Saturday, November 28, 2015

Apple Crisp

So a couple of weeks ago, I admitted that I hate baking pies. Yes, it is time consuming. I don't know about you, but I personally don't like the taste of pie crust.

For Thanksgiving, I baked an apple pie for dessert. Grandpa said the pie crust was really thick. See, I told you. I just don't like making or eating pie. That got me thinking. Why can't I just bake the filling. Really!!!

Lately, all I've been doing is thinking, thinking, thinking... how to adapt recipes. Way back when, I posted a coffee cake with streusel toppings. What if I just bake the apples with the coffee cake's streusel on top.

But the truth is I've been dying to use my cutest apple-shaped baking dish that I bought last winter. I hadn't had a chance to use it at all. Plus, it was also an opportunity to bake something new for breakfast. "What!!!" you said. "Apple pie filling for breakfast???" Oh yeah...

By the way, I woke up the next day, and the apple crisp was nearly sold out. YES!!! It was very tasty with crusty bread like ciabatta or baguette.

Apple Crisp
serve 4-6

4 cups (12 oz.) granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and large cubed
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 Tablespoons (1.5 oz.) light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons (1.5 oz.) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1.5 oz.) sliced almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 Tablespoons (0.4 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sunflower oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.
  2. Spray an 8-inch round baking dish with a cooking spray.
  3. Place the cubed apples in a prepared dish.
  4. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon. Then using your hands, coat the apples with cinnamon and sugar. Set it aside.
  5. In a small bowl, place all of the streusel ingredients and mix well.
  6. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the apples.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven until the apples are fork tender, about 30 minutes
  8. Allow the apple crisp to cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at a room temperature.
STORING: Keep the apple crisp cover with a towel at a room temperature for a day. If there is any leftover, transfer it to a container and keep in in the fridge for up to a week.

Allergy Info: This apple crisp is free from or can be made without dairy, egg, corn, legumes (soy), and fish. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thai Pumpkin Custard (Sankaya)

Since my parents arrived last month, we have been doing a lot of eating and discussing recipes. I mentioned to them that I would luv to learn how to make Thai desserts.

We came across the Thai pumpkin custard. I remember how much I luv the custard on top the coconut sticky rice. Since I bought a pumpkin, I decided to try steaming it with a custard filling. But the pumpkin itself tasted too plain. 

Grandpa told me that I used the wrong pumpkin. The pumpkin for the Thai pumpkin custard has to be Japanese pumpkin called kabocha squash. It has sweeter taste which compliments the coconut egg custard well. After grandpa bought the kabocha squash, I tested my Thai pumpkin custard recipe again. It was perfect... naturally sweet from kabocha squash and creamy custard with a hint of coconut aromatic (from the coconut sugar). Grandpa likes to eat the skin because, he told me, it has the most nutrients. I just want the custard!!!

I tested my Thai pumpkin custard recipe three times and all of the pumpkins broke after they were cooked. I'm still not sure why but maybe the pumpkin itself was too soft during the steaming process. Still tasty though. With that said, my instruction includes that the pumpkin sits on a plate while steaming. You got it. Just in case the pumpkin breaks, the custard will stay in the plate.

This is a great Thanksgiving alternative dessert to pumpkin pie. It is also a make-ahead dessert. I'm planning to make just the custard filling and spoon it on top coconut sticky rice. Heaven!!!

Thai Pumpkin Custard (Sankaya)
serve 6-8

1 small (2 lbs.) Japanese pumpkin (kabocha squash)
5 extra large eggs or 6 large eggs
1 cup (7 oz.) palm or coconut sugar
1 cup (8 oz.) coconut milk
  1. Hollow out the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place it on a baking plate with rim. Set aside.
  2. In a large (4 cup) measuring cup, whisk the eggs.
  3. Add the palm sugar and whisk until creamy.
  4. Whisk in the coconut milk.
  5. Pour the custard filling inside the pumpkin. NOTE: If there is any leftover custard filling, pour it in a baking cups. Steam as directed for about 15-30 minutes, depending on the amount of the filling.
  6. Place the filled pumpkin in a steamer. NOTE: I use this stacked steamer.
  7. Steam until the tooth pick inserted in the custard comes out clean, about an hour.
  8. Let the Thai pumpkin custard cool at a room temperature.
  9. Place it in the fridge to set, about 4 hours to overnight. NOTE: The custard needs to set so leaving it in the fridge overnight is highly recommended. If cutting into the pumpkin while it is still warm, the custard will fall apart.
  10. To serve, slice the pumpkin into wedges. Enjoy!!!
STORING: Place the Thai pumpkin custard in a container in the fridge for up to a week.

Allergy Info: This Thai pumpkin custard is free from or can be make without dairy, corn, legumes (soy), wheat, nuts (not coconut), or fish.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Apple Hand Pies (dairy and egg free)

It's Autumn, and it is the time of year when I find myself in the kitchen... baking. The one thing I'd stay away from if I wanna bake is pie. They are time consuming to make. But a few weeks ago, I decided to bake apple hand pies. Hmm... didn't I just wrote that I don't like to bake pies?

Well, as it happens, my parents are visiting from Thailand. They've been craving a lot of desserts that can only be found here in the USA. My dad likes to have something sweet with his coffee in the morning. So I've been baking cookies, bars, bread, and scones. They are luving everything I bake. I was thinking what else they haven't tried. Pies.

I also baked apple hand pies to test the recipe. After moving into our new home, I have to retest all of my recipes as I am now using the gas oven. I know!!! Dilemma!!! After spending a lot of time rolling, cutting, filling, shaping the dough, I came to a conclusion that I do not like to bake pie. Hmm... that sounded like it came from Dr. Sues's book.

Well, even though the apple hand pies are time consuming to make, I have to say that they are hands down cute and delish. They are great make-ahead desserts. Freeze them up and when you're ready to bake them, just follow the baking instruction. During that busy Thanksgiving dinner, make some of these hand pies... add your own spin on the filling too. My apple hand pie recipe is the same as 4th of July hand pies.

Apple Hand Pies
make 5-6 hand pies

Puff Pastry Dough:
1 cup (4 oz.) unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz.) organic palm shortening
1/4 cup (2 oz.) ice water

Apple pie filling:
1/4 cup diced apples
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

Baking Soda Wash:
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper or a nonstick mat. Set aside.
  2. Making the dough by combining the flour, salt, and shortening, using a fork.
  3. Add half tablespoon of ice water at the time.
  4. Knead the dough until it comes together. Set aside to relax the dough a bit.
  5. For apple pie filling, mix all the ingredients together. Set aside to cool.
  6. Roll the dough out to a half inch thick.
  7. Using a round cookie cutter, stamp out the dough. TIP: This is where you can get pretty creative. I decided to go with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. The shape of the hand pies is up to you
  8. Place about 1/2 Tablespoon full of apple pie filling.
  9. Please it in the middle of a dough.
  10. Brush the dough around the filling with the cold water.
  11. Place the other dough on top, be careful to keep the filling in a dome shape.
  12. Using a fork, crimp the edges of the dough to seal the filling.
  13. Using a spatula, move the hand pies on to the baking sheet. NOTE: If the pie dough is too soft, especially on a summer day, refrigerate the hand pies for about 5 minutes. Then move the hand pies to the prepared baking sheet.
  14. Make three small slits on each hand pie.
  15. Freeze the hand pies for at least 30 minutes. TIP: These hand pies can be made ahead. Keep them frozen until ready to bake.
  16. When ready to bake the hand pies, preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
  17. Take the unbaked apple hand pies out of the freezer.
  18. In a small bowl, microwave about 1/4 cup of water until warm, about 30 seconds.
  19. Stir in 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
  20. Brush the baking soda water on each pie.
  21. Sprinkle the raw sugar all over the top of the pie. NOTE: This step is optional but the raw sugar will add shines and crunch to the hand pies.
  22. Bake in the preheated oven until gold brown, about 15 minutes.
  23. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wiring rack to cool completely.
STORING: Keep them in an air tight container at a room temperature for up to a day or in the fridge for up to a week.

Allergy Info: These apple hand pies are free from dairy, eggs, corn, legumes (soy), nut (not palm), and fish.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Garlic Bread (dairy and egg free)

A few weeks ago, I received an email from King Arthur's Sunday round up recipes. The picture of the pull-apart bread was so mouth watering that I had to click on the link. After reviewing the recipe and pictures of how-to, I came up with my own version. Just because...

After serving the garlic bread to my munchkins and their friends, they asked for more. I think that means the garlic bread got the stamp of approval. Well, next time, I better bake at least three batches.

I baked this bread using a muffin pan. When serving to kids, I like to make everything individual for easy handling. How about baking this garlic bread for your Thanksgiving dinner. I know I will... and for Christmas dinner, for New Year.... Actually, I'll make this garlic bread every time I serve pasta.

Garlic Bread (dairy and egg free)
inspired by King Arthur's pulled-apart bread
makes 9 individual garlic bread

1 my bao dough's recipe
1/4 cup (2 oz.) organic palm shortening
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dry oregano leaves
Any cooking oil
  1. Make the bao dough according to my recipe instruction.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the shortening, garlic powder, salt, paprika, and oregano. Set aside.
  3. Spray a cooking oil on to the muffin pan. Set aside.
  4. When the dough is ready, divide it into 9 equal parts, about 2.5 to 3 ounces.
  5. With each dough, knead and roll it into an oval shape. NOTE: No need to be perfection with the rolling of this dough. They will be folded and stuffed into the muffin pan anyway.
  6. Spread about 1 teaspoon of the garlic spread on to the dough.
  7. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 3 equal parts.
  8. Sandwich the dough so that the garlic spread is in the inner layers.
  9. Fold and fit the dough into the prepared pan.
  10. Allow the dough to proof for 15-20 minutes, depending on the room temperature.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
  12. When the dough is ready, bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  13. Allows the garlic bread to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to a plate. Enjoy them with your pasta meal or just snack on them.
STORING: Keep the garlic bread in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Wrap the bread in foil and warm it in the oven under a boiler until warm, about 7-10 minutes.

Allergy Info: My garlic bread is free from or can be made without dairy, eggs, corn, legumes (soy), nuts, and fish.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hazelnut Cookies (gluten free)

The thing about baking is if I only need to use an egg yolk, I'm stuck with the egg white. That is exactly what's been happening to me lately. Need one large egg yolk. Then I'd scramble around trying to find something to bake with just one large egg white. I usually end up baking meringues, which are always welcome in my home.

In the 500 Cookies, I was a bit confused with a recipe called macaroons because I thought macaroons are more like nuggets. The picture in the book gave me the impression that they were just normal cookies. I went ahead and tested this macaroons recipe because it was in fact the first recipe I came across that day that only used egg whites.

After baking them, I came to realize that these cookies shouldn't be called macaroons at all. They were more like macarons. So what's the difference? From my understanding, macaroons are like nuggets, usually made using coconut flakes. Macarons, however, are puff up cookies, crunchy on the top and chewy at the bottoms. For the perfect macarons, the cookies should have ruffles at the edge of the flat bottoms. Trust me when I said that macarons are super difficult to bake. I'm still perfecting my recipe, and that's going on six months already.

The first time I baked these hazelnut cookies, I noticed that the tops were thin and crunchy. Think of it this way, if I press down on the top of the cookie, the top would crumble. This is the very characteristic of macarons. The bottoms of my hazelnut cookies were quite chewy, almost like an wet, unbaked dough. I didn't like that at all. The cookies were also super sweet.

For my second attempt, I lowered the sugar content, baked small dough, and baked a little longer than before. Hollow and crunchy top. Perfectly chewy at the bottom. AND the cookies turned out to be a round perfect two bites size. Skip the real macarons and bake these hazelnut cookies. They are super easy to prepare and bake. But the best part? I now know what to do with the leftover egg white.

Hazelnut Cookies (gluten free)
adapted from 500 Cookies' macaroons
makes 12

1/2 cup (2.5 oz.) raw hazelnuts, finely chopped
1 large egg white
1/3 cup (2.5 oz.) granulated sugar
1/2 Tbs. rice flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degree. Line a baking pan with nonstick matt or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Finely chopped nuts. TIP: I use mortar and pestle to finely pound a few nuts at a time. Another successful method is pounding the nuts inside a sandwich bag with a wooden rolling pin.
  3. Add sugar to the egg white.
  4. Whisk until it is creamy.
  5. Add rice flour to the egg mixture.
  6. Whisk again until creamy.
  7. Using a spatula, fold in the nuts.
  8. Using an extra small scoop, place the batter in a prepared pan, about an inch apart.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven for exactly 8 minutes.
  10. Turn off the heat but leave the cookies to finish baking, about 20 minutes more.
  11. Carefully, remove the cookies from the nonstick matt and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!!! TIP: Feeling adventurous??? Dip the baked and cooled hazelnut cookies in a melted chocolate. Yes, everything does taste better with chocolate.
STORING: Keep these hazelnut cookies in an air tight container at a room temperature for up to 5 days.

Allergy Info: These hazelnut cookies are free from or can be made without dairy, corn, legumes (soy), wheat, and fish.