White Chocolate Chip Muffins

December 27, 2011 § 2 Comments

Who doesn’t love a good muffin?

White chocolate may not be real chocolate, but white chocolate chips were the only type to be had the day I went shopping at Target and dropped by the baking aisle. It was either that, or dark bittersweet, and I am one of those people with the opinion that chocolate ought not to be bitter.

 

I used this recipe for chocolate chip muffins, though I obviously substituted the white chocolate chips for milk chocolate, and used half the amount, as suggested by many of the reviewers. Also, I couldn’t find any brown sugar in the house so I just used all white sugar. The process was very simple and took about an hour, including baking time. Be aware that the recipe calls for butter, melted and then cooled, which adds additional steps that must be accounted for in the time.

This muffin would have been aesthetically more pleasing had I used real chocolate chips, but instead it looks like cornbread. There is a crisp, firm outer layer surrounding a crumbly and soft interior. The sweetness of the white chocolate provides an indulgent feel to this morning staple.

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Chinese-Style Butterflied Shrimp and Vegetables

December 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

This delicious dish is a fine example of what I have learned to make from my parents. It’s fairly quick, healthy, and delicious as long as you use the freshest ingredients. The flavor is light and delicate, and the shrimp’s succulent taste infuses the crisp greens, highlighted by a touch of garlic and ginger. As with most Chinese dishes, the exact proportion of the ingredients depend on the individual’s preferences.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of fresh, unpeeled, raw shrimp
  • Some type of Chinese green such as napa cabbage or bok coy
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • 1 stalk of green onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

First, butterfly the shrimp by slicing down the middle with a sharp knife. Remove the intestines.

Place all the shrimp in a bowl and mix with a generous sprinkle of salt.

Dice the green onion, garlic, and ginger.

Heat up a large wok on the highest setting, pour in olive oil to coat the surface. Wait until the oil starts to sizzle and throw in the garlic and ginger.

After about a minute, the flavors of the garlic and ginger have been released. Put the shrimp into the pan and gently stir until they turn from translucent to opaque. Just after the shrimp have turned the faintest pink, throw in the vegetables and green onions.

Stir everything together briskly until the vegetables turn tender. Depending on the type of vegetable, this may take 1-5 minutes. Then immediately remove from heat and plate. It’s very important to not overcook the shrimp or they will be rubbery instead of tender.

Making this dish well really depends on the freshness of the ingredients as well as the timing of every step, which relies upon the cook’s intuition. With practice, you will be able to whip up this beautiful, sophisticated stir fry in 30 minutes. I definitely had to have a lot of coaching from my mom and dad, but now they trust me to execute all the steps on my own.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Hope you are enjoying the holidays with your loved ones.

Cream Cheese Danish

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Like the insomniac that I am, I woke up today at 4am after sleeping at 1am. After reading for a few hours in bed, I decided that this morning was the perfect one to try this Easy Cream Cheese Danish recipe. It was, like the name suggests, surprisingly easy to make. All you need is

  • 2 cans of refrigerated crescent rolls dough (I used 8 oz cans because I didn’t realized that the recipe called for 10 oz cans)
  • 2 packages of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons sour cream

And for the icing:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk (I used soymilk)
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter

You preheat the oven to 350, grease a 8×13 baking dish, then lay down one layer of the crescent roll dough. Mix up the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and sour cream in a large bowl. Spread the filling on top of the bottom layer of dough, then cover with the top layer. Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes. While this is going on, mix up the sugar, milk, and butter in a small bowl. Drizzle on the icing after the danish has cooled.

Here’s a photo pre-icing:

And after icing:

The icing didn’t turn out as well as planned because I only had granulated sugar instead of confectioner’s sugar. Apparently you can use a blender to grind up granulated sugar but I didn’t really want to spend that much effort. That’s why the icing looks rather grainy.

Also, there was way too much filling. Maybe this was because I used less dough than the recipe requires, but other reviewers of the recipe online made similar comments. Some of them only used half the stated amount of filling and said their danishes turned out fine.

Giant Sugar Cookies

December 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

I used a Martha Stewart recipe to bake these delicious cookies.

They are really easy to make, don’t require too many ingredients, and took me about an hour. The cookies are huge – maybe three inches across and one inch thick, so the recipe only made ten. Very sugary!

The recipe calls for an electric mixer, but I just did it by hand – the way they did it in the olden days. It’s a good arm workout.

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