Dark Chocolate Frosting

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Remember that buttermilk raspberry cake I made a few weeks ago? Well, I made it again and put a whole bunch of chocolate frosting on top! I was planning to make Smitten Kitchen’s “I Want Chocolate Cake” Cake, but alas I was out of cocoa powder! I noticed that the cake recipe is very similar to the buttermilk raspberry cake so I figured, why not? I like chocolate raspberries! The one change I did make was omitting the lemon zest. I know some people like lemon and chocolate, but I am not in that number.   Continue reading

Steam-Proofing Chocolate Babka

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This is the prettiest thing that I’ve made, hands down. The recipe is once again from Smitten Kitchen, but I did read a few other recipes from Epicurious and Martha Stewart as well. Martha Stewart claims that you can freeze the loaves the step before the last rise and then let them defrost for five hours before baking, which doesn’t seem that convenient at all.
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Crispy Oven Sweet Potato Fries

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My roommate makes the most amazing sweet potato fries. They are a mix between candy and crack. And I’m not even a sweet potato fry fan! I know some people prefer sweet potato fries over regular fries, but my fry hierarchy goes from steak frites, with curly fries being a close second, followed by waffles fries/ crisscut fries, and potato wedges dead last. I think sweet potato fries beat out potato wedges. I loved fries covered in garlic or cheese. I love In N Out’s animal style fries when they’re hot; it’s disgusting when it’s cold. I have been recently introduced to sriracha mayo and its cousin gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) mayo. Heaven! Continue reading

Buttermilk Raspberry Cake

raspberry focaccia
It looks like raspberry focaccia, but it’s actually a moist buttermilk cake with a pleasant tartness from the raspberries and a slightly caramelized sugar crust. Don’t be put off by its humble appearance, it is a superhero in disguise. I ate half the cake all by myself, and it tastes just as good the next day!

I also tried to make a chocolate version by combining Smitten Kitchen’s Buttermilk Raspberry Cake with her Everyday Chocolate Cake, but alas, I still need to play with the chemistry of it. The rise in the chocolate version was more dramatic and rather than being studded with pretty red gems, the raspberries all sunk to the bottom. And the chocolate batter was no where as dark and glossy as I wanted.
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Alton Brown’s Stinky Dog Biscuits

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Did you know dogs can count? Well, Zoli the Office Dog can count to two. Every morning, I give him two pumpkin peanut butter dog treats, but yesterday I ran out and I could only give him one. He followed me around the rest of the day, and sat next to me while I ate my lunch. I felt pretty bad.

I was going to wait until the weekend to make him a refill, but a friend had given my roommate some free produce so what was I to do except make more treats. I brushed half of them with fish sauce, and I would recommend skipping it if you have an open kitchen. Even with the fan on, the smell is quite robust. I packed them up last night, and this morning I walked out to the kitchen area and my roommate had lit a scented  candle. Oops.

The dusting of oat flour on top gives them a much prettier appearance than Damn Delicious’ treats. In the pictures, it almost looks like powdered sugar. Zoli loved them, and Chloe who is our very shy other office dog, abandoned her chewie toy to chop on this treat. She enjoyed it in the safe confines of the place under her master’s desk.  Continue reading

Three Ingredient Coconut Sugar Body Scrub

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I am not a fan of body butters and creams.It’s too cold when I get out of the shower. It doesn’t matter how nice it smells, it’s cold and gloopy, and yes, first world problems. Oftentimes, I just skip it, but then I get all scaly. If you have a similar problem than this body scrub is going to be your new best friend.

This stuff is the bomb! It was only three ingredients (coconut oil, sugar, and orange zest), and my skin felt silky smooth and moisturized afterwards. I could literally see the water beading on my skin. It was like I was coated with sealant! When I got out the shower, my skin felt nice plump but not greasy or oily. However, my elbows and heels could use a little more love. My only complaint — a teeny tiny whine — is that it was overwhelmingly coconut with a dash of orange. But that might be the quality of Trader Joe’s produce.  Continue reading

Chocolate Espresso Shortbread

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A few weeks ago, I acquired some Red Velvet Coffee from Peerless Coffee and it smells like a chocolate factory. I know, because I toured the Scharffenberger factory three times. They gave out free chocolate. The Red Velvet coffee smells rich and chocolate-y with vanilla. The taste is wonderful, and I have tried to convince people to come over just so I can brew them a cup. When that failed — who wants a cup of coffee 9 at night? — I decided I needed to bake with it just to share it with more people in the world.

Most of the coffee shortbread recipes I came across used instant espresso — bah! — but I did come across one that used three tablespoons of ground coffee. I was too chicken to try three tablespoons so I did a much more moderate 1 tablespoon. In future attempts, I think I will add a tablespoon or two of strong coffee into the cookie batter (if only for the color), but I’m happy with the result as is. It’s crisp and crumbly and not overly sweet.  I was told it was good on its own, but out of this world when eaten between sips of black coffee.It went fast! Continue reading

Fluffy Cinnamon Cake

cinnamon-square.jpgWith such names as St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake and Gooey Cinnamon Cake, I was intrigued and repulsed at the same time. Gooey is a gross sounding word. It’s a gross looking word; three vowels all in a row? Please. Goo reminds me of baby food and questionable substances that ooze. Hot fudge would never be described as gooey, even though it is. Maybe fresh chocolate chip cookies out of the oven are gooey, but doesn’t molten sound better?

This cinnamon cake is both dense and with a fluffy texture. It’s not spongy or airy like angel food, but it is slightly buoyant. There is a cookie, almost short bread-like base, with a second layer made of whipped butter, sugar, egg, and flour. Lastly, it is dusted with two tablespoons of cinnamon sugar, and baked until it puffs up. It is easily eaten with your hands with a cup of coffee or tea with milk. You could use a fork, but it’s so rich that it’s best served in tiny squares and tiny squares need no utensils.
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Guest Post: Dr T’s Nian Gao 年糕

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I’m very pleased to my sister Dr T on as my first guest ever! Dr T is currently a PhD candidate and writes about her life as a graduate student. You can hop onto her blog here.
Happy Lunar New Year!
2015 is the year of the Ram! Chinese New Year’s is a holiday centered on food, fortune, and metaphors. The traditional foods that are eaten in celebration of the New Year’s are meant to bring prosperity and fortune to all. Chinese is a rather poetic language, replete with homophones and many of the dishes are a play on words. My favorite thing to eat and make at New Year’s is niangao, which translates as year cake. This dish is meant to represent the coming of an auspicious year; the two words figuratively translate as “high year”. I love making red bean niangao, but this year I was adventurous and made my own savory niangao too. Continue reading

Nutty Brown Butter Carrot Cake

carrot cake batterIt was my friend’s birthday Saturday — Valentine’s Day — so I wanted to bake him a cake. I found out from his girlfriend his favorite kind of cake and baked it Friday. There was only one small hiccup. He was in Taiwan and I was in the US, so I ate the cake and sent him pictures. I thought that would be hilarious; I’m not sure he felt the same way.

As usual, I cut about 1/4 to 1/3 of the sugar out of the recipe, because white granulated sugar doesn’t taste like anything. It just tastes SWEET in all caps, sucker punch to the teeth. I also didn’t have enough cream cheese, and I learned the hard way that you absolutely do need an entire pound of cream cheese if you want to frost this cake the right way.
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