Taro Hokkaido Milk Bread

Hokkaido Milk Bread

I am absolutely obsessed with this Hokkaido Milk bread. After making the same recipe repeatedly, I’ve decided to mix things up a little bit. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the raisins are a classic addition. But what’s something else that’s equally as classic? Matcha? Red bean? No no  no…there must be something better.

How about Taro Hokkaido Milk bread?…

Taro Swirl Hokkaido Milk BreadTaro Swirl Hokkaido Milk Bread

Yes! Taro swirl, to be exact. My favorite breads and pastries from the Chinese bakeries I frequented every week growing up, always involved some sort of creamy taro filling. As I’m writing this post, I can almost smell the sweet aroma of freshly baked taro buns, warm out of the oven. Even in college, I found every opportunity I could get to make the drive from Westwood all the way to Irvine to get my hands on those famous oh-so-soft taro swirl buns, a cult favorite from 85C Bakery.

Hokkaido Milk Bread Loaf

Taro-Hokkaido-Milk-Bread

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Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

I feel like my life right now is a cinnamon roll. Within every layer of dough is a sweet filling that makes the cinnamon roll what it is. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve moved here to San Francisco, and after four jobs, I’m still trying to dig through the layers to find that sweet spot.

Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I’d been eyeing this pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe for quite some time. One year and a few attempts later, I’ve decided to confidently post it here on Shef Sherry. I love this recipe because the dough is nice and yeasty and pillowy soft.

SO. SOFT.

There’s nothing that peeves me more than a hard, dry cinnamon roll. Ew.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Proofing Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds in 3 Easy Steps

Pumpkin spice roasted sweet and salty pumpkin seeds

The following is a PSA announcement:

DO  NOT THROW AWAY THOSE PUMPKIN SEEDS!

Pumpkin season is in full swing. And whether you’re using that pumpkin to make soup, bread, cheesecake, or curry, one thing is for sure, you’ve probably been ending up with lots of seeds than you know what to do with. The answer–Roast them!

raw pumpkin seeds kabocha squash

Did you know that 1 cup of pumpkin seeds contains about 12 grams of fiber? That’s ridiculous! Not only are these pumpkin seeds tasty, they make a great on-the-go snack when you’re on the run. Pack a bag and carry it in your purse, keep some at your desk and snack on them throughout your day. They’ll curb your hunger and keep you from gravitating towards that tray of holiday cookies that’s been staring at you from the office break room.

Sweet and salty candied pumpkin seeds Continue reading

7 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Granola

Pumpkin Spice Granola with Cranberries and seedsFALL IS HERE.

Well, it’s BEEN here. But now that it’s already Halloween I feel even more guilty that I haven’t posted a single pumpkin recipe yet this fall.

Baked Pumpkin Spice Granola baking sheet

Fall is my favorite season because everything about it just breeds nostalgia. Walking through the chilly San Francisco winds makes me just want to get home as soon as possible, so that I can put on my warm fluffy socks and cuddle up to a cup of hot cocoa. The leaves changing, falling into splashes of reds and golds on the cement sidewalks take me back to the large backyard of my childhood home, where I used to rake up the giant leaves of the Live Oaks watching over me.

Pumpkin Spice Granola TablescapePumpkinSeedGranola

This nostalgia makes us crave comfort foods. Which is why I feel that around this time of year, the baking scene is filled with overly sweet and decadent treats. This is why I have yet to post a pumpkin recipe. With my trip to Miami coming up soon, maybe I don’t want to eat something that will go straight to my thighs.

So I thought of a way to incorporate all the flavors of fall into a baked treat that makes a healthier alternative to the overly decadent pumpkin cakes, pies, cookies and cheesecakes that seem to be closing in on us from every bakery, grocery store and food blog. Continue reading

Soft Hokkaido Milk Bread

Soft Raisin Hokkaido Milk Bread

I grew up eating this stuff.

Utterly soft, pillowy, white, glutinous, and deliciously CARB-y.

Despite my recent efforts to eat healthy and semi-carb free, I could not resist making this recipe when I saw it on Food52.

Hokkaido Milk Bread

Raisin Hokkaido Milk BreadDon’t worry, I was intimidated too. I mean look at it, it looks beautiful, and is probably the softest bread on the face of the earth. About a year ago, during my novice pastry days, I’d perused the web looking for Hokkaido Milk Bread recipes to simply just entertain the thought of taking on such a project.

Fresh Baked Hokkaido Milk Bread LoafFrom cooking the “tangzhong” (I still don’t know the right way to pronounce it in Chinese), to converting metric measures to American cups and teaspoons, you could imagine how intimidated I’d felt to try and recreate my childhood favorite comfort bread.

Tangzhong RouxSo what the heck is tangzhong?

Invented in Taiwan, the use of tangzhong is quite prevalent in many Asian style breads. It is a water roux that is cooked and added to the dough. Because this roux holds a lot of water, it gives the bread the moistness and thus, softness that is so characteristic of Hokkaido Milk Bread.

Hokkaido Milk Bread ToastAnother reason why Hokkaido Milk Bread is so soft, is because of it’s higher fat content. As the name entails, milk is added to the dough instead of water, as well as a good amount of heavy cream.

Let’s just say if you’re trying to get your body in shape for a trip to Miami soon (like I am…) this probably isn’t the best thing to be eating. But who cares, life’s too short to skimp on carbs.

#YOLO

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Wild Blackberry Galette

Wild Blackberry Galette Slice with honey yogurt

This past weekend I made my first galette, a wild blackberry galette to be exact.  What prompted me to take on such an endeavor was a recent camping trip this past weekend. From breathing in the fresh crisp forest air, to being surrounded by giant trees (and wild blackberries) and hearing the gentle ocean waves crashing against the sea cliffs, it sure was nice to be immersed in mother nature’s embrace. 

Okay okay…the trip was more like “GLAM-ping” (a clever term coined by my friend Carline).  Yes, there were tents involved…but there was also a Safeway located less than 15 minutes away, showers with hot water onsite, portable stove, and enough food to feed a small army. Oh and of course copious amounts of s’mores. It was indeed quite the glamorous camping trip. But hey, what do you expect from someone who’s never camped before? 

Wild Blackberries Mendocino CountyNonetheless, I still had the opportunity to get rugged and get some dirt under my nails. While “hiking” along a rather tame trail towards the beautiful Mendocino beach, I discovered a few ladies doing something amongst the thorny bushes. Upon closer examination, I noticed that these thorny bushes were actually wild blackberry vines! Apparently, the locals around here conduct an annual harvest of these sweet and juicy blackberries. Immediately, I got down and dirty and joined them in the harvest. After clumsily pricking myself on the thorns way too many times, I decided to call it quits. I’d only managed to pick a few blackberries, most of which I immediately just threw into my mouth. “Tomorrow will be a new day,” I said to myself. 

Wild Blackberry Galette Slices

The next day, we all decided to go down to the river. Mr. Williams (a gentleman, formerly known as “Boo”) and I decided to do some exploring while our friends did their thing kayaking down the river. Walking along the river, we stumbled upon MORE wild blackberries. These things just grow everywhere! What started out as just having fun picking a few berries here and there to snack on, quickly became a deliberate plan to pick every single ripened berry in our path. 

The motive: to make a blackberry pie. Continue reading

Tarte aux pralines

Tart aux praline slice red

Tart aux pralines assembly

When in Lyon, France, one must try the regional specialty: Tarte aux pralines. These fluorescent red tarts may seem scary at first, but they are actually delicious. The color is actually derived from rose pralines, a Lyonnaise specialty, which are bright pink in color.

Cup of red Rose Pralines

In fact, every patisserie I walked into, specialized in incorporating these pralines into numerous pastries, giving them the characteristic red hue. It’s funny how the color red finds it’s way into traditional recipes, for example: Red Velvet cake, my ultimate comfort food.

Rose Praline Pastries in Lyon

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How to Plate A Dessert

Chocolate Torte with Salted Pear Caramel Sauce and PistachiosEver since working at a restaurant, I’ve learned the importance of how to properly plate a dessert. Think about it, food must be visually appealing before someone’s going to put it in their mouth, especially dessert which is the treat that is savored at the end of a meal. So it needs to look good. A properly plated dessert must have at least 3 components: the dessert, a sauce, a complementary textural element and a garnish.

In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how to plate a dessert using a chocolate cheesecake torte that I recently made for Valentine’s Day (Yes, the Boo loved it very much). Because my torte is rich and creamy, I’ve chosen to go with some crunch for my complementary textural element. If my dessert were crunchy, then I’d go with a softer complementary textural element such as ice cream. Get it? The key is balance and a play on textures.

Here are the different components of my dessert:

-The Dessert: Chocolate Cheesecake Torte
-Sauce: Salted Pear Caramel Sauce
-Complementary textural element: Crushed Pistachios
-Garnish: Whipped Cream

Salted Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Torte, Whipped Cream and Pistachios Continue reading

From San Francisco to Paris

Yesterday, I turned 24.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been bluffing at the fact that I’d be leaving the country soon for my dream city–Paris. I’m sure my friends and family have been tired of hearing it, and so am I. So I did something crazy this morning.

Salted Caramel French Macrons sprinkled with sea salt

Happy Birthday Joyeux Anniversaire to me! I’m going. 

At last. I’ve booked a one way ticket to adventure. It’s funny how birthdays have a way of sparking spontaneous acts. One year older, is one year less I have to cross off those “what-if’s” from my bucket list. Soon, Paris in May can be finally crossed off the list.

French Macarons filled with salted caramel french buttercream Continue reading