So I bought a pack of marzipan, Part 2

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I have mentioned plenty of times before how much I love making bread. There’s just something therapeutic and exciting about it at the same time. Baking is wondrous in how it turns something colourless and shapeless into a piece of edible art, and I think this magic is more evident in yeast breads. It starts out as a sticky piece of dough that somehow has a life of its own thanks to the yeast. You wait patiently as it rises and grows and puffs up, and once you shape it and put it into the oven it bakes into perfect little breads with beautiful crumbs. It sometimes pays to sit back and just appreciate the transformation from dough to bread. It can be mind-blowing.

It’s quite sad that lately I haven’t had the chance to make any yeast breads due to time constraints. (That and I have been tired a lot.) Every time I think of making bread there are other “more pressing” plans that have to take priority over a relaxing day in the kitchen. Having just one day off work in a week just isn’t enough anymore haha! There’s just so much that I want to get done that it’s hard to stuff it all into one day. That’s why any opportunity or stolen moment I have to make bread, I snatch it into my hands and hold on tightly.

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Now if there’s anything I love more than plain old breads, it’s filled breads. It’s not that I would call plain breads boring– I appreciate all sorts of yeast breads too much to say that. It’s just that filled breads are a joy to munch on; and anyway you add spreads on plain breads most of the time. Why not just bake the spread into the buns, right? 

The truth is I was very excited to make this particular recipe because it combines two of my favourite flavours: lemon and almond. Lemon buns with marzipan filling. Remember my story about finally getting my hands on a pack of marzipan? I was lucky to find out that one 500-gram pack is enough for two different recipes, so I jumped right in for the chance to make these buns!

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(Apologies for the ugly gif colour. Can anybody teach me how to solve this?)

My obsession with the lemon flavour has always been a mainstay in my life, so it’s completely understandable why this particular bun would make me feel all giddy just thinking about it. But the bonus for me was to get to see how marzipan would fare as a filling. Could I perhaps use it for future filled bread experiments? It’s interesting to discover different types of flavours that go well together, and today the focus is on the lemon-almond tandem.

An excuse to bring out the strawberry jam

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Once upon a time I had a craving.

I went down to the kitchen and opened the pantry doors, pushing aside bottles until I found the one I was looking for: strawberry jam. I picked it up and stared at it a long time. I don’t know why I like to make life harder for myself. I could have just toasted some bread and slathered on the jam, craving satisfied, but I pushed that idea aside. As I held on to the bottle, staring at but not really seeing the label on the jam, a flicker of a memory crossed my mind.

When I was little, my nanny would buy me these munchkin doughnuts from the local Dunkin’ Donuts. Apparently they were a prize for my being a good girl, though I’m pretty sure I persuaded her to buy me some even on my mischievous days. She would buy the light, airy, cakey little doughnut holes in different flavours. The chocolate and bavarian flavours are fantastic, but my favourites are always the strawberry-filled ones. I would always save them for last, savouring the way the powdered sugar melted in my mouth before giving way to the sweet explosion of gooey strawberry.

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Flash forward to the present; to me standing there like an idiot with a jar of strawberry jam in hand with only one thing on my mind: I wanted a strawberry-filled doughnut, which was completely weird since doughnuts don’t even come close to the top of the list of things I like to eat. It’s not that I hate doughnuts either. I’m just uncomfortable with the way most of them are drowned in oil fried. But I would be a liar if I said doughnuts taste bad, because they really really don’t. Not especially when they’re filled with glorious strawberry jelly yumminess. So the easy solution was to make a baked doughnut.

Hi chocolate, it’s nice to matcha!

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Did I really just write that title? I’m sorry.

So I finally managed to track down some matcha powder some weeks ago, and unfortunately it’s not the sort I’m looking for. It seems like a really mild type of matcha. From what I’ve been seeing in photos, the concentrated one has a greener hue; and from what I’ve been reading, it has a stronger taste. I can barely taste my matcha in this bread. No, scratch that– I can only taste the matcha if I concentrate really really hard. If I close my eyes and really try to unlock my tastebuds, I can taste the wonderful green tea notes with a hint of sweetness at the end. Unfortunately it lasts only a few seconds, not to mention I look kind of odd doing that at the table.

And yes I’m pretty sure it’s not just my imagination.

If only life were as easy as braiding lemon breads

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How goes the first couple of weeks of the new year for you all? Mine has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Sometimes when I lay down to sleep at night, I feel shocked at how much has happened in the last 11 days since the year began. Work has been absolutely draining and stressful and overwhelming. Sometimes all I want to do is lie down and stop thinking about everything. The weather has been nice over here too, contributing to my desires to take it slow. Maybe I need a change of careers. Or something.

I know I told myself that 2013 is going to be an awesome year– my year. I felt good about its approach, and I felt good as I welcomed it with open arms. I had this sensation in me that this is the year when things will begin falling into place. That I’ve been feeling the blues these past few days has been discouraging me though. I feel insecure. I feel terrified that things seem to still be muddled until now. I know it’s grossly premature to have this fear that I am going to be disappointed at the end of the year just because I’m having off days right now, but it’s an odd feeling. I feel like there’s something else out there I should be doing to get to where I want to be. And yet I have no idea how or where to get started.

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