Monday, March 21, 2011

Gold Fishes Cheese Crackers

I love eating gold fishes crackers. They are flavorful and make very nice snack. I can easily devour a whole pack. I have the sudden urge to make them one night after shopping at Daiso and saw a gold fish shaped and a whale shaped cookie cutters. When I got home, I didn't know where to start, and behold, I busted out my Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc cookbook! Inside, I found a recipe for soup crackers. To me, soup crackers and gold fishes crackers share almost the same texture. So, I took his recipe and added my own touch to it. I added shredded mozzarella cheese.
The gold fishes came out very crunchy and flavorful but not as flaky as I thought they would be. So the next day, I decided to change it up and browze around! I looked up "cheese cracker" in one of the food magazine website, Country Living, I checked up on ocassionally. I followed the recipe but decreased the salt just a teeny tiny bit since cheese contains salt already.

Cheddar Goldfish Crackers
  • 1 cup(s) all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoon(s) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 8 ounce(s) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground pepper

  • Instruction:

  • Make the dough: Pulse the flour, butter, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper together using a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade. Remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.

  • Bake the crackers: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper and set aside. Roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness. Cut out as many crackers as possible using a 2-inch fish-shaped cutter. Place them 1 inch apart on the prepared baking pans. Bake until golden and crisp — 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and scraps. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 

  • Also, one thing the magazine did not mention is that, you can pick up the scrap from the leftover dough, and re-roll it each time and cut more crackers out of it. Dust a little flour onto the counter and rolling pin to help prevent stickiness.

    Make sure you have sufficient time to cut the little gold fishes out. To me, it was the longest part in making these crackers. But then again, you can use any size cutters you want, or you can simply just use a knife and go across the dough to make simple square ones.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Lavender Cupcakes with Honey Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

    Wow the title sounds overwhelming! This cupcake has a little kick of spiciness from the lavender and the sweet and tang from the frosting, which make them pair so well and gives a nice balance!

    The amount of lavender I used was from the experience I had with making honey lavender ice cream (which was delish by the way). I steeped a tablespoon of lavender in some milk and then added to the cupcake mixture. I also added a litle bit of the steep buds into the cupcake mixture. Because even though the buds have been steeps, it will still gives off that strong spicy to bitter taste when chewed. I know people like my boyfriend are not very fond of lavender, so adjust so that the eater can taste that it's lavender.

    The frosting was super fun to make since it has so many components. I made a cream cheese frosting with a larger cream cheese to butter ratio, and a little less powdered sugar than usual. The honey will makes the frosting naturally sweeter so don't need as much sugar! Then I added lemon juice and lemon zests. Whipped them all up and viola! A sticky and gooey, sweet and tangy frosting.

    Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

    I was a peanut butter fan when I was younger, and then I stopped eating it for the longest time. Recently I bought a natural jar of it and couldn't stop indulging myself in it. I love spreading it on whole wheat bread. It's creamy and gooey; it brings me back to childhood memory of it every time.

    Anyhow, so I decided to test and make some peanut butter cupcakes. I know it's going to be tricky since the consistency of the peanut butter itself is already oily, gooey and buttery...the amount of butter added would be a challenge. Indeed, my peanut butter cupcake turned out super de-duper moist and dense in the center but perfect texture outside. It's still edible but just a little too dense for my taste. I probably need to re-test this next time. But other than that I really like the flavor of it.

    I decided to frost the cupcake with a lighter frosting. Instead of using a buttercream, I just used whipped cream...with chocolate! Chocolate peanut butter equals yummy!

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Thomas Keller's Oreo Take Two...

    I decided to make a third batch of TKO because I was not completely satisfied with the previous one. After experimenting with the dough a bit, I finally got the edge of the cookies to set better, and the cream filling better!

    Never the less, this batch was 10X better than previous, look-wise especially! I do notice though the cream filling tastes better and gets a bit firmer after being in the fridge a bit. And after a couple days in the fridge, the cookies started to get lighter in color but they still tasted great! Yay!

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Thomas Keller's Oreo

    One of my favorite bakery is Bouchon! They made amazing macarons on top of other delightful treats such as their cookies and TKO...Thomas Keller's version of Oreos.
    TKO from Bouchon

    So I found a recipe in his Ad Hoc cookbook that results in similiar cookies as the TKO! All I had to do is try to make a cream filling for it! I decided to make one with white chocolate in it. Dark chocolate cookies and white chocolate fillings, yum!


    So I made and tested two different batches that resulted in different texture of the cookie. One of the batch tasted exactly like an Oreo cookie! Bingo! The other one resulted in flakier cookies, which I actually prefer if it's not cream-filled. The only trouble I had making these was shaping them right. I used the right cookie cutter and it looked perfect before they hit the oven. But while they are baking, they start mishaping.
    After taste testing and baking these cookies, I am feeling a bit sick from overdosage of chocolate and sweetness. So, I decided to try making these again in the near future to try to perfect the shape then.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Matcha Cupcakes with Raspberry Jam

    I always want to make a filled cupcake, and I know exactly what I wanted to use--raspberry jam. So I was thinking about possible flavor I can use it with, and I came up with chocolate and matcha. I made several chocolate cupcakes before and thought it's time to try something different, so I used the matcha powder that I have! I found this matcha cupcake recipe online by Martha Steward, then I just filled it with raspberry jam and made my own experimental matcha buttercream.

    The cake is moist but too cakey for my taste. Don't get me wrong though, it tastes great and have a great texture, but I think it's more suitable for making a regular size cake. It's not as fluffy as I wanted it to be. I also think I need to get a stronger tasting matcha powder. The matcha cupcakes has only hints of the matcha taste, and this is speaking from a person who know what matcha tastes like. Otherwise, to most people who didn't know it has matcha in the cupcake, it would just like a sweeter version of vanilla cupcakes.

    Matcha Cupcakes (from Martha Stewart)
    Makes 12 cupcakes
    3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour, not self-rising
    1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon fresh matcha powder
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch cubes
    2 large eggs
    1/2 cup whole milk
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    Strawberry jam or preserves

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
    2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and matcha powder; mix on low speed until combined.
    3. Add butter, mixing until the cubes of butter are peanut-sized or a li
    ttle smaller.
    4. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
    5. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
    6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, using the cone method, fill cupcakes with strawberry jam or preserves.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Coffee Addict

    I am such a coffee addict! The first thing I think about after I wake up is coffee. I am picky about my coffee, it can't be super bold, and has to have at least 1-2 tablespoon of soymilk in it. I know. I rely on it so much to wake me up every morning, including the weekend.

    Anyhow, I not only enjoy cup of joe, I also enjoy coffee anything! So when it comes to cupcakes, mocha is my next choice next to Red Velvet. I'd been wanting to make mocha cupcakes like forever, and finally, I made some! Yay!

    I used Peet's Arabian Mocha Java, which is a bold and full bodied coffee, in the cupcake and the frosting. Oh, I used an aeropress to brew the coffee, so it's super smooth and silky! I also used a lot of unsweetened cocoa, so it overpowered the coffee a bit but I could taste a hint of it. I wonder if it's because the coffee already has a hint of chocolate in it, so it just adds to the chocolate flavor more than the coffee. Anyhow, I just used regular Toll House cocoa. I think I should upgrade and use an expensive one to pair with the higher end and delightful Peet's Arabian Mocha Java next time and see how that will turn out. But neverthless, the cupcake still turns out rich and fluffy. It's not too dense and too cakey, just exactly the way I like my cupcake! The buttercream is amazing! It's smooth, not bitter, and has great coffee flavor! I will definitely make that buttercream again. I think I can eat this buttercream shot by shot!