Archive | February, 2013

Caring Care Packages

11 Feb

My brother has been living in Tokyo since last summer and I wasn’t going to be able to celebrate his birthday with his so I wanted to send him a care package full of cookies.  My question to him was, “what’s your favorite cookie and cake?”  He replied with, “chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake.”  I had my work cut out for me.

I love my brother and I love cheesecake, but cheesecake os definitely process that requires patience…and I’m not a very patient person.  In addition to my lack of patience, I don’t know how I was going to send over a whole cheesecake to Japan?!?!   I decided to send him travel safe cheesecake balls.  I got the cheesecake recipe from Bakerella and used my new Babycakes Chocolatier that I got for my birthday!

I couldn’t decide if I should bake the cheesecake with a crust or not but concluded that it would be safer to bake it with a crust so the bottom doesn’t burn and to keep the batter from leaking out of the springform pan.  I ended up having enough cheesecake for almost 4 dozen balls, and I used two whole bags of candy melts.

Boy oh boy, I messed up big-time on this cheesecake.  Remember how I mentioned I don’t have much patience, and cheesecake is a process that requires a lot of patience….well, I baked it just like Bakerella told me to but when I took the cake out it looked runny in the center so I decided to bake it for 30 more minutes.  I checked on it after 30 minutes had passed and it was STILL runny looking, so I baked it for 15 more minutes.  It didn’t occur to me until Hunny Buns said “doesn’t cheesecake need to be refrigerated to set?”  I ended up overcooking the cake and it didn’t come out as smooth and creamy as I would have liked it to.  : (   BOOOOOOO

In addition to all this, my mom said that cheesecake probably won’t last too long out of the fridge and that it would probably go bad before it gets to my brother.  So instead, I let Normalicious take half to work.

As for the chocolate chip cookie, Norm’s been wanting me to bake these humongo stuffed chocolate chip s’mores cookies.  I got all of the ingredients and was about to bake them, and then realized, one recipe yields 4 cookies since they’re so big!  My brother wanted cookies to share with friends and co-workers and I couldn’t justify making these giant’ole cookies for people to break apart and share!  And, I wasn’t about to make 4 batches of these big babies.

So instead, I made these chocolate chip marshmallow cookies and baked ’em right on top of graham crackers.  It’s technically a chocolate chip cookie, and the chocolate chips, marshmallow and graham crackers make it a s’more.  Next time I bake this, though, I would omit the cocoa powder.  It’s not really necessary since you have chocolate chips.  And, I would fold in the marshmallows with a spatula instead of mixing it in with a mixer.  The mixer tore up the marshmallows.

Last but not least, my co-worker told me about these awesome oatmeal toffee cookies.  They came out really good!  Seriously, these are absolutely buttery and fantabulous!  One recipe made about 6 batches of these!  I didn’t include chocolate chips since I used two 8 oz. bags of Heath Bar bits.  I also omitted the pecans since I wasn’t in the mood for them, but these precious chewy goddesses still came out great.

P.S. They reminded me of Lacey’s wafer cookies, nom nom nom nom nom…..


We Are in…. O.Ki.Na.Wa

5 Feb


Last year when my brother was back for a long visit, we drove down to San Jose to eat some Okinawan Soba.  My brother was living in Okinawa for almost a year and lived off this stuff.  Okinawan soba is not a common dish in Japanese restaurants so we weren’t too surprised that we had to drive nearly an hour south to get some.


We met up with a friend, who lives in the South Bay, and headed to Ramen Tenma in San Jose.  To be completely honest, if you’re itching to try Okinawan soba, I guess you can come down here, but you’re not really missing out on anything special.  The Okinawan soba didn’t particularly stand out, and according to my brother, it wasn’t very good compared to the stuff back on the island.  The best part of the meal was the pork spare rib that comes in it and the Orion beer we ordered.

Black and Orange…

4 Feb

For Halloween last year, Kt.G, and I popped Normalicious’s pumpkin-carving cherry.  My Norman has never carved a pumpkin before!  We went to a local pumpkin patch and picked out a few pumpkins to carve.

Norm was getting a little frustrated, having never carved a pumpkin before, working next to Kt.G, who’s a pumpkin carving champion, but I think Norm’s pumpkin came out looking pretty good for a first-timer.  In the picture below, Norm’s pumpkin is on top and Kt.G’s is on the bottom with the crooked stem.


Oh, and I baked Black Velvet Cupcakes for my co-workers for Halloween. I took this Black Velvet Layer Cake recipe and modified it for cuppy cakes.  Since the Giants went to the World Series right around this time, I decided to make orange cream cheese frosting to celebrate, (although I’m not a big sports fan).


Black Velvet Cupcakes

Make the cake recipe above.  Put batter into cupcake tins and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the cake.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

From epicurious (

2 8-ounce packages chilled cream cheese
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chilled sour cream
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in sugar, then orange peel and vanilla. Beat in sour cream. Cover and refrigerate until frosting is firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.
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