Sugar Syrup (for mooncake)

Mid Autumn Festival is coming. This is Thanksgiving of Asians. People will gather together to give thanks and pray for brighter future. To celebrate this festival, people usually carry lit lanterns, eat mooncakes and enjoy dragon dance.

Mooncake is a special dish shared between family members. Today, it can be found in most of Asian supermarkets one or two months before the festival. However, not all areas have an Asian supermarkets. If you want to try mooncake but you can’t find a place to buy, you can make it at home. It is not easy to make and it is time wasting. It requires a lot of efforts and precision, but the result is worth your try.

To make a mooncake, we need to make sugar syrup first. This is an important step. It decides whether your mooncake will be a success. Usually, I make this syrup at least a month before I make the mooncake. The longer the syrup is, the better the mooncake is. Some of my friends make this syrup a year ahead and it still tastes perfect. If you are not a patient person, you can make this syrup and wait for 2 weeks. Otherwise, your cake will become soggy.

Today, I will show you how to make sugar syrup first. And next month, when my syrup is ready, I will show you how to make mooncake.

Let’s start!

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of brown sugar (you can use regular sugar but it won’t give your syrup and your cake a beautiful color)
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 lemon

Directions:

  • Use a thick pan to boil 2 1/2 cups of water.
  • When the water is boiling, add the sugar and stir a little bit (the sugar will dissolve automatically)
  • Cut the lemon, squeeze the lemon.
  • When the sugar is dissolved and the solution is boiling, add the lemon juice that is just squeezed and the lemon peel to the pan. DON’T stir. The lemon juice will dissolve in the solution itself. The acid in the lemon juice will keep your syrup from crystallization.
  • Turn down the heat to medium low and let the solution shimmer for 60 minutes.
  • Use a spoon to take all the bubbles on the solution surface out without stirring it.
  • After 60 minutes, drop some of your sugar solution into a bowl of water.
  • If your solution dissolves completely in the water, you need to boil it for 10-15 minutes more then test it again.
  • If your solution doesn’t dissolve but spread at the bottom of the bowl and form a circle, your solution is done. Turn off the heat, let it cool. When your solution is completely cool, you will get a golden syrup (its color will get more like amber. Keep your syrup in an airtight glass container and store it in a cool dry place.
  • If your solution doesn’t dissolve or spread at the bottom of the bowl but form a drop in the water, then you solution is too thick. You need to add a little bit of hot water, mix them well, let it shimmer for a minute, then test it again.
  • If there are some sugar crystals in your syrup when it cools, you need to add a little bit of hot water and lemon juice to your syrup, mix it and let it shimmer, then test the solution again.

This recipe needs ver few ingredients but it requires a lot of time. Moreover, your syrup will not be ready until at least 2 weeks later. So be patient. I will come back in a month for the mooncake recipe.

Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

See you next time!

Ciao!

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Matcha Ice Cream

All I wish for summer is something to cool off. Ice cream will be a perfect choice but it's so hot that I don't want to go outside. Instead I'll make ice cream at home so that I can still cool me off without going outside.
Let's start!

Ingredients:
– 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream (I recommend HEAVY whipping cream instead of whipping cream because it contains more fat, which will make your ice cream taste better and less ice)
– 1/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk
– 5 tsp milk (unsweetened)
– 1 tsp matcha powder (you an replace matcha powder with any powder you like, such as cocoa powder for chocolate ice cream, or you can omit it)

Directions:
– Put the bowl in the freezer (the cold bowl will help the cream reach stiff peak faster)
– Warm up the milk in the microwave for 30s-1min
– Add the matcha powder and the condensed milk to the milk and mix well.
– Take the bowl out of the freezer
– Add heavy whipping cream to the bowl and whip until stiff peak
– Add the matcha mixture to the whipped cream and fold until they combine thoroughly.
– Pour the mixture into ice cream mold and put it in the freezer for 5-6 hrs until it set (if you don't have ice cream mold, you can pour the mixture into a food container and put it the freezer)

Super fast! Super easy! With three basic ingredients (heavy whipping cream, condensed milk and milk) you can make ice cream with any flavor you like.
I hope that you can give this recipe a try to make your summer cooler.
Thank you! Have a wonderful summer!
Ciao!

Jelly (Agar) Milk Cake

We just had braised beef tendon for dinner today. It was kinda salty, so I needed something sweet to balance the saltiness. I decided to make agar milk cake.

Agar is made from red algae. If you are a vegan, you absolutely can substitute gelatin with algar. I will show you how to make 100% vegan agar milk cake.  However, agar cake has different texture than gelatinous cake. Gelatinous cake is more jelly while agar cake is harder. It is firmer, more crispy (well not crispy like potato chips). I prefer using agar than gelatin because agar becomes solid more quickly than gelatin so it saves me time to decorate the cake. If you wonder what I mean by saving decorating time, I will show you how to do that in another post (BUT not 3D decoration like Japanese agar cake. It is way to hard for a clumsy girl like me. Besides, we need tools for that, just like you need decorating tips for your cake.)

It is enough for babbling. Let’s get to work !(•̀ᴗ•́)و ̑̑

Ingredients:

– 1 package of agar powder (25g – 0.88oz per package). You can find it in most Chinese or Vietnamese supermarket. If they do not sell it in your area, you can buy it on Amazon. The price on Amazon is similar to the price in the supermarket. Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Telephone-Product-Thailand-Powder-Ounce/dp/B01KMHY2OU/ref=pd_sim_325_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01KMHY2OU&pd_rd_r=C8N2Q3RB5TNVWPM4GBYP&pd_rd_w=8igxk&pd_rd_wg=qoEqT&psc=1&refRID=C8N2Q3RB5TNVWPM4GBYP

– 6 1/2 cups of water. On the package, they say that you should use 12 cups of water per package. However, I reduced the amount of water by half because I wanted to have a firm texture. The amount of water you add depends on how firm you want. The more water you add, the softer you cake is.

– 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14oz)

– For vegan version: substitute water and condensed milk with 6 1/2 cups of soy milk. You can also use coconut milk (remember to dilute it with water because coconut milk is very thick), but I do not like coconut milk. I just do not like it.

– Fresh fruits. Here I used blueberries and raspberries because they were on sale (˵¯̴͒ꇴ¯̴͒˵)
Directions: 

– Pour the agar into a small bowl and add a little bit of water to the agar, just enough to make the agar wet. Let it soak for 10 minutes to soften the agar.

– Boil all the water.

– Add the condensed milk to the boiling water and stir well with medium heat until the condensed milk is completely dissolved.

– Add the agar to the milk and bring the mixture to boil with high heat. Stir well until the agar dissolves. Lower the heat to the lowest level.

– Pour the mixture into mold. You can use any mold, or even bowl. Let it cool down and put it in the refrigerator. While you are pouring, remember to keep the mixture warm by keeping it on the stove with lowest heat or it will become solid very fast. If it becomes solid, you just need to reheat it again and it will melting.

You may be curious why I let it cool down first before I put it in the refrigerator. Actually, cooling it down outside then putting it in the refrigerator will help you save the electric (。•̀ᴗ-)✧

– When the cake becomes solid, take it out and serve with fruits.
This dish is best when served cold.

Ta-da! Super-easy-to-make cake but still delicious >.^ Add this dessert to your family’s meal and I am sure they will love it (and love you too)
Thank you and see you next time ( ˘ ³˘)♥ (*^▽^)/