Last month my friend Stephanie came down from Pittsburgh with a delicious surprise — these custom cookies from local artist Jasmine (Yummyholic).
Not only were these Totoro cookies spot on in terms of appearance, when I finally was able to bring myself to eat them, they tasted great! I’m picky when it comes to baked goods, especially cookies, and these were soft and chewy yet firm. Surprisingly, the dough didn’t taste store-bought but instead had a nice, light citrusy touch! These also weren’t total sugar bombs and had a perfectly balanced level of sweetness.
If you ever find yourself in the Pittsburgh area, don’t hesitate to get some treats. Yummyholic’s site is currently expanding, but will be back soon with an online store. In the meantime, check out her Instagram for photos to tide you over.
P.S. Sweets in the background: Fleurir Chocolates; Olivia Macaron
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club I spent a long time perusing Susan’s Australia-based blog, My Whole Food Family, bookmarking recipes such as Cappuccino Brownie Bites, Palmiers, Pear Tea Cake, Christmas Cake, and Caramel Cheesecake. I had my heart set on re-creating this daring Bûche de Nöel and even bought a silicone mold for it, but time got away from me.
But then I remembered that over a year ago I had purchased a madeline pan from World Market and still had not used it. Additionally, I had all of the ingredients for these Earl Grey Tea Madeleines on hand, including a brand new tin of Cream of Earl Grey.
I took a batch of these over to our veterinarian as a thank you for all of their help during Leopold’s last days.
These madeline cake-cookies were the perfect treat for tea-time. The fruit zest is bright and the madeline texture is springy without being greasy. The tea flavor was lost on me, but it might have been the tea I used (even though I added more than the recipe called for) or the fact that my lemon zest was extra “zesty”. The original recipe calls for the zest of half a lemon, but the recipe printed in Bon Appétit lists only a packed half teaspoon, which I would recommend to have more balanced flavors.
If you are planning to make these, remember to allow the batter to chill!
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club I was assigned Shirley from Enriching Your Kid, who is a clinical psychologist-slash-homemaker that chronicles her family recipes and cooking experiences through her blog. There were a few recipes I was thinking about making, especially Mint Chutney, Dal Lentils, and Chole Chana Masala. I had been itching to bake something so I zoomed in on pineapple jam. I was thinking about all the ways I could use the pineapple jam: pineapple cookies, swirled into banana bread, plain on toast, and pineapple cakes.
The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival was in the month of October so I already had Asian sweets on my mind. Pineapple cakes (sometimes called pineapple tarts) are all over Asia and each region has its own special format. The Taiwanese version is named s Fènglísū (鳳梨酥).
I really enjoy eating pineapple cakes, but the store-bought kind tend to be dry and the filling lacking in flavor. making your own pineapple filling allows you to control the texture, spices, and sweetness. I switched out the cardamom in the recipe for ginger and cut down the sugar, cooking it down until it was nice and thick.
The dough for these tarts comes together quickly and is ridiculously easy. There are only 3 ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, flour, and egg yolk. I busted out my wooden mooncake molds that I picked up in Chicago’s Chinatown years ago and brushed them with an egg wash mixture before filling.
Freshly baked cakes
Eaten warm, the dough is thick, buttery with a nice tender crumb. The filling is the perfect consistency that doesn’t ooze out when you bite into it but is soft enough to mix with the dough in each bite.
This past Valentine’s Day we decided to stay in and have a decadent meal of Roasted Lamb. We wanted something easy after a more complicated meal but still wanted a treat to end the night.
This no-bake cookies and creme cheesescake really hit the spot. I originally had thought it would taste better with a cookie crust, but the graham crackers kept the cheesecake from getting too sweet.
We used the forks from our wedding and I was finally able to try my hand at a true cheesecake because my aunt gifted me a great springform pan for Christmas. I made the mistake of drizzling the chocolate topping on before popping the the cake out of the pan so it stuck a bit, but still tasted great.
Topped with chocolate covered espresso beans and served chilled, this cheesecake is light and creamy but rich enough to celebrate a special occasion.
I like St. Patrick’s day because it gives me an excuse to make and eat green food. Other than that, I don’t really celebrate it — in fact I’ve never even seen a green beer! These cookies are naturally colored with some beautiful sencha green tea powder gifted to me by Sugimoto America. This sencha powder had a nice strong earthy taste that paired naturally with the honey cream cheese filling.
The recipe for these cookies came from my co-worker who had brought them into the office but I never got to try them. I usually avoid making sandwich cookies since they’re twice the amount of work for one cookie, but these just might be worth it. Not as much work as linzer cookies, but a little more work than whoopie pies. I also got to try out my new rolling pin so that I could make sure the dough was uniform in thickness.
If you’re in the mood for a seasonal treat that isn’t tooth-achingly sweet, these are right up your alley. I’ve stuck a few in the freezer to give to my friend this weekend when we meet up for the NYC Coffee & Tea Festival; I’ll report back on how they fared.
This recipe is very easy and has a limited number of ingredients. I added heaping tablespoons of green tea powder because I had only a little left in my container (total amount = 227 grams). The cookie is a little dense, but lighter than shortbread. When eaten fresh, the filling will ooze out a bit. I stuck them in the fridge overnight and the filling firmed up for easier chomping.