Amish Friendship Bread

Lorna gave me a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter back in October.  Since then, I had made three batches of this Amish Friendship Bread and shared them with 9 friends.

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This Amish Friendship Bread is more cake like to me. It is moist and taste very good.  The only problem with the recipe is that you’ll end up with 4 bags of starter.  You’ll have to share 3 bags with your friends if you decide to keep one for yourself.  When I took the starter to the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors to share with the seniors, none of them want them.  For those who has so much life experiences, at one point of time, they had tried this Amish Friendship Bread and end up with excess starters that they cant give away as many of their friends already have them.  So, I’m going to change the recipe a bit so that I’ll end up with only one starter to keep the bread rolling.  I hope it works.

Ingredients:

To be added to the starter on the 6th day:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk

To be added to the starter on the 10th day:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I’m going to cut this to 1/2 cup to create only 1 starter)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (I’m going to cut this to 1/2 cup to create only 1 starter)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I’m going to cut this to 1/2 cup to create only 1 starter)

For the bread:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup oil plus 1/2 cup applesauce)
  • 1 cup sugar (I reduced this to 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (I leave this for the chocolate marble loaf)
  • 1 large box of vanilla instant pudding
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (I used vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • optional nuts, dates, dried cranberries, raisins, etc)
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (this is my own addition to create a chocolate marble loaf)

For topping (I left this out for my chocolate marble loaf):

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

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Yavis Club Cheesecake in Union Square, Richmond

It is great working four-day weeks for the rest of the year.

Well, my company is now forcing every employee to clear their accumulated vacation days by the end of the year, saying that if we don’t use it, we will lose it. I used to bring forward 2-3 weeks of accumulated leave every year. So in the effort to clear the days, I decided to take Fridays off for the last 7 weeks of the year.

I did not realize that Fridays are also Suanne’s Cake Meet day with Polly. Suanne was so sweet and decided to spend Fridays with me. So, to make it up to her, I told her I will be her Cake Meet date and we could go to visit the restaurants that are opened in the afternoon and evenings.

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We went to Yavis Club which we heard so much of their cheesecakes. The Yavis Club is located in the Union Square (along Capstan Way) in Richmond.

Yavis Club is opened from 6PM to late on weekdays. On weekends, they open earlier at 3PM.

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Nanzaro decided to tag along on our Cake Meet date. He is just bored to death at home because, well, he had been “discouraged” from playing the PS3 for some “transgressions” (to borrow the word from Tiger Woods).

The 2 year old Yavis Club is painted in a pleasant combination red, black and white with polished concrete floor. It is spacious in here but it also kind of dark.

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The place is very much like a hangout for young Asian girls. We are about the only older customer there. Guys will not be seen in this kind of place if not for bringing their girlfriends here.

As for the menu, it does not have a lot of items but for each item, they have written a story behind it. The menu also described how Yavis came about and that the name is an acronym for “Young, Attractive, Verbal, Intelligent and Successful”. That acronym is based on the book “Psychotherapy: the Purchase of Friendship” by William Scofield.

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Every cheesecake house is judged by how well they make their plain no-frills cheesecake. They name their cheesecake “The White Romance” ($5.25)

It was very good. It has the rich smoothness which melts in your mouth. Suanne loves this but I find it a bit too rich for my liking. It is presented with a flower made of fruity sauce outlined with chocolate.

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Their other signature item is called the “Rainbow After The Dark” ($6.25). It is actually not a cheesecake in the true sense but instead it is … (more…)

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Toffee Apple Cake

Chris shared this Toffee Apple Cake recipe with the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors as dessert.  According to Chris, this cake is tops.  The best part is we can make most out the local apples in the fall.

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This Toffee Apple Cake is very moist and almost custard like.  The toffee bits topping add some crunch to it. This is certainly not a dietary kind of dessert.  Well, it’s ok to let ourselves indulge for a treat once in a while.

Chris and Paul worked on this dessert.  This recipe serves 24.

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Five Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug

I just received this recipe from my friend, Jean.  It has a very captivating title which is “The Most Dangerous Cake Recipe in the World”.  I thought of sharing this with chowtimes readers.

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This looks like any ordinary chocolate cake but it is made in the microwave oven in 5 minutes.  What makes it so dangerous is that you can have this indulgences whenever you have a crave and it can be prepared so easily and so quickly.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 4 tablespoons flour (Nanzaro preferred 3 tablespoons  of flour for a more denser texture like brownies)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
  • a small splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 large coffee mug

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Dulcinea Chocolate Cafe on Denman, Vancouver

Updated 30th Oct 2010: this restaurant is closed.

You guys remember Rey? Well … if you remember, he’s the one who promised to bring us on a culinary adventure of Filipino cuisine. Rey is a Filipino community advocate and he wanted to create awareness of the third largest visible minority community in Vancouver by encouraging the creation of local Filipino content on the internet.

Last month, Rey introduced to us the Chinese Filipino food by bringing us to Little Ongpin in Richmond. In the second leg of the adventure, Rey next introduced us to Spanish Filipino food.

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The Dulcinea Chocolate Cafe is located on Denman in Vancouver Westside. We were met by Mari and David, who opened this delightful outlet with their daughter since October 2008. So this place is just 6 months new. Mari and David are both of Spanish descent from the Philippines. Mari told us she is a chocolate lover … and the place was started out of her love of chocolates! She’s so friendly and approachable that I can see that she connects to her customers very well.

I was told by Rey that pure Spanish Filipino makes up only 2% of the population in the Phillipines. Despite the low number, the Spanish has a lasting influence in the Filipino culture having colonized the country for 333 years. That is why most of the Filipino names are Spanish names.

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When Rey suggested Dulcinea and raved about their Hot Chocolate, we initially thought “what’s the big deal”? We soon changed our perception of hot chocolates after this experience.

The name Dulcinea came from the name of Don Quixote’s true love in the novel of the same name. We had always thought that Dulcinea was pronounced as Doo-See-Nea. A big sign on the wall says “Doo-see-nay-ah”. You learn something new everyday. The name Dulcinea means overly elegant sweetness — a perfect name for a chocolate cafe.

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Dulcinea started off as a Spanish Chocolate Bar in the Vancouver Westside neighborhood. Mari told us that the place evolved quickly since they started six month ago … from starting to serve tapas, then soup, sandwiches … and Dulcinea took life on its own when customers requested for certain food and Dulcinea responded.

We went to Dulcinea at 4PM. It’s an odd hour, I know but Rey wanted us to treat this like a Merienda. I had always heard that the Spanish culture has a really odd day … like taking a nap after lunch, having dinner at 9:30PM and Meriendas in between meal times.

We half expected the place to be empty at 4PM and thought that Rey suggested that time because Mari and David would be the least busiest. We were amazed that even at 4PM, Dulcinea was packed … with people … having … Merienda! The crowd actually taper off at about 5’ish.

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This is it … the above is what Dulcinea is famous for. Their signature Hot Chocolate which is called the 1528. It is a shot of thick chocolate. It is like the espresso of chocolates … but much more thicker. Any thicker it would not be drinkable! Even the spoon provided is designed to scrap off the thick chocolates from the sides of the cup.

The 1528 costs $2 per shot. If you have never tried it before, go to the counter and ask for a small sample. They pass out samples and once you take a sip, you’ll probably want one for your own.

Now … if you want a solo cup of the 1528 … listen here … FOR FREE … just go and tell Mari, David or whoever at the counter that “Chowtimes Loves Xocolatl” and you will receive a solo cup of the 1528. Serious! I suggested to Mari and David that they put in a little fun promotion to benefit readers of chowtimes and was surprised to hear a yes from them. I suggest you know what a Xocolatl is (see below) and how it is pronounced (pronounced as choco-latl).

Consider this is like Suanne and I buying you a cup of hot chocolate. 🙂

Update 05-Apr-2009: The offer for the free 1528 had now expired. Mari and David expressed their thanks to everyone who had taken time to visit their store and tried the 1528. However, Dulcinea will continue to offer samples of the 1528 (just not a solo cup of it). There could be more offers coming. Just stay tuned. I hope those who had the 1528 enjoyed it!

Oh … 1528 … that is the year that the Spanish took cocoa from Mexico and shipped it back to Spain. That year was the start of Europe’s love of chocolates. Nice name, I thought.

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If you’re not into thick hot chocolates, there is the Classico … a more watered down version but still really rich and creamy.

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I had the Hot Chocolate with Chai. These are not very large cups like I am used to (i.e. we drink Milo at home and we make really big cups and gulp them down real fast). Here I find that I took my time to savour every sip.

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The Xocolatl (how do one pronounce that again?) is quite exciting. I’ve never seen a dried chili served with hot beverage before. This one is a hot chocolate with chili nutmeg and cinnamon. The chili wasn’t that hot. Be brave and go try that one. You’ll probably love the contrasting flavours here.

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What’s chocolate without fondue? It’s something about fondue that makes it the favourite of just about everyone. I think it’s because it’s a fun food to have with friends. We noticed that the grapes were frozen … not sure why only the grapes were frozen while the banana and strawberry wasn’t.

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Besides the delightful hot chocolates, Dulcinea has absolutely the best cakes and pastries one could find in Vancouver. This is coming from our resident cakes fan, Suanne. Our fav has got to be the Lava Blanco above which is chocolate mousse with white choc inside of it.

Instead of ordering each item by itself, we actually ordered the sampler which gives us a little of everything we wanted. (more…)

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Crispy Red Bean Cake

While Minoo’s Salmon and Potato Chowder is in the making, Heidi showed us how to make a Taiwanese Crispy Red Bean Cake. We had to have both the demonstrations going at the same time as it takes time for both to be ready in the 2 hours of the community kitchen. Sometimes, I could miss a picture here and there but I always try my best to capture all the critical steps.

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This Crispy Red Bean Cake is crispy on the outside and yet creamy and lightly chewy inside. The trick to have a crispy crust is to bake it at higher temperature first and then turn the temperature down later so that the crust will not burn.

Ingredients

  • 400g glutinous rice flour
  • 4 tablespoons rice flour
  • 4 tablespoons wheat starch
  • 2 tablespoons custard powder
  • 100g instant coconut powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 200g red bean paste

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p/s: the brown sugar was missing in the photo.

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Steamed Fatt Ko

This post is for Carol. She asked for a recipe of steamed cake. I’m not sure if this is exactly what’s in her mind but nevertheless, as Chinese New Year is approaching, steaming some Fatt Ko seems to fit the festivities. Fatt Ko in Cantonese sounds like rise and high which is what Chinese wishes one another during Chinese New Year.

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The Fatt Ko did not rise as much as it should be because I ran short of the double-acting baking powder. Anyway, I love the taste and texture of these Fatt Ko.

Ingredients

Starter:

  • 200g Hong Kong flour (I used all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 150ml water

Dough:

  • 250g Hong Kong flour
  • 20g double-acting baking powder (I used only 12g as that all I have in my pantry)
  • 160ml water
  • 200g brown sugar or gula melaka (I used brown sugar)

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If done properly, the Fatt Go should rise very high and the top will split. The Fatt Go is a little chewy and denser than it should be. It also has a yeasty flavour to it as Nanzaro said it’s like eating Man Tau (in his words, eating Char Siu Pau without the char siu).

Click on Read More for the instructions.

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Eggless Brownie

When I met up with Karen Dar Woon at the Squash workshop, I asked her if she has a recipe for Eggless Brownie which Dalia requested some time earlier. Karen gave me this recipe.

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This is more like a rich chocolate cake as it lacks the density of a brownie made with eggs. Nevertheless, Nanzaro had made this a couple of times himself as he likes this Eggless Brownies.

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Danish Brovst Dream Coffee Cake

For dessert, Charlene, Frank and Karen made this Danish Brovst Dream Coffee Cake. As it was Minoo’s birthday, this cake also serves as her birthday cake.

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This cake has a topping of baked coconut flakes which resembles little ant and hence this cake is also known as “ant cake”. This cake is dense and sweet.

Ingredients

  • 250g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 50g (about 3 tablespoons +1 teaspoon) butter or margarine
  • 300g (about 1.5 cups) sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • 3 teaspoons (15ml) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling:

  • 125g (1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons) butter or margarine
  • 100g grated coconut
  • 250g brown sugar (275ml packed or 1 1/8 cup packed)
  • 50ml milk

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Click on Read More for the instructions.

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Ma Lai Ko Cup Cakes

The next dessert which Ming made is Ma Lai Ko Cup Cakes. I had blogged about two versions of Ma Lai Ko here and here but Ming’s recipe is slightly different. Ming’s version of Ma Lai Ko is steamed in paper cup and it only takes 10 minutes to steam. This recipe is very handy when you have unexpected guests.

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Ming made 2 versions of Ma Lai Ko Cup Cakes, one regular flavour and another with grated Parmesan cheese. The one with the Parmesan cheese has a stronger flavour and I’ll bet Arkensen will like this version as he is a cheese lover.

Ingredients

  • 100g all purpose flour
  • 50g castor sugar (was substituted with granulated sugar)
  • 60g egg
  • 70g water
  • 5g baking powder
  • 10g grated Parmesan cheese or custard powder (optional)
  • sweetened dried cranberries for garnishing

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Click on Read More for the instructions.

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