Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cinnamon Scones

It's been 16 days since the Japan earthquake and tsunami. I can't even begin to imagine what it is like to live 16 days in a make-shift shelter or to live with such incredible destruction.

This past week, we held a bake sale fundraiser for Japan at my school and I was utterly amazed by people's sheer generosity and incredible kindness.  So many individuals gave all they could -whether it was time, baked goods, or money.  

The depth of people's empathy and compassion is truly astounding.

If you can, please help Japan by donating here. Or join in on Bakesale for Japan, happening on April 1 all across the nation (and at my school too)!

Onto some sweeter things!


 

Perfect Cinnamon Scones! I didn't have time to make these for the bake sale, but I did make these  Ginger Molasses Cookies from a couple of weeks ago and they were perfect! Okay, everything at the fundraiser was a hit!  I made the cookies extra big, which was great. I generally make cookies a normal size so I can eat lots without feeling so guilty, but for others, making enormous cookies is best.  

Enough about those cookies and more about Cinnamon Scones!

I've never made scones before, but now I don't know why I didn't make them sooner! Super easy!

I fell in love with them while abroad a while back.  Having some tea and coffee with a scone or two seems just right for any type of day. Even better, these scones are super easy and I can imagine adding blueberries or chocolate chips (if I'm feeling particularly indulgent) to make them tastier. 



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hua Juan and Sao Bing

I have a bone to pick with airplanes/airports/air-travel-in-general.  

For some reason, my flight and all other flights to my hometown are always delayed or canceled or something! Even when the weather is perfect and clear, my flight is pushed back an hour -or two. All other flights are on time and are fantastic. Only mine!

On the other hand, I have to admit that seeing family and friends or going to new places to have new adventures is worth all of the hassle that is traveling. 

I love being able to sink into my favorite spot of the couch. Or to swivel in my desk chair. 

Although Em likes to use my bed to hold her dirty laundry.  It's not very pleasant.


Hua Juan! Mantou type things! Em already made this once while I was at school, but I was so excited to try to make these when I got home.  

Essentially steamed buns or bread, Hua Juan is a constant in the Em&M household. Previously, we had always bought them, but a family friend, the expert in Chinese cooking in our little town,  graciously allowed us to learn her secrets.  Not only did she teach us how to make Hua Juan, but also Sao Bing and scallion pancakes!

  
Sao bing! These are actually a staple of our Asian Thanksgiving and a part of my family's Black Friday tradition. Since there are always Sao bing left over from the previous night, we take some on the road with us -in case we get a little hungry while we do a little shopping!

Filled with scallions and sprinkled with sesame seeds, making sao bing can get a little messy with scallions and sesame seeds flying everywhere in the kitchen.  The vacuum definitely got a work out afterward. 

Em got rather confused when some of the sao bing turned out so small...until someone pointed out that the ones she sees on Thanksgiving are the larger perfect ones that are fit for company and the little ones are long gone.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guest Post!


This past week was spring break, and given that my mind and spirit were free from the shackles of Times New Roman-formatted strings of text found in my textbooks and lecture materials, I decided to turn to baking. A mixing bowl and measuring cup are about as unfamiliar to me as rhinos to the North Pole. But given M's contagious enthusiasm for baking and her support for budding bakers like me, I decided to give it a try! It turns out that the term 'try' is probably an understatement. It was 5 days of baking. Every morning, at 8 AM just when the sister left for school, I blasted my radio (shout out to ALICE 97.3 FM) and began the dance of the plastic bowl and wooden spoons. 

Some lessons I learned that experienced bakers would label obvious but are what I consider 'why-didn't-anyone-tell-me?!' important.
1) She who wields a mixer doth wield great power (electrically and theoretically). She who is unlucky enough to not have one... will haveth great, sore, hulking hands. Two days into the baking festival, I was plagued by cramped hands and wrists. It didn't help that I did not have the wisdom contained in the next statement that you are about to read:

2) Always mix the dry ingredients first. If you don't, you'll find yourself in a situation that I found myself in. Which was, as I read 'fold in the dry ingredients,' I foolishly decided to fold them in...one by one. Let me do my best to insert a daydream reflection-esque camera shot into this blog. 

Cut to an empty kitchen. You see the silhouette of K against the kitchen counter.
She stands, throwing her arms around. 
In her hands are two wooden spatulas. She mixes the cake dough as well as she can; her motions resemble those of a Coldstone Creamery employee working in those Butterfinger and Oreo pieces for some greedy little kid.
The work is hard, but she imagines, this must be worth it! The cake--it is all for the cake. It must be completed. 
She folds in the dry ingredients. She reads them off the recipe, one at a time, and adds them into her buttery melty goop. 
Adding the flour is difficult, and with each additional cup, the work becomes harder. 
Finally though, she completes mixing in all the flour. 
Then she reads the next line of the recipe, and the truth is debilitating. 
"1 tsp of baking soda." 
She stops, her hands drop to her sides. 
She feels like she has just been condemned--her work akin to that of Sisyphus. 
It feels like some baking purgatory, some cruel joke. 
But the cake, what about the cake?? And with that, she returns her reluctant hands to the spatulas, ready for more. 

End scene.

Okay, okay, I exaggerate. But can you imagine my horror upon realizing I had mere tablespoons to *evenly* mix into my huge, honking pile of dough?! 

3) Always keep a lot of sugar and butter in the pantry. Especially if you decide to hold a five day baking carnival. This may not apply to everyone, but hey, the real message is make sure you have your ingredients before starting. 

4) It helps to have someone wash your dishes. Go trick someone into helping you. ;) 
Okay, I'm not sure why I numbered for only four things. Clearly, I didn't learn much. But I had a lot of fun!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Want to hear something hilarious and stupid?

Em: Today in gym class, we had to do yoga. Then we had to do a bridge and I couldn't even do one!
M: Aww, I can totally do one!

        M proceeds to do a bridge.

M's back officially hurt after doing the bridge. Like old lady status hurt. It's a sad hilarious day.


Cookies in exchange for a sore back!

I have been on a week-long chocolate overload, and it all started with these great things.  It's shot up to the number one baked good on a friend's list (and this list is pretty long!). 

But really. 
Chocolate. 
Plus more chocolate. 
And it's all in cookie form.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pizza Dough II

It's been a rough couple of days for the world. 

My heart breaks every single time I see pictures or see videos of the disaster in Japan. Not all of us can help begin the painstaking rebuilding process, but we can begin to by donating here.

How does one even begin?

It's a rather somber moment for everyone, but it makes me hug my family tighter and longer and makes me more thankful for the great friends that I have.   

Maybe this can make this a bit better.


Nature always cheers me up. 

This plant is wild. After reviving it back to life after break, it's gone on a growth spurt where it plans on taking over the window sill.

Forget about the crazy growing plant -let's talk pizza dough.

I'm always up for trying new recipes so I tried this new one from Naturally Ella. It just looked so tasty! Since pizza is a staple in my apartment, the recipe came at the perfect moment.  



The honey is taking over the world ...I mean... yeast!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ginger Molasses Cookies

It's so warm outside right now that I think the weather is trying to trick us.  Being this warm in early March can only mean that the weather gods will punish us later.  

Like on the way home for spring break.
It would happen. 

Weather gods don't like it when people get where they want to be on time. 

Look--cookies! 


This is my ode to Flour. 

Their cookies are absolutely amazing! Chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and best of all, Ginger Molasses! Yumm I feel a rumble in my stomach already.  After  hearing about Joanne Chang's  new book I knew I had to try making this cookie! 


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dorie Greenspan's Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Oscars! Oscars! Oscars!

The Oscars may have been this past Sunday, but for some reason it already seems like ages ago.  Besides all the hoopla around Anne Hathaway and James Franco, I have to admit, seeing Billy Crystal was such a great flashback! It was so sweet that everyone gave him a standing ovation when he came on.

I also loved Sandra Bullock when she was presenting the Best Actor award. She's so sweet and funny and just thinking about her movies and her speech from last year makes me smile!
I love watching The Proposal and Miss Congeniality cracks me up every single time. How could anyone not laugh when she's undergoing her transformation in that movie? But Speed is definitely a classic.  Sigh

Equally as good in a totally different way -cake! Admittedly, I was searching for ways to use up sour cream that I had left over from the Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake and I came across this delicious cake that was crispy on the outside but still had a great mix of chocolate and cake.



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