Pi Day 2014

I almost didn’t celebrate Pi Day this year. This morning I was supposed to be at a graduation ceremony at my son’s school but he’s home with the flu. I ended up making some festive goodies.

Tourtière using this pie crust. Changes: 5/8 white flour and 3/8 a mix of rice and whole wheat flours.

pi-day-2014Cookies using this recipe. Change: reduced sugar to 1/2 cup.

pi-day-cookie-2014

 

Did you make anything special for Pi Day?

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New Date: Chocolate Cooking Class

chocolate-cooking-class-japan

Update: New date 

It’s almost Valentine’s Day. And while I think the whole holiday is a marketing scam, it’s not going to prevent me from taking advantage of all of the chocolate available. Plus there are great baking supplies available around this time.

I’ve got a new class coming up. Like the cupcake class, this one will be family friendly.

Date: February 23rd
Time: 2-4pm
Cost: 3000 yen per pair or family
Place: Serendipity Cafe, Chigasaki
Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/239751392873870/

I hope to see you there.

Cupcake afternoon

cupcakes-japan

I had a great time at my cupcake event on Sunday. The kids had a great time – especially when decorating. They unleashed their creative sides, as you can see from the pictures above. Most of those were done by the children. I showed them print outs of a couple of designs like a Santa hat, a snowman and a Christmas tree, and then let them go free.

christmas-tree-cupcake

This is the most notable design, done by a girl who looked no more than eight.

The mothers requested I do more events in the future so it looks like there will be more family events on the horizon.

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I’d love to hear from you. What kind of classes would you like to see me put on? Please leave a comment below with your suggestion.

Kabocha roll out cookies

kabocha-roll-out-cookies

I was asked to make some cookies for a Halloween party and I thought the person who asked me was going to give me a pumpkin cookie cutter to use. I thought it might be fun to make the cookies orange (but without food coloring) so I searched for pumpkin roll out cookies. Most of the hits were for cookies flavored with pumpkin spice. There were a couple and the recipes were basically the same as my roll out cookie recipe except that they had pumpkin puree in them. I decided to add some kabocha  puree to my recipe and see how much extra flour I needed to add.

Special notes

  • These do not taste like kabocha, they are merely orange using a natural coloring.
  • These cookies are not crispy, they are soft but not in a chocolate chip cookie kind of way.
  • The next time I make these I am going to add ginger and cinnamon (my pumpkin pies spices because I don’t like nutmeg and cloves).
  • The sweetness level has been adjusted to normal for Japan so if you prefer sweeter cookies add an extra 1/4 cup of sugar.

Kabocha Roll Out Cookies

2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup kabocha puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
2 1/2 cups flour

Cream the butter, sugar and salt. When is has started to fluff up, add the kabocha puree and then the eggs and vanilla. Mix the flour and baking soda together and slowly add to the butter and sugar mixture. The dough should be borderline dry (as in all the flour just mixes in but looks like you can’t really add more without it getting crumbly). Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out until it is 1/2 cm thick (or thinner if you want crispier cookies). Cut with the cookie cutter(s) of your choice and place on non-greased cookie sheets. I use “oven paper”. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Baking time will depend on your oven so the first batch to go in may be a test run. You don’t want them to brown unless you are going to cover them with icing. Cool before serving or icing.

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Sweet September

I posted on my Facebook page early in September warning that I would be posting an abnormal number of cupcakes this September. I had several batches to make; a picnic, son’s birthday party, friend’s son’s birthday party and my son’s school birthday party.  So here is a roundup. I ended up doing a cake for my son’s birthday party. My recipe of choice is the Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe.

Standard changes to the recipe

  • make half a batch of icing – I can’t imagine putting the entire amount of icing on just twelve cupcakes
  • reduce the sugar in the cake to 60 grams per batch – I have given this to a number of Japanese people and this seems to be an amount that is not too sweet
  • I’ve use cow’s (about 3%), soy and rice milks, all with good results

I’ve also done some flavor adjustments

  • for black sesame cupcakes see this post
  • for cookies and cream cupcakes, whir up most of a package of oreos in the food processor and add 2/3 to the batter and 1/3 to the icing. Reduce the sugar in the batter to 40 grams.

worms-and-dirt-cupcakes-japan

Worms and dirt cupcakes – these are cookies and cream cupcakes made with the instructions above. The “dirt” is more whirred up oreos.

nozomi-shinkansen-train-cake

Nozomi shinkansen cake – this was my son’s birthday cake for his party. I used the cupcake recipe above and baked it in loaf pans and then shaped it. The morning was hot so it was a bit melty in the picture.

coconut-cake-japan

 

Coconut cake – this cake I made for my son’s actual birthday. I wanted cake. It was good but not good enough to share the recipe link.

birthday-cupcakes-japan

 

Vanilla cupcakes – these were the cupcakes I made for the birthday party at my son’s school. They do one party a month instead of having individual parties. I made three batches of the cupcake recipe (36 cupcakes) and two batches of icing. I still had enough icing left over for one more batch.