Vanilla Bean Poached Pears

poached pears

If you always fall in love with that perfectly spiced apple pie drenched in a sweet, cinnamon syrup that just keeps you coming for more, then you are sure to find this recipe a hit! Why? It’s super easy and you don’t have to worry about baking a crust that is too hard or under-baked. After making this recipe, I didn’t have mounds of measuring cups, bowls, and spoons to wash so it was a relief. Mind you, I’m not usually the pears type of person. I will go straight for the apples if given both to choose from. This dish though presents pears in a simple yet enjoyable way. It almost tastes like an apple pie, because of how juicy and tender the pears are.

Vanilla Bean Poached Pears

Printable Recipe here

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can also use actual vanilla bean or vanilla extract)
  • 7 medium sized pears (peeled, cored, and split in half)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

Preheat: 375 F

  1. Place sugar in a small bowl and mix in the vanilla bean paste
  2. Arrange the pears in a large baking dish (cut side up) and then pour the lemon juice and sprinkle the sugar evenly over them
  3. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the pears and pour the water into the dish
  4. Divide the butter amongst each of the pears, placing a small amount onto each one
  5. Roast the pears for 30 minutes
  6. Turn the pears over and roast for another 25-30 minutes, or until tender and caramelized

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Tips:

– If you are unable to finish the pears, refrigerate and warm up before eating the next time

– Vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream will go great paired with this dessert

poached pears

Green Tea Frappè with Tapioca

Green Tea Frappé

Mason jars have just opened a whole new world to me. It’s crazy the amount of desserts or drinks you can make in them! They also end up looking ten times nicer, because the mason jar just adds this special effect to any photo. Well, asides from the mason jar, the green tea is definitely a winning flavor. It tastes perfect in just about anything- macarons, ice-cream, cake, and even lattès. Any bakery that serves this flavor instantly earns five stars from me haha. If you have not tried this flavor before, it would probably be a good idea to get that on your priority list. Usually I’m a regular with the “green tea” bubble tea served at tapioca houses, with the “thai tea” bubble tea coming in to a close second. I have also tried the green tea frappuccino from Starbucks, but I was disappointed with it. It felt that it was too sweet and had too much ice, like most of their drinks. Check below to see how to make this one of a kind green tea frappuccino!

Green Tea Frappuccino

Makes: One Serving

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice-cream
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla syrup or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Blend all the ingredients together until at a smooth consistency
  2. Serve with a scoop of ice-cream if desired

For directions regarding the tapioca, check out this link here. I will be posting my own step-by-step for it soon!

Tips:

-Green tea matcha powder can be found at a local Chinese grocery store or at amazon where I bought mine

-The matcha will be a little bitter, but the vanilla syrup or extract will cover up that bitterness

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

 

 

Cheesecake Supreme!

photo 3

Cheesecakes. Nuff’ Said. Yea this blog post should probably end right here huh? Lol. Fine fine I’m sure y’all want to hear allll about cheesecake and how to actually make it yourself!! It’s funny because I always get random inspirations after I try delicious dishes at random restaurants & then later try to recreate them at home. Lobster bisque, fondant cakes, broccoli cheddar soup… The list can go on and on. Well, as it happens we have the Cheesecake Factory known for their intricate & flavorful cheesecakes. You really do get overwhelmed just looking at their lengthy menu! It just so happens that this place is quite a drive from my area so going there was always a treat. Just recently though, they opened a Cheesecake Factory in my area & you can only imagine how crazy everyone went when they heard about it. Me & my friends decided to have a Cheesecake Movie night. This was a really smart move because we got to taste like half the menu by sampling the various flavors each of us got. After this though, I really wanted to bake a cheesecake. What better than being able to have your cravings whenever you want, because you can make it? Thankfully, my first try was a success. What’s neat about cheesecakes is that you can use whatever you have available to decorate it. We had some fruits, so I made a chocolate ganache and covered that with an assortment of fruits. For my next try though, I wanted to make it a little different as shown below. I drizzled the cheesecake with caramel and chocolate, sprinkled it with nuts & coconut, & last of all surrounded it with a variety of cheesecake truffles.

For the cheesecake recipe that I used, click here!

photo 1

photo 2 photo-10 cophhy

Pumpkin Spice Trifle Goodness

Wow. I can’t believe that I haven’t posted anything for about a month. Things have been pretty crazy with all my classes and college but nevertheless, here is something quite amazing to make up for the long hiatus! Trifles are so versatile which is one of the characteristics that makes them so amazing. More of a fan of red velvet cake? Well just throw in a couple chunks of that and a pudding layer and you will be good to go. If you want a healthier version, try pineapple cake and top it with various fruits. Not only does it look great, but it is the perfect easy dessert to make for a large group. Food really does bring people together so take advantage of this recipe to invite over a couple of friends :)

Ingredients:

  • Ready Made Pumpkin Cake (recipe found here)/ Spice box cake mix
  • 1 box vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice mix
  • 2 (12 oz) containers of Cool Whip topping
  • Optional: crushed gingersnaps for topping

Directions:

  1. Bake the cake using either of the above options
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and pudding mix until thickened
  3. Fold in 1 container of Cool Whip, 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, and all the brown sugar and pumpkin spice (leave the other container of Cool Whip for the layer of whipped cream)
  4. In a large trifle bowl, layer the cake, pudding pumpkin mixture, and whipped cream till you fill up the bowl
  5. Top with the crushed gingersnaps and a couple dashes of pumpkin spice too