Home - Eat Cho Food
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7 days in Ohio. 1 day in Michigan. It was wonderful, not too cold, and I wish we could have had a few more days at home.

Each year, it gets harder and harder to get back on that plane to San Francisco.

This year more than ever, I’m feeling that pull to move back to the Midwest.

In awe by how smart my brother is and I can’t believe how doctory he sounds after one semester of medical school.

Sometimes, I think he’s really my older brother.

Walked off some Christmas pounds at the park by my parent’s house and learned that I can’t skip rocks to save my life.

So many movies. So much sleep.

Double teaming a classic Italian dinner for the fam with the help of Reuben. Garlic knots are the perfect food.

Grabbed a delicious bite of challah and Korean beef jerky at the West Side Market.

My mom makes such crazy good food. I miss her egg rolls and fried chicken already.

I missed being able to sit down to a normal dinner with my family.

Longhorn Steakhouse is actually a really great restaurant.

We caught up with friends at Masthead Brewery over beers and the most glorious everything pretzel and pimento cheese.

You should stop by Climax, Michigan, re-evaluate your life decisions, and consider buying an old farmhouse to fix up.

Escape Rooms are actually really fun and not as lame as you might think they are.

Family feast after family feast.

Had dinner at our childhood family restaurant, which is now an okay Indian restaurant. It felt small at first and then it started to feel familiar again.

Gosh, I miss home.

Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns

Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns

Hello, 2019! Happy New Year!! I hope you went to bed as early as you wanted and didn’t have to stand outside in the cold or rain waiting for fireworks or a ball to drop. We celebrated the New Year twice technically, because we were flying from Cleveland to San Francisco when the clock struck midnight (EST). So I blew Reuben a kiss from my crammed middle seat because he fell victim to the cold floating around my family and I’m trying my hardest to not succumb to the germs too. We unwillingly celebrated the New Year again in our apartment, hangry (thank god for delivery sushi though!) and definitely grumpy from flying. But we were so thankful to be back home and in our cozy bed again! This isn’t too far from my ideal NYE though, if you take out the hangry-ness. My ideal NYE is at home, watching a movie with my family instead of a celebrity filled countdown. Maybe I’ll take a glass of sparkling cider and some cheese and crackers.

Reuben and I got to spend a nice long holiday week in Cleveland and it was so dang pleasant. We gained about 143929491 pounds but it was worth it. Staying at my parents’ house is sort of magical. I sleep so much, there is always a new movie to watch, and somehow there is always freshly made egg rolls. Thanks, Mom! Christmas is the one holiday out of the year that I always go home and try to stay for as long as possible. Throughout the rest of the year, I get a few longish or super short weekends to get some time to see my brother and parents. Maybe a few aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma sightings too! So getting a whole week at home with the fam is the best Christmas present. Sorry, was that too corny?

The last few times I’ve been home, I’ve gotten into the habit of making Pineapple Buns or Bo Lo Bao. They are a huge family favorite at Chinese bakeries! We all love them. Especially my dad and grandma. Pineapple Buns don’t actually have any pineapple in them. They get their name from the crisscross pattern formed on the topping, which resembles a pineapple. The bun is a super fluffy and slightly sweet milk bread topped with a crisp cookie like topping. I would experiment on the recipe every single time I was home because no matter how they turned out my family would eat them instantly. Plus I Ioved having a family full of taste testers available!

The goals of my experimentation were:

1. Super fluffy and light milk bread.

2. A cookie topping that would actually hold a definite pattern.

Achieving goal number 2 was a lot harder than I thought. The topping on a classic pineapple bun sort of naturally cracks and becomes a super flakey cookie. It doesn’t quite hold the score patterns as cleanly as I want them to. But! When Reuben and I went to Mexico City this past summer, I discovered the Concha! I tried a few different ones for research purposes (obviously) and realized that they were remarkably similar to pineapple buns. I found the bread to be a little drier and not as rich and doughy, but the cookie topping was similar in flavor and texture. The patterns on all the conchas were so clean and defined! The recipes for concha topping and pineapple bun topping is pretty similar. The only difference I found was the use of powdered sugar instead of caster sugar, which allows the topping to retain it’s form a lot better. So I inserted the (sorta) into the recipe name because these buns are like if a Pineapple Bun and a Concha had a beautiful and delicious hybrid baby bun!

The end result after a year of experimenting is the lightest and tastiest milk bread with an addicting cookie topping! If you haven’t had a warm pineapple bun just out of the oven with some butter and honey, then you are missing out on one of the best things in life EVER! Oooh I bet a drizzle of condensed milk would be amazing too! Don’t forget to make yourself a cup of milk tea while you’re at it!

Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns

makes 16 buns

milk bread materials:

2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
1 package of instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt

topping materials:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1 tsp matcha powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk


  1. Combine heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cornstarch, flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix at medium speed (speed setting 4 for KitchenAid) for 15 minutes until a smooth and slightly sticky dough is formed. Stop to scrape down the sides every few minutes. Once dough is form, place in a large bowl lightly greased with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 90 minutes. The dough will grow 1.5x from its original size.

  2. Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and roll into smooth little dough balls. Place dough balls on baking trays lined with parchment paper. 8 dough balls fit on a standard baking tray. Cover trays with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for another 45 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  4. Make topping by combining flour, dry milk powder, matcha powder, shortening, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt, egg yolk, and milk in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. Dough will still be slightly crumbly. Knead together with you hands until dough is smooth and combined. Set aside until ready to use.

  5. Once the dough has rested for the second time, roll out the topping on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8” thick. Cut out 16 2.5” - 3” circles using a cutter. Use an offset spatula or bench scraper to lift the dough rounds up if they stick. Place rounds on top of the dough balls and lightly score the tops.

  6. Bake buns for 15-17 minutes until buns are slightly golden. Remove from oven and allow buns to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy warm or completely cooled.

baking notes:

  1. In the photos you’ll notice that I marbled a plain dough with matcha dough. I did this in an attempt to make the buns look more pineapple like. The marbling is unnecessary because the colors are not as defined after baking. So just mix in the matcha into the entire dough.

  2. These buns are relatively small-medium sized. If you prefer larger buns just divide the dough into 12 instead.

Cookie Butter Cake

Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake
Cookie Butter Cake

We went out 3 of the last 4 nights and my internal 80 year old body is hating me for it. Reuben’s holiday party was on Friday and I met a whole gaggle of his new work peeps. I ate a lot of patatas bravas and churros and then ended up dancing off maybe 2 churros at a bar down the street. I felt so young and so hip… until the next morning. But I ate a lot of dumplings and rallied. I mustered enough energy to go to a friend’s cookie decorating party, without getting completely overwhelmed with social anxiety, and had enough holiday spirit to go to my office’s holiday party that night. We stayed out to 2 am, ate late night gloriously mediocre bar pizza, ubered home, laughed at all the weird things that happened throughout the night before passing out hard. Miraculously, I woke up feeling ok and desperately craving something green. I put soft pants on, scurried to the farmers market for some salad fixings, came home, ate salad, and officially melted into the couch for the remainder of the day. I had big plans of baking some cookies, but my body was like NOPE.

I was hoping that spending Sunday being a blanket burrito would be enough recovery for me, but then I woke up with another big fat NOPE. The moment I got to my desk I just couldn’t wait to go back home and sleep. But then my boss asked if I wanted to go to the Warriors game that night and it took me like .00000001 seconds to say UM, YES. He has incredible season pass tickets to the Warriors. As much as I love my hometown of Cleveland, I can’t let my (lack of) hometown sports pride hold me back from insane front row (sort of) tickets. We were so close to the players, I could almost hug them. Reuben said if I tried to hug them one of the intimidating body guards would tackle me to the ground. Whatever. It was such a fun time and I couldn’t help but feel so thankful to be there. Generosity is such a great quality in people and there is just something about this season that really makes the generous spirit shine. Whether it’s gifting once in a lifetime NBA tickets to your employee, or surprising a coworker with thoughtful vintage pottery (thanks, Alex and Francis!), buying a friend coffee, or just making someone a cake. Doing nice things for each other is simply just so great, isn’t it??

I have lots of generous people to be thankful for this season, so I better get baking on all those last minute cookies! Gosh, 7 days until Christmas already?! If you’re looking to bake up a treat for the people you care about in the next week, you can either go the cookie route or the cake route. I shared a great little cookie recipe last week and this week I have one of the most delicious and festive cakes I’ve made yet! COOKIE BUTTER CAKE. Until a few weeks ago, I had never purchased the infamous cookie butter from Trader Joe’s due to fear of addiction and gaining 100lbs. But! I took the plunge and got myself a jar for the sake of recipe development. The hype is real. Cookie butter is really really good. The flavors of cookie butter in this year’s holiday cake were great because I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread. Cookie butter has a bunch of the same warming spices we all crave this time of year, but without the intense molasses flavor. Then I covered the whole cake in my true love: cream cheese frosting. If you’re making this recipe, you could totally stop right there and you’ll have a smashing good cake. Anyway, I obviously have nothing else better to do with my weekends, so I made a little sugar cookie house and matcha tuile trees. I may or may not have drafted up the elevations of the sugar cookie house in AutoCAD (for those designer nerds out there…). I took a pretty minimal approach to decorating the house and the cake in general. I just loved how delicate and vibrant the trees turned out and wanted to keep the colors and forms of the cake simple. Gosh, I sound like an architect, don’t I?? A few blobs of buttercream and gold sprinkles were all that it needed.

However, for next year I would ideally like more time to dedicate to cookie architecture. Maybe I’ll attempt a Luis Barragan or Sea Ranch inspired cookie structure. I’ll add that to my list of 2019 goals and make it happen.

I think this cake is going to be my last recipe for 2018. Crazy! I hope you all have a wonderful, restful, and belly filled Christmas!

Cookie Butter Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 1 - 2 layer 8” cake

cookie butter cake material:

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (12 tbsp)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup cookie butter (I used Trader Joe’s)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

cream cheese frosting materials:

12 oz cream cheese - softened
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (12 tbsp) - softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
6 cups powdered sugar

to make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  3. Place softened butter and sugar into the bowl of your standmixer set with the paddle attachment. Blend for 45 seconds at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in cookie butter and blend for another 45 seconds until evenly mixed, fluffy, and lightly tan in color. Add in eggs and vanilla and blend until just mixed. Scrape down the sides when necessary.

  4. While mixing the batter on low speed, add in dry ingredients in 1/3rds, alternating with buttermilk in between. Mix until just combined, avoid over mixing.

  5. Grease 2 8” cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Add batter to cake pans. Smooth the tops with a small offset spatula. Bake for 28-32 minutes until done. Remove from the oven and allow cakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing from pans and placed on a wire rack to completely cool.

to make cream cheese frosting:

  1. Blend together cream cheese, butter, salt, and vanilla for 1 minute on medium speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually add in powdered sugar until smooth. Scrape down the sides when necessary.

to decorate:

  1. Place 1 layer of cake on a cake board or plate. Plop some frosting on top and smooth out the frosting into an even layer with an offset spatula. Place second layer on top. Cover the whole cake with frosting. For the ruffle detail use a petal decorating tip (one end is skinnier than the other). Hold the piping tip at a 45 degree angle, with the fatter end touching the caking and pipe the frosting while also turning the cake stand.

  2. Top with a sugar cookie house or cut outs and matcha tuile trees! Recipes are below!

Tuile Cookie Trees Recipe
- I added 1 tsp of matcha powder and formed them around a cone mold immediately out of the oven.

Sugar Cookie Recipe
- I omitted the tahini from my recipe and made cardstock cut outs of my house to trace on my rolled out cookie dough. Adhere the cooled cookie walls together with royal icing or extra buttercream.

Cookie Butter Cake