Che Chuoi (banana coconut milk dessert)

Yesterday I came out to my kitchen and found that someone had yanked a banana too hard from the bunch and somehow three others peeled on one side.

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I was just so tired yesterday I didn’t want to do much cooking. In fact, I didn’t even cook dinner, everyone just fended for themselves. But I had to do something with these bananas. Looking at the peel off on one side was really  hurting my eyes. The easiest thing I could think to make was Che Choui. It’s very easy to make and you can eat it hot or cold. It’s more like a sweet soup when you eat it hot and more like a pudding after it’s been refrigerated. Both ways are delicious!

I already had all the ingredients at home except for the coconut milk. Here’s the coconut milk and tapioca pearls I used.

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I like to cut thick slices of banana so it doesn’t get too mushy from cooking.

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You’ll know the tapioca is ready when it’s all translucent.

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Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

4 cups water
1/4 cup tapioca
1 can of coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup of sugar (can put less if you like)
1 tsp salt (if you use less sugar you probably won’t need as much salt either)
6 bananas, sliced

Directions:

Pour 4 cups of water into a medium pot and add the tapioca pearls. Bring water and pearls to a rolling boil and turn the heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally so the pearls don’t stick to each other. When the pearls are all translucent add the coconut milk and vanilla extract then stir. Add the bananas, sugar and salt. When the bananas are heated through (they’ll turn a bit gray and that’s normal) you’re done! You can sprinkle a bit of toasted sesame seeds and crushed peanuts on the top when serving.

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Cherry Chocolate Chip Blondies

Since Monday was a holiday and no one in the family had to work we all decided to go cherry picking. I had seen Facebook posts from Lodi Blooms which is only about 40 minutes away so it seemed like the perfect place to go. I’ve been to a couple other places where you pick your own fruit but the experience was nowhere near as fun as this place. Maybe it’s because I went right on time and the fruit was plentiful, perfectly sweet and crunchy. Either way everyone in the family picked A LOT.

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I know we won’t be able to eat it all unless some of it gets cooked so I had to figure out what to make. I didn’t want to make anything that took too long so I decided to make blondies. These are so decadent from the chocolate and the bursts of cherry is just so delicious! The ingredients are simple and it’s super quick to make!

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Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) of melted butter
2 cups of brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups halved cherries
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º

Grease and flour a 9×13″ pan (I used a pyrex)

Melt the butter in a microwave in 20 second increments until it is completely melted. Put the butter in a large bowl and mix in the brown sugar until it’s blended in completely. Crack 2 large eggs into the bowl and whisk until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and stir. Add the flour and salt until everything is mixed in well. Fold in the chocolate chips and cherries. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes or until the center looks cooked all the way and inserting a toothpick that comes out clean.

Macarons Galore

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My blog is so awfully neglected, but I made it a goal today to make a come back and post another macaron recipe! I’m a lot better at posting my pics on Instagram. So if you miss me you can follow me there. 🙂

If you love to bake, it’s best if you own a food scale. I own this one that was purchased at Target:

OXO Good Grips Food Scale

Ingredients:

  • 100 Grams Egg Whites (3 egg whites)
  • 50 Grams White Sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 200 Grams Confectioner’s Sugar (1 and 2/3 cups)
  • 110 Grams Ground Almond Flour (1 cup)

Directions

  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  • Beat egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until whites are foamy; beat in white sugar and continue beating until egg whites are glossy, fluffy, and hold soft peaks. Sift confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds in a separate bowl and quickly fold the almond mixture into the egg whites, about 30 strokes.
  • Spoon a small amount of batter into a plastic bag with a small corner cut off and pipe a test disk of batter, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, onto prepared baking sheet. If the disk of batter holds a peak instead of flattening immediately, gently fold the batter a few more times and retest.
  • When batter is mixed enough to flatten immediately into an even disk, spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in rounds, leaving space between the disks. Let the piped cookies stand out at room temperature until they form a hard skin on top, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 285 degrees F (140 degrees C).
  • Bake cookies until set but not browned, about 10 minutes; let cookies cool completely before filling.

My Notes:
It’s best if you can weigh out your ingredients for exact measurements every time. If you’re using a dark non-stick cookie sheet it takes 10 minutes. Also, reynolds non-stick wrap works really well, they pretty much slide off when they’re done. If you’re using a professional heavy duty baking sheet and silicone mat it takes 17 minutes to finish baking. I am also using a gas oven, depending on what kind of oven you’re baking in times may also vary.

Simple and Moist Banana Bread

I know it’s been quite some time since my last post, but with school, baby Elsa, the hubby, work and trying to make time for my parents and in-laws, I barely have time to sleep!

Anyhow, enough of me feeling guilty! Let’s get to the good stuff, moist banana bread.

My mother-in-law has a habit of buying way too much produce and then tries to force everyone to eat it before it goes bad. Well you guessed it, this time she bought way too many bananas and we didn’t eat them fast enough so they got extremely ripe. The only thing I could think of using ripe bananas for was banana bread. I got this recipe from joyofbaking.com and I ‘m so glad I did. If you ever get the banana bread from Starbucks… well let’s just say the Starbucks version is crap compared to this. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup (115 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe large bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.  

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightlyfoldthe wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.) Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until bread is golden brown and a  toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.

Macaron Failure


Macarons are the new craze. Forget about cupcakes and cake pops, I want a macaron!!! I lived in LA and that’s where I heard about them first. Paulette’s Macarons in Beverly Hills introduced these sweet Parisian treats to California. Last year when I was residing in San Francisco, I discovered Miette, which is the cutest little cake and macaron shop in Hayes Valley. Closest thing I could get to a ‘lette’s macaron. Here in Sacramento, there is only one place that I would consider getting this delicious cookie, Ginger Elizabeth in downtown. Ginger Elizabeth is a chocolatier that also happens to sell macarons and a delicious salted caramel macaron ice cream sandwich. Anyway, these tiny little cookie sandwiches are quite expensive. Average price for one: $1.75.

So you can see why I would want to make them myself. When I was still living in San Francisco I attempted to bake a batch. I tried blanching sliced almonds and grinding them myself. I had no idea how much you had to process them. I also did not beat the egg whites enough so the dough/batter (whatever you wanna call it) was extremely runny. I tried baking them anyway, no bueno.

After that massive failure, I googled, googled and googled. I then found a recipe with great directions. I tried last week. Although it’s not the prettiest attempt, they at least tasted good and had decent texture. I’m pretty sure I know how to fix what I did wrong.

I am going to attempt another batch today, wish me luck. I’ll be posting pics later tonight.

Banh Bo Nuong: Updated!

Okay… Last time I made banh bo, it tasted good, but it came out flat. I tried baking it again, same problem. I did some major research… and I figured it out, the recipes I had been using call for a convection oven. I don’t know about you, but I had no idea there was that much of a difference between con-VEC-tion and con-VEN-tion ovens. Once I figured this out, I asked others if they knew of the difference, no one knew! Because I had to explain to a few different people, I thought I should also share this with all of you, just in case.

Here’s a convection oven:

Notice anything? It’s got a freaking fan in the back of the oven. If your oven does not have a fan it is a conventional oven. So if you’re trying this recipe, you have to up the temperature from 350˚F to 375˚F.

Here I am at it again:

Sifted the tapioca flour/starch, baking powder and salt together. I think you could probably use less salt or forget about it all together.

Stirred, NOT WHISKED, eggs, sugar, coconut cream/milk, pandan and vanilla extract.

After STIRRING the wet and dry ingredients together, it will be lumpy, pour it through a strainer to get rid of all the lumps. Do this once or twice, it’s up to you.

After the mixture has been strained, pour it in the baking pan that’s been heating in the oven. You should hear a sizzle. I have a convention oven so I baked it at 375˚ for 10 minutes and 305˚ for an additional 30 minutes.

This is what it should look like when it’s done. Flip the pan upside down and let it cool over a cooling rack. It’ll most likely unmold itself, mine did!

Perfection! Look at the texture, this is why they call it a honeycomb cake in English. There’s no honey involved, it just looks like a honeycomb. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. coconut cream
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 6 eggs large eggs
  • 1 1/4 c. tapioca starch
  • 1 package of ALSA single acting baking powder (make your own with 1 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar + 3/4 tsp. baking soda)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp pandan extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil for brushing
  • Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 350˚F for convection or 375˚F for convention ovens. Brush vegetable oil on the bottom portion of the baking pan and heat it in the oven. Sift the flour, baking powder and optional salt together. In a large bowl, gently stir the eggs, sugar, coconut milk, pandan and vanilla with a whisk or a fork so that no bubbles form. Remember to stir just enough to homogenize the whites and yolks. Over stirring the eggs can cause the cake to be flat. Use a strainer to strain the mixture into another bowl and use a spoon to help break the lumps up.

    Pour the mixture into the preheated baking pan of your choice. You should hear it sizzle! Bake it for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 305˚ F.  Bake for another 30 minutes or until golden. If you can’t tell when it’s done, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake to test for doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Place the pan upside down over a cooling rack. It will probably unmold itself, when it’s cooled, slice and enjoy!