Friday, July 27, 2012

Birthday Bakesplosion!-Rice Krispies AND Mini Cinnamon Bites

So...about that...baking hiatus...thing...

BEFORE YOU JUDGE, just, hear me out. I can explain. It's not what you think. 

Unless you are thinking that I spent three hours baking copious amounts of sugary, buttery, artery clogging sweets while simultaneously clogging my arteries by eating them as I baked. 

But here is the thing, it's my birthday this weekend. I'm turning the big TWO-OH. Twenty. Veinte. Er shi-no longer a teenager-sui.  And this year I am celebrating in New York! Woohoo! 

Okay fine, turning 20 is another one of those insignificant birthdays. Like turning 17, or like Kelly Roland from Destinys Child (sorry but not really). But the way I see it, my 20th birthday is essentially the pregame to my 21st, so why not do it Big. Why not live every day like it's our 21st? Because we would die of alcohol poisoning? Say wah? 

Once again, I will be staying with the Kamen in his apartment. And I wanted a way to outwardly thank him and his room mates for lending me a crash pad and for always supplying me with certain liquids, so that I don't get thirsty. Yeah. Hence the massive baking spree. Hence me making not one, but TWO awesome desserts. After all, I am baking for three boys. And again, the theme here is doing everything Big, capish? 

So cast your judgmental eyes away.  Just because I am turning 20 does not mean I am turning into a more responsible, mature adult who actually follows through on certain promises. SSShhhhh...


Doesn't this just

Rice krispies are the best because they're so easy to make, and finally got me to use up all the marshmallows we had in the house. Only too bad because now I am just going to buy another box...and another box...and another...because these rice krispies are too yummy and too easy not to make. And since they don't require added sugar, they're just the right amount of sweet that doesn't make you feel sick. AKA you can eat this stuff forever. AKA I am a hippo. 

And then melt it with butter, and it becomes even more...right.



Then proceeded to melt some chocolate 

And dump it on top, in keeping things RIGHT

Followed by sprinkles, in keeping things birthday themed

I did leave some of it chocolate-free, for the less-sweet-inclined (cough the Parents)

And after letting them sit, I cut them up into squares. Cute and YUM. 

Happy birthday to me indeed

Willingness to make again:
Over-all: 9.5
1) The chocolate on top is pretty dang sweet. For non-birthday related occasions, I would stick to either a thinner layer of chocolate or just not having any. For a teeny pinch of added sweetness, just toss a itty bitty bit of sugar into the melted marshmallows. 


Oh boy, oh boy, did I do something right. 

These mini cinnamon bites have restored my faith in my mini muffin pan, after the brownie mishap. And the base recipe for these mini muffins is awesome: they rose properly (I think I am getting better at estimating how much baking powder is necessary), slid off the pan easily, and even let me finally use some nutmeg. Which tasted delicious. 

Since I am still obsessed with my jelly, I decided do experiment by filling half of the mini muffins with a chunk of jelly.
I filled the bottom, plopped in some jelly, and then put more batter on top. Like a sandwich.

Post-baked, you can see the jelly peeping out

Cross-section: DEEEElicious! Jelly can do no wrong, my friends. 

So what makes these cinnamon bites isn't the actual muffin itself, but the glaze you make to go on top of it. 

Now, brace yourselves folks, this is one of those things that separates true bakers from the faint of heart:
No your eyes do not deceive you, that is indeed butter, sugar and cinnamon. 
Sometimes, you just got to do what you got to do.

Melted together to form a delicious, sweet glaze

(Feel free to note the Batman episode in the background) 



Here you can see my first batch, post baked, without the glaze 

And this is after taking a little swim

In my second batch I performed another experiment, being the scientist I am 

Where I dumped a whole bunch of jelly directly on top, for kicks and giggles

Which resulted in this. I still ate it. The end. 

Willingness to make again: 10 (SO GEWD)/ -10 (MY JEANS...!) 
Over-all: 9.9 
1) Not sure why these did not brown out like in the picture, but they were definitely baked for just the right amount of time
2) I am going to use this base muffin recipe in all future muffin endeavors! It can easily be modified by adding chocolate chips, bananas, blueberries, etc. Oh boy...

EDIT: OHMYGOD these tasted EVEN BETTER the next morning because all the glaze soaked in. KILL ME, bydrowningmeintheseminimuffins, NOW. 

In conclusion, I have made myself, and some boys very, very happy.

Embarking on NY adventures part 2 in T-minus 3 hours! Weeeeeeeeee!

TL;DR: IT IS MY BIRTHDAY and I am going to New York and I wish to not become a hippo.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Falafal Day 2: I am DONE

Holy Crapola...I am done. White flag. Gloves down. You win, chickpeas, you win. Feel free to join my other adversaries-calculus, physics and pull ups, who I have failed to defeat over the years. Make a freaking club out of it, I don't care.

It's sad to think that, after all the other times, I still got my hopes up for these falafals. I am looking back at last night's post, and I am thinking: if I could go back in time, I would go throw a brick at myself for being such a turd. At least I stayed optimistic until the very...VERY end. EYE ROLL, at myself.

These falafals, despite being pre-prepared last night, still took a long time to cook. The supposed 15 minute per-side bake time turned into 30 minutes per side. And even after that, the falafals still turned out with way too much "crunch," making it painful to eat.


ew x2

And the mixture wasn't holding together very well. While baking, I noticed my falafals being very crumbly.
 You can see all the falafal balls falling apart as I tried to flip them 

The sauce tasted pretty good and was very easy to whip together. I went waaaay over board with the lime though, giving it much more predominance in the over-all flavor than I would have liked. Oops. 

In the end, I finally had to throw the falafals away. They were 95% too hard on the outside, with barely anything on the inside to make up for it. My teeth are still tired from trying to eat them...

Shout out to the Dad who was sweet enough to eat through two falafals, just to spare my feelings and make me feel a little better. Thanks Ba <3

At the very least, I can say I've made a valiant effort at finally ridding myself of all those chickpeas. I've never been happier to see something go since I threw all my calculus notes into the recycling bin. 

And I can definitely say, with absolute certainty, that I am never. NEVER. buying chickpeas. again. I'll stick to getting my falafal fix at Clover. 

Difficulty: URGH
Willingness to make again: 0
Over-all: 1 (the flavor, from what I sampled last night, actually wasn't that was just the coming-together stage that screwed everything up)



Falafal Day 1-[Prep]: NO MORE CHICKPEAS

For those of you who don't know what Clover is, it is arguably the most successful food truck in Boston. And it's all vegetarian; love it love it love it. Since their expansion, (I see them everywhere now), their menu has increased quite a bit, but they are still  most known for their "chickpea fritter," AKA: falafals. 

But ultimately, it wasn't Clover that inspired me into making falafals. I just really like them, and therefore am happy to spread good things about them on my blog.  But it was the fact that by making falafals, I would finally be rid of all my bloody chickpeas, FOR-EVER, that lead me to falafal making. (yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay) 

However, after this first attempt at making falafals, I do have a new-found appreciation for what Clover does. That is if they, like me, also spend 30+ minutes smashing chickpeas with a stone mallet until their hands fall off. Which I somehow doubt, but whatever.  

Making falafals is hard work, folks. 

And it isn't because of chickpeas this time (gasp!) It has to do with the fact that I, being somewhat of an authentic Asian, have no will to utilize gizmos such as "food processors" or "ice cream makers" or things of the like.When I read those things, I read: STONE MALLET. 

So rather than blend my chickpeas like a normal human being (or successful food truck), I smashed them. And smashed and smashed and smashed. I felt like a caveman. 

Asides from trying to turn this ^

Into this ^(by this point my hands were dying)

I also had to prepare a lot of ingredients that would go into the falafal. 

I didn't have cilantro (blech) or parsley, but decided to use up the last of some carrot in a last-minute stroke of inspiration. 

Once my mixture was finally ready, I was surprised to find that forming miniature falafal-balls wasn't too hard. I then refrigerated them over-night so that the next day I can directly bake them after work, and not have hungry and impatient Parents on my heels ready to snap my leg off (true story).

This is the first time I pre-prepared food in advance. I'm surprised it ever came to this, because normally whenever I see the words REFRIGERATE OVER- I immediately lose interest. I only required the culinary skills to make instant foods, and nothing more. Yet here I am, pre-making falafals, at 11:30 pm. Do I need an intervention?

But if these turn out good, it would be cool if I could just pre-make falafals and freeze them for whenever I need a fast dinner. That way you are using one night's effort to make something in bulk. The yogurt based sauce looks easy to make as well and could just as easily be made in advance, although I am making mine tomorrow as these falafals bake.

I'm excited for when I can actually bake these falafals and put them together with the sauce/left over bing (Another reason I wanted to make falafals is because I realized our bing would serve perfectly as pitas when cut in half. Resourcefulness!)

But because they took an extra night's worth of effort, I am even more nervous at how they turn out. They don't have to be up to par with Clover, but I hope they are still tasty! Fingers crossed; STAY TUNED~