Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

My husband, like many other men, was not a big fan of desserts. He’d always said to people that he didn’t have a sweet tooth, but a salt tooth. Given the choice between a decadent chocolate cake and a simple pack of potato chips, it would be the savory latter every time. But then he discovered something better than sweet, something better than salty, which was the two of them combined together – salted caramel. Everything has changed since then… From Pierre Hermes macarons to Häagen-Dazs ice-cream, he orders everything with salted caramel. The salt-sweet combo is somehow so surprising and compelling; two very opposite flavors, instead of overshadowing one and other, tingle away in conjunction…

It’s his birthday today so I’ve made him these salted caramel cookies to celebrate!

Dear C, you are the salt to my caramel, milk to my cookie, gin to my tonic… best to my friend and love of my life…Happy birthday! I can’t wait to grow old with you ❤


(Yield 2 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, unsalted, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup caramel sauce
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoons sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 deg C.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with hand mixer until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add in vanilla extract and egg, beat until incorporated, pour in caramel and beat until incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula from time to time.
  4. In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients including flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  5. Slowly add the sugary mixture to the dry ingredients.
  6. Add in chocolate chips. Stir until they are evenly mixed.
  7. Place dough in the refrigerator for an hour.
  8. Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat.
  9. Scoop dough into a 1 tablespoon size cookie scoop and place the dough onto the prepared cooking sheet.
  10. Place about 2 inches apart. Flatten the dough balls slightly.
  11. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes, until edges are slightly golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, and then transfer to a cookie cooling rack.

 

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Pavlova with Strawberry Jam and Rosewater Chantilly Cream

Unlike its distant cousins macarons which have gained so much attention in the culinary world, pavlova- also a meringue based dessert, remains rather less known. The dessert was believed to be created by a hotel chef in the 1920s in honor of the beautiful Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand (thanks Wikipedia!). A pavlova is made with a French meringue which is cooked in the oven for a long time, about an hour, at a very low temperature to let it dry out. The outer shell of the meringue should be crisp, while the interior has a fluffy, marshmallowy texture. The cooled meringue is then topped with whipped cream and fruit right before being served. Nothing beats a good pavlova in springtime – light and airy, topped with seaonal berries, it feels a lot “healthier” than it really is!


(6 servings)

Pavlova
Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (can be substituted with white vinegar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cups sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 120 C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw 4 4-inch circles on the parchment paper.
  3. With an electric mixer set to medium, whisk together the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt for 3 minutes. Let the mixer keep running and add in the sugar, a spoonful at a time. Stop when the meringue is thick and can form stiff (around 6 minutes in total).
  4. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Start from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly, and leave a slight depression in the center.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. (Halfway through baking rotate the baking sheets so the meringues will cook as evenly as possible.)
  6. Allow to cool in the oven before trying to remove them from the parchment paper (otherwise they may stick!).

Rosewater Whipped Cream
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 drop of red coloring
  • a very small amount of rose water

Directions:

  1. Add the cream to the bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Beat on high speed until it begins to thicken.
  3. While the mixer is still running gradually add the sugar and coloring.
  4. Once the whipped cream is ready turn off the mixer.
  5. Add rosewater in small amount. Taste and see if you think the whipped cream has enough rose flavor, if not repeat the process. (Rose water can be quite potent so you don’t want to overdo it.)
  6. Assemble the dessert by putting the whipped cream on top of the Pavlova, add strawberry jam and berries for garnishing.

Cheese and Bacon Bread Bake

Rise and shine, it’s breakfast time! Sunday is my favorite day of the week, no morning rush or unmet challenges, finally there is time to sit back and enjoy a relaxing breakfast. This bread bake is a savory version of bread pudding. The recipe only calls for simple ingredients, you can always manage to scrap together some version as long as you have egg and bread.It tastes like a cross between a quiche and omelette; moist, custardy on the inside while the edge is crunchy and golden…

A Sunday well spent brings a week of content, start your day with a smile and a great breakfast!


Ingredients

  • 250g bacon, diced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 carton of milk
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper
  • I semi- baguette (preferably slightly stale) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups grated Mozarella cheese
  • Parsley, for garnish

 

Directions

Preparation beforehand:

  1. Heat a large non stick pan over high heat. Add all but 2 tbsp of bacon (reserve for topping) and cooked until lightly browned.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain the excessive oil.
  3. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Place the bread in a large bowl. Pour in the egg mixture, 1½ cups cheese and cooked bacon
  5. Set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes ( so all the egg is soaked into the bread) or overnight.

To Cook

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Coat a 9″ cake tin with butter.
  3. Pour the bread mixture into the cake tin, scatter with remaining uncooked bacon and remaining cheese. Cover loosely with foil.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden on top.
  5. Garnish with parsley.
  6. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into slices to serve.

Taiwan- Yilan

Cycling on the farm roads of Yilan, fringed with healthy looking weeds, feeling the air- light and crisp on my skin, there seemed to be so much space to breathe in. Coming from Hong Kong, where everything is so tightly cramped in, the streets so suffocating in comparison. I couldn’t help but smile, feeling as though I’d climbed from a dim basement to a spacious garden.

Sanshing (Three Stars) town is famous for its spring onion. Unlike our local spring onion with flat stalk/leaf, spring onion in Sanshing has giant round stalk and it’s extra fragrant and flavorful. The restaurants in Yilan take great pride in this local produce; it is commonly incorporated in dishes to add a note of crunchiness and green freshness. Have you ever felt stalked by certain food? Ok, it may sound delusional but this was exactly how I felt when I kept seeing spring onion all over the place… in pancakes, dumplings, or cooked with chicken as skewers… showing the sincerest respect for locally grown ingredients from the Yilan people.