Friday, January 22, 2010

A Bit More on Baking

Thank you for the comments! I'm so pleased that even though I'm a bad blogger in need of a kick in the ass, you guys will still come around when I muster the oomph to get a post done. So I got some suggestions and questions in the comments and thought I'd just add a bit more in a new post.

Weve asked for some recipes, so here goes!
Martha Stewart's sugar cookies are scrum, and mine worked out very well even without the fancy schmancy stand mixer she employs, or the shot of fancy liqueur she gulps from a mug during commercial breaks adds to the recipe. For a little article on sugar cookies and icing, go here.

And for the video and recipe for sugar cookies, go here.

The seriously moist so very delicious and excellent chocolate cake recipe can be found here.

A version that looks a lot like my mom's candy cane cookie recipe can be found here. And there's a couple other candy cane cookie recipes that look interesting there as well. One is dipped in a mixture of sugar and crushed candy canes after the cookie is baked. That sounds yummy, eh?

Here's a recipe for the mini cream cheese crust pecan tart things:

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 3oz. package of cream cheese*
1 cup all-purpose flour

Beat the butter and cream cheese until thoroughly mixed and then add in the flour. Using 24 ungreased 1 and a quarter inch muffin cups, press a rounded teaspoon of the pastry int the bottom and up the sides of each cup. Fill each pastry lined muffin cup with one heaping tablespoon of filling. Bake in a 325 degree oven about 30 min or until pastry is golden and filling set and puffy.

Pecan Filling: Beat together 1 egg, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine. Stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans**.

Lemon Coconut Filling:*** Divide 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes between the cups. In another bowl combine 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Spoon mixture over coconut in each pastry cup.

*Where are there 3oz packages of cream cheese? That's not a very large amount. I had to convert ounces to grams and then try to divide the 250g container of cream cheese I had into appropriate portions to make up 3 oz. Seems to me it was about 2/3 of one half of the container. Math hurt head.

**I toasted the pecans, just a few short min in a dry pan over medium heat. Stay with them to supervise their roasting. If you turn your back for even a moment, or like, even glance at your watch - they'll burn.

***I didn't make these even though I had all the ingredients which are easy to get here. (Larger supermarkets will have coconut.) I haven't included the pumpkin or spiced fruit filling recipes because pumpkin sucks, and the other one required dried fruit which I can't remember seeing in Korea. Besides, isn't dried fruit what's in Christmas cake? Christmas cake sucks. No one likes dried fruit. Ick.

Weve, if you want, I'll send you an e-mail with the caramel brownie recipe and apple pie bars. Likewise, I can have a look around for the bread recipe (not pictured in the previous post) and I will do a soup post soon enough. I recently got one of those hand mixers, so I can liquefy things. Soup is so good isn't it?

I can't understand Mike's comment which I think has something to do with football? Or, he's dissing my post and cruising for a bruising sort of thing. (Anytime, pal!) Hee hee hee.

Mike asked if the Koreans liked the baked goodies (and also questioned whether they'd say so - which maybe means would they be honest about their opinion?) I can report that that Koreans who ate mah cookies LOVED them. Every single one of them made a point to search me out and tell me how delicious they were and I do believe they were sincere. I tasted everything, afterall - and can vouch for the goodness. At one point I was thinking I would bake an extra large bath of sugar cutout cookies and share them with the kids in my classes. Probably they would have loved them, but I remember way back when I made crepes with my winter classes and they didn't go over so well at all. As soon as one kid declared them inedible the rest of the students would "bahhhhh" in agreement and soon the garbage bin was filled with half eaten crepes. Those crepes were GOOD, man - so I didn't want to subject my fragile ego to the harsh and uninformed criticism of my students. If they had taken a bite of mah delicious cookies and made a face, I might have smacked 'em one good.

I brought a very large assortment of cookies to the very late dinner I went to on Christmas Day. (It was really Boxing Day, since the party didn't start until 2 am.) I thought for SURE I'd be bringing leftovers home considering the amount of food on offer at the dinner. Everyone gorged on pig intestines, thin slices of marinated beef, shrimp, and finally crab. After all that, the guests meandered over to where my cookies were laid out and tried them. I was so happy watching people's faces as their eyes got big and they agreed "Ohhhh! Mashita!" (Or mashinun?) And they'd come over and give me a thumbs up, "Jelly! Belly GUD!" Ha! And THEN they ran to the back of the restaurant and returned with a box of little plastic bags which they handed out and everyone stuffed as many cookies into their little bags as quickly as they could until everything was gone.

I hadn't even thought about that.
Damn, I hadn't even saved any cookies back at my house for me.

Having just returned from Japan, I now remember some differences between the two cultures. I'd forgotten about "hon'e" and "mie'e" - namely the way a Japanese person appears on the outside versus their true feelings on the inside. Had mah cookies totally sucked, I think it would be my Japanese friends who would graciously bow thankfully at me, for having made the cookies, and discreetly stow away the remains of the bit they hadn't eaten in their bag for later disposal. My Korean friend, upon tasting a bad cookie, would be more likely to fall over whilst pulling faces and making moans of agony, scraping their tongues off with their fingernails. Then they'd right themselves and throw the cookie to the ground, asking me why I was trying to kill them with my bad baking - as they jumped up and down on the offending cookie.

In my experience, Koreans are not shy at telling you what they think about anything, even if it might be rude. (Think, "You're fat! Why is your nose so big? Man, you're as hairy as a gorilla!")

So, yes. Long story short, mah cookies were a success. Baking - even bread is really relatively new to Koreans. It's catching on a LOT, as you might notice when you walk around and see Paris Baguette is as ubiquitous as Starbucks in the States. (Or Starbucks in Seoul? I don't know.) And occasionally they can make a very fine bread or bun here. (Seriously - I'll say it again: Cake? Not so much.) But they're also able to screw things up quite nicely as well.


1 comment:

Weve said...

Thank you for taking the time to post all of these recipes! They look fantastic and I think I'll bake up a few for the guests I have in the next few weeks ^^

I'm not sure why my user name always comes up as "Weve" as I;m "We've Got Seoul" ... perhaps I've entered in something incorrectly?

Anyhoo. It's great to have Jelly back - and with more energy too!