Bakery/Pastry

BRIOCHE WAFFLE STUFFED W/ GROUND PEANUT BRITTLE

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THEY MELTED… THEY BUBBLED… THEN THEY GOT ABSORBED IN THE SWELLING CUSHIONS OF THE CRISPY EDGED, SOFT HEARTED, BUTTERY AND CHEWY BRIOCHE WAFFLES

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You know how like in the movies, when they really want to make you feel sorry for a certain character, let it be the sweetest human being or the most hated villain, doesn’t matter, that all they have to do is to show you a scene where he/she comes home to a dimly lit kitchen, where his/her inner loneliness get stripped naked in front of an even emptier fridge?  Yes, empty fridge.  What is it about an empty fridge that so tenderly strokes our sympathy?  I mean that trick works every time.  I mean, even the most stone-hearted audiences would feel something, must feel something, if they see… I don’t know, Darth Vader, after slaughtering a whole village of Ewoks, comes back to his space-chamber behind closed doors, and starts eating a half-empty jar of mustard with stale crackers (with that labored breathing oh god I’m gonna cry…).  I mean, that shit is just sad.

But lately, I’m starting to feel the opposite about my fridge.

I think, no, I believe, that if I were to take a photo from the inside of my fridge at any given moment in the past several months, it would probably strike a close resemblance of a jacuzzi pool, inside the Playboy’s Mansion, on a New Year’s Eve in the 80’s, right before countdown.  Or at the very least, the kind of chaotic and repulsive glut that I would imagine it to be…  There had been clearly some management issues, I admit.  It had gotten to a point where I actually cracked an egg with just my index finger, in the failed effort to rest it in between a head of cabbage and a jar of peanut butter, which sat on top a pot of stew next to 3 bags of kimchi.  I mean, it’s not the same kind of sadness, but this shit is just as bad.

So yesterday, I had to do something.  I committed what I would call, an inventory genocide, where I killed half of the population inside my fridge, ruthlessly, purely based on the justification of… well, illogical madness.  Anything that I couldn’t remember who or what or when or how it got here, or simply because it looked at me the wrong way, must go.  Just 5 minutes in, I could already see a ray of the fridge-light breaking through a cloud of blackened asparagus.  But just when I was red-eyed amidst my efficient bloodbath, I reached deep down to a corner of the fridge, and something stopped me dead on my track.

A box of forgotten but pristinely delicious, ground peanut brittle from the making of this.  I couldn’t… I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  It looked so innocent, so sinless, in fact, completely filled with scrumptious roasted peanut flavours and practically, did I mention, ground salted caramels!  What kind soulless human being would I be if I put ground salted caramel to sleep!?  I must figure out a way to do them justice… and in a way, looking back now, I think that I have always known what it would be, the most buttery brioche waffle I have been wanting to sink my fingers in for quite some time now.  They call it, the liège waffles, the Belgian waffles, the yeasted dough practically drowned in butter then strangled with pearl sugar, browned and melted in between the searing teeth of a hot waffle-griddle, and it sounded just like the beautiful, alternative death for my well deserved victim.  I mean, what is a pile of ground roasted peanuts and crushed salted caramel, but the perfect brioche stuffing?

They melted… they bubbled… then they got absorbed into the swelling cushions of the crispy edged, soft hearted, buttery and chewy brioche waffles, while the rest of the undeserving fridge-scraps watched, howling in jealousy.  Not a bad way to go… not a bad way to go at all.

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BRIOCHE WAFFLE STUFFED W/ GROUND PEANUT BRITTLE

Yield: 8 small waffles

Brioche/liege waffle dough is halved and slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

    BRIOCHE/LIEGE WAFFLE DOUGH:
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) whole mik
  • 2 tbsp (30 grams) water
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp (12 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp (100 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • FOR STUFFING:
  • Ground peanut brittle as instructed here, or you can ground any type of store-bought brittles the same way
  • Honey to drizzle

Instructions

  1. TO MAKE THE DOUGH: Combine whole milk and water in a glass, then microwave on high for approx 50 seconds. It should feel very warm but doesn't burn, around 110F/43C (this will help the dough start faster). Transfer into a stand-mixer bowl with dough-hooks, or large bowl with hand-held mixer with dough-hooks, along with all-purpose flour, egg, light brown sugar, instant dry yeast, vanilla extract and salt. Knead on low until all ingredients are evenly incorporated, then on medium speed for 3 min until smooth and elastic. The dough should be slightly sticky at this point. Start kneading in the butter, 1 tbsp at a time. Only add the next when the previous addition has been fully incorporated, about 2 min for each tbsp. Once all the butter's been added, knead on high speed for 3~4 min, until very shiny, smooth and elastic.
  2. Cover with plastic-wrap and let proof for 1:30 ~ 2 hours, until fully doubled, then punch out the air and transfer to a working surface (the dough is so buttered up, you won't need to flour), and divide into 8 equal portions. Flatten 1 portion out into a flat disk about 1/4" thick (7 mm), then set on top of a small bowl (the natural dent will make the stuffing easier). Place 2 tbsp of ground peanut brittle in the center, then bring the edges of the dough together over the top and pinch tightly to seal. Try to make sure there's no holes or tears. Set aside and repeat with the rest (if there seems to be butter oozing out of the dough, it's totally fine).
  3. You can now either let the stuffed brioche proof again at room-temperature for 40 min, or space them over a sheet-pan covered with plastic-wrap and leave in the fridge overnight. I did this at room-temperature, but the overnight-method will result in better flavours. The brioche will expand and almost doubled again.
  4. TO COOK: Preheat your Belgian-style waffle-griddle on medium-high heat. There's no need to oil the griddle. Place 1 brioche in the center and cook according to the manufacture's instruction, for about 5~6 min until golden browned on both sides. If any peanut brittle oozed out of the waffle during cooking, just wipe them away before cooking the next. Place the cooked brioche on a cooling rack and repeat with the rest. Serve immediately with drizzled honey.
http://ladyandpups.com/2015/06/26/brioche-waffle-stuffed-w-ground-peanut-brittle/

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XI’AN STYLE SMUSHED LAMB MEATBALL BURGER

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XI’AN-STYLE SMUSHED LAMB MEATBALLS BRAISED IN JOY-JUICE, STUFFED IN CH-ENGLISH MUFFINS… MORE THAN WORDS

I can’t even… I won’t even… I’m not even gonna…  Look, my friends, this is my Xi’an-style smushed lamb meatballs braised in joy-juice, slobbering in between a layer of sesame/peanut sauce and cilantro/red onion slaw, my signature chili oil and Xi’an burger buns (call it Ch-english muffins).  If you are looking at them and doesn’t have the urge to tell me to shut the fuck up now, and get to it, then I don’t know nothin’ about foods.  This is where that song – More Than Words – was written for, a song that I suffered through 20 years of karaoke with and couldn’t figure out the appeal, until now.

And you wouldn’t have to saaayeh~ that you love me.  Cuz I’d already knowoah~

  
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MOLTEN TRUFFLES MOCHIFFLES

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THE UGLIER IT APPEARS, THE BETTER THAT SON OF A MOCHI  TASTES.

I want you to do something for me, okay?  I want you to just… blindfold your judgement towards the bizarre appearances you’re fixated at, and forget the unfamiliarly gooey bias you have towards this thingy called mochi, and just… just do what you need to do, to head into the kitchen at your next convenience, and make these.  Okay?  I know, I know, I don’t wanna hear that I’m-not-a-mochi-person kind of self-doubt, okay, at least not in this particular case here.  Because listen, this is not tough, okay, and yes, it is chewy, but in the softest and supplest sense of a perfect liège waffle or a toasted warm brioche, okay?  It will be a game-changing, crispy-edged and bouncy-hearted hybrid between waffle and mochi that, oh man… so-carefully houses the scattered and irregular morsels of – you following? – molten chocolate truffles.  Yes.  Yes.  Oh god… the molten chocolate truffles… they melt, oh yes, and they become chocolate caramels, and then they hardenOkay?  Not loose like a fudge or blunt like chocolate chips, but what their low melting-point are creating here, so epically, are the eroded nooks and crannies of a candied porous surface, the volcanic rock-formations that embodies crème brûlée-like edges with sticky and thinly fudge-painted interior, okay?  What you’ll witness here, is the gloriously delicious aftermath in the death of chocolate truffles post-high heat, then the rebirth from caramel into candy, then encased inside a crispy and chewy waffled mochi called mochiffles!  Does that compute for you?!  Gah.. I mean… you know… just proma… promise that you’ll make them, okay?  I know sticky rice flour, probably not your forte, but just, just promise me that much, please, just let me have the comfort of knowing that when I’m gone from this post, into this world filled with darkness and injustice, that my dear friend you… will at the very least, have this.  Okay?  Yes?

  

Vibrant yellow bowl is from Dishes Only.

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RE-CONSTRUCTED BANANA AND PEANUT BUTTER MASCARPONE PIE

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As seen on my Instagram, this vibrantly yellow bowl is from Dishes Only.

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I DON’T KNOW.  IT’S NOT A DESSERT.  IT’S THING.

When it comes to the awareness for Del Posto’s celebrated pastry-chef that is Brooks Headley, as well his critically acclaimed cookbook Fancy Desserts, I’ll admit, I was late to the game.  To start, I’ve never been to Del Posto, even for the time while I was still living blissfully in New York, I never.  I knew where it was.  I knew it was good.  But for the many times that I’ve passed it by, I dug into my dangling shallow pocket, and went for the Halal-truck parked around its corner instead, unregretted.  Then to further my negligence, I didn’t even give it the slightest consideration when their Brooks published his first, wacky and unconventional cookbook named – reeked of intimidations – Fancy Desserts.  I mean those who know me, from experiences perhaps too personal, already mourns my biological disability to even execute the dumbest-ass desserts, let alone, as if,  fancy.  The title only sounded slightly more appealing than watching a documentary on spaceship engineering.  But, my firmly footed ignorance all began to shake when my loyal advisor, The Piglet, out of many many other the-Gisele-Bundchen of cookbooks, named it The Best of 2015.  Finally, I sighed, I Amazoned, and I realized that for all this time…

I was so wrong.

Behind its unfiltered and seemingly unstudied photographs, is a smacking and dignified mockery to all the others who lack its otherwise overabundant substances.  I realized that a cookbook can only dare this level of anti-pornographic statement when it’s got nothing, absolutely nothing more to prove to us shallow pigs, than to say, I’m too good for pretty.  And it is.  This is the most honest, egoless and humorous cookbook I’ve ever read, but LOL aside, the book mercilessly attacks my mortal imagination with one-after-the-other daring recipes that completely defies logic, but wins intrigues if not hearts (throw in a James Beard Award for good measure).  I must, I murmured.  I must immerse myself in his teaching…

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THE BLUSHING BOULE (PURPLE YAM COUNTRY BREAD)

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HOW DARE I BARGING IN WITH MY “ORIENTAL” VEGETABLE, LIKE A BRUTE IMBECILE WAVING A BOX OF STUPID CRAYONS, JUST SO I CAN PAINT AN ALREADY-PERFECT LOAF OF ART, PURPLE?

So lately, if you have been paying attention, you’d notice that I’ve been somewhat, disturbingly obsessed with this color here.  Hey, I swear, I didn’t know I had it in me either.  I mean, com’n, pastel purple?  What am I, Hanna Montana?  But seriously, starting exactly 7 days ago, I swear it came at me like a never-ending nightmare too dazing and beautiful to wake up from, I kept and kept baking things – FOUR loafs of bread as we speak to be exact – obsessively colored in this gigglish hue which I was never that into even when I was 4.  What’s happened to me?

To trace back steps, I must say that it started out innocently enough, as it happens to all of us, by an epidemical mental illness called PGSD – Piggish Grocery Shopping Disorder.  I have been haunted by this persistent disease, which I have no doubt that I’ve gotten from my mother, for much longer than this ever-expanding body of mine can endure.  On my weekly shopping routine, online as I should also point out, any promotion too friendly or a banner too distracting, can trigger a behavioural mechanism that causes me to literally… rob their entire inventory of “Buying In Bulk”.  Ask my house keeper – who comes carefree to clean our apartment, but often leaves burdened with forced souvenirs of over-ripen bananas – and she’d tell you that I need help.

However, it’s one thing to let my disorder roam free as long as it’s within the premise of A) Preservative-laiden, edible mummies that last forever like 6 stacks of Pringles, or B) Guilt-tripped purchases on healthy fruits and vegetables like a dozen avocados or 4 Hawaiian pineapples (did I mention there are only TWO of us).  But it’s something else entirely when it spills over into the category of perishable, filling, and ass-expanding starchy root-vegetables like… 5 whole pounds of Vietnamese purple yams.

But you guessed it.  That was exactly what happened.  My PGSD had led me into an unending supply of baked purple yams that, before long, I knew I had to put those purple yams somewhere else faster than they could start sprouting and turn my apartment into Molly’s backyard.

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HOKKAIDO MILK BUNS AND PINEAPPLE CUSTARD

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These super gorgeous crochet-printed side-plates are from the lovely DishesOnly.

TO MY SHAMELESS AND UNDESERVING SELF I SAID, YES I’LL HAVE FOUR OF THOSE PLEASE

This post, on top of the rare fact that it’s the third dessert-recipe within two weeks, is also going to take a rather unconventional introduction.  Instead of my usual babbling on my, more often than not, unpleasant stories/inspirations behind a certain recipe, I’m going to gratefully credit this entire post to the unexpected blogging-perks that have been recently showering my life like a long-awaited rainfall.

First of all around 2 weeks ago, a mindfully packaged box from Italy oozing the kind of anticipation and excitement not even the strongest duct-tape can confine, quietly arrived at my doorstep.  Carrying with it, among other gorgeous sample-ceramics, were 4 beautiful crochet-printed plates that marked the exciting collaboration between me, and the lovely Italian ceramic company – DishesOnly.  In all honesty, calling this sort of thing a “collaboration” where I shamelessly ask for things without paying, sounds all too undeserving on my part because I feel like I’m taking advantage.  But when I saw these unbelievably delicate and understatedly elegant side-plates called crochet, I simply couldn’t help my greedy self.  The desire of having them among my now-seemed-comparatively-unattractive collection of plates, overrode any remaining ounce of self-consciousness.  So to my shameless and undeserving self I said, yes I’ll have 4 of those please.

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THIN AND CHEWY DATES AND RUM COOKIES

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DENSE AND CHEWY AND BORDERLINE STICKY

Sometimes, I feel, if a recipe could talk… it wouldn’t be thanking me for lovingly bringing it into this world, nor telling me how it did at school today over a cup of hot cocoa, nor about its hopes and dreams as we laugh and cry together in the kitchen at the end of a sun-drenched afternoon…  Sometimes, I feel, if a recipe could talk, first and foremost, it would probably just gently lean into my ears, and the three little words it whispers with steady breath would sound something like…  Just.  Shut up.

See, it’s not that my recipes are mean, because I assure you that I raised them all with decent manners.  But sometimes I have to admit that they’ve got a point.  Let’s take this instance as an example, shall we?  Cookies.  Very fast, very easy, zero electronic machinery needed.  Tinted with ground allspice and cardamon, and filled with minced rum-soaked dates.  If you like crispy-on-the-bottom-and-edges, but dense-and-chewy-and-borderline-sticky kind of cookies, I don’t know what else the recipe would want me to say except… make it now.

So.  Make it now.

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