Category Archives: Food-Desserts

Brown Butter Pecan Brownies

It has been a while since i blog and it’s been a while since i baked . I was thinking about baking coconut cake , which i haven’t made for years by now .. but i changed my mind after seeing , i needed 3 sticks of butter just for the cake . Partly i was guilty because i had just finished my morning run and the thought of 3 sticks of butter .. made me re-think .

My solution .. well .. was brownies .. though it still uses butter .. but somehow i felt better with my choice LOL

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This is brown butter pecan brownies , you can skip the nuts if you don’t like it , and it will still be yummy . But you def have to make the brown butter . Brown butter is easy , just melt the butter and let it boil for several minutes until it changes color , almost like caramel color , then you take it off the heat . The flavor of the brown butter makes this brownie special and much better than regular brownie .

Funny …. my friend said . ” who bakes brownies ? ” LOL .. well me .. it’s super easy and why would you want store brought brownies when you can make it super easy , quick and tastes much better ! Really , you don’t even have to own a mixer to make this !!

You will need :

10 tbsp. of unsalted butter

Melt this butter in a pan on a medium heat , once the butter is melted , do not take it off the pan , you need it to boil still until it is foamy and finally changes in color . It should look like this by 5 minutes and it should done , take it off the heat brown-butter

As soon as it’s off the heat , immediately add in :

1 1/3 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp. of salt

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of cocoa powder

Mix it well with wooden spoon , then replace with whisk . Once it’s all blended , add in :

2 large eggs , add the egg one at a time and whisk well until combine .

The batter should look shiny at this point , then add in

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. of all purpose flour

Mix well and finally add in 3/4 cup of pecans if you’re using .

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Preheat oven at 325 F , line a parchment paper on a square pan 8x8x2 , and pour the batter into the pan . Bake for about 25 minutes .

 

Tres Leches Cake

Never heard of tres leches cake when we were back in Indiana . When we moved to Texas , our friend said tres leches was her favorite , so on her birthday , we had tres leches cake , but it didn’t do any good impression to me because to me the cake was overly sweet . It was just an okay cake , put it this way , i wouldn’t spend $25 for cake like that . It was .. yes .. store bought .

Fast forward , my mother in law came to visit over this past holiday , i was too busy to make dessert , so i ended up picking up this tres leches cake from grocery store . It was just a small cake , my son loved it , everyone loved it . The cake was so moist but to me .. again .. it was too sweet . I wouldn’t be able to eat more than 1 small slice nor that i wanted to .

So , then , this past time we went to Mexican restaurant , my son asked if he could have Tres Leches cake for dessert . This time it was really good and i liked it , we all liked the cake . It wasn’t overly sweet and was just perfect . I decided to try to make the cake the next day , turned out pretty well after a few adjustment . I think next time i will cut down the amount of sugar in the whipped cream and also the condensed milk to the milk mixture as well .

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Cake :

1 stick of unsalted butter , room temperature

slightly under 1 cup of sugar

5 eggs

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour

1 tsp. of baking powder

pinch of salt

  1. Beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy . Add in the egg one at a time , and the vanilla extract until well combined .
  2. Add the flour and baking powder and salt mixture a little at a time into the egg butter mixture .
  3. Bake at 350 F , on 9×13 inch greased pan . About 30-40 minutes , or until it’s done , depending on your oven . Let it cool and poke with fork all over .

The Milk mixture :

2 cups of reduced fat milk , or you can replace it with half and half , i don’t use whole milk , i used 1% milk

little less than the whole can of condensed milk

a whole can of the evaporated milk

Mix the milk and then pour over the cake , all of the milk mixture needs to be poured into the cake , the cake will absorb it .

Optional :

1 1/2 cup of whipped cream

1/2 cup of sugar or none

Beat the cream and sugar until stiff . Spread all over the top and refrigerate the cake overnight .

Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut cream pie is really yummy , although , for the longest time , i never had interest in trying them when we go out to a pie place , or even when i am in the mood of baking pies . I’ve done many type of pies , from classic apple pie , to pumpkin , all the way to blueberry pie or fruit pie . But never in my life i would try making coconut pie .. it’s just so .. coconut .. nothing really interesting in there .

When i was younger , living in tropical island , i had the advantage of eating fresh young coconut , yum , and then my mom used to buy fresh coconut , then grated it , and add some spices to it , and fry the coconut flakes , it was meant to be side dish .. it is called ” Serundeng ” I was never really into it , because i just didn’t like it ..

Fast forward years and years later .. i am still not a big fan but i don’t mind it .  I had coconut flakes in the granola bars i usually make . Until the other night , a friend of mine who happened to be a neighbor texted me ” do you have vanilla extract ? ”

Of course i do !! This is a baker and a cook you’re asking to !! So she came by and borrowed few tsp of vanilla extract , jokingly i said ” you have to call me when dessert is done , after all i contributed into the making of coconut pie !! ”

Then hours later she texted me ” do you want to come over for dessert ? ”

Of course i said YES ! LOL

It was a delicious coconut cream pie , i became a fan right away . Blueberry was my favorite pie after i made it .. then now .. i think coconut cream pie is the one !!

I tried looking at my pie book , found a recipe for filling , which is quite easy , just a custard filling , except i added shredded coconut so it’s very coconutty !! Then the crust , i used coconut flakes itself , instead of regular pie crust . It def takes the pie to another level !!

So here it is !!

For the crust

1 stick of unsalted butter

3 cups of sweetened coconut flakes

Melt the butter in skillet , add the coconut flakes , keep stirring , don’t stop until it’s golden brown , about 5-7 minutes . Watch so it won’t burn . Once it’s done , lightly butter the pie pan 9 inch pie pan , and press the coconut flakes onto the pan , press it firmly with the base of a glass , since it’s very hot you can’t use your hand !

Then chill in the fridge , while you prepare the filling

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Custard coconut filling :

1/3 cup of cornstarch

1/2 cup of sugar

1 tsp salt

Mix well , then add :

2 3/4 cup of milk , i used 2% milk

Stir well , turn the stove on , and keep stirring until it’s almost hot . Meanwhile beat :

4 egg yolks

When the milk mixture become hot , not bubbling yet , pour in steady stream into the yolk mixture , whisking while pouring into the egg yolks mixture . Then mix well , pour this milk egg yolk mixture back into the pot , and whisking constantly , until it’s bubbly and thick . ( this process is called tempering )

Once it’s done , turn stove off , add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 cup to 1 cup of coconut flakes .

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Pour this coconut custard pie filling into chilled crust . Refrigerate for 4 hours , then make the whipped cream topping :

1 1/2 cup of heavy cream

1/4 cup of powdered sugar

1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes

In a chilled bowl , mix the heavy cream with powdered sugar , beat really high until stiff peak . This topping goes on top of the custard filling and sprinkle the top with toasted coconut flakes .

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July 4th Blueberry Pie

So the title said July 4th ,of course you don’t need to wait til July 4th celebration to make this yummy pie dish !! You can do it anytime , but i would suggest summer would be the best time , because of you want to do it when blueberry is in its peak . Sweet , juicy , reasonable price blueberry from you pick or from the store !

The other day i stopped at grocery store after the gym , and i picked up some fruits when i saw 99 cents a pint of blueberry . To me that’s a great price and hard to pass up . Immediately i think about .. Blueberry Pie ! And beside .. July 4th is this weekend .. so of course i have an excuse to bake a home made pie !!

To be honest , it has been a while since i baked pie from scratch , the last time was during thanksgiving , i baked pecan pie , so i do miss doing all this yummy things in the kitchen . I have been occupied with coloring yarns , and if you knew me well enough , you should know .. before a knitter and a dyer , i was a foodie at first .

So there i was that afternoon getting myself ready to whip up pate brisee , or simply .. A PIE DOUGH 🙂 Except i found out that i only had 1 stick of butter .. while i needed 2 sticks , luckily i had 1 pound of frozen butter .. so had to wait til it’s chilled but not frozen .

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The pie dough is not hard to make , esp , i used food processor , call me cheater , but that food processor makes the job a lot quicker , easier and less mess !! So here is the dough recipe ..( if you’re short on time , or just too lazy for pie crust , just buy from the store .. it makes the job a lot quicker !! and skip this step ! )

2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour 

2 tbsp. of sugar 

1 tsp of salt , unless you’re using salted butter , if you do salted butter , you can skip this

2 sticks of cold butter , unsalted

about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of ice cold water 

If you do have food processor , this is the time to use it . Just dump the flour , sugar and salt in it , then pulse few times to combine , cut up your butter into small chunks , add into the flour mixture , pulse until the mixture combine , coarse like pea size clumps , then while it’s running , drizzle the water start with just 1/4 cup only , and pulse until it comes together , if it’s too dry still add little more ice cold water , try not to pour all at once , you don’t want them to be too wet , enough so that it comes together . Don’t pulse it too long , or your crust will be hard . 

Dump the mixture on a plastic wrap , divide into 2 balls , flatten into disks and place it in the fridge , chill about an hour at least . You can do this ahead of time , a day will be fine too .

If you do not want to go through this home made pie crust , you can simply run to the store and buy ready made pie crust .. but then again .. what’s fun about that ? 🙂

Once the dough is totally chilled , you’re ready to make pie !!

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You will need flour , so the dough won’t stick to the surface when you roll it out .. you need rolling pin obviously .. here’s picture step by step .

1. Roll out your pie dough , about 10-12 inch diameter . To fit 9 inch pie plate

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2. Transfer pie dough into the plate

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3. Now you’re going to add the filling :

7 cups of fresh blueberry , washed and picked

1/2 cup of sugar

3/4 cup of cornflour , esp when it’s very juicy blueberry 

1/4 tsp. of cinnamon 

juice from 1 lemon 

Mix all these ingredients gently you don’t want the berries to burst . Then place the berries into the pie plate . Piling up in the center 

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4. Now , roll out the 2nd pie dough , and using knife , or decorative cutter , cut an even number , i did 12 i think or maybe 10 . You can skip this step if you don’t want lattice top , just roll out the dough and place it on top and make slits here and there . This is for lattice topping

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5. Once you’re ready to bake it , brush it with egg yolk wash , sprinkle generously with sugar and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes then lower it down to 350 F for about 55 – 60 minutes . The berries should be bubbly . To make sure cleaning up is not a messy job , line a parchment paper on a cookie sheet . Let the pie cool totally before serving . Serve with a huge dollop of vanilla ice cream !

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Here is Homemade Blueberry Pie !!

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My favorite to serve this blueberry pie is with scoops of vanilla ice cream

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Lemon Madeleines

I’ve made Madeleines few times before . And i remember the very first time i was skimping on buttering the mold and ended up ruining madeleines . But they all turned out nice as far as i can remember .

Fast forward , the other day i decided to try this recipe from Baking Chez Moi book that my hubby ordered for me around Christmas time . I did mention i wanted this book , i like Doris Greenspan’s cook book , so i figure i might enjoy her french baking book just like the french cook book . The first recipe i tried was the marble cake , it was good but quite heavy and a little on the dry side .

This time my choice landed on Lemon Madeleines , i barely have anything in the fridge so my ingredients were quite limited . Lemon madeleines doesn’t even need many ingredients just butter , flour , sugar , egg , and lemon . Funny thing , you don’t even use the lemon juice , just the zest !

I followed the recipe to the T , lemon madeleines that i made before this , didn’t take this long . Okay the batter didn’t take long to put together BUT .. the waiting period was total of 2 hours !! So after making the batter , i had to chill it for an hour in the fridge , guess you can always try to get the batter ready even a day before if you want to save time . Then i would spoon the batter into the molds and again i had to chill it for another hour in the fridge .

And how long to bake them ? Only 10 minutes in my convectional oven ! LOL .. all of the waiting .. and only 10 minutes baking time , oh and did i mention only produced 12 madeleines ? LOL .. but totally worth it ..

The madeleines was all puffed up i never seen it that huge ! I opened my oven and i was there .. scream in delight .. it is huge !!!!!! My husband laughed and laughed .. for me getting so excited to see my madeleines look so good .

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But anyway here is the recipe :

1 lemon

1/3 cup of sugar

90 grams  of all purpose flour

1 tsp. of baking powder

a pinch of salt

1 tbsp. of honey

2 large eggs , room temperature

1 stick of melted butter , warm melted butter

1 tsp. of vanilla

2 tbsp. of whole milk ( i used 1 % since i don’t have whole milk )

1. In a small bowl mix the all purpose flour , baking powder and salt , whisk well , set aside .

2. In a larger bowl , mix the sugar and lemon zest , rub with your fingers until the sugar mix with the zest and becomes moist . At this point , basically the whole kitchen smells like lemon LOL

3. Once you’re ready , beat the sugar and 2 eggs vigorously , or use standing mixer , and about 2-3 minutes it will look very pale and double in size . Then add vanilla and honey , mix well .

4. FOLD in the flour , do not beat with mixer , use spatula or wooden spoon , carefully and gently , then add the warm butter , fold in carefully and add the milk .

5. Chill the batter in the fridge , cover the batter with plastic wrap directly onto the batter , chill an hour . Once you’re ready butter the madeleine mold and flour it , and remove excess flour . Spoon a dollop of the batter into the pan , chill for another hour .

6. Preheat oven to 400 F , throw in a large cookie sheet , once the oven is ready place the madeleine pan on top of the cookie sheet . Bake 10-12 minutes , you might need to bake it longer , my oven is convectional so it’s quicker , and to see if madeleine is ready , touch the puffy part , if it springs back then it’s ready to be taken out . Tap the pan into the counter and carefully remove madeleines immediately . Sprinkle with powdered sugar

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Oatmeal – Raisin Cookies

After a month long full of sweet last December , to be honest with you , though i baked a lot of them , i hardly had any of them . So , last night suddenly , we had the urge to bake easy simple cookies , my choice landed on oatmeal raisin cookies . I always loved oatmeal raisin cookies . So here is easy simple recipe of oatmeal cookies , you can omit the raisin , it’s your choice  , but to me , it has to have raisins for me to like them !

Ingredients :

10 tbsp. of softened butter

3/4 cup of white sugar ( not heaping )

3/4 cup of light brown sugar ( don’t need to pack it )

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour

2 3/4 cup of roll oats

1 1/2 cup of raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375 F

2. In a mixer , beat the sugar and the butter until combined and smooth . Add eggs , beat until fluffy for a minute or 2 . Then add vanilla , baking soda , pinch of salt and flour . Mix well , then add the roll oats , raisins and pinch of ground cinnamon if you like .

3. In a parchment paper lined sheet , drop the cookie dough by tsp. full , and bake for about 8-10 minutes .

Frosted Bourbon Brownies

During christmas time , we usually bake a lot of cookies , i did this time , but not as many as i used to . I was a little procrastinating this year , i even forgot to send some goodies to friends out of state . And on top of that i did not make butter cookies for my family to decorate . Yes , i was that bad , i was also sick for almost 2 weeks during the month of December . Actually was a really bad cold , and i started to feel better just days before christmas .

But anyway , to make up for it , that Christmas Eve morning , after coming home from working out , i told my son , who just turned 10 years old that he should pick out a recipe from this christmas baking book , and i will help him to bake it . He chose brownies recipe , maybe because it’s the first recipe on the first page or whatever his reason was .. he picked that one . Okay .. great no cookies , less mess , quick to make .

I let him do everything himself , i only helped measuring the ingredients , he would pour , stir , and mixed it all himself . Set the oven temperature , putting it into the oven ( nervously ) and took it out and even made the frosting . The brownies turned out really yummy .. so i decided to keep it here online , so anytime i want a brownie recipe , this should be my go to brownies !

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Ingredients :

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/3 cup of butter ( aboutt 5 1/2 tbsp )

2 tbsp. of water

1 cup of semisweet chocolate pieces ( we didn’t have 1 cup on hand , but we had very few , so we ended up mixing semisweet chocolate chips with heath bits )

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup of chopped pecan

2-3 tbsp. bourbon ( we didn’t have this either , so we used amaretto )

1 recipe butter frosting

1. Grease square dish 8×8 , line with parchment paper , grease with shortening , set aside . Set oven temperature to 350 F .

2. In a small saucepan , combine sugar , butter and water . Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils . Remove , and then , add chocolate pieces , stir with whisk until melted , add eggs and vanilla , whisk well until just combined .

3. Combine flour , salt and baking soda , stir into the chocolate mixture , stir until combine , add pecan . Pour into the baking dish .

4. Bake for 20 minutes or longer until edges are set and pull away from the pan . Might take a little more than 20 minutes .

5. Using fork , poke brownies all over , and sprinkle with the bourbon .

Butter frosting recipe :

In a small bowl , beat 3 tbsp. of butter with mixer high speed for 30 seconds . Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar , 2 tsp. milk and vanilla . Adjust the consistency by adding more milk if necessary . Spread on top of cool brownies .

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Boston Cream Pie

I really don’t know why this dessert is called Pie .. while it really tastes , looks , just like a cake , a sandwich cake . Originally from Boston , this is really easy and delicious cake to make . I am a big fan of vanilla pastry cream , and who doesn’t love chocolate ganache ? In a way , this dessert is like Eclairs , filled with pastry cream , covered with chocolate ganache , except it’s not using pate a choux , eclairs dough , instead it’s being sandwiched in between 2 vanilla white cakes . Doesn’t really matter how it is assembled , but this dessert is really easy and delicious , and i am a fan of it . I made it for my husband to celebrate Father’s day this past sunday . And he thinks the cake is really delicious too .

To save time , you can cook the vanilla pastry cream a day ahead since it needs to be chilled anyway . I made it in the afternoon , it was easy and quick anyway . Didn’t take but max. of 10 mins to make the pastry cream . Then you can worry about the cake later on , while the ganache , obviously needs to be made after the cake is done and assembled .

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Ingredients  for the Vanilla Custard  :

200 ml of generous 3/4 cup of heavy cream

1/4 cup of sugar

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. of cornstarch

2 large eggs

2 tsp. of vanilla extract or rum ( the custard has so much better flavor if you add rum instead of just vanilla extract , but if you’re non alcoholic , then you can just use the vanilla extract )

1. In a small pot , heat up the cream until edges started to bubbles , then add the salt and sugar to dissolve , stir , and remove from the heat .

2. Mix the large eggs with cornstarch , and whisk well , and then place the pot back on the stove , medium low heat , pour the cornstarch and eggs mixture in a steady stream while whisking at the same time , make sure you whisk whisk and whisk , keep whisking until the mixture becomes thick enough . You should be able to tell , once it’s started to thick , turn the stove off , and keep whisking , texture should be smooth , but if not , use a strainer to get rid of the curdles . Add the vanilla or rum and stir to mix , cover directly with the plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until ready to be used .

For the cake :

200 grams of unsalted butter , about 1 stick and 6 tbsp.

450 grams of all purpose flour

4 tsp. baking powder

300 grams sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup of milk

4 large eggs

1. Line 2-9 inch round pan with parchment paper , and grease and flour both pans . Preheat oven to 350 F . Sift the flour , baking powder and salt together . Set aside .

2. In a mixer , beat the softened unsalted butter with sugar , until light and fluffy for high speed , for few minutes .

3. Add the eggs one at a time , and add the vanilla extract .

4. Alternately , pour the milk and the flour mixture into the batter . Until it’s all mixed well .

5. Divide the batter into 2 round pans , smooth the top using spatula and bake for about 30 minutes or so until tooth pick comes out clean .

6. Cool about 10 mins before taking it out from the pan , cool totally before assembling the cake .

At this point , once the cakes are totally cool inside outside , you can place it in a plate , and then pour the custard that you made earlier and spread the custard until about 2 inches from the edges . Then place the other cake on top , jiggle the cake smoothly while pressing it down . Set aside , now let’s make the chocolate ganache .

For the ganache :

3 oz real good quality of chocolate , break apart of chop

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 cup of heavy cream

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. In a small pot , melt the chocolate and the butter and add heavy cream . Heat up until it started to bubbles on the edges of the pot .

2. Remove from heat , add the vanilla and powdered sugar , whisk well until there is no more clumps from powdered sugar .

3. Let it cool , not totally , but sligtly , you want this to be thick a little bit still pourable . If you do it straight after making it , the chocolate ganache will be pooling on the bottom of the cake , your want it to be thick enough to cover the top and not pooling on  your plate . Smooth carefully with spatula .

Serve right away or you can chill it , before serving next time , bring it down to room temperature slightly before serving , it tastes so much better if it’s not too cold .

 

Cake Pops and Cake Balls

Years ago when cake pops and balls just started to be a trend , i tried making cake pops . They sounded very easy to make , one problem i ran into , the candy melt cracked after it was chilled in room temperature . And i was not happy .. i forget about cake pops . I didn’t care at all whether i can make it or not since it was not my taste . It was too sweet and i just don’t care much about cake mix , and also the store bought frosting . So i am saving my body from adding his horrible unhealthy calories which i am quite sure with just a bite will make me sluggish the whole day .

So .. why is this entry ? Last month , my MIL sent my son cake pops , and many other goodies for his Valentine’s box . And my son LOVED the cake pops that nana made . Since then he’s been begging me to make cake pops .I tried to ignore it , i thought give it a month he’ll forget about it . But no .. he keeps asking , and i finally gave up . Let’s get this done and over with !!

Beside what’s so hard about making a cake from a box cake mix , my 9 years old already knew how to do it when he was only 7 years old . Bought the frosting , he chose vanilla frosting for his strawberry cake pops . So here we go ..

Ingredients : 

A box of cake mix from store , we picked strawberry cake mix

1 lb or regular size of any frosting of your choice ( you will only use 3/4 of this frosting or even less .. )

All different colors of candy melt , i used majority red and other colors to decorate

Lolipop sticks , you can get this from craft store

Bake the cake mix according to direction , let it cool on the counter for an hour or so , then i throw them in the freezer for extra 20 minutes . I took it out , and divide the cake into 6 big pieces . I removed the hard crust from the edges , you can remove the sticky part on top or bottom too , but just mainly remove the hard edges . Slice it thinly , eat them if you want or give it to the dogs like i did . 

Then get a large bowl , start crumbling the cake with your hands , until really really crumbly . This part was fun to do with your kids , crumbling the cake with both hands . Then add the frosting , i don’t think i used all 3/4 can of the frosting , i was close but not quite whole 3/4 , you just have to feel it . The mixture should be sticky , but not too wet , if it’s too wet too much frosting it won’t hold up its shape . Once you reach the right consistency by mixing the frosting with your spatula , i used my own hands .. guarantee sticky and gross LOL .. 

Now we can start rolling the ball , take the mixture , and start rolling it using your both hands , and then wash your hand and dry EACH TIME after rolling the ball . If you do not do this , guarantee , your next ball will be too sticky to shape and it won’t look as smooth . Take time and wash and dry your hands before shaping another ball . Place the balls into the parchment paper lined cookie sheet . Once you’re done , i have about 20 balls done . Cover it up with plastic wrap and freeze them for about 15 minutes or chill it overnight in the fridge . 

Get your candy melt ready , i used microwave to melt the candy melt , for every 30 seconds , stir it , and it will melt . It doesn’t take long to melt the whole bag , make sure your bowl is deep enough to dip in the balls . If the candy melt is too thick to dip the balls , ( i ran into this problem ) i added 1 tsp. of vegetable oil until the right consistency is reached . Which means , it should be thin enough to be able to cover up the balls . If it’s too thick your ball will be stuck in the candy melt . 

Now , it’s time to get the balls out from the freezer , dip the lollipop stick into the candy melt , and then poke the ball with the stick , just half way through , then dip into the candy melt . Took it out , and place it in a styrofoam , i used a shoe box .. my husband made holes so i can stick the lollipop sticks in there . It works just fine 

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See  ? i just used the lid of the shoebox and had my husband poke holes all over for the sticks .

Once it’s all done , you can wrap them up individually with plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container , or displaying it if you’re doing it for a party or something . I also ended up making cake balls , just because i wanted to . I just dip the ball one by one in the candy melt , and scoop it carefully with spoon , then i would place it back on the parchment paper , and let it gets hard , and then feel free to decorate them with more candy melt , or anything else . 

This is how it looks like after i was done wrapping them all with plastic wraps and put little bow to keep the plastic together , and voila .. it’s done ! The whole process without baking the cake probably took about an hour . Not bad .. It’s just bad for your teeth ! LOL

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Indonesian Coconut Steamed Cake (Putu Ayu)

Indonesian is rich with all different kind of snacks , yummy snacks . A lot of their snacks are made in steamer , unlike Americans , when we make cakes , we always bake them in the oven . During the old days , the indonesian didn’t have oven and stuff .. so that’s probably why most of the traditional cakes / snacks are made using the steamer .

This is one example where we use steamer to make a cake . It is yummy and made using coconut milk and fresh coconut . Since i don’t have fresh coconut , i had to settle with sweetened shredded coconut they sell in the baking aisle in grocery store . It could have been better if i had used a fresh coconut , but what can you do when you don’t have it but you miss eating this traditional cake ? Well .. you just put up with it ..

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Ingredients :

250 ml of coconut milk

300 grams of all purpose flour

250 grams sugar

4 large eggs

2 drops of pandan paste

1/2 tsp. of salt

1. Bring water to a boil in a large steamer . Grease the putu ayu mold with Pam spray or grease it with veggie oil .

2. Packed down shredded coconut on the bottom of the mold .

3. Beat the eggs until foamy then add the sugar , beat about 10 mins until light and fluffy .

3. Then fold in the coconut milk carefully , you don’t want to deflate the air bubbles . Until just combine , and then fold in the flour and the pandan paste into the mixture and salt .

4. Pour into the mold , steam for 15 minutes , high heat .

 

French Macarons

Unlike the American version of macaroons , this French cookies are super cute and has nothing to do with coconut . They’re pretty in color and light and airy , though i can’t really say they’re low in calories , depending on the filling . But for the longest time , this cookies have been my arch enemy . I remember , the very first time i made this was back in 2008 .. or 2009 . I thought this was pretty good , the ingredients are only egg whites , sugar , ground almond and powdered sugar . How hard can this be ?

Well it is by far the HARDEST cookie i ever ran across . It was a pain to make because it took me many many trials and many many times i had failed . Not to mention ground almond isn’t cheap btw !! My macarons either had no feet or the top wasn’t smooth , or too burnt , or the batter too runny .. etc . Many problems .

So i decided to take it break from it , and i don’t even care to try it anymore . Until , today . I decided to give it another try . I have to say , i tried to do my research , and everything , all the tips and tricks that i need to know before tackling this macarons . There i was this afternoon after church , i weighed all the ingredients , except i needed more powdered sugar and i didn’t feel like run to the store just for that . I ended up grinding my sugar with cornstarch to make enough powdered sugar , then i let the eggs sat on the counter right before i left to church . Then i made some i weighed everything to T , and the sifted the ground almond and powdered sugar , and grind more sugar to be a little bit finer .

So , after all those tips that i kept in mind while making macarons .. i STILL ran into problems .. and you see , this is from the same batch of cookies i made . Yet .. the 2nd sheet , was a total fail !! The 1st sheet turned out well and the 2nd sheet was all cracked and no feet . See this picture ..

macaron

 

I really don’t know what the problem was .. although i guess .. it could be the ones with no feet and cracked , was because it was on the bottom rack and it might be too hot ? Next time i might have to try to double the cookie sheet , to protect it from the heat better . But anyway , i am pretty happy with how most of the turned out .. 90% have feet and smooth top . I ended up making lemon curd for the filling , it was quick and easy and i happened to have the egg yolks , from making the macarons , i didn’t want to waste it .

Here is the recipe that i use for macarons :

100 grams of egg whites  , save the yolks for lemon curd

200 grams powdered sugar

50 grams of super fine sugar

110 grams ground almond

1. Preheat oven to 280 F

2. Prepare everything , line baking sheet with parchment paper , if you need to make the circle to make sure your macarons are the same size , i suggest use a pencil on the back side of the parchment paper , so it won’t stick to your cookies once it’s done .

3. Sift powdered sugar and ground almond .

4. Beat the egg whites in standing mixer until it’s foamy , add the sugar little at a time , add the food coloring , keep an eye on the egg whites , keep beating until stiff peak reached .

5. Once the stiff peak reached , add half of the sugar almond mixture , and FOLD using wooden spoon / spatula , whatever works for you . I used wooden spoon and it worked . CAREFULLY  , until just combined . don’t over fold , your batter will be too runny . Your batter should be a thick enough , and not too runny . You want to test it by using a spoon and it should fall off your spoon slowly .

6. Transfer your batter into piping bag , use the round tip , about 1 cm . And start piping it on the parchment paper .

7. Once you’re done , bang the cookie sheet few times on the counter , and then let it sit for an hour . Or elss .. depending how humid your area is .. you can touch the top of the cookie , and if it sticks to your finger , you need to let it sit longer , if it doesn’t stick then it’s time to bake it .

8. Bake for 7 minutes then turn the baking sheet for even baking , and bake another 7-8 minutes until it’s done , but not brown on top . If you do this right , you should see the feet and smooth top . GOOD LUCK

macarons1

 

These are my macarons while waiting for an hour to get dry before being baked .

And these are my macarons , complete with its lemon curd filling

macarons2

Swiss Roll with Mocha Buttercream

So , i believe i had tried making this sponge cake a while back ago , few years ago to be exact . I didn’t think i was quite successful , mainly because the technique to fold the flour into the batter was wrong . And we all know that sponge cake batter is light and airy , and it’s because of the air in the batter , where we beat the eggs and sugar until it’s very light , white and creamy . Well , this morning i wanted to try it again .. it was sunday , we skipped church , and it was gloomy .. What better things to do than experimenting on a cake ?

There i was , with my dear hubby , helping me making the mocha buttercream , for the filling . I was thinking about strawberry jam , but i do not have any strawberry jam left . This time i was quite  sure that i will do it right , i learned from youtube for the technique how to fold the flour into the batter , and that’s all i need .

The funny thing though , my husband was helping me greasing the jelly roll pan , including adding parchment paper .. and then i said ” don’t worry about flouring them , i will do the flour later ”

Well .. i got too busy with the batter , and what do you know .. when it was ready to be poured , i didn’t even bother to look at the jelly roll pan , and i just poured it .. half way pouring it and i remembered .. i didn’t flour them !!! I was so worried it wouldn’t turn out .. but i am glad it did .. it came out just fine !!!

So here is my Mocha Swiss Roll

mocha swiss roll

 

Ingredients : 

100 grams of super fine sugar ( if you have regular sugar , just put them in coffee grinder and pulse few times , watch not to turn them into powdered sugar )

4 large eggs

100 grams of all purpose flour

1. Grease a jelly roll pan 9×13 , and line with parchment paper . Preheat oven to 400 F

2, In a mixer bowl , beat the eggs for a minute then add sugar , keep beating in high speed , for 10 minutes . The batter should be light , creamy and fluffy .

3. Sift flour into the batter , fold the flour into the batter with wooden spoon . Make sure you fold it carefully so you don’t lose air bubbles .

4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 10-12 minutes . Let cool before inverting it .

To assemble : In a parchment paper , sprinkle some powdered sugar , then invert the cake carefully , peel off the parchment paper , spread the filling , either jam , preserves , or buttercream , roll carefully .

swiss roll

Chocolate Marble Cake

The other day , a friend of mine mentioned about marble cake .. and now i am hungry for it . When i was young , my mom , used to bake marble cake all the time . I remember helping her making the batter so that at the end, she would hand me the bowl or the spoon and i can lick it off ! It was childhood memories . Mom always made a good yummy and beautiful marble cake . Marble cake isn’t really that hard to make ,it’s quite easy .. just make a batter then you can always add cocoa powder to make marble cake , and you’re welcome to put any other color if you want to make it colorful .

Direction : 

225 grams of butter , about 2 sticks of unsalted butter , room temperature

225 gram of sugar

225 gram of all purpose flour

2 1/4 tsp. of baking powder

3/4 tsp. of salt

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsp. of milk

2 tbsp. of cocoa powder

1. In a mixer bowl , beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy . Then add eggs one at a time , mix thoroughly , then add the flour , baking powder and salt , along with the vanilla extract and milk . Mix together .

2. Divide into 2 bowls , if you like it even , divide half and half , if you like more vanilla , then leave more vanilla batter in 1 bowl and not so much chocolate batter in the other bowl . Then pour the batter alternately in the greased and floured baking pan , and tap the pan , so there won’t be air bubbles , and then use skewers , making swirl all over the batter .

3. Bake at 350 F ,about 40-45 minutes .

Champagne Sangria

This is recipe that i found on foodnetwork , i am not big of wine drinkers . In fact i don’t really drink wine , although i have some wine and liqour in my fridge , most of them are being used to cook or bake when needed . I don’t really care much about wine probably because i have sweet tooth and wine to me , isn’t sweet , they’re sour and sometimes it could be better .

The other day i decided to make sangria , all i know about it was , it’s mixed of wine with lots of fruits . I love fruits .. and so i happened to see this recipe for sangria and they’re incredibly easy to make . Just a little time to make the syrup and you’re ready for it .

My suggestion if you do have sweet tooth , just use all the amount mentioned for the syrup , but if you don’t really like it sweet , probably it will be best to cut down to half of the amount mentioned in the recipe . I myself think , that full amount was a little way too sweet , but our guests liked it that way 🙂

sangria

 

Direction : 

about 8 strawberries , quartered

1 lemon , sliced

1 lime , sliced

3/4 cup of orange juice

few sprigs of fresh mint leaves

2 cups of mint syrup ( 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water and 1 cup packed mint leaves , cook until sugar dissolves , boil , then simmer for 5 minutes and let cool for 20 minutes )

1 bottle 750 ml of prosecco or french champagne

In a glass pitcher , add the fruits , then the orange juice , the syrup ( using a strainer you don’t want the ugly looking dark mint leaves in the drinks ) , and refrigerate until ready to serve . Then right before serving pour the prosecco , i actually found 2 cups of mint syrup a little bit too sweet , though i have sweet tooth , i ended up adding few glugs of riesling , since that’s the only one i had on hand . Serve with crushed ice or ice cube .

Cappucino Knots

Another recipe to use your basic sweet dough is to make cappucino knots . It’s not hard , it’s quite easy , so if you’re a coffee lover , this might be your next favorite thing to snack on !

cappucino rolls

Direction : 

1 recipe of basic sweet dough

4 tbsp. of melted butter , slightly cooled

2/3 cup of sugar

1 tbsp. of espresso powder / coffee powder

For the glaze :

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 tbsp. of coffee powder

1/4 cup of heavy cream

1. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls , then roll it into 8-9 inch long rope . Do the same with the rest . Then dip each one into the melted butter , roll onto the sugar espresso mixture . Then tie into a knot and place 1 end on top before placing it on buttered muffin pans .

2. Bake at 350 F for 27 minutes . Cool for 10 mins before removing from pan .

3. Make the glaze , mix the ingredients together , dip the knots into the glaze .

Mountain Meatballs

Made these yummy meatballs from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook , one of my favorite chef . Seems like everything that i cooked from his recipes always turned out yummy . This was not exception , although i have to admit , i wasn’t sure about adding more than a cup of coffee into the sauce making . As it turned out , it was really good and i couldn’t even tell there was coffee mix in there !!

The meatballs were a breeze to put together , they’re easy and since they’re humongous , they didn’t take much time to make at all . Unlike swedish meatballs , they’re tiny and it took a while to make 40-50 small meatballs . These were not like that .. they’re huge !! Out of 2 lbs of meat that i used , i made only 10 meatballs . Yes , they’re big !! I also used mixture of extra lean beef and pork . This dish probably took about an hour or so to make , so it’s quite reasonable .

 mountain meatballs2

 

Direction : 

2 lbs of mixture of ground beef and ground pork ( i used extra lean ground beef 96%)

2 red onions , chopped

2 large eggs

2 handfuls of bread crumbs ( i used whatever i had on hand and it happened to be panko breadcrumbs )

kosher salt and fresh black pepper

pinch of cumin

1 tsp of coriander

1/2 tsp. of dried oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F . Heat olive oil in a large skillet , then cook the onion about 10 minutes until it’s started to caramelize and soft . Set aside , let it cool before adding into the meat mixture . Once it’s cool , add to the meat mixture , using hand , combine everything , then divide into 10 , and shape into meatballs .

2. In a roasting pan or dutch oven , add little bit of olive oil , and place the meatballs in it , then sprinkle some more olive oil on top of the meatballs . Bake the meatballs in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 F .

For the sauce :

1 large red onion

1 each of red pepper and yellow pepper

2 hot chili , minced , seeded or not , it’s  up to you

10 cloves of garlic , thinly slice

1/2 tsp. of smoked paprika

1/3 cup of dark brown sugar or molasses

1/3 cup of ketchup , heaping

1/3 cup of Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 2/3 cup of coffee

 

3 roma tomatoes , quartered

 

1. In the same skillet you use for the onion , add little olive oil and then add the onion , garlic , yellow and red pepper , along with the smoked paprika . Cook for 15 minutes on medium low , stirring often .

2. Then add the Worcestershire sauce , brown sugar , ketchup and dijon mustard , along with the coffee , tomatoes , bring to boil . Then simmer for 20 minutes until it’s thicken . If it’s not quite thicken to your preference , cook longer and turn the heat up .

3. By this time , your meatballs should be done , and remove all the fat from the roasting pan , then pour the sauce into the pan , place the pan back into the oven for 5 minutes . Serve warm with mashed potatoes or white rice .

Meatballs before being cooked

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Cooking the sauce

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Meatballs after being cooked and removing the fat from the pan

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Meatballs and the sauce are done !

 

mountain meatballs1

Lemon Birthday Cake

It’s no secret that anything to do with lemons , are my husband’s favorite . That includes , lemon rice soup , lemon pie , lemon meringue pie , lemon yogurt cake .. anything lemon he loves ! Me ? not so much .. it’s okay .. it’s not my favorite thing . So being a good wife that i am , i asked him , what kind of cake should i make for his birthday ? I imagined he’d say chocolate cake .. anything that has birthday in my mind .. i always picture it with chocolate .. Well i was surprised when he said ” Lemon cake ”

I never made lemon cake for a birthday cake . Lemon yogurt cake yes .. but i wasn’t planning to make a simple lemon yogurt cake for his birthday .. So i finally made up my mind , and yes , we’re going to make a cake with lemon curd filling and lemon icing . So .. maybe 12 lemons , would be enough ? Thank goodness i picked up 12 .. because that’s what i used !!

It was probably a little bit of work , but nothing unusual .. just like assembling any other cake , it does take time . It was about 4 hours .. or probably more if i were patient enough to let my lemon curd to be totally cold . Anyway .. make sure you have lemon juicer or your hand will be tired from juicing lemons LOL ..

lemon cake with lemon curd filling

 

lemon cake

 

 

Direction for cakes :

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cups white sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. of sour cream

1. In a mixer bowl , beat the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy about 5 minutes . Then beat the eggs in , one by one until blended . Then add the flour mixture with baking powder and salt , alternating with the milk mixture with vanilla extract . Until well blended .

2. Preheat oven to 350 F , line 8 inch round baking pan with parchment paper , then pour the batter into 2 pans . Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or so . Once it’s done , let it cool before removing from the pan .. let it cool totally before frosting . At this point you can always put them in the freezer for half an hour for easy frosting later on .

Direction for the Lemon Curd filling : 

1 tbsp. of lemon zest

1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

6 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup white sugar

4 egg yolks, beaten

1.Mix the lemon zest , lemon juice and cornstarch together . Then mix in the butter and the sugar , melt the butter and sugar . Beat the eggs yolks , then start tempering the eggs yolks by adding the warm lemon juice butter mixture to the egg yolks while whisking , then pour the eggs mixture back into the lemon mixture , while whisking non stop , keep whisking about 5 minutes until the mixture thicken and covers the back of the spoon . Then refrigerate for 3 hours .

Direction for lemon icing : 

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons milk

Mix all ingredients together until smooth frosting reached . If it’s too thick add more milk .

Assembling the cake : 

1. Once the cakes are totally cool , slice the cake in half , then add the lemon curd filling , top with 1 layer of cake , then frost the cake with lemon icing , top with one layer , add the curd , add another layer and finally top with the last layer of the cake and frost all over .

Kue Lapis Tepung Beras ( Traditional Layer Cake )

This is what we call layer cake in Indonesia . Unlike the layer cake with cinnamon and more like cake texture , this one was supposed to be the traditional type , made easily with coconut milk and rice flour , no spices whatsoever . They sell this in most of indonesian ‘tradional bakery’ , sometimes you can find them being sold in the ranch market too . They’re only good to be eaten for that day , you can’t save it for the next day since it’s made from coconut milk , and it is called ” kue basah ” if i translated that literally would means ” wet cake ” i really don’t know why they call it ‘ kue basah’ maybe because they won’t last more than a day ? I don’t know .. All i know , they’re all good !!!

Kue lapis tepung beras , layer cake made with rice flour , takes time to make . They’re easy to make , as long as you have the patience and the TIME !! You need the time for sure to make this . I made using a small round pan for my small steamer , and it didn’t produce a lot of them , yet it took a lot of time to make . Just as it’s called ” layer cake ” you have to wait layer per layer to add , and that means you have to wait up minutes to minutes before adding another layer . It took me about 2 hours to make this .. i don’t know if it’s really worth it or not . But if you live overseas i don’t think you have any other choice , esp. if you miss the cake !!

kue lapis tepung beras

 

Direction : 

625 ml coconut milk

150 grams rice flour

12,5 grams hunkwe flour ( tepung hunkwe , only available in asian market esp. in indonesian aisle )

125 grams of sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. of pandan paste ( screwpine paste , or if you have the leaves itself it will work better )

1. Mix dry ingredients together , then pour the coconut milk little at a time while whisking .

2. Add vanilla . Mix well , divide the batter into 2 equal amount . Leave 1 batter white as it is , and use pandan paste , color the batter into green or if you want any other color is fine too . Pandan paste will turn your batter into green .

3. Bring water to boil in a steamer , high heat . . Using a small round pan that fits your steamer , oil the pan , then line a plastic on the pan , leave it hanging to the side , and when steamer is ready , pour about ladle full of the batter . Cook for about 10 minutes . Check with the toothpick to make sure it’s done before adding another layer on top . Keep doing the same between layers until all batter are being used .

4. After adding the last batter , wrap up the lid with kitchen towel and steam another 30 minutes to make sure it’s all done .

5. Let it cool , before inverting it to the plate . Cut diamond shapes and serve . Remember this needs to be eaten the same day .

Banana Bread

I made banana bread yesterday , it’s been a long time and i happened to have overripe bananas laying around on the counter . The problem with banana bread is , there are tons of recipes out there , throughout the years i’ve tried plenty recipes , sometimes i forget which one that tasted the best , and which one is the okay so so version . So going through my recipe box was tricky , i had to try to remember which one was this . But the one that i picked yesterday was the one without butter , so i considered it a little healthier version .. 😀 My husband said he’s not going to have a slice of it .. but then i said just a little slice is okay , plus i don’t even use butter , just oil to replace the butter . But i forgot to mention the part that i used 1 cup of sugar .. oops .. LOL

This is my fave version of banana bread , it is easy and moist and really delicious . Make sure you at least have 3 large over ripe bananas for this recipe . Lacking of banana can cause the bread turned out a little drier . But if you follow the recipe , it will give you a moist bread . For a healthier version to , use wheat flour for half of the recipe calls .

Direction : 

3 1/2 large over ripe bananas , mashed

1 cup of sugar

2 large eggs

1 /2 cup of vegetable oil

2 tbsp. of sour cream

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 2/3 cup of all purpose flour

1 tsp. of baking soda

1/4 tsp. of gr.cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 F , line a loaf pan with parchment paper .

2. Sift the dry ingredients together , set aside . Beat the eggs and sugar on high speed for 10 minutes .( this is when standing mixer comes in handy ) .

3. After 10 minutes , add in the vegetable oil , keep mixing , scrape off the sides . Then add the mashed bananas , sour cream and vanilla , mix well . FInally fold in the flour . Pour into the loaf pan and bake about an hour . I used 9×5 loaf pan .

 

Thai Sticky Rice minus Mango

I love thai sticky rice , near the town where i live there is this thai restaurant that we occasionally go to . Me and my friends like to have lunch over there too , their price was very reasonable and they have a very yummy curry . But what i like the most was their dessert , thai sticky rice . I figured it shouldn’t be too hard to make , and so i googled it and i was right , it was super easy . As long as you have the sticky rice , and coconut milk , whether you have mango or not , it’s not a big deal , at least to me 😀

Direction : 

About 1 1/2 cup of sweet sticky rice ( get it from asian market , regular grocery store sometimes don’t carry them and if they do , they tend to cost more )

2 cups of water

1 1/2 cup of coconut milk

1 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp. of salt

1/2 cup of coconut milk

1 tbsp. of sugar

pinch of salt

1. Soak the rice about 20 minutes before you cook it .

2. When you’re ready , cook the rice with 2 cups of water , bring to boil , then simmer about 15 minutes and cover , until all water is absorbed .

3 . While the rice is simmering , cook the coconut milk with 1 cup of sugar and salt , bring to boil until sugar melted , turn the heat off and set aside .

4 . Once the rice is done , add the rice into the coconut milk mixture . Stir well , let it cool for at least an hour . You can taste it like this too and they’re super yummy already .

5. Make the sauce , mix coconut milk , sugar and salt ,warm it up and use it when the rice is ready to be served . Add mango if you prefer .