Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I love the taste of hazelnut, so I'm always interested in trying new hazelnut recipes. I found the recipe for chocolate hazelnut sandies on Daydreamer Desserts. These cookies looked so cute with the little nuts on top that I had to try them out.
The recipe is simple to put together if you have a food processor. You simply pour everything into the processor and it does all the work for you. I love how one minute I had a bunch of loose ingredients, and the next minute I had balls of dough.
The cookies taste like nutella, but not as sweet. So if you are looking for a not-so-sweet treat, these are a great occasion for that.
Chocolate Hazelnut Sandies (adapted from Daydreamer Desserts)
1 1/2 cups ground hazelnuts
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup hazelnuts (optional garnish)
1. Process ground hazelnuts, confectioners sugar,
light brown sugar, and cocoa powder in a food processor for about 20 seconds.
2. Add flour and salt, pulse for an additional 5 seconds to combine. Scrape down sides if necessary.
3. Add the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse until dough resembles damp sand for about 18 seconds.
4. While machine is running add the egg yolk and process until the dough comes together and forms a ball, approximately 20 seconds.
5. Cut two sheets of parchment paper. Divide dough in
half, form two 4-inch thick logs and wrap each with a sheet, and place
in refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat's.
7. Unwrap dough logs, with a sharp knife slice 1/4 inch
thick cookies. Place cookies on baking sheets spaced about 3/4 inches
apart. Press an unsalted roasted hazelnut in the center of each cookie if
8. Bake for about 17 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Allow
cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes then transfer to a
wire rack until they have cooled completely.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Part 1 of my last Irvine trip can be found here. Sorry it's taken me so long to finish blogging about my trip.
675 Paularino Ave, #3
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
So one of our stops was technically not in Irvine. Last time I was shopping at the Mitsuwa in Costa Mesa, I saw this sign for "$4.99 bento box
lunch special" in front of a store in the same plaza. I was really curious, so this time around we stopped in
during lunch. There were three bento boxes to choose from for the lunch
special: teriyaki chicken, chicken karaage, and nori bento. We chose the
I thought the chicken was pretty oily. The food was
just alright. There were quite a few other bentos offered, but were around $8-10.
Since Mitsuwa and its giant food court is in the same plaza,
I'd rather go there. rather than getting a cold premade bento.
85C Bakery Cafe
2700 Alton Pkwy, Ste 123
Irvine, CA 92606
On this trip, we also paid a visit to 85 C. I've done multiple posts on 85 C which
can be found here, here, here. So I'll keep this one short. The last few times, I've
noticed that 85 C is ridiculously crowded on the weekends and a lot of
the breads I want run out by the time I get inside. On the weekdays, the
line isn't so bad. But on weekends, it is out the door. And it seems to
be like that all day. When we first arrived in the plaza, the line was
out the door. A few hours later, it was still the same. I think part of
the problem is that before, there was no one monitoring the line. Now,
they have someone by the door restricting the number of people who can
get in at a time.
There are two lines now. The front entrance has a line for people
getting breads. Then there is a separate line on the side of the bakery, for people who
are just ordering beverages. (You can order beverages from the bread
line too; so you don't need to get in line again if you are buying bread and drinks).
When we finally got inside, a lot of the breads I wanted were not
there. I asked about them, and they were making more but it would take
about 30 minutes. I was then told I could preorder them at the register
and come back later to pick them up. This was a nice option that wasn't
previously offered. I ordered my breads at the register, and later on I
came back to pick up my breads and was able to bypass the line since I
was just picking up a preorder.
I didn't take many good pics of the breads since I've had them all before. Plus it was late, and I didn't want to wait for nice lighting. I wanted to eat my breads right away.
The pork sung cake roll was something I hadn't seen before. It is a typical sweet chinese cake roll, but covered with the savory dried shredded pork and green onions. It was an interesting combination.
This was a coconut cake, also something I hadn't had before. The coconut cake is more like a flan. Inside were little jellies shaped like stars. I wouldn't get this again.
The taro roll is one of my family's favorite breads. It's a super soft roll. The taro is swirled in. This bread is really popular and it tastes great piping hot and even cold the next day.
I usually don't get the savory bread options. For me, they taste a bit weird because the bread is still slightly sweet. However, they are also quite popular. BF was in the mood for some of the savory breads. He chose this pizza one.
I think this one had a hot dog inside.
In the same plaza, we visited Bon Epi, a Korean bakery. There were
lots of yummy looking offerings.
Here's what I ended up choosing:
I also chose a brioche not pictured. I thought the breads were good, but not as good as the ones at 85C. Since it is in the same plaza, I'd prefer to go to 85C.
18040 Culver Dr
Irvine, CA 92612
We ended the night at Wholesome Choice. This market had been recommended to me months ago by Darlene of My Burning Kitchen and her husband Paul of Cool Jerk. They mentioned that they thought I would enjoy the place, and Paul even gave me one of the Cool Jerk collectible cards and wrote down directions as well as a note to try the filet mignon kebabs.
We had planned to arrive earlier, but other places got in the way. Wholesome Choice is a large supermarket that seems to specialize in the Middle Eastern cuisine. They had a lot of cheap fruit on sale as well as a lot of tropical fruits that are hard to find like mangosteens.
One of the things I was most excited about is that the market carries my Mashti Malone ice cream.
I was also really happy with the baked goods aisle. So many different cookies, as well as Middle Eastern pastries were offered.
The food court is much talked about at Wholesome Choice. It apparently is quite large and full of different types of cuisine. Unfortunately, we were there so late that the majority of the food court was closed. What remained opened was a bakery, and a kebab station. I'm not sure if this is the kebab station that CoolJerk recommended, but they did have filet mignon kebabs, so I ordered a plate.
I really enjoyed this market. It had so much variety and reasonable prices. The only one negative thing was that we encountered a not-so-nice lady working behind the food station. She saw me taking pictures of the empty food court, and yelled at me to stop taking pictures. So I stopped. But then she proceeded to glare at me for the next 20 minutes while we waited for our food. At one point, I left to wander around the market. BF told me that while I was gone, a caucasian couple tried to get some food from one the stations that was closed but still had the food on display. They refused to help the couple. Then a Middle Eastern couple came in and the lady secretly helped them. The caucasian couple were pretty mad and BF overheard the conversation. Apparently this was not the first time they had been given unfair treatment from this place.
We got our food to go since we were quite full from everywhere else we had stopped on our trip. The serving of beef was quite generous, as was the rice which I believe was flavored with saffron. The beef was tender and I loved the rice. It also came with some pita-like bread and onions, but I preferred to eat this on its own rather than in a wrap.
I definitely want to visit this market again and hopefully the mean lady won't be there.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I saw this post on chinese scallion pancakes on Use Real Butter. The photos made the pancakes look so delicious. Golden, delicate, with lots of flaky layers. Baby Bro and his GF had previously helped make green onion pancakes after I found an easy recipe, which can be found here. They were pretty enjoyable, but I wanted to see if we could refine our technique to get a better pancake.
This recipe was similar to the one we previously used. This time, Baby Bro did everything by himself. He really enjoys cooking. He recently moved in with me, and I've gotten to observe just how much he enjoys cooking. He cooks all the time. He cooks his lunches and his dinners everyday. For a simple lunch of noodle soup, he'll go all out and make chicken soup from scratch. I'm amazed at his energy. I can't remember the last time I actually cooked a full meal for lunch. It's usually just leftovers, or whatever I can find that's instant.
Anyhow, I think he was a bit rushed on this attempt. As a result, the pancakes came out a little too thick. They still tasted good though.
Chinese Scallion Pancakes (from Use Real Butter)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup warm water
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1. In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is
absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing
thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm
dough that is barely sticky to the touch.
2. Knead the dough about twenty strokes then
cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a
flattened dome. Cut into 5 or 6 pieces of equal size. Roll the pieces
3. Place a ball of dough on a well-floured work surface and roll out
into a thin circle (about 1/16th inch thickness). Spread a teaspoon of
oil evenly over the pancake (use more if needed). Sprinkle salt evenly
over the pancake. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of scallions over the
pancake. Roll the pancake up from one end like a rug, then curl the
roll around in a spiral and pinch the end to the roll so it stays
wrapped. With the palm of your hand, press the roll from the top to
flatten it. Roll the pancake out to 1/8th inch thickness. Heat a
tablespoon of oil on a flat, wide pan over a medium-low to medium flame
until hot. Set the pancake in the oil and let fry until the bottom is
crisp and golden. Flip the pancake, adding more oil as needed. Remove
from heat and serve immediately or reheat in the oven.
We didn't get all the step by step pictures like we took on our first attempt, so I've incorporated some of our old pics with some of the pics from this attempt: