Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thank You

I would like to take the time to thank the following people who make this blog possible. I would like to thank my handsome, sexy husband who tastes everything I bake and always says a kind word even if it tastes like crap. He willingly washes the dishes and helps with all the technology even after he's explained the procedure many times. He boosts my confidence with compliments that would encourage anyone to quit her day job and start a baking business.
My Anna, my sweet Anna who occupies herself either on the lap top or with the cats while I continue my passion of baking which requires times, attention, and energy that I could shower on her. She is understanding to let me pursue my hobby and is polite enough to turn down baked goods when not interested.
To big Jack who appears interested and concerned when I'm frustrated with a recipe. He sometimes sits on my lap and pretends to know how to blog.
And to Mara who is anywhere besides sleeping under oven when I'm baking to give me peace and solitude.

Pumpkin Pie

Since I can't live on the mainland, then the mainland will be brought to me! Aloun Farms in Ewa invites the public every fall to pick your own pumpkins. We never had this kind of opportunity growing up in Hawaii. Picking your own fruits was only available to people who had the trees in their backyards. Today was not a cool, fall day typical on the mainland, but a sweltering, viciously humid day in paradise.
Instead of resting after a fun filled morning, I began to defrost pie crust dough and assemble all the ingredients to Martha's pumpkin pie to celebrate my love of pumpkins.
This recipe is so simple I don't know why more people don't make their own pies. After blind baking my pate brise and cooling completely on wire rack, I whisked 1 1/2C of canned pumpkin puree, yes canned because if you have the time, energy, and sanity to first find a sugar pumpkin, cut sides down, roast in a 400 degree oven, scoop out flesh and puree in a food processor be my guest, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, egges and evaporated milk until combined. That's it! Poured mixture into cooled crust and baked for 43 min at 350.
This pie was unbelievably delicious; it was gone in a day. My days of buying Napoleon's Bakery pumpkin pies are over.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chocolate Crackles

Don't expect me to sit around and do nothing on furlough Friday. No better way to spend the day than baking and hanging out with friends. My sweet neighbor Ms. Wanda taught crafts to Anna, Swasi, and Namari while I baked a batch of these cookies. I prepared the dough last night with every intentiion of baking it, but was too exhausted after kickboxing class. Thus, the dough was left in the refrigerator overnight instead of 2 hours which I think helped it to retain the shape of 1 inch balls after being rolled in sugar and confectioners'sugar.
I only had 4 oz. of bittersweet chocolate so I added another 4 oz. of semi sweet chocolate chips. You will rarely find me dashing off to buy one ingredient for a recipe because I make do with what I have. Melted both over a pan of simmering water and waited to cool. Sifted flour, Pernigotti cocoa powder, baking powder, and kosher salt. Continued the easy recipe by beating butter and brown sugar with a hand mixer because was too lazy to clean Magnolia. Mixed in eggs, vanilla, and melted chocolate then flour mixture alternating with milk. I don't know anyone in this health conscious world that drinks whole milk, so low fat milk had to do. Rolled 1 inch balls first in granulated sugar then confectioners' sugar and baked for 7 min. at 350, rotated, then baked for 7 more.

Teachers agreed to 17 furlough days and many are angry and hurt, but I looked at this as an opportunity to spend more time baking and blogging.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I've confirmed my suspicion, cookies come first. I can't deny it any longer. I haven't given up on cupcakes, I've just taken a detour on cookie road. I've never had a snickerdoodle in my life and I must say I have been missing something. This is what I love about cookies-few ingredients and no waiting around to taste while you whip up topping and frost. Out of the oven and pop into your mouth!
Sifted dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, and salt. Creamed 2 sticks of butter with 1 1/2 C sugar, added 2 extra large eggs which I always use when baking, and gradually mixed flour mixture.
Shaped dough in 1 3/4" balls and rolled in cinnamon sugar mixture. The colors reminded me of the sunrise this morning, a vibrant red orange that illuminated the whole lanai-gorgeous! I thought the balls were huge but when baked for 6 minutes, rotated and baked for 8 more, they turned into perfectly shaped cookies.
I've often wondered if cooling baking sheets on wire racks makes a difference. If cookies turn out this great, I'll definitely continue to do so. Snickerdoodle was crunchy on the edges but chewy on the inside. Scott said it tasted like a muffin top and I'm sure he did not mean the overhang of flesh on a woman when she wears pants but that it was the best part of a muffin. Anna said it tasted like a cookie for a baby shower. Could she mean a cookie for a special occasion because this cookie is a celebration?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Cupcake

I presented my Anna with a pink box of Kara's cupcakes when I returned home and which cupcake did she choose to devour? You'd assume it would be chocolate or vanilla but she chose pumpkin and loved it! It made me proud because I love the flavor of pumpkin and always look forward to Thanksgiving when I know every gathering will feature a pumpkin pie.
It was unbelievably humid in paradise today and instead of just lounging around I made sure to involve Anna in this recipe. She mixed the wet ingredients of pumpkin puree, sugars, eggs and the brown butter mixture which you melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter until it turns golden brown. I kept asking Scott,"Does this look golden brown to you?" and realized after it started bubbling that it was golden brown enough. I whisked the dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and we mixed both mixtures unti just combined. That's it! Anna just adored the batter and begged me to let her lick the bowl. After 18 minutes of baking, rotated at 10 we both topped off our busy Sunday with a pumpkin cupcake. This cupcake will definitely tie me over till Thanksgiving-sweet but not too sweet, spicey, and moist.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
The perfect frosting for a delectable cupcake!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

I have a confession. No, I do not live a secret life as a beautiful, powerful vampire nor do I transform into a hairy wolf at sundown. Despite the blog and my fascination with cupcakes, they are not my favorite dessert. My true love is cookies and today was an oatmeal raisin cookie day and MS's Cookie book had the perfect recipe.
The wheat germ and generous amount of raisins make these cookies hearty but I made sure to add a cup of chocolate chips for some sweetness. After preparing the last tray of dough, I realized I didn't mix in the 1 tsp of vanilla. Could I get away with the absence of the vanilla? Batch 2 was created.
Crunchy and chewy (Scott asked, "How did you do that?"), hearty, and easy to make.

Fall Break in San Francisco

No, I have not abandoned the blog and let down my followers. I didn't even know I had followers until my sister Judy in Arizona says she misses my blog. How sweet! The end of the first semester was hectic with persuasive essays and finals to administer and correct. Helping Scott prepare for his annual surf trip and getting over the guilt as I prepare to send Anna off to my parents while I go on a much needed break did not give me the time and energy to bake. My friend offers a free trip during fall break while Scott is in Bali. Do I stay home and clean the house and begin planning the To Kill a Mockingbird unit or do I run off with my girlfriend to my most favorite city in the whole world? Decisions, you can see I chose the trip! The weather was gorgeous, the food was unbelievable, and the company was truly a joy!
Kayleen and I caught the red eye and arrived in San Francisco in time to have breakfast at Zazie on Cole Street where I always order the Walnut French Toast stuffed with bananas. James, our good friend's baby brother became our guide and food partner as he drove us around the city and paralleled parked his car into the tightest spaces-very impressive.
I made sure to visit all 3 Miette stores-confisserie and patisserie in Hayes Valley, the Marina district and the Ferry Building. Not only is the store beautiful but the desserts are just gorgeous, you don't want to eat them. Only the best organic ingredients are used to create their masterpieces.
My neice Tricia advised me to visit the newest macaroon store Paulette in Hayes Valley. Macaroons are not my favorite kind of cookies because they are labor and time intensive to make. We all voted the passion fruit as our favorite and rose as the least favorite.
Drank what I believe is the best hot chocolate at the Blue Bottle Coffee Company in Hayes Valley while devouring macaroons.
What a pleasant discovery to find the King Tut exhibit at the DeYoung. And an even bigger find, a real treasure buried deep in the Mission District, at the end of the fabled El Dorado, La Taqueria, exquisite comida de Mexico. One order of chips and salsa was not enough. One order of guacamole was not enough. Everything is made fresh and the burritos are pure meaty goodness.

Kara's Cupcakes, my favorite place for a cupcake. The Chocolate Peanut Butter is so good, it just melts in your mouth. They are so delicious that before leaving SF, Kay and I returned for a box to take home. Owner uses only organic ingredients from the Bay Area.

I live to eat and I made sure to take advantage of the excellent cuisine of the Bay Area. We dined at Baretta's (Italian food), Burma Supertstar (Burmese food), dim sum
on Clement, Town Hall in the Financial district, and Japanese food on Geary. Before departing we even made a quick detour to Darby's, famous for its sandwiches.
This trip to my favorite city reminded me why I started the blog, it is the food and the sweets, and the sharing.