Jan 9, 2016

Hello from CHA 2016!

diy crochet kit


I'm currently in Anaheim, California for the 2016 CHA Mega Show! This is my second trade show so far and I'm excited to be exhibiting and showing my newly redesigned kits. It's been a crazy few month of preparation, so I will be back soon with more updates!

If you're at the show, come and stop by booth #908!

Aug 13, 2015

Helllooo There!

hamburger

So it's been a while. Almost six months actually, but there's been a lot going on! Now that things have settled a bit, I'm going to get back into the blog and keeping up the site. Here's a quick update on everything that's been happening.

First, I did my first trade show, the National Stationery Show down in NYC at the Javits Center. It was a ton of work and while I didn't place as many orders as expected, I met some really great people, made a bunch of contacts, and received really helpful feedback about the kits. I hope to do more trade shows in the near future and I'll be going into more detail about NSS in another post.

Second, in April, my first crochet book, Happy-Gurumi, came out! I can't believe it's been over two years since I first sent out my book proposal, but it's really exciting to finally see everything come together. You can now purchase Happy-Gurumi on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Third, I started a new job, and while I would love for The Pudgy Rabbit to be my full time gig, I'm not quite at that point yet. However, work has been really great, and even though it's been an adjustment to fit everything in, I'm happy to say that I have five new designs available!

All the new designs are based around food, including this little hamburger and hot dog. They'll be up in the shop soon and I'm continuing to work on new products for the shop and recipes for the blog, so stay tuned!

hot dog

Feb 21, 2015

Chinese Bakery Style Orange and Strawberry Cream Cake

So I know the title is kind of long, but that's what this cake is! If you've never had a Chinese bakery style cake, it's layers of fluffy sponge cake filled with a variety of fruits and covered in a whipped cream frosting. These cakes are extremely light and airy, making them a great ending after eating a large meal. Growing up, I wasn't always the biggest fan of Chinese bakery desserts. I thought that they tasted kind of bland compared to sweeter American style cakes. Now that I'm older, my tastes have expanded and while I still love a good yellow cake covered in rich chocolate buttercream, I appreciate the subtle sweetness found in Chinese style desserts.

Orange Strawberry Cream Cake

Since I was making this cake for Chinese New Year, I decided to add a twist and do an orange sponge cake filled with lots ripe strawberries and whipped cream. Oranges are a symbol of good luck and prosperity for the new year due to their round shape and in Chinese the word for orange sounds similar to the word for wealth. I chose to use only strawberries in the filling for their red color since red is a sign of good fortune and happiness. So basically this whole cake is filled with good luck, success, and joy!

Feb 18, 2015

Red Bean Cheesecake

Happy Chinese New Year's eve! I hope everyone is ready to celebrate with family and friends and eat some crazy delicious food! Since making my own red bean paste earlier this week, I've been working on incorporating it into some desserts, which actually turned out harder than I thought. Red beans have a pretty delicate flavor that's really easy to overpower. I realized that when you eat it in traditional Asian desserts and snacks, it's usually as a ball of filling in something like a steamed bun or dumpling, so the bean paste's sweetness comes through.

Red Bean Cheesecake

Red Bean Cheesecake

I was determined to make a cheesecake with the red bean paste, because I just really love cheesecake and wanted something different for dessert than the usual red bean soup for the new year. That and I don't like red bean soup =p So when making this cheesecake, I decided to add a layer of the bean paste in addition to mixing it into the batter to help make the bean flavor stronger. While I used homemade red bean paste, canned paste will work fine too. Making your own is really easy though and you can find my recipe for it here. The tangy cream cheese along with an almond crust go well with the red beans.

Red Bean Cheesecake

Red Bean Cheesecake


I have a confession, the lines along the sides of the cheesecake are from the parchment I used to line the pan because I did it kind of sloppily. I'm just going to pretend they're intentional =) Also, I kind of spaced out when I started baking the cheesecake, completely forgot when I put it in the oven and ended up taking it out a bit too early. So the middle is not as firm as I would like, as you can see from the photos, but it still tasted great!

This recipe makes a 6 inch cheesecake, but it's pretty rich so all you need is a small slice, which is great after eating a multi-course meal, but you still want something sweet. I hope everyone has some amazing dishes over the next few days and that this cheesecake is one of them! Enjoy!

Red Bean Cheesecake

Red Bean Cheesecake
Makes one 6 inch cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust
1/2 cup (48g) graham cracker crumbs, about 3-1/4 cracker sheets
1/4 cup (40g) almonds
1 tbsp (13g) light brown sugar, packed
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp (42g) unsalted butter, melted 

Filling
10 oz (284g) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup (69g) white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups (364g) red bean paste, divided. Recipe to make your own here
1/3 cup (89g) heavy cream, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 6 inch springform pan, line with parchment and then butter the parchment. In a food processor pulse the almonds until finely ground. Add the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, salt and pulse to mix together. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined and moist crumbs form. Press the crumbs into the bottom of prepared pan and bake for about 8-10 minutes until set and edges are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Spread half of the red bean paste in an even layer over the crust. Wrap the bottom of the pan with tinfoil, making sure the foil comes up at least 3/4 of the pan's sides.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place a kettle of water on to boil. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, cream cheese, and salt on medium low speed until smooth and creamy. Mix the remaining red bean paste with the heavy cream and vanilla until smooth, then add to the cream cheese mixture and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl down and with the mixer on low, add the eggs, mixing well. Pour into cooled crust and place the cheesecake pan into another, larger baking dish. Pour enough boiling water into the larger baking dish until it comes about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes until the edges have set but the center of the cheesecake has a slight jiggle. Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Unmold from pan, slice and enjoy!