, okay...very, afraid to actually make it.  Since the cake is from her boyfriend, I couldn't help but add a heart in there too! >.^ and that lead me to another detail of the heart reading, added with a little twist in there.  if you can see what is different with the readings, wink.  The birthday girl loves chocolate, yet not much of a fan of too much cream, so you can guess what she probably got for her cake!  Yup! a chocolate cake with milk chocolate ganache  & strawberry mousse.  Normally bittersweet ganache is used but the boyfriend was worried not everyone likes dark chocolate so he settle for milk chocolate.  Still yummy yummy!

Overall, I liked how the cake turned out and I was very happy to hear that the birthday girl loved her cake & she had said she almost didn't have the heart to eat it since it was so cute! I'm always thrilled to hear things like that because it shows that I've accomplished my goal, that everyone should feel special and have the most memorable birthday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Frog Prince Cake, Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Almonds

Happy Birthday Winnie! and Yinshu!

Boy oh boy, I'm so behind on updating my blog.  Anyways, my friend, Winnie's birthday was on the 10th of this month.  I had many cake orders that week, but I managed to squeeze some time in and pulled an all-nighter just to finished this birthday cake for her. For those who knew her,  Winnie absolutely LOVES frogs...[well, tree dwarf frogs to be exact]  I chose to just make her a cute little green frog that's, well...more appealing to everyone. : )  I threw a little crown on and a golden ball in to turn it into a fairytale, after all, which girl won't hope that the next guy she kiss will be her Prince Charming?! However, Fate loves to play games and many girls will kiss many frogs before finding her Prince or sadly just end up marrying a Toad!  I found my prince so I do wish my Princess Winnie will also find hers and have a happily ever after.<3

Ok, back to reality; I had tried really hard to obtain this specific shade of Turquoise/Aqua color that she like, maybe not quite but close enough.  Inside the cake is her absolute favorite flavor; Matcha Chiffon Cake w/ Matcha Mascarpone Mousse! favorite too!  I was notified at the last minute that there is another girl, Yinshu, with the same birthday as Winnie who happened to be attending the birthday dinner that night.  I really dont know the girl so I end up making a teddie bear with her initial, so she may feel included.   I havent had anyone remember or celebrate my birthday for almost 10 years, sighs, so I know how bad it feels to be left out and forgotten, wipes tears

Yes, the top comes off so she can keep the sugar topper! Me (LEFT) Winnie (RIGHT)

We went to dinner at the Mercat a la Planax, a wonderful Spanish Restaurant with a nice atmosphere and exceptional food.  It's located on the Magnificent Miles of downtown Chicago.  just beautiful.
We had a party of 8 and practically shared everything so everyone can have a taste of everything.
One dish that gave me the strongest impression is the dish called Paella Negra with Lobster, Scallops, Shrimp, Mussels, Cooked in Squid Ink served with Artichoke & Tomato Salad and Saffron Aioli.   It's also the most expensive dish, $75! and that "lobster" is actually half a lobster tail, barely 2 bites of meat.  This is going to be my next experiment, to try and recreate the dish. >.^
However, there is another dish I enjoyed, it's called
DÁtiles CON ALMENDRAS - Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Almonds.  I actually did try it out at home, although it didn't quite come out exactly like the ones in the restaurant but I'm definitely trying it out again very soon!

Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Almonds
  • 12  (1/4-inch thick) pieces cream cheese or goat cheese ^^
  • 12 pitted dates (preferably Medjool)
  • 12 salted and roasted whole almonds
  • 6 strips of bacon cut in half
  • Special equipment: 18 wooden picks
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Stuff 1 piece of cheese and 1 almond into each date, then wrap one piece of bacon around each date and secure bacon with a toothpick if desired. Arrange dates, bacon seam down and 1 inch apart in a shallow baking pan.
Bake 5 minutes, then turn dates over with tongs and bake until bacon is crisp, [make sure its very crisp] 5 to 6 minutes more. Drain on a paper towel or parchment. Serve immediately.


I actually made another Prince Frog cake like, wow, 2 years ago.  That was the time when I actually just started making cakes.  Boy, you can see the difference right? hahaha

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lemon Goat Cheese Cheesecakes, Domo sugar topper

I love going to grocery stores and Whole Foods is one of them.  I don't know if its the piles and piles of neatly stacked fruits and vegetables that fascinate me or it just I love anything in it's natural form, do you get me? hahaha.   So during my recent trip to Whole Foods,  these round oranges piled up at one end of the aisles caught my eyes, I rushed over & start sniffing them. Do you know how much I love drinking fresh squeezed orange juice or the scent of freshly grated orange zest?  You won't know til you've tried.  Anyways, so I start reading all the signs of all these different oranges, then I read Blood mindlessly 4 of these gorgeous crimson fleshed citrus made its way into my cart.  I don't know! I get attracted to non-common things for some reason.  This is going to be made into a sauce for my cheesecakes, Lemon Goat Cheese to be exact.

This, my honeys, is the Lemon Goat Cheese Cheesecakes, made with half cream cheese & half goat cheese.  My first encounter with these were on the infamous Tartlette's blog, trust me goat cheese is the last thing in my mind to put in a cheesecake.  I'm not a big crazed about anything Lamb or Goat,  I mean I will eat it if it's put in front of me but I wont put it as my first option.  However, I will never say I don't like something unless I try it at least once. [I do give second chances because I'm sure not everything is created equal, let alone cooking/baking skills >.^]

However, these are actually pretty good!  the Lemon comes to the tongue first then followed in by the obvious goat cheese taste, it has a very...ummm...goat-y? taste.  If you like lamb or goat you may like this very much, an adventure for daring/curious eaters & not much for people that don't enjoy the goat-y taste.  hahaha...I know goat-y is not a word but hey! its my expression hehehe.

Today is also Little Eddie's younger sister's 15th birthday! So he came to me asking me to make her a cake, like VERY last minute, all he said was "she likes Domo & chocolate" Then he asked me to make these sponge cakes filled with cream and fruits, like those typical cream cakes sold at chinese bakeries.  I kindly reminded him that its his sister's birthday, she like chocolate, then at least give her something chocolate.  At last, I did a compromised, I made a chocolate cake, filled with whipped cream & fruits, which I topped with a sugar topper of her favorite character, DOMO! <3

Happy15th Birthday Maggie!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cookies

I always read about people making these cookies with a cute name, Snickerdoodles; finally I get to make some.  Actually it was one day when one of my friends, Little Eddie, calls me up out of the blue and say "hey ----, can we make some Snickerdoodles?"  As always, I said "Sure! why not, come on over" I never say no to a baking opportunity, especially when it comes to making something that I probably put at the end of my long loooooooong To-Bake list, hehehehe.   Well at least now there is one extra check on my list! Yay!

Ok, so we had 2 recipes to try.  One recipe was from that he had looked up and mines was from baking folder, lol... j/k, it's listed with the recipe.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
To me Snickerdoodle actually is/tasted like sugar cookies rolled in Cinnamon & sugar.  Call me Asian but I might tone down on the sugar used to roll the cookies in because its a tad bit sweet, not overly sweet but enough for me to say no thanks after the first or second one.  I have a sensitive sweetness tolerance, common level for Asians though, gosh so hard to explain or there is no way to explain it clearly, but this cookie is good, enough said.
Try it for yourself if you interested, the recipe is the one I used.  I'll also recommend to half the recipe to try it first.

makes about 2 - 2.5 dozens 
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup salad oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar & 1 tablespoon cinnamon for rolling cookies in 

Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  1.  Beat together butter, salad oil, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Slowly beat flour mixture into the butter mixture. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, then roll each in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place balls 3 to 4 inches apart on baking sheet. With a flat-bottomed glass dipped in cinnamon-sugar, flatten each ball to about 1/4-inch.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. Cool and then serve. 

Source: Sunset, 1998.

Snickerdoodle Cookies, cant have some without the MILK! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sweetened Swallow's Nest Soup w/ Milk

Swallow's Nest Soup sweetened with rock sugar

this is my very first time making this simple yet amazing & nutritious soup.  It started recently with a trip to the grocery store with a friend.  We went grocery shopping and for some reason we stopped by this counter where they sell all these herbal "stuff" [well you know, they all have these hard to remember scientific names! >.<] but more or less, everything that is good and beneficial for your body aka ginseng, dried scallops...errr, and yea swallow's nest. hehehe. 

Gosh, you can really call me a ABC [American Born Chinese] half the things the man at the counter tells me just leads to a big question mark "?" But all I heard was Swallow's Nest, good for body, beautifying abilities for women, nutritious for young and old.  OK! You got me on the Beauty part!

oh, did I tell you it also gave me a heart attack? I was all excited and forgot about the price until checkout...
1 ounce for $100!!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, for my families sake I guess a nice treat once in a blue moon is all worth it. 

Swallow's Nest is actually the bird's saliva or their spit.  The edible bird's nests are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans. The nests have been used in Chinese cooking for over 400 years, most often as the bird's nest soup.  Many other countries get disgusted by the word saliva, but the nests actually have high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium, so its not eaten for nothing.

Swallow's Nest Soup [sweetened version]
- serves about 3-4 

4 pieces Swallow's Nest any brand, but be cautious of fake ones
4 cups of water for soaking
2 cups of water for the soup, I use filtered water, bottled water is fine also
rock sugar/candy add a big block or two depending on preferred sweetness
milk or evaporated milk optional
  1. soak the Swallow's Nest in the water for 4 hours.  The proportion of swallow's nest & water is 1:1, adjust, as you may or may not need more.
  2. Pour out water, put the Swallow's Nest in a steaming jar with the 2 cups of filtered water & your preferred amount of rock sugar, I put 3 big chunks, since I'll dilute the sweetness with added milk.  
  3. Carefully place the jar in a bigger pot with water up to half the height of jar and let water boil for 1 hour, steaming the jar [like a water bath for your cheesecakes]
  4. I like mines chilled so after cooling I have it sit in fridge and have it for breakfast ^^
    and I added some milk in there for a delicious smooth dessert like soup that's actually good for your body! My baby gobbled it up in no time! >.^

    I LOVED IT! wish I can have this every day for breakfast, lol!