flaky mooncake

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival was last Monday.  It’s sort of like the Chinese version of Thanksgiving — a time for reflection, giving, and family.

I celebrated in my own way by reflecting a little on this blog of mine.

Sometimes, I click the”older posts” arrow on my blog a bunch of times until I get back to freshman year.

Sometimes, I have this urge to delete all of my old blog posts and start fresh, so I can have one of those pristine, consistent blogs like Smitten Kitchen or Martha Stewart.
I want to erase all of the times that 14-year-old me gave embarrassing Instagram “lifestyle” posts, the times my pictures were taken with a Pentax point-and-shoot, the times I listed “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” as an ingredient, the times my font size was all wonky and I tried to sound like the Barefoot Contessa (and failed).
… but then there’d be nothing.  So I stop and restrain myself from pressing delete.
As tantalizing as the idea of a fresh start is, I don’t think I’ll ever do it.   There’s something endearing about those old recipes, and having them lined up all neatly in order chronicles my life all the way from ratatouille to flaky mooncakes. All the way from being awkward during my Freshman Orientation scavenger hunt to sitting here as a Senior in the library, tapping away at my college applications.  It’s my whole high school existence archived in buttercream, brownie batter, and banoffee banana bread.  It includes all of those milestones:  finding my blogging voice, learning how to get a DSLR, going to the emergency room while making layer cake, and getting butter inextricably wedged into the dials of my camera.
My backdrop has evolved from a leftover piece of poster-board from my 8th grade science fair project to the fancy-pants piece of marble that my dad got me for Christmas.
Yes, the perfectionist in me will surely look back at this time with this same sort of head-shaking disdain in a few months when I think I’ve got funnier stories, better backdrops, and tastier recipes than I do now.  But isn’t that the whole point of a blog?  We are moving onwards and upwards from here!
Here’s a tasty recipe for flaky mooncakes, traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival.  Something that hasn’t changed much since I started blogging is that I’ve still got to get this timing thing down so I can get you all these holiday recipes before the holiday happens.  Planning, someday it will happen.  Anyways, I was going to bring these into my Chinese class but ended up eating them all singlehandedly with my mom (sorry).  The flaky crust is surprisingly simple to make — using an oil and water dough technique (much less tedious than rolling puff pastry.  Give it a try!
With love,
Erica

Flaky Matcha Moon Cakes

Servings 4

Ingredients

water dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening or butter
  • 1/2 cup water

oil dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening or butter melted

filling:

  • -red bean paste
  • -lotus paste
  • -coconut paste recipe below

topping:

  • one egg for egg wash
  • sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. For the water dough, mix the flour, sugar, and shortening together roughly.  Pour all of the water in at once and knead to form a soft dough. Set aside.
  3. For the oil dough, mix the flour and melted shortening together to form dough.
  4. Dust the water dough with flour and roll into a 1/2 inch thick circle.  Roll the oil dough into a ball, place in the middle of the water dough, and seal it inside of the water dough.
  5. Roll out the new ball of dough (the oil dough wrapped in the water dough), into an oval shape.  Then, roll it up like a swiss roll.  Turn it lengthwise, and roll out into an oval again.  Roll up swiss roll-style once more, and roll out into a 1/2 inch thick oval once more.
  6. Cut the oval into four even sections, fill each section with filling of choice and seal.  Place seal side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining pastries.  Brush each pastry with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Coconut paste:
  8. 1/2 cup cream of coconut or condensed milk
  9. 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla, matcha powder, or cocoa powder for flavoring (optional)
  11. Mix all the ingredients together into a paste.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

pina colada cupcakes



I do a lot of wondering
It’s just how my brain works. I’m always asking questions.
Maybe it’s because I’m young, maybe it’s because I’m restless.  I’m probably a little bit of both.




If you could peek into my brain at any given moment, it would look something like this:


What hair color do they put on the driver’s license of a bald man?  How many times will I fall in love? Why does extra sharp white cheddar cheese taste so good on stale Ritz crackers?  Do my socks match today? Why can I never find the tape? If tomatoes are a fruit, isn’t ketchup technically a tomato smoothie? Why do I ask so many questions?  Did I forget to log off of the library computer? Are cats and dogs are really smart and just acting dumb to freeload off humans?  Did the teacher notice I was on Pinterest all class? Can Pokemon only say their name, or are they named after the only thing they can say?



Why do my hands always smell like buttercream?


Ok, so I know the answer to the last question…




It’s because I’ve been going through a total cupcake craze. Borderline full-on obsessed.  I just can’t get enough of piping neat little swirls of buttercream.  I love the big cloud of confectioner’s sugar hovering around my stand mixer and all of the sticky, Ziploc bags of frosting (my mom on the other hand isn’t so enthusiastic…). The first thing I do when I step in the house is preheat the oven to 350 and fill a muffin pan with paper liners.  This has been going on for a while.  I need help.  But for now, just take a look at these Pina Colada cupcakes while I run to the store to buy more confectioner’s sugar.


With love,
Erica




Pineapple Cupcakes:


Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple (drained slightly)


Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs
and sugar until slightly thickened and a light cream color (about 2
minutes).

On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended.
Add in the pineapple and sour cream and mix until fully incorporated.
Add the flour mixture and blend until just combined and smooth.
Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners and fill about 2/3 full.
Bake cupcakes in a pre-heated 350*F oven for about 22 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Frost with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
Recipe yields 24-28 cupcakes.


Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting


Ingredients 

1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup crisco
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1-3 tablespoons milk

Place butter, crisco and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth.
Add
vanilla extract, coconut extract and powdered sugar (1 cup at a
time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed
and beat until it begins to get fluffy.

Slowly add the milk until you reach desired consistency.
Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

To Assemble:

Additional Ingredients
sweetened coconut
maraschino cherries

Frost each cupcake with a swirl of coconut cream cheese frosting. Roll in sweetened coconut. Top with a maraschino cherry.  




© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

coconut breakfast quinoa

I’ve been on a total quinoa kick lately. It started with that quinoa fried rice, and I’ve been hooked on this super-food grain ever since. 

Overnight oats are one of my staples during the school week, they can be prepared at night and devoured in the morning.  They keep me full of energy all morning so that I can search for my gym clothes and take my math quizzes without having to stop at the vending machine. 

Quinoa is a wonderfully nutty, crunchy alternative to classic oats, plus it’s loaded with protein. That means that I can substitute my usual Greek yogurt for something even creamier and delicious: coconut milk.  The rich, creamy, coconutty milk seeps into the fluffy quinoa overnight, along with some chia seeds. Now that’s something to wake up for!  Since winter break started, I’ve been waking up at 10:30 and staying up until 2:00. I just realized that school starts on Wednesday… but I have faith that this quinoa will lure me out of bed despite the fact that I’m going out yet again for New Years Eve tonight.

Think of this “recipe” as more of an outline — and top this quinoa off with any fruit, nut, or milk you like.

With love,
Erica

Serves 2

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling

pinch of salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds.
1/2 cup light coconut milk 
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1 banana, chopped

2 kiwis, sliced

The night before:

Combine quinoa, water, cinnamon and vanilla in a small
saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook
for 15 minutes until quinoa can be fluffed with a fork. Combine the cooked quinoa along with the coconut milk and chia seeds in a container with a lid and let chill in the fridge overnight.

The next morning:

Divide quinoa into two bowls then top with bananas and kiwi slices. Sprinkle with coconut and pumpkin seeds.