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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cake Pan Coating

This pan coating is a great little baking tip. It works so much better than just regular cooking spray for coating cake pans. The cakes come out so well, and when I use it, I've never had trouble with part of the cake still being stuck in the pan. It is especially great for pans that have lots of texture like a bundt pan, a character pan or like this giant cupcake pan I have.

1/4 cup (80 ml) shortening
1/4 cup (80 ml) oil (I always use 100% corn oil here in China- it imports the least amount of flavor. I've found that a lot of the blended oils contain sunflower seed oil which I do not like. It gives the bread a certain taste, almost peanuty and I do not care for the taste in the majority of things I bake)
1/4 cup(30g) flour

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Use your fingers or a paper towel to smooth coating over the entire surface of your cake pan. Fill as normal. When cakes are fully baked, let them cool for 5-10 minutes then remove from pans.(Letting the cakes rest will help them firm up slightly; but make sure to take them out before they start to sweat or else the cakes may stick to the pan.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gingerbread Cream Cheese Spread

I've been in a serious cooking mood this week. Maybe it's because my ayi is gone and I don't have to worry about getting in her way or feel guilty for making too many dirty dishes for her to wash. 
On the other hand, I do have to wash all those dishes myself.....sigh.

In any case I've been baking some of those things that I haven't had time to make in a while, like my recipe for pumpkin bagels. As I also had a lot of cream cheese that needed to be used, I decided to finally experiment and create a recipe for that gingerbread cream cheese I've been wanting forever. A quick Google search offered no help on similar recipes, so I was on my own as far as ingredients and quantities, but I'm happy to say that my experimenting paid off. This cream cheese spread would be amazing on any plain bagel but on a fresh baked pumpkin bagel, it is heaven!

I thought about adding fresh ginger to this spread because I love the intense flavor of fresh ginger, but in the end ,I wanted the smoother consistency that ground ginger gave me. If you like you can sub fresh grated ginger for the ground ginger; probably 1 tbsp (15ml).


8oz(227g) cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp (15ml) molasses
1-2 tsp(5-10ml) ground ginger (I opted for 2 tsp because I love ginger, but it had a really strong flavor)
dash of ground cloves
3/4 tsp (4ml) ground cinnamon 

 Let your cream cheese sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese.
 Beat until smooth. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar not shown) and beat until smooth and well mixed.
 Add molasses, ginger, cloves and cinnamon and beat again until cream cheese spread is light and fluffy.

Serve on a warm toasted bagel and enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rice Cooker BBQ Chicken

When I was growing up it seemed like not a week went by where my mom wasn't using a crockpot for at least one meal, usually Sunday dinner. I guess it just made sense to be able to come home from church and have dinner ready and on the table within minutes.

When I first got to China I didn't really look for a crockpot. For me, it was kind of low on the list what with the challenges of learning a new language, how to get around on the subway with a baby and a toddler, and figuring out what I could cook using local ingredients (we came to China for a start-up which didn't work out and then found a job with a local Chinese company so back then buying anything imported just wasn't financially possible).

My awesome friend Cami clued me in on first using a rice cooker as a kind of crockpot substitute. Now, I guess the point of a crockpot is for things to cook slow and unattended, which you can't exactly do with a rice cooker. But this recipe for BBQ chicken does require less watching than on the stove so I guess its a  bit of a happy medium between the crockpot and the stovetop.

This BBQ chicken recipe is easy and relatively quick ( 60 minutes-ish) and it is super easy. I usually like to make homemade rolls, but sometimes I'll pick up rolls at Carrefour if I'm in a hurry.

1 bottle ketchup
1/4 cup(50g) brown sugar (I usually use the dark Chinese kind because I like the molasses flavor it adds to the sauce- if you use imported light brown sugar add 2 teaspoons of molasses
1 (5ml)tsp garlic powder (sometimes hard to find - I've found it at Metro and Tesco. You can substitute 3 cloves crushed fresh garlic if you prefer)
few dashes of paprika
fresh ground pepper to taste
1(5ml) tsp salt
few dashes of liquid smoke (I've seen this at City Shop, although it is one of the things that I bring from the States. It's tiny and lasts forever)
3(45ml) tbsp chicken bouillon
1 (240 ml)cup water
4-5 chicken breasts

 Place ketchup, brown sugar(and or molasses), garlic powder, paprika, pepper, salt, liquid smoke, and chicken bouillon in rice cooker.

 Add water and stir until combined.
 Add chicken breast.
Push down cook button and cook 30-40 minutes.
 Open the rice cooker, turn chicken breasts over. Continue cooking,checking and stirring every 5-10 minutes. (you need to stir every few minutes or the chicken breasts will burn on the bottom. Cook until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened.(You want it about the consistency of ketchup or BBQ sauce) Unplug the rice cooker. Let the chicken cool down and rest for 15-20 minutes.

Use two forks to shred chicken. Serve over rolls for sandwiches or use to make BBQ chicken pizza.