Turtle Bread – Melon pan recipe

I remember the first time I saw melon pan on cookingwithdog (a japanese cooking channel on youtube), I thought this bread was melon flavoured. Surprisingly, it did not contain any melon at all. I believe it got its name based on the way it looks, similar to how chinese pineapple buns got its name.

I’ve always been curious to try them but was too lazy to make it. I got to try it when I went J-town (Japan town) but instead, I had the matcha version of it in the form of a turtle bread. I thought it looked so adorable that I wanted to try making it myself. A few years later, after a few online tutorials, I finally got around to making this turtle bread.

Turtle Bread

Melon Pan

I actually had to make this recipe twice because I messed up the first time round. I also realized things I could’ve done better.

The first time I made this, I followed the instructions from cookingwithdog to a T. The problem was they used instant yeast in that recipe whereas I had active yeast. I soon learned that you have to activate the active yeast in water first before I could use it whereas with instant yeast, you could just mix it in with your dry ingredients right away. I also failed to dissolve the dry milk powder in warm liquid leaving my dough with a strange grainy texture.

When I made this the second time round, I activated the yeast in warm water. I also dissolved the dry milk powder in there as well to get rid of that grainy texture. The dough was much better the second time round.

After the dough has completed its first proof, I put on the turtle backs. I simply added some matcha powder to the cookie dough recipe to help give its signature green color. Though the original recipe said that I should keep it in the fridge so that it’s easier to handle, I found it easier for them to be a bit warm so that it’s more malleable.

cookie dough

I wrapped the cookie dough around the proofed dough and dipped the turtle shell in sugar.

Wrapping the dough

After coating it with sugar, I scored the turtle shell with its signature diamond pattern using a pastry cutter.

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Summer Peach Crumble

One of our favourite things to do on a weekend is visit St. Lawrence Market. Every Saturday, we visit the Farmer’s market there to see what fresh produce they have available. Now that it’s summer, it’s exciting to see what’s in season and it’s always so refreshing to see all the vibrant colors of the different fruits and vegetables they have available. Although the produce looks super fresh and amazing, they’re often very expensive 🙁  We decided to go closer to the end of day to the farmer’s market to see if we could get an end of day sale and lucky for us, one of the vendors sold us a giant basket of peaches for a fraction of the price!

Peaches

We were ecstatic! But the moment we got home, we realized how many peaches we had and there’s no way we could finish it all in a week…. So we tried to think of a few recipes we could make that would use up these peaches and one of them was peach crumble.

Peach crumbleInstead of making it in a traditional baking dish, I decided to make them in individual ramekins instead so that it’s easier to serve since it’s already portioned for each person. The dish itself is pretty easy to make – I kinda improvised the measurements for the filling.

Here’s how to make it:

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Apple Roses

This has got to be the easiest dish to make. Every time I see someone make rose anything, I worry that it’ll be super intricate and difficult. If you’ve ever tried to learn how to make rose origami, you’d understand. Luckily, this was really easy – I’m pretty sure a 6 year old can do it.

I saw this recipe on Youtube by Chef John. I love this guy – he’s hilarious and his recipes are usually pretty spot on. The great thing about this is that you can easily WOW people with this because they will probably be thinking “Wow you made that? It looks impressive!” when really you’re thinking to yourself “I made that in 5 minutes”. So if you’re bored of your traditional apple pastries, try this!

Apple Rose

All you need is some puff pastry (I bought mine pre-made) and some red apples (I used Fuji apples). That’s more or less it!

 

Soft Pretzels Recipe

A lot of my baking stems from cravings that I suddenly get or they’re inspired by food I stumble across on the internet. Recently I had a strong urge to make soft pretzels as it didn’t seem difficult to make and I already had all the ingredients. The initial batch of soft pretzels that I made were a hit but I personally found them a bit salty. I also found the dough lacked the softness and flavour needed to take it to the next level. I continued looking for a better soft pretzel recipe and I think I may have found the winner! I combined some of the techniques used in the other pretzel recipes with this one and the result was a golden, soft, and savoury pretzel..

Soft Pretzels

Oh man and these smell AMAZING! I came home after grocery shopping and I could still smell them before entering our apartment. Needless to say, this recipe has been bf approved 🙂

Let’s talk about how to make them:

First, prepare the dough. I think the secret to this soft and flavourful dough is the use of milk instead of water, and the use of brown sugar instead of white. This made a huge difference for me in my opinion. Knead the dough into a smooth ball and allow to rise for an hour until doubled in size.

Before After

Punch down the dough and allow to rest for 10 minutes so that it’s easier to work with. Divide the dough into even pieces. I divided mine into an assortment of sizes as I was experimenting with the different sizes.

Divided

Once done, roll out each piece of dough into a long skinny strand and form them into a pretzel shape as shown below

 

pretzel

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The best brownie recipe!

Hello everyone!

Hope you all had a great weekend. I spent all of Sunday cooped up in the apartment with not much to do. After doing as much cleaning as I could tolerate, I decided to do some baking. Originally I wanted to create some Domo brownies but those didn’t turn out as well as I planned 🙁

I’ll include a picture of it anyways just for laughs but needless to say, I probably won’t be using buttercream frosting next time to make the mouth

-_-

Domo

I found this brownie recipe online a while back and fell in love with it ever since. Unlike the other brownie recipes I’ve had in the past, this one actually tastes like real chocolate and not like the ones you make out of cocoa powder. It’s also not overly sweet which is good for people who are watching their sugar consumption. Needless to say, I’ve made modifications to this recipe over time 🙂

Brownies

These brownies are cakey, chewy, and fudgey all at the same time! Best of all, they’re not super dense which is the way I like it. I didn’t make a frosting for this as I feel that would be overkill on the sweetness. In my opinion, this is the best brownie recipe I’ve found so far to date.

I brought this into the office the next day and they were a total hit! So if you want to be a hit among your family and friends, you have to try this.

The best brownie recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder into a small bowl. Set aside. Meanwhile, spray an 8 inch baking pan with some cooking spray.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler, stirring constantly to prevent the chocolate from burning. Once completely melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and vanilla.
  4. Whisk in eggs once at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Continue to whisk until the mixture is completely smooth and glossy.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients 1/3 at a time and whisk until it's all incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out with wet crumbs. If it comes out completely clean, you've overcooked it! This will take approximately 25-30 mins depending on your oven. Always check before your anticipated cooking time to prevent over baking.
  7. Cool brownies over a wire rack for at least 3 hours to allow the brownie to set. Cut into squares when ready to serve.
  8. Be sure to wrap these up in saran wrap or put them in an airtight container or else they will dry up.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/02/09/fudgey-cakey-brownies/

Japanese Condensed Milk Bread

Thanks to the power of reddit, we discovered a Japanese Condensed Milk Bread recipe. Being the baker in the relationship, I took a look at the ingredients and it looked fairly simple so I decided to give it a go since I already have everything (minus the almonds which I can do without). The overall process was quite simple though as with all bread recipes, it’s time consuming. However, the time it took for the dough to proof allowed me to make other things like my fudgey, cakey brownies 🙂 More on that later.

Japanese condensed milk bread

This bread was soft and had a nice sweetness to it from the condensed milk.

Fluffy Bread

Best of all, the presentation looked great! The original recipe asked for this to be baked in an angel cake pan but seeing as I didn’t have one, I improvised with a loaf pan instead.

Want to know how it’s made? Here’s how:

Prepare your bread dough. Knead it into a smooth ball and allow it to rise for 30 mins or until it doubles in size.

Proofed Dough

While the dough is proofing, prepare your condensed milk filling. This is just a simple combination of softened butter and condensed milk. Mix together until it forms a paste.

Condensed Milk Filling

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Apple hand pies

Happy New Years everyone! Last night we celebrated new years eve with  a few friends and I decided to make some apple hand pies for everyone as a dessert. They’re definitely more convenient to eat than slicing an entire pie and it’s already portioned for everyone!

Apple Hand Pies

They’re surprisingly easy to make but it does require a bit of prep time. It’s also a bit tricky working with the pie crust because it needs to consistently be cold or it will be hard to work with.

Let’s begin by talking about how to make the pie crust. We followed a recipe by Alton Brown as we were looking for one that required the use of lard since we had some lying around. I cut up my butter and lard into small pieces and placed them in the freezer for 15 minutes to ensure that they’re super cold. In the meantime, I also prepared a bit of ice water in preparation of putting together the dough.

When the time was ready, I threw all the dough ingredients into a food processor. Yes a pastry cutter would’ve sufficed but this was easier. I pulsed the lard with the flour and salt first until it broke down into smaller pieces. I then added the cold butter and pulsed it until the mixture looked lumpy. I added the cold water in a little at a time and continued to pulse while ensuring I don’t overmix it. The end result should be something that looks like coarse meal.

Pie Crust

You’ll know when your crust is ready when you try to squeeze the mixture into a ball and everything holds together. Once it holds together, you can stop and shape the dough into a disc and saran wrap it to chill in the fridge for approx 30 mins.

Dough Ready

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s been a long hiatus and it’s good to be back. Ever since we moved downtown I feel as though I haven’t had as much time to bake as I used to. I kept coming up with excuses such as not having time after work or being too busy during the weekends to do so. Ultimately I think I just got lazy. That’s when I decided to get back to the blog as that was when I was most motivated to bake because I enjoyed taking pictures of my creations and sharing it with others.

The last creation I made was chocolate chip cookies and it was quite the hit! I remember having an itch to bake something sweet and seeing as what I already had in the pantry, one of the things I could easily make was chocolate chip cookies. It took me less than 30 mins to make and the result was chewy but soft cookies as that is how we prefer them.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe I’m about to share with you is a personal favourite. You can adjust the baking time depending on whether you want your cookies to be on the crispier side or the softer/chewier side. The thickness of the cookies will affect the cooking time as well so if you make thinner cookies, they will cook faster and likely be more crispy. If you make them thicker, they’ll be chewier but also take longer as well.

Here’s how it’s done:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Dissolve the baking soda in hot water and add it to the batter along with salt.
  4. Stir in flour in thirds to ensure even mixing and that you don't have dry pockets of flour. When all combined slowly stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop the cookie batter by lhe spoonful onto a silpat or some parchment paper
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned. Adjust baking time according to how soft you want the cookies to be. It's always best to undercook than overcook.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2015/11/29/chocolate-chip-cookies/

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Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

This is by far one of my most popular and most requested desserts of all time. Everyone whose tried it has loved it and are always asking me to make it again! The great thing about this recipe is that it’s super versatile as you can basically change up the flavour of the coffee cake to whatever you want just by changing the toppings! It can be a Strawberry Coffee Cake, Blackberry Coffee cake, you name it!

Coffee Cake

Most people think that since this is called a coffee cake, it naturally tastes like coffee right? WRONG. This cake got its name because it is commonly eaten alongside coffee but it tastes great by itself.

If you’re looking for a dish to impress, look no further!

On another note, we’ll be heading to Japan this Friday for 2 weeks and we’re super excited! So there will be some radio silence for a while 🙂

Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup half & half cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 Empire Apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tbsp water
    For the Crumble Topping:
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and grease an 8 inch square baking dish with PAM or brush with vegetable oil
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together egg, half & half cream, pure vanilla extract, and melted butter
  4. Slowly stir in your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients a little bit at a time while whisking to incorporate. Mix until the batter is smooth and there are no more pockets of dry flour.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together your brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over your thinly sliced apples and toss to coat. Add in the 1/2 tbsp of water and toss to coat further to help give the apples a bit of moisture. Set aside until ready to assemble.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for the crumble topping and cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter until you have a crumbly mixture.
  7. To assemble your coffee cake, pour your cake batter into the square baking pan. Top the cake with a thin layer of the sliced apples mixture and pour over any remaining cinnamon sugar mixture you may have left over. Finally, cover the apples with the crumble topping mixture. Make sure the crumble topping mixture isn't too thick as this will prevent the crumble from browning
  8. Bake in the oven for 30-35 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2015/06/16/apple-cinnamon-coffee-cake/