Bakery/Pastry

X’mas Blend Coffee Bars

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OK I’m a repeat offender… it seems like we have barely gotten over Thanksgiving (based on numbers on the scale) and I’m AGAIN already talking about the NEXT, EVEN-BIGGER-ER holiday!  What’s wrong with me?  Am I the only one who feels sidetracked… distracted… by establishments on almost every corner in New York and even some in Beijing that I find it difficult to focus?  Because my year’s-biggest-holiday-state-of-mind is not kick-started by the official ending of Thanksgiving.  Or by the emergence of the frightening, steroid-pumped displays of lights and reindeers on neighbor’s front lawn.  Instead in my mind, the X’mas season is announced officially by no other than the worldwide Starbucks and the appearance of their exceedingly adorable X’mas cups!

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Not-a-Muffin Amaretto Financier

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“My colleagues loved those mini muffins…”
“There are NOT muffins!  They are FINANCIER with a silent R, as in FRRRENCH!!”
“I know financiers.  They’re rectangular.  That’s not financier.”
“…. don’t comment before you GOOGLE!  I’m getting Jiaozi a new daddy.”

OK, that pretty much sums up my recent mental-stability.  But in my defense if I may, a word on why I go a bit nuts when my slightly-retarded-in-the-kitchen husband (but otherwise awesome) tries to give “input” to my cooking given that another (and so many others like it) conversation took place just the other day:

“Hey, can you do something with that tomato?”
“What tomato?”
“THAT tomato that’s being sitting on the counter for days!”
“You mean… the pumpkin?”
“…. oh…”

So you see?  How can I take cooking advice from a man like that?  PS: Jiaozi is my Maltese!

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Apple++ Muffins

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Have I become unintentionally popular among neighbors?  It can’t possibly…  I never join the gathering-in-the-lobby-making-small-talks group.  I give dirty looks to kids on their bikes who, I believe, aim to kill me or at least rid me of one leg.  My french bulldog is notorious for bolting out of nowhere and mugging children’s soccer balls (ANY balls, really…), scares them off like scattering pigeons, and afterwards I return the balls with a thick coat of her extra-slimy saliva.  My maltese attacks people, period.  My youngest, adopted mutt likes to jump on people after snacking on… sh… poo.  So like I said.  It can’t possibly.

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The Dreamiest of Dreamy Milk Toast

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OH boy, do I have a sob story for this one.  Well, not of me growing up with Hokkaido milk toast of course (If you love bread but don’t know what it is, I feel truly sorry.  It’s the dreamiest loaf of toast you could dream up.).  Those were only fond memories, VERY fond memories  like – me standing in the bakery, staring and chuckling like an idiot at the milk toasts on the racks why because they were also smiling back at me, and couldn’t stop myself from poking them with my fingers – kind of memories.  The sobbing part is how I got to successfully making them in my kitchen, which was a road paved with disappointments, heartbreaks and betrayals (supposedly-trusted recipes out there…how could you?).  Let me just start by saying that on Sep 19th at 10:45 pm, a loaf of bread died of a gruesome death on my kitchen counter.  And at 4:30 am the next day, another one followed.

This is how I killed them and atoned for it.

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As Promised – A Better Brioche

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I should’ve known.  I shouldn’t still be surprised after all these years.  OOOF COURSE!  What other secret weapons do professional bakers hold against us besides their senseless guilt towards adding a couple sticks more of butter into everything?  It turns out I too, can bake an obscenely rich, absurdly moist and stringy brioche at home if I just blindfold my conscience, steady my shaking hands, and let go of ALLLL THAT BUTTER into the mixer while shaking off the image of cellulite-on-the-beach in my head.  Steady now, Mandy.  Steady now.  The road to greatness isn’t without sacrifice…

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Fancy a Meat Pie?

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What I have hea is a rawther nice British meat pie (This is OBVIOUSLY accent, not typos… don’t be an arse about tit).  Eva since I overcame my fear in baking (sort of…), I admit that I’ve gone a bit bonkers!  What to pie next?  What to pie next?  Out of all the brilliant recipes out thea, this one has somehow stick.  For one it looks bloody delicious, absolutely pukka!  And second I believe it’s pure fate.  First I saw it on the tele when they were talking about British street foods, and then a magazine featuring the exact same thing LIT’erally fell on my lap.  Two makes it a sign.

…Is it as difficault to read as it tis to write in a Brit accent….?  I have new found respect for Lindsay Lohan.  Oooh sod it!  I give up…

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Forgive Me I Have Pie-d…

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The only equivalent comparison in life to this would be:  In our last two years in New York when we were practically cast out of Manhattan by elitism (FINE, high rents) and moved to… Jersey City where there was a most pathetic looking, hicks-Ahoy karaoke bar right around the block.  With more conviction than I withheld on my wedding day I said to Jason, “IF we EVER raised even the SLIGHTEST idea of walking into this place, it is THE moment that we’ve been “Jersified” and must pack up and move back in the city immediately!”  We survived Jersey and never did walk into that karaoke bar.  But instead THIS happened here.  My cue that says I have been in YET another dump for far too long that – I – made – a – PIE!!!

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Rise baby Rise!

Cuz I don’t brown up nice in the oven.  NO!  I meant I can’t bake!  I’m paralyzed in the field of baking because I’m innately handicapped in following instructions.  But I, too am a mere mortal who’s powerless against the calling of fresh-out-of-the-oven pastries.  And I have a thing for biscuits.

For one, it is one of the few pastries that doesn’t need egg (ok, I LOVE eggs but can’t have them.  That’s a Ginormica sob story for another time).  And plus, they’re just endlessly versatile.  They are the personal escorts,  the Emporors Club of the pastry world.  They will play any role you want them to play for the day, breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert!  Fantastic!  If one could just be a gentleman, invest in a little courtship beforehand to get to know the biscuits well, to help her reach you-know-what.   What?

It’s the RISE, baby!!!

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