Happy Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year! One of the most festive times for our family is among us, and, though it’s scaled down by a lot this year, I’m still determined to get in the spirit. These mung bean cakes give me a lot of nostalgia, and they’re such a staple dessert in Chinese cuisine. I’ve been planning out our menu for our new year’s dinner–we’re having a little Zoom call dinner sort of thing with my relatives in China–and we’ll finish out the night with these cute little cakes!
The red bean filling comes from dried adzuki red bean, which I got from Hmart, and all you really do is boil them, blend them in a food processor, and add sugar. Same goes for the mung bean exterior! Then, you use a special little mooncake mold press to make the shapes (I’ve provided the amazon link a couple of my favorites–the one I bought is sold out!)
I made almost everything from scratch; honestly, the process was sort of messy and time consuming, but it’s wayyy easier than making mooncakes and much more straightforward. It’s all worth it in the end! It’s just a lot of waiting, and I get impatient, haha.
It’s 2021, it’s 70 degrees in February, and I’m seriously just ready for it to be summer already. I’m ready for so many things to end already… school (I graduate in around 100 days!), the cold weather, and especially daylight saving’s–it makes it so hard to take photos when the sun goes down so early in the day.
My dad bought a huge box of 25+ oranges from Costco, and we’re struggling to finish them off before they go bad! I love oranges, but I’m seriously doubting if our family of three can successfully eat the whole box. Anyways, with summer on my mind and oranges for almost every meal of the day, I thought it would be only fitting to make an easy dessert recipe for the blog! These orange sandwich cookies are feature an orange shortbread dough with a bit of orange zest and an orange buttercream frosting. They’re not so overpowering, with just the right amount of citrus to be refreshingly sweet and satisfying. They’d be perfect alongside a nice cup of tea!
And how fun is it that you can see the flecks of orange in the cookies??🤗
The holidays are finally upon us! This year has seriously been the most monotonous and eventless years of my life thanks to Covid, but it’s also flown by insanely fast. I honestly could only name like 5 specific events that have happened since March; the rest are all hard to remember–my memories blur together and sometimes I have a hard time differentiating between each one. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a rough time for all of us. I feel like that’s why Christmas decorations and drinking hot cocoa are giving me so much extra happiness lately. I really can’t wait to spend time buying gifts, wrapping presents, and bundling up to watch season 4 of Attack on Titan!
Even though Thanksgiving is over, it’s not December yet, which means pumpkin season is still in full swing for me. I’ve missed baking so much (it’s been like 2 months since I last posted…oops), and I’m back with these bomb pumpkin cinnamon rolls!! These rolls are insanely soft, sweet, and perfect to enjoy alongside a hot cup of coffee. With a slight kick of spice, they’re not overpoweringly pumpkin. Just a subtle addition to a classic recipe that will leave you in the mood to change into your PJs and infuse you with the holiday spirit.
Hello, sweet friends! In the midst of online school and the college application process, breakfast has been relegated to an area of my life of lesser importance, which is just so sad. Having a filling breakfast has always been a part of my morning routine, and I’ve been trying to be better about it. If I’m being honest, I think online school has made me lazier and more of a couch potato. Sometimes the simple act of getting up to make coffee is tiring. Yikes, I know. I’m working on it!
Oh, I got a job at Eatzi’s during the summer (I forgot if I’ve mentioned this before?), and I get a lot of free food–the stuff that’s close to expiring that has to be thrown out. I got my hands on a gorgeousss loaf of Challah bread last weekend, and I immediately thought of making some french toast for my parents and I to enjoy in the morning. As you can tell, I went all-out with this one: cream cheese filling, fresh berries, powdered sugar… all of my favorites! And the photos are absolutely stunning, yes?
The whole french toast process is messy, but actually pretty simple! It’s just a matter of making the filling and the milk/egg mixture, cooking it in some butter, and making a pretty little arrangement. This recipe is really everything I love about Sunday brunch: the bright colors of the fruits, the golden-brown bread, and the subtle maple syrup in the air. And then you take the first bite, and you get the soft, buttery bread, mixed in with the decadent cream cheese filling and maybe a blueberry or two. Literal heaven, I tell you!
Baking bread in general is a piece of work, y’all. If you’re planning on making just one recipe, be ready to devote at least 3 hours to kneading, proofing, and baking. Not to mention the subsequent clean-up process! On the flip side, I’ve found that it is pretty therapeutic, which is why I’ve been doing it a lot recently.
Most Asian breads utilize something called “Tangzhong,” a water/flour paste, which precooks some of the flour and allows the gluten to develop prior to kneading. It traps more water in the dough, which activates the yeast to a greater degree and also prevents it from drying out. This is what creates the elastic/stringy “pull” that you see in a lot of Asian breads. It’s a Japanese technique that results in the most incredibly moist, soft loaves.
I am OBSESSED with how they finally turned out: just look at those golden brown tops and light, fluffy interiors!!! This is yet another reason I want to move to Asia… imagine being able to find this kind of bread in literally every bakery. Heaven.
This time, last year, I was getting ready to board a flight and embark on a 14 hour plane ride to China. We weren’t planning on going this year anyways (we had a trip planned to Spain), but it still brings back fond memories for me! I especially miss all of the food we had; you can check out that post here if you want :)
Anyways, all of the nostalgia eventually prompted me to get out of my bed and exit out of Tiktok, and I proceeded to head to the kitchen to make 蛋挞, or Hong Kong egg tart! These are one of my favorite little pastries to enjoy in China, and though my own home cooking won’t ever come close to the ones they make there, it satisfies my cravings just enough. They’re a custard based dessert, made with a puff-pastry-esque crust and a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth egg custard filling. My favorite part is the perfect amount of flaky, buttery deliciousness in the shell. It takes a lot of effort to restrain myself from eating three…or four… or five……
Summer is right around the corner, and now that I’ve finished all of my AP exams, I’m completely stress-free and ready to relax! Actually, I guess I have to admit that there wasn’t much stress in the first place; especially since everything is online (and my work ethic has been at an all time low lol) and my school district has made passing classes so easy, this last part of the semester has flown by so quickly and easily. But now that my schoolwork is officially over, it’s time to get in the summer mindset: for me, that includes reading a book while lounging by the poolside, eating watermelon almost every day, and honestly just having the nice feeling of doing nothing.
These lemon cookies are the perfect way to kick off summer 2020… everything about them screams warm weather and relaxation! They’re so bright and colorful and adorable, but they’re also the perfect balance of sweet and tangy lemon flavor. I piped a lemon pattern on some of them, just for fun, which further enhances their summery appearance! They’re also slice-and-bake cookies, which are honestly some of my favorite to make – you roll the dough into a log, and slice them into cookies, and they all turn out roughly the same size without the hassle of a cookie scooper.
Quarantine has me going crazy! You’d think that with all of the free time I have now, that I’d be getting loads of stuff done and that my productivity would be at a max. Uhm… I’ve definitely been setting a bunch of far-fetched goals for myself that I have yet to complete, in a sad attempt to try and motivate myself. Hopefully some of you can relate to the slump I’m trapped in! These past few weeks, I’ve been mindlessly playing video games and not paying much attention to the schoolwork I should be doing. And, as you can probably tell, since I haven’t posted since January, I’ve clearly been way too lazy to drag myself into the kitchen to bake.
But today, I was feeling a little creative kick, and so I ended up spending the whole morning whipping up a batch of delicious turtle cupcakes, featuring sweet caramel buttercream frosting, an oozy chocolate ganache filling, and some pecans to garnish on top. The cake is perfectly fluffy and moist, and loaded with the rich, chocolatey goodness we all know and love; the frosting has just the perfect hint of caramel flavor; the ganache filling gives another unexpected burst of rich chocolate; and the chocolate and pecan topping ties everything together. These cupcakes are probably one of my favorite recipes I’ve made on the blog!
This post is brought to you by a sniffling, coughing, stressed-out gal who is in desperate need for warmer weather and a nice long break from all of the current high school craziness…
I recently caught a cold, and I’ve been living off of green tea and a lot of coffee to keep me going throughout this past week. I probably shouldn’t be drinking the amount of coffee that I do, but I know I wouldn’t be able to stay awake during class if I didn’t. I’ve been getting less sleep than I did last year, because I now have band rehearsal in the mornings, and I’m up ’til late finishing schoolwork (that’s probably why I got sick in the first place!)
After eating a lobster roll at Freshie’s in Salt Lake City (see my latest post here), I’d been craving another one ever since we got back home! I knew I had to make my own, because I was literally DYING for another. Lobster rolls are easily one of my favorite sandwiches: a fresh lobster salad, with a little bit of celery crunch and lemon tang, all bundled up in a warm, golden-brown roll.