White Chocolate and Spiced Pistachio Butter Cups

White Chocolate and Spiced Pistachio Butter Cups
White Chocolate and Spiced Pistachio Butter Cups
White Chocolate and Spiced Pistachio Butter Cups
White Chocolate and Spiced Pistachio Butter Cups
White Chocolate and Spiced Pistachio Butter Cups

There is something about this time of year that makes me feel like the laziest potato. Maybe because it’s still dark and foggy when I wake up, or the days are getting shorter and shorter, or maybe it is the fact that we have a new comfy couch that feels like it’s constantly hugging you. Whatever it is, my desire to sit around all day being a blanket burrito watching 90 Day Fiancé for hours on end is at an all time high. Have you watched that show by the way? Or 90 Day Fiancé Before the 90 Days?! It is the trashiest of trashy TV but we’re currently obsessed but also thankful that we met in a totally normal and boring way.

If you couldn’t already guess after my declaration of laziness, we do not have any Halloween plans. If anything, I’ll dress up as a nigiri again for work so I don’t get judged for not dressing up. Halloween has always sort of been my least favorite holiday. Is Halloween a holiday? If it’s your favorite day of the year then I’m happy for you! I hope you win the costume contest! For me, Halloween feels like a milestone in the year that we just need to get past so that we can get to the good stuff. THANKSGIVING! CHRISTMAS! Maybe Hanukkah this year! But those are the holidays that really make my heart skip a beat.

What I do like about Halloween, other than cute baby costumes, is the candy! Throughout the majority of year I rarely ever indulge in true candy. Yes, I have plenty of cake and baked goods. But there’s almost never a Snickers or bag of Skittles in our apartment. But during Halloween, I can’t help myself when there is a giant plastic cauldron overflowing with sugar sitting in the kitchen at work. I go straight for the Crunch Bars and Cookies N’ Creme Bars. They’ve always been my favorite since I was little, especially the Cookies N’ Creme! If my entire halloween haul was made up of white chocolate goodies I would have been the happiest culturally inaccurate Pocahontas in all of Cleveland! It’s no secret that I’m a white chocolate fan. I’ve gone through my entire life with people telling me that it’s not real chocolate. I hear ya. But it’s just so good and creamy. I’ll be Team White Chocolate for as long as people continue to talk trash about it… which will be forever I’m sure.

These white chocolate and spiced pistachio butter cups would have sent me over the moon if one of the fancy houses in the neighborhood were handing them out. I guess you’re not supposed to eat unwrapped candy… BUT the point is that these candies are such a good treat! And sort of bougie (looking), despite the fact that they don’t take much effort to whip together. That’s the magic of crumbled pistachios. You can use store bought pistachio butter or any other nut butter you like instead of making your own. The additional spices makes it feel V autumnal and cozy. They also freeze super well and can be kept on hand for whenever you feel like transforming into a blanket burrito watching trashy tv snacking on a sweet treat. Hmmmmm how can I make that into a Halloween costume?


White Chocolate and Spiced Pistachio Butter Cups

makes about 12 candies

materials:

1 cup roasted unsalted pistachios *
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin spice (1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and a heavy dash of cloves)
16 oz white chocolate chips
3 tbsp coconut oil

* if you can only find salted pistachio, just don’t add the extra salt and add a teensy bit more honey. Adjust according to taste.

steps:

  1. Place pistachios in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds until you have fine crumble. Take out 2 tbsp of pistachios and set aside for your topping. Add in salt and pumpkin spice. Continue to blend for 5-7 minutes. Slowly add in honey and olive oil while blending until smooth. Set pistachio butter aside.

  2. Melt white chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler or in the microwave. If melting in the microwave, microwave in 20 second increments and mix in between until melty. This will prevent the chocolate from burning. Allow chocolate to slightly cool for a few minutes.

  3. Line a muffin pan with ridged liners. Add in a tablespoon of white chocolate into the liners. Then plop in about 1 tsp of pistachio butter and then fill with more white chocolate until completely covered. Sprinkle a bit of crushed pistachios on top. Place in the freezer until set and enjoy!

Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting + Birthday Picnic Scenes

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Heeeeeeyyyy! It's August already?! Where did the summer go?!

I'm finally recovering from eating cheese and cake for a whole week. Aren't birthdays great? I don't know if I could have asked for a better birthday week. Having the Cho Family close by would have been nice! Despite some minor homesickness, years 26 and 30 are starting out pretty great. There was the aforementioned cake and cheese, seeing and hearing from friends around the globe, and guess what?! Reuben finally passed ALL his architecture exams!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think that deserves another cake right? 😁 I'm so freaking proud of him. He knocked out all 7 tests (without failing a single one) in 1 year. That man is dedicated. I also like to think I played a hand in this by supporting him with study snacks. I think in a few weeks he's going to technically be a real licensed architect in Pennsylvania and get a fancy stamp. Woooo! His craft beer intake has spiked a little... you should see how beautiful our recycling bin is.

How great of a birthday present is having your best friend in town?! Katie flew in from Seattle for our birthday picnic and I wish she stayed forever. It was so great to have her in town to catch up on life, discuss how great groomsmaids/best-humans we are going to be for Jeff next May, figure out what our dog breed look-a-like is (Reuben is a sheep dog), and just run around being silly. She also made an awesome kitchen assistant and guest photographer. Working on these recipes can get pretty lonely, other than the occasional visit from Reuben to steal bites of food or when I royally screw up something and need his advice. She helped me make this INCREDIBLE CAKE (more about it soon) and assemble my first legit cheese board. We lounged on picnic blankets in the fog snacking on fruit, eating multiple small slices of cake, and chatting with all the characters we know in SF. The next day we drove down south to Pescadero Beach to be really Californian. It was so hot and sunny! I'm not used to that. We wandered around the tide pools and looked for agates, of course. I feel like I forget that I live in California until I go to the beach. We also went to go see a giant redwood tree as old as Jesus. Miss you Katie!

I'm going to talk about this cheese board for a hot sec. I've always wanted to put together a gorgeous and bountiful cheese board. It turns out that it is actually pretty easy if you have access to some beautiful fruit. My cheese board is pretty fruit heavy, which is how I like it. Color is super important to me, so we were trying to pick out fruit that complimented each other. Color Theory! I also like to have a mix of cheeses, something hard (asiago), something soft and creamy (goat brie), something mild (gouda), and something funky (blue cheese... even though I hate blue cheese). You gotta hit all the notes. I thought that the board turned out pretty beautiful, if I do say so myself 😎.  Someone else thought it was pretty beautiful too, because I was asked to make a cheese board for another birthday party! My very first commissioned cheese board! I'm thinking of making #chocheeseboard a thing. If you're in the Bay Area and need fancy cheese and crackers for an event, hit me up!

Alright, cake. A few weeks ago when I posted the Black Sesame Plum Crumb Cake, I said that this may have been the best thing I have ever baked. That cake is pretty damn good, but this cake is amazing. I blame it on the cream cheese frosting. Idk if I could trust anyone who doesn't love cream cheese frosting. We may or may not have continued licking the bowl post assembly... This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Best Birthday Cake recipe. I love her recipe and pretty much always gravitates towards it when I need a great yellow cake. I reduced the sugar by half and made an addition of honey for flavor. You could easily make this into a layer cake or even cupcakes, but I think I have fallen in love with sheet cakes. They are so easy! Less mess, no crumb coats, they feed a ton of people, and still look equally as pretty! Actually, I've always loved sheet cakes. My parents would always get us a big sheet cake from Giant Eagle for our birthdays growing up and they were the BEST. Northern Ohioans and Western Pennsylvanians will agree with me. 

So many people loved this cake at the picnic. If you have a birthday coming up or a celebration in need of cake, I highly recommend you make this. Everyone is going to love you and you're going to be so happy! I'm actually making this cake again today for a dinner party per a special request!

Happy Sunday!


Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 1 - 9"x13" sheet cake

Cake:

4 C cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 sticks (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

1 C white sugar

1/2 C honey

2 tsp vanilla

4 eggs

2 C buttermilk 

1/4 C crushed pistachios 

 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

6 tbsp butter, softened

12 oz cream cheese, softened

2.5 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt 

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9" x 13" sheet pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add in vanilla and honey, mix for a few more seconds. Add your eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated each time. Reduce the speed to low and add in the buttermilk. The batter will look curdled and gross, but don't freak out! Everything is going to be okay. Gradually add your flour mixture in batches. Mix until evenly incorporated. Scrape down the sides as needed.

4. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. To get rid of any air bubbles, drop the pan about 2" above the counter a few times.

5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and the center comes out clean when poked with a tooth pick.

6. Once done, allow to cook in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove cake from the pan and allow to completely cool on a wire rack.

7. While the cake bakes or while it cools, make your cream cheese frosting. Beat together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 30-45 seconds. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat for another 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and mix for another minute. The frosting will be a little loose, so place in fridge for 30 minutes to allow frosting to set up.

8. Frost cake with a thick layer of frosting and top with crushed pistachios. Or sprinkles! Or whatever your heart desires!

Coconut Nut Granola Clusters

Hey! Happy Sunday! I'm currently typing away on our brand-new-to-us IMac that Reuben got for FREE from work. It's so big, my eyes are still adjusting. I feel like this has definitely up-ed my game (whatever my "game" is"). I can edit photos, work on photoshop, and binge watch Criminal Minds all on the same screen! Thanks, Bohlin Cynwinski Jackson for gifting us a 6 year old, perfectly fine computer and letting me indulge in my crime show obsession.

Other than the addition of some new technology into our household, nothing exciting has been going around here. I'm perfectly fine with that. I've been enjoying the peace and calm of our apartment. I have been feeling sort of guilty lately because I haven't been as active on my Hey K. Cho Illustrations. But I think I need to take a little break from it... just like a short 2 week break. Last month I think I bite off more than I could chew with some wedding orders. One project was particulary draining and it didn't feel very fun. I felt like I wasn't painting for my own happiness and I was not a fan of that. So I'm taking things a little slow to re-energize myself and get back into the stationary game! I have my very first craft fair in September, which seems like a long time away, but I want it to be the best booth in Hayes Valley!

One perk of slowing down on the painting is that I could give more of energy into cooking and EatChoFood. Which makes me wonder if I have to give one of these up one day to give my full attention to the other. I'm not ready to make that decision and the thought of having to choose makes me sad. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it though! Even if you're like, "stop painting. your food looks better." There's just not many precedents of lady illustrators/food bloggers... or is there?! Tell me if you know! A friend did tell me that Jacques Pepin is also an artist! Aspiring to be like Jacques Pepin doesn't sound bad to me.

Shall we talk about Granola now? You might have noticed that I'm not great at segues (or riding segways - I can hear Reuben rolling his eyes right now). If you've ever witnessed a conversation between my girlfriends (I'm talking about you, Marissa) and I, our conversations are more like a continuous flow of consciousness and we jump around from topic to topic constantly. I'll work on my segue skills though...

Granola! There are very few things that I can eat every day and not get tired of. Yogurt with granola for breakfast is one of them. Dim Sum, specifically Har Gow is also on that list. Every morning at work, I scoop some plain full fat greek yogurt or Noosa into a bowl, dump a ton of granola, add some sweet fruit, and lightly drizzle a bit of honey to finish it off. I ideally like to have a 1:1 yogurt and granola ratio... but the concept of health looms over me and I restrain myself form adding too much granola.

I've been paying around with granola flavor combos and trying to achieve my perfect granola texture, which is crunchy and chunky. So the Coconut Nut Granola Clusters recipe was born! Make it and let me know if you can come up with a better name. Reuben and I put our heads together and this is the best we could come up with. It sounds funny, but I sort of like it. I keep snacking on this granola by it self, it's that good. The clusters are toasty, crunchy, crisp, and not too sweet. You can add some sugar or more honey if you like it sweeter. You can also add whatever nuts or seeds you have in your pantry to make it your own. I always have random half full bags of nuts leftover from other recipes, so this is a great way to utilize those nuts! Keep it in a big jar or a ziplock bag and use it all week to make your daily yogurt bowls extra special! Ooooooooh, you can add it to some ice cream! That sounds so good!


Coconut Nut Granola Clusters

Materials:

1 1/2 C rolled oats

1/2 C pistachios

1/4 C slivered almonds

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

1/2 C coconut flakes

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla 

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C honey

1 egg white

2 Tbsp sugar

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Combine rolled oats, pistachios, almonds, sesame seeds, and coconut flakes in a medium bowl. Add coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and honey. Mix until combined. 

3. In a small bowl, beat egg white with sugar and mix into the oat mixture.

4. Dump the oat mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Press down with a rubber spatula to form a 1/4" thick rectangle.

5. Bake for 40-45 minutes until deeply golden and crisp. Allow to fully cool and break up into chunks. Serve with yogurt or ice cream if you're feeling wild.