Japanese Yuzu Citrus Biscotti, #CreativeCookieExchange

Japanese yuzu citrus pucker passion commenced in 710 AD Japan. The Chinese import looks and tastes like a cross between a lemon and a lime. The pungent yuzu fruit remains popular today in Japan.  (Yuzu brightens, and punches up the flavors of both Japanese desserts and dishes.)

Chocolate – often affectionately called “choco” in Japan – is also wildly popular. Compared to yuzu, however, chocolate is a fairy new commodity in Japan. Milk chocolate made its debut with the Japanese audience in the early 1900s. From my Google Japan and Google USA research, it looks like white chocolate won over the hearts of Japanese girls as White Day was introduced in the 1970s. White Day is an attempt at equal affection expression.  Translation: In Japan...

Spring and St. Patrick’s Day Cake Pops and Cupcakes, #Pejoy

St. Patrick shooed away snakes from The Emerald Isle of Ireland. You, too, can banish pesky pests (problems, worries.) The solution is simple. Say yes to a Pejoy spring fling! What is Pejoy? Japanese Pocky’s cousin. Instead of cream-coated biscuit sticks, the slim Pejoy cookie sticks contain (green tea) matcha or chocolate cream inside. (In Japan, a myriad of varieties of Pejoy and Pocky are sold.)

In between nibbles of a green tea matcha cream filled Pejoy, I contemplated how best to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, spring and... 

Lemon Brasadella Italian Coffee Cake, #TwelveLoaves

When Life gives you lemons, make Sugar Free Lemon Brasadella Italian Coffee Cake! What is the sourest lemon sentence you can give a foodie? A doctor demanding a reduction in sugar, threatening diabetes gave this Ninja Baker a wake-up call. Good news is I lowered my numbers and am no longer on the diabetes precipice. I also learned to eat protein before diving into dessert. Previously I skipped the bacon and filled up a ginormous frozen yogurt cup...Sugar-free, gluten-free Lemon Brasadella Italian Coffee Cake baking in the oven smells luscious. Lemon scents wafting through the apartment had me hopeful. Turning the lemon coffee cake out of the bundt pan proved promising, too.

Gluten-Free Donuts, #SundaySupper

I nibbled the Ninja Baker’s adaptation of a BabyCakes gluten-free donut. Deeeelicious! Whew! Substituting banana for applesauce along with a few other Ninja tweaks made for one scrumptious gluten-free donut. Dare I say it? I do believe my gluten-free donut was better than a regular cake donut! Added bonus: My gluten-free donuts are also vegan!

Today’s #SundaySupper chat at Twitter is all about recipes using beans. (Scroll down to see your invite to the virtual dinner table.) So, Erin McKenna’s BabyCakes gluten-free cake donut recipe, which requires garbanzo bean flour, fit the bill. To honor the beanirific #SundaySupper theme, I also added vanilla bean paste.

Dipping my gluten-free donuts into rose-colored candy melts, a few musings about the humble bean stirred…

Imitation Game Guinness Brownies, #SundaySupper

Did you see The Imitation Game?  Pour in a heavy dose of suspense; sprinkle in intrigue; introduce a quirky mathematician and unlikely love-interests. Toss the elements into England’s Bletchley Park (code breaker headquarters) during WWII. After 114 minutes in the movie theatre, you may see why The Imitation Game is nominated for eight Oscars. Without leaking spoiler alerts, a conversation about love at the local pub prompts a major turning point in The Imitation Game. Although much of the excitement is enhanced by Hollywood; solving riddles, finding solutions with friends while sharing a pint of Guinness reads true to life.

One of the many Hollywoodized features includes...

White Chocolate Cream Topped Red Velvet Mini Cakes, #TheCakeSliceBakers

 “Oops, I Did It Again” (Remember that Britney Spears song?) Another variation on red velvet cake! Yes, last time I swooned over the browned butter cinnamon cream cheese frosting adorning my chocolate velvet cupcakes. (Another scrumptious recipe from The Southern Cake Book.) And when The Cake Slice Bakers group was cake baking through Julie Richardson’s Vintage Cakes, I oohed and aahed over the results of the mascarpone cheese frosting swirled atop the Vintage Cakes recipe for red velvet cupcakes. Well, I’ve implemented a few tricks to enhance an already enjoyable red velvet cupcake experience. 

Cherry Blossom Tea Cookies, #CreativeCookieExchange

“The spring breeze wearing cherry blossom petals,” is a breathtaking sight in Japan. Seeing the frail flowers fall to the ground is a tug on the heart. The blossoms of the cherry tree are exquisite but short-lived like the time of mere mortals on planet earth. To ensure precious life is enjoyed, many a picnic with loved ones take place under the cherry blossoms in the months of March and April. (Typically cherry blossom season. The southern regions of Japan see cherry blossoms in March. As the southern blossoms fade, cherry trees begin to bloom in the Northern Japan.) Picnic baskets are often brimming with veggie sandwiches, traditional Japanese sweets and beer! Thanks to the latter, much singing is also heard in the groves of Japanese cherry blossoms.

Given the Japanese reverence for cherry blossoms, it is no surprise that sakura (cherry blossom in Japanese) is...

Heart Healthy Salmon Bento, #SundaySupper

Japanese bento lunch boxes l are budget-savers. Beautifully crafted bentos are often on sale hours before closing in department store basements in Japan. The artistic mosaics of foods arranged in accordance with the season are also available for a reasonable price on bullet train rides and station kiosks.) Still, bento boxes like brown bags when homemade are inevitably infused with an invaluable ingredient – love.

Chocolate Péjoy Banana Rum Cake Pops

Banana flambé is flamboyant, dramatic and wonderful. Equally magnificent is a petite version of the dessert with half the fuss and mess. Enter Chocolate Péjoy Banana Rum Cake Pops. What is a chocolate Pejoy? A slim biscuit stick filled with chocolate cream. Basically a chocolate Pocky turned inside out.

So, using a baking mix (Bisquick), I whipped up a grownups only banana rum cake batter popping with bits of Pejoy chocolate biscuits. I skipped the milk (used in most banana cake recipes) and poured in rum! The booze is, quite frankly, not prominent. Rather, the rum tempers the banana flavor, which leaves a fruity tickle on the tongue. Of course, the coatings of melted dark chocolate and chocolaty crumbled Péjoy crunch are a double whammy of deliciousness!

Valentine Croquembouche, #ValentineCroque

Croquembouche, the cone-shaped cream puff tower traditionally served to royalty on French tables is a familiar sight in Japan’s cosmopolitan centers. Currently, over 500 Japanese chefs work in Paris. Many return to Japan and open their own restaurants and patisseries. The influence of French culinary training is evident to any foodie who gazes into a Japanese patisserie window.


A little sleuthing about which country has the most Michelin stars can be interesting. Some sites swear Japan and France are equally tied. Others declare Tokyo glitters with more 3-star Michelin restaurants; 14 to Paris’ 10.

At any rate, when Jenni, the Pastry Chef Online, ever so lovingly threw down the croquembouche gauntlet ...

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