Chocolate Cupcakes for Two

chocolate cupcakes for 2

Suffering from a severe sweet-tooth attack, I was aching for some chocolate. Yet I had no chocolate on hand! Only cocoa powder. Luckily I had come across a recipe for TWO single cupcakes. I thought it would be the perfect treat for Cort and I.

So I browsed the internet for chocolate 2 serving cupcakes until I found one on The Comfort of Cooking.

This was pretty much perfect. I did accidentally add two tablespoons of cocoa powder, so had to add extra liquid. But it was a very happy accident! They were perfectly and sufficiently chocolatey for my craving.

And then I used some of the leftover icing from my donuts and added a spoonful of nutella to top them.

They were perfect, moist and just crumbly enough to be fun. I served them with a scoop of ice cream. It was consumed before the ice cream had a chance to melt.

 

Homemade Doughnuts

doughnuts

Why is it that I can resist the call of doughnuts at almost any time EXCEPT when I see a character I like eat it on TV? Then it becomes a perogative of mine to enjoy such a cakey delight. My favorites happen to be crullers, boston cream,and apple fritters. My pastry has to have density or filling to be satisfying!

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Kongnamulguk and Gamja Jorin (AKA Soybean sprout soup and potato side dish)

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And thus begins my adventures in Korean cooking. I will master this delicious cuisine. This post is dedicated to my attempt at recreating a delicious soup and one of my favorite banchans.

The recipes for both of these come from maangchi – a great and plentiful source for Korean recipes!

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I didn’t do much modifying, if anything I just left out the kelp (seaweed) from the soup and forgot to buy the sesame seeds for the potatoes. So here are the recipes if you’d like to try it for yourself: Potatoes and Soup.

These were both relatively simple, though the potatoes took much longer than the stated 10 minutes. Though that could be attributed to me getting used to my new stove. And they turned out well!

The soup was hearty but light. Not quite as rich as I remember my friend’s mom’s soup being. I definitely will add the seaweed for the next batch. The potatoes could have had a little more sugar, but I did eyeball the measurements. But we still ate them all. No leftovers for either dish.

In other ethnic cooking adventures, I made jjajjangmyeon again. This time it turned out SPLENDID. The exact perfect consistency and flavor. I mixed the techniques and ingredients from three different recipes just by feel. The next time I make it I will take notes of what I do so you can recreate this.

Overall I believe this is an excellent start to my mastering of Korean dishes. Healthy and delicious meals, here I come!

Best Ever Cheesecake

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I love the idea of cheesecake. The almost custard-like creaminess, the ever so slight chew, the sweet yet cheese-y flavour, the millions of flavour combinations you can do with it. But every time I had some cheesecake I was disappointed. Either it was too sweet, or too dense, or not cheese-y enough. And I started researching cheesecake recipes hoping to find the perfect one. Along the way I discovered that there are several main kinds of cheesecake – the New York cheesecake, the sour cream based cheesecake, the no-bake cream cheese cheesecake, and the Italian ricotta based cheesecake.

I tried each as I discovered them, still none of them fulfilling my fantasy standards. Until I came across one that combined all the ingredients on Allrecipes. I have since lost the original link and have made many a modification. But this cheesecake is damn near perfect. Though I still struggle with crusts. Why can I not successfully make a crust – crumb or pastry?

This latest cheesecake making was to celebrate one of my oldest and dearest friends move to Miami to start a career at a travel agency! So with the promise of discounted Disney Cruises ringing in my ears I baked mini heart-shaped cheesecakes to drop off before her departure. I used crushed gluten-free ginger snaps and butter to make a base crust for the mini pans, and the rest of the recipe is already gluten-free (make sure to double check your ingredients for sneakily added gluten fillers though!) so it was an easily converted recipe. =)

My most current version of the recipe is modified to fill either several mini 4″ springforms or 2 cookie crusted pie tins.

For mini cakes:

  • 6 oz Cream Cheese
  • ¼ cup Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (or sour cream, I just used what I had on hand)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Heavy Cream
  • ¾ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg and 1 Egg Yolk, beaten
  • ¾ teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • OPTIONAL fruit or chocolate chips

For regular cake:

  • 24 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Whole Milk Ricotta
  • ½ cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 ½ cups Sugar
  • ⅓ cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs and 3 Egg Yolks, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

Directions for both batch sizes:
Preheat oven to 400 F.

Beat first 4 ingredients with electric mixer.
Whisk heavy cream and vanilla together, beat in eggs.

On medium speed slowly incorporate egg mixture into cream cheese.

Add lemon juice.

Once thoroughly combined, you can gently fold in any fillings or flavourings. Pour into sprayed pan of choice (with or without cookie crumb crust).

**If you want to add some jelly or chocolate swirls, now would be the time to dollop and drag through with a knife.

Bake for 10 minutes for the minis (15 minutes for normal).
Turn temp down to 275 F and bake for another 45 minutes (1.5 hours).
Turn oven off and let sit in oven for 1 hour (3 hours).

Refrigerate what you don’t immediately and voraciously consume!

Apple Turnovers

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By my daddy’s request I have made turnovers! Apple ones, at that. A classic and very very simple.

What I did was buy the frozen pre-made puff pastry. With my dismal history at pie crust I didn’t feel up to the challenge of home made puff pastry. At least not today. Make sure you put the pastry in the refrigerator a DAY before you want to use it. It says you can leave it out at room temp or briefly micro it, but it really won’t hold up as well or have the same fluffy texture.

But now, I’m sure you are curious about the filling. In a pinch you can use canned filling. Super cheats two-step way of making these turnovers. If you want to get really fancy though, I suggest using the apple filling from these Wonton Apple Pies from Neighborfood blog. (Also, try out the wonton version. They are adorable and addictive and a huge hit at parties.) The filling is super simple and quick to make. And I even made it with white sugar, having forgotten I had run out of brown! But it’s pretty fail-pro0f and very open to improvisations.

Another pro-tip: drizzle the caramel sauce from that recipe over top of the turnovers and/or use as a dipping sauce!

 

IMG_3162 (2)All you have to do to put the turnovers together is cut your puff pastry dough into squares (my dough was sized so I simply cut it into quarters), put a heaping spoonful of apple filling in the center and fold over the dough diagonally to make triangles. I didn’t bother using milk or egg to seal the edges, but I did go over the seals with a fork to make a simple crimp around the edges.

Then I beat an egg quite thoroughly and brushed it on top of the turnovers to ensure they baked to a golden brown and to give them a little shine. I then popped them into a 400F oven for 15 minutes. They are done when the pastry has a nice deep color around the edges!

Let cool for 15 minutes so you don’t burn yourself and enjoy!

And if you happen to have leftovers, microwave for 30 seconds to have them nice and hot again to if you happen to need to keep warm during this polar vortex thing. Here in sunny AZ it is actually unusually warm for winter. In the 60s and 70s. But my dad and I still microwave the turnovers at night (when it gets cold enough we can pretend it is a legitimate winter here.)

 

 

Quiche Time

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It’s been a long time since I posted a recipe! I hardly realized how little I’ve been cooking for you besides the occasional cookie here and there.

So here is one of my absolute favorite recipes. A no-fail completely customizable quiche recipe. I have made so many different variations: onion, ham, tomato; broccoli and bell peppers; with cheddar; with swiss.

The base recipe I discovered via one of my long time high school friends, the author of Tillary does Photography (not only are there great photos but she also analyzes the cinematography of whichever movie or TV show she happens to be watching at the time.) After the first magical baking of this quiche it was our go to for potlucks, picnics and family events. We even had plans to open up a quiche shop if we ended up bored of all our other options.

We have yet to open up a quiche shop, but to spread the joy and simplicity of this timeless egg dish, here is the base recipe to which you can add whichever ingredients you desire (other ideas: olives, chicken, salmon, zucchini.)

Ingredients:
1 deep-dish, 9-inch pie crust (frozen is a-okay!)
1 cup of milk
3 eggs
1-2 tbsps margerine (melted)
1 tbsp flour (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 cups of cheese (I used a mexican 4 cheese blend for this one)
1 pound of filling. For the quiche pictured above, I used:
1 medium tomato, cut in circular slices and seeded
1/2 yellow bell pepper, 1/2 orange bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped broccoli 
Directions:
1. Brown pie crust for 10 minutes (do the poking holes in it thing) at 350
2. Chop vegetables and meat
3. Mix egg, milk, flour, butter, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. If using lots of veggies (like I did) add an extra tablespoon of flour and use 2/3 cup milk. This will help thicken the egg mixture so it won’t be runny from the excess liquid.
4. Layer some of the meats and veggies, the cheese, then half of the egg mixture, continue layering the meats, veggies, and cheeses until you reach the top of the crust. If using tomatoes put those on top for a decorative finish and a delicious roasted tomato flavour.
5. Pour the rest of the egg mixture over the filling into the pie crust
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 min. When fully baked a knife should come out clean.
7. Let rest and cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Sometimes, if you used a lot of veggies, the quiche will be runny when you cut out a slice. It is fully cooked and will set if you leave it in the fridge for a couple hours.
This is great fresh and as leftovers. Experiment and tell me what combos you make!