Pecan Pie Cups --caramel, pecan-11

Chocolate Pecan Pie Cups w/ Date Caramel + Pecan Butter {vegan, gluten free}

September 27, 2015


Pecan Pie Cups --caramel, pecan-11

Chocolate Pecan Pie Cups w/ Date Caramel + Pecan Butter {vegan, gluten free}

September 27, 2015 | 8 Comments

Yayyyyy autumn is here! The leaves are turning gorgeous shades of a bright sunset against a blue sky filled with soft picturesque clouds. This also means I can eat copious amounts of pie without feeling bad about it. However, then the problem becomes the fact that we never have pie at my house.

It’s annoying to say the least.

Pecan Pie Cups --caramel, pecan

Pecan Pie Cups --caramel, pecan-2
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Pecan Pie Cups --caramel, pecan-13

I’ve always felt that a full sized pie is a finicky little thing. My crust always ends up falling apart, the filling always tends to be too tart, and don’t even get me started on how the innocent crispy apples turn stupidly mushy. Sure this can all be solved by making cute little hand pies without apples, but please. Also the main problem (besides my own impending laziness for assembling 3 parts and baking it), is the fact that there’s only 4 people in my household. Sure, we eat a slice there, a slice here, but there’s no way in the whole wide world that we end up consuming one entire pie.

Alas, my pie baking addiction has to wait until holidays where people need pies, where there’s a whole crowd of people, and where I can show off my lack of full sized pie baking skills.

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Pecan Pie Cups --caramel, pecan-4

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The only good side effect of this are these adorable pecan pie cups. They’re pretty healthy {dark chocolate + date caramel with only dates + pecan butter of only pecans}. The simple three ingredients that they have makes them taste like the best pecan pie in the world -pinky swear. Also, they won’t make you die of a sugar high (or your siblings bounce off the walls like balls), but are nutty, lightly sweetened, with a touch of bitterness.


// You don’t have to toast the pecans if you don’t want to, but I enjoy their extra nuttiness.
// If you wish / add too much water, you may cook the date caramel over the stove to caramelize it a bit, but I found it unnecessary.
// I like using dark chocolate, but you can basically use any kind you want. If the chocolate isn’t smooth enough to spread, stir in a bit of coconut oil to thin it out.
// I used cupcake liners because I didn’t feel like ordering real candy liners online, but you can buy those off of of an online store like amazon and use them instead.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Cups w/ Date Caramel + Pecan Butter {vegan, gluten free}
1/2 cup chocolate
1/3 cup dates, pitted
1/2 cup pecans

Line a mini cupcake pan with liners.

Melt the chocolates and spread it over the mini cupcake liners. Place it in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, roast the pecans and place them in a food processor. Chop them until they become a paste. Scoop that into another bowl, wash the food processor bowl, and place in the dates. Pulse until that becomes a smooth paste -you might have to add in a few tablespoons of water.

Take the chocolate out (make sure it's solidified) and spread in about 1/4 tsp of the date caramel. Add on top about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of the pecan butter. Top with melted chocolate (so that none of the pecan butter is showing through) and refrigerate until the chocolate is solidified.



How to make Mooncakes {a step by step guide with .gifs}

September 20, 2015 | 34 Comments

{Warning: Picture heavy post ahead}

Hehheeee yeah these are cakes. I promise.

They might not be fluffy, but they’re still cakes -Merriam Webster actually defines cake as a a mixture of food that has been shaped into a ball or a flat round shape and baked or fried. So basically, I can call any mix of ingredients “cake” provided that it’s shaped into a round-ish shape and cooked in some way. I can imagine some pretty weird cakes with that definition…


Lemon ginger muesli-8



But really guys, these are delicious. They are dense, but they’re solid in a satisfying, moreish sort of way, making the result all the better.

Now that we’ve got that separated out,

Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival {in a week}!!! -Call me a hypocrite, or a betrayer, but I really have no idea what people do on this holiday besides eat delicious food. Isn’t that what most holidays are made of anyhow? Chatting with family, friends, and random strangers that your parents invite over? It’s cliche, but food is really how everyone connects to each other, whether by eating it or discussing about it. And in this case, these sweet little cakes are the best course of discussion.



I’ve always loved these little cakes. To be general, I’ve always loved Chinese food. Not the “chinese food” that Americans associate with it, but real chinese food, the flavors always remind me of the past gone by, all filled with bright vegetables and spiced meats. The one thing that they don’t have though is dessert -it’s mainly just fruit or maybe some light cake. But these petite cakes are eaten during this holiday and they’re wonderful.

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My parents would always get the yearly plea of mooncakes from me. It was just to be expected. They’re sweet -almost too sweet, and expensive -so very expensive (I mean, $5 per cake? phfffttt please). Plus, I could never choose, the one filled with dark, mysterious red bean or the bright, cheerful lotus? The one thing I never had to pick from was the duck egg yolks. Egg yolks? In cake? That’s not mixed in? Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…

Now that I’m (slightly) older, I really like the salted egg yolks -they offer a welcoming contrast to the sweet fillings. However, I can still never decide between the two kinds (although, I do tend to lean towards the red bean more often than not). That combined with their expense, influences me to make them each year, and each time, they get devoured just as fast as the last.

These mooncakes can be made with or without a mold. The .gifs show how to make them with a traditional wooden mold (hint: it involves a lot of banging), but with the other kind, you can always follow the instructions given. Without a mold, you can make adorable piggies, or just little round paddies if you wish.


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P.S. These are Cantonese mooncakes, because my mom said the Shanghai ones suck even though we’re technically from around Shanghai. Maybe they’re good, but moms are always the best advice givers, right?

P.P.S. This marks the beginning of fall -at least my definition of the beginning of fall. So I guess you should just know that I’m gonna be shoving lots of pecans and pumpkins (alliteration right?) into your face verrrry soon.


// To prep the salted egg yolks, separate the egg whites and egg yolks. Place the egg yolks in an oven safe bowl along with about 1 tbsp of wine {shaoxing is preferred, but it can basically be done with any I think} and place in a 350 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes, or until solid. I had to cut mine in half after this because my molds were pretty small.
// This recipe requires golden syrup -a food item that the U.S. just doesn’t seem to have so my recipe is here.
// Whatever paste you decide to use, make sure that it’s pretty solid (as in you can touch it normally without it sticking everywhere). If your’s isn’t thick enough, the mooncake design will kinda melt in the oven. To make the paste thicker, all you have to do is place it on the stove and stir it until it’s solid enough.
// To make the little piggies -take a ball of filled mooncake dough and roll it into a ball-ish oval shape. At the top of it’s head, press little spoons for the eye brows, then press a black bean beneath the eyebrows for the eyes. Using a toothpick, press down lines to make the legs {look at the photos of the pig for exact places}. Roll 3 pieces of dough, two pieces half as large as the other. Flatten the large one for the nose. Place it where pig’s noses usually go, and press it down by pressing the nostril holes in. For the other two pieces of dough, roll it into slight oval-ish shapes and press it in by making lines where the ears fold in. To make the tail, roll a thin little piece of dough and press + coil it into the place that pig’s tails usually go.
// You’re supposed to let it sit for ~2 days to make the crust softer, but we usually eat it before.
// I’m a lazy duck so I slightly altered my previous recipe, but kept it mostly the same. But I think this recipe is now improved.

How to make Mooncakes {a step by step guide with .gifs}
160 g golden syrup
64 g oil
pinch of baking soda
250 g flour
Salted duck / chicken egg yolks if desired {see notes on how to prep them}
Filling (i.e. lotus paste, bean paste)

Mix the golden syrup, oil, and baking soda together. It will bubble a bit (because of the chemical reaction from the syrup and baking soda).

Add in the flour and mix until it creates a smooth dough. Let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Divide the dough and filling into pieces.

Take a filling piece, flatten it, place the egg yolk in the center and roll it back into a ball (the egg yolk should not be showing through).

Flatten one piece of the dough into a pancake-like shape. Roll the filling into a ball and cover with the dough. Pinching and rolling make the dough completely cover the filling.

If you don't have a mooncake molds / you want to make the adorable little piggies, look a the notes for instructions, then skip down to when you place them in the oven. Otherwise, dust it with flour.

Stuff it into the mold and take it out gently. I used a wooden mould, in which case, you have to pound the mold against the table on all sides and then flip the mooncake out. If you're using a plastic mold, I assume all you have to do is stuff it in and gently push it out (using the lever thingy).

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 355 F for 7 minutes. Gently brush with a beaten egg and then bake until browned. Around 10 minutes.

They say you're supposed to let these rest for 2 days after baking, but my family devours them before then.


Single Lady Oatmeal Cookie Baked Oatmeal-2

Healthy{ier} Single Lady Oatmeal Cookie Baked Oatmeal {vegan, gluten free}

September 13, 2015 | 6 Comments

It’s already getting so freaking cold… Leaves are beginning to show their brilliant sunset of red, orange, and yellow and the wind is getting brighter, wailing their mystical sound beside my ear. I can barely believe how fast it’s all happening.

I both love it and hate it.

Single Lady Oatmeal Cookie Baked Oatmeal

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Like every other sane child, when I was younger my friend and I would sweep up all the dried leaves in the yard only to jump in them a thousand and more times only to sweep them up again. After we got bored of that, we would make nests out of them and pretend to live there -until on day we found a spider and never did it again. It was fun while it lasted πŸ˜€

But now instead of leaf fibers, I’m buried under paper fibers that are much less comforting and fun. These days, I spend my time snuggled underneath a fluffy comforter, studying and revising my homework. Life, now is not so amusing. It does go fast though πŸ˜‰

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Anyhow, in these busy days it’s really great just to settle down and eat a cookie. And of course, we should be able to eat cookies for breakie right? (answer is yes. just say yes)

So I did. It was amazing.

The first time I ate this was on a school field trip. Gosh that place had the best food, most of us even said that it was better than our mom’s cooking (I guess we didn’t realize nothing could be better than our mom’s cooking). Their specialty, the thing that everyone came back and talked about was their baked oatmeal. They would have a huge pan of it in the middle of the table and you would just go in and dig out a chunk, add some milk and brown sugar, and you were good to go. Good times, good times.

Single Lady Oatmeal Cookie Baked Oatmeal-5

This oatmeal cookie baked oatmeal is super filling and soft. Mine (since it was for breakfast) didn’t really have much sugar at all -I sprinkled all of it on top. Trust me, it’s good. The edges + top are crispy, the rest is soft as a cloud. It’s basically an oatmeal cookie that’s good for you and you get to sprinkle a bunch of ridiculous toppings on the finished result. Who’s not up for that?


// This recipe basically can be altered to be any way you want. If you want it more crumbly, add in 1-2 tbsp less milk. Sweeter? Add in more brown sugar (I prefer to sprinkle mine on afterwards). You can make it themed by basically adding in any ratio of dried fruits you wish. So essentially, you don’t even need a recipe. But I’m gonna give you one anyways.

Healthy{ier} Single Lady Oatmeal Cookie Baked Oatmeal {vegan, gluten free}
1/2 tbsp coconut oil or butter, melted
1/3 cup oats
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground flax
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup milk {cow's, plant based, etc. any kind will work}
add ins (I did ~1 tbsp dried fruit and a few chunks of chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

In a small ramekin, mix all the ingredients together.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.


Chocolate Pecan Coconut Bread-2

Chocolate Pecan Coconut Bread

September 6, 2015 | 10 Comments

Lately, I’ve been craving chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate. It’s evident as I baked a single lady swedish chocolate cake in the middle of the night on friday. Fridays are usually my preferred baking nights (since then I have 2 days to make the recipe again, edit photos, and wrack my head for something entertaining to write), but late Friday/Saturday just makes me grumpy. Anywho, back to the cake, it was gooey, dense, and utterly delicious -almost too chocolaty, but we all know that that’s not possible. I guess that since it was nearly Saturday, on could call it breakfast, but I did want to make something a tad bit healthier, intricate, and filling. But it still had to contain chocolate.

Chocolate Pecan Coconut Bread-3

Chocolate Pecan Coconut Bread-8

With the fall of summer and the spring of fall (hahahahaaaaa), I decided to combine a more tropical, summery favor with an ingredient of autumn-like characteristics that brings memories of red leaves and jumping in leaf piles. Et voila, this chocolate pecan coconut bread was born! The coconut and the pecans are toasted for a deeper flavor profile, tangled within a web of molten chocolate. Don’t doubt the ability of any of these ingredients to shine in this loaf -even though this has three flavors in the title, they all bring something special to the bread.

When I say bread, don’t doubt for a second that it’s bread! While this doesn’t contain yeast (i.e. no long rises), it most certainly is not a cakey bread. I would consider it a quick bread. A quicky, quirky bread, that’s crumbly yet moist and flavorfully complex yet simple to whip up in a second. And you can bet that I’m gonna eat a slice of this chocolate pecan coconut bread with pecan butter, sprinkled with coconut shavings and topped with shaved chocolate, all with a side of homework because labor day = homework catch up!

Chocolate Pecan Coconut Bread-5

Chocolate Pecan Coconut Bread

In other words (I’m making up for the short post last week, so you can happily scroll down to the recipe if you want to miss my rambling), my to do list is a mile long and I long for when I could jump around carelessly and eat ice cream with books all day long. I remember when I was little, the first time labor day came around, 6 year old me stood at the bus stop for 2 hours before we realized that labor day means that school’s not happening.

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I’ve always felt that this first day off since school begins is a transition from the hot careless days to the cold shivering nights, covered with a blanket of papers, revisions, and tears from pressure (not really… maybe…). But it could just be me πŸ˜€ Either way, it’s always nice to discover that I’m still a child, in school, and having the most wonderful, enjoyable time of my life yet. πŸ˜‰


// So I promised that this wouldn’t be a cakey bread, but yet it contains 3/4 cups of sugar hum? Well, that’s because the cocoa powder tones down the sweetness considerably so do trust me! πŸ˜€
// I used flaked, unsweetened coconut because that’s what we had chez moi, but shredded sweetened coconut would also work. Just expect it to be slightly sweeter (you may decrease the sugar by up to 1/4 cup probs), and it’ll be moister too! πŸ˜€
// I also used dark chocolate which is great and you should do it too πŸ˜‰

Chocolate Pecan Coconut Bread
1 cup shredded/flaked coconut
1 cup pecans
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped chocolate/chocolate chips

Prepare the pan by greasing the sides of a bread pan. I like to line mine with parchment paper (as in the pictures above) so it's easier to remove, but it's definitely not required. Although, do grease the bottom thoroughly if you don't.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Toast the coconut over medium heat until browned. Remove from pan and toast the pecans until they smell nutty. Let the pecans cool for a bit. Roughly chop them, but most of the pieces should be itty bitty. Set the coconut and pecans aside.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil with the sugar and add the eggs one by one. Stir in the eggs one by one, then the vanilla extract. Pour in the milk and mix thoroughly.

Add in the cocoa powder, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, half of the chocolate, the toasted coconut and chopped pecans.

Pour into the prepared baking pan and sprinkle the rest of the chocolate on top of the bread.

Bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Don't over bake or else it'll be dry.



Concord Grape Pies with Thyme and Rye

August 30, 2015 | 16 Comments

While everyone’s complaining of zucchini overload, I on the other hand, am complaining about grape overload. Our 2 year old grape plant just started producing bunches plump, fragrant grapes frosted with powdered sugar. This can be both a good and a bad problem. These grapes are wonderfully perfumed like flowers which makes them delightful to eat. However, there aren’t a whole lot of recipes that use concord grapes, besides jam. I guess the skin and seeds just complicate things by a bit.



Purple Fork

I shouldn’t complain because what’s better than jammy pie dough scented with thyme? Especially with the flakiest crust that I’ve ever made all thanks to a french method called fraisage. In conclusion, you should make this now.

Okay so sorry for the the short post today but you probably want to get to making these pies! I’m gonna make up for that and the fact that these photos are super blurry with photos of grapes! Apparently you can’t take photos at 9pm anymore and still expect them to turn out somewhat sharp. 😐

But grapes (and a spiderweb) ! πŸ˜€


Concord Grape Thyme Pie (2)

Concord Grape Thyme Pie

Grapes (2)

Spider Web



// I actually made 2 pies instead of 3, and you can see that one of them is a circle instead of a half moon shape. It’s up to you which one to do.

Concord Grape Pies with Thyme and Rye
Pie Filling (basically concord grape jam with thyme)
1 Β½ cup concord grapes
ΒΌ cup sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
Β½ tsp thyme (3 stalks chopped)
Pie Crust
1/3 cup rye flour
1/3 cup white flour
Pinch of salt
ΒΌ cup cold butter, cubed into 1/2 cm pieces
1-3 tbsp water
1 egg

Squeeze the innards out of the grapes (I know that doesn't sound especially pleasing, but you get the point) and put the peels in one goal and the insides in another. Cook the insides over low heat until soft, about 10-15 minutes.

Place it in a strainer and push everything out but the seeds into the pot. Add the grape skins, sugar, vanilla, salt, and thyme. Cook over medium heat until purple, and it's soft and jammy. It should be thick. Set aside.

To make the pie crust, mix all the pie crust ingredients together, leaving 1/2 of the butter cubes whole. Add enough water until the dough comes together.

Take a handful of the dough and kinda wipe it onto a hard surface and scrape it off and put it in a pile. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Shape into a rough circle and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to assemble the pies, preheat the oven to 425 F. Roll the dough about 1/4 cm thick and cut out 3 circles about 7-8 cm in diameter.

Split the filling into thirds and place it in each circle. Fold each circle in half and seal the sides down with a fork. Cut slits to let out the steam. Brush each pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until golden, around 20-30 minutes.


Lemon ginger muesli

Lemon Ginger Muesli {gluten free, vegan}

August 23, 2015 | 17 Comments

I think one of my favorite things is a blank page. They’re filled with unseen imperfections but are still as inviting as clean, untouched snow. And that, my dear friends, is why I always look forward to the beginning of school. To me, being the high schooler that I am, they symbolize a new start more than any new year. The downsides to filling this invitingly barren canvas is obvious.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, school has already started in the middle of sunny August. It barely seems like the teachers are ready -either that or they’re just taking it easy on us for the first few days. I’m not buried under projects quite yet, but more personal goals; joining more clubs, perhaps being a bit more ambitious and outgoing compared to last year.

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But as you can imagine, school calls for getting up really early which no one likes to do. Especially when the sun is still resting its blazing little head (ok, not so little) on the other side of the planet but your alarm clock insists that you get out of bed. For me to actually roll out of my bed in the morning without clicking the snooze button 10 times and ending up late to school, I always need a little motivation.

Even though muesli is basically just raw oats soaked in milk with some fruit, it is amazing. Something about refrigerator cold milk with softened oats just does it for me. And ofc, I add fruit -lots and lots of fruit. A shredded apple becomes submerged in milk along with dried fruit the night before. It’s the beauty and simplicity that makes this breakfast so flawless.

The reminiscent crunchiness of the apple and the plump soaked dried fruit with the light, nearly melt in your mouth oats makes this irresistible. It makes me get out of bed and not hungry until nearly lunch time (and our lunch is pretty late considering we spend the whole morning climbing up and down stairs… but we do have a long time to eat). Healthy, fruity, and light. What else do you need for breakfast? (although, a croissant or two would def be delicious)

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This muesli is super customizable and you most certainly don’t have to use lemon and ginger if you don’t feel like it. This recipe also uses toasted flax for a little bit of healthy oils and a wonderful je ne sais quoi. Although, funny story… I could only find whole flax seeds in the pantry so I decided to toast them before sticking them in the food processor. Baaaaaaaad idea. Don’t ever try it. Apparently, whole flax seeds will behave like popcorn in a hot pan. Except they’re smaller and x100 harder to clean up. Long story short, they ended up jumping everywhere and half the flax seeds ended up on the floor and in the little crevices of the kitchen instead of in my breakfast bowl. Which needless to say, amused me 50% and annoyed me by 50%. Lesson learned.

Basically, this the complete opposite of those croissant dough recipes that I’ve been hailing down on you guys. All you have to do is mix a few ingredients together (most of which you can omit if you don’t have it/them) and the night before, just stuff everything into a jar, pour over milk and stuff it into the refrigerator. In the morning, spoon on some honey, yogurt and top with some fresh fruit and you’re good to go!

This lemon ginger muesli is 1000% A++++.


// To make the muesli, shred one apple. Place the shredded apple in a bowl with 1/2 cup of muesli mix. Add in enough milk {any kind or use apple/orange juice} to cover and place in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, serve with fresh fruit and yogurt.
// If you don’t have some of the dried fruit or nuts/don’t like them, just fill the space up with what you do have (sunflower seeds, chopped dates, etc.). I like my ratio of oats to fruit/seeds/nuts to be 1:1 but you can easily make it to have more oats or fruit, etc.
// If you’re gluten free, make sure the oats are gluten free. If you’re vegan, sub the milk with a non animal milk (almond, rice, etc.) or juice. Use agave syrup or maple syrup instead of honey -and use vegan yogurt or just skip the yogurt, it’s just as delicious.

Lemon Ginger Muesli {gluten free, vegan}
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup almonds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup cranberries
1/3 cup raisins
1 Β½ tsp fresh ginger
Zest from 1 lemon

Place the ground flax into a pan over medium heat. Toast until it smells nutty.

In a large bowl, combine the toasted flax with the rest of the ingredients

Pour into a jar and cover it with a lid. Store in a dry place.

To serve, follow the notes above.


Brown Butter Morning Buns-5

Brown Butter Morning Buns {a step by step guide with .gifs}

August 16, 2015 | 16 Comments

It feels hot -like sickly sweaty hot. The heat settles like fog, refusing to leave, ignoring objections that it’s being annoying, denying that it’s doing anything wrong. In a way, it was like little cat feet (get the allusion??). One feels lonely without it, but bothersome with it.

My desk is conveniently located so that I’m sitting across from the east facing window. I usually like to do stuff at my desk in the mornings. My window remains open, hoping to catch some waft of wind, but when it does, the curtain comes slapping me in the face. I dare not open my curtains to the sun. Come afternoon though, it becomes a nice haven, full of soft breezes and a warm, cool light and that is when I open my curtains to all that I’ve missed through the day.


Brown Butter Morning Buns
Morning Buns

Brown Butter Morning Buns-2

I guess I’ll just have to find another morning activity other than reading. Or find a different place to do it.

This particular morning, I was reminded by a little bird that I still had 1/3 of a batch of brown butter croissant dough left lonely in the fridge. And since it was bright and early, what’s better than making some morning buns for breakie? Especially morning buns that are layered with brown butter, leaking aromas of orange and cinnamon, and covered in a thin crust of caramelized brown sugar…

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Brown Butter Morning Buns-3

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They’re good for a indulgent breakfast or a decadent afternoon dessert (of course, complemented by open windows and breezes πŸ˜€ ) That is, if they last into the afternoon. However by my predictions, these brown butter morning buns will not.


// I think they’re supposed to be rolled in cinnamon sugar afterwards, but I didn’t because they were sugary enough for me. But if you did want to do that, make sure the rolls are warm or the cinnamon sugar won’t stick. And cinnamon sugar is made by mixing cinnamon and sugar together (who would’ve guessed, right?), and I would mix about 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 tbsp cinnamon.
// In case you missed it (although I’m not sure I ever said it)

The croissant tutorial here can make 1 batch of brown butter croissants, 1 batch of pains au chocolat, and 1 batch of these morning buns!!!

Brown Butter Morning Buns

Brown Butter Morning Buns

1/3 cup brown sugar
zest from one orange
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/3 batch of brown butter croissant dough

Mix the brown sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon together. Set aside.

Roll the croissant dough out so that it approximately measures 12" by 9". Sprinkle on the brown sugar mixture and roll the dough up from the long end so that the log measures 12".

Take a piece of string (~3 ft long) and slide it 1 inch under the log. Pull the ends together so that it cuts the log into a 1 inch piece. Place it in a muffin tin/pan. Repeat until the log disappears :D

Let it rise until doubled in size (each roll should fill its muffin tin space), about 1-2 hrs. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Bake at 425 F for 12 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 F and bake for 10-13 more minutes, or until golden.


Brown Butter Pain au Chocolat-8

Brown Butter Pains au Chocolat {a step by step guide with .gifs} //pains au chocolat au beurre noisette

August 9, 2015 | 43 Comments

The English translation isn’t quite right for pain au chocolat… I mean, they’re translated into chocolate croissants but the croissants aren’t chocolate like a chocolate cake. They have little batons of chocolate in them, melty, sticky and utterly delicious. I guess we’ll just have to call them brown butter pains au chocolat. Some things just get lost in translation :/

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In all relevancy to this post, I just couldn’t resist listening to this song that a teacher told me about earlier… I regretted it later though because it’s that type of song that just gets stuck in your head and will. not. come. out. (fyi it’s in French and it’s called le petit pain au chocolat -how can you resist now?). merci bien madame…

Anyhow, let’s get back on topic shall we (were we ever on topic?) ?? Remember these croissants au beurre noisette ?(brown butter croissants… now i’m just either getting braggy on you or i’m practicing for french class -hush Anne stop talking!) If you don’t/haven’t seen them yet, I think you’d better take a look at those right now.

Done? Okeydokie.

Brown Butter Pain au Chocolat-6

Brown Butter Pain au Chocolat-4

Well now you have to make these because the croissants only used up 1/3 of the dough. And also, who can resist brown butter and chocolate?! These brown butter pain au chocolat/brown butter chocolate croissants/pain au chocolat au beurre noisette are absolutely a+++. They’re flakey, flavorful, and so so pretty + adorable!!! The warm melty chocolate kinda oozes out and fills the little airy holes and the brown butter, ofc makes it the most flavorful croissant you’ll ever eat. In short, they’re utterly delicious so go go make them now!

Brown Butter Pain au Chocolat-9

And we thought brown butter cookies were good…

p.s. Do they look like they have little faces to you?? Pains au chocolat has always looked like they have little tiny faces to me.


// Brown butter croissant recipe is here. The dough is cut into 3 pieces so that you can make ~10 croissants + 6 pains au chocolat + 12 of what’s coming up next week. Or you can do a combination of two of them. Or just single one out because you like it so much.
// You can melt chocolate to make little 3″ batons, use premade batons, or just chop chocolate and place it in a line.

Brown Butter Pain au Chocolat {a step by step guide with .gifs} //Pain au chocolat au beurre noisette

Brown Butter Pain au Chocolat {a step by step guide with .gifs} //Pain au chocolat au beurre noisette

1/3 of brown butter croissant dough -see notes
chocolate -see notes
1 egg

Roll out the croissant dough so that it measures ~6 in by 12 in. Trim the edges to expose the layers and then cut out 3 by 4 in rectangles.

Place chocolate along the shorter edge and roll up once. Add in some more chocolate and then roll it up fully.

Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest until puffy and jiggles when shaken, about 2 hours. When you poke it, it should spring back a little but not all the way. It should not deflate :/

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Beat the egg and brush it on the croissants. Make sure you don't brush egg wash onto the exposed layers. Wait 5 minutes and brush it on again.

Bake at 425 F for 12 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 F and bake for 10-13 more minutes, or until golden.

They're best served freshly out of the oven, burn your fingers + tongue hot. Just kidding. But they are better warm.


Brown Butter Croissants-7

Brown Butter Croissants {a step by step .gif tutorial}

August 2, 2015 | 45 Comments

Quite frankly, I’ve grown tired of those recipes that European butter is the way to go. In most recipes, they claim that since it has a higher butter percentage, it’s more flavorful (which is probably true…) and in particular for croissants, it’s easier to work with (probably also true). Being a high school student though means that I don’t exactly have the money to buy butter that’s oh so special because it’s imported from Europe (fyi, it’s approximately 100% more, aka you’re paying twice the price compared to American butter which I totally do not get because aren’t U.S. produced stuff supposed to cost more?), nor do I have the time to search as of where to buy it.

Solution? Brown butter. I have a feeling that brown butter makes everything in the world better. Don’t like regular buttercream? Use brown butter and a sprinkle of salt. Blondies too boring? Brown some butter. πŸ˜€

Plus, I can nearly guarantee that they’re 150.999999999% better than regular croissants -and you can trust me on this. I’ve made croissants so many times, a lot of which I actually documented with bad photos (or bad croissants… :/). They’re so so so flavorful because they use brown butter instead of normal butter and dead flaky. πŸ˜‰

Brown Butter Croissants-2

Brown Butter Croissants-5

Brown Butter Croissants-9

Croissants are one of those things that feel complex and finicky, but actually aren’t. They’re time consuming, but not nearly as frustrating as macarons. All you have to do is make sure they have enough time to rest in the fridge or else they melt (kinda like moi during school). As a result, they’re hands off not hands on, which is both a plus and a minus, especially during summer. Work with them for too long and you’ll end up with buttered counter tops instead of buttery bread. BUT you do get to do a lot while they’re resting πŸ˜€

Anyhow, this recipe uses both brown butter and regular butter because part of the reason croissants puff up in the oven is that the water in the butter pushes the dough up and evaporates away, leaving holes in croissants like the one above (scroll up like 1.5 paragraphs :D). The 1:1 ratio of brown butter to not, results in a certain je ne sais quoi quality, but you can certainly brown more butter to intensify the flavor if you wish. I wouldn’t suggest browning all the butter though since browned butter is 100% butter and 0% water and the croissant probably wouldn’t puff as high.

Oh and I made .gifs because a recipe that’s like 10 pgs is kinda hard on the eyes. I’m exaggerrratttiinngggggg… But it is long. But no need to worry. πŸ˜€

Brown Butter Croissants-6

Brown Butter Croissants-8

Brown Butter Croissants-4

These brown butter croissants are so easy (never heard that before hum?) as long as you keep the dough cold. Plus, you can actually get like 1/2 the stuff done on your to do list while making croissants and end up with an enticing, nutty aroma floating and swirling around your house. They’re so flaky on the outside and splinter crumbs everywhere when bitten into (literately, my kitchen was covered with golden shards when I was photographing them -Mom was not happy). But the inside is incredibly soft and feathery light, filled with honeycomb like holes has a light hazelnutty scent in the best of ways. The flavor? Well, nothing short of astonishing -buttery and nutty at the same time.

p.s. Croissants are not actually as hard + time consuming as the notes + recipe make it seem. πŸ˜‰
p.p.s. 1/3 of the dough makes 10 croissants. I have recipes of what to do with the rest of the dough coming up in the following weeks πŸ˜€


// Keep the dough cold -as in very very cold. Freeze your rolling pin if you have to.
// If you want perfect croissants, it’s necessary to trim off the edges that are going to be folded in to avoid trapping the butter. But of course, it’s up to you. It’ll work fine without it, but it’s better if you do πŸ˜‰
// It’s good to follow the measurements given, but again, it’s optional. Don’t spend time trying to perfect the rectangle -chances are, you’ll just squish the precious layers. Oh but measurements aren’t exactly optional when you shape them πŸ˜€
// Brown at least 1/2 of the butter for flavor purposes, but you can brown more. But don’t brown all of it. Instructions to brown butter are in the recipe.
// Letting the dough rest for longer is harmless, but letting the dough rest for less time than specified is harmful. I made these over a few days just because of photography reasons (i.e. I could only actually catch the light that I wanted to for like 4 hours of the day to make .gifs… and the final croissants pictures were taken more or less in darkness), but it’s very possible to make them in one day.
// You can freeze the dough and let it come back to temp in the refrigerator for ~4 hrs if you’re planning on not doing anything with it for a whilllleee (i.e. >1 day).
// You can also freeze shaped croissants and let them rise at room temp. Or you can rise them for ~45 min at room temp and then stick them in the refrigerator overnight and bake them in the morning.
// Did I mention that you should keep the dough colllddd?
// Don’t overproof (you’ll end up with flat croissants) and don’t underproof (you’ll end up with a puddle of butter). A good way to check is lightly poking the croissant. It should come back about 1/2 way but not the whole way and not continue deflating.
// One more thing, don’t proof at a very high temperature (i.e. >85 F) or else you’ll end up with a tray full of butter and croissants without butter.
// Actually two… Since I included grams in this, it’s best if you use a scale and convert it to oz or stay in grams if you so prefer, but cups are actually really inaccurate (I know, I know…). So guess what? Use a scale. Or if you do use cups (against my advice…), just remember, in this dough it’s better for it to be stiffer -it’ll just be really hard to roll if you make it too stiff.
// Croissant tutorial inspired from here. Croissant recipe proportions adapted from here.

Brown Butter Croissants //Croissants au beurre noisette

Brown Butter Croissants //Croissants au beurre noisette

Roll in butter
1 1/2 cup butter
316 g (1 1/3 c) warm milk
5 g (2 1/2) tsp yeast
25 g (2 tbsp) sugar
536 g (3 1/4 c) flour
22 g (1 1/2 tbsp) butter
8 g (2 1/2 tbsp) salt
Egg wash
1 egg
To make the butterblock

Place half of the butter (3/4 c) in a saucepan over medium heat and let it boil while swirling the pan. It will splutter. When the spluttering stops or when the mixture takes a brown color, take it off the heat and pour into a bowl. Add in the rest of the butter and combine. Chill in the refrigerator until solid.

Fold a large piece of parchment paper over so that the square in the middle measures around 7.5" by 7.5". Spoon in the cold butter and fold the sides of the paper over. Using a rolling pin, roll the square so that it has an even thickness. Make sure the corners aren't missing butter. Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour.

To make the dough

Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and add the sugar. Wait for 5-10 minutes. It should become foamy and bubbly. If not, wait a little longer (~5 min) and check again. If it doesn't get bubbly, it means your yeast isn't alive, so use a different packet/jar of yeast and start over.

Work the butter and flour together into a very floury mixture. Add that mixture to the yeast one, along with the salt. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until tacky. Don't work for too long or else it'll be difficult to roll out.

Roll into a rough square. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Very very very lightly flour the work surface and roll the cold dough into a square that measures 9.75 inches. Unwrap the chilled butter block and place it in the center with the corners of the butter block touching the midpoint of each side. Take the corners of the dough and fold it over the butter block and pinch it closed.

Cover in plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

Take the dough out and roll the block into a rectangle, measuring roughly 21 in by 10.5 in.

Cut off the edge that you're going to fold in Fold into thirds and cover in plastic wrap again. Place in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.

Repeat this so that you fold it three times (i.e. 2 more to go).

Take the dough out after the third fold and cut into 3 pieces. Each piece will make ~10 croissants.

Roll one piece out and trim the edges so that it measures 7 inch by 13.5 inches. Mark 3 inch pieces on the long edge -you should have 4 3 inch sections and one 1.5 inch section. Starting on the other side, on the other long edge, measure 3 in pieces again -you should have 4 3 inch sections and one 1.5 inch section.

Using a ruler and the markings, cut triangles.

Stretch the triangle and roll into a croissant shape. Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest until puffy and jiggles when shaken, about 2 hours. When you poke it, it should spring back a little but not all the way. It should not deflate :/

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Beat the egg and brush it on the croissants. Make sure you don't brush egg wash onto the exposed layers. Wait 5 minutes and brush it on again.

Bake at 425 F for 12 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 F and bake for 10-13 more minutes, or until golden.

They're best served freshly out of the oven with jam and honey :D.


Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-8

Mini Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake With Coconut

July 26, 2015 | 44 Comments

Something I really like about Asian bakeries is that their desserts are usually lightly sweetened and come less off as I can make this one at home, unlike their brightly colored and excessively sugar filled counterparts that fill the shelves normal bakeries. Among the racks full of plump rolls, flaky egg tarts, and other things, there are usually boxes full of thickly sliced, fluffy, Swiss rolls. It’s the slightest bit ironic.

The Asian style Swiss rolls tend to roll up cake a bit thicker and spread their filling a little thinner. I guess it’s a matter of preference. Either way, I think Swiss rolls would have to be one of my favorite cakes, passing layer cakes, cupcakes, and most other types of cakes. The thing is that they have a refreshing, fluffy and lightly sweetened whipped cream filling (and maybe fruit!) instead of >3 cups of frosting slathered on.

Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake Collage2 Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-5 Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-9

Don’t get me wrong layer cakes are amazing and beautiful, but in my world, Swiss roll cakes pass layer cakes by a tenfold. Plus, I suck at frosting cakes and making it perfect and flawless Swiss rolls tend to be a lot less tedious than layer cakes. The only difficult part is that they like to crack and make the ‘roll’ not so roll-like.

Also, I have never understood why people say to roll the cake up, unroll it, and then fill it. It’ll crack when you roll it up and even if it doesn’t, it will inevitably crack when you unroll it and then roll it back up. Nooooooo I do not have it in me to deal with such stress.

My suspicion has been that the recipes I used didn’t create moist cakes. These cakes are usually made from sponge cake like batter (because eggs = elasticity), but they can’t do it all alone. The moistness from the water would quickly evaporate because these are cooked with such a high surface area. As a result, oil should be used to make this cake super moist and bendable. It’s always scared me to develop a sponge like cake recipe though because beaten egg whites just seem so so fragile. I shouldn’t have been so worried.

This recipe is roughly adapted from here. Her method of making the cake was certainly surprising, intrepidly whisking the egg yolks into the beaten egg whites and then whisking in some more flour and finally folding in the oil. But her recipe + method works so so well that I couldn’t help to be amazed. I’ve converted it into cups, tbsp, and tsp (because cake isn’t an exact science…) and changed a few things and now it’s even better πŸ˜€

I mean, this recipe requires no rolling of the cake before spreading on the fillings, and it will not crack!!! If you folded it back and forth like it was a piece of paper it would probably still not break! Even though I made my cake thinner (because I didn’t have quite the size of baking pan she had), it’s still absolutely fantastic.

Okay anyhow, so I just waxed poetic about Swiss roll cakes for most of this post, but where’s the part when I actually get on subject??? Well, I’ve actually been quite on subject for most of this since vertical cakes are made kinda like swiss roll cakes except you orient them like a layer cake, with the circular part on the bottom and you frost it.

Ugggg frosting. Yeah you have to frost it. And since my apparent dislike for frosting is obvious, and my ability for frosting cakes is limited, I spread on a very very very very very thin layer of frosting, only enough to get the coconut to stick. Oh yeah and I rolled it in coconut to cover up my frosting mistakes which is actually one of the most genius ideas ever and I really should do it more often.

Oh I also suck at cutting cakes so… There’s another reason…

Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-7Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-2 Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake Collage

So this cake? Its minimalist decorations do not give away the ultimate surprise on the inside. A freaking beautiful cake that’s striped instead of stacked, it is soft with bright hints of lemon and a creamy, fluffy inside with lightly sweetened whipped cream and thinly sliced strawberries. The frosting adds a superb sweetness with little bits of salt to contrast the rest of the cake and the coconut brings everything together delightfully. πŸ˜€


// You can make this into a full sized cake by doubling the recipe and rolling all 4 slices together.
// Coconut whipped cream also works well in place of the whipped cream. Recipe here.

Mini Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake With Coconut
For the cake
5 eggs separated
1/3 cup sugar
Zest from one lemon
1/3 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup oil
For the filling
3/4 cups cream
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup sliced strawberries
For the frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
shredded coconut, as needed

Preheat the oven to 390 F and line + grease a large baking pan (mine was around 13-16").

Whip the egg whites in a bowl until foamy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Add in the lemon zest along with one egg yolk. Whisk until combined. Add in the rest of the egg yolks, one by one, whisking to combine after each addition.

Sift and whisk the flour and salt in three batches. Fold in the oil.

Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fluffy and golden.

Let it cool. Meanwhile, breat the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Adjust the consistency by adding in a tablespoon or two of milk.

Whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form.

Take the cooled cake and trim off the edges. Cut it in half long ways (or as my elementary teacher would say, "hot dog style" :D). Place the sliced strawberries on both of the strips of cake and spread on the whipped cream.

Starting from the short side, roll one of the strips into a log and then place it on the short side of the other strip. Roll it up to form a cake.

Place it on a surface so that one of the circular sides is on the bottom. Frost the cake thinly and press on the coconut.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.