Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Hello, to all Hello Kitty fans out there! Yes, this post is all about the adorable Hello Kitty, again. My Little Girl is a super fan. She has over 10 Hello Kitty plush toys, big and small, along with dresses, slippers, utensils, hair clips, stationaries, etc. My Hubby and I would get a little plush toy for her, whenever we traveled to different city, or country. This particular one was from, France, of course. I think she’s the perfect company to these cute Hello Kitty French Macarons!
My Baby Girl loves these macarons so much. She thinks they are almost too cute to eat, almost! I made these macarons in the morning and I purposely left a few without any decoration and let My Girl decorate her own after school. She had so much fun!
I’m sure you’ve seen me made all kinds of different macarons, with various flavors and shapes (such as these, these, these and these). These Hello Kitty are one of the most adorable ones I’ve made. And they are inspired by The Hello Kitty Baking Book (see picture below), by Michele Chen Chock. Michele is the author of the I Heart Baking blog, which I love and personally followed for quite some time. She always share her whimsical cakes and cupcakes decorations on her blog. If you haven’t done it yet, you should go check out her blog.
One great thing about this book is that you don’t necessarily have to get the Hello Kitty character molds or cutters to made these adorable treats. Michele would show you step by step in how to create these cuties with just a few basic baking and decorating tools. But if you’re a Hello Kitty fan, or have a fan in the family, I’m sure you might already got some Hello Kitty kitchen tools around the kitchen.
Another reason why I love this book is that you get 'options' with one recipe. For instant, you can prepare this Ombre cake (see picture below) by baking the batter in a large cake pan cake; or into adorable cupcakes, or make both, whichever fits your needs.
Halloween is coming up and these Jack-O-Lantern Spice cookies are just perfect for the occasion. In this book, not only you’ll find recipes for cookies, cupcakes, but also pies, cake pops and many many more.
You’ll also get the templates for Hello Kitty, and her friends. Yay!
Check out these adorable cake pops! I can’t wait to make them with my Kiddos!
The recipes and instructions in this book are simple and easy to follow. Whether you’re a Hello Kitty fan or not, this is a great book to own. I’m sure you have some Hello Kitty fans in your life. This book will definitely make a great stocking stuffer for the holidays!
You can get your own copy of The Hello Kitty Baking Book here. Or try your luck with my giveaway today! Yes, you’ve heard me right. I’m giving away a copy of The Hello Kitty Baking Book to one uTry.it reader, courtesy of Quirk Books.
Here are the details on how to enter.
One lucky uTry.it reader (with an U.S., Canada or U.K. mailing address) will win a copy of “The Hello Kitty Baking Book”.
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and tell me if you are a Hello Kitty fan, or how many Hello Kitty dolls do you have in your collection. Deadline to enter is October 26th, 2014 by mid-night PST. Winner will be selected through Random.org and announce shortly after the giveaway is closed.
For extra entries, do any or all of the following (leave a separate comment for each extra entry):
1) Add me to your Google+ circle here
2) "Like" uTry.it's Facebook Page, click here.
3) Pin a picture from this post onto Pinterest.
4) Share this giveaway on Facebook (with a link back to this post please)
5) Share this giveaway on Twitter (with a link back to this post please)
That’s all and Good Luck everyone!
Disclaimer: I received a copy of “The Hello Kitty Baking Book” for the purpose of this review and I was not compensated in any way to write this post. All comments and opinions are 100% my own.
Just a side note: before I decorate the Hello Kitty Macarons, my Hubby thought I was making piggy macarons! So, I decorated a few with piggy faces. I guess they do work as piggy, too. But next time I’ll make pink ones instead.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
You might or might not know the fact that I adore vanilla! But, I am sure you’ve noticed from my previous posts and recipes that my family loves chocolate, me included. So, why not combine both flavors, into one gorgeous cake? That’s exactly how this Marbled Bundt Cake was created.
I originally made this cake plain, it’s the perfect flavor and texture for pound cake. But to satisfy the chocoholics in this house, I added some Valrhona Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Click here for more information) in part of the cake batter to create the marble effect. Boy oh boy, not only the cake looks gorgeous with the marbling, the deep chocolate flavors really comes through as well. That’s why I love Valrhona cocoa powder so much.
Let’s take a closer look at the side cut of this Marbled Bundt Cake (See picture below). See the pretty chocolate-y swirls? They are easy to create and I’ll show you how in just a minutes in the pictorial below. But what I really want you to see is the overall texture of the cake. It’s tender, soft and silky smooth. What’s the secret? I used cake flour for the cake, which yields a finer texture in the final product. Also, there’s NO leavening agent (such as baking powder) used in my recipe, except for the eggs and air, if those count.
So, to make a soft and moist cake that is not too dense, the secret is in the technique! The initial creaming process of the butter and sugar is crucial. When you beat the butter and sugar together, you’re also beating (combining) the air into the mixture. You’ll see how light and fluffy the butter and sugar mixture will turn after beating for just 5 minutes. And the color will also turn into pale yellow. Besides the tender and smooth interiors, you also get the slightly crunchy crust on the edges, those are the best parts, in my opinion! Since there are only a few ingredients in this recipe, as always, I highly recommend that you use the best quality ingredients as you can possibly find. Why? Because that makes a difference in your cake, a huge difference, really!
Are you ready to follow me to the kitchen to see how I made this cake? Come on over!
1) and 2) Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
3) In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, with medium speed, cream the butter, sugar and salt together for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
4) Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well incorporated.
5) Add the vanilla extract,
6) then the eggs, one at a time.
7) and 8) Turn mixer to low, then add the cake flour and heavy cream, alternately; starting with flour and ending with flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl again if necessary. Mix until the batter is just fully incorporated.
9) Turn off the mixer and scoop out 2 cups of the batter into a large mixing bowl. With a rubber spatula, fold in the cocoa powder into the 2 cups batter. Until well incorporated.
10) Pour half of the original batter into the bottom of the pan.
11) Then, add the chocolate batter on top, you can dollop the chocolate batter in different corners of the pan.
12) Last, pour the remaining original batter on top.
13) With a butter knife, move around the batter to create the swirl/marbled patterns.
14) This is how the cake batter looks like after you make the swirls.
15) Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake and comes out clean. Cool on wiring rack for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan.
16) Simply invert the cake onto the cake stand. Dust with powder sugar if desired. Enjoy!
***Note: I’ve another Bundt cake pan but the indentation wasn’t as pretty as this one turned out. So, here’s the information of the pan that I used, in case if you’re interested. Nordic Ware Bundt Pan (Click here for more information)
There are quite a few steps to follow but all simple and easy ones. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. If you like pound cakes, this recipe is definitely a keeper! You’ll never go back to the store bought pound cakes after you’ve made this one. So, tell me, are you a vanilla lover? Or chocolate lover? Or like me, opt for a marbled pound cake and you’ve got the best of both world? Can’t wait to hear from you in the comment below!
Props and Tools used in this post:
Mikasa Something Borrowed Desert Plates (Click here for more information)
10-Inch Ribbon Cake Stand (Click her for more information)
Nordic Ware Bundt Pan (Click here for more information)
Calphalon Nonstick 2-Piece Baking Sheet Set (Click her for more information)
KitchenAid Stand Mixer (Click here for more information)
Cake/Pie Server (Click here for more information)
Small Forks for Dessert (See similar product here)
Valrhona Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Click here for more information)
Kerrygold Pure Unsalted Butter (Click here for more information)
Cooling Rack (Click here for more information)
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Matcha (抹茶) is finely grounded or powdered green tea leaves. It’s popular in the Japanese tea ceremony but usually served hot. It’s also used to flavor different kind of treats, such as Matcha Ice Cream and Matcha Mochi (<----Chick on the names to see the recipes that I have shared in the past). There’s a Japanese plaza closed to my neighborhood that serves Iced Matcha. I love the rich and slightly bitterness of Matcha and the iced version is just so refreshing and really hit the spot with the soaring Southern California temperature, in early October!
This is the traditional bamboo whisk (chasen) used for Matcha. It’s the perfect tool to get rid of the lumps while preparing hot or cold Matcha. You can get one by clicking here online. If you don’t have one, you can also use a regular small whisk for the job. I love this bamboo whisk! Not only it works well, it’s simply an art of itself. Check out the details in the picture below.
This Iced Matcha is a cinch to make. If you love green tea or matcha, you've got to give this recipe a try. It’s super refreshing, slightly sweeten, and perfectly delicious. Of course, it's packed with antioxidant as well.
Here’s how I made it!
1) In a small bowl, or tea bowl (chawan 茶碗), whisk together the matcha powder and warm water until smooth and no lumps.
2) Stir in agave until well combined.
3) Place ice in 2 tall glasses and evenly divided the matcha mixture.
4) Fill up the glasses with ice water, stir well and enjoy!
Super easy, isn't it? Yes, I finished the whole glass in no time! My little treat after the photo shoot for sure!
I hope you enjoy today’s post and recipe. Do you like Matcha? Or are you more of a coffee person? Please leave a comment below. I can’t wait to hear from you! P.S. I personally love coffee in the morning, but drink tea throughout the day. I can definitely drink this Iced Matcha all day long.
Props and Tools used in this post:
Matcha Powder (Click here for more information)
Bamboo Whisk (Click here for more information)
Chawan Tea Bowl (Click here for similar product)
Red Paper Straws (Click here for more information)
Shoji Paper Window Blinds backdrop (Click here to see product information)
Natural Bark Serving Board (Click here for similar product)
Friday, September 26, 2014
Still remember my previous post on how to easily dice and peel a mango, all inspired by a real life story? If you've missed it, no worries, click here to read the juicy details. With the diced mango, I've made this Fresh Mango Salsa. It’s super easy to prepare and so refreshing! In this recipe, I used my favorite Ataulfo Mangos. It’s sweeter than the Tommy Atkins variety, which has a firmer flesh and more sour taste. Both would work just fine here.
The key to this refreshing Mango Salsa is that after mixing the ingredients, you have to let it sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. That way, the flavors from different ingredients can get to know each other and combined beautifully. Just like any relationship in life, we need to spend the time with the other to develop that bond! You’ll be surprised how much the taste is enhanced by giving it that 15 to 30 minutes of time.
This Fresh Mango Salsa pairs perfectly with any kind of white flesh fish fillet. It’s also wonderful with pork chops, or chickens. Basically, any white meat with mild flavors would work. I hope you’ll give it a try.
Before I conclude this post, I also want to encourage you to spend 15 to 30 minutes (more if you want) each day with someone you want to enhance your relationship with. Sit down and ask them how their day went, or give them a phone call if they’re far away. It could be your spouse, your kids, your parents, your siblings, your in-laws, or a long lost friend, etc. So, let me know, who would you pick? I think I’m going to call up my brothers!
Monday, September 22, 2014
It’s the pomegranate season and I’m so excited! It’s one of the super fruit that is packed with vitamins and antioxidant. You can eat it straight, add it on salad for a crunchy pop, or turn it into juice and make a smoothie. I’ve always love pomegranate but it is not the most easy fruit to eat. If you’ve tried it before, you know what I mean. It has a rather hard shell to start with, after cutting it up, the seeds (the edible parts) are all surrounded by a white and bitter membrane! So, I’m going to show you how to take those little jewels out of the shell, the easy way.
1) Wash and pat dry the shell of the fruit. With a sharp knife, cut the pomegranate in half.
2) Hold the pomegranate cut side down over a large mixing bowl. With the flat side of a meat tenderizer, gently tap on the shell of the pomegranate.
3) After a minute, the seeds will be all out from the shell!
Super easy, isn’t it? I hope you like this method and will give it a try soon. Do you have another easy way to remove the seeds as well? Or a recipe using the pomegranate? I would love to hear from you.