Batman Fondant Cake, Chocolate Trifles, & Tropical Punch

Batman Cake

Finally MCAT and finals free!!! This was the first thing I baked after depriving myself of baking while studying. My sister’s birthday was originally the week before my test. I know, what perfect timing… I told her, if she wanted me to make a cake that she’d have to move her party to the week after. This time, I made her cake the day before her party (best decision ever btw). Last year I decided to make her cake the day of and was still decorating it till even after guests started to arrive, which was pretty stressful. You can check out her last year’s Chinese Takeout Box Cake here.

If you look closely at the picture, you can actually see the Batman sign that I wedged in the cake, burning haha. Someone yelled out that it was on fire after I had lit all the candles. Without thinking, I blew them all out, pulled out what little was left of it, and had to relight all the candles.

Choc Cake Trifles

Other than the cake, I also decided to make these small chocolate trifles. I found these plastic disposable cups from Dollar Store. Definitely made for an easy clean up, which is always a great goal to have for any type of party!

Batman IceCubes

Of course, I had to top it all off with these Batman ice cubes for the punch. I guess I was so excited about these, that I forgot to even take a picture of the punch!!

**Check below for recipes for the Batman Fondant Cake, Chocolate Trifle Cups, & the Tropical Punch**

Batman Fondant Cake

-For a quick overview, the cake was made from four layers that I stacked.

-The two that I used for the base were vanilla. For the top two layers I used a Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe.

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Cake recipe found here

Vanilla Sour Cream Cake

Makes: two 8 or 9 inch cakes

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Whisk the egg whites, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl
  2. Combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and lightly mix
  3. While the mixer is on a low speed, add in the butter (chunk by chunk) until the mixture is crumbly
  4. Now add your milk and egg mix to the crumbly mixture and mix for a minute
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated
  6. Add the sour cream next and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds
  7. Spread the mix in a cake pan (use springform pan for ease of removing the cake)
  8. Bake the cake for 23-30 minutes or until well done

Tips:

-If you want the cake to come out cleanly, line the pan with parchment paper and use a springform pan as well

-Instead of black fondant, you can color the white fondant with black gel food coloring & you can also buy edible black paper for the buildings and Batman signals

-The yellow parts on the cake are white fondant colored with yellow gel food coloring

-The toppings for the cake are wire cake toppers from Hobby Lobby & I printed out Batman signs that I cut out to paste onto them, because I had run out of the of the edible black paper

Mini Chocolate Trifles

Makes: 25 cups

Ingredients

  • Leftover cake pieces, about 1/2 cake
  • 3 boxes of instant chocolate pudding
  • 10 Oreos, crushed
  • 1 can of whip cream

Directions

  1. Make the pudding according to the instructions on the box
  2. Cut the cake into small pieces, size does not have to be exact
  3. Fill each cup with a few small pieces of cake
  4. Top with a few spoonfuls of pudding
  5. Add whip cream on the pudding with a handful of crushed Oreos
  6. Serve and enjoy

Tropical Punch

Makes: Two large punch bowls (50- 4 ounce servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 46 fluid ounce can pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 quart orange juice
  • 2 two-liter bottles of lemon-lime carbonated soda

Directions

  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil for 2-3 minutes
  2. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice
  3. Divide the mixture into three large ziploc storage bags and place in freezer
  4. When ready to use, mix the lemon-lime carbonated soda with the juice mixture

 

Batman Cake

Batman Cake

 

 

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Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Recreating any Starbucks recipe is always a sweet victory. Yes, those mouth-watering moist pumpkin breads, chocolate scones, and sugary cake pops that you spot in the glass windows while waiting to order the latte of the season perhaps. This recipe here happens to be the Cranberry Bliss Bars that they also offer. You will be warned though. If you make these at night hoping to double them as a breakfast for the next day…. Well, you may just find that they have all disappeared without a trace before the next day’s start. Hope you enjoy this delectable treat as much as I did!

*Like the Simply Delicious FB page to keep up with updates faster and easier*

Cranberry Bliss Bars    

Printable Recipe Here

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:   (Preheat: 350 F    Time: 15 minutes preparing, 20 minutes baking)

  1. Line an 8 by 8 pan with parchment paper and set aside
  2. Melt the butter & allow it to cool
  3. Add the eggs, brown sugar, & vanilla extract to the butter and stir well
  4. Mix in the flour & salt until combined
  5. Sprinkle in the white chocolate chips & cranberries into your batter (add more or less, to your choosing)
  6. Pour your bars mixture into the prepared pan & smooth out the top using a rubber spatula or spoon
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or till the edges are golden brown
  8. After they have cooled, cut them by making a cross so you will end up with four squares, & then cut each of the four squares in half diagonally

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds (stop and stir it) & then microwave again for 10 seconds stirring after & repeating the 10 second intervals until it is all melted
  2. Mix together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract, & about 3/4 of the white chocolate you melted (remaining 1/4 will be to drizzle on top)
  3. Add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin (or a teaspoon of water if it is too thick)
  4. Frost each of the bars with a knife & spread it around generously
  5. Add the cranberries on top & drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of white chocolate

*Store in airtight container in fridge, will last up to a week (though I don’t think they will be around that long for you to worry about them lasting long haha)

Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks & Tracy’s Culinary Adventures

 

3 Rice Krispies Recipes in 1: Nutella, Peanut Butter, & Pumpkin Spice

Chocolate Loaded Rice Krispies

Chocolate Loaded Rice Krispies

The best recipes are always those that are impromptu! This one was created with a few friends that I had invited over. There was nothing planned in particular, as we are usually a spontaneous type of group and any type of baking episode that we create is always a memorable one; one where we usually double or triple the actual amount of baking time. No worries though, the time spent is invariably amusing and full of whimsical moments & shenanigans to look back at and laugh upon haha. As a big fan of simple recipes that are effortless, after eyeing the new bag of Rice Krispies on top of the fridge, I knew that we must attempt the unfailingly, delicious task of making Rice Krispy treats. I checked the recipe online and turns out that I had all the ingredients we needed (always a happy sight!). We ended up not following the exact recipe and added our own creativity to this delightful bite, which I highly recommend you do as well with your favorite chocolates or whatever you might have waiting to be used in your pantry. Some of the added goods included mini Reeses bites, mini chocolate M&Ms, peanut butter, & a satiny Nutella glaze to finish it off.

HomeMade Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice Krispies

Printable Version Here

Ingredients

  • 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 10 ounce marshmallow creme/bag of marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: various candies/chocolates/pretzels

Directions

  1. Spray a medium 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray
  2. Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a saucepan over medium heat
  3. Stir in the marshmallow creme until incorporated and remove from heat
  4. Mix in the peanut butter and vanilla extract
  5. Move to a larger bowl if the saucepan is not big enough and add the 5 cups of Rice Krispies cereal
  6. Gently mix all the cereal with the marshmallow mixture and add any of your optional chocolates
  7. Press the Rice Krispies mix into the prepared dish and refrigerate until set (about 30-60 minutes)

Different Flavors to Try:

*Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies: add 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice

*Nutella Rice Krispies: add a 1/2 cup of Nutella to your mixture

Few Tips:

*This is an easily adaptable recipe to what you like, for example if you do not prefer peanut butter then take that out or if you like extra m&ms in your rice krispies then add a whole cup of them

*For a chocolate icing simply melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, add 1/2 cup of Nutella to it, & drizzle all over

Pumpkin Spice & Nutella Rice Krispies

Pumpkin Spice & Nutella Rice Krispies

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Cake Balls

Hershey's Chocolate Cakeballs

Hershey’s Chocolate Cakeballs

So…. This was my last night’s baking episode. I haven’t made cakeballs in a while, because I have been experimenting with a few variety of other recipes. Anways, my mom recently achieved a new designation at her work, which gave me an opportunity to make these deelish cakeballs for her to bring to her workplace. What better way to express my congratulations than with food haha? So, with my mind already made up, I baked into the wee hours of the morning. Seriously till like 3 am!

When making this, baking the cake and making the balls is probably the easiest part. The time-consuming part is the dipping and decorating, depending on how extensive you want the decor/colors to be. There is a lot of waiting in between because you want to freeze the cakeballs for an hour before you dip them so that they do not fall apart.

Check out a few links from my previous blog posts below:

*Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake recipe

*Recipe for how to make the cakeballs 

*Different ideas for decorating cakeballs

 

 

 

 

Pistachio Macarons

Pistachio Macarons

Pistachio Macarons

Pistachio (n): a lime-green small sized nut perfect for snacking and eating when studying or walking around the neighborhood; a nut that is always on the go; member of the cashew family

Pistachios really go great with anything! It is the atypical flavor to see, but it tastes great in Bluebell icecream and shortbread cookies. And you most likely have seen them all over Instagram in the beautiful colors that they come in. Yes, I am guilty of posting a picture of these vibrant and exquisite desserts every time I visit a bakery, but how could you not?!

Highly recommend anyone reading this to try out this recipe. You’d be surprised at how much you will fall in love the pistachio flavor. If not, then try making macarons in any flavor that you are craving.  I, myself, can’t wait to make these again! You cannot simply just eat one, so I would recommend doubling my recipe which originally makes about 20.

*recipe for the macarons can be found on a previous post of mine here where I made chocolate macarons with a variety of frostings

*changes to this recipe: 60 grams almond flour and 50 grams of ground pistachios instead of the 110 grams of almond flour, I also added a few drops of lime green gel food coloring

 

Pistachio Macarons

Pistachio Macarons

Final Foodie Adventure of 2013 in ATL

Happy New Year’s all!! Before I share any new recipes, here are a few pictures from my last foodie adventure of 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia :)

The highlight of my winter break was definitely visiting Atlanta with my friends. The purpose of the trip was to attend a dear friend’s wedding there and we all decided to make a food adventure out of it in the meantime. I mean, might as well, right? Anyways, Atlanta is definitely known for having quite a number of local cafes that we wanted to visit. Unfortunately, not everything always goes as planned and you just find yourself waking up at noon sometimes. One of the more memorable breakfasts that we did have though was at Krispy Kreme donuts. Krispy Kreme locations are quite sparse around the United States, so there’s always that bit of excitement when you find a location. We got an assortment of creme filled, custard filled, apple fritters, and even a few red velvet donuts! The red velvet donut itself was more than filling, very sweet along with a cakey texture.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme Overload

We attempted for more of a healthy lunch, well lunches over the next few days. Lunches ranged from panini sandwiches from Corner Bakery to authentic pizzas from Anticos and Korean tacos from Takorea. Corner Bakery is a chain eatery similar to Panera Bread. Although we were trying to avoid chains to be able to try more of the local foods, in dire situations sometimes you settle for anything. We had decided to take the train around the city that day, and so our freedom in choosing a place to eat was greatly reduced. Corner Bakery just happened to be very close to us and we decided to give it a go. I ordered a broccoli cheddar soup with a half sandwich that did not disappoint. Broccoli cheddar soup hasn’t failed me so far, and if you haven’t tried it I highly recommend you do so!

Corner Bakery

Cornery Bakery Sandwich and Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Sometimes it’s quite difficult to go through the day without a snack. That is, especially when you spot a large vintage sign from a distance with the letters “Funnel Cakes” on it, while walking through Olympic Centennial Park. Somehow we found ourselves waiting in line for one of these crunchy and satisfying creations. After getting a fresh funnel cake, it was difficult resisting one bite while waiting for everyone to take the obligatory food picture before digging in. As the multitude of forks dug in, it reduced and reduced until there was just powdered sugar left on the plate.

Chocolate Drizzled Funnel Cake

Chocolate Drizzled Funnel Cake

As the journey continued throughout the days, we came about Antico’s. Antico’s appealed to me due to the high volume of lengthy reviews that it received on Yelp, along with the mouth watering pictures. First off, when you visit a restaurant there are two main components that contribute to your experience: the atmosphere and of course the food itself. Unfortunately the atmosphere was very busy, definitely not one where you would sit down and peacefully savor your slice of pizza. It seemed like a place where you had to fight for a table to at least claim an area large enough for your group. The upside though was that it was a very interactive and lively atmosphere. The art of the pizza making was wide open to be viewed as you could sit and view the dough making and other intricacies of the pizza process. A few pictures later, we were ready to eat our pizza. I expected that they would have some sort of outdoor seating, but after asking the waiter, who replied telling me and a friend that it was not her problem where we ate our pizza and we can sit wherever. I was really surprised and shocked at her reply. We quickly left the unwelcoming waiter and told our group to look elsewhere outside for a spacious area. There was actually a gelato place next door and so we went inside to find large tables. Just what we were looking for! We bought a few drinks and sat down to finally eat.

Pizza Making

Behind the Scenes at Antico’s

Margharita Pizza

Antico’s Margharita & Four Cheese Pizzas

The final lunch was at Takorea, a hipster Korean Mexican fusion restaurant. The interior design of this place topped off all the previous restaurants that we had visited. It had a nice daylight feel to it that was fresh and crisp. The funky light fixtures along with the misplaced garage glass doors and iron wrought chairs put together a nice mood.

Takorea

Takorea’s Interior

Takorea

More of Takorea’s Interior

The food at Takorea was an interesting mix. Most of us though enjoyed the appetizer a lot more than our main dish. The appetizer that we got was the Gogi Nachos. I think it was the beef and the special sauce that they made along with it that made the nachos so irresistible. One bite from these nachos left me wanting more and more haha.

Takorea's Gogi Nachos

Takorea’s Gogi Nachos

Takorea's Chicken Burrito with Kimchi Fried Rice

Takorea’s Chicken Burrito with Kimchi Fried Rice

Our only dinner in ATL out, asides from the wedding and reception dinners, was at Mary Mac’s Tea Room. It sounded like the perfect soul food to have on any day and it sure beat that seafood eatery we were about to go to. This restaurant had a very homey feel to it and was structured similar to a colonial home from inside.

Mary Mac's Tea Room

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

The ordering process was quite unique at this place as we had to write down our orders on a slip of paper with various sections regarding what you would want. The portion size was quite large for the price, not to mention the bread appetizers that the placed out that were to die for! We felt like we were going to get full off of just the appetizers: flaky moist cinnamon bread rolls, yeast honey rolls, and corn bread. I kept hearing phrases like, “I’m only going to have another half” or “last one, I promise!” They were so good that we asked the waiter to give us another serving of the cinnamon bread to go. Why not have a delicious midnight snack for the night?

Mary Mac's Order Slips

Mary Mac’s Order Slips

After some amazing appetizers, we had quite high expectations for the food itself. A few of us were disappointed with the orders sadly. Taking into account how much I love Thanksgiving food, I couldn’t do anything but love the food that I ordered. The mac n cheese was a little watery, but everything else was on point, reliving that comfort food style present during Thanksgiving feasts.

Mary Mac's Turkey Plate

Mary Mac’s Turkey Plate with Cornbread Dressing and Sides of Mac n Cheese & Fried Okra

To end this long-winded post, I present the best cup of mocha that I have ever had. My image of Starbucks as top dog at coffee making was quickly put to rest after drinking this beautiful cup of caffeine! Well, hope you enjoyed my food endeavors and feel free to comment below to share any of yours :)

Octane's Mocha Coffee

Octane’s Mocha Coffee

Icing Sugar Cookies 101

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I just love sugar cookies. The first time I made them was when I made these Phineas & Ferb themed cookies for a friend’s birthday. They were a lot of fun to make; it’s like a coloring book but on a cookie instead. After my first try I was down for round two: a bridal shower! A quick glance at the cutest dress and cake shaped cookies on Pinterest was more than enough to convince me to order the wedding shaped cookie cutters from Amazon. Thank god for prime shipping, because they came right in time, a few days before the bridal shower. It took me about two days to make the sugar cookies and ice them. I started the cookies the day before the event with a friend, cutting and baking about 60 of them. It took us a few hours as we also made a New York style cheesecake to accompany the cookies. I iced the outline and flood-iced the base for the cookies that night, which had to dry for a couple hours. The next day, I piped on the details and decor successfully completing the bridal themed sugar cookies. Honestly, I was a bit unsure as to how they would turn out, because it was my first time trying them out. They turned out great, although the cookies probably took me longer than they should have. I learned quite a few tips along the way that will greatly assist me for next time. Read on to find out how you can make these sugar cookies too!

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Phineas & Ferb Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks of butter, room temp
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Beat the softened butter until it is creamy and add the powdered sugar until incorporated
  2. Add in the flour, egg, vanilla, almond extract, and salt and mix until no lumps are visible
  3. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour until dough is firm
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F
  5. Roll dough and cut out respective shapes
  6. Place baking tray in freezer for 5 minutes so the cookies can retain their shape while baking
  7. Bake for about 7-8 minutes

Tips & Recommendations

*You can always substitute an ingredient or baking tool if missing. In my case, we could not find the rolling pin and so to roll the cookies we ended up using a pestle mortar. The cookies could have been made a little more even as some were slightly lopsided, but it worked out in the end.

*Make sure the butter is at room temperature as to avoid a lumpy dough, you want it to be well incorporated.

Royal Icing

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs meringue powder
  • food coloring (optional)

Basic Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix for 7 minutes until smooth
  2. Divide icing into the number of colors you are using and add food coloring
  3. Add about a teaspoon of water so the icing will be a piping consistency. If still too stiff, add more water.
  4. Outline all of the cookies
  5. Add more water to the icing so you can “flood” your cookies (filling in the outlines)
  6. After you flood the cookies, let them dry for a couple hours and add details after

Detailed Directions:

1. Preparation

-Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix for about 7 minutes until smooth.

2. Coloring

-Divide icing into the amount of colors needed. I colored half of the icing that I made purple, leaving the other half plain white.

3. Piping the Outlines

-Add about a teaspoon of water to the icing until it is a consistency that can be piped. Be careful not to add too much water, so add it in very small amounts. You don’t want it too runny nor too stiff.

-Place the icing into a piping bag now. If you have a disposable bag, a trick I learned was to get some seran wrap and place about 2-3 spoons of icing onto it. Wrap the seran wrap like you are wrapping a tortilla roll, and then snip the end of it with scissors. Place your seran-wrapped icing into the piping bag now, keeping it clean and easy to wash. Click here for step by step pictures to see how this is specifically done.

-Using a #2 tip, pipe thin seamless lines lining all of your cookies.

4. Flooding The Cookies

-When you finish outlining, you need to then flood your cookies. This is done by adding more water to your icing, about 1/2 a teaspoon at a time until it is a consistency that can be spread easily onto the cookies. Use a toothpick to help spread the icing around and get it into tight spots.

-Let the cookies dry for about a couple hours before you put any of the detailing onto them.

Tips & Recommendations

*Meringue powder can be found at craft and baking stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby

*Be VERY careful when adding water to your icing to make it into a piping consistency. Add it 1/4-1/2 teaspoon at a time. You want it to easily come out of your tip, but not too runny or stiff.

*When flooding your cookies, make sure the icing is runnier than when you piped the outlines. I made the mistake of adding not enough water which prolonged the amount of time it took me to flood the cookies. The icing should be able to cover the whole cookie without you having to spread it.

*If you are time crunched and for whatever reason can’t wait for the base flood icing to dry, there is an alternative as always. Turn on your oven to 250 F and then turn it off. Put your wet cookies onto a baking sheet and place into the still warm oven for about 5 minutes or longer until you see them dry.

Sugar Cookies Step by Step Pictures

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Outlining the Sugar Cookies

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More Outlining of Sugar Cookies

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Flood Icing the Outlines

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And the decorating begins…

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Cake, Cake, Cake

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The Bridal Shower Dessert Table

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Finished Look

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Cheesecake to Top it All Off

Leave any suggestions or unanswered questions below!

Chinese Takeout Anyone??

photo 3  Birthday parties… The hardest thing about them is always the theme!!! For my sister though, that wasn’t the case. She’s been interested in the Chinese culture ever since my dad went there on a business trip haha. So of course, she had a Chinese themed party with everything Chinese you can think of! It was hilarious because half of the people she invited even came dressed in the Chinese cultural clothing. She asked me to make her her cake like last year (which was a rainbow layered cake from inside) so I didn’t mind at all, considering it’s been a while since I baked due to exams and studying. After some research, I decided that I was going to make her a fondant Chinese Takeout Cake! I used a Coconut Cake recipe seen below, covered it with fondant, & drew on it with edible food markers.

Coconut Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (or 2/3 cup), RT
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Icing Recipe from here
  • Pre-made Fondant (bought from Michaels)

Directions:

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients: cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
  2. Cut the butter in 2-inch cubes and beat with the dry mixture until it becomes crumbly (1 minute aprox)
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg whites, coconut milk, coconut, and vanilla extract
  4. Add half of this liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined
  5. Add the remaining liquid mixture until the batter is consistent and uniform
  6. Pour the batter in the cake pan and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden
  7. Allow the cake to cool completely

What I did for assembling it was cut it into four pieces, which I then stacked on top of each other with layers of frosting in between. I completely coated the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting after to seal the crumbs (because you need a flat surface when you place the fondant over it). For the fondant, I just measured each side of the cake and cut out each piece a half inch larger so I could seal each side on top of each other. I drew the Chinese symbols & house onto the fondant cut outs before putting them on the cake.

Lastly… It was pretty spontaneous, but to top it off I decided to make her cupcakes to go along with it!

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It’s Only The Beginning…

Usually you hear of people doing a bucket list, which consists of a myriad of items ranging from places to visit or dare-devil adventures to take. Me and my friend are big foodies so we gave a twist to it. When she gave the idea to have the “Ultimate Food Bucket List”, we just loved it and couldn’t stop adding foods to it! Hahaha it was just perfect & we both couldn’t wait to get started. We started off with a Pina Colada smoothie & Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, which turned out quite successful due to the teamwork from everyone that helped. We didn’t have time to make the Strawberry Mojitos, but we will get to those later!! Keep posted as we blend, bake, slice, sauté, and cook our way through the Ultimate Food Bucket List :)

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Pina Colada Smoothie

Printable Version

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped pineapple
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 5 ice cubes

Directions

Blend together and enjoy your fruitful smoothie!

*If I could change anything about this, I would have added only 1/2 a banana, a couple more ice cubes, and more coconut milk! 

photo 2

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Printable Version

Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients

  • 8 oz chicken broth
  • 16 oz can diced/fire roasted tomatoes (your choice)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium pot and heat over medium heat on the stove for about 30 minutes to an hour. (For a more flavorful sauce- can also be done in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours on low heat or 3-4 hours on high)

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 10 tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups Enchilada Sauce
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, and 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in a medium bowl 
  2. In another bowl, mix the shredded chicken, cumin, and garlic powder
  3. Combine the enchilada sauce mixture with the chicken mixture
  4. Pour 1 cup of the enchilada sauce at the bottom of a glass baking dish
  5. Divide the enchilada/chicken mix among the 10 tortillas
  6. Roll them up and place them seam down in the dish to keep them from opening
  7. Pour the remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce over the tortillas
  8. Finish it off with another cup of the shredded cheese
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 F

SugarCane Glory

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When I first saw my brother cutting this in the kitchen, I wondered… What the heck is this boy doing with a bamboo stick? Haha turns out it was actually a sugarcane!! This is basically the processed sugar we eat on a daily basis in it’s unrefined form. Seems kind of weird right? It’s quite deceiving knowing that this comes from the grass family which we all assume is “healthy” although it produces that sweet product that we all try to stay away from lol. I was really curious about how sugar is made and allll these different types that we find at the grocery store.

Here’s a quick run down:

White Sugar: Made from the sugarcane; multiple washings to remove all traces of molasses and give the white color

Molasses: Byproduct syrup after sugar is extracted from the sugarcane; the type of molasses depends on which pressing of the sugar it was collected at (first-light molasses, second-dark, third-blackstrap)-with each pressing the molasses get less sugar than the previous one and become darker and less sweeter

Brown Sugar: Plain white sugar mixed with molasses

Turbinado Sugar: Made from the first pressing of sugarcane- syrup is boiled to produce the crystals and then is spun in a centrifuge to remove the moisture (gets its name from turbinelike centrifuge); retains more of the original flavor

Preparing sugarcane is a relatively easy task. Take a sharp knife and remove the green skin from all around the cane. You will expose the creamy fibrous inside that we see below in the picture. Then you chew and chew until you draw out all the juices/sugar (don’t swallow it!).

For choosing a sugarcane, Walter Nicholls gives us an in depth description in his article on the plant

“In stores, sugar cane may be sold in one-foot sections or six-foot sections. Willie Robson Jr., produce manager for Dean & DeLuca in Georgetown, suggests the following: Choose light-green-fading -to- yellow- colored batons mottled with reddish-brown patches. Avoid white canes and those with cracks or blackened areas. Thin, heavy canes tend to be sweeter than thicker ones. Those with joints that are three to five inches in length are best for skewers and swizzle sticks and easier to eat out of hand. Ask the produce clerk to make a fresh cut on each end of the cane. The best cane has opaque, off-white, moist flesh. Canes are past their prime when the flesh is dry and brown or red.”

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Enjoy!

Happiness in A Cupcake

Spontaneous baking… Haha that’s what this was. That & it was the perfect opportunity to use those edible silver pearls I just bought! I really wanted to make something with bananas so I was about to make my 4-ingredient banana bread, but…… There was the fact that I couldn’t remember the last time I made cupcakes. Cupcakes it was :)

*Why do I say “Happiness in A Cupcake”?? Well, as it turns out- Bananas have been known to cheer people up. They are the only fruit that contain high levels of tryptophan that is later converted to serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that lowers depression. Sadly….. I discovered during my research that this is a myth -__- Yes, bananas contain serotonin. BUT there remains the fact that this serotonin is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier and so can’t get to where it needs to be. I still believe there is a lot of happiness to be found in bananas. Seriously, with almost no fat, low calories, and a plentiful of vitamins who could deny this bountiful fruit?

Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Get a large mixing bowl and beat the butter for a few minutes until creamy 
  2. Add the sugar and then the eggs & vanilla extract while beating at a low speed
  3. Add the 2 mashed bananas & coconut and continue to beat
  4. Mix in the flour and buttermilk in small intervals
  5. Fill the cupcake pan about 2/3 full each and bake for about 18 minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Beat together the cream cheese and butter
  2. Add the powdered sugar in small intervals
  3. Pour in the vanilla extract and beat until fluffy for a couple minutes

 

Adapted from BlissfullyDelicious

Peppermint Shakes & Macarons = Pure Joy

College winter breaks are seriously the best!! Totally beats the measly two weeks we would get back in high school. One of many things that I was looking forward to making once I had finished with the busyness of all my exams was macarons!! This soft delicate cookie along with the slight crunch you taste when you first bite into it, is truly one of a kind. The hundreds of flavors that you can make it in, not to mention the crazy fillings you can come up with, only make it more desirable. In a previous post, I made chocolate macarons with 3 different kinds of fillings- chocolate espresso, chocolate chip cookie dough, and chocolate coconut. This post along with the recipe can be found here. Today though, I made a pink coconut flavored macaron and filled it with chocolate espresso. Needless to say, they disappeared within seconds. Can’t wait to make these again!

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The day before I made these macarons, I was really craving something sweet. Hmmmm, what to get?? I decided I must get a shake! Sadly though, there are no places near my house that are known for their shakes. I was quite disappointed with the ones from Sonic. They tasted more like ice cream and were so thick I had to use a spoon to eat it. The best shakes I have tried where at Chicago at a chain restaurant called Steak N Shake. I guess you can deduce from the name that they must be famous for their shakes! There is a Steak N Shake in fact near my area, but the fact that it has not opened yet is killing me!!! Oh well, the next best thing I guessed would be a homemade shake. Being it the winter season and all, I’ve been reading about all these peppermint desserts so I resolved that I would make a Peppermint Shake. A quick search on foodgawker and I had my recipe ready to go. It really is quite easy. All you need is vanilla icecream, white chocolate, milk, and peppermint candy canes. Blend it all together and top with crushed candy canes and whipped cream and you are good to go!

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Pumpkin Spice Trifle Goodness

Wow. I can’t believe that I haven’t posted anything for about a month. Things have been pretty crazy with all my classes and college but nevertheless, here is something quite amazing to make up for the long hiatus! Trifles are so versatile which is one of the characteristics that makes them so amazing. More of a fan of red velvet cake? Well just throw in a couple chunks of that and a pudding layer and you will be good to go. If you want a healthier version, try pineapple cake and top it with various fruits. Not only does it look great, but it is the perfect easy dessert to make for a large group. Food really does bring people together so take advantage of this recipe to invite over a couple of friends :)

Ingredients:

  • Ready Made Pumpkin Cake (recipe found here)/ Spice box cake mix
  • 1 box vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice mix
  • 2 (12 oz) containers of Cool Whip topping
  • Optional: crushed gingersnaps for topping

Directions:

  1. Bake the cake using either of the above options
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and pudding mix until thickened
  3. Fold in 1 container of Cool Whip, 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, and all the brown sugar and pumpkin spice (leave the other container of Cool Whip for the layer of whipped cream)
  4. In a large trifle bowl, layer the cake, pudding pumpkin mixture, and whipped cream till you fill up the bowl
  5. Top with the crushed gingersnaps and a couple dashes of pumpkin spice too

What Better Than A Pumpkin Spice Latte with Choc Swirl Pumpkin Pie?

There’s no season for me when it comes to pumpkin spice anything. It can be eaten anytime & anywhere. Some foods though do just happen to taste better in certain types of weather than others. I guess we can say that Pumpkin Spice is one of those, because it just goes perfect with the nice crispy & chilly fall weather outside! I am in love with this weather because it brings back so many of my past memories from chilly Chicago winters. I always look forward to the Starbucks signature seasonal drinks, one of them being the Pumpkin Spice Latte. The last time I bought it though, it just tasted too sugary and syrupy so I decided that I should attempt to remake it on my own terms. The recipe I found was amazing because it makes enough to last you for about 8 lattes. You can just refrigerate it during the week and take it out whenever you please.

The Famous Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients:

For the Pumpkin Spice Syrup:

  • 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree or 2 cups of homemade pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mixture or ( 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground dried ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp allspice)

Remaining Ingredients:

  • ready made coffee
  • whipped cream

Directions:

  1. Combine all the pumpkin spice ingredients in a blender and puree for about 30 seconds or till your desired consistency
  2. Pour about 1/2 cup of the mix in a mug and microwave for about 15 seconds
  3. Add a cup of hot brewed coffee and stir
  4. Finish it off with some whipped cream and pumpkin spices
  5. Pour the rest of your mixture in a container to put in the fridge (it will last up to one week)

Chocolate Swirl Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

Crust

  •  1 1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt

Pie

  • 15 oz. can pumpkin puree or 2 cups of homemade pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Nutella (or 4 oz of good quality chocolate)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin spices mix (1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat to 350 F

  1. Spray 9 inch pie dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside
  2. Combine the crushed gingersnap cookies with the butter, sugar, and salt
  3. Press into the prepared pie dish about halfway up the sides
  4. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes and let it cool
  5. Meanwhile whisk the eggs together and add all the ingredients for the pie except for the chocolate Nutella
  6. Keep one cup of the mix on the side and pour the rest of it into the pie crust
  7. Mix the one remaining cup of pie mix with the Nutella
  8. Drop spoonfuls of the mix all over the pie and swirl it gently with a knife
  9. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the filling is set

Any favorite seasonal recipes or foods?

Espresso Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

So I haven’t posted in a while… Doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped baking though! I have a couple of deelish recipes so keep posted this whole week. I actually went a whole week without cooking or anything because of college tests. It’s all good now though. To celebrate I made these moist and chewy espresso chocolate chip brownie cookies. Oh and also some cream cheese glazed cinnamon rolls which will appear in my next post!

P.S. Be expecting a bunch of pumpkin spice recipes coming up. Tis’ the season after all and I am all but obsessed haha :)

Espresso Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips ( you can use any type you want- i did half milk/semisweet)
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Put together the unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and butter in a double boiler. (put them in a small pan inside a larger pan filled halfway with boiling water). Stir until melted. Be careful not to overheat.
  2. Whisk together your eggs, sugar, and instant coffee granules for a couple minutes until thick.
  3. Add the chocolate mixture to the bowl and mix well.
  4. In a different bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in your last 1 cup of chocolate chips.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Put a tablespoon of batter about 2 inches apart from each other on the cooking sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.