Tag Archives: chocolate

SOK Bake Sale, Part 1: Chocolate-Passionfruit Whoopie Pies

10 Sep

I’ve been on something of a baking kick lately, thanks to a newfound sweet tooth coupled with actually having some events to bake for. (Even on my most dedicated sweets binge, I find it hard to finish a dozen cupcakes while they’re still fresh.) I wanted to bring something festive to a baby shower, but wanted to try my hand at something new, so I decided to make some whoopie pies. These have been something of a trend lately, though not as ubiquitous as cupcakes or macarons; it’s frosting sandwiched between two cake-cookies (basically, cake batter baked like a drop cookie). Though the classic combo is chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, à la Oreos or Ding Dongs, but any combination that you would use for a cake will work; pumpkin and red velvet are especially popular. I’ve been wanting to make something with passionfruit, and everyone loves chocolate, so chocolate and passionfruit it was.

The cake portion of the whoopie pies

First I baked the cake portion, using this recipe from Baked Explorations, via The Modern Domestic. I omitted both the hot coffee and the coffee powder and used extra buttermilk instead. The batter was sticky as the dickens (they don’t call it devil’s food for nothing), but they baked up beautifully—fluffy but not dry.

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Japanese Chocolates, Part Two

15 Feb

Nothing says romance like Spicy Choco Sticks.

Happy Valentine’s Day! (It’s a little late for my Malaysian readers, but I did start the post on the 14th.) In honor of the choco-centric holiday, I thought I’d do a sequel to my earlier Japanese Kit-Kat post. This time, I’ll be reviewing the wasabi flavor, as well as the “spicy choco stick.”

Among the many crazy flavors of Kit Kat they sell in Japan, wasabi is a staple, especially for foreigners in search of souvenirs. The packaging touts it as “an elegant spiciness, with a creamy sweetness.” (There’s also a warning that the picture of the wasabi root on the wrapping is “for illustration purposes only,” probably because they’re using the cheaper powdered horseradish.)

Wasabi and chocolate, together at last

And it tastes like…white chocolate with a smidgen of wasabi powder. It wasn’t as sinus-clearing as I expected, but it wasn’t great, either. I’m usually a fan of savory and sweet (bring on the bacon chocolate bar!), but this combination didn’t work for me. Maybe with dark chocolate?

More pleasing were the Spicy Choco Sticks, sort of like a grown-up version of Pocky (which is made by a rival company — they have Men’s Pocky, but it’s just dark, not spicy). The chocolate has hints of orange and chili. I know this flavor combo has been around for a while (you know, like since the Aztecs), but not in handy stick form. Interestingly, the packaging says it’s “perfect with alcohol!” and suggests that you use the sticks as a swizzle stick for your whisky highball, or pair it with some red wine. Red wine and spicy choco sticks: doesn’t that sound like a recipe for romance?

Japanese Kit Kats: Cherry Blossom and “Adult” Flavors

14 Feb

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would do a post on chocolate — specifically, Kit Kats that I picked up in Narita on my way to Hawaii. As has been documented all over the internet, Kit Kats markets a dizzying array of flavors in Japan, including Coca-Cola, shoyu, cheese…and those are just the flavors that a non-Japanese might recognize. (I’m not even sure how to translate kinako, one of the flavors, except as “toasted soybean powder,” which sounds horribly unappetizing. That seems to be a theme with Asian food in general, really, as anyone who’s looked at a direct translation of a Chinese menu knows.)

I decided to get cherry blossom green tea (limited edition for spring), “adult” chocolate, and wasabi.

Food styling courtesy of my mom

The packaging is nice, with the spring-like green-and-pink color scheme. And the Kit Kat itself was a promising shade of green. (Green = tea flavor, of course.) Unfortunately, the first bite disappointed. The package does say that the cherry blossom scent is “subtle,” but I would call it “undetectable” — as is any green tea flavor. Mostly, it just tasted of wafer and white chocolate. And it wasn’t just my dull palate; my mom was equally underwhelmed.

Rated "R" for, um, "restraint"

Next up was the “mature” Kit Kat. No, nothing naughty; rather, the “adult” refers to the fact that they use dark chocolate. Also, the calorie information is printed on the front of the package, which is a very grown-up thing.

Kit Kat, full exposure

I’m a dark chocolate fan, so I thought this was pretty tasty; I’d support marketing these in the US. I think they’d be a success, especially with all the attention dark chocolate is getting for its antioxidant properties. (I’m not going to bother with a link, because you’re probably sick of news stories about how “chocolate is good for you!“.) Nothing particularly ground-breaking.

I’m saving the wasabi Kit Kats for a future post. Maybe when they come out with sushi-flavored Kit Kats? (And no, they haven’t come out with those yet. I checked.)