WE'VE MOVED

Hello!

Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!

Sincerely,
Syl

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Macaron Cafe

Continuing our New York trip recap, I was pretty happy to have found this place:


Macaron Cafe
485 7th Avenue, entrance on 36th Street
New York, NY 10018

They're on facebook too!


Okay, we will come inside!

Macarons, such a pretty and delicate treat!


The Macaron Cafe doesn't only sell macarons, they also have sandwiches, salads, breakfast (crepes for breakfast? yes please), and specials of the week.


Fifteen macaron flavours!


I thought that the balls of macarons hanging from the ceiling were really cute!


Here's my pretty macaron gift box. We picked French vanilla, rose & litchee, espresso, nutella, passion fruit, and lemon.


Wrapped in a pretty ribbon!


These made such a good treat during our road trip! They were finished before we reached the Canadian border.


Later that night, we walked passed another Macaron Cafe location (625 Madison Avenue, entrance on 59th Street)! This one had beautiful macaron towers on display.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies



I have been craving whoopie pies. I was in dire need of one. Everywhere I turned I was reminded of whoopie pies. I would see macarons in the grocery stores and wished they were whoopie pies. I would look at my sandwich during lunch and really wished that it was a delicious cake with sweet filling. I would see this book and this pan in Crate & Barrel. Then today, Marthe Stewart's Cookie of the Day alert popped in my inbox - Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

Okay! It is time for me to whip something up. Luckily, I was able to find the classic chocolate whoopie pie recipe online and watched a cute little video about making them. I felt ready to bake! Here we go, my first whoopie pies:


Here is my little batter scoop!


I was pretty nervous about leaving enough space in between all the batter, but it turned out fine! Only two of them decided to touch once they were baked. But it was a tiny bridge that I easily separated.


Here they are baked, let them cool before peeling them from the parchment paper. The tops aren't as smooth as I hoped they wood be, but that was okay with me. As long as they had the right cakey texture, I was over the moon!


Flipped! I would advise you to let them rest on a cooling tray/rack. Otherwise you might ruin the tops as crumbs from the parchment paper will stick to it! In other words, don't do what I did. =P


Mmmm, you can use a piping bag to fill the whoopie pies. Spatulas or knives work as well! That was the hardest photo to take today. With only two hands, I had to hold the piping bag and work the camera with my left hand - not ideal!


Place your other cake half on top of the filling.


Gently press down so that the filling squeezes outwards. Enjoy!



Classic Chocolate Whoopie Pies
From Whoopie Pies
(Makes about 12 medium-large whoopie pies)

1 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of vegetable shortening
1 cup of brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and have all ingredients at room temperature. Lay out your parchment paper on your baking trays (I used two trays).
  2. Using your mixer, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar together.
  3. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt (as I am typing this, I just realized I forgot to add in the salt this morning!).
  5. Add half of the dry mixture and half of the milk to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined.
  6. Add in the remaining half of the dry mixture and the milk. Mix until completely combined.
  7. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, drop 1 (mini) or 2 (medium-large, what I made) tablespoons of the batter onto your parchment paper. Remember to evenly space the batter. I was able to fit twelve of the 2 tablespoons on one tray.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly tapped. Remove from the oven and let it cool on the tray for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Gently remove the cakes from the parchment paper and allow it to cool.
  10. Make your favourite frosting to fill the whoopie pies!

My mom and I were the first to try them. We broke one in half and ate it after lunch. She liked it! I wasn't expecting her to, but since the chocolate cake wasn't very sweet, I heard praises! I used a simple vanilla buttercream for the filling and coloured it pink. Yummy yummy! =)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

KyoChon


KyoChon
319 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10016
(212) 725-9292

Howard and I went to KyoChon for lunch when we were in New York. How did I even hear about this place? Well, I saw David Lebovitz's post when he was there a couple of days before! I was pretty much hooked when I saw it was Korean fast food.


Howard and I were greeted and given a menu at the front door. We sat down and debated what to order, everything looked yummy! We decided to try their Signature Drumsticks, Spicy Bul-Gogi Rice Ball, and the Sal Sal Chicken Rice Bowl. After ordering, we were given a buzzer and we went upstairs to find a seat.


Luckily, the crowd was still downstairs when we arrived. I quickly snapped some photos of the bar.


And the comfy wall where I sat. I am quite amazed at how clean KyoChon is! The white seats and walls can't be easy to maintain in Manhattan!


We picked this corner table because I wanted better lighting for my photos. Do you ever do that at a restaurant?


The buzzer went off and Howard carried our tray of food to our table. We couldn't wait to open everything and start eating! If you're wondering what the three containers in the back are, two of them are KyoChon Soup (it comes with the Rice Ball and Rice Bowl), and one of them is the Sweet Soy Dressing for the Rice Bowl.


Here is our Signature Drumsticks! They also come with dipping sauce - soy garlic sauce and hot & sweet sauce.

Howard, which I thank for thinking of me, asked for half spicy and half original. The chicken tasted very good and had the perfect amount of crispiness! Howard commented that he was quite surprised that the spicy was actually spicy, it is so rare that he finds his perfect level of heat. I tried one bite and ended up in a coughing fit. Yes, I got laughed at by Howard.


I had always wanted to try a rice ball after watching anime characters eat. Rice balls look so cute in animes! So here was my Spicy Bul-Gogi Rice Ball! A rice ball made with sweet, black and white rice stuffed with diced bul-gogi chicken in Korean red chilli sauce. Now this was a kind of heat I could handle! KyoChon also has Green Tea Bul-Gogi Rice Balls and Bi-Bim-Bap Rice Balls.

My first rice ball did not disappoint, the rice had the chewy consistency I imagined it would and the bul-gogi chicken inside was delicious!


Finally, we shared the Sal Sal Chicken Rice Bowl. Steamed white rice with mixed greens served with Original Sal Sal Chicken Strips and Sweet Soy Dressing. Yummy again!

I would recommend all our dishes if you ever stopped by KyoChon for lunch. Why oh why isn't there one in Toronto near my workplace? These are so much healthier than the fast food chains around downtown!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Times Square

After dinner at the Brooklyn Diner, we went to a few stores at Times Square. Mostly the novelty ones, because where else do you get the chance to see a ferris wheel inside Toys "R" Us?


Something is brewing as there is a construction sign inside the store. The only clue that I have is that the sign said Wonka. Yes. Meaning the Willy Wonka of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Well, to compensate, they did have Candy Land:

Err, I don't like the way that King is eyeing us.

With lots of New York Sweets:


As if Candy Land wasn't enough, we went to M&M's World after Toys "R" Us:


I have to say, Green looks really nice as the Statue of Liberty.


And what do you think of the M&M's wall over here?

Look at all those colours! Aqua! Gold! Teal! Silver! Black!


One more sweet stop, Hershey's! Did you know that they once had a Project Runway challenge there?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Brooklyn Diner


Brooklyn Diner
155 W 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 265-5400

Before our trip to New York, Howard and I were watching Throwdown! with Bobby Flay on the Food Network. That episode, Bobby went to Melba's to challenge Melba Wilson on her chicken and waffle dish.

I have to make a confession here. Before watching the show, I had never heard of chicken and waffles (as one dish) before. My first thought was, that's weird! Why would you combine the two?

The episode explained the origin and Howard said it would actually be a good dish for someone like me. I always have to decide between ordering an entree versus a dessert at a restaurant. An entree makes me too full to eat dessert. A dessert isn't an adequate meal (according to some).

So, ever since we watched that episode, I wanted to order chicken and waffle.

While we didn't go to Melba's, we did stop at the Brooklyn Diner at Times Square for dinner. The service was very nice and they have cakes and dessert trays on display. Best of all, they have chicken and waffles on their menu!!

I ordered Henry’s Fried Chicken and Waffles with Vermont maple syrup. When my plate arrived, I noticed newly seated customers eyeing my dish. I overheard them telling that waiter that they just had to order the chicken and waffles too! =)

First thing I did was place the giant ball of butter to the side. Sorry, I only need maple syrup with my waffles! The waffle was really good, sweet, but not overly sweet, which made it a good companion to the syrup. The chicken, also very good, with no special seasoning as far as I can tell. Just good fashioned fried chicken. I can see myself getting addicted to this dish. I had a meal and dessert in one. It was very filling but that didn't stop me from trying Howard's dish.


Howard ordered the Three Cheese Chicken Parmigiana served with spaghetti pomodoro. Wow. We do not get portions like this in Toronto. The chicken was on one giant serving plate!


The spaghetti was served on a small separate plate. When we order chicken parmigiana here, it is usually the opposite. The spaghetti comes in a larger heap!


My brother ordered the Cuban Chicken (Pollo Cubano), a pan roasted chicken breast with vidalia onions, cilantro, lime, served with plantain chips and rice & beans!


Enjoying Times Square at night! =)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Deep-Fried Butter and Mars Bar


Are you shuddering from the post title? I know that I would be.

This long weekend, Howard and I went to the Canadian National Exhibition with our friends. We had all heard about the deep-fried butter treat from various outlets (Click here, here, and here for more back story). Yet, I didn't think we would have tried it.


After looking at the concession stand dubiously and seeing the long line-up. We were intrigued enough to join the line at Sweet Treats. There in line, we discussed and guessed how the deep-fried butter would taste. We also decided that we would try the deep-fried Mars bars.

As you can see from their sign, Sweet Treats also sells bacon covered in chocolate and Twinkie logs. We weren't too intrigued by those, since we had already heard of bacon cupcakes. The Twinkies also didn't look that crazy.

But, we don't deep-fry things at home (thank goodness), but we were gamed to try.


Well, here they are! Deep-fried butter balls. Thank you Diana for being our hand model (an excellent tilt for my camera to get as much lighting as possible).

I tried the one with chocolate sauce. I first took a bite of the batter - not bad. Then I popped the whole thing in my mouth and bit down. Ugh! The butter just popped in my mouth and oozed around. Not my favourite experience there. Diana and I didn't like it that much. Howard and Kurt found it tolerable and said it wasn't bad. Wasn't bad!


You would think I would hold off eating the deep-fried Mars bar then. Nope. We split it into quarters and each had our bite. This was much better! The fried batter with chocolate and caramel went really well together. There was the "crunch" and the warm gooey bar. We all agreed that this would be a treat we would have again.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Upside-Down Pear Cake

My goodness, it feels like summer has just slipped away. I don't know about the weather in your area, but the temperatures have dropped to the point that I wore a scarf yesterday. A scarf!

I hope you're not all sick of my New York City trip posts. I haven't even finished posting all of the wonderful things we saw and ate! To be continued after Labour Day...

To usher in the chill of autumn, how about an upside-down pear cake? It has that nice rustic feel to it and tastes wonderfully sweet as you reminisce about the summer of 2010.


Upside-Down Pear Cake
(Makes about 1 8x8 square cake)

4-5 pears (depends on how thick/thin you slice it)
1 1/4 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of yogurt
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and have all ingredients at room temperature. Also have your cake pan ready.
  2. Peel and slice your pears. Cut them in a way so that the pear shape remains intact. We like our pears and made them pretty thick.
  3. Place the cut pears in a sieve to drain any juices.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat 2 tablespoons of butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Take the mixture out and using a spoon, create an even base on your cake pan. Set aside.
  5. Take the remaining butter and beat with the 1/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  7. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  8. Alternatively add in the dry mixture with the yogurt. Mix until combined.
  9. Place your pear slices on top of the brown sugar and butter mixture in the pan. Nicely space the pears. Then, pour in the cake batter.

  10. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Take the cake out and let it cool upside down. The cake pan should come off easily because of the delicious caramel pears. Set the cake aside and watch the sweet juices dribble through the cake. Quickly eat and savour.

Enjoy! Autumn doesn't officially arrive until September 23rd!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dylan's Candy Bar


Dylan's Candy Bar
1011 Third Ave
New York, NY 10021
(646) 735-0078

Yup, facebook and twitter too!

This wasn't planned! I mean, we were already stopping at every bakery we found, but a giant candy store? Three floors of sweets? Come on!


Dylan's Candy Bar is just full of... well, candy! There is candy everywhere! There are lots of novelty items, apparels, cosmetics, and sweet related merchandises of course. I managed to find a little section that had lots of cupcake things - earrings, candles, books, bags, and boxes.


The very neat thing about Dylan's is that everyone can leave with their favourite candy or make their own mixed selection. They have cute little pails, tins, boxes - basically anything that can be used to carry things. As for another neat feature, they have a display case showing celebrity picks! Here, we have the lovely Nigella Lawson. She seems to prefer black and white M&Ms. I love how each candy box is signed too!!


Hey! It's Buddy from Cakeboss! His favourite candies seem to be various sorts of gummies.


Now, if you continue to the top floor, Dylan's has a cafe and private party rooms (really, a fantastic place to hold a kid's birthday part).


I went up there because there was a sign saying "Cupcakes." They do sell cupcakes at the cafe! I checked the cupcake wrappers and it looks like Crumbs supplies them here. Mmmm, they have cold treats here too!


This was a nice quiet spot to relax. The rush on the main and bottom floors is overwhelming. There are lots of children filling their buckets with candy. Parents in awe of the amount of candy and in turn, chasing after their children. To add to the excitement, there was a giant chocolate fountain on the main floor too. For a price, you can pick an item and dip it in the fountain!


PS: I just found out that Dylan Lauren (the daughter of Ralph Lauren) also has a book coming out this year. Now, wouldn't her Candy Bar be the best place for a book launch? And from the looks of it, her father favours twizzlers!

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