for my mom's birthday this year, i made her a cheesecake. i was already researching on the entremet i wanted to make, only to hear her say "actually, i love cheesecakes" at the last minute and that really put me in a panic mode. in my 7+ years of baking i don't think i attempted much cheesecakes and i didn't wanna make something i hadn't made before. baking for occasions is just not the time for experimenting. hence i turned to something i made before in my very early days of when i started baking and had good results from it.
i made kanto style sakuramochi over the weekend. as you know, there are two styles of sakuramochi - kansai (western japan) and kanto (tokyo & eastern japan). i made the kansai one before therefore it would be good to try this out as well. kanto style's a crepe-like pancake roll filled with anko red bean paste then wrapped with pickled sakura leaf.
this is one of my favorite breads from the japanese bakeries and i had been very intrigued with the swirly pattern. as i read the step-by-step instructions, i realized this is pretty similar to making croissants hence i felt this would be a good opportunity to experience the folding first. truth be told, it wasn't easy at all since along the way i lost count of the total number of folds i did and had the chocolate insert oozing out everywhere - on the countertop, rolling pin and all over my hands. it was messy indeed and i felt that i would have an even bigger problem making croissants since butter would be so much more difficult to handle, but this is such a fantastic recipe it made every effort worthwhile. i had my kitchen smelling like a bakery and the aroma was intoxicating! it was so good i made them twice in a span of one week and the second time was much better after making some minor adjustments.
pão de queijo is brazilian cheese bun made from tapioca flour (manioc starch). these are gluten-free and by far my utmost favorite snack coz they're so cheesy, chewy and savory! its impossible to just stop at one, two, or even three. i've made these countless times but never got to blog it coz they're just too good to have to wait. best served piping hot, these are dangerously addicting and all too easy to overindulge. so far i've experimented with different recipes, such as one where you just blend everything in a food processor but it was too bland and tasteless for my liking. another one i tried used too much milk and butter and the mixture was so oily you could practically drain the melted butter off when you take them out from the oven. so this recipe by king arthur flour is by far the best i've tried and i'm sticking to it in future!
frankly, i would not have thought of making chocolate bonbons and pralines until a girlfriend got me a box from la maison du chocolat on her holiday. they were so good that i felt i should give it a try sometime. previously i had been pretty intimidated with chocolate tempering and even after i succeeded i just stuck with making decor coz they're easier to handle. this time i worked with a larger batch of chocolate so they're not so easily overheated.
this is a white chocolate cheese dessert and biscuit base with sakura jelly. recipe can be found here.
you know, daiso sells this whole series of japanese cooking & baking cookbooks (or rather, booklets) and despite not knowing a word of japanese, i went ahead and bought all of them. with 20 recipes per book at 2 bucks each, i think its a steal! i particularly like the one on chiffon cakes coz some of the recipes like spinach chiffon, genmaicha chiffon & red wine chiffon really appealed to me. i started by making the one i saw on the cover, a strawberry version.