Despite the reality that I’ve been working and living in Taiwan for a handful of years now, I still can’t get over the fact that we have to work on Christmas Day (and New Year’s Eve!) But, I took some solace in my friend Peggy’s reminder that holiday spirit can be 24/7, 365 days a year. So even though some of my holiday baking was late this year, I still got into the spirit of things the weekend before and after Christmas.
回台灣這幾年 還是很難習慣在聖誕節跟跨年夜要很正經的上班 （而且事情還比以往的多！） 所以除非很努力的調整心態 其實很難有 “holiday cheer” 的感覺。 當然行事曆不配合 就要靠自己的努力來營造一個歡樂的氛圍了。 我往年都會覺得 “等到搬到大一點的房子再來佈置聖誕樹” 今年就不一樣 買了一棵小小的聖誕樹佈置 請朋友幫忙做小的 ornaments~ 放在家裡裡面 每一晚回家時， 看到閃閃發亮的燈 也是覺得很幸福。 而且我也很幸運 我周邊的朋友都很跟我一起享受 holiday 的感覺。 所以這兩個禮拜有occasion 跟朋友的小孩烤餅乾 還有機會幫朋友的家族準備慶祝新年的蛋糕。
The weekend before Christmas, I was lucky to have the chance to bake with my friends’ adorable four year old boy~ and also to bake some cookies for my other friend’s adorable niece. (I know! So much adorableness in my life!) I discovered that kids don’t actually care about the frosting or sprinkles (?!) They actually prefer to eat the cookies plain. AND, The fun is definitely all about the cookie cutters… Now that I know, I’m going to have to build up my cookie cutter collection.
The weekend after Christmas, I also had the great opportunity of baking Apple Yogurt cakes for my friend Janet’s family’s New Year’s celebration. For this project, I put two new pieces of kitchen equipment into use: my new mixing bowl from Tokyo’s Kappabashi Street (Kitchen Street) (More details from that trip in a separate post!)
… and my silicon baking brush. I never knew how I lived without it.
For this recipe, I also experimented with two new ingredients: French butter and Juono plain yogurt.
這次的蘋果優格蛋糕我試了兩種新的材料（ingredients) 法國奶油跟 Juono 的生乳 我覺得以後我會改用這個奶油 （奶油味是香甜 可是不過重）Juono 生乳是碰巧在 City Super 買到的 我也覺得放在蛋糕裡面味道也很棒。 這款yogurt 比較相識在國外吃的 plain yogurt. （就是裡面沒有加一對亂七八糟的～例如蘆薈跟蒟蒻或是不搭的水果 ）
The yogurt is a local Taiwanese brand~I found a great selection of handmade, all natural yogurts at City Super. I used to shy away from Taiwanese yogurt because I hated all the additions of aloe chunks, gelatin chunks and “fruit” chunks. I seriously think mandarin orange chunks have no business in yogurt. The Juono brand is just a simple, plain yogurt. It has a slightly watery consistency, and tart flavor that is perfect for this cake. (For eating, I’d probably add a topping of jam and some banana slices)
烤蘋果優格蛋糕過程出了兩個小插曲 第一個是烤到一半發覺我忘了買蛋 （還好家裡附近有便利商店 真的 台灣的便利是無話可說的。。。如果在國外我就要開車出去買了）另外是， 我太久沒有烤 8 寸的蛋糕了 忘了要烤比較久的時間 所以送蛋糕的時間延後了好幾個小時 除了這個兩個小事以外 這整個上午是我這幾個月來最悠閒的moment ！ 外面下著雨 我卻在溫暖的廚房裡烤蛋糕 應該是我人生最大的享受吧～
That baking project for Janet’s family was probably one of my most contented mornings of recent times. I discovered that slicing apples thinly and arranging them into concentric circles is an effective stress relieving activity.
I boxed up two 8 inch cakes and realized that I didn’t have a shopping bag handy that was big enough for both cakes. Lucky for me, the non-stop rain of late stopped for about 40 minutes, and I was able to deliver the cakes without too much mishap.
I also bake cookies as gifts for friends during the holiday season. Standby recipes usually include sugar cookies and Mexican wedding cookies. (Both keep well and still taste great after a week or so)
The toasted almonds really add a depth of flavor to the cookie. I ran out of flour halfway through, so I was only able to bake a few batches this time.
This year I also tried a new recipe: Cranberry Lemon. Their fabulousness deserves their own post, so stay tuned!
Last but not least, my friend Alex baked me these mini-cakes. They’re a combination of sweet potato, and each have different fillings of pineapple, cranberry and taro. He also incorporates carrot into the batter, so it’s a moist and flavorful mini-cake that is just bursting with nutritional goodness! I enjoyed mine with a cup of Matcha green tea, but I imagine they would go well with either a cup of coffee or black tea.
Alex 最近在研發新的蛋糕口味 前幾天送了我一盒他自己烤的蛋糕。 原味是地瓜 還有 芋頭 鳳梨 跟 cranberry 的口味。 每一口都是真材實料 ～ 鳳梨漿 跟芋頭泥都是他親手熬出來的喔！
We’ve been having some miserable, rainy and windy weather in Taiwan, recently. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s (literally) dampened my spirits lately. The sun actually came out for a brief moment yesterday and I feel a bit more optimistic after seeing even that tiny patch of blue sky. 最近因為天氣跟工作的因素 所以常常會覺得有一點 blue. 很想每天躲在家裡逃避人生。 這個當然只能想想 可是事實上 該面對的 還是要面對 所以我明年會好好努力的面對。 在過程也是會烤好吃的甜點跟大家分享 。 先祝大家新年快樂 喔！
Happy New Year everyone! Hope the upcoming year is filled with good cheer (and desserts, of course!)