December 7, 2020

Homemade Ube Butter

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I bought from an online Filipino store a few items and they gave me a small jar of Ube Butter for free. The ube butter is similar to Biscoff spread because it is also made with cookies and butter. The cookies have ube flavoring, most likely unnatural and not real ube (purple yam from the Philippines). I didn't like it because it is too sweet for my taste and I was put off by the violent color. Yes, violent is not a typo. 

Ube is not supposed to be this dark violet. Real ube yam is a lighter shade of purple and when cooked in milk and sugar should be light purple or very dark lilac. I also didn't like the artificial flavor of the store-bought ube butter so I made my own with homemade Ube Jam and butter plus a little powdered xylitol. Needless to say I prefer homemade Ube Butter because it is made with just Ube Jam and salted butter and the color is very very light lilac. I prefer salted butter because IMHO, salt enhances the flavor of sweets. 

If you are using store-bought ube jam, make sure the color is not very dark purple because it will taste of fake ube flavoring that comes in a small bottle. If you don't mind the artificial flavor, then go ahead and use it.

The recipe for homemade Ube Jam is here.

October 16, 2020

Burnt Cheesecake

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Searching for the recipe for the Basque Sobao cake, I came across another cake that is supposed to be from the same region of Spain, the Burnt Cheesecake. The cake can be found in several food blogs and on YouTube so I think I'm late for the party. I like the recipe because it doesn't have Graham cracker or Oreo cookie crust, making it keto friendly if you use sugar substitute. Most recipes don't have flavorings so I added a little orange and lemon extracts to give it a little oomph. The cheesecake is easy to prepare and really really good.

October 6, 2020

Spanish Basque Sobao

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Watching too many Spanish Basque shows on Netflix is bad for my waistline. There are so many sweet treats that I never heard before are mentioned in these shows and I just have to try them. I have cooked a few Basque recipes but can't recall the sweet bread sobao. I looked for it in my Spanish cookbooks with lots of Basque recipes; didn't find one. I had to rely on Wikipedia as well as Spanish recipe websites and was only able to get descriptions, ingredients and amounts, but not an actual recipe. I experimented and made just a quarter of the ingredients written on Wiki. It's actually pound cake but with a little less flour and has a little yeast. I don't know what the yeast is for. The finished bread/cake looks like cornbread, is dense, buttery, sweet, and not bad. I'll increase the anise or rum next time I make it.

from Wikipedia
The recipe includes one kilo of sugar, one of butter, 900 grams of flour, 12 eggs, a pinch of salt, lemon zest, a spoon of rum or anise liquor and a bit of dry yeast. The butter and sugar are mixed together, then salt and lemon are added under continuous stirring. One by one the eggs are added with the spoonful of liquor and finally, flour and yeast are incorporated. As soon as all ingredients are thoroughly mixed the dough is ready, filled into a baking dish and baked in the oven.
Sobao Spanish Basque (Inauthentic)
1 cup sugar 
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon lemon zest 
¼ tablespoon anise liqueur 
3 large eggs 
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour mixed with 1/16 teaspoon yeast 

  • Line on all sides a 6 x 6 square pan with parchment paper; set aside. 
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  • In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar together until creamy and pale yellow in color. 
  • Add eggs one at a time together with the anise liqueur. Sprinkle a little of the flour if mixture separates. Beat until smooth. 
  • Slowly add flour and yeast; mix with spatula until fully incorporated. 
  • Transfer into the prepared pan and bake until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. 
  • Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into 2-inch squares.

If someone has an authentic recipe for Sobao, please email me. I'll appreciate it. 😊

May 16, 2020

Cacao Butter Chocolate Candy

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The food grade cacao butter wafers which I used eons ago for homemade lotions and other facial stuff had been sitting in the pantry and already passed the best by date. The wafers looked good so I experimented with making candies. The recipes online seem simple enough to make. Unfortunately, making chocolate candies from scratch using cacao butter is definitely not a piece of cake. It's complicated and frustrating because powdered sugar, powdered erythritol, and powdered milk don't melt that easily. You can whisk it until the end of time and you'll still end up with gritty candy that has cacao butter sitting at the bottom and sugar/milk on top because it needs an emulsifier. Yes, the much maligned lecithin emulsifier.

I had an ancient, maybe 5 years old, small package of soy lecithin granules in the fridge. I threw that away and got sunflower lecithin powder. I didn't know that health nuts take this powder as a supplement. So why not add lecithin if it is not harmful and may even be helpful, if true. It helped bigly in emulsifying specially the white chocolate candy. Also, instead of powdered sugar and milk, I made sweet condensed milk with erythritol and a little white cane sugar 3:1. The sweet milk with the help of lecithin made the candy smooth. For the dark chocolate I added chipotle powder in half of the mixture and chopped homemade candied orange fruit in the other half. Both flavors are delicious!

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