Category Archives: Other Sweets

I’m Back! Coconut Milk Cupcakes

Hey guys! So it’s been exactly a month and one day since my last post! Which means, it’s been way too long! My trip abroad was absolutely amazing! I’ll share some delightful dessert photos from it at the end of the post. I came back from my trip tired and happy. But, a few days into my groggy stupor of jet-lag, I started jonesing for some baked goodness. I found some coconut milk in our fridge and thought, it must be a sign!

Now, I must admit, due to my jet-lagged stupor, I did cut some corners with the recipe which made not so pretty consequences with the frosting. As you can see form the photo, the frosting was a little drippy, haha! They still tasted yummy, especially the cupcakes themselves, but, I’d advise you not cut corners and follow the recipe to the “T”. So what I didn’t do was reduce the coconut milk. It takes a good a few hours and I just didn’t want to wait. Lesson learned! Haha! But, you’re supposed to reduce the coconut milk for the cupcakes, as well and they turned out just delectable. So you can take that for what it is 🙂

So first, reduce your coconut milk! [Directions at the bottom]

Now once your coconut milk is reduced and chilled AND then brought back to rom temp [hah!]. Preheat your oven to 350! Beat the butter till smooth then add the sugar and beat unti light and fluffy.

Then mix 2 eggs one at a time. Once that us incorporated mix in seeds from vanilla bean or pure vanilla extract. Mix in the last egg!

Mix all the remaining dry ingredients together. Then alternating, beat in half the dry ingredients and half the coconut milk till it’s all gone. Pour into your prepared cupcake pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when touched. The batter makes a lovely light cake.

My cupcakes look deflated because I didn’t test them before I took them out. The recipe says 20 minutes, but mine definitely needed an added 5-7 minutes to poof up. My second batch looked much cuter. 🙂

Make your frosting with your reduced coconut milk. If you dont reduce it, like me, the frosting is too liquidy and will look curdled and be a little drippy. Haha, all the things you don’t want in frosting! It still tastes yummy, but half the fun in cupcakes is the aesthetics. Anyway here’s my less than pleasing to the eye frosting:

I placed it in a piping bag and piped on the frosting.

I then decided to dabble on some sprinkles to try and avert the eye from the oddly oozing frosting haha!

All in all they were quite tasty! They just looked a tad…off. Heh, lesson learned: never cut corners in the science of baking [unless it’s proven successful!]. I’d recommend to just reduce your coconut milk before using and you’ll have tasty AND cute cupcakes.

Coconut Milk Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 13-to 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk [this is for both the cupcakes and the frostin]
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup reduced coconut milk, room temperature

DIRECTIONS 

For reduced coconut milk:
Bring coconut milk to boil in large deep saucepan over medium-high heat (coconut milk will boil up high in pan, so be careful!). Reduce heat to mediumlow; boil until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill (coconut milk will settle slightly as it cools). For those of you who are lazy, like me, DO THIS AHEAD OF TIME: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Bring out of fridge when you’re ready to use and make sure it’s at room temp.

For cupcakes:
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line eighteen 1/3-cup muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in seeds from vanilla bean and remaining egg. Add half of flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Add 1 cup reduced coconut milk; mix just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake cupcakes until tops spring back when gently touched and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes in pans to rack; cool 10 minutes. Carefully remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on rack.

Coconut Milk Frosting

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk (see above), room temperature
  • Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish) or…sprinkles 🙂

DIRECTIONS

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, seeds from vanilla bean, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl. Increase to mediumhigh and beat until light and fluffy.

Pipe on cooled cupcakes with whichever tip you want and garnish accordingly. 🙂

Alright, so I promised to show some delectable Turkish and Italian dessert photos from my recent trip. Here you are!

Let’s start with Turkey:

We walked through the streets of Istanbul and saw shops and restaurants with gorgeous vitrines full of yummy delights! Here there are different puddings.

Then we saw this delicious looking profiterole concoction.

This was a delicious honey cake I did try later and it was amazing!

On the right is a type of solidified rice pudding that was my mom’s favorite by far. I wasn’t too fond of the graininess in the texture, but it was fun to try!

We, obviously, came across a myriad of baklava:

We also came across and ate a ton of Turkish Delights!

We never got the chance to try these, but they looked very interesting. Tehy were balls of halva rolled into different kinds of nuts.

Then on the last night in Turkey, I got this amazing honey drenched cake with clotted cream dolloped in top. I still have longing dreams about this amazing dessert.

My mom chose a different version of her favorite broiled rice pudding with a scoop of Turkish vanilla ice cream.

Now, on to Italy!

While in Rome, I had my first Italian Cannoli! Delish!

 

 

Of course, we had our fair share of gelato!


Had one of the tastiest Tiramisu’s in my life ata little restaurant in front of the Trevi Fountain called, Il Chianti.

We washed it down with some espresso.

And then, our veri friendly waiter brought us some after dessert delights of chocolate dipped almond slivers.

On a different evening, after stuffing myself with too much pasta, I needed a light dessert and was surprised with a very fresh and sweet bowl of fragola [strawberries] topped with a mascarpone cream. Mmmmmm

Then, while in Florence, near the Duomo, I saw these cute little guys called: Baba. Baba in Farsi means Dad and my dad didn’t come with us on the trip and I missed him a lot so I thought it was a sign that I should buy one. It was delicious. It was a little sponge cake soaked in honey and alcohol. Yum!

Another Florentine treat I had was Cantucci di Prato. It’s delicious anise flavored biscotti that you dip in sweet wine. Here were some Cantucci in a vitrine. I, unfortunately, didn’t take a photo of the one I ate.

A different night in Florence, my Aunt and I had panna cotta. Mine was topped with chocolate and hers with fruit.

My mom, on the other hand, had an interesting take on tiramisu. It was Tiramisu with fruit in it and the lady fingers were soaked in Grand Marnier instead of Espresso.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. And now, I’m back to continue my love of baking and sharing it with you guys!

 

Hope you Enjoyed!

-Me

 

Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Pops

So another of the desserts I made for Rob’s birthday are cake pops!

These are REALLY easy and REALLY festive! You can either take boxed cake or make your own batter. I made chocolate cake and yellow cake.

Make cream cheese frosting, or just grab canned cream cheese frosting. If you make your own, use 3/4 of a c If you use the can, use half the can. Mix it with your COOLED cake.

Make round balls and place in a baking dish or cookie sheet.

Place the dish in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm the balls up. Then take your candy melts and melt them. This part is really sensitive. Only put it in for 30 sec- 1 minute at a time and mix after each round to make sure they don’ get too hot and burn. My pink Candy melts burned and you get bumpy pops instead of smooth ones. Also, it’s really important not to get any water in the candy melts or else they’ll harden, as well.

Then take your lollipop sticks [you can find them at Michaels] and dip the tips in the correct color candy melt and then stick them less than half way through in the cake balls.

Place them in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Dip in the colored candy melt you want and make sure to sprinkle on whatever decorations you want while the pop is still wet. They dry really quickly!

Have a styrofoam block ready and stick them in the block to dry.

They were really yummy and really simple to make!

 

THINGS NEEDED

  • yellow cake
  • chocolate cake
  • two colors of candy melt
  • sprinkles
  • lollipop sticks
  • styrofoam block


CHOCOLATE CAKE

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Unsalted butter, for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Butter and flour a 7-inch round cake pan (3 inches deep). Sift flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  2. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.

 

YELLOW CAKE

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 10-inch tube pan. Dust the bottom and sides of pan with flour, and tap out any excess. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated, occasionally scraping down the sides of bowl.
  3. Mix together buttermilk and vanilla. Slowly add the sifted flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overbeat.
  4. Pour batter into prepared tube pan, and until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and cool completely on wire rack. Cake can be stored in freezer, double wrapped with aluminum foil, for up to 1 month.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS
eat cream cheese, butter, and 1/4 cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until combined. With machine running, add remaining 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1/8 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, and beat until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes more.

ASSEMBLY
  1. Bake Cakes
  2. Let cake cool completely
  3. Make cream cheese frosting
  4. Mix each cake with 3/4 c frosting
  5. Make Cake balls
  6. place in freezer for a few minutes
  7. Melt Candy melts
  8. Dip tips of lollipop sticks in candy melts
  9. Stick less than half way in cake ball
  10. Keep in fridge overnight or in freezer for 15 minutes
  11. Dip Pops in melted candy
  12. SPrinkle with decorations
  13. Place in prepared Styrofoam block
Hope you guys enjoy!
Happy Baking!
-Me
 

 

 

 

Easter and more chocolate eggs!

So, for Easter, Rob and I were going to his parents house in Ventura. I thought, it’d be cool to recreate my Persian New Year Chocolate Eggs for Easter! After all, the original Martha Stewart idea was, in fact,  for Easter.

They turned out really festive!

So I did the same thing as last. I made little holes on one end of the eggs and emptied the contents. Then I boiled the empty shells for 10 minutes and I was ready to dye! I wanted more Easter colors so I got out all my food colorings and had a party!

They turned really cute and pastel and stripey!

I used my handy dandy styrofoam and pin egg dryer [didn’t take any photos of it this time, but it’s the ame one I used in the Persian New Year’s post]. I let the egg shells dry for  two-three days and then when they were completely dry inside I filled them with dark chocolate candy coating and emptied them again so that just the sides were covered in the chocolate coating.

Then while they were setting, I made some ganache.

Now mix the chocolate and cream together!

Now, fill the eggs with ganache!

They were a big hit! Now, how about let’s serve one up!

Bang it on a hard, flat surface! Then start picking away at the crack that will form.

Now we have the entire chocolate de-shelled.

And for the best part, take a big bite into the chocolate egg!

They were absolutely delicious!

For full directions go ahead and check out my earlier post. I hope you guys enjoyed!

Happy Chocolate-ing!

-Me

Chocolate Ganache Eggs for Persian New Year

I was rummaging around my favorite site: Martha Stewart, looking for Eid [Persian New Year] ideas. I found this. I knew immediately I had to try it. Needless to say, the eggs were a hit at the party! Everyone was enamored by how professional they tasted, and they were pretty easy to make, just a little time consuming.

So you need at least three days for this project.First thing’s first, buy a medium sized piece of styrofoam and line pins on it.

Now, at this point in my life, I don’t have all of Martha’s fancy tools, so instead of a rotary drill, I just created my own holes. They didn’t look as perfect, but that didn’t matter too much. If you have a rotary drill, try it her way.

Take your eggs, however many you’d like, and poke a little hole in them either with the tip of a knife or the tip of a pin.

Now chip off some more pieces with the knife or pin.

Break through the membrane and keep chipping until you have a hole about the size of a penny. Pour out the contents. It helps to swirl around a toothpick in there to break up the yolk.

Once you’re done with all the eggs, place them in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, constantly skimming any foam that appears on the surface.

Prepare your dye and dye the eggs whatever color you desire. Place them on your styrofoam pin creation to dry.

Let them dry for 2-3 days. Check the inside for moisture. You see, chocolate won’t stick to the shells inside if it’s wet. Once they’re ready, melt a batch of dark chocolate candy melts.

Pour the chocolate in a piping bag. Grab your dry egg:

Pour the melted chocolate into it:

Now pour the chocolate back out into a bowl:

So you end up with an egg that has chocolate stuck to its sides, but is hollow inside:

Set your egg aside and finish the rest of your eggs this way.

Now, make your ganache:

When your ganache is a thick enough consistency, pour it in a piping bag. Place the eggs back in their carton upside down and fill them to the top with ganache:

Place in fridge to set for a few hours. Once the ganache had set, you can flip the eggs over and even serve them in their cartons for a whimsical feel:

Or you could place them on a pretty plate:

You can crack a few of them to show that they do actually have chocolate in them, or leave your guests guessing. Note: Don’t be afraid to crack them hard, there’s chocolate inside, not egg 🙂 I wish I remembered to take pictures of the chocolate egg inside, but we were so excited about New Years and the eggs that I totally forgot. Hope you guys enjoy!

GANACHE:

INGREDIENTS

16 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Put chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup of cream just to a boil over medium-high heat; pour over chocolate. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir until smooth. Stir the mixture very gently, incorporating the cream steadily, without overworking. The mixture should begin to appear glossy. Let it sit till it reaches the desired consistency.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Blow eggs
  2. Let boil in pan for 10 minutes
  3. Dye
  4. Dry for 2-3 days
  5. Fill with melted candy melts
  6. Pour the melts out again
  7. Fill with ganache
  8. Let set for a few hours
  9. Enjoy

Happy Persian New Year to everyone! Happy Baking!

-Me

Double Vanilla Ice Cream!

So Rob’s best friend, Ryan just moved down to Southern California, and to welcome him I made him a yummy dinner. We had a really delicious Persian Lamb Stew and for dessert I wanted to make bananas fosters. The dessert was created in 1951 by Paul BlangĂ© at a restaurant in New Orleans called Brennan’s. It was named afterRichard Foster, a friend of the owner who was then the New Orleans Crime Commission chairman. So for bananas fosters, you gotta have vanilla ice cream, and I thought, why not take a shot at making my own ice cream. I borrowed my mom’s ice cream maker a while ago and it’s just been taking up space in one of our cabinets ever since.

Here’s the final result:

I did a little research and actually found out that one of the oldest references to ice cream comes from the Persian Empire. As early as 400 BC, Persians would pour grape concentrate into a bowl set on ice and eat that as a treat. Later they went on to make faloodeh which is an icy dessert with rose water and vermicelli noodles.

Take a vanilla bean and scrape it out!

Now, have you ever wondered what you should do with your left over vanilla bean hull? I have the perfect idea. First, if you like milk, boil a cup or two of milk and drop the hull in it. Let it boil for a minute or two and take the hull out. You have a concentrated amount of vanilla milk that you can pour into your coffee or, hey, even drink just like that with a bit of brown sugar mixed in. Yum! Take your vanilla bean husk, wash and dry it. Then cut it into little pieces. Then in a jar, interchange layers of sugar and the pieces. Screw the lid shut and in a few days you get delicious vanilla sugar that you can use in this recipe and others!

So for the ice cream, you just combine all the ingredients together and put it in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to 170 degrees [if you don’t have a thermometer, that’s roughly about when bubbles start to pop on on the sides, make sure not to let it boil].

Remove mixture from heat and let cool slightly. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate over night. Then pour the mixture in your prepared ice cream machine and let it do its magic!

It was creamy and delicious, especially with the bananas fosters!

Hope you guys enjoy!

DOUBLE VANILLA ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup vanilla sugar (regular sugar works fine too, it’s just not quite as intense)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

  • DIRECTIONS

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and place on stove over a medium heat.
  • Bring the mixture to 170°F, 
  • while stirring occasionally.
  • DO NOT ALLOW IT TO BOIL!
  • Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • Place in airtight container and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld.
  • If you’re in a hurry you can place the pan in an ice bath.
  • Either way the temperature of the mixture will need to be at 40°F, 
  • for most ice cream makers.
  • PLACE in ice cream maker and let it do its thing
  • Enjoy!

  • Happy Eating!

    Me

    Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

    So, I’ve always wanted to make marshmallows and thought what better time than now! It’s cold. I want hot chocolate. What goes perfectly with hot chocolate? MARSHMALLOWS. 🙂

    A lot of people don’t know this, but the first marshmallows were used as a medicinal substance. They used to make it with mucilaginous extracts which came from the marshmallow plant [Althaea officinalis]. The Marshmallow plant was used for sore throats. The creation of marshmallows as candy dates back to ancient Egypt where they would make the marshmallows and mix it with nuts and honey. Using the plant was very labor intensive and finally the French found a way to make the marshmallow with gelatin or egg whites. And there you have it!

    They are very very easy to make, just a bit sticky. I took this recipe from the amazing Martha Stewart. When in doubt, go to Martha Stewart :). So take a 9 by 9 inch baking pan and spray it with cooking spray. Then line it with plastic wrap. Sprinkle gelatin in the bowl of a standing mixer and pour 1/2 c water over it. Let it stand for 10 minutes.

    Bring sugar, corn syrup and the rest of the water to a boil.

    Then with the the mixer on high, pour the boiling mixture into the gelatin mixture. Add the salt and keep mixing for around 10-12 minutes.

    Now take your vanilla bean.

    Scrape it and pour the seeds and vanilla extract into the mixture. Once it’s fully incorporated, you need to take the mixture out and put it into the baking dish. Spray a spatula with cooking spray. The oil keeps the mixture from sticking. Get the mixture into the baking dish and flatten it out.

    Take a piece of plastic wrap, that will cover the prepared baking dish, and spray it w cooking spray. Place it on top of the dish spray side down.

    Let it stand for 2 hours. Then carefully remove the marshmallows and take the plastic wrap off. Oil a sharp knife and cut into preferred size pieces. Roll each piece in confectioner’s sugar and enjoy!

    VANILLA MARSHMALLOWS

    INGREDIENTS

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 (1/4-ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, plus 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • Confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for coating
  • DIRECTIONS

  • Lightly spray a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand for 10 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into gelatin mixture. Add salt and continue mixing for 12 minutes.
  • Add vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds; mix until well combined. Spray a rubber spatula or your hands with cooking spray. Spread gelatin mixture evenly into pan using prepared spatula or your hands. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place, spray side down, on top of marshmallows. Let stand for 2 hours.
  • Carefully remove marshmallows from pan. Remove all plastic wrap and discard. Cut marshmallows into 2-inch squares using a sprayed sharp knife. Place confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to bowl and toss to coat. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

  • Happy hot chocolate making and dropping marshmallows [many, many of them] into it!

    Mel