Thursday, February 16, 2012

Green Tea Cookies, Lesson #1

Note: Finally! Another post! I have been very busy with a cake order for a client but don't fret, I am still here. So let's carry on :)

My first reaction to my creation.

Ooohh! What?! My cookies!! :'(

Is what I asked myself after they came out of the oven. Matcha Cookie Fail #1. It will serve it's purpose though, fear not! You can't learn something without failing at it at least once, is what I always say. Especially when you're trying to create a new recipe, you should always expect to make many mistakes to find that perfect one! Have faith ;)
Some of the ingredients for making Matcha Crinkle Cookies
So anyway, I was so excited about the whole idea thinking that white chocolate and matcha would make a good combination.. Well it turns out to be a little more complicated than that.

I used the Chocolate Crinkle Cookies recipe as a guideline to make these Matcha Crinkle Cookies that I sooo badly wanted. But when you're substituting or adding something in a recipe, the end product would definitely have a different texture and taste, etc. right? Especially since I'm adding Powdered Matcha.
But before I continue, if any of you are new to the world of Matcha and want to know something about it, here is a simple explanation from Matcha Source. For others please feel free to scroll down, but if you want to read that's okay too! :)

What is Matcha Powdered Green Tea?
"Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. While other green teas are grown throughout the world, matcha is unique to Japan. It is the heart of the Japanese way of tea and has been celebrated in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony for hundreds of years."

What does matcha taste like?
"Complex. Alluring. Bitter. Misunderstood. Addicting. That’s how Sophia F., a matcha enthusiast from Florida, describes the taste of matcha. Chlorophyll and amino acids give matcha its unique rich taste, an initial vegetal, astringent taste, followed by a lingering sweetness. Matcha made in the traditional Japanese style, whisked with water, is a full-bodied green tea. The intensity of the experience compares to one’s first taste of dark chocolate or red wine. When added as an ingredient, the taste of matcha becomes subtler. It adds the flavor and color of green tea to your creation, be it a smoothie, latte, savory sauce or pastry.

They explained that better than I could ever have. Interesting tid bit isn't it?

So moving on to what I did:

Change #1
-White Chocolate (WC). I used the same amount as the recipe found in most Chocolate Crinkle recipes. Definitely too much for a white chocolate, my gut told me that I should cut it down to just a few chunks but I was too stubborn so I pressed on. The original recipe calls for Semi sweet chocolate, and semi sweet is well, semi sweet and has a little bitterness to it which is why it works best.

Change #2
-Sweet Matcha Powder (SMP). Once again, my gut told me to use the unsweetened one but... I didn't listen. Because Sweet (WC) + Sweet (SMP) + Sugar = Waaay Too Sweet.
Butter, Sweet Matcha Powder, and White Chocolate
So what's lesson #1? Listen to your guts. lol. Don't get me wrong, I love sweet stuff but I had the wrong proportion of ingredients so it came out too sweet for me.

But anyway, before I show you what my cookies turned out like I would like to show you how my Chocolate Crinkle Cookies comes out of the oven. It's a melt in your mouth cookie, and has a soft and velvety texture, especially when it just came out of the oven. My taste buds sing with joy when I bite into one of these babies.
Not much cracks, which is how I want it. Yummy and pretty to look at :)
And now, please welcome... My failed Green Tea Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.
BAM! It doesn't look like good eats to me :(

Too many cracks and they're too flat... But that's probably because I took the batter out of the fridge a little too soon.

Now I have never tried making green tea sugar cookies before. That's also something I could probably look into. Have you ever made green tea cookies before? Do you like them? What was your experience like? Please share your ideas and thoughts, good and bad are both welcome.

Anyway, I guess there's a lot to be done so for now I'll be experimenting a little bit more in the kitchen until I've come up with a recipe that is worthy and we could all enjoy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Green with Envy.. Teaser

Sweet Matcha Powder and White Chocolate
Tomorrow, I'll be in the kitchen working with these two additional ingredients.  Can you tell what I am going to make?  Check back tomorrow to find out what sort of Om noms I will be sharing with you.  Stay tuned! ;)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Baking My First Cake

My journey with baking started about a couple of years ago, when some of my free time was spent watching cooking and baking shows on the Food Network Channel.. I have to thank them for inspiring a great deal out of me. There are so many great shows out there like Cake Boss, Lynn Crawford's Pitchin' In, French Food at Home, Ace of Cakes, Bobby Flay's Throw Down, and many more..
Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream Icing
But enough about my favourite tv shows. My boyfriend's mother also happens to be a baker of really good goodies which motivated me even further. So I baked myself away and started out with cupcakes because I found them to be less intimidating than baking a whole cake at that time.

I made this last year and this was my very first fondant cake. It was a birthday cake for a young and growing Princess! She's actually one of my godsons' sisters; the second oldest of 4 kids. As this was my first ever fondant cake, I under estimated the time it would take for me to make it! So I called out a friend and thankfully she came in to rescue me! Phew! Thanks Agnes!
The princess, wanted a tiara on her cake and so I went online and searched for videos on Youtube that could help me out. I found this amazing tutorial on how to make gumpaste tiaras. Hers however, look really amazing and mine was.. well, not nearly as good as hers but it'll do.

I am so glad that the birthday girl liked it though!

Anyway, for the next few days I will be backtracking and posting some of my previous works. But I'll be posting some of the new things that I am also working on in between. So stay tuned!

With lots of love,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration

This project is a special one because it was for my twin-god son's birthday celebration.  My friend (who is my bf's sister-in-law), asked me if I could help her plan the celebration.  And who could resist?  I knew this was going to be extra fun because the first thing that popped into my head was Dr. Seuss!  Thing1 and Thing 2.  Awesome.

We had about 2 months to plan for it and one of the very first thing I did was design the invitation.  I browsed the internet for some of the wordings, and added my own into it.  I don't really know which application to use for the invitation so I ended up using Paint.  That is were I spent a long time trimming the Cat In The Hat.  I'm sure you could do that in Photoshop or something, but since I don't have that.. I decided to use paint and saved the image as PNG so it could retain it's actual colours.
It's a Red and Blue Party!
I simply used cardstock to print the invatations and voila!  That's what we got.  Cute and simple.  I printed the names separately on Excel, cut them out, and pasted each one on the invitations.

Next on my project was to buy the treats that would go on the Candy Party Favour Station.  We (my bf and I) headed to Seattle where we could score awesome deals.  We got those amazing Dr. Seuss items at Target, all for a dollar each and used them as prizes for the games. 
The next thing I did was bought tissues for the flower pom poms, that I wanted to use for decorations.   If you want to know how to make them, check this how-to video here.  I went to Deserres to buy my tissue paper and lucky me they were on clearance!  80pcs/set of sheets for less than $2.00, and I got about (I think) 3 sets each of red and blue tissue paper, and I remeber having way more than what I needed.   We decided to use the left over tissues for the table that didn't have a cover.
I really wanted a set of balloons on each of the tables.  And after doing a lot of research, we placed our order at Ballonatics DesignsOn the day of the party, they arrive at the venue earlier than we expected, AND gave us 2 sets of balloons at no additional charge!  I absolutely loved them!  I love the look of them hovering over the tables.. Don't you? :)

As for the table cloths we got a couple of them at the Dollar Store, I was a little bit disappointed with the colour so I headed out and bought some at the The Party Bazaar on Terminal and Main St.  These were much better, so I got one for each table (10).
I got the idea of this framed message on Hostess with the Mostess.
I thought it was a brilliant idea so I went ahead and printed it on a piece of paper and framed it on one of the picture frames that we already have!  Check out their awesome website for great inspirations!  Anyway, we had this set up by the entrance of the venue where visitors could sign and write their wishes for the birthday boys.  

The games we used include: Find the Green Egg (similar to the Easter Egg Hunt), Find the Cat In The Hat, where we cut up a small picture of the CITH and pinned it at the back of one of the adult guests for the kids to find. And then Pass the Fish Bowl, sort of like when Thing 1 and Thing 2 were throwing the fish bowl at each other on the first (I think) tv episode of The Cat In The Hat.

By the end of the day everyone, especially the kids had a ton of fun.  Who wouldn't have fun with a Dr. Seuss themed party anyway?  And once again, thanks to every one who pitched in on this party, especially the twins' awesome parents!  I swear, I have the most awesome-est (if that's even a word) friends and family ever. Love them all. =)


On January 27th,  My boyfriend and I drove from Vancouver to Seattle for my lola's surprise 80th birthday party.   I was sooo excited about the the whole thing!  I love birthday parties, don't you?  All the food, the desserts... yum!  And surprising my Lola? Wow!  That was something I was a little concerned about at the beginning, she was alright though, she even had an amazing time! :)

These were later wrapped in treat bags tied with a white ribbon.
"Nanay" means "mother" in Tagalog/Filipino.  That's what our friends and family call her, except for me.. I got used to calling her "Lola" meaning "grandma" because that's just what I grew up calling her as.  Sometimes I call her Nanay though :)

Anyway, I received a call from my Aunt from Seattle 2 weeks in advanced but by the time I got an approval for time off from work, I only had a week left with me to work on some of the things that I needed to bring:  the tags for the party favours, the fondant cupcake toppers, and the cakes that I needed for the cakepops.
I made 64 cakepops that we used as party favours, and 80 Red Velvet Cupcakes as part of the dessert menu.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I know they're not that red because I didn't want to use 1 bottle of food colouring for each batch!   If you know a more natural way of colouring Red Velvet Cupcakes, please leave a message, I would love to know how!  

Anyway,  I had to make these cupcakes... with my Aunt's hand mixer.  *Sigh*.  Just when I thought I had everything.. I brought my Kitchen Aid BUT I forgot the whisk attachment!!!   =( Doh! I was quite disappointed at that, but now I just laugh about it. 

Thank goodness, my Aunt had a hand mixer on hand.  It would have been a great disaster if she didn't have one (because she doesn't bake).

As for the cake that I used for the cakepops, I decided on t his Cake Recipe that I found here
, except I added Pure Vanilla Extract to the Lemon Cake. I think it adds to the flavour.  I baked two 8" cakes for the cakepops and they were more than enough.  I think we had 8-10 extras.

The tags were cut using a pair of plain old scissors..

I have made tags numerous times, but I don't own any craft puncher.. Except for the 1/8 whole puncher that I've got.  I should start investing in some.   It would make my life (and those who are always there to help me with these things) a whole lot easier..  I was going to buy some at Michaels but they had no 40% off coupon at that time. Regular price was from $25-$30. Boo. I am NOT paying that much.  I want them for cheap... because that's how I roll. haha.

To make the whole story short, we arrived in Seattle on Friday night at 10:30pm and started baking at... 11:00pm.  We left Vancouver at 7:30 because of work.  I stayed up all night until 10:30am to finish everything up. Yes, I pretty much didn't stop until I got the job done. I did not want to disappoint anyone after all.  Most of my back up went to bed between 3:30-4:30am.  My hon, stayed up until 6.  Aren't they the sweetest little bunch? :)

So, I would like to take this time to THANK my ever dearest friends and family for helping me out!  From cutting out the tags, to making the fondant toppers, to helping me weigh the ingredients, wrapping the styrofoam cakepop stand, and everything else in between.  Thank you!

Here's a snap shot of my grandma :)


Monday, February 6, 2012

Writing is not my forté... But...

Heck. I'll give it a shot. I bake, I cook, and sometimes I do crafts. And recently, I've been itching to try my hands on Candy-Making. Stay tuned. I hope to be blogging as much as I can, and hopefully I won't bore the pants out of anyone including you! :)

 instagram id: may_pantaleon
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