Homemade Cadbury Cream Eggs

homemade-cadbury-cream-eggAs mentioned in my last class post, Cadbury Cream Eggs are pretty much impossible to find in Japan. This year it occurred to me that I could make them. It only took ten years… I was so excited to find this recipe and adapt it to make it more Japan friendly. Corn syrup can be rather hard to find in Japan and the alternative I came up with likely tastes better than the original. You can get tiny packets of powdered sugar in many supermarkets but I usually buy from Amazon. Mizuame (みずあめ 水あめ)can be found in almost every supermarket. This is what a package looks like. And this is what it looks like inside. Continue reading

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.

 

Black Sesame Cupcakes

black-sesame-cupcake

I had a cupcake craving but no desire to make plain vanilla or chocolate, the only two flavors I had ingredients for. I decided to give black sesame a whirl. I checked Pinterest and found these two recipes. The first one looked beautiful but seemed too much work. The second one had matcha cream cheese icing on top which made me cringe. I decided just to see how much sesame they put in and modify a vanilla cupcake recipe. I went with the Hummingbird Bakery recipe as I know it works well.

I really enjoyed them and the husband gave two thumbs up. These are not too sweet and are suitable to make for people in Japan. I made a half batch of icing and still had leftovers. This could be because I used tall cups so I ended up with only nine cupcakes instead of twelve.

You can see that I don’t use a lot of icing. This is a result of living in Japan so long. I can’t stomach a big swirl of icing on top. If you make these for Japanese people (or anyone from a country that doesn’t use much sugar) or long term expats, I would recommend a thin layer of icing and reducing the sugar to half.

black-sesame-cupcake-2

Modifications to the cupcakes

  • reduced the sugar to 100g (you could go down to half and not miss the sugar)
  • used rice milk instead of whole milk (that’s what I had)
  • took out one tablespoon of flour (to balance for the ground sesame)
  • added two tablespoons of ground black sesame
  • used a hand mixer (whipped butter, added dry ingredients, added wet ingredients)

Modifications to the butter cream

  • made a half batch
  • added in one tablespoon of ground black sesame before the powdered sugar
  • didn’t actually measure the powdered sugar (I have followed the recipe properly before and it was great)
  • used a hand mixer

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Do you have a go to recipe that everyone should try? Leave a comment below.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie

When I asked what kind of allergy-friendly recipes everyone wanted gluten-free was the most common response. I was planning on starting with a basic bread recipe but once I started researching I found that gluten-free bread making is going to take a bit of time to perfect. I was naive and expected I could just order a couple of new flours online and get started. This is a gluten free version of my Grandmother’s pumpkin pie recipe. You can use non-dairy milk to make it dairy-free as well. I have yet to try making an egg-free version with a flax egg but if you do please let me know how it works out.

The filling is the star of this pie. If you are looking for the pastry to be the star I recommend checking out this recipe.

gluten-free pumpkin pie

Flour used in the crust: rice (米粉パウダー found in the flour section of your supermarket)
Milk used in the crust and filling: soy (I usually use milk in the crust and sweetened condensed milk in the filling)

Easy Gluten-free Pie Crust

Based on a recipe I cannot remember the source of

Makes enough for one medium sized pie plate

1 cup gluten-free flour

1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar (or other type of sugar)

2/3 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 tablespoons milk (non-dairy is fine)

Add the dry ingredients to the pie pan (ungreased) and whisk together. Add the wet ingredients and mix with your hands. Once you have a dough press it along the sides of the pan. You do not need to prebake this before adding the filling.

Gluten-free Pumpkin (kabocha) Pie Filling

Makes enough for two medium sized pies

1 1/2 cups – 1/4 of whole mashed cooked kabocha squash
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup milk (non-dairy works well) 
1/2-2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 220C. Whisk everything together until smooth. I often use an immersion blender. Add to the pie shell and bake for ten minutes at 220C and then turn down to 160C and bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is just starting to brown and it passes the toothpick test. Cool and serve.