May 24, 2024

Memorial Day M&M's Cookies


The other day at work I was hankering for a dessert and ended up buying an overpriced M&M's cookie.  It was alright but I knew I could make a better one myself.  So in honor of Memorial Day weekend I made some Memorial Day M&M's Cookies using the red, white and blue colored chocolate candies that I already had on hand.  The recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated and is very similar to your typical chocolate chip cookie dough - simply replace the chips with M&M's.

I love that the dough comes together quite easily and requires no mixer, handheld or stand, so it's the perfect recipe to make with little ones in your life.  In less than thirty minutes you have delicious cookies that will delight the child in any of us.  All that's missing is a cold glass of milk.

May 10, 2024

Fresh Fruit Cream Cake


Among my relatives the highest accolade I could receive for my baking is, "It's good - not too sweet."  Is that an Asian thing?  Maybe.  Possibly.  Definitely.  When I saw the recipe for a Fresh Fruit Cream Cake from Cook's Illustrated's May/Jun 2024 issue I knew it was the exact dessert that my family  would like.   I decided to make it for a get together jointly celebrating my Dad's birthday and Mother's Day.

The cake itself is similar to a castella, the light and sponge-y cakes you would find in a Chinese bakery.  There is no baking powder or baking soda in the recipe; egg whites are the only leavener used to make the cake rise.  In the past I hadn't had the best luck with these types of cakes if they weren't baked in a tube pan.  When I used a regular pan the cake inevitably ended up sinking during the cooling process.  Happy to report no such issues with this recipe.   The cake baked up nice and tall and didn't cave in when it cooled.

For the frosting heavy cream is whipped with instant vanilla pudding and sugar.  The pudding mix helps to stabilize the whipped cream so that it can stay in the fridge longer.   As for fruits I went for the classic berry combination of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  

I'm looking forward to serving this to my family to get their review - let's hope it's a thumbs up!


February 10, 2024

Valentine's Day Cookie Box


In December I always make holiday cookie boxes to gift to friends and family, but this year I decided to adapt it for Valentine's Day.  What better way to show your loved one how much you care than a box of homemade treats?

My Valentine's Day Cookie Box included three types of cookies: Heart Linzer Cookies, Glossy Fudge Brownies and Valentine's Sprinkles Cookies.  Chocolate candy hearts are also a must.

I used these kraft boxes to package the cookies and lined the boxes with the cutest heart-printed wax paper sheets.

February 9, 2024

Valentine's Sprinkles Cookies


Another addition to my Valentine's Day cookie box are these Valentine's Sprinkles Cookies.  The recipe comes by way of Dan Pelosi.  The inner child in all of us will absolutely adore these.  I love how easily adaptable the cookies are to celebrate any holiday by simply changing the sprinkles colors, e.g., pastel for Easter, red/white/blue for the 4th of July, etc.

February 8, 2024

Heart Linzer Cookies

In honor of Valentine's Day I made some Heart Linzer Cookies.  Crisp shortbread sandwiched with tart raspberry jam and showered in powdered sugar is never a bad thing in my opinion.  I used this recipe from Preppy Kitchen which includes almond flour in the dough.  These beauties will be included in a Valentine's Day cookie box that I'm planning to assemble.  Stay tuned!

February 2, 2024

Year of the Dragon Cookie


In 2024, Tết (the Vietnamese Lunar New Year) falls on February 10 and it's the Year of the Dragon, considered the most powerful of all Asian zodiac animals.  It's no coincidence that birth rates in these years are higher than other years because dragon children are supposedly destined for wealth and greatness.  I don't know if there's any data to support that theory but my oldest niece Sophie is a dragon so for her sake I hope it's true.

It's become somewhat of a tradition of mine to bake and decorate cookies in the shape of the lunar new year animal.  I love passing the favors out at my family's large Tết gathering.  I didn't have a dragon in my cookie cutter arsenal so I ordered this one from etsy.   To decorate the edible dragons  I went the super simple route and brushed a thin layer of red-tinted royal icing on top.  To add a bit of character to the face I drew on an eyebrow using a food coloring pen.
Chúc Mừng Năm Mới 2024!!!!

January 6, 2024

Apple Galette des Rois

January 6 marks Epiphany or Three Kings Day in the Christian faith, when the three wise men visited the baby Jesus after he was born.  In honor of the occasion many countries in Europe celebrate with a King's Cake.  In France it's known as galette des rois, traditionally made with puff pastry and an almond frangipane filling.  This year to mix things up a bit I made an Apple Galette des Rois.

The inspiration for this variation came from a chausson aux pommes, a French apple turnover found in any boulangerie.   I made a very simple  compote filling using my favorite apple variety, honeycrisp.  The galette came together in no time at all since I used store bought puff pastry to encase the apple filling.   Not one to forget the all-important fève or charm, I hid a walnut half in the cake.   

One bite of the compote filling and crisp puff pastry and I am now fully converted to the apple galette des rois.

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