Repost: Matcha Cookies With Red Bean Paste

I’m looking for something a little different for my Christmas cookie exchange this year. I decided on matcha thumbprints with red bean paste. These cookies are the colours of the season, red and green. I love the asian influence; green tea and red bean paste. The original recipe ended up too dry, so I added egg white and water. I took out some of the sugar as the matcha was sweetened. It seemed affordable at $18 a bag, as the pure fetched $30 for a Chinese teacup sized amount. These turned out surprisingly well. For the cookie exchange, I will probably omit the red bean paste it it makes it a little messy to store.

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Post has been rewritten in a recipe friendly format. Originally posted on November 10, 2013.

Print Recipe
Matcha Thumbprint Cookies With Red Bean Paste
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, matcha and salt.
  2. Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds.
  4. On low speed, add the flour/matcha mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Add water if too dry.
  5. Form into a ball or disc and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Position rack in the middle of the oven.
  8. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and bake them for 12 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and make a dent in each cookie (you can use your thumb but I don’t like a burnt thumb so I used the back of a ½ tsp measure).
  10. Fill cookies with red bean paste.
  11. If you like your cookies crisper you can go for more time. These are still chewy in the middle.
  12. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
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Pie Cloud

Continuing on my tour of new places in Kensington, I stumbled upon Pie Cloud. I love pie. All my dreams have come true; I can now take out fresh pie whenever I want! I decided to try their luscious lime pie. It’s sub-lime, if you know what I mean? Everything is made fresh daily, right down to the freshly squeezed lime juice. The velvety filling is layered on a crispy gingersnap crust. Topped with pillowy whipped cream and freshly grated lime zest. Heaven in a pie tin – they even customize their tins!

Better get there quick, the luscious lime is their most popular and I got the last one of the day.

They also serve breakfast and savoury pies as well. On my to try list is their apple pie milkshake.

Luscious Lime Pie
Luscious Lime Pie
Luscious Lime Pie
Luscious Lime Pie
Custom pie tin
Custom pie tin

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Portuguese Egg Tarts

By request, here is the recipe for Portuguese Egg Tarts. I modified the original recipe slightly, by adding the vanilla bean. These egg tarts are actually Portuguese; that could explain why they are hard to find in Chinese bakeries. I found them when I was in Toronto – in a Portuguese bakery.  If I can’t buy them in Calgary, I will make them myself. The best are still made in Macau.

Makes 14 tarts

Filling

8 egg yolks
⅔ cup of sugar (or slightly less if you don’t like your Portuguese egg tarts too sweet)
⅔ cup of heavy whipping cream
⅔ cup of milk
3 drops of vanilla extract
½ vanilla bean

Optional: shredded coconut, 2 tbs

2 frozen and rolled Pillsbury 9-inch pie crust, or 2 homemade 9-inch pie crusts

Method:

Scrape the vanilla bean. Use an electronic hand beater to blend the filling ingredients. Beat for about 3 minutes and strain the filling through a strainer. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter the muffin pan.

Flatten the balls into small rounds and fit them well into the muffin pan by pressing firmly on bottom and side (do not over stretch). Fill the pie crust dough with the egg mixture (about 80% full).

Bake the Portuguese Egg Tarts at 400F for about 15-20 minutes, then broil until brown spots appear.

Cook’s Note:

If you use Pillsbury frozen pie crust, you just use it as is, meaning just cut it out into 14 rounds and fit into your muffin pan.

Recipe inspired by Rasa Malaysia Blog

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Bao

After my visit to the St Laurent Cake House last week, I decided to make some adjustments to my bao recipe. I used the recipe from Honey and Spice Blog. This time, I actually followed the recipe to the letter, including the overnight proof.

The dough had a different consistency than my normal bao dough. Like what I saw at the bakery, it was soft, pliable, and stretchy. The dough was very easy to handle and naturally formed a uniform round shape.  The water added to egg wash makes for a smoother topping.

The peanut butter paste was made with lentils to obtain the paste consistency texture so familiar with bao.  Chocolate chips can be used, but I prefer the unsweetened, natural flavour of the cacao nib. These are heavy on the protein; great for a snack if you are active.

Peanut Butter Paste

½ C green lentils

2 C water, plus extra

¾ C creamy peanut butter, peanuts only

2 Tbs sugar

Soak lentils in water for an hour. Cook lentils until tender. Puree. Add peanut butter and mix by hand. Add a little more water if too thick to stir. Add sugar. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Bao

Follow Honey and Spice Blog’s recipe for the dough. For the second proofing in my oven at 100F with a pan of hot water.  Add 1-2 tbs of the peanut butter paste. Throw on top a few chocolate chips or some cacao nibs. Add 1-2 tbs of water to egg wash to thin it out. Change baking temp to 360F and time to 16 minutes.

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Stretchy, pliable dough
Stretchy, pliable dough
Filling the bao
Filling the bao
Soft and chewy bao
Soft and chewy bao

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bao

After my visit to the St Laurent Cake House last week, I decided to make some adjustments to my bao recipe. I used the recipe from Honey and Spice Blog. This time, I actually followed the recipe to the letter, including the overnight proof.

The dough had a different consistency than my normal bao dough. Like what I saw at the bakery, it was soft, pliable, and stretchy. The dough was very easy to handle and naturally formed a uniform round shape.  The water added to egg wash makes for a smoother topping.

The peanut butter paste was made with lentils to obtain the paste consistency texture so familiar with bao.  Chocolate chips can be used, but I prefer the unsweetened, natural flavour of the cacao nib. These are heavy on the protein; great for a snack if you are active.

Peanut Butter Paste

½ C green lentils

2 C water, plus extra

¾ C creamy peanut butter, peanuts only

2 Tbs sugar

Soak lentils in water for an hour. Cook lentils until tender. Puree. Add peanut butter and mix by hand. Add a little more water if too thick to stir. Add sugar. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Bao

Follow Honey and Spice Blog’s recipe for the dough. For the second proofing in my oven at 100F with a pan of hot water.  Add 1-2 tbs of the peanut butter paste. Throw on top a few chocolate chips or some cacao nibs. Add 1-2 tbs of water to egg wash to thin it out. Change baking temp to 360F and time to 16 minutes.

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Stretchy, pliable dough
Stretchy, pliable dough
Filling the bao
Filling the bao
Soft and chewy bao
Soft and chewy bao

St Laurent Cake House Tour

I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes look at the St Laurent Cake House. One of my co-workers is a co-owner of the bakery and this is how I stumbled upon this opportunity. The owner has also worked as a baker in China and at Maxim’s in Vancouver.

My friend Joanne, and I managed to fit ourselves awkwardly in the tiny space that was the bakery. The first thing that came out of the oven was the Chinese style “pigs in a blanket”. I love the taste of fresh from the oven baking. The taste of a freshly baked bao right out of the oven is indescribable. I sampled the BBQ pork, hotdog bun and egg tart.

Being a baker is hard work. The owner typically works from 7am to 10pm. The prep for the next day, which includes fillings and dough is done the previous day. They are fast, and they are efficient. All the baking is done by noon so that is the best time to head down.

In the morning, the items are fresh baked. For the second proofing, they use a specialty oven that maintains humidity at 70%. I think I need something like that for my kitchen, as my buns are never as light and fluffy as they are from a bakery.

They have a large variety of buns and items for a 1-2 person shop. They are known for their delicious cakes which are also made fresh the day they are picked up. Their mango cream cake is super good. The egg tarts are delish, and they are also known for raisin twists.

I also sampled their peanut butter napoleon. The light creamy peanut custard was a nice foil for the layers of puff pastry. There was huge pasta roller like machine for rolling dough to an even thickness, as you would need for this type of pastry.

Their other offerings included: BBQ pork bun, meat roll (pork), curry beef bun, chicken pie, coconut tart, red bean paste bun, taro buns, pineapple custard bun, cocktail bun, walnut bread, sponge cake and an assortment of other pastries similar to a napoleon.

Enjoy the baking while it lasts, as the owners are looking to sell the bakery. It has a put a lot of demand on their life outside of work.

I give credit to Joanne for some of the lovely photography.

Egg tarts
Egg tarts
Pig in a blanket, Chinese style
Pig in a blanket, Chinese style, photo by Joanne
Hotdog buns
Hotdog buns, photo by Joanne
Doh!
Doh!
Kneading doh!
Kneading doh!
Painting egg wash on BBQ pork buns
Painting egg wash on BBQ pork buns
Coconut tart shells, photo by Joanne
Coconut tart shells, photo by Joanne
It's all in the scoop
It’s all in the scoop, photo by Joanne
Raisin twists
Raisin twists, photo by Joanne
Yum.
Yum. Photo by Joanne
Taro bao
Taro bao
An assortment of goodies - egg tart, chicken pie, peanut butter napolean, meat roll and BBQ pork buns
An assortment of goodies – egg tart, chicken pie, peanut butter napolean, meat roll and BBQ pork buns, photo by Joanne
Storefront
Storefront

St Laurent Cake House on Urbanspoon
 

Black Sesame Lentil Bao

I love making bao. So I decided to try something a little different for the Canadian Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge. I used the Asian flavours of black sesame, and combined them with green lentils to make a filling for my bao.

I used the bao recipe from my red bean paste buns post.

For the sesame paste mixture, I used a sweetened black sesame powder. This can be homemade or bought at an Asian grocery store. I say sweetened as this would be the base for black sesame soup.

Black Sesame Lentil Filling

3/4 C  sweetened black sesame powder

1/2 C   green lentils

2 C      water

Pre-soak the lentils in water in a pot for at least an hour. Bring the water to boiling and cook lentils until tender. Puree the lentils in a blender or immersion blender. They will be a little liquid, that’s ok. Gradually add the black sesame powder. The mixture should form a thick paste. If too watery, add more powder. If too dry, add more water. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature before using.

Follow the recipe for making bao as listed above. For steaming, place the bao on parchment paper in a steamer basket. Boil the water and steam until the texture changes to a glossy sponge. You can’t overcook these.

Sweetened black sesame powder and green lentils
Sweetened black sesame powder and green lentils
Pureed green lentils
Pureed green lentils
Filling the bao
Filling the bao
Steamed bao
Steamed bao
Baked bao
Baked bao

St Laurent Cake House

Going to Chinatown is a bit out of my way, but I discovered that one of my coworkers is a co-owner of St Laurent. The store had changed ownership in the last couple of years. In the past, I remember fondly that their mango cakes were quite good. I placed an order for my friends’ farewell party. They are moving to California. The cake was freshly made; the classic Chinese style fruit and cream cake. The cake was soft and light, filled with a sweetened whipped cream filling with chunks of mango. Just right, but not overly sweet. It was topped with mango slices and strawberries.  It reminds me of a similar style cake my Mom used to make for our birthdays. I also ordered a couple of their egg tarts which were tasty. I would say that they are a “Cake House” as their cakes are quite good.

Mango cream cake
Mango cream cake
Egg tart
Egg tart

St Laurent Cake House on Urbanspoon

Green Brownies

I’m still working through my pandan paste, so last weekend I tried to make brownies with it. I found a lovely recipe, courtesy of Phamfatale blog.  The taste was really interesting; it tasted more like green tea with a hint of chocolate. I also discovered that when using freshly made pandan paste, I need about three times the amount compared to using a commercial version.

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Coconut Pandan Muffins

Saint Patrick’s day is coming up. I’m thinking shades of green, or what do to with that pandan paste that has been sitting in my freezer. My first experiment, pandan coconut muffins. To be honest, I don’t really know what pandanus leaves taste like. It has a prominent odour, after cooking it reminds me of steaming rice. I’ll have to admit the muffins tasted mostly of coconut with a nice, chewy texture and a ton of green. Tasty.

Pandanus leaves are very popular in southeast Asia. They are used in both savoury and sweet dishes. I thought they were hard to find, until I saw them in the freezer section of Lambda Supermarket. I bought the frozen leaves and blended them into a paste.

For this recipe, I found the amount of pandan paste insufficient. Since I made my own, I kept on adding until the batter turned a nice green colour. I’m guessing it was almost a cup when all was said and done.

The aroma of pandan permeated the house so much, that even hours later, it still smelled like the rice cooker was on all day.

I used the recipe from Rice and Coconut blog and the following conversion for self raising flour.

About to get warm
About to get warm
Pandan paste
Pandan paste
Green, chewy, crumb
Green, chewy, crumb

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