Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dried Fruit Foccacia

At Central Market, they have this wonderfully delicious white chocolate apricot bread. It's fluffy, ever so slightly sweet & simply divine to the taste buds - sweet breads have always been appealing to me. Other than sampling a slice here & there at the store, the challenge was not eating it, but recreating this bread at home. I spent most of Friday looking for a recipe, but it's difficult to search for a recipe which will replicate the texture & taste from the store...especially since I can't sample the online recipes, plus I lack bread making experience. The bread is soft, light, moist & yeast is listed on the ingredients. I did find a bread recipe that contained dried fruit - I figured that was as close as I was going to get. Dried fruit focaccia on Martha Stewart & Baking Bites. I baked mine in a 9-inch cake pan & the bread came out moist, but I'm not sure if that's what it's supposed to taste like. Mine didn't look like the pictures on the other websites. I used extra-virgin coconut oil, added lemon zest & nutmeg.

**Concord Grape Focaccia

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Zucchini Muffins

Susan's vegan zucchini muffins. I reduced the amount of granulated sugar & slightly increased the amount of agave nectar - the muffins did not come out sweet enough. :( I used brown sugar for the crumb topping. The muffins were moist, tender & embodied a distinct zucchini flavor.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

St. Valentine's Day

Valentine's is's mostly about flowers, chocolate & everything sweet. What a great day for florists, candy corporations like Hershey's & whoever markets Valentine goodies. Although all the sweets can make you sick to your stomach, I still like to participate. :)
It's not economical to be giving out flowers to everyone, but chocolate, cookies & candy can be quite affordable. So on Valentine Eve, begun my quest to making shortbread sandwiches & easy peanut butter cups. The peanut cups were so easy to put together, unfortunately I can't say the same about the shortbread sandwiches. They were so labor intensive, I had to forgo trying the chocolate sandwiches. The variety would have been nice, but the work, probably not so nice. Because the shortbread dough was so buttery & delicate, I had to stick it in the fridge in between rolling & cutting to allow the dough to firm up enough to handle.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chili Cook-Off

We're having a chili cook-off at work tomorrow, so may initial plan was to pull together a delicious award-winning vegetarian chili...after one chili cooking trial, I decided on contributing cornbread instead. Chili is way too much work, plus I'd have to borrow my mother's large pot & large crock-pot. Since it's necessary to provide enough for a crowd of 30, mini muffins seemed quite appropriate & convenient - Mini Cornbread Pudding & Mini Cornbread Muffins. I wanted to try both recipes since one uses mostly sour cream & the other incorporates, butter, buttermilk & sour cream. The pudding was definitely moist & rich, while the muffins tasted more like regular cornbread with a stronger corn-y taste. Both were delicious & definitely winners! Of course I couldn't serve cornbread with just corn, so I spiced it up by adding garlic powder, finely chopped onion & jalapeno (seeded of course). Although I didn't win first place for the best chili, I definitely deserved honorable mention. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lunar New Year

To celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year - Almond Cookies. This cookie is light, flaky & very similar in flavor to the store-bought Almond Cookies you can find at the Asian supermarkets, although not as hard or crunchy. Definitely reminiscent of the cookies I used to eat as a little girl. High quality ingredients resulted in cookies that tasted so fresh & yummy.

I also made Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, my friend said these were her favorite & I hope she still thinks that after eating my cookie. The cookie is dense & moist - a good mix between a brownie & chocolate cake. I added a little espresso powder & the chocolate flavor was enhanced, intense & rich. After flattening the cookie, next time, I'll give the cookie a second dip into the powdered sugar.

Yay...celebrating a successful bake date to kick start the Lunar New Year! :)