Cute n’ Spooky

Posted by on Nov 2, 2010 in Recipe | 3 comments

As most of you probably know, last Sunday (Oct 31) was my precious baby’s first birthday! Yes, I’m talking about my sinfully adorable puppy – Cooper. I’ve wanted a puppy all my life and finally had my wish granted last year, bringing him home around Christmas. When I first went to go pick him out (all the way in Pennsylvania!) he fit in the palm on my hand. By the time we brought him back home six weeks later, his favorite hobbies were making ‘surprises’ everywhere, chewing on everything, and sleeping when not eating. Needless to say, I loved him best when he was sleeping. Especially where I could keep an eye on him! Thus he stays right next to my laptop so I’m not busy digging him out from under the bed. Now, he’s a whole year older and barely fits in my lap. Still adorable when sleeping, crazy hyper when awake. Potty trained (thank god) and keeps his chewing to his poor Kong toy. Oh, and he loves New York (Pennsylvania? Watsdat mommeh?). Special thanks to Candy and Mimi for the personalized shirt! Always nice to know that Cooper’s already got fans (how could he not?). Now, in honor of Halloween (despite being two days late) here are a few fun recipes that kids will love making and eating! Whether it’s for making goodie-bags for a Halloween party or just making fun treats where the kids can help out as well, this assortment of creepily adorable sweets should be as entertaining as it is tasty. From chocolate lollipops to various shaped cookies, add a few store bought candies into the fray and maybe one or two scary (not too scary!) stories then it should make ¬†an enjoyable evening for all. If this sounds appealing then try out the following three recipes sometime! Chocolate Lollipops Ingredients: chocolate of choice lollipop sticks lollipop molds chopped nuts (optional) pretzel sticks (optional) A visit to a nearby Michael’s, Party City, or any arts and crafts/party store should carry lollipop molds of all sorts for all occasions. These are basically little plastic trays with shapes embedded into them. They’re not too pricey and considering that they are reusable it’s not a bad deal at all. Pick out your mold of choice and some lollipop sticks as well. Usually they also sell chocolate in bags but you can buy whatever your favorite chocolate is and work with that as well. Now that you have all of your ingredients on hand, melt the chocolate using a double boiler. If you don’t have one, simply improvise by boiling some water in a pot and placing a large bowl (not plastic) on top of the pot to melt the chocolate in. Make sure that the water’s not directly boiling beneath the bottom of the bowl itself – we don’t want burnt chocolate! Instead of melting the chocolate in the microwave (as the packet usually suggests), the double boiler tends to result in a nicer shinier sheen on the finished product. When the chocolate has melted evenly, the rest is simple. Just pour or pipe into the molds and roll the lollipop sticks in each so that it’s coated. This is to make sure that the chocolate doesn’t just fall right off later on. If you’d like, you can mix in chopped nuts to the chocolate before pouring it into the molds. Also, a fun way to replace a lollipop stick is by using pretzel sticks! Completely edible with a sweet and salty taste! For my own lollipops I used white chocolate and milk chocolate. I mixed...

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From fail to WIN

Posted by on Sep 14, 2010 in Recipe | 5 comments

So, as a few of you may know, I attempted to make brownies on Sunday (9/12/10) following a new recipe that I had [of course] tweaked. Let me just say that I rarely watch television, and when I do it’s usually FoodNetwork that’s playing…and I love Barefoot Contessa and her recipes. Ina Garten’s recipes have never failed me thus far – till now that is. After being requested to make brownies, I hopped on trusty ol’ FoodNetwork.com and searched for a recipe that called out to me. Ina’s Peanut Swirl Brownies seemed perfect. Not too sweet, but still fudgey enough to satisfy a sweet tooth and a serious brownie craving. The result? Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Crumbling Tower of Chocolate. Upon taking it out of the oven, it looked perfect. Once I tried to run a knife through it, my confidence was starting to falter. These were definitely not like any other brownies I’ve made before. Crumbling and falling apart, I was eating it out of a bowl instead of eating it on the go. Despite its inability to stay in one piece for more than a minute, it was still moist and dense in the places with peanut butter swirls. Truthfully, it didn’t taste half bad, but a brownie that was actually a crumbling piece of chocolate was a failure in my book. So here’s where I confess my faults. I’ve never had too much trouble with new recipes before, my own ‘inventions’ and ‘concoctions’ are usually pretty tasty [though perhaps not plated to be aesthetically pleasing], and how could I mess up making such a simple recipe like brownies?! It was mind-boggling. And so I whined and sulked and pouted and complained about my “brownie depression” to everyone who cared (and didn’t care) to listen. Eventually, a good friend of mine gave me the best idea. Why not make a trifle? Carissa, did I ever tell you that you’re a brilliant genius? Encouraged and determined to redeem my baking/cooking skills, I managed to transform my fail brownies into a giant bowl of trifle that impressed even me. So? What do you think? Pretty nice, eh? Okay, so it may not be that pretty but I tried my best. Anyway, now that I’m done telling my tale I shall let you readers do the judging for yourself with the following two recipes… I still don’t know if the ‘brownies’ came out the way they were due to my fiddling with the recipe or due to my oven not cooking evenly. Either way, here’s my version of the recipe. Peanut Swirl Brownies Ingredients: 4 sticks unsalted butter 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels 8 oz unsweetened chocolate 6 extra large eggs 3 tbsp instant coffee granules 3 tbsp vanilla extract 2 cups sugar 2 cups flour 1 cup chunky peanut butter 1/2 cup chopped pecans Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a double boiler (or a makeshift one as I did), melt the butter and chocolate over simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water or else the chocolate may burn. In a large bowl, mix the coffee, vanilla, sugar, flour, and nuts (nuts don’t have to be pecans, whatever you prefer is fine). Mix in eggs one at a time. Once the chocolate mixture is all melted, pour it into the batter and mix well. Grease your baking sheet/pan with a light layer of butter. After pouring the chocolate batter into the baking pan, use two spoons to evenly place dollops of peanut butter on top of...

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Only Seventeen

Posted by on Sep 6, 2010 in Miscellaneous, Recipe | 17 comments

To most of you out there, today’s Labor Day – the holiday that occurs every year on the first Monday of September. However, to the Hwang family September 6th holds another meaning as well. While it may not always occur on a Monday, it usually happens close enough. Today, my baby sister turns seventeen. =] For those of you who attended the birthday bbq yesterday, you already know this. For those of you who couldn’t make it… Happy Birthday Jasmine~! Holidays are meant to be celebrated grandly, and birthdays are no exception. This means pulling out the nifty little trinkets to fancy things up a bit. For breakfast, I attempted to beautify boring old waffles and pancakes with molds…and completely failed with the eggs. With the help of a few purchases that I obtained in Taiwan, I was able to mutilate transform pancakes into unnatural star and heart shapes. The recipe for the batter? I’ll admit it, I cheated and used Aunt Jemima’s instant mix – with an added splash of cinnamon and nutmeg. But hey, Aunt Jemima knows her stuff when it comes to pancakes and waffles! As for the misshapen eggs? I was trying to squish them into star shapes but it turns out that either: the mold I was using was too big or the eggs were too small because the closest thing I got to a star were really round flowers. Yea… Now that I’m done stating my failures, let’s move on to the actual stars that appeared after brunch! Being a tea fanatic (just a little) I had the idea of making cake with tea. I was sure I’d stumbled across sweets like that before but couldn’t remember where and so I turned to Food Network and was rewarded with Tea Cakes with Earl Grey Icing. Mmm, sounds like a winner already. Now to put it to the test. As with all recipes, I tweaked it a bit and since I wasn’t making cupcakes but actual cakes the baking time was quite different as well. The end result? Take a look for yourself and then tell me if you want the recipe or not. ;) Looking good ain’t it? I think so too. So, without further ado, here’s S.S.Munchies’ first recipe from yours truly. Chocolate Cake with Earl Grey Icing Ingredients For the Cupcakes:   3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 4 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract For the Icing: 1 cup sugar 4 egg whites 2 bags Earl Grey tea First thing’s first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Boil some water in a pot and then let it simmer. Mix the chocolate and butter in a glass or ceramic bowl (metal works too but it’ll get hot) and place the bowl over the pot. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water! This works as a makeshift double-boiler and the chocolate and butter will melt slowly and evenly. Mix the sugar and flour in a separate bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and soon you should have a creamy batter. Vanilla extract comes last (and I always like adding a little bit extra). Pour the chocolate concoction in and make sure to mix well…and your cake batter is done! I used little individual cake molds but it’s really the same no matter what you decide to bake in. Keep in mind that you should always only fill the pan 3/4 full as it will rise while baking. If you’re not...

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