Monday, September 29, 2014

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Since I watched several cooking shows featuring the bacon cupcakes, I was itchy to bake some for my kids. They luv bacons. They luv cupcakes. So why not, right?

The first and only time I tried to bake the bacon cupcakes, they didn't turn out well. The cupcakes were moist, but they didn't have that bacon flavor. I tugged away the need to bake these cupcakes for awhile, thinking that one of these days I'd attempt to bake them again.

I woke up one morning and asked my kids what they wanted for breakfast. No idea. I've been saving bacon fats and have the urge to try baking bacon cupcakes again. So I asked them if they wanted to try bacon cupcakes for breakfast. Really, mommy? You had to ask.

A few changes I made: use maple syrup and bacon fats. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed while the cupcakes were baking. Man, my heart was beating so fast. Remember, these cupcakes were for my kids' breakfast. I was nervous because I hated to test out a recipe with no backup plan. If these cupcakes didn't turn out, they'd have to eat the leftovers.

Maple bacon cupcakes turned out... VERY flavorful. A hint of maple syrup was in the cupcake. So fluffy and moist. The bacon fats really helped bring out the smoky flavor. The maple frosting was creamy and perfect with the crunchy maple bacons. I served these maple bacon cupcakes with scrambled eggs. See... who said you can't have cupcakes for breakfast? And no leftovers for breakfast. Whew!!!

Maple Bacon Cupcakes
makes 6-7 regular size cupcakes

1 large egg
1/4 cup (2 oz) maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/7 oz) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz) bacon fats
1/3 cup (3 oz) coconut cream
1 cup (4 oz) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Maple Frosting
1 marshmallow fluff recipe
1/4 cup (2 oz) palm shortening

1/2 cup cooked bacon bits
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degree. Line the cupcake pan with a foil cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, maple syrup, sugar, and bacon fats. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, shift together the flour and baking powder.
  4. Whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combine.
  5. Using a large scooper, divide the batter evenly to the prepared cupcake pan.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the toothpick comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes.
  7. While the cupcakes are baking, make the marshmallow fluff as directed.
  8. Whisk the palm shortening into the marshmallow fluff for about 30 seconds.
  9. Keep it in the fridge to cool down.
  10. Add the bacon bits into pot that you cooked maple syrup (from the marshmallow frosting). Coat well then place them on the non stick mat to cool down.
  11. Once the cupcakes are baked, let them cool down before frosting. TIP: Place the cupcakes in the fridge for 5-10 minutes for faster cooling.
  12. Place the maple syrup frosting in a piping bag then pipe it on to each cupcake.
  13. Sprinkle the bacon bits on top of the maple frosting. Enjoy!!!
STORING: The maple bacon cupcakes can be kept in a container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring them to a room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving to soften the frosting. The bacon fats keep well in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Allergy Info: These maple bacon cupcakes are free from or can be made without dairy, corn, legumes (soy), nuts (not palm), and fish.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Crispy Tortilla Wraps

This recipe came to me after watching Dinner, Dine, and Drive featuring crispy Asian wrap. The wrap looked seriously crunchy and oh so mouth watering.

Got me wondering... how easy it was to duplicate this meal with my own flour tortilla recipe and my own fillings. OK, I have to say it, "Super duper easy!!!"

Basically, I used my flour tortilla recipe for the crispy tortillas. Instead of cooking it on a dry griddle, I pan fried the tortilla. The fillings were very versatile. I was thinking of a brunch, so I was aiming for some breakfast fillings. My kids luv scramble eggs with candied bacons. Sometimes I added candied salmon or leftover proteins like chicken nuggets.

These crispy tortilla wraps have been my kids' favorite brunch. Great for dinner too with pulled pork filling. I even packed them in Brek's school lunchbox. Feel free to make a lot to feed a big crowd.

Crispy Tortilla Wraps
makes 6

1/2 flour tortilla recipe
a lot of safflower oil
Fillings: scramble eggs, candy bacons, smoke or candy salmon, ham, or shredded cheese
  1. Make half of the flour tortilla dough.
  2. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes while preparing the fillings, like scrambled eggs.
  3. Preheat the oven to 225F degree.
  4. Place a wiring rack over a baking pan then place both of them in the oven.
  5. When ready to make the crispy tortilla, heat a 10 inch frying pan to a medium low heat.
  6. Add a good amount of oil to the pan.
  7. Take about a golf ball size dough.
  8. Roll it out into a thin round tortilla.
  9. When the oil is hot, place the tortilla in the frying pan.
  10. Pan fry the tortilla until crispy and lightly brown, about 45-60 seconds per side.
  11. Place the crispy tortilla on a plate and add the fillings.
  12. Fold the crispy tortilla in half then place it in the preheated oven to keep warm.
  13. Make the rest of the crispy tortilla. Serve warm.
TIP: There is no need to make a new batch of tortilla dough. Add the filling to the cooked tortilla. Fold the tortilla like a wrap. Pan fry until golden brown, about 60-90 seconds per side.

Allergy Info: These crispy tortillas are free from or can be made without dairy, eggs, corn, legumes (soy), nuts, and fish. Choose the filling according to your allergy free diet.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crepes (dairy free)

Crepe is basically a very thin pancake. I tried making them twice many moons ago but failed miserably. When I saw a video instruction from the Weelicious blog, I was inspired to give it another try.

Making the batter was very simple. Because the crepe batter was thin, I didn't have to worry about over mixing it. The challenge was cooking the crepes. I used a small frying pan, about 8 inches wide. There is such a thing as a crepe pan, but I want to work with what I have. So any nonstick frying pan should do the trick.

Catherine from Weelicious instructed to add about 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan. I read many recipes that indicated to cook the same amount of batter. But that didn't work for me. I added about 1/8 to 1/4 cup per crepe. It is the right amount to spread the batter around the pan. Instead of tilting the pan to spread the crepe batter, I used a mini spatula to spread the batter. It worked best this way for me. Whatever method used, be sure the batter spreads out thinly.

Crepes are best cooked and cooled before adding the filling. Perfect for a make-ahead-meal. I've made and kept them in the fridge for something sweeter as well. For savory, the fillings are usually scramble eggs with candied bacons. Banana with melted chocolate filling is healthy and chocolaty for something sweeter.

Crepes (dairy free)
adapted from Weelicious' crepes
makes 10

2 large eggs
3/4 cup (6 oz) coconut milk
1/2 cup (4 oz) water
2 Tablespoon (1 oz) safflower oil
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (4 oz) all purpose flour
safflower oil for cooking
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, water, and oil.
  2. Mix in the sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Set aside.
  3. Place the 8-10 inch frying pan on the stove at a medium low heat.
  4. Coat the pan with 1 teaspoon of oil.
  5. Add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of crepe batter to the pan and quickly spread the batter with a mini spatula.
  6. Cook the crepe for about 1 minute.
  7. Flip it over with a spatula and cook it for another 30 seconds.
  8. Place it on the wiring rack to cool completely.
  9. Make the rest of the crepes. Enjoy them with your favorite fillings.
STORING: Keep these crepes in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, place the crepe on a warm frying pan (with no oil) for 30-60 seconds per side. No need to reheat the crepes for sweet fillings... unless you prefer warm crepes.

Allergy Info: These crepes are free from or can be made without dairy, corn, legumes (soy), nuts (not coconut), and fish. Add the sweet or savory fillings according to your allergy free diet.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Yeast Waffles

I made yeast waffles many moons ago, just to test the recipe. Because it is a yeast batter, it needs time to rise, up to an hour or overnight. Most of the time I don't plan the breakfast or brunch menu ahead of time. For that reason, I rarely make these yeast waffles.

On a lazy morning, I was watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay. The episode was battling Belgium waffles called Leigi waffles. The secret ingredient to make these Leigi waffles are the yeast and the pearl sugars. After watching the waffle battle, I was inspired to make the yeast waffles for dinner. My kids luv the idea of an upside down dinner anyway.

The yeast waffle recipe was adapted from William Sonoma's raise waffles. I added a lot more sugar for sweeter taste. To make these waffles dairy free, I used coconut milk and palm shortening. Keep in mind that the Belgium waffles are made using Belgium waffle maker, with the deeper grooves. I've used my regular rounded waffle maker which worked well. When I make regular batter waffle, the setting of my waffle maker was at the highest setting, number 5. For these yeast waffles, I set the waffle maker at a medium setting, number 3, for perfect golden brown. Do a test run on your waffle maker and see what heat setting is best.

For our upside down dinner that night, I made scrambled eggs, candied bacons, salmon nuggets (from leftover baked salmon), and hash browns. I also blended together frozen strawberries, frozen sheep's milk yogurt, rice milk, and agave for a strawberries smoothie. Enjoy the warm and crunchy waffles with maple syrup.

These yeast waffles are excellent bread alternative. The wheels are turning in my brain... Brek's school lunch!!!

Yeast Waffles
adapted from William Sonoma's raised waffles
makes 8 - 10 round waffles

1/4 cup (2 oz) warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup (4 oz) coconut palm sugar
1 cup (8 oz) coconut milk (105° to 115°F)
1 Tablespoon (0.5 oz) palm shortening
1 cup (4 oz) all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Place the water in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the yeast and palm sugar in the water. Set aside until the mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the milk and shortening.
  4. Add the flour and mix until the batter is thick.
  5. Set the batter aside and let the yeast relax in a warm and draft free place, about an hour. TIP: At this point, the batter can be refrigerated overnight and follow the next step on the next day.
  6. Preheat the waffle maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Since I use coconut palm sugar on this batter, the waffle will brown quickly. The setting I use for the waffle maker is at number 3 (right in the middle).
  7. While the waffle maker is preheating, whisk in the egg and baking soda to the yeast batter.
  8. Spray the waffle maker with vegetable oil.
  9. Scoop about 1/2 cup of batter on to the waffle maker.
  10. Close the waffle maker and cook it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  11. Transfer the yeast waffle to a plate and repeat step 9 to 10.
  12. Enjoy them while they are hot with maple syrup, honey, or dust them to powder sugar. This yeast waffles are super light and are great for breakfast bread alternative. How about, scrambled eggs and shredded cheese wrap. Yummeee!!!
Allergy Info: These yeast waffles are free from or can be made without dairy, corn, legumes (soy), nuts (not coconut or palm), and fish. If you are allergic to nuts, substitute the same amount of coconut palm sugar with brown sugar and use your preferred milk instead of coconut milk.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hash Browns

I want to devote this month to blog about breakfast recipes. My kids and I ate brunch every mid morning this summer. Super easy for me because I only had to cook one big meal for breakfast and lunch. Now that school has started, why not do something quick and easy for breakfast. Plus, breakfast for dinner is affordable and... let me say it again "EASY!!!"

The one breakfast side I luv is hash browns. How do you make hash browns? Yeah, my thought exactly. I had no idea that hash browns is one of the easy side dish to make. Before I was on Camden's allergy free diet, I would make them from frozen prepackaged hash browns which have the listed ingredients of potatoes, dextrose, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate. No ideas what those ingredients are. But really, hash browns should be nothing but... are you ready?... potatoes, oil, and salt. Yup, three ingredients.
The few techniques for making crispy hash browns are (1) make sure the shredded potatoes are dry, (2) no salt added while pan frying, and (3) lotsa oil. First, the water is the enemy to crispy hash browns. Just think of it this way. Water is for steaming foods. In order for the hash browns to have that deep dark crispy appearance, do not salt the potatoes until the hash browns are fully cooked though. The salt will just sweat the potatoes, causing the shredded potatoes to steam. The "lotsa oil" technique is making sure the potatoes are crispy.
I usually make hash browns using one big potato or two medium size ones. I use a big frying pan, about 12 inches wide. Two options for deep frying the hash browns: making them one BIG one like a pie or a few small little ones like patties. The cooking technique is the same. Be sure to buy organic potatoes as they are much cleaner tubers than the conventional ones.

Hash Browns
serves 2

1 - 2 potatoes
a lot of safflower oil
sea salt
  1. Heat the 12 inch round frying pan on a medium low heat.
  2. Add the oil to coat the pan.
  3. While the pan is heating up, peel then grate the potatoes.
  4. As soon as the oil is hot, grab a fistful of shredded potatoes and squeeze out the water.
  5. Then spread the potatoes on the frying pan.
  6. Continue with the rest of the shredded potatoes until the frying is covered with the potatoes.
  7. Using a spatula, flatten the potatoes.
  8. Drizzle more oil around the edges of the potatoes.
  9. Cook the potatoes for 4 minutes.
  10. Drizzle the oil over the potatoes.
  11. Flip the potatoes with a spatula.
  12. Cook the other side for another 4 minutes.
  13. Sprinkle the hash browns with sea salt.
  14. Remove the hash browns on to a cutting board.
  15. Cut into desired shape. TIP: For easy finger food, cut them into a bite size.
  16. Enjoy them as a side dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.