Friday, October 30, 2009

Introducing Two Bites

October is nearing to an end and if you look at the number of blog posts I have this month, it looked like I haven't been baking much at all. Although it is true that I've been trying to cut back on the amount of time I spent baking, I still baked a fair share of cakes and cookies. But since they're simple cakes (like Chiffon or pound cake or black forest cake) that I've blogged about before, I decided to keep them to myself. :p

During the low period in October, several major events happened to the baking aspect of my life. First is the wedding favors that I made for our Pastor's 25th wedding anniversary:

I made about 200 of these cupcake pops as their edible wedding favors. :) This was a very interesting task for me because of many reasons: (a) we're talking about quite a large quantity, (b) it's for my pastor's 25th anniversary, and (c) it's my first "experience" of what it would be to open up my own place.

I started preparing for the cupcakes pops one week before the anniversary. My work had been demanding a lot of my time then (and now still) and so I had no choice but to bake late at night and pull 2:30AM nights in order to finish the order. The strange thing is that I didn't feel tired a all baking the cakes, making the frosting, crumbling the cake, rolling them into cake balls, shaping them into cupcakes, dipping them into chocolates and wrapping them up in their plastics. :) In fact, I felt very energized. It felt like my endorphin levels are high! By the time I wrapped the last of the cupcake pops (with the help of Alvin), I felt very accomplished. :)

Alvin and I couldn't make it to the party since we had to fly to San Jose for our bridal shower; so I didn't get a chance to gauge people's reaction to the mini delight. I just hope that my little pops were well received and well loved. :p

The second big thing that happened this month is two bites.

For now, two bites is an idea, a concept, and a dream.

The idea is mini bite-size desserts that are irresistible.

The concept is two fold: is a small cozy shop that serves mini desserts that are to be enjoyed with a good cup of tea and an ounce of conversations as well as catering for edible favors for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and more.

The dream is for me to bring the idea and concept together as a reality in my life. :)

I need to be praying about this more seriously. I need to be planning about this more realistically. I need to be practicing more often.

If you have any comments/suggestions/ideas about this, please let me know. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pistachio Butter Cookies

I've recently bought a cordless cookie press from Michael's using my 40% off coupon and I am very excited to put it to use. As soon as I get home from Michael's I searched the internet for Spritz cookies recipes and found plenty to experiment with. I started with a recipe from Epicurious and then branch out to make my own recipe. :) And because the holiday season is coming soon, I made snowflakes!

This one is for a Pistachio Butter Cookies:

115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
70g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg yolk
140g all purpose flour
25g finely ground pistachios

Preheat the oven to 325F. In a bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter with the granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Then, mix in the salt, vanilla, and egg yolks until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour and pistachios to the mixture and mix in until it is just combined. Pack the dough into a cookie press fitted with the snow flakes disk and press cookies about 1 inch apart onto cool, ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Transfer the cookies to the cooling rack to cool.

I brought these little snowflakes for Alvin's nephew and he likes it a lot! :) It makes me feel very happy when he devours the cookies in seconds and then immediately ask for another one. He hasn't learned how to talk yet but he sure knows how to make his parents (or Alvin and I) knows when he wants something. :p

I am very grateful for Alvin's cousin and her family. Ko Yohan, Ci Lia, Ethan, and Andrew have really brought an extra layer of warmth to our relationship. They make us feel at home and have always served us yummy food after work. :) I'll surely miss them when I move back to Indonesia at the end of this year.

I packed the cookies in goodie bags and brought some to church as well to share with my dear friends who always welcome my homemade goodies. :) I am truly blessed to have so many encouraging friends and "family" around even when I'm far from home.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

It's been a long time since I updated this blog. I apologize for that. It's not that I haven't been baking, but it's just that the things I've baked lately seemed to be simple stuff that's been posted before. :p I've been making chiffon cakes, bolu kukus, muffins, etc but nothing really special. I'm sorry to say that this post is also another simple cookies recipe but I really want to share this with you.

I think I've found my ultimate recipe for chewy cookies. I still remember that I owe someone a chewy cookie recipe and so here it goes. :)

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tbs light corn syrup
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup macadamia, chopped
1 cup white chocolate chip

Preheat the oven at 350F. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.

In a medium bowl with a hand mixer at medium speed, mix the butter, sugar, and corm syrup together until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat till well blended (about 1-2 minutes). At low speed, mix in the flour mixture just until all the flour in mixed into the batter. Stir in the macadamia and white chocolate chips using a spatula.

Using a small cookie scoop or 2 small spoons, shape the batter into rounds and bake for 5-6 minutes. The cookies should still feel soft when you take it out of the oven but the remaining heat on the cookie sheet will continue to cook the cookies after it’s removed from the oven. Leave the cookie to cool a little in the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring it to the cooling rack to finish the cooling.

This recipe will go in my permanent recipe folder. :) I think you can easily play around with the recipe to make this a chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raising cookies, or M&Ms cookies. :) The cookies stayed moist and chewy for days without the need to microwave it. It's really like the Nestle Tollhouse cookies sold in malls. :p I highly recommend that you guys try this. :)

Recipe aside, I want to also share a little about the going-on's in my life lately.

The reason that I haven't been on a baking craze this month is mostly re-evaluation of my priorities. Now that I'm weeks away from going back to Indonesia for good, I'm considering more seriously how I should best spend my time. Although baking is a good thing to do (as it makes a lot of people smile when I walk in with a batch of fresh baked cookies in my hands), it's also taking time away from other more important things in my life. I didn't realize that I've been allocating most of my free time in the kitchen making goodies that I missed out on spending quality time with God and Alvin and my other friends and families. So I've decided to scale back a little on my baking in order to make time for the important things in life (not that baking is not, but it's just not #1 in my list). I need to remember that relationships need to be cultivated and that relationships are the treasures in life. I don't want to miss out on that. :)

For all my family and friends that I've neglected this past months (or years), I'm truly sorry. I promise to spend more time with you guys (and still bring some warm cookies and brownies or cakes and other desserts). :)

Love you all!