dessert

Birthday Extravaganza – Part 2

My coworkers threw me a fiesta! Huge thanks to my department for making this all colorful and having endless amounts of sweets on desk from Snickers bars to donuts to Nothing Bundt Cakes!

Oh and yes, that is a piñata hanging from the ceiling!

One of my coworkers highly encouraged me to take one of those hipster, Pinterest-y pictures with my birthday cake and balloons. It was one hilarious photoshoot taken at work that I could not contain myself. I’m surprised that I didn’t drop the cake!

By the way, the piñata is stuffed with candy! Thanks Eric!

Thanks friends for wearing the party hats and taking a picture with me! Again, many thanks to my department for making my birthday special!

The Crookie

Someone on Facebook shared a link about making crookies. Like everyone else I said, “Say what? What’s a crookie?”. Crookie is half croissant and half cookie. What a crazy concept, huh? I know, I know.

It was not a good idea to have seen a crookie at midnight. Somehow so quickly, I was craving for one at night in the dark under my covers. It was one depressing night as I was hungry for a crookie. I had to sleep my hunger away.

I made time to bake some crookies the weekend after I discovered them. They were overall pretty easy yet a tad bit messy to make. I just bought a roll of Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough and croissant.

I rolled out the dough as flat as I could but it wasn’t that easy. The dough wasn’t soft enough so I couldn’t make it into the perfect triangular shape of the croissant dough. I basically patched the cookie dough onto the croissant.

Then, I rolled them doughs up!

I threw these crookies into the oven for a little more than 13 minutes in 350 degrees. I only say “a little more than” because after 13 minutes, the cookie inside the croissant wasn’t fully baked in my case. I love raw cookie dough (no shame) but it may have been a tad bit too raw. The reason being is probably because in general, these cookies are supposed to be baked in 375 degrees.

I would suggest try baking them for 13 minutes, take a bite and see what you think! If it’s too doughy for you, then stick them in the oven for a few more minutes.

It’s best to try them when they’re fresh because I personally love soft and crispy textures together for dessert. The croissant brought the light crumbly texture but the cookie added the soft and sweet experience out of the crookie. If you eat one when it’s not fresh, it will just taste like your regular chocolate croissant from Starbucks.

Would I make this again? I’m not sure exactly. I’m 50/50 about it. I probably would not because it was a little too messy for me. At the same time, I probably would bake it again so my friends can try. I wanted to share them but I was too scared that it wasn’t going to work out only because it was too good to be true.

Overall, my crookie experience was quite a sweet one. Who knew you could put a croissant and cookie together! Geez, croissants can go with anything like cronuts, croissant sandwiches, and now crookies. Ok, I know croissant sandwiches are desserts but they’re good as sandwiches.

Anyway, I love cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I bought a box to make peanut butter cookies from Target since it was on sale. If you know me, you know that I love cookies. I love them so much that some of my friends call me the Cookie Monster. I’ve come to terms to accept that as a nickname. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite but I still love other kinds.

I left the box in the pantry for several weeks and completely forgot about it. But one night, I somehow remembered that I had bought the box. Right around 8:30pm, I then decided to bake! (I probably should not have baked that late. I try not eat that late. Keyword: try.)

I probably made a little less than two dozen of peanut butter cookies. I could not wait to eat them so I took a bite even though it was extremely hot. I loved every bite of it as it was soft and fresh from the oven!

I’m not much of a baker because of the time it takes to bake and I’m afraid that I will lose self control by devouring all the cookies in one sitting. I’m pretty sure I can do that.

I’m going to try to bake some peanut butter cookies from scratch next time I crave them because they are actually pretty easy to make!

If you are interested in baking from scratch with simple ingredients and instructions, see the recipe below:

  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Preheat oven at 350 degrees
  • Mix all ingredients until smooth
  • Place spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes
  • Eat cookies with a glass of milk

I hope your cookies turn out as nice as the ones from the box or even better!

 

Happy Birthday to Cara & Nathan!

I got home around 5am from my trip to Sacramento. Then I got about 4 hours of sleep and had to get ready for a big Frozen themed birthday party in the morning! My niece, Cara, was turning 5!

And my nephew, Nathan, was turning 4!

There were a lot of fun activities for the kids like a Frozen bounce house, crafts, and games!

Cara was dressed up for this special occasion of hers!

Nathan was also dressed up with his Olaf hat. I think he may have had too much sweets on his birthday. It’s just a thought and observation.

Did you want to build a snowman? Evan sure did!

Instead of pin the tail on the donkey, the kids played pin the carrot nose to Olaf!

If you’re curious, that’s how the cake was made! It was absolutely delicious eating this homemade cake!

My little niece and nephew are growing up so fast. I just can’t believe they’re already four and five years old! Can someone stop the clock from ticking away so quickly? I had a lot of fun watching the kids being kids at the party. I can’t wait to see them continue to grow and share with them stories of when they were this young.

Vampire Penguin

After Briana, Phil, and I grabbed lunch at Bon Mua Vietnamese Restaurant, you know what we were missing? You got it, dessert! We already had in plan what we were going to get and that was shaved ice on a rainy day!

Anytime I hang out with Phil for a catch up session, somehow he always wants shaved ice. In Orange County, we will usually hit up Class 302 or The Balcony. He said he knew the best place for shaved ice in town. He wanted to take me and Briana to Vampire Penguin. It was conveniently located right behind Bon Mua Vietnamese Restaurant. We walked over to the plaza next door in the rain but the rain wasn’t too bad since it was nice to experience some weather change.

When you enter this little dessert shop, you’ll immediately get the vampire and penguin feel. I have no idea how they came up with the concept but I love it. It’s different and cute!

Before ordering, we were mesmerized by the art of shaved ice. I’ve only seen shaved ice shaped like a hill and it’s usually covered in fruit. At Vampire Penguin, shaved ice is taken to another level. I didn’t know this was possible.

The three of us shared a large Tuxedo for $7 and this is how it turned out.

Dun, dun, dun! How amazingly beautiful is that to the hungry eyes? I was definitely not expecting it to look anything like this. Some of the shaved ice places in SoCal need to step up their game!

Who knew you could turn shaved ice into this? Still mind blowing even after trying this and looking at the pictures.

All you need to know about the actual taste is that it is really the best shaved ice ever like Phil said. Due to my lack of imagination of what shaved ice can be like, I initially doubted Phil’s judgment about Vampire Penguin being the best place for shaved ice.

The shaved ice is so much finer and smoother than Class 302 or The Balcony. Imagine how an angel cake is probably one of the lightest and thinnest in texture compared to any other pastry. Well, that’s how the Tuxedo was like. It was so light and thin because of how fine it was. It wasn’t just plain simple condensed milk but it was chocolate shaved ice with chocolate syrup drizzled around it. It didn’t end just there. It was topped with almonds and there were strawberries and marshmallows on the side.

After our first bite of the Tuxedo, Briana and I declared Phil as Snow King! Congratulations Phil! He deserves this title for showing us the best of the best shaved ice places wherever we go!

If you don’t believe me about how good this place is, check out Yelp! They won’t disappoint you with their solid ratings of 4 stars with more than 500 reviews.

Thanks Briana for the last picture and for suggesting Tuxedo! Thanks Phil for treating us out to Vampire Penguin! I will not forget this. I probably won’t try shaved ice in SoCal knowing that there’s always a better one but in NorCal. Le sigh. I’m glad that we were able to continue the tradition of eating shaved ice when we’re hanging out from SoCal to NorCal! Also, thank you for forcing us to get the large when we thought we wouldn’t have space for it in our bellies. Thanks again, Snow King!

 

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates

Briana and I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. We take desserts pretty seriously because it’s what brings complete closure to a meal. After Shoki II Ramen House, we went to Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates in downtown Sacramento. Briana was raving about how good their hot chocolate was. I had to try it myself to see what she was talking about.

I got myself their famous hot chocolate for $4. I was thinking about getting a macaron or some other sweets like a slice of cake or pieces of chocolate but I had to pass. I didn’t think my budget allowed me to treat myself to more sweets.

Let’s start analyzing outwards in of the hot chocolate experience. First off, the cup. When you initially look at the cup, you think it’s just a normal cup with a flat base but it’s slightly shaped like a funnel! There’s more hot chocolate than expected!

Also, I loved how the spoon was placed into the handle of the cup. At first, I thought the cup was uniquely designed just so that the spoon could slip right through the handle but I realized you can do that with any cup. The presentation of the hot chocolate was so sophisticated that every detail of it caught me off guard.

Ok, onto the marshmallows. These aren’t ordinary marshmallows from your local grocery store. They are homemade with love and shaped into abnormally large cubes. The marshmallows add a creamy texture to the hot chocolate. They melt pretty quickly so make sure to get your Instagram picture of the hot chocolate immediately!

Finally, now onto the most important part, the actual hot chocolate. There’s only one thing that needs to be said about this drink and that is, it is rich! The chocolate is dark which gives a bittersweet taste to it. The richness can be overwhelming if you’re not a sweet person. (Did you get that? Pun!) Because the drink is heavy with the chocolate and from the marshmallow, you can get pretty full from it like a latte. I was pretty full from it but it was ok because it was perfect for the cold weather that day in Sacramento.

Thanks Briana for taking me to a hip chocolate shop for some fancy hot chocolate!  Thank you also for the close up picture of those marshies and the selfie stick picture at the end! Selfie stick for the win! Whee!

Dunkin’ Donuts

Everyone in SoCal has been going a little too cray, cray about Dunkin’ Donuts now that it’s finally here! My friends and I went to Whittier to check out what Dunkin’ Donuts is all about since it’s so popular in the east coast.

Not only do they sell donuts and coffee, but they also have breakfast sandwiches! Since it was a little after lunch, I just got myself an iced vanilla coffee and a blueberry donut. I had to get the blueberry donut so I could compare it to other blueberry donuts I’ve tried before.

The iced vanilla coffee was made exactly the way I like it! There was no addition of sugar or cream. It was just the coffee and the vanilla sweetener for a little less than $2. It’s more on the sweeter end for a vanilla coffee compared to Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

The donut wasn’t too exciting, unfortunately. The blueberry flavor was light that you could barely taste it. The donut was like any other typical blueberry donut. They were nothing like the duffins aka blueberry donuts that are like muffins from M & M Donuts. Apparently, the donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts are not anything too special.

I guess I’m not too surprised that it’s a-ok here because Yelp gives them 3 stars with only 60 reviews.

Aside from the coffee and donut, the interior layout had a modern taste to it. They made it comfortable enough for customers to hang out in the area. So comfortable that I made a new friend! This little girl kept looking at me whenever I turned around. She was quite an entertainment as my friends and I were hanging out!

Thanks Stanley for treating us all out! It was good seeing the Lee Family out with us spontaneously!