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Lotus Seed and Salted egg yolk cookie sandwich

Happy Mid Autumn Festival! This is the time to light up lanterns and stuff your face with mooncakes. When I was young, my dad used to buy me all kinds of pretty lanterns that we would light up and hike up a hill to see the full moon. He also bought me ones that sang, but I bet he regretted that because I would play it all night until the song started to get out of tune and was really painful to the ears :D
My sister and I were also pyromaniacs back in the days and would line up waxy red candles on a mooncake tin lid and make a bonfire. Things were so simple back then haha. What I really miss the most is eating mooncakes though. Friends and relatives would gift traditional mooncakes and I loved opening them up to see the intricate design on top and then to cut it open to reveal the golden yolk in the center. I could eat a whole one and it would sit like a brick in my stomach all day (you should weigh one of these, they are so heavy!)
Anyway, I decided to create something mooncake-like and made some mooncake cookie sandwiches. It took me a month to make these, because I made my own salted eggs which took about a month of endless waiting (recipe below). The cookies are studded with salted yolks throughout and are so buttery and crumbly. They are sooo good on their own, that my bf kept eating them and I didn't have many left to sandwich >:( . I'm excited to eat these and watch the full moon today!
Lotus Seed and Salted Egg Yolk Cookie Sandwich
makes 15-20 cookie sandwiches

2 cups flour
4 tsps cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp dried milk powder
3/4 cup salted butter, room temp
1/3 cup white sugar
2-3 tbsps maple syrup
3 salted egg yolks, cooked* (how I made the salted eggs below)

egg wash
black and white sesame seeds (optional)
sweetened lotus seed paste
  1. Place salted eggs in pot and cover with water and put on high heat. When it starts boiling, start the timer to let it boil for 4.5 minutes. Once time is up, take it off the heat and dunk in ice cold water.
  2. Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and soda and milk powder in a large bowl and set aside. Beat softened butter with sugar until light, stir in maple syrup. Stir dry mix to wet ingredients gently, until it comes together into one lump of dough. (if the dough doesn't come together, add a little bit of vegetable oil)
  3. Spoon out cooked egg yolks (some white is fine), and crumble coarsely with a fork. Fold into cookie dough. Make sure you have some chunks scattered throughout, because it is absolutely divine to taste the salted yolk here and there in the buttery cookie.
  4. I used mooncake molds to get the cool flower pattern on top. But if you don't have one, then roll out dough to 1/4" thick. Cut out to any shape you want. Place on lined baking trays and chill them for 30minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F. Beat 1 egg to make the egg wash. Brush liberally on top of cookie cut outs. Sprinkle on black and white sesame seeds if desired.
  6. Bake for 18-22mins or until nicely golden on top. Let it cool at least 10 minutes on the tray before moving because they are pretty fragile out of the oven.
  7. You can definitely make your own lotus seed paste or buy a can of it in your local Chinese supermarket. Pipe some onto the cooled cookies and sandwich them. 
*I actually made my own salted eggs using extra-large chicken eggs, instead of the traditional duck egg. You just need a ratio of 1:4 salt to water ratio (so 1 cup salt for 4 cups of water), and place your eggs into the mix. I also placed a ziploc filled with water on the top, so the eggs wouldn't float in the salty water. I then put a lid on it and stored it in on top of my fridge for a month. The yolks when cooked came out really nicely bright orange/red and salty :D

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Matcha Pocky Sticks

I'm back with another matcha recipe! I know...NOT another one! If I'm doing too many, lemme know :P. I can't promise you that'll stop me, but I'll consider it ;) I was going to post this on November 11, because that's Korea's Pepero day (11/11). Pepero (빼빼로) is the Korean name for the Japanese Pocky. It's kind of like Valentine's day, but you buy your crush or significant other pepero. I don't really know the reason why, but you just do it because pepero is freaking addictive to snack on.
I just thought that straight stick pocky is kind of boring, so why not make all kinds of pocky shapes and sizes? With a homemade squeezable dough, you can make glasses, hearts, stars and everything else. These are so much more fun to gift (or to eat by yourself :D).
Matcha Pocky Sticks
adapted from food52
makes about 50 sticks and shapes

4 tbsps unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp water
1.5 cup white chocolate chips (or 9 oz)
toppings: black sesame seeds, shredded coconut, sprinkles (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 300F. In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffly. Stir in egg and vanilla on medium. Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir, then add water until a smooth dough forms (you may need to add more water if too stiff). Dough should feel malleable, otherwise it will be extremely difficult to pipe
  2. Transfer dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4" tip. Pipe onto parchment paper into straight lines, hearts, glasses...whatever you like!
  3. Bake for 18-20mins or until golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool and harden for 5 minutes before transferring onto a rack to cool completely
  4. Melt white chocolate in a water bath. I have really bad experiences with microwaving white chocolate...real chocolate seems fine but white just doesn't work for me! Just place the chocolate chips in a small tall bowl into small pot with constant warm/hot water. Once it melts, whisk in matcha powder
  5. Dip and spread your shaped cookie sticks into the melted chocolate. Scrape off gently any excess chocolate and lay on silicon mats or baking paper. Decorate with toppings.
  6. Let chocolate harden or transfer to the fridge to quicken the process

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Homemade Matcha-mallows S'mores

A quick hello before I go to sleep (I guess goodnight?)! I'm kinda excited to share a marshmallow recipe with you guys, that contains no corn syrup! Honestly, I don't know what's up with all the bad hype about corn syrup and don't want to read about it, since I already have to read about bowel obstruction for my patients (hehe sorry). I've been meaning to make marshmallows, so I actually bought a bottle of corn syrup, but found a recipe just using sugar. Now, I have no idea what to do with the corn syrup :/
The addition of something bitter/earthy like matcha to marshmallows is such a genius move. Usually, I find marshmallows way too sweet and absolutely will not eat them unless sandwiched in s'mores. This was before I made some homemade ones. I kid you not... they are like fluffy pillows that instantly melt in your mouth. You can eat so many of them, because they aren't too sweet and I guess they're somewhat healthy (because of matcha???).
I'm excited to introduce you guys to the culinary matcha that I've been incorporating into new recipes you'll be seeing more soon! I'm super in love with matcha!!! I could run to the rooftop and shout out my love for it! It has such an unique earthy and healthy quality to it, I find myself sprinkling it on everything.

I have a whole recipe gallery dedicated to matcha! If you want to try it, I'm partnering with Panatea and offering 10% off their culinary grade bag (Code: mhpculinary)

They also have awesome matcha tees and tanks for those super matcha-afficionados. I've been debating on getting some, but they've run out of the smallest sizes D:

Homemade Matcha-mallows S'mores
makes 30-40 s'mores
adapted from kitchenfrau

Matcha marshmallows
1 cup water (divided)
2 packages gelatin (about 4.5 tsps)
2 cups white sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
2-3 tbsps Panatea's culinary grade matcha
powdered sugar
corn starch
  1. Prepare a 9x13" pan by lightly greasing with butter and powdered sugar. Tap out excess powdered sugar from pan.
  2. Stir 1/2 cup of water with gelatin and allow to bloom (it should be like a clump of jelly fish :/)
  3. Meanwhile heat sugar and the other 1/2 cup of water in a small pot until dissolved. Add the gelatin into the pot and bring to boil while stirring. Once bubbling, take off heat, add salt and stir (it will turn whitish and make sure sides are scraped down as well). Cool to room temp
  4. Once cool, add vanilla and pour into a stand mixer (the cooled mix will look translucent and yellowy). Beat on high for 6 mins, the coagulated stuff will magically turn white and fluffy! Stop and add matcha powder and beat for 2-3 mins more
  5. Dump into prepared pan. I mean dump, because the mixture will be sticky and difficult to handle. Smooth out layer as even as you can. Let cool and dry overnight
  6. Cut into desired shape: I cut it into squares and circles to the size of my crackers. Always wipe your knife or plastic when slicing so it doesn't stick too badly. Toss marshmallows into a half and half mix of matcha and powdered sugar or corn starch. Allow to dry on a rack for a few hours

Graham crackers
1.5 cups all purpose
1 cup whole wheat
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick frozen butter (cut in tbsps)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup whole milk
2 tbsp vanilla
  1. Pulse flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a food processor just to mix. Add frozen butter and pulse until you can see small pea-sized lumps amongst the dry mix
  2. Whisk honey, milk, and vanilla to food processor and pulse until dough comes together. You can take it out and knead the dough so it forms a ball. It will be soft and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for at least 2 hours
  3. Roll out dough on floured surface and roll to slightly thicker than 1/8". Cut into squares of desired size (I did 1.5x1.5"). Place on silicon mat or parchment paper. Prick cut graham squares with a fork. Chill for at least 30 mins
  4. Preheat oven to 350F and bake chilled crackers for 18-24mins or until nicely browned on the edge. Cool on rack
- I used nutella as my (chocolate layer), but a ganache dark chocolate layer would put this over the top!

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Coconut black rice pudding

Sometimes my bf and I get these insane cravings for McDonalds. We have serious love for pink goo chicken nuggets and their extremely soft chocolate sundaes. Although my post has nothing to do with McD or nuggs, I'm currently posting this at midnight, still feeling full from my twenty piece nugg box, soft serve, and at least a gallon of diet coke. I have to wake up in less than 5 hours, but sometimes I forget how sensitive I am to caffeine, and drinking coke has got me all wired! Or I pretend to forget, because I can't have fries without coke. Also, we are both lactose intolerant, so we're on the wait for Montezuma's revenge >.<
Anyway, I thought I wasn't going to post throughout my internal medicine rotation, but we have all these mini holidays this month, including the world biking race coming to Richmond! Woo, getting a free entire week holiday!

Ack, I'm going off track and I want to get some studying done before I sleep. I'm leaving you with this totally summer-y and refreshing dessert to enjoy in the hot weather. Also did you notice the hospital gauze posing as "cheese cloth". LOL, don't worry it's sterile and fresh out of the packet :D
Coconut black rice pudding
makes 6-8 servings

1 cup black glutinous rice
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water

1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 mangoes, diced
shredded dried coconut
other fruits
  1. Rinse glutinous rice and let it soak overnight with at least 2cm water over the level of rice. In a small pot mix brown sugar and coconut milk. Drain rice, add to coconut milk and then add enough water so there is about 1 cm over the top of the leveled rice.
  2. Bring to boil on high and then lower to low-med to simmer for about 35-40mins. Taste test towards the end and the rice should be chewy, but not hard or stiff. Fluff and let it cool. Stick it in the fridge to chill
  3. To make the decorations over the rice, dissolve white sugar in coconut milk by warming it a little. Dice up mangoes or any other tropical fruits. Allow the sweetened coconut milk to chill as well
  4. To assemble, scoop rice into a bowl. I used seran wrap and molded the rice into golf ball sized spheres. Place into shallow bowl. Stir up chilled coconut milk and pour over top. Arrange fruits over rice and sprinkle on some dried coconut shavings.
  5. All components can be made a day or two ahead and even assembled together. 

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Oreo Cheesecake Brownie Bars

Ah... It feels like I haven't been posting for a while! I swear I've been sweating it up in the kitchen baking, cooking and testing out recipes. I have so many posts lined up that I'm super excited about, so I promise I'll have it up soon. But, for now I'm going to post something I made last year. Haha oops. I've been meaning to post these oreo cheesecake brownies that I made when I just felt I needed the ultimate indulgence. It isn't one of my usual East-meets-West recipe, but sometimes there are foods like cheesecake brownies that you just can't tamper with.
Do make these and save them in the fridge so you can have them on one of those long and exhausting days. Or if you're like me and you become cookie monster at a certain time of the month ;) 

Hopefully I'll be able to post some cooler recipes soon! 

Oreo Cheesecake Brownie Bars
makes one 8x8" pan

1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 - 8oz packages cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
About 1 cup crushed Oreos
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line pan with parchment paper
  2. Brownie: mix wet ingredients (melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla), gently stir in the dry ingredients (cocoa, flour, salt, baking powder) and just mixed. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into the pan. Smooth out if necessary.
  3. Cheesecake: Whip cream cheese until light and fluffy. Whip in the sugar, sour cream and vanilla. Gently fold in the crushed Oreos.
  4. Carefully pour cheesecake batter over the brownie batter and smooth the top
  5. Put in the oven for 20mins (do not open the oven door). Lower the oven to 325F and bake for another 20 mins. Again (DON"T open the oven door), lower temperature to 300 and bake for 10 mins
  6. Now crack open the oven door just a little bit, turn off the oven, and let it sit for 30-40mins. Let it cool and then stick it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

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Matcha Watermelon Cake

I'm all about reading unmotivated/demotivated posters and memes currently... Sometimes, I get these spurts of energy to do stuff and then I fall into a lull, and just want to sit on my couch with a bag of Cheetos on my belly and lick cheese dust off my fingers. I'm also in a fairly chill rotation right now with no stress, no early mornings or late nights.
I should be feeling pretty good, but it's kind of like that stillness before the storm. In two weeks, I'll be on internal med rotation and all hell will break loose. It'll be back to panda eyes, frizzy hair, caffeine IV drip and mismatched clothing. <-- haha, sometimes I seriously don't notice what I put on in the morning at 4.30am and I'll go to work in an all olive green ensemble looking like a pickle (true story).
I'm taking advantage of all this free time to do lots of baking though! I recently made a lot of matcha stuff, just because I love matcha and want more of my friends to be exposed to it! I have a whole recipe page dedicated to it here. For this post, I have a light as air matcha almond cake base, sandwiching a watermelon layer with almond scented whipped cream. It's then topped with fresh strawberries, almonds and dried petals. The cake is quite reminiscent of Japanese/Asian bakery cake density...something like a chiffon cake. The watermelon really works as a layer here. It's super refreshing and unexpected. My roommate and I devoured this cake in 2 days... but then we're also your no-so-typical-vigorous eaters ;).

Matcha Watermelon Cake

inspired by black star pastry
makes a 5 inch layer cake

2 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup almond finely ground meal (plus more)
1 tbsp Panatea matcha
3 tbsp flour
3 egg whites, room temp
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp white sugar
1 slice watermelon

1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pint strawberries
sliced almonds
dried petals (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and place parchment paper on bottom of a 5 inch spring form pan.
  2. Beat eggs, powdered sugar, almond flour on low-med until pale yellow. Mix in matcha and flour. Transfer to another bowl and wipe clean mixer bowel (or if you're lucky, whip out your other mixer bowl)
  3. Whip on low egg whites and cream of tartar. Add sugar and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Fold egg white mixer and matcha cake mix gently until all incorporated
  4. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30-40 mins. At 20mins you make need to foil the top because it will brown easily. Test with skewer for done-ness. Once out of the oven, immediately flip over on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely in it's pan
  5. While you're waiting for your cake to cool, cut a 5 inch watermelon slice about 1-1.5cm thick. Sprinkle both sides with sugar ~1 tbsp and allow to macerate on a rack for 30 mins
  6. Mix heavy whipping cream, sugar and extracts on high until stiff (but not too long that it separates). Set aside
  7. Stick cake once cooled into the freezer for 10 mins, so it is easier to slice in half. If you used 2 pans, then forget about this step.
  8. Place top layer of cake cut side up and spread frosting over it. Sprinkle almond meal over it (absorbs extra watermelon juice). Pat watermelon layer with kitchen towel and place over frosting. Sprinkle almond meal over watermelon and then spread more frosting over it. Top with final layer and more frosting.
  9. Refrigerate cake for 1-2 hours to firm up. Cut up strawberries into quarters and halves. Decorate cake with sliced strawberries, sliced almonds and petals. Will keep for a few days!
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