Tag Archives: sugar

Crispy Oatmeal Cookies – Making the Best of Such on Your First Try

crispy oatmeal cookies

I am the only person I know who likes crispy cookies.

I have been studying ways of making crispy cookies and I would say that my biggest discovery is to make cookies by using granulated sugar. It appears that yellow sugar or brown sugar will likely give cookies a softer texture.

Like many of you, being a food enthusiast, I often search for new recipes online and see if I can make the best version of such and such. I wonder if what I am about to share is just common sense in the world of food enthusiasts (I hate stating the obvious, so please forgive me if it is). Instead of trying out a few of different recipes and see which one is the best, what I do every time I try to make something I’ve never made before is to compare a number of recipes of the same dish, combine or take out a few things, take some mental notes and then begin. Compare the similarities and the dissimilarities. Usually, by reading a few number of recipes, you will get to see what are the essential ingredients and what can be without. What needs to be done before what is extremely important. If you read through the steps and have a pretty good understanding of the process of making any particular dish, even if you’ve never made it before, the failure rate would be drastically lowered. If you are a picky eater like me, this tip can be a life-saver. I really don’t like wasting food and I really really don’t like eating stuff that doesn’t taste good, not even if it’s something I made.

crispy oatmeal cookies

I went through about 20 different recipes and decided to go with the following 2:

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/dishing/2013/04/the_fabulous_oa.html
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/thin-and-crispy-oatmeal-cookies/

Here’s how it looks when they are side by side:

crispy oatmeal cookies recipe

The two recipes look fairly similar, though one claims to yield 4 dozen and the other one claims 2…

Here’s what I get out of using the two recipes together:

  • Baking power, chocolate chips and raisins can be included or can also be left out
  • Follow whichever one when it comes to the proportions of butter v.s. flour; you can adjust the amount of flour during the process, see if your dough is too wet or too dry but keep the amount between 1 cup to 1 1/2 cup
  • Adjust the proportion of brown sugar v.s. granulated sugar to your liking, but brown sugar and granulated sugar should add up to an amount between 1 1/4 cup to 1 3/4

Voila! Make them exactly the way you like them even if it’s something you’ve never made before. Mine were very crispy, not dry, with lots of raisin and a little bit of chocolate chips, exactly how I wanted them to be.

 

 

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Le Salon Jacques Borie

Amazing french desserts at Le Salon Jacques Borie
Amazing french desserts at Le Salon Jacques Borie

Yesterday, we were at Le Salon Jacques Borie located on the 4th floor of Isetan Department Store in Tokyo.

They had a cartful of traditional(at least they looked so to me) French desserts. Some I had seen, some I had never seen and some I felt like I may have tried before but couldn’t remember. My knowledge of French isn’t great. It was a small, fancy-looking cafe. Maybe I would call it a tea room rather than a cafe, but calling it a tea room doesn’t do it justification since the place was not in any way British.

Anyways, I am going to keep this post short. The place was a bit pricy. We chose 3 different kinds of desserts from the cart to share. There were three of us. Each of us got a drink, coffee or tea. It came up to about 7000 yen. Not cheap. But their desserts were insanely good. Part of the reason why they were so good was the reason that there were a lot of fancy dessert items that I’d never seen before. I love food, I love food that’s delicious but I really really love delicious food that I have never seen before.

A RING-SHAPED CAKE MADE FROM A CHOU PASTRY, FILLED WITH PRALINE CREAM AND COATED WITH FLAKE ALMONDS
A RING-SHAPED SPONGE CAKE, IMPREGNATED WITH A CITRUS AND SPICES SYRUP FLAVOURED WITH RUM

Found their English Menu online today. I didn’t not know what I ate yesterday. Someone please enlighten me, tell me what they are in French.

 

 

Did I ever tell you that I’d never seen so many French products before I got to Tokyo? Food, make-up, clothing, interior items and store exterior. French or French-inspired things are everywhere in Tokyo. Coming from Canada, I thought I would have seen my fair share of French things. But since I  lived in Vancouver,  it probably doesn’t apply. The name, Le Salon Jacques Borie made me assume that it’s a famous French franchise, but it actually wasn’t so. The waiter told us that Chef Jacques Borie is a famous chef in Japan. He is/was (at the age of 60-something, he might have retired) the chef at Shiseido Parlour. Shiseido as in the make-up brand Shiseido? You might ask. Guess what, I don’t know. I am still trying to find out if it is related to Shiseido the make-up company or not.

I was lucky today and got to take a photo with chef Jacques Borie himself.
I was lucky today and got to take a photo with chef Jacques Borie himself.

Located in Isetan Department store in Tokyo. I thought it’d be a great place to go and just have coffee when you get tired of shopping. It turned out to be a lot fancier than I thought. Such impressive desserts though. I would go again when I felt the need to spoil myself.

For expensive but insanely good desserts: http://parlour.shiseido.co.jp/lesalon/index.html

expensive but insanely good desserts at Le Salon

PEACOCK PUDDING……Asian Pudding

 

Asian pudding appears to be different from Western pudding. To me, a Western pudding looks more like this:

western pudding
source: http://www.downeastfood.com/

source: http://www.cookingwithmarialoi.com/recipe/recipeview/rizogalo-rice-pudding

What do they have in common? I think it must be the shape. Puddings seem to be served more or less in a cup. I have never liked what I call the ‘Western pudding’. Rice pudding for instance, is something I can never get used to. I must be too Asian, sugar and rice? NO…there’s just no way. That’s like potato with sugar or pasta with sugar. And regular Western puddings taste pretty much like something I’d put on a piece of toast. They would probably be referred as mousse than pudding in Asia. An Asian pudding usually contains egg and it is either baked or steamed before it is served. Sometimes, I think it is more like a crème brûlée without the hard caramel layer.

Peacock Pudding

PEACOCK PUDDING is a custard pudding likely made of heavy cream. You can find it in Peacock supermarket in many places in Japan. Good quality custard pudding is not difficult to find in Japan, but I just never expected to find such quality in a supermarket. It is mmmmmmmmmm…sooo good. It is kinda sweet though. It’d start to become a little heavy as you work your way in. If you have a sweet tooth like I do, grab one when you see it.

Just another night in Tokyo. Ciao!

Annin Tofu@7-11 in Japan – Go get one!

almond jelly, annin tofu

The annin tofu at 7-11 is hands downs the best almond jelly I have had in my life!

Almond jelly, known as annin tofu is a Chinese dessert(杏仁豆腐 in Chinese) that is very popular in Japan. In fact, I saw it in a cook book written by a Japanese person when I first learned about it. I lived in Taiwan at the time. Quite a few vendors sold them in the traditional markets in Taiwan, not difficult to find at all. I bought a huge chunk, took it home, chopped it into small square pieces and served them with fruits that I like. Oh! I mixed sugar and hot water, too. Almond jelly is meant to be served chilled with fruits in light sugar water.

almond jelly, annin tofu

Or course you can find almond jelly in Chinese restaurants in its country of origin. Chinese restaurants all over the world serve it. Here in Japan, however, you can find it in pretty much every restaurant that serves Chinese food and you can pretty much always find it in convenient stores as well. They are now frequently served in a cup, not chopped up and they come with no fruits. I have had one from a no-name convenient store(sorry, I forgot! but I know it is not one of those ones that you can easily name) which was served in a bubble-tea-looking cup. The guy worked at the convenient store gave me a small spoon. I asked for a straw though, it reminded me so much of a bubble tea so I figured it’d be best to use a straw.

Now comes what this post is about. The annin tofu at 7-11 is hands downs the best almond jelly I have had in my life. It should probably be addressed as almond pudding rather than almond jelly. It is so so so good. I don’t know what they put in there to make it so good. A typical recipe for almond jelly calls for: almond powder, whole milk(and/or heavy cream), sugar, gelatin and water(I will post a link below). On the 7-11 annin tofu’s label, alcohol is listed as an ingredient. It doesn’t say what alcohol though. I am dying to know their secret ingredient. Anyways, if you see my post and you are currently in Japan and you have not tried this dessert that I am talking about, go get one in 7-11. It is soooooooooo good!

almond jelly, annin tofu

Banana Muffins

banana bread muffin

I’ve just come to realized that if there’s a theme to my Instagram photo album, it’d be called “Breakfast!”. Being a student for the past two and a half years, I have enjoyed the freedom of being able to get up late and spend however-much time I like to make and to decorate my breakfast. I may not be the world’s best cook, but I am big on presentation. Anyhoo, there’s not much here, just a very easy recipe for making muffins.

Recipe

1 Mashed Banana
1 Egg
0.25 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Melted Butter

0.5 cup Yellow Sugar
0.5 cup White Sugar
A pinch of Salt
1.5 cup Flour
1.5 teaspoon Baking Powder

0.5 cup Musli
Some Musli for decoration

Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix them together and then blend in the musli. Scoop the dough into muffin tins. Sprinkle some musli on top to decorate. Bake at 175 degrees C for 20 to 30 minutes. This makes exact 6 muffins in my muffin tin when I scrape out the every bit of dough with a spatula.