Cherry Blossom Cookies – with real blossoms!

Adventures, Cooking

My journey into Asian cooking began when I found Just One Cookbook. A recipe website created by Namiko Hirasawa Chen, to share easy (and tasty) Japanese recipes. When I found her recipe for Cherry Blossom cookies, I just had to try it!

I ordered some salted cherry blossoms from Japan since I could not find any locally and to order from Amazon was more expensive than ordering directly from Japan. Obviously it took a bit of time for them to arrive, though not as long as I expected. I think it was just over a week… two weeks at the most.

Cherry Blossom Cookies
Cherry Blossom Cookies! So pretty!

Have you ever tried cherry blossoms? They don’t have a lot of flavor but they smell amazing, and they are so pretty!

These cookies are so beautiful! It’s basically a sugar/shortbread type cookie with a few blossoms ground up in the dough and one blossom on the top. You roll the edges of the dough in sugar crystals… I only had red ones, but it turned out okay.

Cherry Blossom
They are just so pretty!

I highly recommend this recipe, if you don’t mind spending the money and waiting for the blossoms to arrive. It makes a fair amount of cookies… though they didn’t last long in our house!

Follow me to see more of my journey in Asian Home-Cooking!

Asian Home-Cooking – A New Adventure!

Adventures, Cooking

I realize it has been… awhile… since I last posted. To be honest I had debated whether or not to continue with the blog. But, here I am! Here to tell you about my newest cooking adventures – Asian Home-Cooking!

How it all started:
Asian home-cooking isn't complete without Ramen.
Starting the journey into Asian cooking!

Back around July 2019, I became increasingly interested in Asian cuisine. It started when I found Just One Cookbook, who offers amazing Japanese recipes (you should definitely check her out!). We have tried so many of her recipes and honestly have yet to find one that we did not enjoy. In the near future you can expect to see many posts of the recipes we have tried, and my family’s thoughts and opinions on them.

From July to about October of 2019 our lives revolved around Japanese cuisine, animes and mangas. Then one day, Mrs. JOC (Just One Cookbook) shared a link to a friend of hers. This friend also posts recipes.

The Jump to Korean
Kimchi - a staple in Korean home-cooking
My first batch of Kimchi

Enter Korean Bapsang, another amazing recipe website, but this time offering Korean home-cooking dishes. I believe I have tried almost every recipe on her website. However, being a big goofball, I didn’t photograph all of the dishes I made. But don’t panic… I did get pictures of a lot of them so you can look forward to those posts in the future as well.

It was also around this time that I started listening to… BTS, (huge K-Pop boy band for those who don’t know), and became slightly obsessed with all things Korean. It also happens that at one of the universities I am attending for my Master’s degree, there are a few Korean students. I have had the opportunity to discuss Korean food with them, and one of them has become a super awesome friend! She has told me now that I have made kimchi, which she thinks is better than her own, I am officially Korean! 🙂

Learning New Languages

So, with this new obsession with Asian culture and cuisine… I have decided that on top of my ridiculously busy schedule, I am going to learn Japanese and Korean. For learning these languages I have been using Duolingo and am on a 54-day streak in Korean! My progress hasn’t been great, other than being able to read the Hangul alphabet and recognizing a few words here and there… but I’m having fun!

Keep an eye out over the next few weeks as I post more about the Asian home-cooking recipes we’ve tried and our thoughts on them. Also, I have been getting some Tokyo Treat boxes, so I may also do a review post about those!

You can also check out some of my previous cooking adventures here.

Baking up a storm!

Cooking

Life has been a bit hectic lately, but that hasn’t stopped me from baking up quite the storm. It doesn’t help that I’ve fallen in love with the Great British Bake-off. Whenever I see someone making delicious food on tv, it always gets me excited to be in the kitchen. Hubby enjoys this, at least at first. After multiple sweet treats in a row… he may wish I’d stop watching such shows!

Baking Pies:

First I went through a pie making craze.

apple tart

Old fashioned apple tart.

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Apple Pie

British Apple Pie (Less sugar, no spices)

I used a British style pastry, which was so much easier to work with! It allowed me to practice some of my pie decorating without having to worry about it crumbling on me.

At our church, we do a monthly seniors luncheon. Well, this past month the lady who usually runs it was away and the lady who usually makes the desserts was terribly sick. I volunteered to make the pies since I was in this pie-making craze. I made 8 pies, 4 different kinds. Coconut cream, Apple, Custard, and Pecan. I’m told they turned out well.

Tasty Pies

A few of the pies.

BAKING OTHER THAN PIES:

I also made some blueberry muffins, pesto biscuits, and chocolate eclairs during this time. These were purely selfish bakes! 😊 I’ve tried a few different scone recipes as well, but don’t have pictures. Our favorite is a Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Scone. The Eclairs went over quite well with hubby. We may have eaten all twelve within 4 or 5 hours.

Baking

Blueberry muffins

Baking

Pesto Scones

baking

Eclairs!

The baking has settled down a bit… mostly due to an increase in my weight! But I still have a few more treats I want to try out. I just need to find some people willing to eat a few so that hubby and I don’t eat them all.

Volunteers?

French Macarons

Cooking

Have you ever attempted French Macarons? Or tried one? They are ridiculously delicious! This is another one of the desserts I learned to make from one of the Craftsy courses.

My husband absolutely loves them. So today I decided to whip up a batch and surprise him.

Of course, I had some help!

First, Lil Miss and I weighed out all of our ingredients. This is a recipe that can go very wrong if you don’t weigh everything accurately, and sometimes even when you do! 😳

Next, we layered our icing sugar and almond meal in the food processor and pulsed it until blended.

Up until this point, Mr. Moo had been napping. Of course, once he woke up he had to help too. My mother-in-law got this adorable Cars apron and chefs hat for him because he is obsessed with vehicles and cooking!

Next, we whipped our egg whites and cream of tartar until it resembled foam and there were no liquid eggs. Then we rained in our sugar slowly.

It takes quite a while to get this beat to stiff peaks. The kiddos started to lose interest around this point. Which was really for the best.

After the meringue is whipped it’s time to gradually fold in the almond meal/icing sugar mixture. In the course, you are taught to do this in three increments using a J-fold. Then comes painting the mix up the sides of the bowl a few times until it slowly slides down the sides.

Pop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe your circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Typically I use a template under my parchment, but today I freehanded it.

This next part is fun! Slam the pan on the counter six times, then punch the underside twice on each end. Then let the pans sit for a minimum of 15 minutes to dry a bit before baking at 330F for 11-13 minutes. The first picture is what they should look like, with a few that cracked or went a little wonky. The second shows when something has gone wrong. Not sure what happened to those ones today, but they still taste good! 😊

The Macarons need to cool 10 minutes on the tray before being moved to a cooling rack. While they cool you can make your filling. I’ve done a rosewater buttercream, salted caramel, and others but today we went for a simple chocolate buttercream. You just pipe some on a cooled shell, and top with a shell of similar size. Here’s our finished macaron.

They were enjoyed by all!

Want to try a Craftsy Baking course? Check them out here. Online Baking Classes

Homemade Doughnuts

Cooking

Sometimes I get ambitious and make homemade doughnuts. These particular doughnuts I learned how to make from a class I took on Craftsy. Check out their selection of baking classes here: Online Baking Classes. I have completed Simple to Sensational Doughnuts (where I learned to make the doughnuts I’m writing about now), Miniature French Desserts, and Classic Croissants at Home. I have a couple more that I have yet to complete but can’t wait to try, Danish Pastries from Scratch and French Pastry Shop Classics. You can expect to see some posts of my results when I finish! I recommend any courses by Colette Christian or Jenny McCoy since most of the courses mentioned above are taught by Colette and the doughnuts course is taught by Jenny. 😊

(I also have some sewing courses on the go, but that’s a post for a different category!😉)

Back to the doughnuts!

These particular doughnuts are a deep-fried, glazed and filled doughnut. The first step was to make the dough and cut the shapes.

Next we heat the oil.

Then we fry our doughnuts, flipping once until a nice golden brown.

While the doughnuts are cooling slightly, make your glaze. I went with a dark chocolate ganache. You want to glaze your doughnuts while they are still a bit warm. Let the glazed doughnuts cool completely. Meanwhile you can make your filling.

I chose to do a strawberry jam type filling. It was too thick to properly pipe in though, so next time I would maybe blend it up a bit to make it less chunky. Pipe some filling into your doughnuts through the side with a long piping tip.

Then enjoy your delicious doughnuts!

What flavour doughnut would you make? What baking class would you take from Craftsy? (Here’s the link again! Online Baking Classes)