Toasted Salted Almond Fudge Swirl No Churn Ice Cream

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I currently live in San Francisco, which is foodie heaven. Delicious food everywhere. With this comes ice cream, such as Smitten, Bi-Rite, Mitchell’s, and Humphry Slocombe to name a few. The thing is, it’s just a pain to get to the shops for me since I have to take public transportation. Mainly, the commute time and throw in unexpected MUNI delays, it just takes too long. Therefore, when I crave for ice cream and am too lazy to take the bus and leave the house, I make my no churn ice cream.

I rarely say no to ice cream. I love my ice cream. The longest I’ve waited in line for ice cream is almost three hours long. Yes, three hours long! Who would want to wait that long, just for ice cream?? Apparently, my friends and I and a bunch of other people. The only reason why we actually stood in line for that long is because the truck was only in town for one day. The sad part was we didn’t even get to try the ice cream. Super disappointing. The event security kicked everyone out when we were about a feet away from the truck. If you are wondering what ice cream place that is apparently worth a three hour wait is called “Big Gay Ice Cream Truck” from New York City. We did end up getting our ice cream that day, but from a place based in San Francisco called “The Ice Cream Bar.”

This is a really easy recipe. Usually for ice cream, planning ahead is required because you have to chill the churning bowl and so forth. With no churn ice cream, only two major ingredients is required, heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk, everything else is an add-on.

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For this recipe I decided to add a splash of vodka, sliced almonds and a dark chocolate fudge. Adding alcohol softens the ice cream and make it easier to scoop. Use your imagination with add-ons, flavors can vary. Try duplicating a favorite brand ice cream, it’s fun playing with possible ice cream flavors. Hmmm… maybe adding fruit puree for a more fruity flavor or different alcohol flavors like kahlua or whiskey. Or if you’re like me and vanilla is your favorite ice cream flavor, just stick with heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract/vanilla paste, and maybe a splash of a neutral alcohol or bourbon. As the saying goes, “The sky’s the limit.”

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Toasted Salted Almond Dark Chocolate Fudge No Churn Ice Cream

Ingredients

    Fudge Swirls:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Almonds:
  • 1 cup almond
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp neutral oil
  • Ice Cream:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp vodka (optional)

Instructions

    Fudge Swirls:
  1. Whisk all ingredients in a small pot. Stir frequently as ingredients boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate and mix until smooth. Cool to room temperature and place in fridge.
  2. Almonds:
  3. In a pan, add almonds and toast until fragrant. Remove from heat. Add salt and oil. Mix until almonds are evenly coated. Set aside to cool.
  4. Ice Cream:
  5. In a mixing bowl, empty a can of condensed milk. Set aside. In a stand mixer, add heavy cream, almond extract, vanilla and beat until stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the whip cream into condensed milk. Add almonds and vodka, if desired. Gently fold in the rest of whip cream.
  6. Pour half of the mixture into a loaf pan or freezable container. Add half of the fudge sauce. Using a knife or any utensil, swirl the fudge into the ice cream. Continue alternating with the rest of the ice cream and fudge sauce. Freeze until firm, approximately 6 hours or overnight.
http://www.justabiteofheaven.com/2015/04/16/toasted-salted-almond-fudge-swirl-no-churn-ice-cream/

Banoffee Pie

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Happy 3/14/15…. aka Pi Day! This only happens once in a century when the first five digits are constant of pi: 3.141592653. Therefore, I say this is a special day for pie.

I totally forgot about pi day until last week when I was doing some late night grocery shopping with my friends. Someone mentioned pi day, which is the perfect excuse to make pie. I have been wanting to make this pie for a while now, ever since I saw a video from Donal Skehan on YouTube last year. I have never tried banoffee pie before, never even heard of it before finding it online. Now, after making banoffee pie, I am in love.

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Banana + Toffee = Banoffee.

Who would of thought about this combination? It’s the perfect combination of sweetness. Graham cracker crust, layered with sliced bananas and toffee, finally topped with whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings.

Ammuuhhzaaing.

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I was even tempted about not sharing this pie with my friends. But, I am not that selfish to not share this delicious dessert. My friends’ first bite of the banoffee pie showed expressions of contentment. I really wish I had a slice right this moment. Looking at these pictures is making me crave for one now.

If you have never tried or heard of banoffee pie, I recommend you make it. I’ll confess you really can’t finish the pie off by yourself, well, you probably can if you try hard enough, but you should at least share a bite or a slice (if feeling generous) with someone. Just to balance off the guiltiness of eating at least 99% of the pie.

Tips for making this pie:

  1. For the crust, make sure to EVENLY distribute the graham crackers around the pie plate. I didn’t really do that, which explains why the edge of my has a thin crust and the bottom is very thick.
  2. If you do not have time or want to boil the condensed milk for two hours, then you can buy a can of dulce de leche instead.
  3. Take the pie out right before serving and remember to return to the fridge after slicing. If not, the heavy cream and condensed milk starts to milk. No one wants to deal with a sticky mess.
  4. Lastly, enjoy your hard work.

Happy National Pi Day!

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Banoffee Pie

Ingredients

    Crust:
  • 9 sheets of graham crackers (1 package of graham crackers)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2-3 bananas, sliced
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • Chocolate shavings

Instructions

  1. In a small, tall pot, boil water and place the whole can of condensed milk into the pot, making sure the can is cover with water for 2 hours. Check occasionally if water is needed and covering the can. Once done, let can cool to room temperature. (This can be made ahead of time.)
  2. Preheat oven to 325°F
  3. In a gallon sized zip lock bag or food processor, crush or process the graham crackers until finely grounded. Melt the butter. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter. Mix until all ingredients are moistened. Transfer crumbs to a 9 inch pie plate and evenly press the crumbs into the pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Once crust is cool, arrange the sliced bananas around the crust. Pour and evenly condensed milk over the bananas.
  5. In a mixing bowl, whip up heavy cream to barely stiff peaks. Spread over the condensed milk. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before eating.
http://www.justabiteofheaven.com/2015/03/14/banoffee-pie/

 

#Throwback Thursday – Chocolate Truffles

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*Note: Please pretend it is December. I totally forgot to publish this post then. I know very bad of me to not do -______-; which is why this is a #tbt post.*

I love dark chocolate now, probably because my cravings for milk chocolate has died down. I can’t explain why, but milk chocolate is a little too sweet for me now. When I was growing up, this was the total opposite.

Speaking of growing up, I just finished finals week for fall semester. Super duper happy. You know what that means? Besides going on break for a month, I get to go home, as in sunny San Diego. No more fog for a couple of weeks. I just can’t wait.

I always look forward to going home. One of my favorite moments about Christmas is the annual get together with my high school friends. This year will be our 7th Annual Christmas Party. Yes, 7th! Man, are we getting older. I can’t wait to catch up with my friends. I must confess that I am super sad I don’t get to see them as often as I would like. But, I will take advantage of spending more time with my high school friends, this time of year when everyone is home.

As most parties I go to, this one is a potluck. We have assigned categories because who wants to eat only chips and no main entree. I don’t for sure. As usual, I ended up with desserts. I did not want to make anything complicated like I originally planned, since I just finished finals and I have to factor in the transportation aspect. It would be simpler if I was driving down, but I am flying down instead.

Something super delicious that travels well and who does not love (unless you dislike chocolate *gasp!*). Truffles. Chocolate Truffles. More specifically dark chocolate truffles. My worst enemy. If you place a bowl of chocolate truffles in front of me, I can just eat them all. Don’t even try asking me to save you any. There will not be any left.

Chocolate truffles are just amazing. Few ingredients, but indulgent enough. Once placed in your mouth, the smoothness of the chocolate, just melts on your tongue that you have to close your eyes and savor the taste. Awwww man… I really want a truffle now.

Chocolate TrufflesStealing

Please don’t mind me as I steal a truffle in between photos.

Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients

  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder plus more as needed

Instructions

  1. Combine bittersweet and semisweet chocolate in a bowl. If you don't have chocolate bars, you can use chocolate chips instead. Set aside.
  2. In a small pot, heat up the heavy cream over medium heat until the cream starts to bubble around the edge of the pot.
  3. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and cover the bowl with plastic wrap to help melt the chocolate. Set aside for at least 3 minutes. This becomes a ganache.
  4. Using a spatula, mix together until smooth. Add vanilla and softened butter until combined. Let cool until room temperature then refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment and. Fill a small bowl or plate with cocoa powder. If using nuts, make sure nuts are crushed and place in another bowl. Set aside.
  6. Remove ganache from fridge. Use a tablespoon to scoop ganache from bowl and roll into balls with your hands. This becomes messy, so you'll need to clean your hands or wear gloves as the chocolate will melt in your hands. Once all the ganache is rolled into balls, drop into cocoa powder or nuts and roll until surface is covered. Repeat until all balls are covered. Refrigerate for 15 minutes on the baking sheet to hardened the chocolate then place in an airtight container.
http://www.justabiteofheaven.com/2015/03/05/throwback-thursday-chocolate-truffles/

Chinese New Year Cake aka Nian Gao (年糕)

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Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year is the time of enjoying delicious food with family. One thing I miss about being away from home is not getting to eat the traditional food my mom makes for the new year.

Why is it that I want to learn how to cook traditional Chinese meals after I leave home? Ever since I moved to San Francisco, I call my mom asking her how to make some of my favorite childhood dishes growing up. From soups to main dishes and now for Nian Gao, the new year cake. Let me say asking for measurements from my mom was like comparing spoons and bowls as measuring cups. You see, my mom usually made this by eye, never measuring the amount. Super fun trying to figure out the right measurements.. I guess… but hey in the end, the results worked out perfectly.

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Nian gao is made up of ingredients that can all be found in an Asian supermarket. Super convenient since I head over to Chinatown weekly to buy groceries. I was tempted to buy a premade nian gao at Chinatown, but decided to challenge myself and make my own, hence the phone call to my mom for the recipe. Overall, I approve of the recipe and definitely reminds me of the times I would stuff my face with all the food from Chinese New Year because my mom would only make them once a year.

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Traditionally, my mom pans fry each slice of nian gao until golden brown, which causes the cake to soften and is easier to take a bite out of. This was the way I grew up eating my nian gao. However, this year, my roommate taught me another favorite Chinese way to eat nian gao by dipping slices in egg and pan frying. I really do enjoy this way too, it’s more savory/sweet (since you add a pinch of salt in the egg) taste. If you pan fry, the taste is more sweet. Make and enjoy this Chinese dessert with your friends and family!

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And again, Happy Chinese New Year! Hope your year is filled with happiness, health and prosperity!

Chinese New Year Cake Nian Gao

Ingredients

  • 4 slabs of chinese brown sugar candy (peen tong)
  • 1 cup + 1 1/4 cup water, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 bag (16oz) of glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup (4oz) rice flour
  • 3 tsp neutral oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
  • 1 red date (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, dissolve the 4 slabs of brown sugar candy and 1/4 tsp into 1 cup of water together. Set aside to cool down to completely.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 tsp oil, rice flour and glutinous rice flour. Make a well in the center of the bowl and stir in the syrup. Slowly add 1 1/4 cup of water into the dough as needed. Mix until the dough is smooth and falls off the spoon/whisk. The mixture will look thick.
  3. Grease an 8 inch cake pan with 1 tsp of oil.
  4. Steam for 1.5 hours over medium high. Checking the water halfway at 45 minutes to make sure there is enough water. If not, add more boiling water.
  5. Carefully remove the cake pan from the steamer and let cool on a rack. Sprinkle 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds on top and place a red date in the center.
  6. When cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to firm up overnight. Don't start cutting without letting refreigerating overnight, otherwise, it'll be very sticky and difficult to slice.
  7. To serve, pan fry cake slices over medium heat until each side is golden brown.
http://www.justabiteofheaven.com/2015/02/22/chinese-new-year-cake-aka-nian-gao-%e5%b9%b4%e7%b3%95/

Peppermint Bark

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It’s December. The holiday season is here. Christmas songs are playing everywhere from radio channels to restaurants to malls. The time of the year when I realize 2014 is almost over and a new year is about to start. Yay for Christmas! Boo for the semester ending!

Around this time I am super stressed because of finals. Add on to the fact that I rather be doing something besides studying. Potlucks give me a reason to stay in the kitchen all day aka procrastinate on studying. I shouldn’t be procrastinating, but like all college students, I do. I was super excited for the potluck this week, except it did not happen. All because of the Pineapple Express. This is the only time I remember, class was cancelled because of rainy, not snowy weather.

This recipe is super easy and mostly requires more set up time in the fridge than physical work. With few ingredients needed to make peppermint bark, I decided to splurge a little and buy good quality chocolate to use in this recipe. I mainly use Guittard nowadays, but for this bark, I am using Valrhona bars, which I found at my local Whole Foods Market.

Valrhona BarsPeppermint Bark Ingredients

Peppermint bark is super easy to make. Basically, crushing candy canes, chopping chocolate, melting chocolate, layering chocolate on top of each other, evenly spreading candy cane on top of chocolate, refrigerating and cutting the bark. Perfect if you don’t want to make anything complicated, but a simple sweet treat.

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I really enjoyed making peppermint barks. This will be on my list of treats to give to my neighbors when I visit my family in the coming weeks.

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Peppermint Bark

Ingredients

  • 8 oz good quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate
  • 8 oz good quality white chocolate
  • 2 tsp neutral oil (canola or vegetable), divided
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 4 candy canes, crushed

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. Using a double boiler (see notes) or microwave in 15 seconds intervals, melt the semi-sweet or dark chocolate. If using the microwave, remember to stir chocolate between each interval until smooth. Once chocolate is melted, add 1 teaspoon of neutral and stir until combined.
  3. Spread the chocolate evenly onto the baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm.
  4. Place the four candy canes inside a ziploc and crush with mallet or rolling pin. Set aside.
  5. Take the baking sheet out of the fridge and set aside.
  6. Repeat step 2 with the white chocolate. Add 1 teaspoon neutral oil and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Stir until comined. Let the white chocolate cool 2-3 minutes before spreading over the semi-sweet or dark chocolate. You don't want to melt the chocolate to melt the other.
  7. Spread the white chocolate over the semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Once it's evenly spread, quickly sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the white chocolate.
  8. Place the baking sheet back into the fridge and wait until the chocolate is set.
  9. Once the white chocolate is set, take the bark out of the fridge and using a knife to cut or hands to break the bark into pieces.
  10. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about two weeks, if the bark even lasts that long.

Notes

Double boiler - Boil water in a pot. Over medium heat, place a bowl with the chocolate over the pot. Making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. With a spatula, stir the chocolate until melted. *Make sure to NOT get any water into the chocolate.

http://www.justabiteofheaven.com/2014/12/14/peppermint-bark/

This entry was posted in Candy and tagged .

Update: Where did I go?

Sorry, I have been MIA for the past two months. School and work is keeping me super busy. Plus my laptop stopped working twice and needed to be shipped out to the manufacturer to be fixed, which took a while. Yes, I was computerless. Me being me, thinking the laptop being only three months old would not break down anytime soon. What makes it worse is, I did not back any of my information on my laptop. I know, I know I should have been doing this more often, but yeah. Not being smart here. However, I bought an external hard drive after I got my laptop and backed everything that same night. I was really worried/hitting myself for almost losing these pictures. But most importantly, I’m super happy I did not lose any pictures. Glad to report that I will not do this again. I promise myself to back up daily/weekly. So, there is no repeat of the same situation.

Now, moving on….

Lady & Tramp MacaronsYou ask, “Why Lady and the Tramp?”

My answer. Throwback to a classic Disney movie. Plus that was the party’s theme.

Last weekend was my friend, Michelle’s birthday. She loves Disney and my french macarons. In addition to presents my friends and I bought for her. I decided to surprise her with Lady and the Tramp designed macarons. Let me say the key word here is “try.” I wasn’t sure how they would turn out, since I was hand drawing the designs onto macaron shells. Before even trying to draw on the macaron shells, I definitely practiced drawing Lady and Tramp. As seen below.

Lady & Tramp Macarons

I discovered the difficulty of actually drawing Lady and Tramp on the macaron shell. It’s different than paper because you can’t erase what you just drew, if you make a mistake. You need to adjust your drawing to your mistake. I ended up messing up on three macaron shells before getting the hang of it. Let me say I am not a good artist when it comes to drawing. I am passable. I decided to go simple and go with no color. A simple drawing in black and white. I’m super happy with how the way the designs turned out. Mint Chocolate Macarons + Lady and the Tramp = Happy Michelle.

That’s all for now. But, get ready for a new recipe coming soon!

Lady & Tramp Macarons

Raspberry Lemon Mascarpone Tart

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Do you ever have this problem when you want to bake something, but just don’t know what? That was me this week. I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to bake.

Opening the fridge to calculate what I can make without having to go out to buy more ingredients. Yes, I’m quite lazy some days and just don’t want to leave the house unless it’s required. I know I have ingredients to make something because I recently went on a Costco trip with my friends. Can I just say I love Costco, who doesn’t? Especially the free samples on weekends. When you’re a college student, Costco samples make a nice free lunch.  I wish I could go more often, but then again each trip would make a big dent in my wallet without me realizing it.

Back to what’s in my fridge. Soy milk. Eggs. Lemons. Fruits. Raspberry. Strawberries. Lemon Curd. Butter. Heavy Cream. Mascarpone. Lots of veggies and other random food. Oh wait, I also have a sheet of frozen puff pastry from last month that I didn’t use up.

Hmmm.. what to make???

First thing that pops in my mind… Raspberry Lemon Mascarpone Tart? A lemon mascarpone cream lightened up with heavy cream? I made a similar version, but with cream cheese for a vanilla cupcake frosting I made last year. If that was delicious then the lemon mascarpone cream must be delicious. Plus the zest of a lemon and a teaspoonish of vanilla bean paste would add a nice flavor.  As you can see from my previous posts, I love to use vanilla bean paste. I really like to see the black specks of vanilla seeds in my desserts. Also, I ran out of vanilla extract before my Costco run.

Okay, it’s been decided. I’ll be making a raspberry lemon mascarpone tart. It’s a pretty simple and fast dessert. I didn’t time how long it took me, but most likely under an hour or less if you don’t get distracted by Netflix and forget about the tart.

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Don’t forget to sift powdered sugar over the tart for an extra sweetness!

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Go ahead and make this raspberry tart to enjoy with your friends and family. Enjoy!

Raspberry Lemon Mascarpone Tart

Ingredients

    For the tart:
  • 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling
  • For the filling:
  • 1.5 pints of raspberry
  • 4 oz mascarpone, softened
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon curd
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

    For the tart:
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Unfold the thawed pastry sheet onto the baking sheet.
  3. Using a knife, lightly score a border around the edge of the puff pastry about half an inch away from the edge. Be careful to not cut all the way when scoring the border.
  4. Using a fork, prick holes in the middle of the puff pastry to keep it from rising too much when baking.
  5. Brush the beaten egg on the border, making sure not to drip any egg onto the parchment.
  6. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the puff pastry.
  7. Bake for 20 mins or until golden brown.
  8. Take out of the oven and place on a cooling rack. If the middle of the puff pastry puffed up while baking in the oven, lightly push it down, so it flattens. Cool to room temperature.
  9. For the filling:
  10. In a mixing bowl, combine mascarpone, powdered sugar, vanilla paste, lemon zest, lemon curd, and a pinch of salt, beat until smooth and combined.
  11. In a cold mixing bowl (so it's easier to whip the cream), beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  12. Add the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and fold until combined.
  13. To Assemble: Pour the lemon mascarpone mixture into the middle of the puff pastry. Using a spatula, evenly smooth it out. Top with raspberry and powdered sugar. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
http://www.justabiteofheaven.com/2014/08/24/raspberry-lemon-mascarpone-tart/

Crème Brûlée

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After going through one of my french macaron phase, I usually have leftover egg yolks hanging around in my fridge. I can handle one or two yolks, but I’m talking about at least five yolks here. That’s a bit too much for me.

One of the ways to use up leftover egg yolks is make an all time favorite dessert of mine. Crème Brûlée. I love crème brûlée. Pulling the blowtorch out and melting the sugar. Using your spoon and hearing the tap tap tap sound against the top layer of caramelized sugar. Cracking the sugar layer into small pieces. Creamy custard just melting in your mouth. I’m in heaven. Who wouldn’t be?

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If you use a vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste, you can see all the black specks of vanilla goodness.

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Plus, this gives me an excuse to bring out my blowtorch, which I rarely use. I don’t understand why I don’t use the blowtorch more often. Its been collecting dust in my cabinet. Hmmmm.. maybe a goal I should set for myself is make recipes that require or can incorporate the use of the blowtorch.

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Cleaned off the ramekin with a satisfied smile on my face.

Crème brûlée only requires few ingredients, but lots of time. Mainly time waiting around, while your crème brûlée is chilling in the fridge. But, the end results is amazing! So, if you haven’t made crème brûlée before, I suggest you give it a try.

Crème Brûlée

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tbsp vanilla paste or 1 vanilla bean
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • boiling water
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar (1/2 tbsp per ramekin)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Fill a large kettle or pot with water and place on stove to boil. This is for the water bath to bake the custard.
  3. Heat the heavy cream and vanilla paste or bean over medium-high heat until boiling. Remove from heat and cool for a minute. If using a vanilla bean, remember to take it out of the cream mixture.
  4. While cream is heating, in a mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla extract (if using). Whisk until yolks turn pale yellow.
  5. While constantly whisking, gradually add the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, so the eggs don't cook.
  6. To get a smoother custard, you can strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve, to get rid of any eggs that got cooked in the process, if desired. If there are any frothy bubbles on top of the custard, remove with a spoon.
  7. Place ramekins on a large baking dish or roasting pan. Evenly divide the custard into the ramekins using a ladle or something that pours easily. Pour boiling, hot water into the pan until halfway up the ramekins. Be careful to not get any water into your custard. Bake for 30 minutes or until center still jiggles, but the edges are set.
  8. Cool ramekins on counter top. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  9. To serve: Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar over each ramekin. Use a kitchen blowtorch to evenly caramelize the sugar. Serve immediately.

Notes

*Makes approximately 4 servings, if using 10 oz ramekins.

http://www.justabiteofheaven.com/2014/08/15/creme-brulee/

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

Wowowow! I can’t believe I’m about to blog my first post. I’m feeling super excited to click the “Publish” button, yet anxious that something is going to go wrong.

(The background story of my anxiety) 

Many of my friends have been asking me to start a food blog for the past year, but I was always hesitant, doubting myself. I’ve always enjoyed sharing pictures of my finished desserts, but to actually write and post about them, not so sure. I always wonder, will they be good enough? Can I keep this blog going? Will people actually read my blog? Will people like it? The doubt. The uncertainty. Well, I’m tired of feeling this way. With this one step of signing up for a blog, I’m on my way to conquering my blogging fear.

(End of Story Ramble)

Well, I guess to get my mind off the nerves, I’ll talk about my summer so far.

August means summer right?! Well, this year I’ve spent a majority of my summer in San Francisco. When you think of San Francisco, that means Karl the fog (and yes, you heard me, the fog has a name) is always around, especially in the neighborhood I live in. If you’re not familiar with SF weather, summer clothes come out of the closet, when the highest temperature would be about 68 degrees. But as of lately, I’ve only seen cold, windy fog with a tease of sunlight in between. Not my favorite weather, I still don’t understand why I decided to go college in SF, when I love the hot, sunny weather.

To warm me up, on a cold, foggy summer day, I love to make my favorite cold weather drink, a cup of hot chocolate and curl up in a chair with a book. (The only plus side of having Karl hanging around.)

You ask, “What goes well with hot chocolate?”

I say, “Marshmallows!”

Marshmallows + Chocolate = Why would you deny yourself this???

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I decided to give marshmallows a try. Homemade vanilla marshmallows to be exact. Marshmallows are quite simple to make really. Soften gelatin.  Heat up the sugar syrup to a certain temperature. Whip the gelatin and syrup together. Spread into pan. Cool down. That’s basically it. The plus side is you can experiment with flavors, but I decided to stick with a simple vanilla flavor.

Please note that I made my marshmallows with a hand mixer, which isn’t ideal because you risk burning the motor out.  But, when you really want homemade marshmallows and don’t have a stand mixer, you gotta give it a try. Although, I can’t wait until I’m back home in San Diego to give this recipe a try with a stand mixer.

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VanillaMarshmallow6Marshmallows are going to last me for a while…

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…. and more marshmallows!

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Ran out of space in my pan, so I decided to make marshmallow dollops.

VanillaMarshmallow8

Productivity. Working on my first post and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.

P.S. Look at that melted marshmallow goodness.

Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 2½ tbsp (3 packets) unflavored gelatin
  • 1½ cups (12 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Place 1/2 cup of water into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the water. Set aside to bloom.
  2. In a small saucepan attached with a candy thermometer, combine 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and vanilla bean paste. Cook over medium heat until temperature reaches 240 degrees F. Once the temperature is reached, immediately remove saucepan from the heat.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the syrup into the bowl with the gelatin. Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip for about 12-15 minutes or until the mixture is thick and lukewarm. Add the vanilla extract in the last minute of whipping.
  4. Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, whisk to blend. With the nonstick cooking spray, lightly spray a 9x13 baking pan. Generously coat the bottom and sides of the pan with the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture. Set aside the remaining mixture for later use.
  5. When the marshmallow mixture is ready, using a lightly greased spatula, spread the mixture evenly into the baking pan. Lightly sprinkle a layer of the powdered and cornstarch mixture over the top. Let stand uncovered for at least 4 hours to overnight.
  6. Remove the marshmallow from baking pan to a cutting board. Cut into desired shape with a knife, pizza wheel or cookie cutter (cover with powdered sugar mixture to prevent sticking). Once cut, add to a container with the remaining powdered sugar mixture and toss together to coat and prevent from sticking together.
  7. Store in an airtight container.
http://www.justabiteofheaven.com/2014/08/09/homemade-vanilla-marshmallows/

 

Source: Alton Brown

 

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