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Tuxedo Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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Here are some chocolate covered strawberries I made for my birthday a couple weeks ago. First I dipped the front of them in white chocolate and then the sides in milk chocolate. I then used a toothpick to draw the bow ties and buttons.

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Vampire Cake

Sorry I’ve been so MIA this quarter. I have to admit I’ve gotten lazy with taking pictures and haven’t really had the chance to try new recipes. However, with finals next week and spring bring just around the corner I’m sure they’ll be more pictures to come! Meanwhile here’s a vampire inspired cake I made for my friend George’s birthday since he reminds me of a vampire.

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Word Peace Cookies

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What’s the first thing in your mind when you think of physics? Probably a hard subject involving gravity, force, famous dead scientist, and other confusing stuff only for geeks, right? WRONG! Ok I’ll admit it is an extremely hard subject (especially for me, the noob) however, after taking a six week Physics course, I have learned Physics can be fun! Ok well the social part such as meeting new friends, labs such as getting the correct answer that you solved for, and hanging out with Ben and Elena. But, one of my favorite things about this course even though we met four days a week, Tuesday and Thursday 7:30 AM lab (I know, as early as high school) as my awesome instructor Norm! Although he was a Physics and Math major, he showed us that physics can be fun. Actually I lie, I think I enjoyed the class because he was teaching it and he was hilarious.

However, after taking physics, I have the utmost respect for people who get physics, not the easy physics for the biology majors but the darn physics for engineering majors!! Seriously I feel like physics is one of those things you do get really well and it’s a breeze for you, or like me you have to study to get it and after that you might not even get it (that’s probably just me). So I’m going on a tangent but the moral of the story is the next time you see a physics major or physics nerd, treat them with respect!!

Anyways these cookies do relate to physics! I made them for my friend Elena who has been my life savior for physics by helping me with the practice problems and explaining everything to me. She told me she loved chocolate and after hearing how delicious these cookies are I decided to make them for her. These cookies are from Dorie Greenspan and she named them “world peace cookies” because apparently they’re so delicious they could solve world peace! I also made a whole bunch for my friend Josephine to take as provisions to her summer session at UCLA.

Note: Notice these cookies do not contain eggs since they are a chocolate shortbread. Shortbread has a delicious buttery taste!

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

3. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Getting Ready to Bake:

5. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

6. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.

7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Grade: A
My friends loved these! Chocolate and shortbread, you just can’t go wrong.

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Coconut Cupcakes for Father’s Day

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As you all know, last Sunday was Father’s Day. Now my dad and I get along pretty well although we tend to disagree on a couple of things, he tries to explain life lessons to me while driving so I can’t really run away, he can be quite embarrassing (whenever we go and visit colleges he always asks for the location of the Student Union), and he gets mad when I eat too many sweets. However he is the one who taught me how to play tennis and plays with me whenever I want, came down on move in day to pick me up although he forgot his cell phone and where I lived (Luckily he asked a random girl in my building of 700 or so people and she knew me, made me feel extremely well known), and generally is an awesome dad to my brother and I. Random side note, my brother and I also got our huge nose from him. From reading my blog you know that baking is my specialty and often I bake desserts for people as a way of showing that I care. My dad doesn’t really like sweets at all (I know weird, where do I get it from?) but I remember one time when we went to a cupcake bakery in Canada he took a picture of the coconut cupcakes because he likes coconuts and so I decided to make him some coconut cupcakes. I normally do not bake with coconuts but I do like them especially in pina coladas or coconut cream pie. Recipe from Ina Garden at Food Network

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Creamed butter and sugar.

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Flour mixture.

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Batter.

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Ready to bake.

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Cream cheese frosting.

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Cooling.

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Yummy cupcakes!

Ingredients
* 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 cups sugar
* 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
* 3 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:
* 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
* 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
* 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
4. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
6. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Grade: B+
These were pretty good but the cream cheese frosting as delicious as it usually is, felt a little off. I’m not sure if my dad ate any, although he did appreciate the effort and the coconut.

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Chocolate Chip Scones

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Sorry I’ve been MIA for so long. The college life is busy. All I do is eat, sleep, study, study some more, occasionally watch my tv shows on my laptop, and take midterms. This quarter I’ve been going to the library more often since I learned that it is impossible to study in the dorm especially when you are in a triple. Also it’s hard to run a food blog when I don’t have a kitchen (the nearest one that I can use is my friend Brittany’s and that’s a mile away by foot). Although technically I’ve been using a toaster oven to bake desserts but since those are all from cake mix and don’t always turn out so pretty they’re not on here.

However,when I flew home for Valentine’s Day/Chinese New Year the first thing I do besides hang out with the BFFs Olga, Connie, and Roya is to make these scones! There’s a cafe on campus that sells the most delicious chocolate chips that are humongous and only for $1.70! I found out through one of my roommates and it’s a good thing that we have to use cash to buy them or else I’d probably eat a scone every day! Recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker.
Ingredients
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups (12-oz) package dark chocolate chips
2 cups chilled heavy cream
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Additional sugar

Directions
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
2. Stir together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Stir whipping cream into flour mixture, stirring just until ingredients are moistened.
4. Turn mixture out onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently until soft dough forms (about 2 minutes). Divide dough into three equal balls. One ball at a time, flatten into 7-inch circle; cut into 8 triangles. Transfer triangles to prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with additional sugar.
5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar, if desired.

Grade: A
These were good but not quite as good as Cafe Roma’s!

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Napoleon cake

I made this today at my friend’s Nima house with the help of my lovely friends, Roya and Nima. After finding some phyllo dough in Nima’s fridge, I decided to make a napoleon cake like the one that he and Safa had at his grad party. We layered baked phyllo dough that we brushed with butter and pastry cream from a Martha Stewart recipe. For a nice effect, crumbled pieces of baked phyllos dough were sprinkled on top. A dusting of powder sugar over anything makes it look beautiful and to complete, I garnished the napoleon with some blackberries that I found in Nima’s fridge and a mint leaf that Nima’s mom gave to me. For the main meal, Nima and Roya made some delicious vegetarian portabello paninis using Nima’s new panini maker. Here are some beautiful pictures to enjoy!


Roya and Nima’s beautiful creation. These contained spinach, onions, portabellos, sun dried tomato spread, and Parmesan cheese.

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Apple Turnovers

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So basically as I’m writing this I’m in my dorm in college. I made these the Friday right before I left for move in day. These were very simple and so easy to make!

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Cut up apples.

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Cooking the apple mixture.

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The throughly cooked mixture.

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Placing the mixture on the puff pastry.

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Sealing the turnover with a fork.

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Ready to bake!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups water
4 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

Directions
1. Combine the lemon and 4 cups water in a large bowl. Place the sliced apples in the water to keep them from browning.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain water from apples, and place them into the hot skillet. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Stir together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Pour into the skillet, and mix well. Cook for another minute, or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
4. Unfold puff pastry sheets, and repair any cracks by pressing them back together. Trim each sheet into a square. Then cut each larger square into 4 smaller squares. Spoon apples onto the center of each squares. Fold over from corner to corner into a triangle shape, and press edges together to seal. Place turnovers on a baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them.
5. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned. Cool completely before glazing.
6. To make the glaze, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Adjust the thickness by adding more sugar or milk if necessary. Drizzle glaze over the cooled turnovers.

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