CUPCAKE BOUQUET

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! Every year, the PTA at my kids’ school has big plans for this week. Each day they decorate the teacher’s lounge with a different theme. Since the school is a Japanese immersion school, they alternate between both Japanese and American themes. Last year, I was on the American culture day team. Can you say hot dogs and potato chips? But this year, the themes were different. Each day was based on a different season and holiday, and I was assigned to the Valentine’s Day theme.

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Apple Pie Chia Pudding

2013_02_28aOne ingredient I’ve heard a lot about lately is chia seed. Supposedly they are one of those superfoods packed with tons of nutrients. We’ve put them in smoothies and oatmeal before, but never a pudding. I found this recipe from a great site called Vegan Yack Attack.

What I like about this recipe is that there is no added sugar. The sweetness only comes from the apple juice and a 1/2 tsp of maple syrup. The chia seeds soak up the moisture from the apple juice and become a pudding/gelatine texture.

This was a great sweet treat to end our meal. It’s no apple pie, but it was light, refreshing, and absolutely satisfied my after dinner sweet tooth.

I found a couple other chia seed puddings I plan on trying in the coming weeks as well.

RECIPES:

Apple Chia Seed Pudding (I made 2.5x the recipe and it made enough for 4 servings)

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Banana Chia Pudding

Custard Pudding (カスタード・プリン)

Aya has found memories of her mom making this pudding when she would stay home sick from school. While her mom was here visiting she gave us a lesson on how to make. It’s pretty much the same thing as the flan, crème caramel. Aya said this custard pudding is extremely common in Japan.

400 ml whole milk
4 large eggs
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
1~2 drops of vanilla extract
2 tsp rum
<Caramel sauce>
4 Tbp sugar
1 Tbp water
2 Tbp hot water

  1. To make the caramel sauce, boil the sugar and water together in a small sauce pan and brown the sugar. Add the hot water, stir, and turn off the heat. While it’s still hot, pour about 1tsp each into the pudding molds.
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar together.
  3. Slowly add warm milk to the above and add vanilla extract and rum once the sugar has completed melted.
  4. Run the milk and egg mixture through a strainer to remove the bubbles.
  5. Gently pour the milk and egg mixture into pudding molds.
  6. In a 9×13 cake pan, fill boiling water half way and gently place the pudding molds inside.
  7. Bake in oven at 425 for 20 minutes.

Orange-Scented Chocolate Zucchini Cake

My mom found this recipe in the newspaper and made it for Aya and me to celebrate our wedding anniversary. What a nice gift! This is one of the moistest chocolate cakes I’ve ever had. Very chocolatey but not heavy. The orange zest adds just the right amount of flavor to compliment the chocolate. We loved this cake! Thanks mom!

RECIPES:

Orange-Scented Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 cups sifted unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
1 whole egg, slightly beaten
3 egg whites, slightly beaten
2 cups finely shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla (not imitation)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
sifted powder sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flower a round 10 inch springform baking pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa two times.  In a large separate bowl, combine the sugar, oil, orange zest, mixing well.  Add the whole egg and egg whites one at a time,  mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the zucchini.  Combine the buttermilk and vanilla in a separate cup.

Add the dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla, a third at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the chocolate chips until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake 30 – 45 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan, between the pan and the cake.  Remove the sides of the pan.  When cake is completely cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serves 10

Mom’s Notes:
Baking time will vary depending on the moisture of the zucchini.  If the zucchini seems too wet, slightly pat dry with a paper towel before adding. Definitely sift the dry ingredients twice, it makes a difference. I used milk chocolate chips which were great.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Chip n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar

I came across this recipe on Pinterest when I was on my No Sweets Challenge in January. I’ve been waiting to try it ever since. And that day has finally arrived.

Three layers: chocolate chip cookie batter, Oreo cookies, and brown batter on top. Baked together to morph into a cookie Oreo fudge goodness. And then you top it with ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and then more hot fudge. It was an experience.

My pictures do not do it justice at all. But the pictures on the website I found the recipe from are pure food erotica.

RECIPES:

Ultimate Chocolate Chip n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar