Green Tea Spread Chocolate Chip Cookies + The Struggle [to be grateful] Is Real

For someone who just wrote about working on losing weight, I sure bake a lot these days. Fortunately, I only like the process of making pastries, and not eating what I bake. Some people find it weird when I say it, but that’s how it has always been. There’s something about standing in the kitchen, steadying a bowl in one hand, and a whisk in another, that soothes me. Staring into the batter I’m mixing puts me into a hypnotic state, and transports my mind to places. It’s like everything else that’s begging for my attention quiets down, my mind calms, and I am able to think much more clearly. You can say baking is my own version of a Magic 8 Ball. My career feels stale, should I quit my job? As I whip cream cheese frosting manually and without using a handheld mixer. Sometimes the thought that I will forget how my mom looks like terrifies me, and I think this batter needs a little more flavor. I feel like I’m wasting my life on things that don’t necessarily matter but I am unsure on what to do about it, and I hate how stubborn this cookie dough is.

I find solace in baking, the type that I don’t get from anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great support system and a privileged life. This is why I struggle more whenever I don’t have a grateful heart because I know there are so many things about my life that deserves gratitude. I have a roof over my head, a stable job that pays my bills and spontaneous travel plans, and I’m surrounded by people who love and support me. I know it’s all in my head which makes it harder because how do you banish your own thoughts and mindset? These days come few and far in between, but when it does, is such a downer. Maintaining how I feel about life takes conscious effort and is always a work in progress. I find that there’s no shortcut in being happy with what you have.. but luckily, in baking sometimes there are shortcuts. Not gonna lie, I do use mixes on days when I don’t feel like baking from scratch. When I saw this on S&R, I purchased a box to try it out.

Baking instructions. I use unsalted butter when baking, as always, but I hate how expensive it is compared to regular butter!

Mixing in progress. When I’m preparing cookie dough, I usually stick with a spatula to mix because it’s a pain to use a whisk on. It’s a task in itself to scrape off all the dough off a whisk. I used a fork instead to make mixing easier! The annoying thing about working with Hershey’s as I come to realize is that their chocolate chips melt quickly. It’s not a big deal to me (who eats leftover batter on the fork, screw salmonella), but I would prefer my chocolate to mix inside the cookies while it is in the oven.

I bought a few bottles of green tea spread when I went to South Korea last year (I only have one left!). I’ve made green tea cookies before, and what I usually do was make a ball out of the cookie dough and place a small blob of frozen green tea spread inside. I place the entire baking sheet in the fridge to chill it while preheating the oven to make sure it does not spread too thinly and the green tea stays inside the cookie. But since we’re taking shortcuts, I went and put in a significant amount of green tea spread in the batter.

It turned into an ugly shade of brown after mixing (photo below), and I decided to put in some more green tea spread but not mix it in too thoroughly so that when I take a bite of a cookie, I’d still see some actual ‘green tea’ in there.

I usually am meticulous in scooping cookie dough into evenly sized dollops. But to be consistent with how I wanted to make things quickly, I used a spoon and a clean finger to put it on the tray.

The result! The cookies are actually way darker in real life and I used my limited Photoshop skills to brighten this photo to show the resulting green. Overall, I probably would not repurchase a box of this cookie mix. It was way too sweet for my liking, and I had to down black coffee/green tea with it. I’m not the biggest fan of biting into diabetes-inducing pastry.

I’ve mulled about life over cookies and more green tea. And I still haven’t gotten answers to any of my existential questions, no assurances that my fears won’t materialize, and no idea on what steps to take next. My goal of being consistently and genuinely happy may seem like a long shot some days. But I do know, that at the end of the day, I’ll manage and [hopefully] surprise myself. 🙂

Anyone else here feeling this ‘midlife’ crisis? I sometimes feel like it is too early in life to feel like it has left me behind.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting topped with Heart Sugar Cookies

Au Revoir, Février. Bonjour, Mars!

I barely updated this blog last month, but since it’s the first day of March, might as well try to make a change in habit. 🙂

Since February was dubbed the Love month, here are photos of the Valentine treats I made for C: Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting topped with Heart Sugar Cookies ❤ C happens to love my sugar cookies, so I packed all the rest of the sugar cookies in a cute box as well.

Time seriously flew by.. it has been an eventful two months and I wouldn’t have it any less. Only 10 months left for the year now, but then again, a lot can happen. 🙂

NYE Goodies

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a fun first day and has kept all their body parts intact. 🙂

For New Year’s Eve, mom tasked me to make sugar cookies and cupcakes for the neighbors and so I did. I also made Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting. 🙂

After the night’s festivities and a few hours of sleep, I was up again for another batch of cupcakes and cake making for the celebration with the family. We made Orange Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and my first kinda successful attempt at Victoria Sponge Cake. I’m not very fond of working with fresh fruits when baking but everything I had made for NYE had a fruit element. The sponge cake had blueberry jam, left over cream cheese frosting and strawberries in the middle, while it was topped with more frosting, apples, mangoes, peaches and grapes. 🙂

I do hope this sets the tone for the year, where I push my limits and try more new things! Hello, 2015! 🙂

Candyland Themed Goodies

I believe the best thing anyone can strive for is to produce something they are proud of and that is what I live by when I bake. I stand by never delivering anything substandard (of what I know). It is one of the few things I am passionate about. So when Pepper, my goddaughter, celebrated her first birthday, I was glad to be part of it. What I was not glad about was having to make a fondant cake. I do not like to cover cakes in fondant nor eat a slice of one, but I agreed because she’s my goddaughter and I have always wanted to be a good ninang. And then it had to be a 2-tier cake (10-inch and 8-inch) which I have never even attempted before. To say I was out of my league is an understatement. I swear. Having to manually roll out the fondant to cover such a huge cake almost reduced me to tears. But if my mantra for work is “I hate this. I fucking fuckety fuck hate this”, the phrase “I can do this! You can do this Teesh!” kept running on my head until I finally did!

Printed out stickers for the souvenir cupcake boxes!

Cupcake liners

Cupcake toppers – also made ones with lollipops and candies
The cake!!!

My tasks for this cake were: bake a rainbow cake, cover the rainbow cake, make all the fondant toppers on the rainbow cake, pack the cookies and bake the cupcakes. I was lucky enough to have a sister who enjoys baking, so she made all the assorted fondant cupcake toppers (colorful cupcakes, cookies, lollipops and candies), frosted the cupcakes and helped make fondant cut outs. Mom and my brother helped with the individual packaging of the cupcakes. And C honestly did so much with moral support (calming me down when I got frustrated, massaging my back, etc), and helping my sister put the cupcakes together. I had a great team with me. 🙂

Will I ever do this again though? Once you’ve produced a 10-inch and 8-inch cakes covered in fondant, 80 cupcakes with assorted fondant toppers in individual packaging, and 50 individually packed cookies – all in less than 24 hours, you end up feeling that you can do anything (but maybe not a 3-tier cake or higher in the near future haha).

Rosette Cookie Sandwich

Sunday morning, I go baking (I bet you sang that in your head too hihi). I like reading baking blogs, I’d even go as far as saying they are my favorite type of blogs. For this, I used I Am Baker’s Red Velvet Rose Sandwich Cookies. For unsalted butter, I use this which costs more than Php 100/bar – also why I hate when someone wants me to sell my cupcakes for dirt cheap.

I should probably start putting all these photos in a collage: cream butter and sugar together, mix in eggs, whisk the dry ingredients.

I ran out of red food color which is why I used pink. In hindsight, working with cocoa and pink food color was not really such a good idea. I had to pour in more pink food color because working with cocoa powder is very tricky when it comes to color – at least to me.

I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe the rosettes. And because I had little doubt that it will not turn pink, I added hot pink nonpareils on top before I baked ‘em.

After baking, I let it cool – in where else but the cooling rack! Even though it’s far from pink, it still is so pretty. ❤

I used the Wilton 106 piping tip for the buttercream frosting for no special reason. You could actually just smear the frosting but I wanted to make it look pretty if it can’t be pink.

Ta-da! If you decide to make some for yourself, please tell me about it. I’m excited to find out if someone became very imaginative and did something else out of this baking project. 🙂

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Have you ever felt like there’s some sort of black hole in your tummy when you’re nervous? To avoid psyching myself out, I went ahead and baked.. for lack of a more imaginative name, Chocolate & Sugar Cookies. If I happened to have made only heart-shaped ones, I was thinking of calling it Love Bites (since it’s nearly bite size haha).

To make this, I used Bakerella’s recipe for Puffy Sugar Cookies and Alice Currah’s Chocolate Ganache with minor revisions of my own. 🙂