Thursday, June 26, 2014

Homemade Orange Jam

I love fresh oranges, but am never a fan of orange marmalade.  When I was young, whenever we have a cold, my mom likes to make us drink a cup of hot water mixed with a couple spoonfuls of orange marmalade.  Soothes our throat she says. 

Actually, I was attempting to make an entremet and the ingredient list asks for orange jam & orange puree. Boy, I never know where to find those.  The first thing I thought was Orange Jam = Orange Marmalade? I searched for recipes I can make it myself.   Was very excited to find that those two are similar but orange jam seems more exciting since I can leave out the peels. I did add in the zests which I'm okay with.

I have cooked my jam longer than intended so it got very thick when cooled.  I was aiming for spreadable consistency, so I advise you to stop when its still a bit liquidy and not thick like syrup.  I read somewhere online where some people use a cold plate technique where you put a drop of jam on the cold plate and wait a second or two and it's ready when it's the consistency you wanted.

The recipe is really simple yet the end result is delicious. You'll never go store-bought again.

Orange Jam - adapted from Chef In Disguise

1000 grams orange segments
750 grams to 1 kg  (4-5 cups ) sugar
1 cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of thinly slices orange peel (optional)

- If you want to add the peels to the jam, remember to remove the pith aka the white part of the skin. Slice into short thin strips.  I end up using just the zests of the oranges.
- Put a plate in the freezer use it to test consistency.

1. Cut the oranges into 1 cm segments, try to get rid of all the seeds as best as you can.  Leftover seeds should float on top when you stir.
2. In a pot, add the orange segments, sugar, lemon juice and orange juice.
3. Bring to a boil over medium low heat, stirring occasionally.  When the mixture comes to a boil reduce the heat to low and stir every few minutes to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
4. Simmer over low heat until the mixture is reduced to 1/3 the original amount and the consistency is thick (this should take an hour to an hour & a half)
*** If you plan on adding the orange peel, after the mixture has reduced to 1/2 its original size (40-50 minutes into cooking) add the peels.
5. I jar the jam immediately since I'm afraid if mixture cools it will thicken and make it harder to jar.  Original recipe states below:
"Allow the mixture to cool completely away from any sources of moisture.  I cover the pot with a clean cloth while cooling, don’t use the lid of the pot, if you do the hot steam might condense into water drops and if water gets into the jam it goes bad.
Once the mixture has cooled, fill it into jars."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cow-Patterned Cow Cookies

What does the cow say?
Moo~~ Moo~~!

I have to say I'm not much of a cookie person, but lately I'm all about cookies because:

1. It's fast to whip up 
(especially to entertain little ones, when they want hands on)
2. Its fast to bake
(it's summer, my AC is not working, the kitchen is hot, faster baking = better)
3. Lazy & tired
(want to make something but don't want to be complicated)

This recipe is from a book called 每天是饼干日
It all started when I saw some pictures of cow shaped cookies on Google, I thought it looks cute and it seems like it doesn't need any royal icing! I love how cookies look decorated all nice in royal icing but I just don't like the sweetness with all that food coloring.   So out of curiosity I took a glimpsed at the recipe and I found that it was so simple!  Cookies mainly made of butter, condensed milk and flour.  

Condensed Milk had my attention.

Condensed Milk is just sooooo good.  I remember when I was a kid, my brother and I love to just eat it straight from the can with spoons.  We'd also smothered our toast with it or pour some hot water in a cup with a few spoons of the gooey goodness and we have an awesome cup of milk. Oh yeaaa Asian style!

Overall, I think the cookies are good, but not flavorful enough, maybe the absence of eggs?  I felt like they are similar to sugar cookies.  Its a fun recipe, I'll definitely play with this recipe next time.  

Recipe for Condensed Milk Marble Cookies 
 – adapted from 每天都是饼干日
Yields 20 cookies, depending on the size of cookie cutter

60g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
100g condensed milk, room temperature
1 gram (1/4 tsp) salt
3 grams (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
170g plain flour, sifted
3-4 grams (1 tbsp) Cocoa powder

1. In the small mixing bowl, whisk to cream softened butter. 
2. Add condensed milk and salt.  Whisk to combine.
3. Add vanilla extract.
4. Pour sifted flour into the mixture, stir with metal teaspoon to form dough ball
5. Pinch out 50g of the dough, add cocoa powder slowly to it to form a cocoa dough. Stop adding when the dough starts to feel dry.

I used a little less that 3 grams of cocoa and I feel that too much will also make dough bitter.

6. Roll out the plain dough on a floured surface or Silpat.  Tear up cocoa dough into pieces randomly place them on top of the flatten plain dough.

7. Roll out with pin again to flatten (to 0.4cm)
E is doing such a good job of helping me roll it out! Great activity to do with kids.

8. Cut into desire shapes and arrange on a baking tray
9. Bake in a preheated oven at 170C/325F  for 10minutes till cookies are done, but not brown.
    Cool completely on rack before storing in air tight container.

- I want it more cow cookies so I piece the leftover pieces together as best as I could but don't mix.  I roll it out again and punch out as many cow shapes as I can.
- With the final leftover dough I just roll in balls and press down with thumb as discs.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bear Cream Puffs and Creme Caramel in a Jar

Happy Father's Day to my hubbie, V!
I was hoping to make his favorite childhood dessert Creme Caramel! I'm so excited to surprise him with it.

Every country seem to have it's own version of this custard.  It's commonly known as flan in America and Mexico,  pudding or purin in the Asian countries. Most of them are inverted out of the baking dish, but I seen Japanese people baking these in these cute milk bottles and it just look ADORABLE!!

The recipe I used is from this Japanese cookbook that I bought long time ago. I made educated guesses most of what it said since I don't read Japanese.  However the ingredients and it's amount definitely should be correct. 

Creme Caramel:

50g sugar
30ml water

- put the water and sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil and turn it down to MEDIUM LOW heat and will be ready when it turns amber color. Take off heat immediately, as the caramel will continue to cook. Twirl the pan to even out the caramel.  I like my caramel dark and slightly bitter so I put it on the heat longer.
- pour into your ramekins or in my case, milk jars and set aside. 
- DO NOT stir sugar as it boils or it will crystallize and causes sugar to solidify.
- have your jars ready in the pan you'll be baking with later and start boiling water to use as water bath.
300ml milk
150ml cream
1/4 vanilla bean
4 egg yolk
60g sugar

1. put egg yolks and sugar into a bowl
2. put milk, cream and vanilla bean into a saucepan bring it up to a simmer.
3. pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking as you pour.
4. strain mixture into a pourable container.  
5. skim the custard mixture to get rid of the foams/bubbles with a spoon.  I used a cheese cloth to gently skim it out.
6. gently evenly pour mixture into your ramekins/milk jars .
7. cover tops of ramekins/milk jars individually with aluminum foil.
8. fill the pan with hot boiling water
9. Bake at 160C/320F for about 20-30 minutes or until sides are firm but center is still jiggly.
10.  Cool and refrigerate it overnight.

It's so creamy and delicious!

I'm also playing with this cream puff recipe I found online.  I end up making teddy bear cream puffs to put on top of the creme caramels!  CUTENESS x 2!!
stay tune for the cream puff recipe!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cute Nerdy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I woke up super early to put my preschooler, E, on the school bus to school.  Yay! maybe another hour or so of sleep before my 9mo. old, C, wakes up. 
*cell phone rings*
-"美姐姐! Where are you? I have work, I'm bringing K over!"
-"mMm" I think I'm dreaming.....
*ding dong*
*yawn* sighs
This is too early in the morning,"I'm going back to bed, go play!"
- "but,美姐姐, I'm bored, let's bake!!!!
Sighs...okayyy, lets go!
K, happens to be my little baby cousin, yes cousin, around the same age as my daughter, E.  gasps
She happens to be a huge fan of Nerdy Nummies, a hobbyist baker/DIYer on Youtube. 
So today we decided to make the Nerdy Nummies' Smart Cookie Logo, which happens to be a cute chocolate chip with nerdy glasses. Adorable!
The cookies were delicious.  The big boys say it tasted just like the soft cookies you get at McDonalds or Subways...errr, these should be much better! Duh! Look at the cuteness and its homemade!  
If you like chewy chocolate chip cookies with a bit of crisp on the edges, these are going to be your kinda cookies!! My new favorite!
 The scaling of the cookies & glasses are a little bit off, super cute nonetheless. 
Cut her some slack, I mean the kid made it! (with my help)
You can get the Smart Cookie Design Template --> here 
- black cookie icing
- white cookie icing
We actually used Dark Chocolate Melts dyed with black candy coloring (because we didn't have Black Candy Melts) and Pink Candy Melts that was all bought from MICHAELS craft store.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
12oz of chocolate chips (I think 9-10oz be better)
1 cup butter/ 2 sticks
1 tsp vanilla extract 
- extra chocolate chips on the side for decor
- here is the link to the Nerdy Nummies video if you need visual instructions  
- Preheat oven to 350F 
1. Print out template to put under a piece of wax paper/parchment to help guide your piping, or do it free handed. Use black icing to pipe the frame of glasses and let it air dry 4-5 hours (that's why I used black chocolate melts, mines set in less than 20 minutes)
2. Put butter, vanilla, white and brown sugar in mixer bowl and cream.
3. Add in eggs, combine
4. Add in the flour, salt and baking soda slowly until combined.
5. Fold in chocolate chip cookies.
6. The dough is kinda sticky so I stuffed it in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes and tried scooping it in about 1 tablespoon sizes.
7. Bake at 350F for about 12-15 minutes (my oven tends to take longer) or until golden brown! WHILE IT'S HOT start putting on the extra chocolate chips on the cookies, refer to template to see where to place, leave space for the glasses! But remember to cool the cookies first.
8. When cookies cool, time to put on the glasses! 
9.  After the glasses are in place, user the black cookie icing or black candy melts and pipe the eyes and the smiles.  then use pink for the cheeks.  refer to stencil again for guidance.

I loved anything cute so these cookies just made my day.
It's also just in time for Father's Day! It's this Friday the 13th! We did some cookies with sunglasses too and with different facial expression.  Each and every cookie is different and special just like our daddies, right?
We had a blast today.
However, I still want some sweet revenge and some more fun with the girls since I was awaken so early.  
The baby had kept me up all night, so me super tired.
Time for Chocolate Mustaches! Hahaha!
E is so restless and kept moving as I was drawing on her, hence the super perky mustache.
And K kept giggling and smiling, cant draw well

Melting Mustaches, but melts our heart at the same time.
Today is just a cuteness overload day!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Six-Banana Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze

Yes, you read it right, 6!  Six bananas!  For those that don't know, I love buying fruits, yet I can never keep up with eating it before it spoils, molds or in this case browns...really badly browned.  So I have half a dozen of sad looking, super ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen table, as usual, the first thing that came to mind is Banana Bread!
But I need to use it all! But how?! During my usual rambling on Pinterest, (heaven for DIYs, inspirations, & etc...) a pin for a Six-Banana Banana Bread caught my attention.  Yesss!! 
Exactly what I need, this should be a recipe with a lot of flavor, because when I put something as a main star ingredient of a recipe, I want to taste it! 
and to use up those bananas...all of them.

This awesome recipe is from Averie Cooks, you can head over and check out her totally awesome analysis of this recipe.  Its one of the best banana bread I ever made and eaten that I've made myself, hahaha.  I guess the other banana breads either dry too fast or just doesn't have the taste and texture I want.  This bread is incredibly moist & soft, on the denser side(hey it's bread right?), very flavorful and totally used up my bananas! none was wasted, everyone happy!

Have you ever made brown butter?? That nutty fragrant aroma...soooo good! Though the glaze is a tad sweet on my Asian tongue, even when I took out nearly 1/2 the sugar from this recipe I got. But it is still sooo GOOD!

one of the mini Banana Bread and she is smothered with Browned Butter Glaze, topped with Caramelized Pecans & fresh bananas. She is ready to go! someone's tummy.

Six-Banana Banana Bread

Yield: 1 9x5 loaf & 1 mini loaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 68 minutes
Total Time: 78 minutes


1/4 cup unsalted butter (half of 1 stick), melted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sour cream or thick Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 medium/large very ripe bananas, mashed (2 1/2 cups mashed bananas; if your bananas are huge you may only need 4 or 5; if they're small, you may need more)
one 3.4-ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix (not Cook 'n Serve)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt, optional and to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside. If necessary, you may need to use a muffin pan or mini loaf for pan a small amount of batter.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power. Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don't scramble the eggs.
  3. Add the eggs, sugars, sour cream, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the bananas and stir to incorporate
  5. Add the pudding mix (just add it dry like a dry ingredient; don't actually make pudding), flour, baking soda, cinnamon, optional salt, and fold in with spatula or stir gently with a spoon; don't overmix or bread will be tougher.
  6. Bake 9x5 loaf for 60 to 75 minutes (I baked 68 minutes), or until the top is domed, golden, and the center is set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. In the final 10 to 15 minutes of cooking, or at any point if your bread is getting a bit dark before the center is setting, tent with foil.
  7. If baking a mini loaf is necessary, bake for about 35 minutes, or until done; I estimate 2 or 3 muffins will take about 20 to 25 minutes. Baking times for loaves will vary based on moisture content of bananas, pan sizes, climate, and oven variances. Bake until done; watch your bread, not the clock.
  8. Allow bread to cool in pan for about 20 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. Serve plain, or with butter, jam, Honey Butter, Cinnamon-Sugar Butter, Strawberry Butter, Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze, or your favorite spread. Makes excellent French toast. Bread will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze

1/4 cup butter (half of one stick)
1 cup+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted   i put only 3/4 cup because I hate things too sweet
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoons+ cream or milk, optional and to taste  i put enough to make it runny enough to pour nicely

- You can brown the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heating over medium heat. Swirl the pan or stir frequently for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. Watch it closely so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.
- Or, brown the butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl by heating it on high power, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. The same rules apply in the microwave as on the stovetop; watch it closely and start checking it every 15-to-30 seconds starting at about the 5-minute mark, so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.
- Transfer hot butter to medium-sized mixing bowl and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.  Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Based on desired glaze consistency and taste preference, add the cream one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached, playing with sugar and cream ratios as necessary. (I only use butter, sugar, vanilla in this glaze, no cream). Drizzle glaze over the top of the bread before slicing and serving; or slice, serve, and glaze each piece individually. I prefer to use the glaze like butter and spread it liberally on the interior surface of a slice.