Treats from Reese’s and cookies that remind of them

Late last week I received a ginormous package from Reese’s. The box looked like a giant pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, which I thought was a cute idea. I was imagining that a load of Reese’s goodies would spill out once I opened the box, but actually there is an assortment of things inside. There were three packs of the classic peanut butter cups and three packs of their NutRageous bars, and then this adorable candy-wrapper shaped USB.

Most importantly, inside was an invitation to the #RediscoveReese’s Throwback Festival on August 2nd. It will be held at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall, open to the public starting at 12 noon, and ending with a mini concert at 6pm.

I won’t be able to make it due to prior commitments but if you’re looking for something to do this Saturday then you might want to come to this event. Reese’s promises an afternoon of fun, games, and prizes, and I have no doubt they will follow through. Pretty sure this is a good chance for all you Reese’s lovers to go home with a stash of their different candy bars!

What I love about Reese’s Peanut Butter cups is the fact that it combines two of my favourite things, which are chocolate and peanut butter. It’s funny that I would say that now, because as a kid I really abhorred peanut butter. Now I eat it to power me before a workout, and I come up with any excuse to eat some more, sometimes even settling for peanut butter covered bananas. I’m not the type of person who eats stuff from the jar so I always have to spread it on something– anything really.

The problem I have with eating Reese’s is I can only tolerate small doses of milk chocolate at a time. I can’t eat more than one piece of Reese’s without feeling like I swallowed glue. Milk chocolate tends to leave this terrible stickiness in my throat. But because I like this chocolate and peanut butter confection so much I even consider making my own at home with bittersweet chocolate. But today is not that day, because today I got a recipe for you that is essentially a not-as-sweet Reese Peanut Butter Cup in cookie form.

Magic in the Middle. That’s what these cookies are called. And I couldn’t have thought of a better name.

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Musings with a side of Triple Choco-cado Brownies

How do you keep your everyday interesting? Sometimes I scroll through my Instagram feed and feel just a little bit jealous (okay, a LOT jealous) of how everybody else seems to be living such a charmed life. While I sit in an office six times a week from 9 to 6, the people on my feed are hiking up mountains to witness breathtaking sights, or taking scrolls along a beautiful forest path. As I scroll down and read the captions I begin to realize these people actually live in these lovely places. They probably see these sights everyday and yet they never fail to find new Instagrammable spots and objects.

I think it’s nice to wake up each day and be able to see things from a different light. I really admire the people who strive to look outside the box every single day. Those who have the ability to take one object and see its worth in more ways than meets the eye. It’s hard sometimes to see things other than how they appear, but I found that sometimes even the most ordinary things can surprise us if only we try and really take a good look at it. Tilt it one way to see another face of it. Move it under the light to see a different shade of it. It’s something we need to keep learning everyday: how to look and be able to see.

Many of the people on my feed seem to have a good grasp of this concept. They understand that life is dynamic and can be full of surprises as long as they keep an open mind. It’s no wonder their Instagram feeds are always bursting with enthusiasm for life. Maybe if I keep looking through their photos I will find inspiration to practice the same kind of open-mindedness. I have a tendency to zone in on something specific I perceive that I don’t let other thoughts leak in, so I can honestly say that I need to acquire this superpower. And the sooner the better.

Today I’m going to practice this habit on a fairly shallow level. Behold the avocado. It has more uses than just being a part of guacamole or this phenomenal Avocado Cake. You can also use it as a substitute for butter. You can use it to pretend that what you’re making is lower in fat and therefore maybe just a tad bit good for you.

“Low-fat” brownies, anyone?
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A revelation in the form of liquid buttermilk

I took a bit of an unplanned break from this space for a few days and I have a very valid reason. I was hit on the head with an anvil eureka moment, you see. It’s been a while since an idea impressed itself upon me with such force and clarity that I simply couldn’t ignore it. Far the past several days I have been writing in a different way, fiction actually. And it’s been so glorious to tell you the truth, having the words flow out of me with such tenacity. My greatest love and I are rekindling our romance.

But right now I’m taking a short break from that, turning my attention to something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while. A magic ingredient, if you will. It starts with a B and ends with a K, and no it’s not Bjork. She’s not even an ingredient. I know, you’re all probably rolling your eyes right now at the corniness of that “joke”, or maybe you’re rolling your eyes asking yourself what’s so special about buttermilk.

Well folks where I live, buttermilk in liquid form isn’t easily accessible. It’s available in powder form, and you can create the milk + vinegar/lemon juice solution at home, but I’ve been convinced for the longest time that nothing can equate to actual buttermilk. And after my first bottle, I’m feeling pretty convinced about my theory.

It was, like most of the surprise ingredients I have had the chance to bake/cook with for the blog, a completely unexpected turn of events. I was visiting the refurbished and rebranded All About Baking store in Quezon City (my new baking supply mecca) and there they were: a line of bottled liquid white gold. It was in the refrigerator alongside the butters and whipped creams. I contemplated getting two bottles, but I have learned that impulse buying ingredients is a good way to feel guilty about tossing away unused food. So I stuck with one bottle.

And boy, I really need to go back there.

What I love about buttermilk is that not only can you use it to achieve beautiful texture on your baked goods, it’s also such a great ingredient to use for cooking. Among the things I’m looking forward to trying with my next bottle of buttermilk is the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Just hearing the raves about that dish is enough to make my mouth water. But for now I’ll be sharing something a little more tamed in the form of Buttermilk Roasted Chicken, which is really great served with some of the best biscuits I have ever had the pleasure of eating!

Yep, two recipes are coming at you today. Can you tell I’m trying to make up for lost time here?
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My first two recipes using my new tiny doughnut pan

My godmother sent me my first doughnut pan all the way from Taiwan last month. It’s been pretty darn near impossible to find the thing locally so you can probably imagine how I felt the moment I opened the package and saw it. I was over the moon! Even though a moment later I realized the pan was way smaller than the normal size, I was more than happy to receive it. It’s so much better than not having a pan at all! (She also sent over a doughnut cutter for yeasted doughnuts but we can talk about that later on.) 

I’m not such an avid doughnut-eater but I have wanted for the longest time to make some at home. I have some fascination over trying to figure out why the little suckers seem to draw so much attention. If any of you have ever seen the lines in any JCo branch all over Metro Manila you might understand what I mean. What is it about doughnuts that make people wait for the longest time and exit the store with boxes upon boxes piled up in their arms? Is it a phenomenon seen only in the Philippines? (I don’t recall any lines at all in JCo stores in other Asian countries I visited.) At some point I thought to myself, will making it help me understand this intense love for doughnuts?

There is some strange circular reasoning coming into play here. Bear with me please!

Funny story about my long search for doughnut pans. After months of leaving store after store with head bowed down in failure, I resorted to asking acquaintances living abroad for help. But after my pan arrived, by some ironic twist of chance, I actually chanced upon a Wilton doughnut pan as I was browsing through the Living Well Store in the SM Mall of Asia. This happened several weeks ago but I remember the scene like it was yesterday.

There were exactly two Wilton pans sitting quietly on a shelf and it was my brother Jason who saw them first. Bells of hallelujah started ringing in my head. Deep inside I did a little happy dance. It seems a bit weird and overly dramatic, but do you know that pleasant feeling of overwhelming surprise you get when you have given up the search for something and suddenly it appears quite unexpected before your eyes?

Yep, that’s the one! Life is full of awesome surprises sometimes! :D

One thing I regret is not buying both pans. As of this writing I have not tried the Wilton pan yet because I actually made these doughnuts way before that fateful visit. However the difference in size of the pans was made more jarring when I got to compare them side by side. 

As you can see, the pan from Taiwan is nearly just as tall as an iPhone 5. The doughnuts it produces is somewhere in the middle of a regular-sized one and a mini. I didn’t mind but it does mess a bit with the stated yields in the recipe. Also, having only this small one meant I had to pop out the first batch of doughnuts and quickly clean the pan, then I have to grease it again and refill it just to get the remaining batter into the oven. It does require quite a bit more work! Nonetheless, I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful ingrate. This doughnut pan is special because it came from someone I adore to bits. I was extremely excited about my first doughnut pan that I had to try it out immediately.

Interestingly enough there seems to be more to it than just baking them doughnuts in the pan. Overmixing the batter for cake doughnuts is a sin. There is also a proper way of piping the batter and a proper quantity when filling each empty slot in the pan to attain that perfect plump doughnut shape. I didn’t really think of any of these since… I mean, doughnuts. And cake doughnuts at that! How complicated could they be? Luckily I had the foresight to start out with two of my personal favourite flavours– you know, flavours I would probably still eat in case I mess the recipe up somehow. More luckily still, in this house anything green tea and lemon is usually a safe bet.
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