min chiang kueh

min chiang kueh

I occasionally crave snacks and sweets from my homeland (Singapore) and this is one of the many things I miss from home. The chewy interior, crisp exterior and sweet and salty peanut filling never fails to satisfy me. It took me some time and many tries before finding a recipe and technique that produced similar min chiang kueh to the ones I can get back home.

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walnut pear sour cream cake

walnut sour cream pear cake

walnut pear sour cream cake

This was the first cake that I baked with my mother-in-law (although at that time she wasn’t my MIL, yet). At that time, I was (in my opinion) terrible at cake baking and could never get it right. My (future) MIL invited me over to her house to learn how to bake a proper cake. This was the recipe she chose. I love the texture and flavor of this cake. Before making this cake I only baked traditional chocolate or vanilla cakes with little to no success. Honestly, I am not a fan of a basic chocolate or vanilla cakes either. It was after making this cake that I realized I like my cakes with fruit in them.

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strawberry shortcake

strawberry shortcake

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever had a strawberry shortcake. I think it’s because it never really appealed to me. But when a good friend of yours, who you know also happens to be an amazing cook makes a strawberry shortcake, you have to eat it. And I did. And it was good. Amazing actually. So good I find excuses to make this.

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apple spice bundt cake with rum glaze

apple spice bundt cake with rum glaze

This was the dessert that the hubs and I served for Christmas dinner. The hubs first came across this bundt cake online. Alton Brown had mentioned that this was one of the best things he had ever made. The cake also utilizes grains of paradise – a unique peppery spice we happen to have and use for one particular okra dish. I had never baked a bundt cake before and we didn’t have a bundt pan but went out to buy one specifically for this endeavor. I was also surprised how much butter was needed to make a bundt cake and have to admit was slightly horrified. That being said, bundt cakes are easy to decorate and look naturally “pretty” even with some simple glaze over it.

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sunken apple and honey cake

sunken apple and honey cake

Two months ago we went apple picking and came home with about 10 pounds of apples. The hubs was a little concerned that we wouldn’t be able to finish them all before they went bad, but his fears were largely unfounded. I made about 2 different apple desserts – an apple tart and this delicious apple honey cake. Both recipes were from the Smitten Kitchen blog (thank you Deb!). We consumed the rest of the apples heartily as an after dinner treat.

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red velvet cupcakes

Originally posted: April 2008; Updated July 2014

red velvet cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting and pecan

A good red velvet cupcake really perks up my day. My obsession with red velvet probably began one fine day while watching Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”. Bobby was up against the owner and chef of Auntie Em’s (a cafe and bakery in Eagle Rock, CA). The hubs and I actually made our way there once to try the red velvet cupcake that started it all…my obsession that is. The cupcake was nice, but honestly not as good as when you make it yourself.

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cinnamon rolls

Originally posted: Feb 2008; Updated June 2014

a cinnamon roll

I love cinnamon rolls and have fond memories saving my allowance to buy these treats on my way home from school. As a child, I wondered how cinnamon rolls got their special shape and how the bakers got the sugar, butter and cinnamon in between each layer. After reading about how to make them on The Pioneer Woman (when I was much older), I decided to give them a shot. This is probably the only recipe I have used and I don’t think I need to try out any other recipe. It is relatively simple, even for a novice baker. I usually am less generous (than PW) with the butter and sugar and also use 2% milk instead of whole milk. It makes for a less sweet and rich cinnamon roll, but still yummy. I usually don’t make the glaze as well. If you like, you can also add raisins or any other dried fruit. Walnuts would also be a nice addition.

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lemon bars

I was inspired to make lemon bars after having one at my church’s bake sale. I hadn’t had a lemon bar in ages and the chewy bottom and sweet and slightly tart lemon top tantalized my taste buds – thus, the beginning of my lemon bar/tart quest. I had tried making a lemon tart before with a friend.

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whole lemon tart

whole lemon tart

The hubs and I hosted a Coding and Board games Saturday at our house the other weekend – yes, only in Silicon Valley do such things happen. The hubs did the coding part and I did the cooking part. I wanted to make a lemon tart as I had just acquired a bunch of lemons from a friend who has 2 lemon trees in her backyard. This recipe from Smitten Kitchen seemed simple enough. Best part is I didn’t need to squeeze any lemon juice but rather just throw the whole lemon into the food processor (seeds removed of course).

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