French Dessert: Green Tea Eclairs

by fitforthesoul in ,


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If you know me at all you’re proooobably aware that I adore languages.  I mean, I don’t just love them but I analyze every single tone and sentence that cross my well trained ears.  I practically live and sweat languages, you guys!  Okay so, that’s not entirely true because my BA in Linguistics hasn’t exactly paid off in terms of career, and the aforementioned statement sounded good.  I do, however, have a good reason for the lack of said career.  I have a little baby to take care of, and I’m not working for the time being because that’s the decision that gives us peace of mind. The end.  Ahem anyway, back to languages…

All throughout high school (and some of college) I took French as one of my electives, and what’dya know?  Next to art it was the only class I never got anything lower than an A, and that’s saying a lot because well, my other grades were sadly far from glamorous.

*Insert traumatized facial expression*

French class opened my eyes not only to the beauty of communication, but also to the role that food plays in culture.  Little did I know that my “sophisticated foodieness” began to form in those early years.  Looking back now, I can easily say that French class formed a lot of what my education and current life have come to be.  Every year we had a cooking week where we took a whole hour each day to make French desserts.

Ah, how I miss those days when we felt so cool speaking in our broken French and eating cream puffs!  My teacher, however, kept mentioning how much she loved éclairs and up until I moved to the Torrance area I had never tried a single éclair.  Then came my experience with Beard Papa’s, and as I promised a few posts ago I resolved to make a green tea version and luckily, both Greg and I approved!

Phew, good thing because I’d hate to eat them in deflated forms!

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Green Tea Éclairs

Lightly adapted from this recipe.  Instead of using all the suggested amount of sugar I slightly decreased the amount, and instead of using only heavy cream for the filling, I substituted half of it with 1 egg white.  This way the calories are not as high.

Makes 12 medium sized éclairs

Ingredients for Pastry

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 whole eggs

Ingredients for Filling

  • 1 (3.4 oz) vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 C cold soymilk
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp culinary green tea powder

Ingredients for Green Tea Glaze

  • 1/2 C white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp culinary green tea powder
  • 1 TBSP hot water

Directions

    1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
    2. Make sure to have all ingredients for the pastry ready to go because they need to be mixed together quickly.
    3. In a medium pot, combine 1/2 C butter and 1 C water. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts completely. Reduce heat to low, and add flour and salt. Stir vigorously with a spoon until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and begins to form a stiff ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate completely after each addition. With a spoon place the dough onto the cookie sheet in 1 1/2 x 4 inch strips.
    4. Bake 15 minutes oven, then reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and bake 20 minutes more, or until hollow sounding when lightly tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.
    5. For the filling, combine pudding mix and milk in medium bowl according to package directions.
    6. In a separate bowl, beat the cream and egg white with an electric or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 C powdered sugar and beat on high speed until well incorporated but keep the soft peaks forming. Fold whipped cream into pudding with a spatula and don’t whisk.
    7. Use a medium sized piping tip and poke it through a ziploc bag.  Fill the bag with filling mixture, then poke a hole in the pastry and fill it up. ***You may also cut the pastry in half as the original recipe states, and then fill it with a spoon***
    8. For the icing, melt the chocolate and 1 TBSP of butter in microwave for about 20 seconds in a few increments as you stir it up.  Do it until the chocolate is melted. Stir in 1/3 C powdered sugar and 1 tsp green tea powder. Stir in hot water until icing is smooth and has reached desired consistency.  Drizzle over filled eclairs with a spoon and refrigerate until ready to be eaten!

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The green tea powder I used was the cheapest I could find!  I purchased it at Marukai Pacific in the city of Gardena, and if I recall correctly it cost less than $10 for the whole can.  There were other brands that went for more than $15, but I think this one by Maeda-En is more than perfect for culinary purposes.  Fortunately Amazon seems to sell it as well, so you’re in luck!

Here are some step-by-step photos to help you along:

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Perfect with coffee on a sunny spring afternoon!  Enjoy.

What are your thoughts on language?  Are you passionate about a single language?

Which country’s food+dessert are you dying to try someday?

What’s your favorite French dessert?

love-ellie


Valentine's Cupcakes with Andes Buttercream Frosting

by fitforthesoul in ,


Once upon a time I was a single gal.  But you see, I didn’t really mind being single for my whole entire life up until I met Greg in 2008!  Growing up I always promised myself and God that I wouldn’t date before college, much less date someone just for the heck of it or because it was the cool thing to do. valentines-cupcakes-with-Andes-Chocolate-Frosting

Of course, I did have my youthful crushes but I learned to be pretty incognito about them and I’d say that I did a pretty good job!  And even though I enjoyed singlehood and not having to rely on any guy who would have ended up breaking my heart anyway (not that I’m bitter or anything), I did have my moments when I kind of sort of wished that I could be romanced by someone.

Valentine’s was probably one of THE WORST DAYS in the history of my high school years.  Oh gosh…all the Valentine’s Grams that kids would send to each other’s class and confess their love for them was definitely something I didn’t experience much, but I don’t think I missed out on anything special. Well, I did have a tiny bit of a history with a friend but that’s really not appropriate for this post.  Hi Greg!

*nervous giggle*

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  Valentine’s!

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Back then I didn’t bake as much as I do now, but if I were to have a little boyfriend in high school then I might have made these Valentine’s Cupcakes with Andes Buttercream Frosting!  But—my heart belongs to one guy and one guy only, and that’s my huggable, loveable husband who makes me laugh like a fool and reminds me just how loved I am.  And by the way, that imaginary boyfriend just missed out on two great things.

Me and these cupcakes.

So I hope your Valentine’s day goes perfectly, y’all!  And don’t feel too bad if you’re in high school and your current love isn’t working out…because there is that perfect somebody waiting on the other side of the world (or next door?!) getting ready to meet ya.

Oh, and he’s also waiting for you to make him these deeply rich, minty cupcakes!  Don’t worry though.  At least they’re gluten free?  And it’s kind of like eating oatmeal, but much more fun?

You like how I justify eating way too many of these in one sitting?  I kind of have to, though.  Because I exercised no self control and just ate two of them.

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Valentine’s Cupcakes with Andes Buttercream Frosting {GF}

Makes 8 cupcakes

Ingredients for cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 C oat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 C white sugar
  • 1 whole egg+1 egg white
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1/4 C almond milk (or regular)
  • 1/4 C melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for frosting

  • 1 stick of room temperature butter (1/2 C)
  • 1 C powder sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 10 Andes chocolate pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F (176 C) degrees.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Grab a large mixing bowl and stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and set aside.
  3. Get a small bowl and whisk the eggs until they’re loosened up.  Whisk in the maple syrup, milk, vanilla, and coconut oil last so it doesn’t harden up from the cold ingredients.  Whisk vigorously and pour the wet into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix, just enough until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners and fill them about 3/4 of the way.  Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes, depending on your oven.  Stick a skewer or toothpick to see that there is no raw batter.
  5. While the cupcakes are cooking down on a rack, melt the Andes chocolates in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds, stir, and set aside.
  6. Get your stand mixer or hand mixer.  Cream the room temperature butter on high speed.  When it’s nice and smooth you may add in the salt and powder sugar little by little.
  7. Add the melted chocolate which should be somewhat hardening, and beat on high speed.  There will be little bits of chocolate throughout the buttercream and shouldn’t be completely blending together.
  8. To frost the cupcakes you can cut a large hole on the tip of a ziplock bag.  Fill it with the frosting and start squeezing from the center of the cupcakes to form a peak.

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Were you in a relationship back in your high school years?  What’s your Valentine’s story from back then?

What are your favorite things to make for Valentine’s?

-I pretty much make whatever sounds yummy at the time!  But cupcakes are always fun. Smile

Love,

Ellie <33


Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Frosting {GF+eggless}

by fitforthesoul in ,


Well hello there!  Guess what! I made you some cookies.  I worked really hard on them and probably even harder on trying not to down more than two of these at a time.  I also wanted to thank you for being such great readers and always making me smile with your insightful comments.  I’m serious when I say that you’re all so smart and precious with everything that you have to offer!

Okay so before I gush all over you I’ll just move on to the recipe for these beauties….

*cue the angelic ahhhhhhhh sound effects*

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Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Frosting {GF+eggless}

These cookies are pillowy and not too sweet, perfect paired up with a sweet frosting that balances out the taste.  You may certainly add more sugar/sweetener to the cookie by altering the liquids, but I prefer it just a bit sweet so it doesn’t overpower the white chocolate frosting.  I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF flour for this recipe, which contains chickpea flour and packs a good amount of fiber as opposed to its rival, white flour.  I also I don’t recommend you lick the spoon as it tastes pretty darn nasty when it’s raw!  ; )

Ingredients for cookies

  • oil spray
  • 2 C GF all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice***
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1/3 C pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP melted coconut oil (heat in microwave for about 15 seconds)

***If you don’t have pumpkin spice in your pantry, then you can easily make your own!  Mix 1/2 tsp cinnamon+1/2 tsp ground ginger+1/4 tsp nutmeg+1/4 tsp ground cloves***

Ingredients for white chocolate frosting

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C white chocolate chips, slightly melted/warmed***

***For the white chocolate you can heat it in the microwave for 25 seconds about 2 times and stir between heatings.  It doesn’t have to be thoroughly melted, just warm enough to mix with the butter.***

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.  Lightly spray a large cookie sheet with oil.
  2. Grab a large bowl and mix the flour, baking soda, salt, seeds, and spice.  Then add the pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and mix with a wooden spoon until it’s halfway mixed.  Add the melted coconut oil and quickly mix it with the spoon so the oil doesn’t solidify.
  3. With the spoon, take some dough about the size of a golf ball and place it on the cookie sheet.  Repeat this step and place the dough about 2” apart from each other.  Bake for approximately 25-27 minutes and let them cool down.
  4. Use a stand mixer or a hand mixer for the frosting.  And if you don’t have either of those, use a whisk but it will take a lot more effort (and you’ll build muscle!)  Cream the butter on medium-high speed and add sugar and vanilla.  Scrape the sides as needed.  Add the warmed up chocolate to the mixture and mix at medium-high until there are no lumps remaining.
  5. Frost the cookies and voila!  Serve with coffee or tea.

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Mmmm…I hope you think these look delicious because I worked hard on them! Open-mouthed smile #shamelessplug

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Okay fine.  Come take a closer look.  Boyyy look at that ooeygooey creamy frosting!

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Come to mamaaaaa!

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Chomp.

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Does anyone else talk to their food like this?  Today’s lesson is to never trust a blogger, particularly one that loves food.  The end.

But in all seriousness, I hope you try these cookies because they’re perfect for the rainy and cloudy weather (most of us) we’ve been experiencing!  And if I can use my shameless plug just one more time….

A while back I had the awesome opportunity to collaborate with Shop Ruche, which is actually a fashion company based in Orange County.  Their great success comes from their online customers and if you check out their website, you’d probably have a hard time clicking out of it because everything is so beautiful and unique.

Although their main focus is fashion, they also have a blog where they feature cooks (I’m a wannabe, though), and this year I had the humbling opportunity to include a few of my recipes (like the berry cobbler, banana cake, and snickerdoodle sandwich)  in this year’s online cookbook called Sugar and Spice.  There are so many brilliant bakers featured in this online cookbook, and I’m simply astounded by their passion and creativity.  And they have some good photography skills!

I just feel so thankful for every exciting moment I get to interact with you, and sometimes I get so excited about the fact that random individuals can come together to create so much BEAUTY.  Life is funny like that, wouldn’t you agree?

Have a beautiful day and stay warm!

Does the baking bug hit you during certain times of the year too? 

How do you come up with recipes?  Do you get inspired randomly or do you develop it over a long period of time?

-I just feel like eating something and then randomly get ideas to pair up flavors.  In this case I wanted something with a smooth cream/frosting of some sort without too much work.

Love,

Ellie <33


Even Better Banana Muffins+the Weekend

by fitforthesoul in , , ,


Banana muffins!!! Ehhh…what’s to say about them except the fact that there are probably a gazillion recipes out there?

Well, let me think.  They’re delicious, satisfying, great for breakfast and dessert, and they can easily be modified for the health conscious eater—particularly if said health conscious eater has only begun his healthy living journey and has a picky palate.  As if those reasons weren’t enough for you already, let me just tell you how wonderful these banana muffins are.

They’re basically an old recipe of mine that I just knew needed an update of ingredients and some pimped out photos.

Haha, pimped out.  Does anyone say that anymore besides me and, uh….me?

But back to the updated ingredients.  If you remember my post featuring GF pancakes with pumpkin frosting and how I wanted to make them even better than they already were, these semi-healthy banana muffins are pretty much the same idea.  As I get better at coming up with recipes and fine tune (roughly) my cooking and baking skills, I like to take those recipes and make them current according to where I am in life.

This batch of goodies is actually higher in fiber than last time’s as well as gluten free and [almost] vegan.  Instead of using butter in the streusel topping like I did this time, you can easily substitute it with Earth Balance.

I hope you enjoy these as much as our men’s group did.  Most of them don’t even claim to watch out for their health but still ended up loving them!  I have a feeling that these will be just a bit more popular with my loved ones, yay!

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Banana Muffins for Everyone {GF & easily veganized)

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients for muffins

  • 1 C sour almond milk (1 TBSP lemon juice+almond milk to 1C)
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 C oat flour (you may process whole oats)
  • 1/3 C millet flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 medium banana, mashed
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 8 drops Stevia (or 1/4 C brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 medium banana, chopped
  • 2 TBSP melted coconut oil
  • oil spray for muffin tin

Ingredients for streusel

  • 1/3 C oat flour
  • 1/4 C rolled oats
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 4 TBSP room temp butter, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.  In a measuring cup pour the lemon juice and almond milk.  Add the chia seeds, stir it up and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl mix the oat flour, millet flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl mix the mashed banana, brown sugar, Stevia, vanilla, chopped banana, and coconut oil last.  Quickly whisk it together until it’s well incorporated with the oil.
  4. Now for the streusel topping, mix the oat flour, rolled oats, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Then add the butter cubes and use your hands to mix it together into chunks.  Set aside.
  5. Pour the last wet muffin ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the sour almond milk with chia seeds.  Mix rather thoroughly but don’t overbeat the batter.
  6. Spray the tin with oil and pour the batter to about 2/3 of the way up.  Sprinkle with streusel topping and bake for approximately 22-24 minutes.
  7. Let it cool down for 5 minutes and serve!

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And here are some pictures from my parents’ birthday!  We got together at my sister’s new home and had a blessed time together as usual.

By the way!  Do you notice anything different about me?  Hmm…how about my new hairdo?  Hah!  It wasn’t washed in this picture since I got it permed a few days ago.  I cut at least 4 inches off of my hair and got what is known as the Digital Perm.  It feels good to have a change like that especially since hair is one of moms’ least concerns! Smile with tongue out

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I wound up driving all the way down to Porto’s and purchased the cake called Checkers.  It was sort of like a light chocolate mousse layered cake with some hints of vanilla in it, topped with a glossy layer of chocolate ganache.  It was really light and delicious although the cake itself doesn’t look like it’s light at all!  I highly recommend this one to chocolate lovers out there, but I think Korean cakeries still hold my heart very deeply.  Open-mouthed smile

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

Which recipes have you updated recently?

Do you prefer fruity or chocolatey cakes?

-I’m more of a light frosting+fruit person, but chocolate is always welcome as well.

Love,

Ellie <33


Creamy Caramelized Apple Dip

by fitforthesoul in ,


Inspiration. Good old inspiration can come from anywhere and at the most unexpected times.  Despite the dazed and confused weather here in LA, I can slowly but surely see the signs of fall coming in.

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That cool and fragrant fall breeze is finally starting to blow as the sun begins to set, and different people from all over begin to show a demeanor that’s slightly warmer than usual even…yay!

Grocery stores have finally stocked up on squash-like veggies, sweet potatoes, fresh and luscious apples, and—you get the point. Smile

For me this equals to more time in the kitchen than I’ve been used to for the past several months.  Something about this season makes me want to bake and make desserts forever and ever--for no apparent reason!  (Okay I admit, eating the baked goodies is definitely an incentive) And I just want to give away said goodies to as many people as I come across.

Lucky for me, we’ve been having more company lately since everyone wants to meet little Selah.  And that my friends, is a beautiful thing!  I love having company and feeding them random things I can find in the fridge because of my Korean ways of not being able to see anybody less than stuffed.  This coming week I’ll be having some friends over, and I’m more prepared than ever as I’ll be offering them decadent and finger lickin’ snacks.

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Like, they literally might have to lick their fingers because it will be a gooey messy party over here!

So as you can see, my taste buds and foodie brain have been working over-time due to all these bits of inspiration.  But I am me and…you know me….90% of the time I can’t help myself but make dessert slightly healthier than usual, especially if it means that I’m giving it to loved ones.  The secret ingredient to this fabulously creamy apple dip?

White beans.  Doh!

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Before you exit this page which I’m sure you weren’t contemplating anyway—hear me out!  Winking smile  The white beans that I’m using are Great Northern beans, which are super mild in flavor and texture.  Once it’s ground up nice and smooth, it is hardly detectable.  So have yourself a great day filled with foamy lattes and lots of joy, friends!

Creamy Caramelized Apple Dip

Makes approximately 3 1/2-4 Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 C chopped apple (about 1/2” cubes)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 C canned Great Nothern beans, rinsed
  • 1 C Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1/2 C brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Heat the oil on a skillet on medium heat.  Cook the apple pieces until they’re slightly caramelized, toss them every now and then.  Set aside and let it cool down.
  2. Grab your food processor and process the beans to a creamy consistency.  Scrape sides if needed throughout the process.
  3. Add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon and process until everything is incorporated evenly.
  4. Add the apple pieces in the processor and pulse about 3-4 times to get the apple roughly chopped.  It doesn’t have to be smooth as you want tiny bits of apple in the creamy dip.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Serve with pretzels, fruit, or cookies!

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I’m starting to think that this would pair up perfectly with Megan’s amazing looking Maple Shortbread Fries, or these Spelt Gingersnaps from long ago.  Whoa, right?!

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In my humble opinion, the cheesy flavor along with the apples and spices make this dip to die for.  It is not tooth achingly sweet which is always a plus in my [recipe] book!

Other fall desserts of possible interest:

Do you always feel ready in terms of providing food for your guests? 

What are your favorite things to serve your loved ones?

Love,

Ellie <33