Almond Cookies & Orange Cake Bon Bons, #Baked with Love

One Sunday morning (circa age 9), I tiptoed downstairs to the kitchen and baked a surprise coffee cake out of Betty Crocker cookbook for children. The scents of baking butter, sugar and spice were enchanting. More magical still were the smiles on the faces of my family.

To this day I see baking as a tangible means of expressing care. So, when my friend, Jeanne threw a potluck party for fellow dance classmates, I was delighted to bake for her Asian theme buffet. My contributions of Chinese Almond Cookies and the Ninja Baker’s Orange Cake Bon Bons were a hit.

Hearts and Flours à la Japonais for Kristen’s #Improv Challenge

Sesame seeds delivered in dinner or dessert dishes are eternally in vogue in Japan. Served au natural or in paste form, a smile is almost guaranteed if I incorporate the nutty tidbits into a sweet or savory treat for my Japanese friends. So as a thank you to some of my pals in dance class who have kindly invited me to tea ceremonies and into their homes, I set out to make sesame sugar cookies crowned with vanilla cheesecake swirled with sesame paste. To my surprise, my American neighbors loved my sesame concoctions. And they are all gone. So, back to the kitchen for another round for my Japanese friends.


Read on for the winning recipes.



Japanese-Style Prosperity Pockets & Goat Cheese En Croute, #SundaySupper New Year’s Bucket List

After the traditional formal visit to the temple with family on New Year’s Day; on January 2nd, many females trade their kimono for blue jeans and join the throngs at trendy boutiques and department stores where good fortune fukubukuro bags await. To make way for 2013 merchandise, inventory from 2012 is sold at half price in sealed bags imprinted with the ?Chinese character for Good Fortune. (As well as characters for male?, female?, and child ?.) The chic spots in town sell out quickly. Sisters and girlfriends are blessings at this time because the more in the group, the better trades and exchanges of items from the bags. Of course, venues catering to men also sell fukubukuro bags. Typically though the shoppers are women. (No surprise for anyone living on planet earth, right?)

The Ninja Baker’s bucket list includes another trip to Tokyo where I can partake in this exciting Japanese shopping adventure. In the meantime, to commemorate this fun occasion, I’ve fashioned my own good fortune: Japanese-Style Ninja Baker sealed crescent roll Pockets of Prosperity. Want to join the fun? Well, then, please read on.


How to Please Everyone, 12 Holiday Ninja Treats

Are holidays more complicated these days? Budget and dietary considerations seem to be of paramount concern to many. So, the Ninja Baker went to work in the kitchen. 12 holiday treats that will please your gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan friends and family were produced. In addition, guaranteed American standards and Japanese sweets smile-makers were created. From the Ninja Baker’s selection, you are sure to find something to please everyone on your gift list. Love to have you add to my selection, too, and share your favorite homemade baked goods in the comments section.

A Sumptuous Feast: Francesca Lia Block's The Elementals

The popular author of the Weetzie Bat young adult series, Francesca Lia Block has published a new novel for  adults entitled The Elementals. Read the rave reviews from giants in the media.

AND for readers only, Carmen Staton who wrote Ruby with Francesca is coming out with a cookbook of Weetzie Bat recipes and is allowing a sneak preview!