Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Hi folks,

I’ve been on a clean eating and fitness kick for 59 days. Yes, that’s right, I’m counting the days! So, I won’t be posting recipes here anymore, well, not unless I have a really good recipe that I feel like writing down. I recently decided to go on a program called The 21 Day Fix by Beach Body. I’m an independent coach there because it gets me discounts on their products. I don’t teach nutrition, develop meal plans, I’m not an expert at anything. I am simply a coach because I believe in their product and if I could get a discount, then, why not right? Sooo, if anyone wants to buy any products from Beach Body let me help since…I can. I’ve seen results in myself, and so i’m going to stick with the program for a year, that’s 9 more rounds. We’ll see how it goes!

Other than that,  I have a few recipes over on my other blog. You can check them out here.  My other blog is kinda the same but kinda different. I talk about my food, I take pictures of my food, and I write up recipes of my food. The only difference is that the food isn’t as decadent as it was here, and the basis for the food is for, taste, appearance, as well as fuel for the body.

Hope to see some of you over there 🙂


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First and foremost, I have to encourage you to check out the original recipe at http://homecookinginmontana.blogspot.ca/2013/03/japanese-milk-bread-using-tangzhong.html. Homecookinginmontana has become one of my top 3 cooking blogs.

I adapted the recipe slightly as I have problems following recipes to a T, however, Ellie’s version is worth the read, for her directions, tips and photos.


NOTE: (I’m in the process of testing out how this recipe freezes. Here are the steps I’m going to follow.) This recipe is for two batches. I used one batch the same day, and I froze the other batch for later. Freeze the second batch right after Dough Directions: Step 4. When you want to use it, thaw it out in the fridge, knead it for 8 min (that’s an arbitrary time, you just want to make sure the dough is stretchy), then proceed with Dough Directions: Step 5.


Tangzhong roux:

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup water (could be replaced by milk, or 50/50 water and milk)


3 cups all-purpose white flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

4 tsp instant yeast

6 TBS sugar

1 tsp table salt

2 eggs at room temp.

1 cup warm milk

all of the tangzhong

8 TBS (1/2 cup) butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)

5 Tbsp of pesto (optional, you can fill it with whatever you want, or not fill it at all!)

1 beaten egg, (egg wash)for brushing unbaked loaves

Tangzhong roux Directions:

1. Place the whole wheat flour and water/milk in a small pot or sauce pan.

2. Whisk the mixture until all the lumps are gone.

3. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon over medium heat to prevent burning/sticking.

4. The mixture will become thick pretty fast. It will feel like warm polenta (or if you don’t know what warm polenta is like, then stop stirring the mixture when it begins to resist your stirring like cold pudding). It shouldn’t be liquidy, and shouldn’t be a thick mass.

5. If using on a different day: Transfer the tangzhong into a clean container. It can be stored up to 3 days in the fridge. Bring the tangzhong to room temperature before use.

If using the same day, cool the tangzhong to room temperature before use.

Dough Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients in a stand up mixer: flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast. Mix to combine.

2. Add all the wet ingredients, milk, egg and tangzhong… and any flavorings of choice, if you desire.

3. Knead until you get a dough shape and gluten has developed(about 8 minutes). The dough will be extremely sticky. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but will be sticky enough to stick to your fingers.


This is how sticky the dough is. I had just added butter to it.

4. Add in the butter and continue kneading for an additional 12-14 minutes.


This is half of the dough in a Heavy Duty Ziplock Bag. Ready for freezing!

5. Remove dough from mixing bowl, and put it into a well oiled large bowl to proof.


Here’s the other half of the dough 🙂
NOTE: The first time I made this dough, it was VERY soft and sticky. I couldn’t hold it long enough to make a ball. Regardless, I stuck it in a well oiled bowl, and then let it proof anyway. After it has risen, I added flour to my table and kneaded it by hand until it was more pliable, and felt like regular dough. Then I added my Pesto and let it rise again.

6. Proof until it has doubled in size, about 40 minutes… though the time will vary depending on the weather and warmth in the house.

7. Deflate dough and divide into 8 equal portions. (Or, do what I did, and roll it out into a huge rectangular mass.)

This is the part where you can go crazy creative:

For non-filled: Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling-pin into an oval shape. Fold 1/3 from top edge to the middle and press. Then fold 1/3 from bottom to the middle and press. Roll flat then roll into a cylinder. Place the roll with seal facing down in greased and parchment lined loaf pan. This is kinda like folding a burrito! Repeat with rest of the dough.

For filled: Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling-pin into an oval shape. Spread/sprinkle filling of choice evenly over the rolled out dough and fold jelly style, pinching the seam to seal.  Repeat with rest of the dough.

8. Place in a pan lined with parchment paper, cover it with plastic wrap, and let proof for about 30-40 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. The filled dough tends to rise slower, about 40-50 minutes or so.


9. Preheat oven to 350 F

10. Brush risen dough with whisked egg on surface. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. (My oven only took 30 min to cook this humongous batch of bread.)

11. Remove from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely for best results. We never wait for our bread to cool completely. I like to eat my bread warm. Slice to serve or place in an airtight plastic bag or container once it’s thoroughly cooled…. you can freeze  it or reheat it for the next few days and it will still be soft and fluffy!


Delicious Pesto and Ham…yum.



I ate the bread with some Bolognese sauce . Pesto, ham, Bolognese sauce…omg.



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This is attempt 2 at the Vegan Chocolate Cupcake.

I made minor tweaks, but the cupcake could still use some work. This version still didn’t come out of its wrapper in tact because it was so moist. All I did was reduce and substitute healthier oils in this version.


1 ¼ cup white all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar (Take 1 had an additional 1 tbsp of sugar)
⅓ cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
40 ml vegetable oil (Take 1 had 1/3 cup or 79 ml of vegetable oil)
20 ml coconut butter/oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C).
2. Line muffin pan with 12 muffin cups.
3. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
4. Add the water, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, coconut oil, cashew butter and vinegar directly to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
5. Bake for 18-30* minutes (depending on your oven), or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the cupcake.  Cool on a cooling rack.
*The original recipe said to bake for 30 minutes. I have a gas oven and baked them for 18 minutes.
1. This cup cake was still moist and fluffy, but dense at the same time.  The texture reminded me of something between a cross of those Duncan Heinz box cake mixes and a Chinese sponge cake. I REALLY liked the texture, but I’m going to try to reduce the oil even more. I don’t like using vegetable oil in my baked goods.
2. I’m not a chemist so I don’t know the ins and outs of the reactions and what substances do in baking, but, for some reason, reducing the vegetable oil and substituting other oils in its place made the baking soda flavour intensify. There was a baking soda after taste that I didn’t like. It made me feel like I had just eaten a soft pretzel!
So so yum.

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This is the easiest cupcake recipe I’ve ever made. It’s not the best tasting, but it’s the easiest! It’s also the first Vegan cupcake I’ve ever made 🙂

I’ve been looking for recipes a lot at www.veganbaking.net. It’s a wonderful website. I found this chocolate cupcake (it originally posted as a cake) there too. Actually, I’ve been stealing a lot of “my” recipes from that website. I modified the original recipe, but not by much. The cupcake was moist and flavourful, but I thought it was too oily. I’ll try to tweak this recipe a few more times to get it the way I like.


1 ¼ cup white all-purpose flour

1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp  sugar (the original had whopping 1 cup of sugar!! I used vanilla sugar)
⅓ cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or half a vanilla bean, but I think a vanilla bean would be a waste of money for this recipe)
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C).
2. Line muffin pan with 12 muffin cups.
3. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
4. Add the water, vanilla extract, vegetable oil and vinegar directly to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
5. Bake for 18-30* minutes (depending on your oven), or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the cupcake.  Cool on a cooling rack.
*The original recipe said to bake for 30 minutes. I have a gas oven and baked them for 20  minutes. The cupcakes were darker on top than I would have preferred.  18 minutes would have been enough.

The cupcakes were so moist that they fell apart when we pull the wrappers off.

Look at what lighting can do! No flash on top, and flash on the bottom. Same cupcake!!

Honestly, could they get any more moist? How many times can a blogger write moist in a post?

Yum 🙂

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Phewf, now that title sure was a mouthful!  But then, so are these bits of deliciousness, and this huge ass recipe for that matter.  Read the whole recipe before you begin because it’s LONG. I made these cookies in three parts over three days since I have a baby and a toddler at home, which means I can only bake for about 1 hour at a time including prep and clean up.

Day 1 was making the cookie dough. (10 minutes)

Day 2 was rolling out the cookie dough, baking it, making the marshmallow, piping it out, and leaving it to set. (1 hr)

Day 3 was dipping the cookies in chocolate. (20 minutes)

I stole this recipe from the Food Network by Gale Gand and tweeked it a bit. I mean a LITTLE bit. The recipe is pretty good as it is, but I have a really hard time keeping to recipes!


3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch baking soda1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon12 tablespoons butter
3 eggs, whisked together
Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
1 cup melted Chocolate  or 2 cups chocolate chips

*1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) for dusting.


Blend the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon  in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Add the butter and mix on low speed until it looks like sand or cornmeal-ish texture.

Add the whisked eggs and mix to combine. I kept mixing the dough in my mixer and it didn’t come together. So I dumped it all out on my counter and kneaded it a bit until it came together. It took about 3 minutes.

Form the dough into a disk, wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. I had way too much dough because I made my cookies small (about 2 cm diameter, 1/8 inch thick), so I used 3/4 of the dough and threw the rest into the freezer.

When ready to bake,  line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

*On a lightly “floured” (remember to use the icing sugar here!) surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough, 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Watch your first batch. My oven runs hot so I only had to bake the cookies for 8 minutes. 9 minutes made them too crispy, and 10 minutes burned them.

Pipe  marshmallow onto each cookie and cover with another cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours. My husband and my little girl ate one right away. Soft gooey marshmallow on a cookie is delicious!

Excuse the messy house in the background! I'd like to give some excuse for how messy we are, but I have none.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat. I covered a portion of my counter with saran wrap instead. Make sure not to leave any wrinkles in the saran wrap! My counter is granite or marble, I can never remember, so saran wrap sticks to it like glue.

One at a time, gently lower the  cookies into the warm chocolate. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

My girl being very happy to get her cookie 🙂

Can you see the saran wrap??

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Marshmallow – Ingredients

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water

Combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, or have one that doesn’t measure heat well like I do, then get a spoon and drip a small bit into a very cold glass of water. If drip forms a ball  that is squishy (that’s a technical term) when you..uh..squish it, then you’re at the soft ball stage.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water, stir it, and let dissolve.
Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
Add the orange blossom water and continue whipping until stiff. Don’t worry, the mixture WILL stiffen up. Just keep your mixer cranked on high until it does.

Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe onto cookies. It’s easier to get the soft marshmallow in the bag if you stick the bag in a cup or something to hold it up.

I had extra marshmallow left over so I made letters for our names. I love piping!

Chocolate coating – Ingredients

2 cups milk chocolate chips

Chocolate coating – Directions

Put the chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 40 seconds, then stir.

Repeat the micorwaveing step in 10 second increments until you get your desired consistency.

NOTE: some people add butter or oil to the mixture in order to thin out the chocolate mixture but I didn’t. I wanted a thick coating on my cookies.



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This Pastelito is made with the spiced tea glaze but has a banana filling. So many options, so little time!!

Holy smack you lips and let the fat run to your hips delicious!!  I thought about changing the coffee ravioli dough to a Pastelito dough and boy was that a good idea!  The dough is a pain in the arse to make, but the results are flaky, light, and totally scrumptious.  This one is a definite keeper and can be modified to have a simple glaze with a coffee filling, or a coffee glaze with a fruit filling, or, or, or…there are just so many combination’s to be made!  You must be wondering why I have a TEA glaze instead of a coffee glaze.  A couple of days ago, I was walking with my friend Min, and she made a comment about whether I liked coffee or something like that.  Then I realized that I actually like tea a lot better.  My taste buds are in tune with tea a lot more than coffee, and so every time I make something with coffee, it just tastes like…coffee.  With tea, I can taste the subtle or not so subtle differences between good, bad, oxidized, and non-oxidized leaves.  So, in response to our conversation, I decided to include tea flavours in my experiments.  Most of the recipes I’m going to experiment with will be adaptable for either coffees or teas, I hope.

Anyhow, here is the recipe.  I’ll include pictures later on in the week.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp sugar

pinch salt

3/4 cup melted butter

lukewarm water


1 Cup sugar

1 Cup water

1 Spiced Tea bag

Glaze Directions:

Add sugar and water into a heavy sauce pan.  You can stir the sugar to initially help it dissolve, but don’t stir it after you’ve put it on the heat.  When the mixture starts to boil, reduce your heat and let the mixture simmer until it thickens a little (about 3-5 minutes).  Add the tea and let it simmer in the syrup for about 5 minutes and then take it out.  If you want a stronger tea flavour, you can put the tea bag back into the syrup once you remove the syrup from the heat and it has acquired your desired consistency.  The syrup should not get to the ball soft stage of candy making but should lightly coat the back of a spoon.

Dough Directions

A)In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt.

B)Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in 12 tablespoons of the melted butter. (Try to use as much of the  butter cream at this stage rather than the clarified butter that rises to the top as you’ll only want to use the clarified butter later on.)

C) Slowly incorporate the butter into the dough by moving the butter around in circles in order to pull in a bit of flour at a time.

D)  If you notice that the mixture is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water until the mixture comes together into a dough.  The dough should not be wet or sticky.

E)  Knead the dough until it comes together as a smooth mass.  Leave to rest for 30 min in a cool area.

F)  Cut the dough into four segments.  When working with one segment, cover the others so they don’t dry out.

G) Now comes the hard work (unless you have an electric pasta maker!)  Take one segment of dough and roll it out to about 3 mm thick.  Brush with clarified butter and lightly sprinkle with flour.  Fold in half and roll out again to about a 3 millimeter thickness.

You don’t have to be super picky about the thickness.  I had a sheet that was about 6 mm thick and it turned out just fine.  With that being said, I liked the thinner pastry better because it fried up thinner and made it easier for me to get it in my mouth 😛  Anyhow, this is what it looked like.  Oh by the way, the one on the left is a nickle…just in case you didn’t know 🙂

Repeat this process about 4-5 times.  Do this with each segment.  Then refrigerate for 30 minutes. Try to make your dough have even edges as this will help with your cutting later.  It will help you waste less dough in the final stages.

This is what the dough should look like.

This is what the dough looks like all prettied up, trimmed and divided into 7 cm squares.

H) Now comes the fun part!  Cut the dough into about 7 centimeter squares.  You could make smaller squares (I cut my first batch into 3.5 centimeters) but you get to eat less filling and more of the dough.  I like the dough a lot more so this was a good option for me!  Each Pastelito will use two squares.  Brush one square with water, on the other, put a small mound of whatever filling you want.  My husband is from Argentina so he prefers to have quince or dulce de batata, but since i didn’t have any of those, and a friend of ours made homemade Nutella, so,   I used Nutella.  Place the dough (water side down) on top of the dough with the filling , making sure that the second square of dough is at a 45 degree angle from the dough with the filling.  The product will look like a star. Pinch the edges of the squares up towards the filling creating a “flower” like presentation.

Here’s one edge pinched.

Here are ALL the edges pinched!! Yippee!

I) Deep fry the flowers and submerge in the simple syrup.  Cool on a rack and enjoy!  You could re-submerge the flowers into the simple syrup after they’ve cooled in order to get them really gooey and yummy.

Here they are when they come out of the oil.

And this is them with all their Ooey Gooey Syrupy Yumminess!

This recipe makes about 8 fairly large “flowers” at 7cm.

I’m going to try this out with my coffee glaze and maybe some oven baked grapes for a filling…or bananas!!  The dough freezes very well so if you’re up for it, make big batches and freeze the dough for whenever you need it.  This dough bakes at 350C for about 10-15 min, but it fries up in less than 5 minutes.  I liked the flavour of the baked version, but really, fried is so much more decadent.  The best part was frying up all the trimmings!! My little girl munched on them with a great big smile on her face.

I couldn’t resist, here are the trimmings!


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Let’s try this again…

Here’s a little background on me.  I’m a mom of a lovely 16 month old girl.  A wife of a man who has the patience of the Dalai Lama, am a graduate student, and although I have both the education and the experience to teach the English language to adults, I’m working as an English Language Educational Assistant in an elementary school.  I could write pages upon pages about ESL and why people like me end up in low paying jobs working under people who have less experience, less education, and less care for their students, but this blog isn’t about ESL, policy or politics. This blog is about coffee, or rather, foods with coffee as an ingredient.

Since I can remember, I’ve always liked being in the kitchen.  I really enjoy cooking, but I love baking.  I find it therapeutic to cook and/or bake.  I enjoy the process, the organizing, and the sometimes monotonous tasks that cooking brings.  I like to roll out dough until it’s just the right thickness, pipe out choux pastry balls until I get just the right size, dice celery to get the perfect little cubes, and silliness like that.  I like making food for people and watching them enjoy the food I’ve put out.  I have to admit that the enjoyment I get from making people happy is not purely selfless.  I get that ego boost every time someone says, “…but (insert name here) is so picky, I can’t believe they ate all your food!  Can I have the recipe?” or ” Thank you for the great meal! “.  Because I enjoy being in the kitchen so much, I figured, why not try to make a living out of it?  Don’t get me wrong, I love working with the elementary kids, I really really do, but it’s not a career.  I hardly make ends meet with that job, and when I’m finished my graduate studies, there’s little hope that I’ll be able to find a job making much more in ESL.  With that being said, opening my own business selling baked goods would be so much more promising.  This is the reason for this blog.

My goal is to start a business in one year.  I’m not aiming to own my own catering business or open a restaurant or a cafe.  My goal is to create 12 dishes/desserts that include coffee as an ingredient by Jan. 1st, 2011, and sell those dishes/desserts with a steady income by Aug. 15, 2011, all while finishing my thesis by the spring of 2011, and work full-time.  I haven’t figured out how I’ll begin selling my foods to people yet, but that’s all a part of this learning process.  Subsequently, I want to learn about coffee.  I want to work with it to see how it can compliment other flavours.  I want to use it in sweet and savoury dishes.  I mostly want to document my recipes, my successes, my failures, my experimentation, and most of all, my process throughout this year.  One wise woman said, “..ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb.”  Well okay, she isn’t wise, nor is she a woman…yet.  Nevertheless, Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb” has a damn good message! If this business doesn’t work out, then at the very least, I’ll have learned something, and my friends and family will have gone on a coffee tasting ride that I’m sure they won’t regret.

So, Day 1 is here, and my first recipe was a Deep Fried Coffee Ravioli with a Chocolate Ricotta filling.  Before I begin, I have to say that this recipe came about because I happened to have ricotta in the house.  Ricotta is pretty expensive here and it’s not expensive to make, so…I made it.  Now why would I make Ricotta you ask?  My little girl LOVES Ricotta.  There was a time that it went on sale and so I bought a tub of it.  I ended up putting it in everything.  I mixed it with rice and Parmesan, pasta and Parmesan, spinach and pasta, cinnamon and nutmeg, hummus, etc…  She even ate it straight out of the container.

Back to the deep fried ravioli.  I had Ricotta in the fridge and was wondering what I could do with it when I remembered seeing on the Food Network a deep fried chocolate ravioli.  At least, I’m pretty sure I saw it on the Food Network.  I think about food so much that sometimes I don’t know whether I’m dreaming up recipes, reading them from magazines, seeing them on T.V., or have gotten them from friends or co-workers.  The amount of time I spend thinking about food and recipes is almost obsessive.

Anyhow, I had the Ricotta and I thought that it would taste good with chocolate, then I thought about coffee and starting the experimentation.  That’s when I thought about making a coffee flavoured pasta.  The experiment didn’t go so well.  The dough was crispy and light (as fried doughs get), but I would have preferred it to be “lighter”.  I’m going to try making the same dough additional sugar, and then experiment with various other types of doughs.  The coffee flavour was overwhelming! I could barely taste the chocolate Ricotta mixture inside, and I had to dust the entire ravioli with powdered sugar because the dough tasted like I was like drinking espresso straight out of the machine. Yep, definitely add sugar and reduce the coffee flavour.  I’m also going to try to add a coolie of some sort, maybe mango or cherry? I think the dessert needs a kick to it, and some colour!  Besides, I think people would like something to dip the ravioli in (or maybe that’s just me).  There’s just something magical about dipping.  I broke open one of the ravioli’s to taste the Ricotta mixture.  It was DELICIOUS!  The melted Ricotta had a great texture, the chocolate wasn’t too strong, and the sweetness was “just right”.  I was happy that the ratio of chocolate to Ricotta worked out so well on my first try.  I’m not going to change that at all.  I’m pretty pleased with my first attempt, and am excited about the days to come 🙂

Lastly, I’m not going to post any recipes on here until I’m sure that they’re worthy of being duplicated.  With that being said, if anyone wants the “in progress” recipes, I’ll send them to you.  Just let me know!

I hope the coffee won’t affect my sleeping tonight!


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