Friday, August 5, 2011

New Look and Site!

Dear friends and family of Talida Bakes, please note that this site has moved! It took me a tad bit longer than I anticipated, but I've finally said goodbye to Blogger, and I've embraced WordPress with an awesome custom theme made by my childhood friend and owner of Do Good Media Jane.

I'm excited to be back to blogging as I've got tons of recipes and events to share with y'all. Please update your RSS subscription and go visit my new site!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Made-with-Coffee Coffee Cake

If you knew me back in college, this cake may look familiar to you. It was one of my most requested baked goods, and it was on the short list of things I baked at the time. Until last month, I had always made this cake with instant coffee - it's what the original recipe called for, and it gave the cake its coffee flavor without hassle.

Now, this coffee cake is different from all the ones I've made in the past. This one is made with Bolivia Fair Trade Organic coffee from the Coffee Foundry. When helping Norm and Wilson for the Bloggers' Coffee Cupping Event last month, I knew this was the perfect cake to offer at the event since it incorporate both loves of coffee and cake.

The main thing I modified to make this cake with real coffee was replacing the regular yogurt with Greek yogurt. I mixed the brewed coffee into the Greek yogurt, creating a coffee yogurt to bake with. Pecans and chocolate chips are optional in this recipe, but they add nice texture to this moist coffee cake.

Thanks again to all the bloggers that came out to the event last month, and for those who asked for the recipe, here you go!

Made-with-Coffee Coffee Cake
adapted from previous recipe

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons instant coffee (optional - I added this for extra coffee flavor)
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup strongly brewed Bolivian coffee
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a 8"x8" pan, dust with 2 teaspoons flour.
3. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and optional instant coffee in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Fold in strongly brewed coffee into Greek yogurt until well mixed.
5. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and granulated sugar.
6. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Then add in coffee yogurt and vanilla.
7. Add flour, baking soda, salt, mixing just until flour disappears. Fold in optional pecans and chocolate chips if desired.
8. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Carefully spoon remaining batter over brown sugar mixture, and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar mixture.
8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kurogoma (Black Sesame) Shortbread Cookies

Guess what, y'all? Last Saturday, NYC raised $4644 for Peace Winds America/Japan in our Bake Sale for Japan! And the Bake Sales across the nation have raised over $120,000! I wasn't as involved as I wish I could have been, but I hope my shortbread cookies helped raise a tiny sum towards this awesome amount. Another BIG thank you goes out to Lillian from Sweets by Sillianah and Celia from Cookbook Archaeology for coordinating a wonderfully run bake sale.

Check out their posts for pictures and details of the sale at Brooklyn Flea.

For the bake sale, I chose to make matcha, azuki, and kurogoma shortbread cookies because they are all prominent Japanese flavors that I love working with. Matcha, azuki, and kurogoma are simply the Japanese terms for green tea, red bean, and black sesame. I've made all varieties of the cookies before, but the kurogoma shortbread cookie happens to be one of those recipes I never got around to posting. Until now, that is.

The ingredients I used to flavor the shortbread cookies: black sesame paste, sweetened red bean paste, and green tea powder (tried out a new green tea product - not bad!).

And here are the wrapped shortbread cookies!

Kurogoma (Black Sesame) Shortbread Cookies
adapted from previous recipe

1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup black sesame paste

1. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth.
2. Add flour, cornstarch, and salt to butter mixture, until flour mixture is incorporated into the dough. Be sure not to overwork the dough.
3. Fold in black sesame paste.
4. Transfer the dough to a gallon-size plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and using a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Roll carefully, making sure not to leave creases in the dough. Seal the bag after rolling into proper size and press out as much air as possible. Place in freezer for about 30 minutes, up to 2 days.
5. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat.
6. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 2 inch squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one four times with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.
7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Yields 20 cookies.

Friday, April 1, 2011

NYC Bake Sale for Japan

As I know many of you have been doing recently, I've been praying for Japan. Not only for protection and physical recovery, but for emotional and spiritual restoration as well. And I pray for what I don't understand because frankly, there sure is a lot of that.

One other thing I'm doing is baking for Japan. If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll know that's what I do. I bake, and I bake for others. When I don't know what to say or what to do when people are hurting, I want to meet their basic need of eating. Okay, so maybe eating comfort foods like cookies and cake isn't quite a basic need, but when eaten in moderation, I know it helps.

I'll be busy baking a few of my favorite cookies tonight (can you guess what they are?), and tomorrow we'll be selling a LOT of baked goods at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, come rain or shine. All proceeds will go to the charity Peace Winds Japan.

If you're in the NYC area tomorrow, please visit the Bake Sale for Japan at the Brooklyn Flea, and look for our setup in front of the fence outside on the sidewalk. Special thanks to Lillian of Sweets by Sillianah for organizing the NYC sale and to the many volunteers involved around the nation who are graciously donating their time and efforts for a great cause.

NYC Bake Sale for Japan at Brooklyn Flea
April 2, 10AM-5PM
176 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maple Frosted Pumpkin Scones

These days I've been so busy NOT baking, I haven't had a lot of baking material to write about. I'm happy to say that's not the case today.

I covered the Bloggers' Cupping Event at The Coffee Foundry earlier this month, and I want to share with you all what I was happy to share with the bloggers at the event.

These maple frosted pumpkin scones. Well, until the day arrives we can send real food through the Internet, I'll just be sharing my recipe with y'all. I'm sorry I can't send over a warm scone to you right now, but if you have some time on your hands this weekend (and don't we all have tons?), I highly urge you to consider making these delicious scones. And if you do, let me know how they turn out!

Maple Frosted Pumpkin Scones
adapted from previous recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin
Maple Frosting (recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt.
3. With a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry mixture until it is thoroughly incorporated and has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the buttermilk and canned pumpkin into the well. Combine the ingredients until all the dry mixture is wet. Be sure not to knead.
5. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and gather the dough together. Gently pat the dough to make circles about 1" thick and around 4" in diameter.
6. Using a knife that's been run through cold water, cut the circle of dough into 6 wedges, and lay them on a baking sheet covered with Silpat or parchment paper.
7. Pop scones in freezer for 15 minutes prior to baking.
8. Bake scones for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
9. Place baked scones on drying rack and drizzle with maple frosting.

Maple Frosting

1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In a small saucepan melt the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and heavy cream.
2. Bring mixture to a low boil, then turn off heat.
3. After syrup has cooled down, whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until reaching a smooth consistency.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Khun Ya's Massaman Curry

Did you think I forgot? What on earth is she talking about? I'm a little embarrassed to admit, but there have been a number of times I said I would post something on this blog, but it never happens. Forgetfulness, ADD, whatever may be the cause, I want to make things right and follow up with all the promises I once made on this blog.

First thing I'm following up on has to do with my grandmothers. I wrote about the big birthday bash celebrating my maternal grandmother Arpor, and now I'd like to introduce you all to my paternal grandmother, Khun Ya. I relate to Khun Ya in a lot of ways. She loves to cook, she loves talking about cooking, and she is known for overwhelming house guests with tons of food. Several years ago, hip surgery made it hard for her to cook at home, so the family arranged for live-in help to take care of the cooking. This took some getting used to, but Khun Ya took it in stride when she realized she was the boss of the kitchen.

When we visited Khun Ya at her house last July, I asked what was her favorite dish to cook. If you read the title of this post, you'll know what her answer was. And while she didn't give me thorough instructions on how to make it, she did give me the ingredient list. I came up with the rest based on what I've learned from my mom. It may not be too different from other recipes out there, but knowing that it came from my family makes it special to me.

Khun Ya's Massaman

1 lb. beef cubes
1 lb. potatoes, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups string beans or other vegetables
1 small can massaman curry paste (Khun Ya said not to bother making my own, the store-bought kind is good enough)
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
palm sugar, to taste
fish sauce, to taste

1. In a large pot, cook coconut milk and massaman curry paste over low heat, and stir until well-mixed.
2. Add beef and stir enough to coat meat with curry mix. Add water to cover meat in pot.
3. Mix in tamarind paste.
4. Keep curry on low heat for roughly an hour, or until beef becomes tender. Refill water as needed during this time.
5. After beef is tender, add potatoes and onions. Add sugar and fish sauce to taste at this point. If needed, add more tamarind paste too.
6. Keep on heat for another 20 minutes or so.
7. Before serving, check taste and add more fish sauce if needed.

Bonus fact about Khun Ya: Just like my maternal grandma, she also had 11 children! Here's most of us (not everyone since some have passed and some couldn't make it) at our past family reunion.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bloggers' Cupping Event at The Coffee Foundry

I know I already mentioned it the other week, but I'll say it again. I'm proud to be friends with coffee geeks Norm and Wilson, and I want others to know what they're doing at The Coffee Foundry is very cool.

A couple Saturdays ago, Esther of Ambitious Deliciousness and I held a Bloggers' Cupping Event at The Coffee Foundry to do just that. We invited a few bloggers to come out and experience what coffee cupping is all about. What happened exactly? Norm led us through a sensory journey as we sniffed and sipped their coffee in different stages it went through from bean to drink.

I had the pleasure of supplying breakfast for the event, which included pumpkin cardamom scones, pecan coffee cake, Greek yogurt parfaits, and fruit salad. Visit back because I'll be posting the scone and coffee cake recipes!

During the cupping, we tasted a Brazilian Cerrado and an Ethiopia Sidamo and were asked to describe the aroma, acidity, body, flavor and finish in terms like carbony/nippy/fat/rough. Luckily we were supplied with a whole glossary of terms to choose from (because I wouldn't normally describe the taste of coffee as nippy or fat), and those terms were just among dozens of others.

We learned about all that goes into the science of brewing coffee well. New to me was the fact that ground coffee blooms when hot water is poured over just as it should if the grounds are fresh. Also, speaking to freshness of coffee, Norm taught us about the Rule of 15. The Rule of 15 refers to three rules about coffee:

1) Green coffee should be roasted within 15 months of harvest, or it goes stale.
2) Roasted coffee should be ground within 15 days of roasting, or it goes stale.
3) Ground coffee should be brewed within 15 minutes of grinding, or it goes stale.

Coffee geeks might already know that rule, but it was new to me. I think I can speak for most of the attendees that we all learned a significant amount about coffee last Saturday. It's easy to overlook the complexity it can take to arrive at your daily cup of coffee, so participating in a coffee cupping was a refreshing way to understand the precision (and balance of art and science) in making a good cuppa joe.

The Coffee Foundry is having special promotion for blog readers! Get $1 off any beverage when you mention "Foundry Coffee Cupping" upon ordering. This promotion is good until April 15, 2011. And if you're interested in participating in future cupping events, either comment below or send me a quick email.

And a big thanks goes to Albert Cheung Photography for supplying the photography for this post!