I find joy in fundamental aspects of living: pilates and dance for mobility and strength, successful baking turnouts, and when my chosen craft beer proves tasty. Having said that, there may also be value in scaling back consumption; majority of such fluids have recently returned with cough syrup-like notes.
One of each remained, looking surprisingly less grey than anticipated. Nearing the display, I observed a half-masked woman with wrinkly, spotted hands gripping Mr. Buttons. I slid behind a nearby shelf, witnessing the squeezing, flipping, and poking of his fragile, furry body. Shortly afterwards, he was roughly dumped onto the display once more, and Mr. Tophat was evaluated by the wrinkly digits instead.
I repositioned Mr. Buttons' right arm, which had been brutally bent beneath his body. Then, I proceeded on my way.
1) Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake (Banh Bo Nuong)
I came across this recipe by chance. Despite failing to recall whether I had ever sampled an authentic version, I quickly scanned the ingredient list and directions, then deemed it possible for construction.
Tapioca flour, rice flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar were familiar names (and sights) in our household. I also had more than enough eggs and was eager to use them.
The textured specimen lost moisture over the subsequent days, thus it is advised to seal tightly if enjoying over several sittings. Zapping with a microwave for ten seconds is also acceptable.
Basque Cheesecake is a seemingly fuss-free method of utilizing cream cheese: it requires no crust-making efforts, the baking time is less than that of a traditional cheesecake, and can be served in a roughly-fitted parchment paper lining. However, despite multiple attempts, results are rarely consistent. The surface has never reached the charcoal tone to exude bitterness, while the inside is often completely set or curdled and lumpy.
I had aimed to formulate three mini basque cheesecakes for ease of gifting. The original flavour profiles had ranged between oolong and Earl Grey, but was swapped to Genmaicha in the last instance due to leftovers resulting from Genmaicha Truffles.
With the oven fluctuating between 425 F and 450 F, the three 4-in specimens were baked between 20-25 minutes. While resisting jiggliness, the tops had yet to transform into the coveted coal-coloured cover. I removed the trio at this point, then allowed them to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge.
To my dismay, the cross-sections were flat and lumpy - fully cooked instead of gooey. There was also a distinct savouriness to the cake, which ought to have been compensated with a greater amount of sugar. Hints of genmaicha could still be perceived, but not at an intensity deemed acceptable by my carpooling partner.
When I mentioned previous attempts at recreating - and bettering - Starbucks' Oat Fudge Bar, my coworker immediately implored for the recipe. Sheepishly, I admitted to not yet perfecting the formula, and deferred distribution to a later date.
With one egg white left over from the mini basque cheesecakes, the opportunity to further my analysis was granted. Reviewing past recipe notes, I took to reducing the overall flour content from 100g to 85g and swapping out all-purpose for whole wheat bread flour altogether.
The bar was unnecessarily greasy. I attempted to sample the edge after roughly fifteen minutes of cooling, and was rewarded with a scalded tongue and horrific crumbliness. A slice-able consistency was not achieved over time, however. Version 4 was friable and any attempts to transfer the bar led to shambles of oat and chocolate.
- It is not advised to reduce the flour content, as oil would escape the mixture.
- If reducing flour, it is probably best to also reduce the oil content and add egg whites for stability, much like with granola bars.
- The oil-butter mixture was formed using 52g oil and 61g of melted butter, however it may be ideal to include a higher proportion of butter for improved aromas.
I've often declared, to no one in particular, that Sunday Baking posts at the perfect opportunity. This is often displayed by her timely recipe uploads re-purposing certain soon-to-expire materials. In this case, it was less of fresh produce reaching the end of their edible lifespan, and more of a jar of pistachio paste I had promised handover to the sleepy polar bear once I had concluded experimental procedures.
Not one to be fond of the market price of pistachios, nor their shelled nature, I tended to swap in more widespread or convenient alternatives such as pecans or black sesame, for seeds are also high in fat, but less dense than nuts.
This time, though, I had pistachio paste on hand, and I was ready to use it.
The cake, being devoid of oil and butter, seemed tricky to pull off. For assurance, I sifted the cake flour twice, a step I usually dismiss as it requires more bowls, more washing, and more time. I also heeded the instructions to incorporate the flour in four (relatively uniform) additions. To adjust for the added sugar in the Costco-sourced jar of Pisti, the meringue was formed using 55g of sugar instead of 90g. It is worth noting that a reduction in sugar can sometimes lead to reduced stability, thus I first whipped the whites at a high speed to stabilize the structure, then gradually shifted to medium and low speeds to maintain longevity.