Chocolate Soufflé Cookies

These chocolate soufflé cookies are pretty much my favorite cookies.  They are so simple, made with just a few ingredients and yet have such deep rich delicate flavors.  It is like eating brownies, chocolate macaroons and cookies all at the same time.  Isn’t that amazing?

A big plus benefit for these cookies is that they don’t require any flour, which means they are gluten free! 

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If you frequent a coffee shop or bakery, you might have noticed there are always “flourless chocolate cookies” displayed on the shelves, which look so fancy and delicate, and of course, so expensive too. 

Yep, they are the chocolate soufflé cookies we are making here today.  Let’s get started!

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The recipe is adapted from:https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/chocolate-souffle-cookies.  Many thanks and appreciation to the original author!

 

Ingredients :

1 cup dark chocolate chips/ pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
a few drops of lemon juice / white vinegar
3/4 cup finely chopped walnut

****Tip:Chocolate is the most important ingredient in this recipe.  Chocolate determines the finished cookies’ flavor and texture.  The better quality the chocolate is, the better taste the cookies will be. 

I use 90% cacao chocolate.  If you prefer sweeter taste, 70% to 80% will be great too.  ****

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F/ 176C

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  It might seem lumpy at first.

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In a few minutes, the chocolate will become silky and smooth.

With a sharp knife, finely chop the walnut.

Add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to the egg whites.  With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites at low speed for a couple minutes.  Add 1/3 of the sugar, continue to whisk at medium speed for a minute.  Repeat the process until all the sugar is added and egg white is stiff.

With a silicone spatula, fold the chopped walnuts into chocolate mixture.

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Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites.

It might be a bit dry and hard at first. 

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This is what it looks like after I fold in the first 1/3 egg whites.

Add another 1/3 egg whites, and fold in very gently.

Continue folding the remaining egg whites, along with vanilla extract. 

The batter should be smooth and shiny.

Transfer the batter to a large piping bag.

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Pipe the cookie dough to a cookie pan lined with silicone baking mat.  Each drop of cookie dough is about 3 tablespoons and 1 1/2 inches apart from each other.

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Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Wait for the cookies to cool on the cookie pan.  Carefully remove them with a spatula.

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And now go make yourself a fresh pot of black coffee and enjoy these heavenly chocolate soufflé cookies!  O(∩_∩)O~

Merry 2018 Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Homemade Wontons with Pork, Shrimps, and Shiitake Mushrooms with Chili Sauce

Wontons and dumplings are two of the most popular and widely popular breakfast choices across the whole mainland China.  There are restaurants, diners, food vendors selling all kinds of wontons.

 But the best ones are not always found in fancy and expensive restaurants, but on the streets.  Some food vendors and small diners have been making and selling wontons for generations.  Years of experience make them experts in very single steps of making wontons from broth to seasoning.

I learned how to make wontons by eating them for breakfast for a long time.  The best ones are freshly made, cooked and served.  So a lot of wonton restaurants have been wrapping and cooking nonstop since they open the door in early morning.  During my wait, I always peeked through kitchen window to see how it is done. 

I did that out of bore and curiosity at first, but soon I got attracted and fascinated watching the cooks in kitchen wrapping wontons at lightning speed. 

A bowl of good wonton soup is made up with freshly made wontons and seasonings.  Both are equally important to how the final product taste.

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Ingredients:

200 g ground pork
160 to 200g fresh shiitake mushrooms
10 to 12 fresh shrimps, peeled, divined and chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1 egg white
a few drops of sesame oil
salt to taste
1 package of wonton wraps (sold in most Asian grocery markets)

 

Directions:

These are not regular shiitake mushrooms.  They are smaller in size but packed with intense earthy mushroom aroma.  They have signature cracks on the caps.

Use a damp kitchen paper towel to wipe clean the shiitake mushrooms.  In Asia, people believe rinsing fresh mushrooms under running water could ruin their delicate aroma.  The best way to clean them is with damp cloth or paper towel. 

However, there is too much dirt on the bottoms of shiitake mushrooms.  I have to rinse them to get rid of all the dirt.

Add cleaned shiitake mushrooms to a food processor and finely chop them.  

In a large bowl, add chopped shiitake mushrooms, shrimps, and ground pork, along with oyster sauce, rice cooking wine, ground white pepper, ginger, starch, egg white and sesame oil.

Whisk with a pair of chop sticks or wooden spoon clockwise for7 to 8 minutes, or until the filling becomes smooth and silky.

Season with salt to taste.

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Add a couple teaspoons of filling to one edge of a wonton wrap.

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Roll the wonton half way through, and then pull both ends towards center and overlap them.  Brush with a bit of water or egg wash so that wonton will keep its shape.

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Repeat the process until all the filling is finished.

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Add wontons to a large pot of boiling water.  Cook until all wontons float to surface.   In between, when the water boils again, add 1 cup of cold water to the pot.  Repeat the process one more time later when the water boils again.  Adding cold water to a boiling pot is a traditional Chinese way to cook dumplings and wontons, so that the wontons can be fully cooked without the outside wraps getting too soggy and mushy. 

Add wontons along with a ladle or two broth to a bowl.  Some of my favorite seasonings are but not limited to: sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic water, Sichuan pepper oil, chili oil sauce, vinegar, chopped picked vegetables, chopped pickled daikon, green onion, cilantro, and crushed dry roasted peanuts.

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With a spoon, gently toss everything together.

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Bon appetite! O(∩_∩)O~

Stewed Rice with Chinese Sausages and Shiitake Mushrooms

中文菜谱: 香肠香菇油饭

I make this dish whenever I am don’t have much time to cook but still want to have a good home cooked meal, or when I am just simply too lazy to prepare several courses.  O(∩_∩)O~

In one single pan, sausages provide protein; rice provides carbohydrate and shiitake mushrooms provide vitamins.  What more does one need? 

Ingredients:

2 cups of short grain rice
250 to 300g fresh shiitake mushrooms (sold in most Asian grocery markets)
1 package of Chinese sausages (12 oz. sold in most Asian grocery markets)
1 small onion
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4  teaspoon five spice powder
2 gloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
chicken broth/ water (about 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups)
salt to taste

 

Directions:

Use a damp kitchen paper towel to wipe clean the shiitake mushrooms.  In Asia, people believe rinsing fresh mushrooms under running water could ruin their delicate aroma.  The best way to clean them is with damp cloth or paper towel. 

When shopping in Asian grocery market, remember to get the sausages from Canton or Hong Kong areas.  They usually taste a bit both sweet and savory, which makes them perfect for stewing together with rice and mushrooms.

Dice the mushrooms, onion and sausages.  

Heat a wok over high heat.  Add oil and diced sausages.  Stir fry until the sausages turn golden brown.

I use a Staub perfect pan for the dish.  It is very sturdy and heats evenly, which is perfect for Asian style sauté, stir fry and stew. 

Add minced garlic and chopped onion.  Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion turns soft and transparent. 

Add white rice, sauté for a couple minutes.  The rice should be evenly coated with oil and liquid in the pan. 

Add chopped shiitake mushrooms, along with oyster sauce, ground white pepper, five spice powder and salt.  Continue to sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes. 

Add chicken broth / water.

When it comes to a boil, cover with lid.  Reduce the heat to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked all the way through. 

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The combination of Chinese sausages, shiitake mushrooms and rice smells really good!

With a wooden spoon, gently mix everything together.

Serve hot immediately.

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Chocolate Marshmallows

中文菜谱: 巧克力棉花糖

When we were living in Michigan, we went camping a lot in the summer time.  And we always built a camp fire by the lake.  It was for fun, but also for cooking and grilling too. O(∩_∩)O~

Camp fires in summer night were really beautiful.  Firewood we bought was mostly pinewood.  It gave out a very pleasant aroma when burning. 

Michigan has some of the purest lakes I have ever seen.  Many lakes in northern Michigan are crystal clear.  We were lucky to have seen some peaceful and sparkling night sky like this. 

We built camp fires in day time too, mostly for cooking and grilling. 

(For one of detailed camping trip journals, go to:Interlochen camping & boatinghttps://www.yankitchen.com/english-blog/camping5

I learn from our many camping trips that camp fire is very essential to a successful camping trip.  The fire provides warmth and light during long nights and also good for cooking and grilling in the daytime.  And s’more is the most perfect dessert by the fire.  Any camping trips with camping fire and fire-roasted marshmallows cannot be considered perfect. O(∩_∩)O~

It takes patience and experience to roast the marshmallows.  These cute tiny fluffy candies are very easy to burn.  If not roasted enough, the chocolate in the s’more would not melt. 

So I have been thinking what if I can add chocolate into the marshmallows?  By doing so, the marshmallows and chocolate would be roasted at the same time, so that they should both melt perfectly. 

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The marshmallow recipe is adapted from Atlon Brown from Foodnetwork (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-marshmallows-recipe-1953933).  I use 2/3 of all ingredients from original recipe, and make a little bit change.

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Ingredients:

2 packages of plain gelatin (7g / package)
2/3 cold water
8 oz granulated sugar(about 227g)
2/3 light corn syrup
a pinch salt
2/3 teaspoon coffee rum
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 cup 60% cocoa chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Add 1/3 cup cold water to stand mixer’s mixing bowl.  Sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Let it stand for 5 minutes.

Shift both corn starch and powdered sugar together.

 Grease a glass container on bottom and sides.  And then coat with starch sugar mixture. 

Add the remaining 1/3 cup cold water to a small pot, along with sugar, corn syrup and salt. 

Cook over medium heat.

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Cook until the candy thermometer shows syrup reaches 240F/ 115.5C. Remove from heat.  

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Turn the stand mixer on low speed.  Gradually add sugar syrup down the side of bowl.  Be sure not to pour the syrup on the moving whisk.  The hot syrup could be very dangerous to anyone standing nearby. 

When all the syrup is added to stand mixer bowl, turn the speed to its highest to whisk for 12 to 15 minutes.  The longer it whisks, the firmer marshmallows would be. 

Add chocolate chips in the last minute.

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With a greased spatula, scrape marshmallow mixture to prepared container.  Level the top with spatula and then sprinkle a thin layer of starch sugar mixture.

Let the marshmallow mixture cool for a few hours or overnight before cut it with a sharp knife.

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It has been very fun to make marshmallows from scratch.

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Roast chocolate over charcoal fire.  Guess what?  It turns out awesome!  Both marshmallow and chocolate chips are roasted and melt perfectly!   

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How good does that look? O(∩_∩)O~