Archive | snacks

Chocolate Donuts and a Donut Pan Giveaway!

Oh, boy. There are no excuses. I didn’t have time. The holidays just crept up on me and I didn’t even get a chance to do my annual holiday mail signup! I’ll set up a New Year’s one — that’s the plan. :) What little extra time I have, here it is…in Vegas before my flight back in the cold north.

I love my donut pan that’s about the size of a quarter baking sheet. I’ve always wanted to bake donuts, but my prior experience with a popular recipe I found online was a complete disaster. A bread is NOT a doughnut. These ones though were cake-y (my preference). They dry up after a day, BUT if you enjoy it the day of, it’s a pleasure to eat.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

And I did mention it’s baked, right? No need to deep fry!

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

I have to “blame” my fellow Leo, Tracy of Shutterbean.com for luring me with her donuts a few months ago. Hey, no regrets, I’m baking these babies again soon for the holidays. Perhaps I’ll try a more fruity version since I already have so much chocolate in mind.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

The recipe came from the packaging of the donut pan, and I’m glad it worked out for me. Hope it does for you, too!

And I know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t have that pan, Joy!” So here’s what I’ll do: I’m giving a pan each to TWO lucky winners. ‘ll keep the rules simple: just leave a comment or (re)tweet this post, and I’ll be picking the 2 winners on the 27th of December. This is only open to those with US and Canada mailing addresses because shipping would be too expensive outside of North America. I feel so bad about this, but next time I’ll have something else for international readers.

Oh, and if you think the donut pan will be rarely used in your kitchen aside from donuts, fear not! Make donut shaped rice crispies, small portion donut-shaped brioche french toast with the hole filled up with fruits, donut-shaped granola bars, and so much more. I love “playing” with food, and this is no different. It won’t be a white elephant in your kitchen, I promise.

Hopefully I’ll post again before Christmas. :) HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Chocolate Cake Donuts
Adapted from the Norpro recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F with the rack in the middle. Spray a small donut pan with cooking oil.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl, until thick, scraping the sides at least once.
  4. Combine milk and butter in a small bowl. Pour and combine with the egg mixture alternately with the flour mixture in 3 increments, until smooth and soft.
  5. Fill donut pan 2/3 full for each donut. Bake for 8 minutes until the donut tops dome up. Cool in the tray propped on a cooling rack and carefully remove after 5 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  6. Frost with your choice of icing or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a lightly sweet treat.

Posted in baking, chocolate, coffee buddy, dessert, giveaways, snacks25 Comments

The Mummy Diaries, Part 2: Baked Sweet Booh!tatoes

And I’m back for more #GreatHallowTweet. BOO!!! Do check out my fellow ghoulish frighteners in crime on the left sidebar (look for the pumpkin!). Get some inspiration from them this Halloween season — trust me, they have lots of wonderful stuff for you!

As for today here at Gourmeted, I bring you: Mummified Sweet Potatoes! Yes, it’s all about the mummies. I love the cute side of mummies. I love wrapping things, especially gifts. I like wrapping food in crunch. I like wrapping, period. Wrapping means surprises, and I sure do love those.

Goodness, do I sound drunk from sweet potatoes? Perhaps.

This Halloween snack was borne out of necessity almost. Deep fried sweet potatoes with sugar were my favorite after-school snack, an indulgence I get 8 times out of ten when I beg our helpers to make them for me us. When you’re a kid, you get a lot of things for free, with a smile, too. These days, my taste buds (and hips) aren’t too fond of deep fried, but the fact remains that I have never successfully baked sweet potato fries or wedges that are crispy on the outside as the deep fried goodness. They become limp faster than burn my mouth from fresh-out-of-the-oven sweet potatoes. [Never do that, promise me, please.]

These were incredibly good and addicting.

Enter Phyllo Dough, which in my book, will always pack a crunch when you need it! You see, there’s a bit of a phyllo-mena here in the household. I’ve been on a filo kick lately because they are so darn handy with food, be it sweet or savory, snack or main meal. It’s a perfectly sane idea to keep a box or two in the freezer, just as you would do for butter. What, you don’t do that? :)

This sweet and healthy snack is easy to do, all you need are:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 t0 3 tablespoons of brown or demerara sugar (depending on how sugary you want it to be)
  • 2 sheets of phyllo dough. for every medium size sweet potato

You can double this recipe, just use the 2 butter, 2 (or 3) sugar 2 phyllo ratio and you’ll be fine.

Oven is preheated to 400°F and potato pieces are baked 10 minutes, turned, then baked for another 15 minutes. Easy enough, right? The construction is the tricky part, but I was able to do everything under an hour, including the baking time and even while shooting photos. Once you get into the groove, there’s no stopping the mummy production line.

Here’s how I did each piece:

Cut the sweet potato into wedges or a-little-fatter-than-fries size (half an inch x a quarter inch is perfect) and place in a bowl.

Lightly brush half a sheet of phyllo dough with butter, fold, then butter the exteriors, and cut into 16 strips. Sprinkle or rub each strip with sugar.

Use the remaining butter to toss the wedges in.

Fold each phyllo strip in half, lengthwise, and wrap around each piece of sweet potato.

Just tuck the beginning of the strip by overlapping after the first turn.

Tuck the end underneath the strip looping before it.

Just a little push would do. The tine of a fork could help, too. And there you have it, one mummy!

Place on a baking/cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

And bake for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 400°F.

Turn each piece, exposing the caramel-y side and bake for another 15 minutes.

VOILA!

For bulkier pieces, wrap them twice with phyllo for that extra crunch and finger-food stability if you’re serving it for a party.

The good news is, the crunch of the phyllo stays for hours. Mmm!!!

Posted in appetizer, baking, experiments, healthier choices, original Gourmeted recipe, snacks6 Comments

The Mummy Diaries, Part 1: Spanaspookyta

Up until we moved from Manila, the Halloween holidays were spent going to cemeteries to visit our loved ones who passed away. We begin this cemetery-hopping with family from All Saints Day through All Souls Day. They weren’t ever about parties or making ghoulish treats, which would seem inappropriate when you’re visiting your loved ones’ graves. Nowadays it’s a long way from “home” to do our annual visits. I haven’t forgotten our roots, but I’m slowly adapting Western Halloween festivities. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?

Fact: I avoid horror movies and can’t watch them alone. I can’t handle haunted houses, unless you can stand me screaming my brain off, then your brain off. I’m afraid of the dark. Halloween food and costume parties are as far as I’d go for Halloween. Thanks to Renee‘s #GreatHallowTweet BlogHop, I’m getting into the spirit! I’m fumbling my way through while my Hallow cohorts have better things up their sleeve. Look for the pumpkin on the sidebar and click on their links to see what they’re up to. Whooo!!!

My first Halloween “treat” for you this year isn’t a sweet treat and requires some imagination…so forgive me. I love vegetables. For some people, knowing that this has spinach inside it is spooky in itself. Haha. [You can also check out last year’s Macawrongs.]

Mummified spanakopita!

If you poke a couple of holes with the tip of knife, boring through the filo to a glimpse of the spinach before baking, the "eyes" would well up like this.

I’ve included some photos of the process of mummifying them. These are basically snack size and would also make excellent appetizers! I already have half of mine in the freezer for later.

Spread the spinach mixture (use your go-to spanakopita filling recipe) on two filo sheets greased with olive oil or butter.

Fold over, and slice the whole length of filled filo into 2-inch width strips. You will end up with about 12 filo mummies. If you do, you will need 4 more filo sheets to for mummification.

To create the mummification strips, brush half of a single filo dough and fold crosswise. Cut in half.

For one of that halves: Cut into quarters. For the other, cut into 8 strips crosswise, which will be the mummy strips.

Get one of the quarter sheet and fold over one of the spanakopita pieces.

Use a dab of olive oil to stick them together if needed.

Lightly and sparsely brush the thin strips of filo pastry with olive oil and wrap around to create the mummy effect.

Tadah!

Posted in appetizer, baking, cheese, events, snacks, vegetables29 Comments

Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake

We just finished a family feast of roasted spare ribs, cheese-filled pasta shells, and peanut butter brownies with vanilla ice cream, all inhaled dutifully. Yum. Sit-down meals on the weekends with the family is something I look forward to and I think it’s something we appreciate more now as adults. Are you the same way? Or is my age just showing? :)

This cake wasn’t served on the table today, but will make its way there again in the near future. I made this back in March and featured it in our monthly newsletter (that I have yet to resuscitate), so I apologize for those of you who are subscribed there and have seen it. It’s Autumn, the scent of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are on high demand, and I may be in the minority for someone yearning for my citrus, but I’m a summer child and I welcome it at any season. If you’re like me who need a break from all the usual Fall flavors, here’s my treat for you.

Beginning today, I will begin putting that massive copyright watermark on the photos on this site. I’ve resisted and battled with it because it’s distracting, but our photos have been blatantly used by other sites with the copyright information cut from either the top or bottom of the photo — I mean, are those people for real? Although I don’t do this professionally, they’re still my work, hope you understand. Sorry we have to stare at these. If you have a better solution, let me know.

I hope your weekend is lovely, and if it’s Monday where you are, enjoy a good start of the week.

xo,
Joy

   Get the recipe for the Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake

Posted in baking, cakes, coffee buddy, dessert, snacks18 Comments

Chunky White Chocolate & Almond Oatmeal Cookies

FACT: I’ve never made white chocolate chip/chunk cookies until two weeks ago.

Don’t give me that look.

I do, I do love them! But. I’ve always bought them. There’s no logical explanation or acceptable excuse for such behavior. Let’s just leave the past behind, shall we?

I opened a new chapter in my life since the inception of these disappearing cookies in August. Come September, I baked 66 of these and they were rightfully distributed among a dozen people in less than 24 hours, reaching 2 countries and 4 cities.

Say Hello to the border-crossing sweet treats.

Mmm-mmm. nom-nom-nom. yummers!

These were part of the Dana Treats we enjoyed during our stay in Seattle. They are her husband’s favorite and it was clear to us why. They are chewy, munchy, and whatever delicious cliché adjective you can think of.

If you know what’s good for you, use the best white chocolate you can find. I used white Callebaut chunks. I don’t usually try to twist your arm to use a particular brand, but trust me when I say this: People notice the quality of the chocolate. Almost everyone commented on it. Yes, dear loved ones, only the best for you.

Simply put, these are damn good.

I, hereby, propose that — unless you abhor any of the ingredients — you should, oh you definitely SHOULD make these. Now.

I take photos of bitten cookies because I want to show you what you'll be sinking your teeth into.

You can thank me later. Or not. Really, just enjoy it. That’s good enough for me. These cookies bring me joy like no other. I have to thank my friend Dana for sharing the recipe for these. Also check out my fellow Seattle crew Tracy’s step-by-step photos.

   Get the recipe for these Chunky White Chocolate & Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Posted in baking, cookies, snacks7 Comments

Friend Request: Gingersnaps

Lately I’ve been getting weird Facebook Friend Requests like this:

A new kind of Facebook virus? Hee.

If that was possible, I’m sure I would have received a lot already, because I’m usually one to oblige.

What really happened was:

Have you baked gingersnaps?

“Hmm. I’ve never made gingersnaps.”

“You don’t like them?”

“It’s not that. I just have no opinion of them.”

“Oh, ok.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

And then I asked on Twitter for recipes. Twitter, you see, is like a search engine that talks back to you. Real people replying to your queries. Ultimately, I was looking for one that doesn’t require too much work or ingredients I don’t have on hand. I received a handful of good suggestions, and honed in on one. That same evening, however, I pulled The Craft of Baking off the shelf just to check if it has gingersnaps, and I was won over when I didn’t see any freezer time required. It wasn’t those times when I want to make my life difficult.

Hello, instant gratification.


I’m still getting over the fact that I ate 5 of them already, in their 3-inch diameter glory.

I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about them now.

They made the kitchen–heck, the entire 2nd floor and the stairway–smell like Christmas morning. Please don’t crucify me, I’m one of those who LOVE THE HOLIDAYS. LOVE IT. I’m already thinking about things to make for family and friends, food- and craft-wise.

These cookies start out as soft balls of dough that flatten into beautiful dark rum-colored circular planes during baking. The edges stay crispy, but the centers become chewy. I’ll try making them again after freezing and cutting into thin slices to see if they become crisp. Until then, I can’t vouch for their snappiness.

Let me know if you do try it. I always love to hear how it turns out for others. If you have tips on making gingersnaps crispy, please share!

Have a great weekend!

   Get the recipe for Gingersnaps!

Posted in baking, cookies, snacks2 Comments

Childhood Monkeys and Monkey Bread

Last Sunday afternoon it was all monkey talk among a handful of friends (Lovelylanvin, hungryrabitnyc, eatlivtravwrite, manggy, inuyaki, fujimama & jenjenk — yay #monchichiclub) and I in Twitter.

Oh, I’m sorry, did that sound loony?

We were nostalgic over Monchichi. How could we forget the monkey doll with its soft dark chocolate hair that’s almost pixie-ish around the face — that rubber-plastic cheeky freckled face (what kind of monkey has freckles?), tucked lower lip that fits its right thumb, and those innocent looking eyes begging for you to hold it. This, my friends, is a glimpse of our 80’s childhood.

Monchichi
The Monchichi doll — please, don’t…just don’t say which infamous US politician reminds you of that parted hair.
Photo courtesy of Winscott.com

I’m not even sure how we arrived at that discussion. I sort of jumped right in, just like when somebody (I’m talking about you, CrippleCreekBBQ!) suggested  Monkey Bread when I tweeted about being unsure what to bake. That’s what I love about Twitter. Everything can be so random and yet somehow make sense in the end.

Was it a coincidence my ape-etite (sorry, there I go again!) conceded that it’s about time to bake Monkey Bread? I think it was fate.

According to Wikipedia, this American favorite is also called African coffee cake, pinch-me cake, bubbleloaf and golden crown. I like it as it is, in all its non-ape-etizing glory [I swear, last time]. You and anyone around you, will be reduced to helpless monkey behavior, tearing apart and eating this bread like it’s nobody’s business. I’ll let you sit with that image for a bit.

Or you can turn to this:

"I die." - RZ

Monkey Bread Making begins with dough balls taking a dip in melted butter (for this recipe, it’s dough from scratch), rolling happily in brown sugar mixed with cinnamon, and reaching their final destination in a Bundt pan, piled on top of each other. And then they’re baked until the they rise, puff from side to side, squishing themselves while liquid caramel ooze through and out of crevices of soft pastry bread. The resulting sticky, gooey fortress is inverted onto a plate and allowed to cool down to eating temperatures before serving. I should warn you that it is so easy to get carried away, pulling-apart each piece, and if you sit down alone you can very well finish it alone.

Oh, look, it's me again playing with my food!

My initiation into the world of this fragmented cinnamon pull-apart bread was through Dan’s mom, whose own version is revered in Arizona, often baked only for special occasions, each morsel coveted like prized truffle. You should see how everyone’s eyes light up at the mere mention of it. It’s something you’ll come to know when you try it.

For those who have never seen or tried Moneky Bread, I’ll give you a point of reference
:
if you love cinnamon rolls, then Monkey Bread is  your friend.

But, but! not all Monkey Breads are created equal. Beware.

My 1st in March 2006 with frozen biscuit dough

I made them once before. The photo you see on the right is the actual photo taken in 2006, showing cut-up thawed frozen biscuit dough. Don’t cringe, most of the recipes call for the packaged stuff! If you want to cut down prep time, it is the way to go.

Having ready-made dough as a bread base meant that you have to up your game when it comes to the caramel. I didn’t realize it could be a frustrating task to get the taste right, given just 3 ingredients. I used a recipe I found online and it wasn’t that good. It was okay at best. Disappointed, I then continued to rely on bake-me-downs, a smuggled slice every now and then. [I’m just joking on the smuggled part — it’s not illegal to bring over baked goods like this to Canada.]

The era of MB Fear has ended. Folks, this is my second attempt at baking Monkey Bread in FOUR years. It took a leap of faith in Cook’s Illustrated, even though their recipes have worked for me without fail. I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant. I received tweets (from TwoPeasandPod and MelleCotte) pointing me to blog posts from browneyedbaker and smittenkitchen, which turned out to be adaptations of the C.I. recipe. That made me feel a better.

The yeasted dough from scratch requiring 2 proofing cycles was the the catalyst for ending my fifteen hundred days or so of Monkey Bread Baking Exile.

It sounds like such a long commitment to be in the kitchen when one speaks of dough rising once, twice. I’ll break it down for you: there are two 50 to 60 minutes blocks of time when you can do other things. You won’t regret it

…until you realize it’s gone so fast. Well, that’s not such a bad thing.

It’s worth it.

The Monkey Bread {enter angelic chorus}

It’s really not hard to make, but it takes time. There’s barely any kneading required. Bring your patience and it will be rewarded.

Are you ready?

Get the recipe for this sticky, gooey, sweet cinnamon-coated Monkey Bread

Posted in baking, bread, coffee buddy, dessert, snacks, sweets29 Comments

Quick & Easy: Endives with Lox & Cream Cheese Spread

Here in Vancouver, we are quickly shifting into summer and it is getting HOT. I don’t know if it’s because of this that I am suddenly lethargic, but this has to stop soon because I have a lot of things to do! That includes our newsletter (which is looking more like June would be the next) and the roundup of the virtual Tea Exchange party I hosted. My apologies, dear participants!

Going along this lack of energy theme, I could (figuratively) barely lift a finger to prepare anything that requires cooking these days. I feel like my body’s battery is mimicking the iPhone’s. Ha ha. I haven’t baked or cooked in a while. Perhaps all the eating out has contributed to my body blues? In any case, quick and easy isn’t so bad…

I got the idea to make this from Danielle’s Home-cured Salmon Spread & Endives. She made home-cured salmon, while I used up some leftover lox. And I didn’t follow the quantities of the recipe, I just glanced at the ingredients and made a quick mix of chopped lox, walnuts, cream cheese, a drizzle of lemon juice, a few wisps of lemon zest and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Serve that in crisp endive leaves and enjoy it with a glass of wine or fresh ice tea…mmm. They make a good summer combo.

It’s the easiest thing to make and it was surprisingly filling. Again, there’s no (strict) recipe required, only your imagination and an openness to taste.

I love being inspired by other people’s recipes, especially from food blogging friends. Although we don’t see each other that often (or most of the time, have never met in person), we could share the same feast.

Do you have any other no-cook recipes (or recipes that require little cooking)? Please share!

Posted in appetizer, healthier choices, quick & easy, seafood, snacks, vegetables13 Comments

Let’s Keep It Simple: Easy + Absolutely Delish Yogurt Cake for Relaxing on a Sunday

After the recent website troubles, I finally got some decent sleep (aka passing out beside the cat after a hearty dim sum lunch) and now it’s back to things that adults need to do: taxes! Before I get knee deep into that, I thought I’d share with you what has now become a favorite recipe the past 2 weeks, from which I’ve baked 3 successful and well-devoured cakes.

Don't you just love it when a recipe works each time you make it? I do. Not everyone has a backup plan...or a backup recipe for lazy Sundays.

I’d like to keep it simple today. No complications. This cake is straight up mix and bake. Add the syrup if you want to do something a little fancy, but this cake can shine on its own. I love that I have the option to do the least possible work, and add some spark to it when I’m feeling a little fancy. I suggest you make this right now. It’s really easy and you will find it a good complement to a restful and lazy Sunday. Even if your Sunday is hectic, it’s nice to know that with a few strokes of the hand and 15 minutes in the kitchen, you’re all set for a satisfying snack or dessert.

Go. Make it. Now.

I plucked the recipe out of my new favorite food magazine, a new find: Waitrose Food Illustrated. I will talk more about that publication on a separate post, because I love it so. If you’ve ever chanced upon that at your bookstore or magazine spot, know that the higher price tag is worth it.

HAPPY SUNDAY!

P.S. If you haven’t yet, check out the “A(wesome)-List” on the right, where I constantly add recipes and food-related blogs that I’m currently digging. Share the good karma and say Hi to them when you hop over. I think you just might find a treasure and a treat. :-)

   Get the recipe for this Easy Yogurt Cake

Posted in baking, cakes, dairy, dessert, snacks18 Comments

Blueberry-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

This isn’t Nanay’s (grandmother) original recipe, but it’s pretty close. I really wish I had the foresight to ask for it when I was 8. Led only by my taste memory, I baked my way through numerous ingredient combinations in my long quest to replicate this taste. It was only 7 years ago that I felt I finally got it right, and my family and friends have been enjoying it since then. I miss her a lot, but baking these cookies brings me back to Nanay’s kitchen where it all began.

Blueberry-Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

If this looks familiar to you, then that means you’re subscribed to our newsletter. Yes,  these cookies were featured in our January 2010 issue. [Plug: It’s free and features content previously unpublished on the blog. :)]

- – – – – – – – -

Yesterday, in an effort to make time for myself minus work and the internet, I did a little shopping downtown and went for coffee by my lonesome (sometimes, it’s good to be left to your own thoughts).

Hockey Gold

Literally...hockey gold (taken in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery)

I blog to relax, which is what I do on some nights. Most of the time, all I really need is to step out and enjoy some fresh air to get a jump start from the creative lull. I went home with pages full of ideas, an iPhone photo (Above. Thankfully, gold has nothing to do with any of the designs.) and a clear head ready to engage in more problem solving. Speaking of work, I’ve been asked a couple of times if (food) blogging is my job. It’s not. Wouldn’t that be nice, though? Cook and bake, take photos, talk about and research food, and get paid well. Hold that thought.

Cooking and baking are “newer” passions to me compared to blogging (for most of you, it’s the complete opposite). I didn’t really get into them until a few years ago. In fact, I was only inclined exceedingly desperate to make things that I crave for from childhood, like leche flan, cheese cake and my grandma’s oatmeal cookies. The cookie recipe here is probably the first one I worked on and patiently tweaked to my liking…to my memory of these cookies from decades ago. I’ve made these more times than I can count. These cookies have been given away and mailed overseas. I used to bring these to share with my classmates in programming and I didn’t divulge the recipe even when begged for it. My god, can you imagine? I would kick my former self. Obviously, I’ve done a 180 and I keep no secret recipes anymore. Ask, and you will receive. This blog and the food blogging community has really changed the way we share food we love.

Be sure to let me know if you make these. I’d love to get some feedback! Happy baking!

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Posted in baking, cookies, snacks4 Comments