Bear Claws

My boyfriend loves bear claws, so I attempted to make some for him. These bear claws are filled with almond paste and sprinkled with sliced almonds and icing. They came out very good, and he ate most of them before I could give them away to my friends. This recipe (below) is pretty simple and easy. Enjoy making them!

I started rolling out the dough and folding them and filling them with almond paste:

I cut the "claws" into each one and let them rise before baking:

After baking, I drizzled them with icing:

The finished bear claws:


1 1/2 cups cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups half-and-half cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 egg white
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup almond paste, cubed
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups Powdered Sugar
Sliced almonds
In a bowl, toss butter with 3 cups flour until well coated; refrigerate. In a large bowl, combine yeast and remaining flour.
In a saucepan, heat cream, sugar and salt to 120°-130°. Add to yeast mixture with 1 egg. Beat until smooth. Stir in butter mixture just until moistened.
Place dough onto a well floured surface; roll into a 21-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Starting at a short side, fold dough in thirds, forming a 12-in. x 7-in. rectangle. Give dough a quarter turn; roll into a 21-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Fold into thirds, starting with a short side. Repeat, flouring surface as needed. (Do not chill dough between each rolling and folding.) Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours or until firm.
For filling, in a small bowl, beat egg white until foamy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and almond paste; beat until smooth. Cut dough in half widthwise. Roll each portion into a 12-in. square; cut each square into three 12-in. x 4-in. strips. Spread about 2 tablespoons filling down center of each strip. Fold long edges together; seal edges and ends. Cut into three pieces.
Place on greased baking sheets with folded edge facing away from you. With scissors, cut strips four times to within 1/2 in. of folded edge; separate slightly. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Lightly beat 1 tablespoon of water and remaining egg yolk; brush over dough. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Place 2 cups powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of milk in a bowl and mix well. Drizzle over bear claws.

Slater's 50/50 Vampire Dip

My boyfriend and I visited a burger restaurant similar to the Red Robin chain in Southern California last week. It was Slater's 50/50. They are most famous for their half ground beef and half ground bacon burgers. You could also completely make your own burgers and customize it to your specific likes, which we both ended up doing.

We first started off with an appetizer. We chose the vampire dip. It came with a cheese garlic dip inside a bread bowl with pita chips. It was super delicious. We ended up eating the bowl itself after all the chips disappeared. Here is what it looks like:

After that we proceeded to ordering our burgers. With so many options, we didn't know what to make! Here is the option menu:

I made a fiery beef burger with chipotle mayo and roasted green chilies. It was definitely spicy, which I loved! My boyfriend made the 50/50 burger, half ground bacon and half ground beef. He added onion strings, blue cheese, and bacon to top it off. There were both delicious!!!

I hope to come back to Slater's 50/50 soon, because we didn't get to try their famous sweet potato fries!

Fruit Tart

A fruit tart is all you need to feel refresh during Spring time. These fruit tarts have an unshrinkable tart shell and delicious pastry cream. Each decorated with fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, mango, and kiwi.


Tart Shell:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon of very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg

Pastry Cream:
5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream

To make dough: Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours before rolling.

To make cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.

With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.

To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (Alternately, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though flour the dough a bit anyway.) Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Or Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking. This method requires no weight. Weight is needed if baking immediately as below:

Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream.

New York Cheesecake

This was my first attempt at making a cheesecake. I chose to make a New York style cheesecake with a strawberry topping. The results were absolutely delicious! My boyfriend ate it all in 2 days! =] Here is the recipe:

2 cups (200 grams) of graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (114 grams) unsalted butter, melted
32 ounces (1 kg) cream cheese, room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or
fat free cream cheese)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons (35 grams) all purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream (double cream)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pint strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Tips: Sometimes the surface of the cheesecake cracks. To help prevent this
from happening do not over beat the batter, especially when creaming
the cheese and sugar.
Another reason for cracking is overbaking the cheesecake. Your cheesecake
is done when it is firm but the middle may still look a little wet.
Also, make sure the springform pan is well greased as cracking can occur
if the cheesecake sticks to the sides as it cools.

New York Cheesecake: Grease, or spray with Pam, a 9 inch (23 cm)
springform pan. Place the springform pan on a larger baking pan to catch
any leakage while the cheesecake is baking. Preheat oven to
350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with rack in center of oven.
For Crust: In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs,
sugar, and melted butter. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and
about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the springform pan. Cover and
refrigerate while you make the filling.
For Filling: In bowl of your electric mixer place the cream cheese, sugar,
and flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping
down the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well
(about 30 seconds) after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the
bowl. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat until
incorporated. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling.
Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to
250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and continue to bake for about another
60 - 90 minutes or until firm and only the center of the cheesecake
looks a little wet and wobbly. (The baking time can vary due to the
differences in ovens, so make sure to check that the cheesecake is firm
with only the center being a little wet and wobbly.) Remove from oven and
place on a wire rack. Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or
spatula around the inside edge of pan to loosen the cheesecake
(helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools).
Let cool completely before covering with plastic wrap. Refrigerate
several hours, preferably overnight.
For Topping: Cut about 1/3 of the strawberries in half. In a saucepan
over medium high heat, combine strawberries, sugar and vanilla. Cook,
stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove
from heat. In a blender, puree about 1/3 of sauce, then mix back into remainder.
Store in refrigerator.
To Freeze: Place the cooled cheesecake on a baking pan and freeze,
uncovered, until firm. Then wrap in aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag.
Seal and return to freezer. Can be frozen for several months. Thaw uncovered
cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.
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