Delectable Arts

appreciating the tastier things in life


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Strawberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

This recipe is for 24 mini cheesecakes.

(Adapted from this recipe from www.thatskinnychickcanbake.com)

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 2 tsp fine sugar
  • 3/8 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • pinch of salt (NOTE: omit the salt if you’re using salted butter)

Filling:

  • 1 pkg cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup fine sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp white chocolate chips (melted)
  • 1 large egg

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips (melted)
  • 24 fresh strawberry slices

Directions

  1. Line a mini cupcake pan and preheat oven at 315°F
  2. In a small bowl, mix cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt to make the crust. Spoon about 1 tsp of crust into each cupcake liner.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with a handmixer on low speed until blended. Don’t overbeat the mixture.
  4. Add the egg to the mixture and beat on low speed until blended.
  5. Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Scrape along the side of the bowl to ensure that the ingredients are blended well.
  6. Pour the mixture over the crust, distributing evenly among the cupcake liners.
  7. Bake for about 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
  8. Let the cheesecakes cool before adding the toppings. Pour a few drops of melted chocolate on top of each cheesecake, and then add a slice of strawberry on top.
  9. Refrigerate before serving. (Or freeze the cheesecakes if you don’t plan on serving them within the next 2 or 3 days.)

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Honey Garlic Chicken Wings (Oh, for the love of chicken! Part II)

As soon as I hear any mention of chicken wings, my first reaction is always, “WHERE!?” I probably eat chicken wings way more often than I should, but life is short so do what makes you happy. That said, how about more eating and less talking?

Here’s my recipe for honey garlic chicken wings.

honey garlic wings

honey garlic wings

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken wings
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp of white wine
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 3/4 tsp of minced or puréed garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey

Directions

  1. Take the first six ingredients (in green text above), mix them well in a medium bowl, and marinate overnight.
  2. Lightly grease a large wok and cook the wings on medium-high heat until golden brown. (About 10 to 12 minutes.) Stir often.
  3. Add garlic and stir well.
  4. Add soy sauce and stir well.
  5. Cover wok with a lid, leaving the wok open just a crack. Turn heat down to medium-low and allow the wings to cook for 5 minutes, stirring in between.
  6. Add honey, stir, and cover again for 5 minutes.

~

Serve with the remaining sauce drizzled on top of the wings.


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Pineapple Coconut Macarons

Whoever originally came up with the pineapple-coconut pairing is a freakin’ genius. I’m usually not a huge fan of coconut, but I love coconut when it’s paired with pineapple or banana. 

This time, I decided to try making tiny one-bite macarons. With this recipe, you can make lots of tiny macarons so you’ll need three large baking sheets. I piped very small rounds of macaron batter that are about the size of a quarter. They’re so cute when they’re tiny! They’re also less messy to eat too.

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Ingredients:

Macaron shells

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 4 tsp shredded coconut
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar

Filling

  • 2 1/2 tsp crushed canned pineapple (drained)
  • 2 tsp finely shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 icing sugar

Directions:

Macaron shells

  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process ground almonds, shredded coconut, and icing sugar for about a minute. Scrape along the inside of the food processor in between to ensure that there aren’t any large clumps and that the ingredients are mixed well.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the almond mixture.
  4. In a small bowl (be sure to use a bowl that’s not too shallow), whisk the egg whites with a handmixer on medium-low speed for about a minute until light and fluffy.
  5. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whisk the egg whites until medium-stiff for about 2 minutes. (If you turn the bowl upside-down, the egg whites don’t slide out.)
  6. Gradually add granulated sugar to the egg whites while continuing to whisk on medium-high speed for another 2 minutes to achieve medium-stiff peaks.
  7. Gradually fold the egg mixture into the almond mixture, adding only about 1/3 of the egg mixture at a time.
  8. Transfer the batter into a piping bag. (Or if you’re frugal like me, you can use a medium sandwich bag instead and just cut a tiny corner of the bag to pipe.)
  9. Pipe batter onto baking sheets. (If you’re making bite-sized macarons, pipe very small rounds that are about the size of a quarter and at least 1/2 inch apart.
  10. Preheat oven to 325°F. Let the batter sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. Turn the oven down to 300°F and put the baking sheets into the oven for 7 minutes.
  12. Rotate the baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes.
  13. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the macaron shells to cool.


Filling

  1. In a small bowl, cream the icing sugar and butter. (I use a single whisk attachment on my handmixer and whisk on low speed.)
  2. Whisk in shredded coconut.
  3. Whisk in crushed pineapple.

~
Fill your macarons, and you’re done!


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Lemon Macarons

Ahh… The refreshing tart taste of lemon! I made a large batch of lemon macarons for family and friends, and everyone loved them. Compared to the strawberry matcha macarons recipe that I’ve already shared, this lemon macaron recipe is a little less intimidating for the beginner macaron baker.

First of all, I love anything citrus. I think I’ll eventually change up this recipe to become a Citrus Blend Macaron recipe, with hints of grapefruit, lime, and orange. But for now, let’s just go with a simple lemon macaron recipe. Lemon is a very powerful fruit so you won’t need a lot of it for this recipe.

Ingredients:

Macaron shells

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • lemon zest from one large lemon
  • 3 to 4 drops yellow food coloring

Lemon icing

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp lemon juice


Directions:

Macaron shells

  1. Line two medium baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process ground almonds and icing sugar for about a minute. Scrape along the inside of the food processor in between to ensure that there aren’t any large clumps and that the two ingredients are mixed well.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the almond mixture.
  4. In a small bowl (be sure to use a bowl that’s not too shallow), whisk the egg whites with a handmixer on medium-low speed for about a minute until light and fluffy.
  5. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whisk the egg whites until medium-stiff for about 2 minutes. (If you turn the bowl upside-down, the egg whites don’t slide out.)
  6. Gradually add granulated sugar to the egg whites while continuing to whisk on medium-high speed for another 2 minutes.
  7. Gradually fold the egg mixture into the almond mixture, adding only about 1/3 of the egg mixture at a time.
  8. Add lemon zest and fold.
  9. Add yellow food coloring and fold again. (I use liquid food coloring, but most people recommend gel or powder-based food coloring. You should use whatever you’re comfortable with.)
  10. Transfer the batter into a piping bag. (Or if you’re frugal like me, you can use a medium sandwich bag instead and just cut a tiny corner of the bag to pipe.)
  11. Pipe batter onto baking sheets. Try to pipe small rounds that are just under 1 inch wide and at least 1/2 inch apart.
  12. Preheat oven to 325°F. Let the batter sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  13. Turn the oven down to 300°F and put the baking sheets into the oven for 7 minutes.
  14. Rotate the baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes.
  15. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the macaron shells to cool.


Lemon icing 
(adapted from here)

  1. In a small bowl, cream the icing sugar and butter. (I use a single whisk attachment on my handmixer and whisk on low speed.)
  2. Whisk in vanilla extract.
  3. Whisk in lemon juice.

~

Sandwich just a small dab of icing between two macaron shells – you can pipe the filling or just gently spread the filling with a spatula.

little bags of macaron goodness

little bags of macaron goodness

Enjoy!


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My new obsession with french macarons

I can’t help, but ♥ french macarons. Just a dab of frosting sandwiched between two meringue cookies; these tasty little treats are so cute, delicious, and simply irresistible.

In my quest to making the perfect macarons, I learned very quickly that they aren’t easy to master.. Like most things in life. 😉

The first time I tried to make macarons, they turned out so badly they almost destroyed all the confidence that I’ve ever had in my baking skills. They were just one big bubbly, gooey mess. It was really sad.. In retrospect, I probably should’ve looked at more macaron recipes first, instead of using the very first recipe that I could find. The problem is that you need very clear instructions, and a lot of recipes don’t give you that.

As I casually browsed for “french macarons” on YouTube one day, I stumbled upon a very helpful video by lovelyladycakes. Her How to make French Macarons video is really easy to follow. I appreciate her enthusiasm and how she genuinely seems like a happy person – who doesn’t like happy people? I’ve been using her recipe as the base recipe for other flavored macarons that I’m currently experimenting with, and I’m finding that the base recipe is working out very successfully.

Here are some things that I’ve learned so far in macaron baking that you might also find helpful:

  • I was really lazy and tried to skip out on sifting the ground almonds and icing sugar. The result is a batch of macarons with bumpy surfaces. If you want the tops of the macarons to be smooth (as they should be), then pour the almonds and sugar into a food processor and process for about a minute, and then sift the mixture. Otherwise, your macarons will look like this:
bumpy surface :(

bumpy surface… fail 😦

  • When whisking the egg whites and fine sugar, you absolutely must whisk until stiff peaks form. Otherwise, your batter will be runny and your macarons won’t rise. I don’t have a fancy standing mixer so I just make do with my cheap handmixer. Whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed for about a minute, then turn the speed up to medium-high to whisk for 2 minutes. The egg whites should look fluffy and smooth by now. Gradually add fine sugar to the egg whites while whisking for another 2 minutes. Stiff peaks should be achieved at this point. However, if you find that the peaks aren’t quite stiff, then whisk for an extra minute on medium-high.
stiff peaks

stiff peaks

  • Piping the macaron batter takes some practice. Be patient! Try to pipe small rounds that are just about 1 inch wide and at least 1/2 inch apart. You don’t want them to stick to each other.
matcha (green tea) macarons

matcha (green tea) macarons

Take your time to perfect the base recipe. Don’t expect to get it right the first time, but definitely don’t give up because once you get it right, you’re going to feel like a million bucks. So, go! Get lots of practice until you’re comfortable enough to start making different flavors.

I’ll be sharing some macaron recipes in upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned!


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Korean style BBQ beef short ribs

Man, I ♥ Korean food..  I could probably eat it everyday and not get bored of it.

My mother came up with an amazing recipe for Korean style BBQ beef short ribs. And because I believe that good things are meant to be shared, I’m sharing this recipe here.

koreanBBQ

Korean style BBQ beef short ribs

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 lbs. beef short ribs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine
  • 3 tbsp Korean BBQ sauce**
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce**
  • 3/4 tbsp dark soy sauce** (a.k.a. “old soy sauce” as the Chinese call it)
  • (Optional ingredients: If you want more flavour and don’t mind having bad breath, you can also add 3 small cloves of garlic and 1 tsp of grated ginger.)

(** Note: You can find these ingredients at pretty much any Asian supermarket.)

Let’s get cookin’

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl to marinate the short ribs for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, grill short ribs for about 1 to 1 1/2 minute on each side.


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Low fat pineapple orange cupcake recipe

I ♥ mini cupcakes. They’re just the right amount of sweetness and, well, don’t you think they’re cute?

Low fat pineapple orange cupcakes

(yields 24 mini cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canned pineapple – crushed and drained
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Icing:

  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp canned pineapple – also crushed and drained
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Let’s get baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a mini cupcakes pan with two dozen mini cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg first and then whisk in the other wet ingredients.
  4. Create a well in the dry ingredients, then slowly pour and stir the wet ingredients in. Mix well.
  5. Pour the mixture evenly into the cupcake liners.
  6. Bake cupcakes for about 10 minutes, rotate the pan and then bake for another 10 minutes. Test the cupcakes by inserting a toothpick in the center. The cupcakes are ready when the toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool in room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Preparing the icing:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  2. Stir crushed pineapple into the cream. (NOTE: Ensure that you’ve drained out the juice from the pineapple as much as possible.)
  3. Stir orange zest into the cream. (I like using a cheese grater to make orange zest, but there are other ways to do so.)
  4. Add icing sugar to the cream and mix well.
  5. Refrigerate the icing for about 30 minutes before adding on top of cupcakes.