2019, First Attempts, Healthy, keto, No Bake

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Sugar!

Yes. Believe it or not, 0 sugar was used for this post. You know how you’ll have an annoying person in your life that can’t eat things? Well, I have one. So, because he was doing keto and he was celebrating Eid, I decided to find a keto dessert. (Yes, I know how late this post is, but deal with it)

The hardest part of all of this was making sure I was buying sugar-free ingredients. And I did this at Trader Joe’s. So you KNOW I took 3 more hours than I needed to because I kept getting distracted. Anyway, the hardest part was looking for sugar-free chocolate at Trader Joe’s when they have 5lb bars of chocolate (cue the drooling). AHEM. Anyway, TJ’s does carry sugar free chocolate. I cannot confirm if they carry Stevia or any other sugar free item because I already had a jar of Stevia.

Can be found at Trader Joe’s
Stevia, Cream Cheese, & heavy whipping cream

Fun fact: I taste test my batter as I go along. So after I whipped this to perfection, I tasted it. And it tasted like straight ass; to the point that I almost threw out the whole thing. I seriously was going crazy in my kitchen because 1) I was baking this for someone else and I’d be DAMNED if I let them try anything that wasn’t my best effort and 2) I don’t suck at baking.

SO. I checked my cream cheese’s expiration date (as it was in the fridge for awhile) and it was still within its freshness date (also, those dates are suggestions, I still would have left it in there). There was no way it was from the heavy cream as I just bought that (but to be safe, I did a sniff test). There was a moment where me and the jar of stevia had a stare off as I contemplated if it was that. Because to me, I thought stevia would taste like regular sugar. I cautiously brushed some off from the rim and tried it and there was that flavor of straight booty. I was honestly disgusted and judged all the people I knew who were keto and using stevia.

Ok, so I derailed, back to the baking part.

Melting the chocolate and mixing with coconut oil

Some people like to use a double boiler to melt their chocolate. But my lazy ass did no such thing. Granted, it’s riskier but as long as you’re cautiously and steadily heating your chocolate, I think you’re okay.

Now, I thought I was being clever when I decided to brush the sides of my reusable silicone cups (SAVE THE PLANET DAMMIT) with coconut oil to make it easier to pop the peanut butter cups out of their casings. No. I was being a dumb ass. The result?

All the chocolate sliding RIGHT OFF the cup

Obviously, the chocolate was already mixed with coconut oil so it would already be easier. I just created more work for myself because I had to clean off the coconut oil.

How it SHOULD be
My sloppy ass work
Filled with peanut butter cheesecake fluff
Top it with more chocolate crap
The annoying keto person in my life

Takeaways

  • Stevia tastes disgusting
  • Be patient with covering the cups with chocolate
  • Add more peanut butter to the cheesecake fluff

TL; DR

I made keto cheesecake peanut butter bites for Eid 2019 (this post is very very late). While the overall product was good, the aesthetics could use work. I’ve also received feedback from my sister to add more peanut butter because the cream cheese was the dominant flavor.

Link to Recipe

2019, Baking, dough work, First Attempts, No Bake

DoughNOT Finger My Hole!

Eid Mubarak! (Belated, I know) I tried to find a traditional pastry for Eid, but I couldn’t find any that really resonated with me. I briefly thought about making a baklava but decided it wouldn’t taste good a day or so old for the special person receiving the treats.

I finally landed on mini pistachio doughnuts. This entails making doughnuts (which I had never done) and making the custard.

Fun fact: Cindy’s terrible with custards.

So, at Trader Joe’s (because I’m fancy) they didn’t have any deshelled pistachios. In my haste, I decided, fuck it, I’d deshell it myself (mistake). I go home, get my baking table up and get crackin’ because time was of the essence.

When you have to crack open 65g of pistachios…
When it’s been 10 minutes you only have 17g of pistachios…
STILL NOT THERE

I think I spent at least 20 minutes to get 65g of pistachios. If not, maybe a half hour. But, anyway, I then need to grind these babies into bits so that I can start making the pistachio custard.

I promise it’s not diarrhea

You can expect your typical custard ingredients: egg yolk, sugar, and heavy cream + pistachios. Then, and I always love saying this because I feel like I’m a baker even though it’s super basic, comes the proofing of the dough. To proof dough is to allow for your dough to ferment and to double in size due to the yeast eating at all the sugars (which I think is just the process of fermentation so my explanation is redundant). Just as I’m about to cover my dough, I get a phone call that my doctor’s appointment was that day. Good thing proofing takes 1 – 2 hrs because I THREW off my apron and ran out the door.

2 Hours Later…

Ok, so back to baking:

My dough is double in size and ready to be made into doughnuts! (swoon) I did notice that the top of my dough was a bit drier which leads me to believe I didn’t knead my dough enough. I also later realized that my dough was wetter in some spots, so I most definitely did not knead it enough.

My big fat baby
You can see it’s not a consistent color and wetter in some spots
Pretending to be hard at work so my roomie can take this photo
My little babies ready for proof 2

After forming the dough into 20ish little balls, it was time for proof 2!

Aw my cute little babies getting fatter
Frying my babies!
Pre-filling babies

Ok, but what happened to that custard Cindy? I’m glad you asked invisible audience. So, as I mentioned earlier, I suck with custards. I always feel like my custards end up more watery than I want them too but then I’m always afraid of heating it more in case it hardens too much. I never know when to take it off the heat.

In this case, I feel like my custard came out too watery. When I was piping my holes (ho ho), the custard was dripping out of the piping bag. It was a messy affair. I also was having difficulty stabbing the doughnuts to fill because the custard was EVERYWHERE. I had to admit, the custard was rather tasty though. Once filled, it was time to top them with what else but powdered sugar! (Even though the recipe called for caster/superfine sugar)

Dressed and ready to party

Takeaways

  • Do not deshell the nuts myself
  • I took the custard off the heat too early
  • Knead the dough more for a more even consistency

TL;DR

I made mini pistachio doughnuts for Eid 2019, I forgot my doctor’s appointment mid-bake, my dough was not consistent, and my custard was too watery. BUT, they tasted good even if they’re not the cutest or done perfectly. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would go IN on how wrong this came out, but you know what? I’m doing this for fun, so fuck it. I had a blast (sort of…)!

Link to Recipe

2019, First Attempts, Healthy, No Bake

Who You Callin’ a Tart??

Summer is here. But no one’s beach body is here. So, as the resident baker, of course I get many, many requests to bake something healthy (mostly from my family). *sigh* Naturally, I gave into peer pressure.

What This Tart Is Made With:

  • No added sugars
  • No happiness/love
My super healthy date, cashew/almond, ginger, flax seed crust

This is also a no-bake recipe. So it’s a low-maintenance and quick dessert if you need something on the fly. The recipe also called for maca powder, which I didn’t have on hand, so I riskily used ground flaxseed. The crust was annoying to mold (I don’t like working with my hands where things get stuck to it constantly) but it was nothing vegetable oil spray couldn’t help with.

The recipe called for 1 cup of any flavored Greek yogurt. I used about 2-3 cups instead. Again, I can’t emphasize enough just how little effort was placed into this. The only annoying part of putting it together was molding the crust to the pan.

I used a cake spatula to get a smooth-ish finish

Now! Onto the fun part of decorating!! I used an assortment of mangoes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

Voila!

Takeaways:

  • Chill with the ginger (I added too much)
  • Pick prettier fruits
  • I feel healthy

TL;DR:

No one has a beach body, so everyone’s requesting a healthy “bake”. I picked a no-bake fruit tart. I certainly didn’t feel guilty while eating it, but I could have used less ginger. This was an extremely short post because it required almost 0 level of effort.

2019, Baking, First Attempts

4 Scones and 7 Yeets Ago

WHOA. It’s been a while. I swear I’ve been baking. Just not posting. But that’s besides the point, because I’m back bishes.

Now, a friend whom I hadn’t seen since graduating from NJIT 4 years ago, had posted on her Instagram story that she had trimmings of her plants that she could pot and soil for whomever wanted them. I, always believing I’m a plant mom when I’m actually a plant killer, enthusiastically slid into her DMs to tell her I wanted the plant. We made plans to meet up at my house and I offered to make her a pastry and coffee.

So, I had been wanting to make a breakfast pastry for awhile now and this was the perfect time to kill 2 birds with 1 scone (I’m so punny). Croissants seemed too daunting with the many layers of dough and butter (and let’s be real, I hate rolling shit out, ESPECIALLY cold butter) and then ensuring you get that lamination. Muffins felt too… basic. I wanted something new and different that I hadn’t made before. And that’s how we landed on scones. And because I like to think I’m better than basic scones, I wanted flavor to my scones, and who says no to cinnamon and chocolate???

Because I’m ghetto and don’t have a pastry blender, I had to use these hands

I really dislike working with flour on my hands. I really really do. It gets everywhere and it’s annoying to wash off (but maybe I just suck at working with it). I honestly thought about buying a pastry blender and had to stop myself from spending money when I hardly use a pastry blender. And my hands are perfectly capable (thankyouverymuch). Anyway! The fun part of incorporating chocolate and cinnamon was up next. Another fun fact, I do not enjoy chopping chocolate bars because it too gets everywhere (why the fudge are you a baker Cindy???). I spent $5 on a fancy bar of chocolate that I had never heard of before, but it was the first one I grabbed in ShopRite. As I’m chopping I realize, I do not have enough chocolate.

But that’s ok, because I have a 3lb bag of Ghiradelli chocolate chips that my roommate laughed at me for buying. Jokes on him, BECAUSE I’M ALMOST DONE WITH THE BAG (like 4 months later, but whatever).

A $5 bar of chocolate that wasn’t even enough for the scones
But that’s ok, because Ghiradelli had my back

Now, remember, I hate working with dough. It’s easily overworked and becomes unenjoyable. But, thankfully, this didn’t require much kneading. After spraying my hands with cooking spray to minimize the amount of dough I’d get on my hands, I kneaded it into this ugly, but functional, disc.

It was difficult to ensure I evenly distributed the dough so that my scones wouldn’t come out in weird, dumb sizes. But, I think, for my first try, I didn’t do too terrible of a job.

Tada!
Scone me

Takeaways

  1. These hands were not capable
  2. 1 cup of chopped chocolate > 1 bar of chocolate (DOH!)
  3. Better distribute the dough

TL; DR

I didn’t blend the butter and flour well enough because the middles of my scones were cakey and doughy while the rest of the consistency of the scone was pretty decent. In terms of flavor, it was there, but much too warm. I think I would have liked something bolder in the recipe (such as orange zest with the dark chocolate or maybe cherries/raspberries). My friends from college enjoyed them, but did mention the doughiness in the middle.

Link to the Recipe

2019, Baking, Rebakes

MadeLAY It On Me

If there’s one thing you should know about me, as a baker, by now, it’s that I love baking for other people and force-feeding it to them. My old co-workers and I have this thing where we’ll meet once a month to catch up, hang out, and exchange souvenirs from wherever one of us has gone. At this point, we’re all friends.

Anyway! I remember one friend, Nicolette, is a huge fan of madeleines because she’d always buy some from Starbucks. She’s an incredibly hard worker and was a huge help in transitioning me to a project, so I baked some as a thank you for her (the first time I baked madeleines). Since I hadn’t seen her in a while, I decided I needed to bake her a batch again when I saw her for my pseudo housewarming at my new place.

I tried a different recipe (link will be at the bottom), but I definitely approve of how they came out in comparison to the first time I baked them (which was meh and not that memorable).

Obligatory work station post

I can’t express how much I love my baking station. From the butcher’s block to the storage capacity. It’s such a step up from my old baking station that this makes me look forward to baking.

The secret ingredient to authentic madeleines

Don’t underestimate the power of a great zester. Hopefully in 2019, I’ll work with more baked goods that require zests.

The best way to amp up ANY baked good: browned butter ā¤

Browned butter is ambrosia. I put that shit on EVERYTHING. I use it in my chocolate chip cookies, I use it in my madeleines, I could eat it without anything tbh.

The beautiful batter waiting for its dry ingredients and browned butter

Every step in making madeleines is delicious. From these whipped egg whites with sugar to the browned butter and to the zest.

After chilling my batter for 4 hours+, they’re ready to be put into their molds
My fat ass waiting for my madeleines
Ready to be popped out!

The stressful part of madeleines is getting them out of their molds and hoping you didn’t overfill them (which I often do).

Stressed AF
I like the seashell shape, but I wish I had bought the traditional madeleine molds
Tada!
Voila!

Takeaways

  1. Don’t overfill my mold!
  2. Let the madeleines cool FULLY in the mold
  3. Patience!

TL; DR

Overall, I love madeleines. They’re incredibly simple, but they require patience. From the browning of the butter (BURNT butter is NEVER good in ANY recipe) to letting the batter chill for 4+ hours. At the end of the day, the more patience you give this recipe, the better the end result is. AND added bonus? My bestie Jessica and her boyfriend Kenny (both who normally don’t like my baking) liked them! Do you know how rare that is!?

Link to the recipe used

2018, Baking, First Attempts

More S’mores!

Wow! This has been an incredibly delayed post, so I’m sorry to keep my 2 readers waiting (hopefully it’s worth it). But, Happy New Years and Happy Holidays!

These S’mores cupcakes were baked on December 29th, so I can’t add them to my 2019 Baking Log, unfortunately. But not to worry! There will be plenty of baking posts for 2019 (I hope)! Without further ado, let’s get into it.

A friend and her fiance who I haven’t seen in a really long time was visiting me in my new place to check out the results of my renovation and to catch up. Because it has been so long, I decided they’ve most likely gotten incredibly skinny and needed my baking back in their lives. After going through some lists of cupcake recipes/flavors, I decided on a s’mores cupcake, because who can say no to chocolate and marshmallows!?

My lovely baking station in my new home

I thought my baking table would be too big, but of course it isn’t big enough! My fat ass still found a way to dominate my space and give myself very little room to work.

The lovely cupcake holders I picked out

Because Christmas had only JUST passed, I decided my Christmas themed cupcake holders weren’t too out of place. Plus, they were cute (bonus!).

Mixed all my dry ingredients together!

Not pictured is me adding my wet ingredients and baking the graham cracker bottoms for my cupcakes. BUT, here’s the finished, unfrosted cupcakes in all their glory.

You can only IMAGINE the amount of drool that I had when I pulled these babies out. But of course, I couldn’t enjoy them yet because it’s only appropriate that I make marshmallow frosting.


I was nervous on executing marshmallow frosting since it’s my first attempt. But the results were delicious!

Tada!

The only downside is that I didn’t have my torch properly equipped to toast the tops. Yes, yes, I could have used my broiler, but that would have taken too much effort and time and I wanted to eat these things.

I had to hold myself back from devouring it to take a photo!

Takeaways

  1. Bake the graham cracker bottoms longer and use more butter to bind it
  2. Have my baking torch ready at ALL TIMES
  3. Enjoy them!

TL;DR

I made S’mores cupcakes for friends I haven’t seen in a really long time, they were great but the graham cracker bottoms were too crumbly.

Link to the Recipe Used

Thank you for reading! šŸ™‚

2018, Baking, First Attempts

Cobble Cobble!

Happy Thanksgiving! I know everyone’s eager to get started on their Black Friday shopping, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

As many of you probably know (or don’t), I currently have no kitchen, hence the radio silence of this blog. BUT! I was determined to bake SOMETHING for this holiday. Because, HELLO, it’s Thanksgiving! The holiday of eating and capitalism. Right, short and sweet. Sorry.

So, since my cousin Jo was bringing cranberry sauce, my sister Vanessa had a bag of cranberries. My family is very anti-waste, so what better way to utilize the cranberries than a cranberry cobbler?! I have never made one and I was stressed for time and also using ingredients I was not comfortable with.

Exhibit A:

WHO USES WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR!? (Spoiler: Vanessa Eng)

Ahem. Anyway, I tossed the cranberries in sugar, cranberry juice, and whatever else. I also used 2 different recipes at once (because, hello, I’m stupid). So, it looks incredibly dumb and questionable, but I promise the results weren’t awful.

And here we have the finished product!! It was a bit tart, so I should have tossed the cranberries in more sugar. Distribution of the topping (“crust”) should have been done better, so that is 100% my fault. However, overall, considering this was a last minute baking effort not in my kitchen and without my tools (I had to use my nephew’s baby spoon to measure out ingredients), I thought it was pretty good.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is seeing my cousins and aunties from my mom’s side. It’s always nice to have everyone gathered together and listening to my mom tease her sisters (or vice versa). On top of that, because we don’t see each other very often, it’s always nice to just hang out and watch movies together or drink tea as the aunties spill the tea. Chris, my late brother, would be our designated movie man coming in with pirated movies on his external hard drive and ready to provide the entertainment. The holidays are never easy if you lost a loved one, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it in their memory. We love you always Chris and we hope you got to chuckle with us as the aunties teased mom.

Takeaways

  1. Don’t bake at my sister’s house
  2. Whole wheat flour didn’t taste half-bad, but it’s still not my go-to
  3. The cranberry cobbler was a mild success

TL; DR

My sister gave me whole wheat flour to bake with and 0 utensils aside from a standing mixer. However, with the power of Martha Stewart’s recipe, I was able to pull off a mildly successful cranberry cobbler. šŸ™‚

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!