Pokeball Pizza FTW

So, who’s been on this Pokemon Go craze lately? Come on, don’t be shy~

Almost all of my friends are in on it and since Philadelphia has high Pokemon activity, there’s a lot of staring-into-phone-screens whenever we go somewhere. Unfortunately, I am not a part of this as my phone is incompatible with the latest Pokemon Go version, which makes me the lone wolf in the group.

Sometimes I feel like my friends are more interested in a Magikarp or a Charmander than they are in me 😦 But, I still love them nonetheless.

So this post goes out to all of my Pokemon-crazed loved ones and YOU!

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POKEBALL PIZZA

What you’ll need:

  • Pizza dough (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup Pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Black olives, chopped
  • Pepperoni

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
  2. Mix yeast in warm water in a medium bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Beat vigorously in about 20 strokes and let rest for 10- 15 minutes. Knead dough until smooth.
  4. Grease baking sheet with olive oil and pat the dough into a circle.
  5. Spread the pizza sauce onto the dough and put a layer of mozzarella cheese, then arrange the black olives to create the middle of the pokeball and finish by topping with pepperoni.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Ultimate Cheesecake with Lemon Blueberries

What do you do when you want some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, but you’re a broke college student? You make it yourself! Of course, the convenience of being able to eat the cheesecake right then and there is absent. However, for the price of one slice of cheesecake, you can have a whole 9in. cheesecake to yourself.

But, as I always say, sharing is caring.

Now, the only thing I did differently than the original recipe (linked below) is that I did not do the water bath. But, no harm done! My cheesecake still came out just as perfect and delicious as all the other times I’ve made it.

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Ultimate Cheesecake with Lemon Blueberries 
adapted from here

Ingredients:

Crust:
2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract

Warm Lemon Blueberry Topping, recipe follows

Warm Lemon Blueberries:
1 pint blueberries
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

For the Crust:
In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

For the Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not overbeaten.

Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours.

Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate. Using a spatula spread a layer of Warm Lemon Blueberry topping over the surface.

Slice the cheesecake with a thin, non-serrated knife that has been dipped in hot water. Wipe dry after each cut.

Warm Lemon Blueberries:
In a small saucepan add all the ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or so until the fruit begins to break down slightly. Leave to cool before spreading on cheesecake.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache + Raspberries

Hello all!

As summer nears its end, my baking season shall begin again. These past several months have been quite a whirlwind, what with so many changes in my life. During this upcoming fall season I will officially be a senior in university, meaning graduation is looming. While I am excited to finally graduate, it is quite intimidating to finally venture into the real world.

However, instead of moping around with anxiety and stress, what better way to end this summer than by eating some delicious chocolate cake complete with chocolate ganache and an adornment of fresh raspberries? Amirite?

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Let’s get started!

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons coffee granules
1 cup boiling water
raspberries

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
adapted from here

Ingredients:

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon coffee granules

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with baking spray or butter and lightly flour it.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl to combine.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined.
  4. Mix the coffee granules into the boiling water. Then reduce speed of the mixer and carefully add coffee mixture to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  5. Pour cake batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  7. To make the ganache, cook the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.
  8. Once the cake has cooled completely, pour the ganache over the cake and smooth with an offset spatula. Garnish with raspberries as you wish.

 

White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Fall is my favorite season and with it comes many of my favorite flavors. I stumbled upon this recipe while browsing Pinterest and I just had to make it. Pumpkin cookies are always challenging to make because they’re so moist that the cookie itself have a cakey texture. This cookie has that perfect crisp outer edges and chewy interior because of the omission of eggs that are present in many recipes. So when you are looking through this recipe and notices the absence of eggs, you read correctly.

Pumpkin chip

White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
Adapted from here

Ingredients:
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup white granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
1 tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
Pinch cardamom
Pinch ginger
Pinch salt
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup white chocolate chips (may also use cinnamon chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, seasonal pumpkin chips, or semi-sweet chocolate chips if desired)

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with the paddle attachment, beat together the melted butter, white sugar and brown sugar until combined. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin to combine. Then add in the spices, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and flour until a soft dough has formed. Stir in the chips with a spatula.

2. Refrigerate the cookie dough for AT LEAST 1 hour until chilled. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. Drop rounded Tablespoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheets, about 1″ apart. Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. Cookies may appear slightly puffy and underdone, but do NOT overbake! Do NOT cook them longer than 10 minutes; the cookies will continue to cook slightly on the baking sheets as they cool.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

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For the majority of my life I’ve always hated carrots. I didn’t like the taste or the texture. My family also overdid it with all the carrot soup they made, which made a huge contribution to my absolute disapproval of anything carrot-related. Last Monday I decided to give carrot cake a try since there was nothing to lose.

To say that I fell in love with it is an understatement. During the week I obsessed over carrot cake recipes, trying to find the best one. When I came home from work, I pored over cooking websites and blogs, taking in everyone’s experience and reviews. Well this evening, that obsession has manifested itself into something tangible. Using the ingredients that I already have in my pantry, this is the recipe I came up with.

The result was a moist (perhaps too moist), light and spiced up cake. It pairs nicely with the whipped cream cheese frosting, which gives it a bit of a tang.

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Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

1 lb carrots (I used baby carrots), grated or chopped in a food processor
2 cups gluten-free flour blend
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 8oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 300 F.
2. Grate your carrots or chop in a food processor.
3. Combine flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and salt. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, beat sugar and eggs until combined, then add vanilla and oil.
5. Using a spatula, mix in the dry ingredients and fold carrots and walnuts into the mixture.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs.
7. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter at high speed until fluffy (3 minutes). Add confectioners sugar and vanilla, keep beating until well combined.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

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I’ve always found gluten-free cooking/baking a bit intimidating, mostly because of the ingredients, which can sometimes be hard to find. Not only that, in my mind I’ve always thought that all gluten-free or vegan desserts were hard. But ever since my awesome co-worker joined us at work, I feel more motivated to expand my horizons. Soon after I made the red velvet cupcakes, I began searching for a good gluten-free recipe using ingredients I already had in hand. I wanted a recipe that makes gluten free taste not so gluten-free. I found these on Food.com and made some slight changes. All in all, the only ingredients I had to buy were the GF flour blend and guar gum.

After these babies were baked and cooled down, I did a taste test and came to the conclusion that they were amazing. They were moist and not at all hard, like I expected them to. These cakes were not too sweet either, so it tasted more like a dark chocolate cake. I brought these to work the next day for my coworkers, and it was a hit! Needless to say, this is not the last time I will be making gluten-free baked goods. One thing that I would improve though, is to make the batter nice and smooth since they don’t rise or adjust to the pan as other cakes do.

If you are interested in trying out gluten-free baking, do try this recipe and let me know how it turns out. If you have any recommendations, I’d love to know!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp guar gum
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup of water

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking soda and guar gum. Set aside.
3. In another bowl mix oil, vinegar, vanilla, egg and water together. Then add the flour mixture in additions until just combined.
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes in a 9 in. square pan (or any pan of your choosing), or until toothpick inserted comes out with few moist crumbs.

Red Velvet Cupcakes – Perfect for Work

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It has been several months since my hiatus from blogging, and a lot has happened since then. I have been learning so much at work, from designing to fabricating to woodworking, and I feel really grateful for it. I have to admit though, sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by everyone’s level of expertise and talent. But in a good way. Being at the Department of Making + Doing inspires me to have greater ambitions and to challenge myself more. The work environment itself is not the usual, rigid office life. Everything is a learning experience and creativity is a must!

One of my favorite experiences actually happened a couple of weeks ago, where a co-worker friend and I attempted to fix the laser cutter. One of our resident artist wanted to laser-cut some designs for his summer camp class the next morning however, the machine was too clogged up by debris to work. We tried out many hazardous methods to clean the machine, from vacuuming the filter in the air pressure, to taking the filer out and shaking it, and to plugging in the vacuum itself to the air pressure to suck out the dirt.

It was a wonderful bonding experience, though possibly dangerous. Lately I’ve been bringing in treats to work because I thought it’d be nice to share them with everyone. It’s also my way of getting different people’s perspectives on my recipes. One of the things I brought this past week was these delicious, moist red velvet cupcakes, which are my favorite cupcakes of all time. If you love red velvet as much as I do, give this recipe a try!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (1 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice)
2 tbsp. (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

Vanilla Buttercream:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 tsp heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.
3. To make the buttermilk, combine 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice or white distilled vinegar. Let stand for 5-10 minutes at room temperature until it curdles.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar. Beat on medium speed until well blended.
4. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.
5. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.
6. Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. To make the frosting, beat butter on medium-high speed until it’s pale, about 2-3 minutes. Put the speed on low and gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated. Mix in the vanilla, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.
Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

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My New Job at a ‘Maker space’| Soft Sugar Cookies

 

This post is loooong overdue, but I do have a couple of reasons as to why I have been absent lately. Those reasons are as follows: 1) I have a new job and as of now, I have completed my third week and 2) I am learning a lot about some of the softwares I’ll be using extensively for work, so I’ve been focusing on that.

Let me tell you a little bit about my job. I work for the Department of Making + Doing in Philadelphia. It is what people call a ‘Maker-space’. Basically, it’s a collaboration space where people come in and make stuff. It’s a gym for innovators. At the DM+D (Department of Making + Doing) we have all sorts of equipments and programs i.e. 3D Printer, laser-cutter, vinyl cutter, woodworking shop, electronics station, etc that people can use for their projects, or just to create. We believe in learning by doing, or in this case, by making.

It’s amazing how much I’ve learned just from the first week I’ve been here. My job is more on the Marketing side. Hence, I do a lot of web development, social media management, advertising, etc. Lately I’ve been working on the website, and let me tell you, there is a lot of html going on. I mean, doing a blog is one thing, but doing a whole website based on coding is a whole other universe. So, please check out our lovely website: http://dmdphilly.org If you would like to learn more about DM+D, feel free to comment below! 🙂

Let’s get started with the recipe, shall we?

During the holidays I made shortbread-like sugar cookies, since they work best for cookie cutting. However, this time I was craving some actual soft, chewy sugar cookies. I’ve used this recipe before and it had been a while since I used it, so here I go.

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Soft Sugar Cookies
Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together the butter and the sugar.
3. Mix in vanilla and eggs into the butter mixture.
4. Whisk the baking powder, salt and flour in a separate bowl. Set aside.
5. Blend baking soda into buttermilk. You will see a little chemical reaction.
6. Combine the buttermilk and dry ingredients alternately until you have a creamed mixture.
7. Chill cookie dough for a couple of hours, or overnight.
8. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonful and flatten a bit.
9. Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges browned a little.

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Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake

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Spring officially began last Friday, 03/20, yet it is 35 degrees F here today. Not to mention we had a snowstorm that very Friday. I am elated that finals are over and am excited to begin my new job next week.

And, it is also spring break! What better way to start the week off than by having some cake? Definitely not healthy, but life’s too short to not have a slice of tart, lemony goodness. How do you like to spend your day off or your breaks?

I’m still trying to improve my baking skills, so I’ve made a lemon poppyseed bundt cake this past weekend. I’ve been working on baking it just at the right temperature so that it wouldn’t be too burnt outside. With this recipe, I baked it at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes. While the outside was browned to the point that it almost got burnt, the inside seemed well-cooked, although I could still taste that raw flour flavor. It was still delicious, but it would have tasted much better if I had cooked it a little longer. I can’t seem to have consistent results with my oven!

For those of you who have made this kind of cake before, what is your take on it? Do you bake it at a high temperature so that it cooks fairly fast or at a lower temperature so that it doesn’t burn? I would greatly appreciate any advice you might share!

Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups butter, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour bundt pan.Combine the baking powder, flour and lemon zest in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the baking powder, flour and lemon zest in a medium bowl.
  3. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and lemon juice.
  4. Using a spatula, stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Make sure not to overmix.
  5. Fold in the poppy seeds into the batter.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 20-25 minutes before flipping onto a wire to cool completely.

Lemon Glaze
Ingredients:

  • Lemon juice
  • Confectioners sugar
  • A dash of milk

Directions:

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together until it has a viscous consistency.

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