Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Salted Caramel Tart!

I try to avoid bragging, but I'll say this once:

I make a mean salted caramel.

Sugar, whipping cream, butter, and sea salt: just chuck 'em in, and you get heaven! Add an uber buttery crust to the mix, and it's out of this world.


Salted Caramel Tart (inspired by OnePotChef)


For crust:

1 cup flour
1 egg yolk
6-7 tablespoons chilled butter
1 tablespoon chilled water

1. In a food processor, process the flour and butter until incorporated. Add in the egg yolk and process again. If the dough still seems coarse and crumbly, add the chilled water. Process until the dough forms and is smooth.
2. On a lightly-floured surface, kneed the dough until elastic. Wrap it into plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, until at least 8 to 9 inches in diameter. Place a 7-inch tart tin, bottom facing up, on top of the dough, and cut the dough slightly over the edges of the tin.
4. Grease the tin and transfer the dough. Mold the dough into the shape of the tin. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top and weigh it down with pie weights or uncooked rice.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and rice and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

For the caramel filling:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
4-5 tablespoons butter
a pinch of sea salt

1. Melt the sugar over medium-high heat. It will turn a deep, amber color.
2. Turn off the heat and add in the whipping cream. Do not worry if the sugar solidifies. Reheat the sugar mixture until it starts to bubble, or reach 226ºF on a candy thermometer. Add in the sea salt.
3. Take the caramel off the heat and add the butter. Stir to melt.
4. Pour the caramel onto the crust and refrigerator for about 3-4 hours. Let the tart come to room temperature before serving.

"Cair-ah-mel" or "cahr-mel:" 

how do YOU say your caramel?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New and Improved: Strawberry Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream Frosting

New and improved version of strawberry cupcakes!
And yes, I got to try one!

The recipe can be found under the June 2013 tab.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spam Musubi

I know what you're thinking:

Isn't this a baking blog?!!


But in honor of National Canned Luncheon Meat Day (which took place July 6th), I decided to try my hand at making spam musubi, because


There's something about it: the savory flavors of canned meat and nori and the slight sweetness from the rice (once you add the sugar and rice vinegar and all) coming together to produce an orgasmic slice of heaven. I pay tribute to the Creator of spam and the Creator of spam musubi. Thank you.

(adapted from The Starving Artist)

1 can Spam, sliced lengthwise
2 cups white rice, cooked and cooled
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
2-3 sheets nori

1. Stir the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt together. Add into the cooled rice and mix well.
2. Pan fry the sliced Spam in a skillet, cooking each side for about 5 minutes or until the Spam is slightly browned.
3. Use a rice mold to shape the spam musubi. (I didn't have one, so I made a crude version: take the emptied Spam can and cut out the bottom. I used a can opener to accomplish this. But it's still really difficult. I think I'll invest in a rice mold.)
4. Wet your hands and place some rice into the rice mold. Flatten it out into a 1/2 inch layer. Place a slice of Spam over it, and add another layer of rice on top. Carefully remove the rice mold. You will have a perfect rectangle-shaped piece of spam musubi.
5. Cut the nori sheet in half (or in thirds, depending on the length of your spam musubi. Place the spam musubi in the center of the nori and wrap around it. Use some water to seal it together.

Whether you eat it for snack or as part of a meal, spam musubi will satisfy your craving for all things umami-flavored.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Going Nuts on Pecan Wednesday

Question of the day: how do you say "pecan?" Is it like "PEE-can" or "pe-CON?"

Nevertheless, I love them. I love their versatility in dishes. Whether they're toasted and sprinkled on top of pasta, added into salads, or even just sprinkled with some sugar and cinnamon, pecans are just plain wonderful.

So without further ado, I give you two recipes that incorporate this wonderful, beautiful nut. Dig in!

1. Linzer cookies

(adapted from The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen Cookie Lover's Cookbook)

makes about 16 sandwiched cookies


1 cup/4 ounces pecans
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup seedless jam


1. Pulse the pecans and cornstarch in the food processor until the pecans are grounded well.
2. In a bowl, beat the butter and confectioner's sugar until incorporated. 
3. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and salt and continue mixing. 
4. Beat in the flour and grounded pecan mixture until blended.
5. Divide the dough into four equal parts. Flatten into disk-shapes and wrap them up plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until firm.
6. On a floured surface, roll the chilled dough out until it is one-eighth inch thick. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter (any shape is fine, but I used a flower-shaped one). 
7. Using a smaller cookie cutter of the same shape, cut out the center of an already cut-out cookie. Be careful with this step, for they are extremely fragile.
8. Re-roll any excess dough and continue cutting out shapes. Refrigerate the dough for another hour.
9. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line the cookies on two cookies sheets with parchment paper about one inch apart.
10. Bake cookies for about 18 minutes, or until lightly browned, swapping the cookies sheets between the upper and lower thirds of the oven rack midway through.
11. Let the cookies cool before sandwiching them with a teaspoons of jam. Personally, I made my own jam, but store-bought ones work wonderfully as well.

2. Pecan Tassies 
(Honestly, I have no clue what a tassie is. It appears to be really similar to a tart pastry, though.)

(adapted from The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen Cookie Lover's Cookbook)

makes 6 tassies


3 tbls cream cheese, softened
4 tbls or 1/2 stick of butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup chopped pecans


1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and 3 tbls of the butter until creamy. Add flour, and continue to beat until well-incorporated.
2. With floured fingers press the dough into the bottoms and sides of the cupcake tin cups. Set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. To making the filling, whisk together the brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, egg, and the 1 tbl of butter.
4. Put half of the chopped pecans at the bottom of each dough-filled cups. Distribute the brown sugar mixture evenly into each cup and sprinkle the last of the pecans on top.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Using the tip of a knife, gently cut around the tassies to loosen them from the cupcake tin cups. Take them out of the pan and let them cool.