When I was a little girl, my family would go hiking in the San Gabriel mountains. The dad of one of the families that we would go hiking with was a boy scout troop leader, and he set a precedence for 6 AM starts in an attempt to beat the California sun. This meant waking up around 5:30 while it was still dark out, slapping on some clothes, and fumbling our way to the car. Actually, this was just me. My mom, dad and sister are all morning people and never used to have issues waking up so early on a Saturday!
Whether it was my general laziness for physical activity or my love of sleeping, I really disliked hiking. (Don’t worry, I grew out of my laziness- I hiked the Grand Canyon with my family in middle school, and went on a backpacking trip to Yosemite my senior year of high school!)
Thankfully for my parents, I loved to eat. I think the promise of eating out for breakfast after hiking was the only incentive for me to get out of bed. Our go-to place was a restaurant that served a Taiwanese-style breakfast of soymilk (dou jiang) and other goodies. The restaurant would have big pots of steaming soy milk in the back, ready to be ladled into bowls. We often ordered shao bing, fragrant flaky pastries that were definitely made with lard, and you tiao, yeasted dough that was deep-fried. If that wasn’t enough, there was also shao bing jia you tiao, which was a wrap of the you tiao in the shao bing. Fat and carbs…yum! There was also jiu cai he zi (click for the recipe!) that we would often get, too.
We have since found another breakfast place that we liked better, and with a new restaurant comes new offerings. One of my favorite pastries to get is su bing, which is a flaky pastry with some sort of filling. Some of my favorite fillings include peanut, red bean paste, and black sesame. Where I live in Pennsylvania has zero Taiwanese breakfast places, so my solution is to create those breakfast goodies in my kitchen!
Continue reading for my recipe of black sesame flaky pastry, or hei zhi ma su bing. Leftover filling (should you have any) would be a great add-in to your soy milk. Oh, and if you haven’t already gotten a scale, do your baking self a favor and purchase one.
Do you see the layers?
I had leftover chocolate mousse and caramel buttercream from the macarons, so what did I do? I made a “redemption cake” to replace my memory of sub-par frosting on the carrot cake from the baby shower.
We only had 4 eggs left that I wanted to save for eating or for making Shakshuka (recipe to come!), and I had to bake quickly if I wanted to prep ingredients for dinner, and for the cake to cool before company came at 6:30 (it was almost 3:30).
I remembered “depression cake” that I stumbled across while looking to make an eggless cake to my very allergic-to-everything college roommate. It may not be the best chocolate cake recipe there is, but it’s rather good, considering how accessible the ingredients are, and how fast it is to make; it’s a one bowl cake, folks! The ROI is quite good, considering it takes all of 5 minutes to put the cake together.
Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it until we had sliced AND packed away the leftovers..
Make one, two, or best results, all three components of this cake and have some fun! Continue reading
Kim Boyce said something in her book Good to the Grain: “As I focused on the individual flavors of the various flours, I began to appreciate what was unique about them. I soon found that I enjoyed baking with them.” She uses whole wheat flour ONLY in this cookie recipe, and makes it taste amazing. I like the nutty taste of whole wheat, and have found that the white flour dough in chocolate chip cookies gets a bit bland after the first or second day. The whole wheat in this recipe definitely makes this chocolate chip cookie recipe my favorite ! !
This chocolate chip cookie is pretty awesome…I added what I learned from Stella, and added nutmeg to bring out the butteryness. Both bakers add baking powder as well, and chopped their own chocolate, which I did.
Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted from Bravetart and Kim Boyce
-3 c. whole wheat flour
-1 t. baking powder
-1 t. baking soda
-1.5 t. kosher salt
-1/2 t. ground nutmeg, freshly ground if you can
-2 sticks / 1 cup butter,
-1 cup dark brown sugar
-1 cup sugar
-2 t. vanilla extract
-8 – 12 oz (however much you want) bittersweet chocolate (I love the results I get with the 72% Bittersweet Pound Plus (red package) from Trader Joe’s), chopped into chunks and pieces
-1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts, anyone?)
I’ve rarely used a mixer for cookies..Just get a wooden spoon and two bowls, and you are set!
1) Mix flour, leavening, salt, and nutmeg together.
2) Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla.
3) Add flour to wet mixture, and mix until just combined. Add chocolate chips (and nuts) to the batter, and combine evenly. Use hands if necessary, to fully incorporate all ingredients.
4) Scoop about 3 T. of cookie dough out for each cookie onto sheet pan lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Leave about 3 inches between the mounds.
5) Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350F and bake until cookies are evenly brown. Remove the sheet pans out from underneath the parchment//Silpat, and allow cookies to cool on the counter or on wire racks.