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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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.
  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 Pork Chops with Sage

We recently bought a sage plant and we were looking for every excuse we had to use it. Pork chops went on sale recently and lucky for us, sage goes well with pork!

I consulted my Jamie Oliver cookbook as I recall seeing an apple pork chop recipe and decided to make some minor modifications to it. The result was something delicious 🙂

Apple Pork Chops

This Apple Pork Chop recipe, served along side Oven-Roasted Broccoli, will make a great lunch or dinner. The sweetness from the apples coupled with the savoury broccoli makes this dish a winning combo.

To find out how to make this, see below:

Apple Pork Chops with Sage

Ingredients

  • 1 pork chop
  • half an apple, sliced
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Pat the pork chop dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. This will help the pork chop sear. Then, season generously with freshly ground salt and pepper
  2. In a cast iron pan over medium high heat, drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and cook each side of the pork chop until it is fully cooked.
  3. With the excess fat from the pork chop in the pan, add in the butter and brown sugar. Stir everything together to make a caramel sauce and add in the sliced apples and sage leaves until they are evenly coated. Once the apples are softened, remove both from the pan and place it on top of the pork chop along with the residual sauce. Serve immediately.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/01/17/apple-pork-chops/

 

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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Pork with Bitter Melon and Black Beans Sauce Recipe

We were going grocery shopping at our local chinese supermarket one day when we discovered that bitter melon was on sale. I’m personally not a fan of bitter melon – in fact, I really dislike it but since the bf loves it so much,  I let him buy it and do what he wants with it, so long as he doesn’t cook my dishes with it as it often leaves a strong bitter taste along with whatever it’s cooked with.

One day I came home late from my workout — starving. I was excited to see what the bf was cooking for dinner when lo and behold – he was making pork with bitter melon and black beans sauce. I urged him to cook the bitter melon separately but seeing as it would prove too difficult – I accepted the fact that I will just have to pick them out myself later 🙁

Pork with Bitter Melon

The dish itself was actually really good – I didn’t taste the bitter melon in my pork which was great for me!

Here’s how it’s made:

Ingredients

Prepare the marinated pork by marinating it with shaoxing wine, sugar, and salt. We added some grated ginger to give it a little kick.

Also prepare your bitter melons by chopping it up into 1/4 inch thick slices. For the black bean sauce, thoroughly wash the preserved black beans and season it with grated garlic, fish sauce, shaoxing wine, soy sauce,  salt and sugar. Mix to combine.

Once you have all your ingredients prepped, it’s time to put it all together.

Bitter Melon and Pork

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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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London Fog Ice Cream

I never really drank Earl Grey Tea as I often prefer Orange Pekoe or Green Tea. It’s not that I don’t like it.. it’s more like I never had a strong interest for it.

My opinion for Earl Grey Tea changed when I went to Bang Bang Ice Cream recently and got the London Fog ice cream as I was trying to order something different from what I normally get. I’m typically not the adventurous type but since this place was famous for its wide range of ice cream flavours, I thought why not. Boy was I glad I did because it tasted so good! This prompted me to figure out how I could replicate this ice cream flavour at home using my ice cream maker.

Ice Cream

The ice cream making process was actually quite simple.

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Carrot Ginger Soup

Although it’s officially spring, it’s still pretty cold out. Due to the fluctuating weather, I caught a cold last week which resulted in me constantly blowing my nose and not being able to breathe properly due to a stuffy nose. Though I recovered very quickly thanks to lots of rest and water, I wanted to help boost my immune system and make myself a nice healthy soup. What better way to recover from a cold than some Carrot Ginger Soup?

Carrot Ginger Soup

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