Eclair Tarts

My boyfriend loves eclairs. However, I don't want to bake the same dessert over and over, it would get boring quick. So I came up with a new dessert idea...eclair tarts! It would still taste like an eclair, but I wouldn't be baking the exact same thing. Problem solved!

These eclair tarts were delicious. The tart shell is soft and crumbles apart gently when you bite into it. Just wonderful! I think you will enjoy eating this!

Tart Shell:
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1 (5 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 1/2 cups cold milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tbs light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

For shells: Preheat oven to 325 F.
Cream butter until soft. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Then add egg yolks and beat until creamy. Gradually stir in flour until well mixed.
Lightly spray tart molds with oil spray. Take about 1 tablespoon of dough and press into mold, spreading dough as thin as possible.
Bake in oven for about 10 minutes. Cool and remove from tart mold. I used a toothpick to help me get them out. Fill them with the whipped vanilla filling and drizzle with chocolate glaze.

For filling: Combine pudding mix and milk in medium bowl according to package directions. In a separate bowl, beat cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in 1//4 cup powdered sugar and vanilla. Fold whipped cream into pudding. Use filling to fill tart shells.

For glaze: Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Decrease heat to low, add the chocolate chips and whisk until melted. Turn off heat and add powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over filled tart shells.

Red Velvet Layer Cheesecake

My boyfriend has been wanting to try a red velvet cheesecake for a while now. It would have red velvet cake layers with a New York cheesecake sandwiched in between. Yum! So I thought it would be an awesome baking adventure.

The frosting was a tad sweet for us, next time I won't add as much powdered sugar in the frosting. We're not sugar crazy people. You might actually think it's the perfect sweetness. Taste and test it as you make it!

Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp red gel-paste food color
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.

With an electric mixer on med-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in food color and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low. add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisk well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam), add mixture to the batter and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.

Line two 9 inch spring form pans with parchment paper. Divide the batter equally between the two pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Allow to cool before removing the cake from the pan. Allow to cool completely before assembling with the cheesecake.

New York Cheesecake
I used the same recipe I used in my other cheesecakes, except I cut the recipe in half. So instead of 32 oz of cream cheese, I used 16 oz and so on for all the other ingredients. I did not have a graham cracker crust on the bottom, I instead lined it with a 9 in circular parchment paper. The recipe can be found HERE!

Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz cream cheese (3 packages), at room temperature1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups of powdered sugar, plus more to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electronic mixer until well combined. Add more powdered sugar to taste, if a more sweet frosting is preferred. Use immediately to frost the cake.

Cinnamon Rolls

I've been wanting to make cinnamon rolls for a very long time!!! I just never found the time to make the dough, wait for it to rise, roll it out, cut it up, wait for it to rise again, and then bake it. I would need a good half a day. Luckily, today is the day!

These cinnamon rolls were super delicious! Soft and all that cinnamon sugar were divine! I covered them in a cream cheese icing, oh my yum! You must try them!!! 
1/4-ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons

2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

Mocha Nut Cookies

I love the combination of chocolate and coffee and these mocha nut cookies contain both chocolate and coffee! It's the perfect pick-me-up, besides tiramisu! =] They also have pecans and hazelnuts in them, which gives them that needed crunchy texture I look for in a nutty cookie!

I've been pretty busy last week, so I couldn't bake as much as I wanted too. But now I'm back, and I chose the perfect pick-me-up cookie to get me started again! You will enjoy these!

2/3 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 tps baking powder
1/8 tps salt
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup butter, cut up
3 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 tbs instant coffee granules
1 tps vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over barely simmering water.
Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and thick.
Beat in the chocolate mixture, coffee granules, and vanilla.
Mix in the dry flour mixture, pecans, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips.
Drop tablespoons of the dough 3 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
Bake until lightly cracked on top, 20 to 25 mins.
Transfer to racks to cool.

Egg Custard Tart

I've been looking for the perfect egg custard tart recipe for over a month now. I haven't found one...yet...but I know I will. However, I did run into one I deemed as close as possible to the egg custard tarts I have in hong kong bakeries. The crust is crumbly-flaky, but not puff pastry flaky. It is almost perfect!

Recipe from A Tale of Crumbs

"Water" dough

200g All purpose flour
  50g Cake flour
1-1.5tsp double action baking powder (i could only get single action baking powder)

30g sugar (tweak according to your sweet tooth)

  80g Lard
125ml Ice Cold water

Oil dough
100g Cake flour (sift this!)
0.5 tsp double action baking powder
125g Lard

Egg custard filling
80g white sugar
280ml Cold water
4 large eggs
40ml full cream milk
40ml cream

For the Water dough,
1. Mix the flours, baking powder and fine sugar.
2. Sift this resulting mixture into a clean bowl and cut in the lard.
3. Mix in iced water (or pulse using a food processor) until the resulting dough forms into a ball. 
4. Wrap in plastic film and let the dough relax in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

For the Oil dough
5. Add the baking powder into the cake flour and mix throughly.
6. Sift the flour into a cold clean bowl.
7. Cut in the lard into the flour and mix till it forms into a clean ball of uniform paste. (you can use a food processor for this.)
8. The paste should be close to spreading consistency but not fluid-like.
9. Place the oil dough ball in the center of the water dough circle and gently wrap up from the sides till its sealed without air pockets.
10. Lightly flour your kitchen tabletop and roll out the dough into a rectangle.
11. Now you can proceed with rolling and folding it like classic french puff pastry. (at least 6 turns with resting / chilling periods)
12. Make 1 extra turn at the end.
13. Measure the longest diameter of your tart mold and cut with a round cookie cutter larger than the mold by a couple of millimeters.
14. Gently and carefully line your tart mold with the cut out dough without over pressing the laminated layers. 
15. The dough pastry may look as if it was too much for the tart mold, but when it bakes, the sides will creep down, so make allowance for that.
16. Poke some holes with a fork in the base of the dough.
17. Preheat your over to 200 degrees C.

For the Egg custard filling,
18. Boil water with sugar, till all melted and keep aside till cool.
19. Crack the eggs, add in milk and cream and gently stir with a whisk until well mixed. (Try not to introduce too much bubbles)
20. Add in the cooled sugar water and gently mix well.
21. Sift the entire mixture through the finest sieve you can get your hands on and into a bowl/coffee pitcher.

22. Lower the temperature of your oven to 160 degrees C and place the tart shells onto a baking sheet in the middle layer of the oven.
23. Prebake these shells for about 10minutes or till almost ready. (constantly check through the glass window of your oven to make sure they are NOT already browned!!!)
24. Carefully remove from the oven and let the shells cool down for about 10-15minutes.
25. Lower the oven temperature to 120 degrees C.
25. Using the coffee pitcher, carefully pour in the egg custard mixture till about 2-3mm from the brim of each tart. 
26. Carefully return these filled tarts to the middle layer of the oven and bake till the custard starts setting.  (Typically, after an initial 5-10 minutes of baking, i will open the door of the oven every 5 minutes to tap/gently shake the baking sheet and observe if the egg custard remains wobbly.)
27. The texture point to stop is to first look out for the egg custard to be that between creme brulee and pudding like.
28. Remove from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack. (you should observe a nice sheen/gloss on the custard surface)
29. Start munching already!!!

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