timbit tres leches with mangoes
July 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
My cousin and I had a delicious dinner last night at Julie’s Cuban, capped with a sweet serving of tres leches. I was had at the mere mention of milk (“leche”), but three (“tres”)? My knees buckled. My head felt faint. I have had many a love affair with milk, but none with such gusto as with this dessert of cake soaked in three types of milk – evaporated *heart racing*, condensed *palms sweating*, and cream *moans*.
Not surprisingly, twenty-four hours later, here I am blogging about my very own twist on tres leches: milk-soaked cake donut holes topped with golden ripe mangoes.
Canadians are so loyal to our famous coffee/donut shop chain Tim Hortons that the term “Timbits” has become generic for all donut holes. If you are in the US, there are many Tim Hortons shops sprouting in the northern states, and many have started to swarm downtown New York. It is a must-try, if you find one in your neighborhood! For these tres leches, I used the simplest, least sweet donut holes: old-fashioned cake timbits.
It is the season for mangoes. They are plenty in the summer and are sweetest at this time. I recommend sweet Philippine mangoes. If you cannot find them, ataulfo mangoes are the second best thing. Make sure to pick the one that is most golden.
Here are the easy steps into turning your donut holes into tres leches. This is a recipe per portion:
3 cake donut holes (not yeast donuts)
1/4 c evaporated milk
1 tbsp condensed milk
1 tbsp heavy cream
1. Place donut holes in a cup or goblet.
2. Slice the donut holes through the middle to ensure they will absorb as much of the milk mixture as possible.
3. In a separate cup, combine all three milks.
4. Pour over donut holes.
5. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Every fifteen minutes, turn the donut holes in order that all sides are soaked evenly.
6. Top with chopped mangoes and whipped cream.
malted milk custard tart with oreo crust
July 18, 2011 § 2 Comments
I dedicate my latest kitchen experimentation to fellow lovers of Whoppers, Maltesers, Horlicks, Ovaltine Malt, any unbranded chocolate malt balls and malt drinks, and well, everything made of malted milk. With all my love to you, I present this malted milk custard tart with Oreo crust! If I had a signature dessert, this may be it.
I have had an obsession with malted milk since childhood, specifically Horlicks. So much so that I wanted to call this “Horlicks custard tart”, however, I realize that not many people outside of Asia and Europe are aware that Horlicks exists, let alone what it is. Well, Horlicks is a malted milk drink, like Ovaltine Malt. I happen to be very familiar with both brands, but all my life, have favored the richness of Horlicks. I have seen Carnation Malt being sold at Target in the US, but I have yet to try it (I’m headed to California next week, I will make sure to pack one in my luggage home). Are you a malted milk lover? Which malted milk mix do you most prefer? And most importantly: Whoppers or Maltesers?
For the crust:
1 box of Oreos (30 cookies)
1/3 c butter
1. In a food processor, process Oreo cookies into crumbs.
2. Melt butter. Pour over cookie crumbs and combine.
3. Spoon crumbs into a 10″ pie pan and press on the bottom and sides. I used a 10″ fluted pie pan with removable bottom.
4. Bake in 350F for 10 minutes.
For the custard filling:
3 c milk
1-1/2 c malt powder*
1/2 c corn starch
6 egg yolks
3 tbsp sugar*
*Please note: the brand of malt powder alters the sweetness of the custard. I used Horlicks, which is not overly sweet. However, other brands such as Ovaltine contain more sugar and will not require any sugar to be added, as well as may require the malt powder to be reduced to as little as 1 c. Please remember that the lack of sweetness of the malt custard will be offset by the sweetness of the Oreo crust.
1. In a small bowl, whisk corn starch in 1 c of milk until dissolved.
2. In a large sauce pan whisk malt powder in remaining milk until malt powder is dissolved. Turn heat to medium and add corn starch mixture, egg yolks, and sugar. Whisk continuously until the mixture boils and thickens, approximately 20 minutes.
3. Let cool slightly before pouring custard into crust.
4. Let sit at room temperature until pie is cool. Garnish with your favorite chocolate malt balls.
5. Chill in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
cocoa-roasted almond popsicles
July 17, 2011 § 2 Comments
I was never an advocate of homemade ice bars until last summer, after experimenting with batches of almond muhallebi for O.T. Muhallebi is a Turkish milk pudding thickened with rice flour and topped with nuts. During one of my kitchen experiments, I coarsely ground a generous portion of vanilla roasted almonds which I combined right into my homemade milk pudding, instead of as garnish. It was nuts. Like, nutty. Like, utter nutty goodness. I was inspired to freeze the almond muhallebi mixture in a popsicle mold. Since it is a milk pudding, there is none of the crystallized ice often found in popsicles (in fact, it is the crystallized ice that always had me disappointed at homemade ice milk bars). Even though no cream is used, the result is a thick and creamy ice bar (merit goes entirely to the rice flour), packed with bits of soft crunch and a wallop of nuttiness
I left my popsicle mold in California with O.T. and regret not picking up an extra set for my use here in Toronto. I have scoured so many dollar stores and home stores in Toronto in search of a bar-shaped popsicle mold, to no avail. If you are in the west coast, you can find popsicle bar molds at Daiso for $1.50. I finally found this pretty one for $2.99 at Meijer in Michigan when I visited my parents for the 4th of July weekend. And impressively, they perfectly match the milk/juice carton basket weave vases that I crafted in April.
Sadly, I have not been able to find vanilla roasted almonds since last summer. But there is a new kid in town — cocoa roast almonds. I am a vanilla type of gal, however these bad boys have won me over.
To make these creamy, nutty ice bars, you will need:
2 c milk
3 tbsp rice flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 c cocoa roasted almonds
1. In a food processor, process the almonds to a coarse grind.
2. In a sauce pan, whisk together milk, rice flour, and sugar over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture boils and thickens, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Whisk in ground almonds.
4. Let cool for five minutes and spoon into popsicle molds. Freeze overnight.
You may substitute the rice flour with all purpose flour if you do not want the hint of rice milk flavor in your popsicles, as the rice flour will leave that. I enjoy rice milk and, like the Turks, I come from a culture that makes a majority of desserts with rice flour. All purpose flour does the trick of thickening without any added flavor. Next time, I will try it with some almond milk.
rolled paper ice cream
July 16, 2011 § 7 Comments
Has it really been over a week since I last crafted? Our summer in Toronto has been Tremendous and who wants to offend the sun by staying indoors?! When I started the full-time job in March, I would scramble home to make sure I could craft before sunset. I absolutely refuse to take pictures at night (I’m sure you can tell which crafts were made at night from their poor pictures) and I have yet to build a “studio” or light box of sorts where I can take pictures under artificial light. I was under the assumption that come warm weather, I would have extended hours, as late as 9 pm, to craft and take pictures with natural light pouring through the windows. Right. Of course. Well that theory is out the window! Extended hours so my crafts could see sunlight? How about me and my very vital human need for some Vitamin D? Yes, that’s where I have been — scarce and out of doors and making up the weight I lose in sweat by gorging on an equal (or greater) weight in summer treats. How has your summer been? By no way is this question an affront to those in the opposite hemisphere undergoing the opposite. It’s just that our summer has been gorgeous.
Speaking of gorging on summer treats, here’s one that is guilt-free. I’ve wanted to make these rolled paper ice creams since I rolled paper ornaments for Christmas. In fact, I’ve had planned for a long time now to make rolled paper everything. We’ll get to that later (if ever!…or at least not during these summer days). For now, rolled paper ice cream!
You will need construction paper, double-sided tape, mounting tape, and 1/8″ red ribbon.
1. Cut construction paper lengthwise (9″ long) in 1/4″ increments starting from 3″ wide down to 1″ wide (e.g. 3″, 2-3/4″, 2-1/2:, 2-1/4″ and so on until 1″). Take the widest piece (3″) and adhere mounting tape across the center. Take 8″ of ribbon, fold, and place on the mounting tape.
3. Take the second widest piece and adhere mounting tape across the center.
4. Center the strip on the previously rolled strip and roll.
5. Repeat, going from widest, until you’ve rolled the 2″ piece.
6. Adhere mounting tape on the bottom.
7. Take a brown sheet of construction paper. Cut into an 11″ circle. Cut circle into quarters.
8. Take one quarter and place double-sided tape on one of the edges.
9. Roll on top of the mounting tape to make a cone. Peel off the double-sided tape and affix.
10. Continue steps 2-5, by rolling the remaining strips (except the narrowest strip).to form the ball shape of the ice cream,
11. When you get to the narrowest strip, place the mounting tape directly on the center and cut it about 3/4″ from where you began. Place double sided tape where the seams will meet. This will ensure the final seam is flat, and not raised.
12. Roll the final piece only once around and cut at the seam.
14. Cut red construction paper into 4-1/2″ length and 3/4″, 1/2″ and 1/4″ strips. Repeat same rolling process to make a cherry.
Hang them up as fun summer party ornaments — how about some ice cream bunting?!
inuksuk maple caramels
June 29, 2011 § 1 Comment
In two days, Canada will celebrate its 144th birthday. I whipped up a quick hands-on Canadian treat in honor of our holiday. This is a fun cooking and crafting project for you and your little ones to enjoy — miniature inuksuks constructed out of homemade maple caramels.
In the west and Arctic regions of Canada, inuksuks stand aplenty. You may have seen them before. They are native manmade stone structures mostly used as markers for travel or for orientation.
You may probably know this: in Canada, we are mad about maple. On our flag we bear the emblematic maple leaf. In most urban places, you cannot pass a kilometer’s stretch of road without spotting the maple leaf somehow, typically adorning shop signs and windows. Even our hockey team in Toronto is aptly named the Maple Leafs. Without surprise, we are the globe’s biggest producer of sweet maple syrup, on whose sole existence the pancake depends.
These delicious caramels are made of pure maple syrup and are very simple to make — no need to invest in a candy thermometer. They’re that simple! I used salted butter for that salted caramel flavor, and evaporated milk for that maple fudge taste (I’ve seen the best maple fudge stores flaunting cans of Carnation).
To make these caramels, you will need:
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp salted butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1. Over medium heat, melt butter in maple syrup. Allow to boil for five minutes.
2. Add evaporated milk. Stir continuously and allow to boil further for fifteen to twenty minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened and turns a deep golden amber. The lighter amber has a soft chew. The darker amber turns into a hard caramel candy. The choice is up to you!
3. On parchment, very quickly spoon small pebble mounds of caramel and some long, narrow ledge shapes.
4. Allow caramels to sit until they are cool to touch, but warm enough that they will stick to each other as you construct. Stack the caramels to create inukshuks.
You will notice the taller inuksuk has slightly lighter caramels. Those caramels are chewy and have some slack when constructed. The shorter inuksuk has darker caramels, and are hard candies, and perhaps stand better as inukshuks. Both are equally yummy!
basket weave vases
April 21, 2011 § 45 Comments
Tomorrow is Earth Day! In order to celebrate and honor our planet, I’ve salvaged some cartons and jars from being thrown into the landfill and woven the cartons into this pair of bright vases.
I made them in theme of the beautiful colors of our globe: the warp and weft are in cool blue and vivid green hues, and the vases are topped off with beautiful white clouds of hydrangeas. Just the kind of décor my kitchen table needs this spring!
For each vase, you will need two milk or juice cartons of the same size and a jar, some paint and a hot glue gun.
1. Cut the cartons to preferred height, making sure that they are taller than the jar for containing the water for your bouquet. Paint the cartons. If you want your vases to be a single color, you may skip this step for now and paint after the cartons are woven.
2. For each vase: cut one carton into 1/2″ strips vertically, making sure not to cut out the bottom, and cut the second carton into 1/2″ strips horizontally.
3. Start weaving by sliding the horizontal strips into alternating vertical strips.
4. Continue weaving until you reach the top and glue the top pieces together so the basket weave does not come undone.
5. Fill your jar with water and place inside the woven carton and arrange your favorite spring blooms.
Happy Earth Day!
carrot easter basket
April 19, 2011 § 8 Comments
Today, I’m crafting over at Canadian Living’s The Craft Blog. The photo I posted in my sneak peek yesterday is actually that of a carrot Easter basket. What I didn’t mention is the totally random and unlikely craft item it’s made of, which is…a pylon! Quickly hop over to your local dollar store to pick up your pylon before the holiday weekend (of course, I got mine at my favorite, Dollarama). Then read my super simple tutorial to magically turn your pylon into a carrot Easter basket in three easy steps!
solar system cake pops
March 29, 2011 § 32 Comments
As I consider the diminished frequency of my posts (thanks to several weeks of juggling three jobs, followed by a dramatic lifestyle change into a 9-5 as of last week), I really ought to avoid consecutive posts on the same topic. However, I had a surplus of cake and frosting from my previous post, carrot cake pops. The result: a further exercise in the making of cake pops, specifically marbleizing, manifested in the likeness of planets.
In the midst of my cake pop research, I stumbled across Wilton’s decorating technique of marbleizing candy for pops. I contemplated uses for this particular technique and was inspired by something I’ve been teaching children over the past three years — to build a model of the solar system.
Simply take several colors of candy melts, swirl a tiny bit, and let the act of dipping create the full marble effect. For Saturn’s rings, I made a marbleized candy disc on parchment, carved away the center with a knife, and slipped it over the planet.
Marbleizing is a fitting process to make planets, especially the hazy clouds of Jupiter and Saturn. This is a fun kitchen project to do with kids. Your little ones can learn about the colors and surfaces of each planet as each is created. What’s best is these planetary models are not only educational, they are edible!
carrot cake pops
March 27, 2011 § 54 Comments
I have officially jumped on the bandwagon of cake pops. A bit tardy on the trend, but better late than never. For my first endeavor in cake pop creation, I thought to start with something simply and organically shaped — the carrot. Of course, carrot cake is among my favorites. Appropriately so, these carrot cake pops are both carrot in flavor and form.
I had ambitious plans to make my own carrot cake with honey walnut cream cheese frosting. However, considering I have never developed my own carrot cake recipe (yet) and although the recipes I’ve posted here have been my own making, I decided to skip that process by sticking to the tried, tested, and true method of making cake pops — cake mix and ready-made frosting, which is what I discovered online that most people use.
Cake pops are usually in the form of balls, like a lollipop, although they are evolving with more dimension. These carrots are my take on cake pops. If you haven’t seen cake pops before, head straight over to Bakerella, who, from what I gather, is the person to thank for inventing cake pops in general.
I did face one very, very silly conundrum — which side of the carrot to insert the stick. I wanted the cake pop to be held as you would hold the wider end of the carrot when being eaten (meaning the stick is at the top of the carrot). I already knew in advance I wanted paper grass in the photo. The stick being at the top of the carrot, I had the forethought of the carrots appearing to grow upside down and above ground. So with that thought, I was stuck. I chewed it over for a while. But I thought to stick with it. Oh, the little things that confound me.
You will need: carrot cake mix, cream cheese frosting, about three cups of orange candy melts, half a cup of green candy melts, and lollipop sticks. All this stuff is about $10 and yields 20 carrot cake pops.
1. Bake your cake according to package instructions. Let cool. Crumble baked cake into a bowl and mix with 2/3 of the frosting.
2. With clean hands, take about 1/6 cup of cake and form into a carrot shape. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour. NOTE: In hindsight, I realized that I could’ve achieved great details by using the edge of a butter knife to create short horizontal creases, giving more realism and texture to the surface of the carrots. The more organic, the better. I will try this butter knife technique next time.
3. Melt green candy melts. Dip about 1-1/2″ of the lollipop stick. Insert 1″ into the chilled carrot cakes. The candy melt will automatically pool around the lollipop stick.
4. Melt orange candy melts in a tall, narrow container (I used a 6″ mug). I did a cup at a time. Dip the carrot cakes. Tap off excess by holding the stick with one hand and flicking the tip of the stick with fingers of the other hand. Stick into a Styrofoam block and let dry.
Enjoy making these carrot cake pops for Easter!
easter egg balloons
March 24, 2011 § 28 Comments
I’m a balloon type of gal. I love balloons. Even more than flowers. Balloons liven up a room and turn the average day red letter.
Back in October, I decided to doodle away on a few balloons and came up with one of my favorite posts that I’ve ever made for this blog to date — Halloween balloon body parts. Of course, being the Halloween baby that I am, I have a partiality for balloons on Halloween. But back in October, I also knew balloons had to be on my Easter to-do list. Fast forward to March, a month away from Easter, and I’ve got myself doodling on balloons again. I still love my balloon body parts (especially the eyes) for their novelty and impact, but I can’t help but smile at the joy of these oversize Easter eggs.
For this project, I had to look into pastel-colored markers at my local art store, Curry’s, and discovered Sakura Permapaque. They are water and pigment based paint markers that claim to be opaque (even on dark surfaces) and waterproof. I wanted to ensure they wouldn’t smudge as I doodled, and sure enough, the marker dried in seconds and there was no problem of smudging as I went along. I also ran a decorated balloon under the tap and the colors did not budge. What’s best is they are dual-tipped (medium point and chisel — and it is very difficult to get chisel tip markers in a variety of colors). Overall, I’m quite content with the new vibrant addition to my crafting inventory.
So if you find egg decoration is too dainty and cumbersome, you may want to try decorating these balloons for size.
easter egg carton chicks
March 19, 2011 § 178 Comments
Here’s a fun and simple Easter craft that you can do with the little ones. Repurpose those egg cartons to make these cute candy-filled chicks.
You will need scissors, glue, and the following:
a. Egg carton
b. Yellow paint and black marker
c. Yellow and orange card stock
To make each chick:
1. Cut two egg carton cups. Glue a 1/2″ x 1-3/4″ piece of paper to each half, acting as a hinge.
2. Paint throughout.
3. Take small pieces of card stock, two yellow and two orange, each measuring approximately 1″ x 1/2″. Fold a 1/4″ flap from the edge. From the fold, cut into triangles.
4. Affix one yellow triangle on each side of the inner bottom egg carton cup. Affix one orange triangle on the front of the inner top and another on the inner bottom egg carton cup.
5. Cut orange card stock into feet and adhere to the bottom cup. Take a black marker and draw small eyes.
Fill with candy treats, give away, and watch your loved ones chirp with delight.
potted paper shamrock
March 12, 2011 § 4 Comments
I’m sorry. I had to do it. I gave the Irish shamrock a tropical twist. Blame the artificial potted orchid sitting conspicuously in my stairway for planting the idea in my head.
I hesitated on this craft all week, but finally dared this afternoon. I’m happy I did. I think the end result is a successful variation on St. Patrick’s Day décor, for those not looking for the obvious.
From across the room, there’s no telling about the holiday. But the paper shamrocks are a charming surprise up close.
You will need: bowl or pot with Styrofoam block, two dried rose stems and two dried filler flower stems (lucky I only lazily considered disposing of my dried up Valentine’s Day bouquet from O.T. without actually doing so), two shades of green cardstock, scissors, tape, hot glue gun, and glue sticks.
1. Using tape, attach a dried filler flower stem close to the top of a dried rose stem to create a curved (almost horizontal) stem extension . Most filler flowers have skinny, curved stems and make for a good stem extension.
2. Cut cardstock shamrocks in various sizes. Make two shamrocks per flower: one large (outer) and one small (inner), some with stems, some without. I noticed that orchids have the gradation starting from a darker center to a lighter edge, so I made the inner shamrock darker than the outer.
3. Glue together the shamrocks. I placed a rhinestone in the center of each. It’s gives a nice dimension, but it’s not necessary.
4. Glue the shamrocks on the stems.
5. Carefully insert the stems in the Styrofoam block.
6. Fill the bowl or pot with gold coins. I thought the coins would give enough character, but I felt it was still lacking, so I finished it off with a rainbow ribbon.
Let this fun potted paper shamrock liven your desk or windowsill or add more green to your St. Patrick’s Day party spread.
little leprechaun hat favors
March 11, 2011 § 7 Comments
Today you will find me crafting over at Canadian Living‘s The Craft Blog. Head right over to their site to read my super simple tutorial so you can make these little leprechaun hat favors in time for a fun St. Patrick’s Day celebration next week.
whale wine cork board
March 3, 2011 § 6 Comments
The cork tile I used for yesterday’s Kill Bill sword push pins comes in a pack of two. While I have them out, I thought I may as well craft something else using the second tile. Since crafting my wine cork pens a month ago, I’ve had wine corks on my mind. And today, all I could think about is cork. So I whipped up this super quick and easy cork board project.
Whales are quite a craze these days. I think the whale may have even replaced the owl in popularity. Hard not to love, there’s a certain calm congeniality about the whale. I intended for my wine cork whale to be both functional and decorative, but even so, I found it grim to tack anything on him, although taking tacks is really his purpose.
You can easily whip up your own whale wine cork board, too, with a square foot cork tile, a bunch of wine corks (I used 44), and a hot glue gun. Simply arrange the wine corks in the shape of a whale (or any shape, for that matter) and affix with hot glue, and you’ve got yourself a fun cork board in under fifteen minutes.