French Macarons

Macarons

I recently bought some edible rose buds from Chinatown and love using them every chance I get. We had a Valentine’s Day bake sale coming up and I figured, why not make some macarons? It was a good opportunity to make them considering we just had an exam aka post exam stress-relief. Macarons themselves are not difficult to make. It definitely takes practice though to become familiar with all of the steps required and getting used to using the scale for measurements. With practice you’ll be on your way to success. Bake these macarons whether it’s for Valentine’s or even just to treat yourself (because you know you deserve it).

For ideas on other flavors of macarons to make check out my previous posts on Chocolate, Green Tea, Lemon, Pineapple, or Pistachio macarons. You can also go the extra step and make a Macaron Tree if you’re having any special events!

Macarons

Printable Recipe

Makes: 35 macarons (1 ½″)

Ingredients:

  • 110 grams almonds or almond flour (~ 1 cup)
  • 200 grams confectioner’s sugar (~ 1 2/3 cup)
  • 100 grams egg whites (3-3 1/2 eggs- no need to age)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar (~1/4 cup)
  • pinch salt
  • food coloring (optional)

**Highly recommend to invest in a scale (cheap on Amazon) and measure out the ingredients in grams- I have used both methods and my success rate is always higher using grams**

Directions:

  1. Prep two baking sheets with parchment paper and draw your desired circle size. You can use a bottle cap or print out a template and trace it.
  2. If you don’t have almond flour, blend the almonds in a food processor until very fine. Add in the confectioner’s sugar and pulse until incorporated. Sift the mixture using a sieve into a medium bowl and set aside. Add any large pieces that don’t go through the sieve back to the food processor and pulse until smooth.
  3. Place egg whites in a large bowl and whip at medium speed, until foamy.
  4. Mix in the granulated sugar and salt and whip for 3-6 minutes until stiff peaks form. If you lift the whisk, the peaks should remain standing and will look shiny and smooth.
  5. Add any food coloring at this point (I took a toothpick, dipped it in the pink gel food coloring, and wiped it into the mix). Blend until the color is distributed.
  6. Use a rubber spatula to fold your almond-sugar mixture into the stiffened egg whites. You won’t expect it to come together at first but after 40-50 strokes (it’s really important to keep track!), the macaron mixture should look like the consistency of lava. If you spoon up the batter and drop it back into the bowl, it will take about 10 seconds to incorporate itself back in. Watch this 1-minute video here if you are unsure of how to complete this step; it will be well worth it.
  7. Spoon your batter into a large piping bag (18″) fitted with a large circle tip (1/2″). Don’t overfill your bag or it will be harder when piping the macarons.
  8. Pipe the macarons onto your templates. Don’t fill the whole circle because the macaron batter will spread by a small amount.
  9. Pick up the pan and drop it onto the counter about 2-3 times to get rid of any air bubbles which can cause your macarons to crack.
  10. Preheat the oven to 300 F°. Let the macarons dry for about 30 minutes to 1 hour in an undisturbed area before baking them. You will know when they are ready when you touch the top of the macaron and it doesn’t stick to your finger.
  11. Bake the macarons for about 12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Tips:

-I use a macaron silicon mat that I place underneath the parchment paper and use as a template when piping. After I pipe one sheet of macarons, I quickly slide the silicon mat out so I can use it for the next sheet.

-Sprinkle some crushed edible rose on top and color the batter with pink gel food coloring to make the macarons pictured.

-For more tips check out the Ten Commandments on Macarons here

Macarons

Chocolate Ganache

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Fill a saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer. Combine the chopped chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl and set over the saucepan (should not be touching the water).
  2. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt.
  3. Set aside until cooled and thickened while mixing occasionally.

Tips:

-The ganache can take about 30 minutes to thicken at room temperature. It is important to stir it frequently so that no clumps form. You can refrigerate it for a few minutes so that it can thicken faster.

Macarons

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lavender Honey Shortbread Cookies

Lavender cookies

Just recently, I was at a farmer’s market that had everything from local honey to farm fresh eggs. It was a local event held on someone’s farm where they invited other farmers to come and share their produce. One of the highlights was getting to see the miniature ponies and even a 3 day old calf on the property (animals not for sale though)!

We passed by a lavender stand that had everything lavender themed- essential oils, laundry spray, hand cream, you name it. The last product that the vendor showed me was culinary lavender. Once I heard the word “culinary”, a lightbulb turned on in my head and I started brainstorming of recipes to use it with.  A quick Google search revealed that lavender can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, such as shortbread cookies or even a lavender rub for a pot roast. I decided to make the lavender shortbread cookies and loved them!

These lavender cookies are simple and fragrant delicious bites. Dangerously addicting.

Printable Recipe

Lavender Honey Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lavender buds, roughly chopped
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat: 350º F

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar, honey, and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the lavender, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  2. Add in the flour and salt and mix until well combined, taking care not to over mix.
  3. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes or until firm. Roll out to about ¼ inch thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can also place the dough on parchment paper and shape it into a log, about 2 inches in diameter. Freeze for 30 minutes and the remove the dough and cut into slices.
  4. Place the cookies on a sheet and bake at 350º F for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from My Fancy Pantry

Tips:

-If you used cookie cutters for this recipe, you can place the baking sheet of cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes so that they firm up and maintain their structure when baked.

-To get your butter to room temperature faster if in a rush, you can slice the stick of butter and spread it out on a plate. The greater surface area will allow the butter to soften quicker.

What recipes have you used lavender in?

 

Divergent Cake

Divergent Cake

Birthdays are so special. Birthdays are also a reason to bake up a cake. What celebration doesn’t call for that? It was time to finally put an end to the cake drought we’ve been suffering (last one I baked was an Little Black Dress cake for my friend’s party). With a little fondant of course. Fondant’s hard to ignore and it somehow makes it way to every celebration. It just adds the right amount of pizzazz to any cake like a glossy top coat to your nail polish. So fondant it was. Now the challenging part: what theme should the cake be centered around?

Divergent Cake

Well, after many brainstorming and Pinterest sessions to find a cake for my sister’s birthday, we suddenly agreed on a theme. We had just seen Divergent at home and Insurgent the next day at the movies, which really inspired us. In case you haven’t seen either of these, they are based on a bestselling novel by Veronica Roth (she has a role in the first movie so keep an eye out for her!). Her dystopia novel comes to life along with its society-divided factions which are defined by traits. Each child goes to a Choosing Ceremony where they pick the faction they will join for the rest of their lives. An action packed mix of rebellion, deception, and upright honesty where the main character, Tris, leaves her selfless Abnegation faction to join the adventurous, fearless Dauntless faction brings excitement tying the whole story together. The main character is Divergent, meaning that she has 3 or more of the traits these factions have which poses a threat to the government who dislike the rebellious Divergent. The best way I found to integrate the movie into the cake was to focus on the five factions and so that’s what I topped the cake with. I put fire and coals (crushed oreos) to surround the cake, because that was the symbol of the Dauntless faction that Tris chose.

Birthday Cakes Across the Years 

Batman Cake

https://simply-delicious.org/2014/05/11/batman-fondant-cake/

Chinese Takeout Cake

https://simply-delicious.org/2013/05/05/chinese-takeout-anyone/

Rainbow Cake

https://simply-delicious.org/2012/04/24/surprises-abound/

Divergent Themed Cake 

Divergent Cake

I used Sweetapolita’s Fluffy Vanilla Cake which you can find here and paired that with a light, creamy Vanilla Bean frosting. The combination was great, because the icing did not have that generic overly sweet taste and the cake itself was light and fluffy. The secret to this frosting was whipping the butter for 8 minutes until it was as smooth as a ribbon of silk before mixing it with the powdered sugar. I don’t usually eat the fondant part of the cake as it is has a sickly sweet flavor that just throws you off even before you get to the cake and icing inside. It definitely is worth the magical effect that it gives your cake though.

Divergent Cake

Each circle represents one of the five factions. Starting from the top yellow symbol, clockwise, are Dauntless, Abnegation, Amity, Candor, & Erudite.

Dauntless: brave, fearless, take risks

Abnegation: selfless, always help others hence the hands

Amity: kind, optimistic, earth-friendly

Candor: truthful, see everything as black or white

Erudite: curious about the world, intelligent

Divergent (no symbol): three or more of the above, rebellious, immune to control

Factionless (no symbol): the ones who don’t fit in

Divergent Cake

 

What movie-themed cakes have you made?

 

Maple Bacon Brittle Ice Cream

Maple Bacon Ice Cream

Do you ever walk past the chips aisle & wonder how some flavors are created? Waffles and Chicken. Cappuccino. Maple Bacon. These adventurous titles tend to stand out against the other generic BBQ or cheese flavors. While in the store one day, maple & bacon caught my eye and I soon started noticing it in other foods such as cookies, cake, and even ice-cream. When baking, I love experimenting with new flavors and tastes and before you know it, maple bacon brittle ice-cream was on my to-do list. I figured I would make an ice-cream, because I just got an ice-cream maker so it was a great opportunity to use it! Despite how strange it may sound as bacon is a savory item which we don’t associate with sweets, I loved it and so did my whole family. Now let’s just say, some dishes are made that way to stay that way. Cappuccino falls in that category. The cappuccino chips were definitely out there, and it was strange having a chocolatey aftertaste with a small hint of coffee after eating chips. Alright well on to the recipe below with a few step-by-step photos:

Maple Bacon Brittle Ice-Cream from WhipThisUp Blog

Makes: 1 Quart

Bacon Brittle 

Ingredients

  • 3 strips of turkey bacon
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. Wrap a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Grease and set aside.
  2. Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and then chop to a fine mince.
  3. Cook sugar over medium-high heat, until it melts and turns golden (about 10 minutes or if lumps form, remove the pan from the heat and stir until melted). Immediately remove from heat when the sugar has completely melted and has turned a light amber color.
  4. Right away, stir in the butter, baking soda, and chopped bacon.
  5. Quickly pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool until hardened (about 15 minutes).
  6. Break or cut into very small pieces with a skillet, knife, or other cooking utensil.
  7. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator while you make the ice-cream.

Maple Ice-Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Directions

  1. Heat the maple syrup over medium heat and allow it to simmer until it has reduced to ¾ cup, about 12 minutes (you can use a heat safe measuring cup to measure it’s volume every few minutes). Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and salt in a small bowl for several minutes until a pale yellow color. Transfer to a saucepan and mix in the whole milk.
  3. Cook the egg/milk mixture over medium heat, until almost simmering (the mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon: when you run your finger through the custard a line should form and not run back into itself). Remove from heat.
  4. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a heat safe bowl and then stir in the reduced maple syrup and heavy cream.
  5. Cover the custard and refrigerate overnight.
  6. The following day, churn in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in the bacon brittle and allow to freeze for 2 hours before enjoying.

From Beginning to End: Journey of the Turkey Bacon 

Turkey Bacon

Turkey Bacon: Before

Turkey Bacon

Turkey Bacon: After. Golden brown and sizzling in perfection. Keep your eye on these, because you may lose a few from hungry bystanders!

Light Amber Brittle

The much awaited light amber color of the sugar. Patience is required.

Bacon Brittle

Bacon brittle all chopped up. Snacking: Optional.

Maple Bacon Ice Cream

The bowl that makes all your effort worth it. Make this Maple Bacon Brittle Ice-cream recipe for a bowl that you’ll never forget!

What’s the weirdest ice-cream flavor you have ever made or tasted?

Holiday Themed Fondant Cake

holiday fondant cake

Whenever the holidays start to come around, signups begin for all the holiday potlucks to enjoy at work, school, or even amongst family and friends. Sometimes you get signed up for a dessert at a company you don’t even work at too. Yep, my mom signed me up for her potluck. I didn’t mind, because it was a great stress reliever for finals even though I had two papers to write on the same day. It was also the perfect opportunity too to use these gold edible sprinkles that I have. I ended up making a two-layer chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing in between.

The Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe can be found here  on a previous blog post of mine.

holiday fondant cake

Previous recipes where I have used this Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate recipe are below:

hershey's twizzler bites

Hershey Twizzler Bites 

mini chocolate bundt cakes

Chocolate Bundt Cakes: Mini and Normal Versions

Hershey's Chocolate Cakeballs

Hershey’s Winter Themed Cakeballs 

Batman Cake

Batman Fondant Cake 

 

 

 

 

NY Style Cheesecake

This cheesecake almost didn’t happen. The night I had planned to make it for a lunch we were holding the next day, I conveniently forgot where the springform pan’s base was. I sat for a while on Pinterest trying to get inspirations for another dessert to make, but nothing was appealing to me. Once I had the idea to make this cheesecake, I just couldn’t forget it and that was the problem. I tried again, opening every cabinet and looking between pans that the springform base could be hidden in. Just when I was about to call it a night, my mom yelled over to me and there it was in her hand. Apparently it was in our outside refrigerator; an area that I never thought to check. Cheesecake is one of those desserts that is really worth making because the end product never fails to satisfy. Check below to enjoy your own home-made version as well!

new york cheesecake

New York Style Cheesecake

Printable Recipe Here

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups crushed graham wafers
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling

  • 32 ounces (4 of the 8 ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest  (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Put the wafers in a food processor and blend until they are small crumbs
  2. Pour the crumbs in a bowl and add the 1/4 cup of sugar and melted butter
  3. Spray the springform pan with cooking spray and press the crumbs on the bottom and halfway up the pan
  4. Refrigerate while you make the cheesecake filling
  5. Put the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and flour in a mixing bowl and beat until well incorporated (1 minute)
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they are blended in
  7. Scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix so that you do not have any lumps of cream cheese remaining
  8. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and beat for a minute or until well mixed
  9. Before you pour the filling into your crust, cover the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil (so no water gets in)
  10. Pour the filling into the aluminum wrapped springform pan
  11. Put the springform pan in a large baking dish and fill the dish with water (so the water is halfway up the pan)
  12. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes
  13. Reduce to 250 F and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until only the center is a little wobbly when you shake the pan
  14. Cool and refrigerate overnight and decorate/serve the following day

Tips

  • For the design, I melted semi-sweet chocolate and dipped strawberries in it. For some strawberries, I covered them with chopped almonds and for the others, I dipped them in a ready made strawberry glaze.
  • If you do not have graham wafers (as I did not), be creative and improvise with ANYTHING that you have. I used waffle cones that we had and just put those in the food processor. I have also used animal crackers in the past so anything will work.
  • Baking the cheesecake in a water bath will prevent it cracking because then the outer edge will not bake faster than the center (the hottest the water bath can get is 100 C).
  • Short 1 minute video for how to assemble a water bath here

Recipe modified from ZoomYummy

new york cheesecake

new york cheesecake

 

For more ideas check out some of my past cheesecakes below:

reeses cheesecake

 

pecan cheesecake

 

cheesecake

 

 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake

reeses cheesecake

Have you ever liked Reese’s so much that you needed it in more than just your cereal or average candy bar? Don’t get me wrong, nothing can beat the original Reese’s peanut butter cups. You know something is good though when you leave a pack of it out on the countertop and return to find that it has disappeared. So if you are planning on buying the Reese’s and making it the same day, you may be fine. Those who are planning for later in the week, mmmm… You may want to store the Reese’s somewhere safe and hidden. Any who, I always love a good occasion to celebrate. Events = a chance to test out a Pinterest recipe or make some dessert that I’ve been craving. A few days before I made this cheesecake, I actually had made a Strawberry Glazed NY Style Cheesecake for some relatives who were visiting from out of town. I didn’t make the Reese’s flavored cheesecake for them, because it is a hit or miss flavor. People usually either hate or love peanut butter, so I decided not to take the chance. A few days passed and my brother took his LSAT, so I was like- hey, why not make some cheesecake- everyone loves it. It was a success. And you can only guess what I made when some friends came over for dinner a week later… Yes. Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake. In reality, I’d rather wait a few weeks before making another cheesecake again just so that it becomes that much more exciting to see a slice of cheesecake (rather than ugh, not again). And that, my friends, was the end of my mini cheesecake baking marathon.

Reese’s Cheesecake

Printable Recipe

Brownie Crust

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 whole peanut butter cups

Directions

Preheat: 350 °F

  1. Line a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper
  2. Mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract
  3. Add eggs to the mixture and then stir in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt
  4. Pour and spread the brownie mix in the springform pan
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes
  6. Chop the peanut butter cups into pieces and place on top of the brownie crust
  7. Set aside while you prepare the cheesecake filling

Cheesecake Mix

Preheat: 325 °F

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces of cream cheese (4 of the 8 ounce packages), room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Beat the cream cheese until it is smooth
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, while beating on low
  3. Mix in the sugar, peanut butter, cream, and vanilla extract until well incorporated
  4. Before you pour the cheesecake mix into the prepared pan, wrap the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil so that water cannot get into it
  5. Fill a large glass or disposable baking dish (that will fit your springform pan) with about an inch of water
  6. Place your springform pan in the baking dish into the oven
  7. Bake at 325 °F for about 1 hr and 30 minutes
  8. Cool to room temperature before placing into the refrigerator and chill overnight for best results (3-4 hours will do though if you are in a rush)

If you are looking for other cheesecake recipes, check out my Original NY Style Cheesecake or even my Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake.

Recipe adapted from Hugs and Cookies Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake blog post here

reeses cheesecake

What is the most unique flavor of cheesecake you have tasted?

 

 

The Ultimate Macaron Tree

macaron tree

Finally accomplished one item off my long list of to-do projects with food: the macaron tree! I have always adored the ones I would see behind the glass windows of macaron bakeries. I love how people even use these for weddings in lieu of cakes and I find them just so creative! Some of the top flavors for the macarons I have tasted include: lemon, raspberry, and coffee. There are so many more flavors you can choose though- I’ve seen blogs where people make popcorn flavored macarons or the Girl Scout Samoa cookies flavored macarons. For my tower, I decided to go with a classic raspberry for the bottom and for the top I chose a more unique flavor, pumpkin spice. Now the inspiration that got me to finally make this beauty was my best friend’s marriage ceremony. I gave it to her the day before as a delicious gift because I was so excited for her :)

The assembly of the macaron tree was a bit complicated as this one was my first. I had to triple my recipe for the macarons in order to be on the safe side to have enough macarons. You can choose to draw the circles on the parchment paper as a template for the macaron sizing. You can also buy silicon macaron mats that already have grooves for each macaron. I did both methods and found the silicon mat a lot easier as all the macarons came out the same size. (I got my silicon mat from World Market- if you do not have this location nearby, you can buy it online as well)

Here are previous posts where I have made macarons:

Chocolate Macarons with a variety of fillings

-Pistachio Macarons

-Peppermint Macarons

A few tips for assembling the macaron tree:

-The styrofoam cone can be found online or at local craft stores such as Hobby Lobby

-For the toothpicks, angle them at a 45 degree angle to the cone so that they are slanted and can hold the macarons better

-If you are transporting this, I would recommend bringing along a few extra macarons in case any fall off

-Flowers add a nice touch of elegance so I highly suggest adding these (I would have preferred larger flowers, but the store I got them from didn’t have any of the size I was looking for)

-You can use the Wilton colored edible sprays to create a sort of ombre effect for your tower or even to add a touch of gold/silver

-Another idea is to package it using cellophane wrap and top it off with two large artificial flowers or even a bow

 

Have you ever assembled a macaron tree and do you have any tips for me as well?

 

 

Houston Bites: Slices & Ices

Back to another post of Houston Bites!

Today’s special is a pizzeria that just recently opened in the Clear Lake community of Houston, Slices & Ices. Offering specialty pizza flavors by the slice is what makes this unique foodie find stand out. The “Ices” that they serve as well include an array of Italian Ice flavors such as strawberry lemonade, cappuccino, and even classics like cherry and vanilla. One of the nice features is that they also conveniently deliver throughout the League City and Clear Lake, TX areas making delivery a nice option for people who work nearby and don’t want to leave the office.

For those wondering about the atmosphere, Slices & Ices has family-friendly seating. It has a very modern and sleek design and even has the menu displayed on large flat screen TVs. There are also TVs for sports fanatics and individuals who like to keep up with the current news.

big white pizza

Pictured above is a normal slice of the White pizza. It is larger than your average slice from the usual pizza store, so I was really excited when I saw this. The first bite was heavenly and I quickly finished it off (secretly wanting another slice haha so I will be back). If you love alfredo pizza then this pizza is definitely for you! For a light lunch, one slice would do, otherwise I would have gotten two. Other interesting pizza flavors they offer include taco pizza, grilled chicken caesar salad pizza, and chicken marsala pizza amongst other dizzying choices.

italian ice

Do not let the small size of the Italian Ice cup fool you. You will find it quite satisfying after a meal or even alone for a tasty and simple dessert. Pictured above is the Cotton Candy flavor on the left and Mint Chocolate Chip on the right. It is not dense, but rather light and fluffy making for a dessert that you won’t forget. They were very patient with me as I sampled multiple flavors until I found the perfect one for me, so no worries if it takes you three or more samples to find your favorite!

Slices & Ices

Location:

300 w. Bay Area Blvd.

Suite 800

Webster, TX 77598

832-932-5747

http://www.slicesandices.net/

Liebster Award

Today’s special news:

Kat & Kloh from StateEats nominated Simply Delicious for a Liebster Award!

liebster

This award is given from bloggers to bloggers to help promote their blog and get their names out there!

Once you are nominated, you have to meet the following criteria:

  • Answer the 10 Liebster questions give to you by the blogger who nominated you
  • Select 10 blogs with a small following to nominate for the award
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees
  • Link back to your nominator
  • Inform each of your nominees of your nomination

Thanks StateEats for the nomination! If you love traveling and food, be sure to check out their blog for a variety of mouthwatering recipes from their travels to all 50 states.

Here are Kat & Kloh’s Questions

1. What’s your favorite comfort food?

A large bowl of cheesy broccoli cheddar soup with a loaf of soft French bread on the side

2. Where would you like to travel that you’ve never been?

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania- the challenge of climbing one of the Seven Summits is something I’ve always wanted to do

3.  What is a killer-good dish that you make that impresses everyone?  

Cheesecake. New York Style. Caramel Pecan. Chocolate Hazelnut. Any flavor is to die for.

cheesecake      hazelnut cheesecake

4. What song whisks you right back to high school when you hear it?

I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas

5. What is a food or dish you never eat?  

Not a picky eater but mustard is one condiment that I’m not very fond of

6. Who has served as a role model for you?

My mother, she always turns to be right regarding her advice and everything

7. Name one ingredient you cannot live without.

Butter. Somehow it always manages to find its way in every recipe…

8. What have you discovered about blogging that you didn’t know when you started?

There are so many ways you can customize your blog, one of my favorite is including a printable recipe link

9. What is a weird food combination that you love that doesn’t sound appealing but is really delicious?

Red Velvet Cake with Beets. You don’t even taste the beets in it and the best thing is that the color is 100% natural

10. What is the last book you read and loved?

Divergent by Veronica Roth

My deelish food blogger nominations:

A Dash Of Razan– words of wisdom in the arts of cooking, fashion, and everyday life

Thirsty for Tea– A blog dedicated to tea, tea foods, and modernizing a time-honored tradition

A Distinguished Palate– Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, you name it

Ocean View Kitchen– Real Food Recipes

That Damned CanAsian-Tips and tricks, recipes, along with travel tidbits

Delicious Delicious Bagel– Baking and delicious bites to share

Miss Wu Kitchen- Food makes me smile. I’m on a “seafood” diet. I see food & I eat it

HappyLife.HealthyLife – Keeping You Happy & Healthy In Today’s Crazy World

Leni & Viv– Recipes, Cooking Tips, & Food Inspiration from Our House to Yours

Food 4 Your Mood– A Journey to the Gastronomy Universe

Here are my Liebster Questions:

  1. What is your favorite, easy to make dessert for parties?
  2. What is the weirdest drink flavor or combo you have ever had?
  3. What dessert flavor do you always end up ordering?
  4. Describe one of your biggest cooking/baking fails.
  5. Which Food Network show is your favorite?
  6. Have you ever been to a Man vs. Food restaurant or bakery?
  7. Do you prefer baking solo or with other people?
  8. Who/what inspired you to start your food blog?
  9. What is a dish that you’ve always wanted to make.
  10. What is your favorite fried food?

 

Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake

pecan cheesecake

Cheesecake. A delightful and creamy dessert, that has the ability to turn your day into the perfect one. Although, many are horrified at the task of making one, it is actually pretty simple. The wait can be quite painful though, as you have to leave it in the fridge overnight. Patience is definitely one of the top lessons learned after baking one of these. There’s just something special though about making mini versions of anything, especially cheesecake. They are best shared by two after a meal or can be eaten alone for a filling dessert. Pecan flavored desserts are a classic so I ventured to make a mini cheesecake in this flavor and it was a success!

Printable Recipe here

Chocolate Cookie Crust

Length of Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 18 Oreos, without the creme filling
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted (1/2 stick)

Directions

  1. Crush the chocolate cookies in a food processor until they are fine crumbs
  2. Add the crumbs to a small bowl along with the melted butter
  3. Mix well and press the crumb mixture in your spring form pan evenly
  4. Refrigerate the crumb lined springform pan while you make the cheesecake mixture

Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake Filling

Length of Time: 20 min preparing, 1 hr 35 min in oven, 1 hr cooling, & overnight in fridge

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese until smooth
  2. Stir in the brown sugar, corn starch, and corn syrup
  3. Add the eggs, one egg a time, mixing well after each addition
  4. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract
  5. Lastly, mix in the melted chocolate and chopped pecans
  6. Pour the filling into the chocolate crust
  7. Fill a large baking dish with an inch of water
  8. Cover the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil so water can’t enter and place in the water bath
  9. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees
  10. Reduce the heat to 250 and bake for an hour and 20 minutes (or until the center is almost set but jiggles slightly when you shake it)
  11. Wait for it to cool and refrigerate overnight before serving

Toppings

Sprinkle chopped pecans and drizzle melted chocolate over the finished cheesecake

Tips

  • For the crust, any type of cookie will do. Sometimes when I run out of Oreos, I will make half of the crumbs from graham cookies or even animal crackers!
  • If you are not a fan of chocolate, simply do not mix in the melted chocolate chips
  • You can make a marbled version of this cheesecake (pictured below is one that I made- I split the cheesecake filling in half and flavored half with chocolate and left half of it vanilla flavored, and then I filled the mini springform pan with both mixes)
  • For other combinations, you can try making a Nutella flavored cheesecake but subbing Nutella for the melted chocolate chips
  • You can order the mini springform pans from Amazon or get them from a local store like Target

pecan cheesecake

pecan cheesecake

What’s your favorite kind of cheesecake? What are some unique variations that you have tried?

Feel free to share any tips you have learned along the way while making cheesecake :)

Pharmacy Themed Fondant Cake

Pharmacy Cake

So I have a photo album waiting for me full of fondant cakes, multi-colored panna cotta, green tea swirl cookies, and even a red velvet cake that I made with beets… That’s not all. There are more pictures than I can keep up with posts haha. So definitely stay posted to witness these beautiful recipes and try them out yourself too! Also make sure that you LIKE the facebook page here so you don’t miss a single post :)

I’m going to try to keep this post short and simple. Up above is a pharmacy fondant cake that I made last year for a close family friend’s mom who got her Ph.D. in Pharmacy. This cake is one of my favorites from the fondant cakes that I have made so far. The best part of making it, other than sampling it, was getting to use the edible food markers! While I was making it, my little sister wanted to help out, so I let her make the cupcakes. We had an edible pink mist spray that she used to color the fondant for those.

For cakes like this, I feel like a general description of how I made it will be much more beneficial than my actual writing out each and every step. This pharmacy cake is a four layered cake; the flavor that you choose for the cake is all up to you. I used the traditional Wilton buttercream recipe and I could have done a better job of sealing the cake, because it did not turn out as smooth as I would have liked. I added orange and yellow food coloring to the buttercream to color it around the typical pharmacy bottle look. As for the fondant pieces, it is basically as you see it. I measured the cake and cut the fondant with scissors for the circle. For the edging, I used a toothpick to make the grooves for the cap. Lastly, for the label, it was a square that I cut out and just wrote on with the edible food markers. It would be helpful, if you are recreating the Walgreens logo, to have an actual medicine bottle out. That way, you can get every curve and swirl of the letters correctly. If not, you can also print out a large copy of the Walgreens logo to have a better template. Feel free to comment below if you have any additional questions and I will try my best to help :)

 

 

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

 

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Got a pack of raspberries laying around with no idea what to do with all of them? Don’t worry, SimplyDelicious can help you with this dilemma. It just so happened when I opened the fridge on a fine Sunday afternoon, that I was greeted with a stack of three raspberry packs. Just the previous day, I had discovered this amazing vanilla cupcake recipe. Seriously, it legit made the best vanilla cupcakes that I have ever tasted. So… I thought, why not make this delicious recipe raspberry flavored too? Now, I easily could have eaten all the raspberries too, rather than make cupcakes. I had to control myself though and think of the end product that was so close. That’s what’s so awesome about cupcakes. You make them quick, eat them quick. Done deal. Other desserts, like cheesecakes, make you wait overnight (way to0 long if you want instant pleasure).

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Printable Recipe here

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack (6 oz) raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt)
  2. Add in the butter until the mixture resembles wet and crumbly sand
  3. Beat in the eggs until they are well incorporated and you can no longer see the yellow
  4. Put in the remaining wet ingredients (milk, sour cream, butter, vanilla extract) and mix until the texture of your mixture is smooth and fully combined
  5. Hand mix the raspberries into your batter until they are evenly distributed
  6. Fill the cupcake liners half way with the mixture
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or golden brown

Raspberry Buttercream

Printable Recipe here 

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Puree the raspberries in a food processor
  2. Pour the processed raspberries through a sieve with small holes to keep the seeds from getting in your frosting
  3. Use a spoon to help you get all the raspberry pulp out and set it aside in a small bowl (throw the seeds away)
  4. Cream the butter with a mixer for about a minute and then add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time
  5. Add in the vanilla extract, salt, and pureed raspberries
  6. If the buttercream is too runny, add in more powdered sugar until it is to your liking. If too thick, add a teaspoon of milk at a time.

Recipes adapted from: Tide & Thyme and Baking a Moment

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes    Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Classic French Toast

Classic French Toast

French toast used to be the type of breakfast food that I would always hear about, yet never eat. It was not because I did not like it, but because I had never tried it and so I tended to dismiss it. The first time I tried french toast was totally random. I was carpooling with a friend and we were a little late to school. Her mom had made me a piece for breakfast, which was perfect by the way because I hadn’t had any breakfast that morning. I ate it on the go and instantly loved it. I never knew how easy it was to make and after hearing the directions, I decided that I must make it myself! Definitely will be making this perfectly delicious breakfast again.

Classic French Toast

Makes: 8 slices

Printable Recipe here

Ingredients

  • 8 slices of bread
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups half and half (or use buttermilk or whole milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Mix together the eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl
  2. Place the pieces of bread in a baking dish and pour the mixture over them
  3. Wait 5 minutes and flip the pieces of bread to get the other side soaked
  4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on a frying pan
  5. Fry each side of the french toast for 3 minutes or until golden-brown
  6. Use another 2 tablespoons of butter for the next batch, and repeat

Tips:

-For every 4 eggs, add 1 cup of liquid- half and half, buttermilk, or wholemilk

-If you want it to be more cinnamon flavored, add another teaspoon

-For other variations, you can also add a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

-You can cut the bread in slices for french toast sticks

Batman Fondant Cake, Chocolate Trifles, & Tropical Punch

Batman Cake

Finally MCAT and finals free!!! This was the first thing I baked after depriving myself of baking while studying. My sister’s birthday was originally the week before my test. I know, what perfect timing… I told her, if she wanted me to make a cake that she’d have to move her party to the week after. This time, I made her cake the day before her party (best decision ever btw). Last year I decided to make her cake the day of and was still decorating it till even after guests started to arrive, which was pretty stressful. You can check out her last year’s Chinese Takeout Box Cake here.

If you look closely at the picture, you can actually see the Batman sign that I wedged in the cake, burning haha. Someone yelled out that it was on fire after I had lit all the candles. Without thinking, I blew them all out, pulled out what little was left of it, and had to relight all the candles.

Choc Cake Trifles

Other than the cake, I also decided to make these small chocolate trifles. I found these plastic disposable cups from Dollar Store. Definitely made for an easy clean up, which is always a great goal to have for any type of party!

Batman IceCubes

Of course, I had to top it all off with these Batman ice cubes for the punch. I guess I was so excited about these, that I forgot to even take a picture of the punch!!

**Check below for recipes for the Batman Fondant Cake, Chocolate Trifle Cups, & the Tropical Punch**

Batman Fondant Cake

-For a quick overview, the cake was made from four layers that I stacked.

-The two that I used for the base were vanilla. For the top two layers I used a Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe.

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Cake recipe found here

Vanilla Sour Cream Cake

Makes: two 8 or 9 inch cakes

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Whisk the egg whites, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl
  2. Combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and lightly mix
  3. While the mixer is on a low speed, add in the butter (chunk by chunk) until the mixture is crumbly
  4. Now add your milk and egg mix to the crumbly mixture and mix for a minute
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated
  6. Add the sour cream next and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds
  7. Spread the mix in a cake pan (use springform pan for ease of removing the cake)
  8. Bake the cake for 23-30 minutes or until well done

Tips:

-If you want the cake to come out cleanly, line the pan with parchment paper and use a springform pan as well

-Instead of black fondant, you can color the white fondant with black gel food coloring & you can also buy edible black paper for the buildings and Batman signals

-The yellow parts on the cake are white fondant colored with yellow gel food coloring

-The toppings for the cake are wire cake toppers from Hobby Lobby & I printed out Batman signs that I cut out to paste onto them, because I had run out of the of the edible black paper

Mini Chocolate Trifles

Makes: 25 cups

Ingredients

  • Leftover cake pieces, about 1/2 cake
  • 3 boxes of instant chocolate pudding
  • 10 Oreos, crushed
  • 1 can of whip cream

Directions

  1. Make the pudding according to the instructions on the box
  2. Cut the cake into small pieces, size does not have to be exact
  3. Fill each cup with a few small pieces of cake
  4. Top with a few spoonfuls of pudding
  5. Add whip cream on the pudding with a handful of crushed Oreos
  6. Serve and enjoy

Tropical Punch

Makes: Two large punch bowls (50- 4 ounce servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 46 fluid ounce can pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 quart orange juice
  • 2 two-liter bottles of lemon-lime carbonated soda

Directions

  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil for 2-3 minutes
  2. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice
  3. Divide the mixture into three large ziploc storage bags and place in freezer
  4. When ready to use, mix the lemon-lime carbonated soda with the juice mixture

 

Batman Cake

Batman Cake