Posts tagged ‘desserts’

Pumpkin Flan

Do you like flan?

It’s super popular in Japan (they call it “pudding” though, not flan), but it seems like you don’t see it all that often in the U.S. Of course you can buy flan, and I’ve seen mixes for it, but it’s not really on the same level as things like chocolate chip cookies, cake, or brownies here.

That’s too bad, because it really is delicious. My husband loves flan. It’s one of his favorite desserts. Sometimes we had it in Japan at restaurants and such, but I’d never actually made it myself before.

If you’ve been reading my posts the past couple of weeks, then you know I’ve been on a pumpkin kick. Well, in an attempt to make some new pumpkin dishes, I decided to make pumpkin flan, and it was definitely a success.

I found a recipe on Martha Stewart’s website, and decided to try it out. I halved the recipe and adjusted a few things for my version though.

One thing I should have done was bake it in a smaller dish. I used a square 2-quart baking dish, which was a little too big for the amount I made, so my flan was a tad on the thin side. Because of that I recommend either using a smaller baking dish or doubling the recipe.

Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, mix together 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and a dash of salt. Stir in 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, and mix well (not pictured).
In another bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract, and 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream.


Pour the egg/cream mixture into the pumpkin mixture, and mix until smooth.


Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.


When it turns a rich brown color, and starts bubbling, remove it from the heat, pour it into the baking dish, and very quickly spread it around the bottom of the dish evenly. You have to be really quick with this, because as soon as it’s off the heat, it’ll start turning hard.


Pour the custard into the baking dish over the caramel. Set the baking dish into a deep roasting pan, and fill up the pan until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
Bake until the custard sets, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool, then place in the refrigerator to cool.


Run a knife around the edges of the baking dish. Place a large serving dish wrong-side up on top of the baking dish. Carefully hold both the serving and baking dish and flip them so that the flan comes out onto the serving plate.
Cut it into pieces and serve.

You can serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, but it’s great just by itself.


Pumpkin Flan

(serves 4)

  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and salt. Stir in the pumpkin puree, and mix well.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and cream. Pour the egg/cream mixture into the pumpkin mixture, and mix until smooth.
  4. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Cook until it melts and turns a rich brown color, and starts bubbling. Remove from heat, pour it into the baking dish, and very quickly spread around the bottom of the dish evenly.
  5. Pour custard into the baking dish over the caramel. Set the baking dish into a deep roasting pan, and fill up the pan until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the custard sets, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool, then place in the refrigerator to cool.
  6. Run a knife around the edges of the baking dish. Place a large serving dish wrong-side up on top of the baking dish. Carefully hold both the serving and baking dish and flip them so that the flan comes out onto the serving plate. Cut it into pieces and serve.

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart


October 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Berry Trifle

Few things say summer quite like a berry trifle.

I was a bit late on the game, as I made this in September, the end of summer (depending on what part of the country you live in of course), but it doesn’t cool off here until like November, so I think this is allowable.

This was my last hurrah to summer.

An ode to summer.

A symphony of summer!

Ok, I’ll stop now…

Basically, it’s really good. And really easy. So try this out, take one last bite of summer, and say, holy <enter your explicative of choice here>, that’s really good!

Berry Trifle

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 c. vanilla pudding (you can use a small box of the instant stuff, or make your own. Here is a good, classic recipe for vanilla pudding)
  • About 24 – 28 ladyfingers (or your favorite pound cake)
  1. Prepare pudding as directed, and chill.
  2. Add cream to a bowl and using a mixer, whip until soft peaks form. Fold about 2/3 of the whipped cream into the pudding and save the remaining 1/3.
  3. Wash and slice strawberries and add to a bowl. Wash blueberries and add to the same bowl. Add the sugar and lemon juice, and mix well.
  4. In a square glass baking dish (or trifle dish if you have one), layer half the lady fingers in the bottom of the dish. Spread half the fruit mixture in an even layer over the lady fingers. Pour half the pudding mixture over the fruit and spread into an even layer. Repeat with the remaining lady fingers, fruit, and pudding mixture. Finally spread the remaining whipped cream in a layer on top of the trifle. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.


September 19, 2012 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Cookies

I turn 26 today.

Yes, it’s my birthday.

I’m not sure how this happened…(the turning 26 part, not the birthday part).

I mean, I was just 21!

Now I’m 26?

Over the hill of my 20’s?!

Closer to 30 than to 20?!?!

I feel woozy…

I think I better have a cookie.

I don’t want to get low blood sugar or anything.

Ah well. Like they say, another year older, another year wiser!
Bring on the birthday cake!

I do get birthday cake, right?


This is a pretty classic peanut butter cookie recipe. These cookies come out soft, not crispy. I hate crispy cookies. I like ’em soft and gooey!
First mix 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and a couple shakes (or 1/8 tsp.) salt. Mix everything well.
There are few things more exciting than a picture of a bowl of flour. Am I right?

In a separate bowl, cream together 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup (1 stick) of room temperature butter, and 3/4 cup creamy natural (unsweetened, nothing but peanuts) peanut butter.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 egg, and mix well.

Gradually mix in the flour mixture, a little at a time.

This is the hardest part…Try not to eat the dough.
You can add other things to the dough at this point if you want. Chopped peanuts, chocolate chips, Reese’s pieces, etc. Or bake them plain like I did.

Roll a small amount of dough into a ball and place it on an un-greased cookie sheet.
Use a fork to press down the cookie in one direction, then turn the fork 45 degrees and press it down again to form the classic peanut butter cookie design (who came up with this, I have no idea, but they just wouldn’t seem right otherwise).

Bake the cookies in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to cool on a cooling rack.

Mmmm, cookies….
Gotta love the paper napkin. I need some fancy cloth napkins or something for my pictures.
Gotta keep an eye out for those.


Peanut Butter Cookies

(makes about 2 dozen cookies)

  • 1 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) room temp. butter (unsalted)
  • 3/4 c. creamy natural peanut butter (nothing added, 100% peanuts)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Add-ins (chocolate chips, peanuts, etc.) (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream sugar, butter, and peanut butter together. Add egg and vanilla, and mix well.
  4. Gradually mix in flour mixture, a little at a time.
  5. Mix in any add-ins you want (chocolate chips, nuts, etc.) (optional)
  6. For each cookie, roll a small amount of dough into a ball and place on an un-greased baking sheet. Using a fork, press down the top of each cookie, then turn fork 45 degrees and press down again until cookie is about 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool.


August 16, 2012 at 9:07 am Leave a comment

I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts…

If you instantly recognized the title of this post as being from The Lion King, then you have my congratulations. You’re a person after my own heart.

For people of my generation who grew up in the 90’s, it was the golden age of Disney animated movies. We got all the good ones: Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Mulan, etc. Everyone has their favorite. For me, it was The Lion King, hands down.

This movie amazed me. I remember seeing the movie in the theater for the first time. It was the first movie I ever cried at (Mufasa…*sniff*). I loved everything Lion King. I remember drawing the characters in my free time. I would make up stories about Simba (when he was a cub), all while listening to the soundtrack to the movie on cassette tape (in my cute red Sony Walkman with matching red ear phones).

At my elementary school, where every year each grade would put on a musical production of some sort, my grade even got to do a production of The Lion King. I don’t really remember what the performance part entailed so much, but I remember we got to sing all the songs from the movie, which I thought was great.

Yes, The Lion King holds a special place in my heart, and probably always will. So when I was thinking about summer recipes, and then coconut recipes, I instantly thought of the coconut song that Zazu (the bird that acts as Mufasa’s advisor) sings for Scar. Although the song is not originally from the movie (google it), it’s where I first heard it.

I hope someday that my kids can enjoy The Lion King as much as I always have. So in honor of summer (and Zazu’s coconut song), I’ve made a list of delectable coconut recipes I’ve found across the internet. I can’t wait to try some them! I recommend you try some as well, and bring the flavor of the tropics to your home! You can even eat whatever coconut treat you make while watching The Lion King. Channel your inner child, or enjoy it with your kids. Or just make yourself a piña colada and hum the coconut song while drinking it. You can’t beat that.

Piña Colada Sorbet with Sesame Crisps from Blissful Blog. Who can resist a frozen dessert with rum in it?


Coconut Cream Crepes from Food Coma. Coconut and dark chocolate! I love desserts that are disguised as breakfast foods. I mean, hey! Crepes are a type of pancake, and pancakes are for breakfast, right? So this is a breakfast food. Don’t argue. My logic is flawless.


Coconut Waffles from Pastry Affair. Standard breakfast fare with a delicious coconut-y twist.


Coconut Crab Rice from Joy the Baker. Not all coconut treats are sweet! With coconut, crab meat, and fresh cilantro. This looks awesome.


Mango Coconut Chia Pudding from Skinny Taste. I really want to try this one. You just combine all the ingredients, let it soak overnight, and the chia seeds expand and become tapioca-like in texture. And it’s healthy! Maybe I’ll try this for breakfast one morning…


Lime-Coconut Cupcakes from Bluebonnets and Brownies. Lime and coconut. What a classic combination. Or maybe I’m thinking of coconut and rum…or maybe just coconut rum…

Wait, why is the rum gone…?

(sorry, couldn’t resist)

There are so many more wonderful coconut recipes out there, but I’ll stop here for now.

Go forth now, my children, cook with coconut, and spread the coconut song love!

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, dee dul dee dee dul dee, there they are standing in a row. Big ones, small ones, ones as big your head…

August 3, 2012 at 8:52 am Leave a comment

Banana Bread

If there’s something this world can never have too much of…

it’s banana bread.

Considering that before 1870 (ish), Americans had never even heard of bananas, it’s quite amazing when you think about how predominant in our food culture they’ve become in such a relatively short amount of time (banana pudding, bananas foster, banana and peanut butter sandwiches, chocolate dipped bananas, bananas with cereal, bananas with oatmeal, etc.). Especially considering we don’t even grow bananas in this country. And they’re so cheap! Pretty amazing, right?

I hated bananas when I was a kid.
Okay, that’s kind of an exaggeration, but I didn’t really like them all that much. We often had to eat them, or some other type of fruit, with our breakfast as kids (My parents had this thing about us eating fruit every day. Imagine that).

Now I love bananas. I almost always have a banana with my breakfast, whether in my oatmeal/cereal, with plain yogurt, or by itself. I love my bananas.

One thing I really love: banana bread. I may not have like bananas so much as a kid, but I did love banana bread (weird, right?). There’s something heavenly about the smell of a loaf of banana bread baking. Banana bread, like bananas themselves, really has no season and is good anytime of the year.

This is my go-to recipe for banana bread. Simple. Classic. Delicious.
Try it.

Banana Bread

(makes one loaf)

  • 2 over-ripe bananas, mashed (about 2/3 c.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. melted butter
  • 1/4 c. buttermilk
  • 3/4 c. sugar or sucanat
  • 2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F (175° C).
  2. Beat mashed bananas, egg, butter, sugar, and buttermilk in a large bowl.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a smaller bowl.
  4. Add flour mixture to bowl with liquid mixture and mix. Add in nuts.
  5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Note: If top of loaf starts to brown too quickly, cover loaf with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.

July 24, 2012 at 11:14 am 4 comments

St. Patrick’s Day Clover Cookies & Ice Cream

Homemade chocolate chip cookies have to be my favorite dessert of all time. They’re a simple, humble dessert. There’s nothing gourmet about them. But when they’re fresh from the oven, warm and gooey (no crunchy, crisp cookies please), and served with a glass of cold milk… Ah, that is heaven my friends. At least my version of it!

Every so often I simply need homemade chocolate chip cookies. Not want. Need. Like I need to breath, and need to eat food and drink water to survive. So do I need my chocolate chip cookies. Cookie Monster would understand. He’s my homie. The only difference is he’s able to eat as many chocolate chip cookies as he wants without ever gaining weight. I on the other hand, have to work out five days a week… damn him.

But I digress.

A few days ago, I found myself in need of some warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies, so I thought I should take the opportunity to share with you an easy dessert idea for St. Patrick’s Day.

This is a festive and easy (and green! The color green, not eco green) dessert for St. Patrick’s Day.


St. Patrick’s Day Clover Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • one batch of your favorite homemade chocolate chip cookies
  • 1 clover leaf shaped cookie cutter
  • mint chocolate chip ice cream
  1. Use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe to make the cookies, but spread the dough out in one single sheet like you would to make bars or a cookie cake.
    My all-time favorite cookie recipe is the original Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe. It’s what my mom always made when we were kids, it’s what I learned to make when I was a kid, and it will always be my favorite. But feel free to use whatever cookie recipe you like.
    You can find that recipe here: Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie bars
  2. After you’ve baked the cookies, let them cool slightly so they’re still warm, but not so much that’ll they’ll fall apart if you cut them out.
  3. Use your handy dandy clover leaf shaped cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place the cut out cookies on a wire rack to cool. [note: Because chocolate chip cookies melt and spread out slightly while they bake, you don’t want to cut out the cookies before you bake them. They’ll loose they’re clover shape and simply be oddly shaped cookies.]
  4. Scoop out individual servings of the mint chocolate chip ice cream into bowls and serve with two warm cookies -or- let the cookies cool completely, place a small ball of ice cream on the bottom of one cookie, and carefully smoosh another cookie on that to make ice cream sandwiches.

March 14, 2012 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

Pecan Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Filling

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I can’t write too much today, because Hisa and I are going out today to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
We’re going to go to have lunch, go to the OKC Art Museum, go see a movie, and then we have reservations for dinner at a nice restaurant. It should be fun!

Before I go though, I wanted to leave you with an awesome cookie recipe from If you want to make something special and sweet, but haven’t decided what yet, these are beautiful and extremely yummy cookies!

Have a great Valentine’s Day!


Pecan Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Filling

(makes 16 – 18 cookies)

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 c. toasted pecan halves
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar or sucanat
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. seedless raspberry jam
  1. Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside
  2. In a food processor, pulse pecans, salt, cinnamon, and powder sugar until finely ground, but not wet. Pour into a large bowl.
  3. Add butter and granulated sugar, and mix with mixer. Add vanilla and egg and continue mixing.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing after each addition.
  5. Halve dough. Shaped into two discs, wrap with saran wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  7. Roll out one disc at a time to 1/8 in. thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps. Use a smaller heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out a smaller heart within half of the cut out hearts.
  8. Bake cookies 8 – 9 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
  9. In a small saucepan, heat jam on medium-low heat for 5 – 6 minutes until it reduces slightly. Let cool.
  10. Sprinkle cookies with centers cut out with powdered sugar, and cover whole heart cookies with raspberry filling. Place cut-out hearts on top of the jam covered cookies.

recipe adapted from


February 14, 2012 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

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About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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