The Chewiest Cookie EVER.

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There are millions and millions of chocolate chip cookies out there. You can find some for crunchy, some for hard, some for milk chocolate chunks, some for white chocolate chips…

I like my cookies CHEWY. It just feels like there’s more to the cookie than just a crunchy bite. Maybe it’s just because I have sensitive teeth, or that I hate getting crumbs everywhere, but oh boy, if there’s a chewy cookie, it’s MINE.

You can use this cookie mix as the basis of any cookie recipe, just add whatever nut or chocolate you’d like in it, and it still has the same chewy goodness!


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I adapted the ingredients from a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut recipe online. The change I made was the amount of time you bake it for, and when you rotate the pan while it’s baking (which is really important if you want your cookies chewy!)

So here’s my not-so-secret recipe. Enjoy! 😀

P.S. I just started a new Facebook page for RhythmNoms. Check it out, it’s at 500 likes already, woohoo! Thanks so much for your support 🙂 

Ingredients (Makes 4 Dozen Cookies):

1 Cup softened butter

¾ Cup light brown sugar (You can use normal brown sugar too, your cookies will just look darker)

½ Cup white sugar

2 Eggs

1 Tsp vanilla

2 ½ Cups all-purpose flour

1 Tsp baking soda

½ Tsp salt

OPTIONAL: Add anything you want for texture (chocolate chips, nuts, etc.). 1 cup of dry ingredients usually works, but I like my cookies with LOTS of chips and nuts 😉

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F

2. In a large bowl, cream together brown sugar, white sugar, and butter with an electric mixer

3. Beat in eggs 1 at a time and stir in the vanilla

4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt on a separate sheet of parchment paper

5. Mix in the flour mixture into the creamed mixture 1 cup at a time

6. Using a rubber spatula (or your hand if you like to get messy), fold in the extra ingredients of your choice

7. Drop onto cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart. I used an ice cream scooper to make the shape of my cookies consistent and round

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*IMPORTANT STEP* 8. Bake the cookies for 6 minutes. Rotate the pan. Bake for another 7 minutes or until lightly brown on the edges

*Of course, every oven varies in strength and temperature. This is just what works with my oven, so experiment with how your cookies turn out in your own oven!

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MacaRONS vs. MacaROONS

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Let’s get this straight…MacaRONS are NOT. I REPEAT NOT. The same as MacaROONS.

1. MACARONS are the beautiful French cookies that have a hard shell on the outside, and a chewy almond center. They also sandwich a layer of buttercream or ganache, which helps give the shell a richer flavour.

2. MACAROONS are just normal COCONUT cookies.

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So now that we’ve got that cleared up, here’s my macaron story.

I. FINALLY. DID. IT.

I can’t believe this actually happened, but my dream FINALLY came true….my macarons came out of the oven looking NORMAL. This is my third attempt at making these little devils. There is so much technique that goes into making them, and I haven’t felt such a rush of accomplishment for a very long time.

So here are a couple photos of my previous disasters with making macarons. I KID YOU NOT…this is the hardest dessert to ever make because every little measurement and combining technique counts!

Batch #1:…I don’t even know what this is. The macaron had skirts instead of feet, and the top was so thin that it was just flaky…I ended up making green tea dough balls with the rest of the batter.

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Batch #2: My macarons rose up this time at least. However, the tops of the macarons looked bubbly, almost as if I fried them. The skirts were huge and didn’t look as elegant as I wanted them to be. They actually look kind of like egg balls that you can’t get form the night market.

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BATCH #3: SUCCESSSSS!

IMG_3605The feet came up just a little too skirt like, but the texture of the cookie was BEAUTIFUL! I’m so obsessed with making them now that I made a Nutella batch the next day. This time, the feet rose up perfectly.

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It’s not the ingredients that make a macaron hard to make, it’s the technique of combining those ingredients in the right way. For most meringue recipes, they usually stress the fact that you always have to incorporate air with big strokes when mixing ingredients to the meringue. That’s what I did in the first 2 tries, which is why they NEVER ROSE PROPERLY.

What you’re SUPPOSED to do when making these little cookies is to COMPRESS the meringue. I’m so glad that everything finally worked out, now I have macarons to eat everyday :’D

I’ll be revealing the recipe tomorrow, so make sure you check back! Meanwhile take a look at my other new post: From Hobby to “Part-time Job” to see where RhythmNoms is at and what upcoming events there are for AIESEC SFU 🙂

 

From Hobby to “Part-Time Job”

So this baking thing has kind of turned itself from a hobby to a “part-time job.” It all started with posting a few pictures here and there on my Instagram or Facebook, accounts…and then I started to get messages from friends and family asking if I could make a cake or cater for their next event…and now my calendar is packed with at least 3 orders every week! I started a new calendar just for my baking because it was getting a bit hectic, haha.

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 2.52.22 PMI must say, it does feel great doing what I love for a little reward. I even revamped one of the business card designs I did in my graphic design class at SFU (IAT 102) to fit my RhythmNoms brand.

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I apologize for not having posted for a while, but I’ve been working on perfecting a couple recipes so that I can have a few signature treats that make RhyhmNoms stand out from the crowd. Specifically, I’ve decided to explore the art of MACARON MAKING. However, that’s a topic for another post. Let’s keep the suspense for the upcoming week shall we? 😉

So my first ever order to be invoiced is from AIESEC SFU. AIESEC is student organization recognized worldwide for its well-established exchange program for university students. Not only do students receive the opportunity to volunteer or work abroad, but they are also invited to many international leadership conferences as well.

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On Wednesday June 18th, AIESEC SFU will be hosting a drop-in event called the “Global Impact Fair” in the Academic Quadrangle. You’ll be able to learn how to secure an international exchange in the future, listen to other students’ testimonials about their exchange experiences, and most importantly, grab a RhythmNoms cupcake while you’re at it!

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For more info, visit their Facebook event. If you can’t attend that day, that’s okay because you can sign up for more info on their website as well!

I’ve been on several international exchanges myself, and I must admit, you learn SO MUCH MORE just by being in a foreign environment than by sitting in a lecture hall. My cupcakes and I are ready to see you on Wednesday! 😀

Fondant Covered Cakes

Wow, the past few weeks have been so hectic, literally cake after cake after cake! I want to share with all of you my experience with decorating a cake with fondant. I’ve talked about fondant toppers before, but this time, it’s covering up the ENTIRE cake to create a very smooth surface. Fondant is really fun to work with, but it can also be very tricky!

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For my parent’s anniversary, they wanted something that could feed a hundred + people. My oven was on from 6pm to 12am the night before…I wonder what the electricity bill looks like for this month! It definitely took a long time to make this 3-tiered cake because it was my first time working with fondant, but it really paid off in the end!

To end off with a smooth surface on your cakes, it’s really important to know how to frost and put on fondant fondant properly. Here’s how I did it for both a wedding and a birthday cake:

WEDDING CAKE

For the wedding cake I made a cake with 3 tiers. Traditionally, wedding cakes are meant to be pure and white, which is where I got the idea of using fondant. The cake itself was so white and beautiful! It was a typical asian spongecake, and it was SO fluffy and light! I’ll post the recipe up soon 😉

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1. Place parchment paper around where your cake is going to be. This helps keep the platform clean and presentable because all the excess icing will be lifted off when you pull away the parchment paper at the end

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2. Ice the space inside the wax paper. This is so that your cake will actually stay on the platform when you transport it instead of slipping around. We don’t want our tall cake to fall now!

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3. Place down the first layer, and begin frosting the top. Once the frosting is about 0.5-1 cm thick (depends how you like it), add the second layer of cake on top and press down

*Note: For the second tier of cake, I just put my whole cake on a large piece of wax paper, and used a cake transfer to move the cake onto the bottom tier. If your cake is just one layer, it’s easier to use parchment paper that can be pulled apart, like what I did above

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4. Apply a coat of frosting over the entire cake. This is called a crumb coat because it locks all the crumbs into the first layer frosting, making it cleaner and easier when you apply the second coat. In my case, however, I covered my cake with fondant so I didn’t need to apply a second coat. Make sure that the coat of icing is flat, because if it has a lot of bumps or is uneven, it will show on your fondant!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture at the end of this stage, but you can see what the cake is supposed to look like 3 pictures down in the background.

5. Make sure your table is generously covered with powdered sugar to prevent the fondant from sticking to the table when you knead it. Once the fondant is soft enough, begin rolling outwards in all directions

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6. Once the fondant is about 0.4cm thick, trim the fondant so that it is roughly 1.5 times bigger than your cake

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7. Place the rolling pin gently in the middle of the fondant, and pull over half the fondant. You want to do so gently or else the pin will make a dent in the fondant

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8. Use your right hand to hold the rolling pin, and the left hand to lift the fondant from the bottom. Place it carefully over the cake and make sure the middle of the fondant lines up with the middle of the cake. This will give you even sides to work on when you are smoothing out the fondant onto the cake

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9. Use a fondant smoother to press down the sides. This creates a smoother fondant surface, and also helps the fondant to cling onto the icing of the cake.

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10. Use a pizza/fondant roller to trim the excess fondant off

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11. If you accidentally trimmed too high, or some of your edges are rough, don’t worry! You can cover it up with ribbon, icing stars, or even another strip of fondant to hide it

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12. Just keep stacking cake on top of cake, and voila! You’ve made yourself a multi-tiered cake

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Since it was almost Mother’s Day, I used carnations to decorate. Even though the cake was rather short for a wedding, I was glad the flowers put some life into it!

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What the inside of the cake looked like

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BIRTHDAY CAKE

So one day, my friend came up to me asked, “Hey I’m planning a surprise birthday for my boyfriend, can you help me make the cake?” I was SUPER excited because:

1. I was glad that my friend trusted me enough to let me bake this special cake :’D

2. This is another chance for me to make a big cake and practice my fondant skills

3. It’s my first time customizing a cake to a design she gave me! I think my drawing and design skills really helped haha.

I followed the same steps I did for the wedding cake. However, the shape of this cake was more challenging to work with because it had a lot more places where I had to be careful how I wrapped the fondant. Practice makes perfect, and I could definitely tell because decorating this cake took me half the amount of time it did for the wedding cake!

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Notice that I pulled off the wax paper strips and my cake board was still super duper clean 😉

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It’s hard to dust the surface of coloured fondant because it shows really easily, especially over a dark colour of fondant. Clean off the excess powdered sugar and touch up on some rough edges to get a smooth, fine finish on your decoration.

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And the birthday boy himself!

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Band Competition 2014

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The past few weekends have been VERY busy. I’m part of my air cadet squadron’s marching band, and we’ve been practicing every weekend for hours on end trying to perfect our routine for the Lower Mainland Band Competition.

Music has always been a big part of my life (well, my name IS Rhythm after all). Without band, I would’ve never had any interest at all to join cadets. Every year, around 15-20 sea, army, and air cadet bands compete for the much coveted, “A” Division trophy. I was privileged enough to be chosen as the parade commander for the awards ceremony, which basically meant that I had to deliver commands to 1000 cadets…talk about losing my voice!

After *500 HUNDRED 25 THOUSAND 6 HUNDRED MINUTTEESESS* (haha you see what I did there? ;)) of extremely hard work by the cadets of the band, I’m proud to say that WE WON BAND COMPETITION THIS YEAR WOOHOO! and EVERYONE knows that when there is celebration, there’s always CAKE! I went a little crazy today, but after 5 hours, I have finally baked enough for everyone in the band, which is around 70 cupcakes!

IMG_0638I only realized how big my squadron’s band actually was when I got the chance to see the replay of our band competition routine. Just look at that beautiful trophy :’)

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If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do! It’s worth every minute, trust me 😉

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Song/Drill Selections:
1. Mission Theme 
2. Howl’s Moving Castle – Waltzing in circles

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3. A Bridge Too Far
4. Across The Stars (From Star Wars) – Wifi
5. Seasons of Love (From Rent) – Circle bursting and forming into “759”

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Thank you cadets of 759 for leaving me with such a wonderful gift in my last year as an air cadet! I can’t wait to see what you guys have in store for next year 🙂

Cheers!

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*Band photo and video credits to Mr. Eugenio Cordeiro

Fondant Art

Fondant is a common ingredient when it comes to beautifying the appearance of cakes and desserts. It’s the baker’s “play dough” that allows room for creativity when it comes to decorations.

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of making a cupcake for my friend’s cadets age-out. An age-out is basically the “graduation” of a cadet from the cadet program. Unfortunately, it happens to everyone on the day they turn 19…my turn is soon 😦

So in order to make the cupcake extra special, I tried to make a fondant figure of him! It was really fun to make because fondant is so flexible. You can buy white fondant from the store and colour it with any colour you want too.

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The following are just a couple pictures that outlines the steps I took into making a figure of my friend and also, Olaf! Enjoy, and please let me know about your own fondant adventures!

Tips and Tricks for Colouring:

1. Always use colouring gel for fondant! Liquid colouring makes a runny mess, and is always too thin to get the colour that you want

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2. To colour, roll white fondant into a ball

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3. Dip a toothpick into the colour, stab it into the fondant ball, and then pull it out

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4. In order to minimize the amount of colouring that gets on your hands, follow these steps:

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5. Keep on folding the fondant until you end up with an evenly coloured ball

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Tips and Tricks for Making Figures:

1. Roll fondant into balls to start

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2. Make your shapes! Use your fingers, palms, or any tools you can find, such as forks, knives, and fondant tools

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3. To hold together the shapes, use 3 toothpicks for more traction

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Here’s some shots from when I made Gloria’s birthday cake.

*Sorry for the mediocre camera quality, I didn’t have a good camera back then!

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Coffee Bean Cookies

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all studying hard for your exams. Although it’s important to make use of every minute to stuff that textbook in your memory, it’s always good to relax and get some oxygen into your brain!

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You’re probably thinking, “How do you have so much time to bake during exam season?” Well, I’m “lucky” to have had all my exams within the span of 4 days, which ended last Tuesday. It was stressful, but at least now I’m stress-free to do whatever I want 🙂

So today, I bring to you my newest creation, Coffee Bean Cookies! Whether you’re on the go or needing something to munch on for late-night study sessions, this is the perfect treat to get your caffeine fix!

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Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Flour

2 Tbspn Cocoa Powder

1/4 Tspn Baking Powder

1 pack of Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee Powder

A pinch of salt

2 Tbspn Softened Butter

3 Tbspn White Sugar

1/8 Egg

*These measurements make 53 coffee bean cookies. The numbers look a bit weird because they’re actually cut from a recipe for regular cocoa cookies. Of course, you can always double or triple this recipe to make 100s of coffee bean cookies!

Procedure:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Then, add the egg and mix well

3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, instant coffee powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients

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4. Form the dough into tiny ovals on a baking sheet. *Be sure to size the ovals so that they are 3/4 as small as the size you want them to be after they bake. They WILL expand when they bake, so make them smaller just to be on the safe side

5. Using a tooth pick, lightly press on the surface of each oval to make the “dents” that coffee beans usually have. Since the cookies expand when they bake, make the dent at least half the thickness of the cookie

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6. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. If your cookies expand too much and the dents end up being non-existent, you can take them out at the halfway mark (5 minutes) and remake the dents

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IMG_6332Happy studying and I hope these goodies help keep your mind awake! 🙂