Hojicha Creme Brulee

If you’ve been following our blog for some time now, you’ll know we are pretty into Japanese food and have experimented quite a bit with Japanese cooking. Matcha has been all the craze for the longest time but recently, a new type of Japanese tea has been rising in popularity – Hojicha!

Hojicha is a roasted variation of green tea. I’ve had it several times in Japan and upon returning to Toronto, I started noticing it more in restaurants. In fact, a fairly new Japanese dessert shop in Toronto (Tsujiri) that typically specializes in matcha desserts came out with Hojicha soft serve ice cream and it was really good. Though I personally felt it left a bit of a bitter aftertaste due to how strong the tea flavour was, I enjoyed it.

This inspired us to make Hojicha creme brulee. The great thing about Creme Brulee is that it’s a very versatile recipe. Once you have the base recipe down, you can essentially make any flavour you want. We are still in the process of experimenting with the ratios but I think the first round went well.

As when we experiment with any new recipe, we always try to make it in small batches first as to not waste it if it all turns sour. I found a recipe on SeriousEats that makes creme brulee just for one — perfect! From there, I just adapted the recipe by steeping 1/2 tbsp of hojicha into the whipping cream and voila! This creme brulee is born.

We plan to continue refining this recipe and adjusting the portions as we go. What I like about our blog is that it’s a place for us to keep track of what we made, and allow us to track refinements as we go along.

Hojicha Creme Brulee

Hojicha Creme Brulee

Ingredients

  • 100 g whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp hojicha leaves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp of sugar (to carmelize for the creme brulee)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F and boil some water for the square 8x8 baking pan which you will use for the bain marie.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the whipping cream over medium high heat until it comes to a gentle simmer. Once it starts to bubble a little bit around the edges, turn off the heat and add the hojicha tea leaves. Cover and let steep for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Once it's done steeping, strain the tea leaves and put the infused whipped cream mixture back into the pot to keep warm.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolk and sugar together. Then, slowly add a bit of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture to temper it while whisking continuously. Then, add the rest of the cream mixture in a bit at a time. This will prevent the eggs from cooking. Finally, add the vanilla extract.
  5. Put the mixture into a ramekin and place the ramekin into the square pan. Fill the pan with boiling water and bake for 40 minutes or until the centre is firm when you shake it.
  6. Allow to cool for 15-20minutes and then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top of the creme brulee with the remaining sugar and blow torch the top to get that signature carmelized top.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/07/03/hojicha-creme-brulee/

 

 

Yuzu Sorbet

Nothing is more refreshing and cleansing than having sorbet as dessert. The great thing about sorbet is that it’s perfect for those that are lactose intolerant, and it typically enhances the flavour of whatever fruit sorbet is being made.

Continuing with our posts for #JapanWeek, we are making Yuzu sorbet today.

I’ll start off by saying that there aren’t that many yuzu sorbet recipes out there… And when there are, they all require the use of fresh yuzu fruits (which are extremely hard to find here…. and when found, are crazy expensive). I’m sure this would’ve tasted a lot better if I used real fruit and yuzu zest but even with bottled yuzu juice, it still turned out really good. I was pretty impressed with myself when I made it the first time.

Mind you… this sorbet could be better had I improved the texture. I think the next time I make this, I will use corn syrup as I read that will make it less grainy and more scoopable. I’ll be sure to post an updated version when I make this again.

Yuzu Sorbet

Yuzu Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1.2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup yuzu juice

Instructions

  1. In a sauce pot over medium high heat, bring water and sugar to a boil to make simple syrup.
  2. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
  3. Then, stir in yuzu juice. Taste it and adjust sugar as required.
  4. In an ice cream maker, add the sorbet mixture and mix until it's in a scoopable texture. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can do what we did and just put it in a glass container in the freezer, and stir it around every hour to hour and a half to help it slush up.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/05/27/yuzu-sorbet/

Cream Puff Recipe

I wasn’t always a fan of cream puffs. However, over the last couple of months, we’ve been frequently some of our favourite local cafe and bakery in our neighborhood and one of the pastries that has always seem to attract my attention were the ones made with a Pâte à Choux base. Whether it be cream puffs or eclairs, these desserts have inspired me to attempt to make them myself so that we can stop spending all our disposable income on these desserts XD

Thanks to my trusty Ladurée cook book that I bought last year, I had a point of reference to make my pastry cream. Being unsatisfied with their Pâte à Choux recipe, I decided to try another which turned out a lot better (the choux just had more flavour overall).

Cream Puffs

This dessert is actually not very hard to make though it can be time consuming as you have to dry the Pâte à Choux out in the oven, and then wait for your pastry cream to cool before you can actually use it. But once you have this base recipe down, you can actually adjust the pastry cream flavour to your liking. I went ahead and made a matcha variation of it that turned out quite well!

Matcha cream puff

To view the full recipe, see below.

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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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Nutella Crepe Cake

It finally feels as though spring has arrived. For the first time in god knows how long, the sun is out! The day is also longer so that means there will be more opportunities for me to take food photos 😀

I’ve always loved nutella but for some reason I never got around to buying it. I took the plunge last week and decided to see how many dishes I can make with it as it feels like the possibilities are endless. To start, I decided to make Nutella Crepe with mixed berries. But I thought why stop there? Why not make a Nutella Crepe Cake! And hence the idea was born.

Nutella Crepe Cake

Guys, this tastes as good as it looks. Imagine layers upon layers of Nutella! This gives you the satisfaction of eating multiple crepes (because we all know you won’t be satisfied with just one) in a few slices.

Layers

Indulge yourself and make this super easy to make crepe cake!

Nutella Crepe Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nutella
  • Fresh raspberries

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract together. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
  2. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine with a whisk. Do this in several batches to ensure all dry ingredients are evenly incorporated
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add a ladle full of the crepe batter into the centre and quickly swirl it around the pan to ensure even distribution. Once the sides start curling up and you see some air pockets forming, flip it to the other side to cook for a couple of minutes. Do this for all the crepes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat up the nutella for about 45 seconds or until it has a very smooth consistency. This will help it spread easier.
  5. Once all the crepes are done, start assembling the cake. Take one crepe and spread nutella on top. Then add another crepe on top. Repeat until you're down to your last crepe.
  6. Top with some fresh raspberries and you're done!
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/04/16/nutella-crepe-cake/

Strawberry Sorbet Recipe (Dairy Free)

Recently I’ve been on an ice cream making frenzy. This is due to the fact that the bf went crazy at the supermarket a while back and bought a lot of cream – much of which he did not use… Although this recipe does not require the use of cream (perfect for those who are lactose intolerant), it was part of my ice cream making marathon as I made Vietnamese Coffee and Hong Kong Style Milk Tea Ice cream a few weeks ago.

Strawberry was on sale last week which was rare considering fruits are super expensive during the winter time. We bought 2 quarts worth and since I knew we couldn’t possibly finish it all in time before it spoils, we decided to make sorbet.

strawberry sorbet

But why sorbet and not ice cream? Well truth be told we found it quite challenging to make good strawberry ice cream due to some of the recipes we found online. The main challenge people encountered with strawberry ice cream was the inability to bring out the vibrant red colour of the strawberry or fully extract its flavour. Since our strawberries weren’t exactly the highest of quality, this sorbet was least likely to jeopardize the results.

This recipe is super easy to make and only requires 4 ingredients – all of which are likely to be found in your household as they are generally staples in the kitchen.

Make sure to let the sorbet set a bit before you serve it and store it properly. For tips on how to store homemade ice cream or sorbet, see here.

Strawberry Sorbet Recipe (Dairy Free)

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts strawberries, washed (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove tops from strawberries and purée in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and blend for 30 seconds. Add lemon juice and salt and blend to incorporate. Taste the mixture and adjust to taste accordingly
  3. Strain purée and transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least 12 hours
  4. Churn sorbet in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer sorbet to freezer to firm up for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/04/03/strawberry-sorbet-recipe/

This recipe was adapted from Serious Eats.

 

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. Allow to cool for a few minutes until chocolate is no longer super hot.
  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/

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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Raspberry Sorbet Recipe

One of our annual traditions is to go berry picking at one of our local farms. We typically just pick strawberries but seeing as we were catching the tail end of Strawberry picking season, we decided to pick Raspberries as well.

The strawberries were in scarce supply but we were still able to get some decent ones. They’re so small compared to the GM ones you find at the supermarket but boy do they taste so much better!

The raspberries on the other hand were in abundant supply. They were so easy to pick off since they were so ripe – they literally just fell off the vines.

raspberries

With close to 2 lbs of raspberries, we had to come up with a game plan as to what to do with them. Making jam seems kinda boring. Seeing as it is so hot outside right now, making ice cream seemed like the best idea. In fact, raspberry sorbet would be perfect!

Raspberry Sorbet

Sorbets are super easy to make but I personally find them a bit annoying because once you freeze them, since they don’t have the cream to make it easier to scoop, it tends to freeze over like ice. As a result, I often find myself having to thaw it out a bit first before I can easily scoop it. However, it still tastes amazing! It just requires a bit of patience if you want to eat it right away 🙂

To make sorbet, make sure you quickly rinse the berries to get rid of any impurities. Then, place it all in a food processor and puree. Just look at how gorgeous and red these raspberries are 🙂

Raspberries

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