White Toblerone Macadamia Cookies

Wow, it sure is crazy to think that 2013 is taking its last few breaths. Pretty soon, the full force of 2014 will be upon us! It’s weird to think how quickly this year went by. But as the seasons change and our calendars change dates, some things always stay the same.

The last day of the year will always be December 31, and it’s been that way for a very long time. If I’m not mistaken, December 31 was created back when Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 45 BC, where December was given 31 days instead of the 29 it had under the old Roman calendar.

Mixing the Toblerone with the cookie dough

On this last day of the year, people everywhere will begin making resolutions to themselves. Some of that will include eating healthier, losing weight, exercising more, getting more sleep, procrastinating less, etc. Personally, I don’t have my list of New Year’s resolutions ready yet, but I will! I’ll probably post them on my personal blog (kuyasnotebook.com) later today or tomorrow when I finally have the list finalized.

Before midnight rings, it’s also important to clean the house and get everything ready for the new year. Today has been filled with cleaning, tidying things up, and just getting the house ready to soak in all the luck that 2014 has to offer.

Preparing the cookies

Filipinos have always been superstitious about New Year’s, probably a product of our Chinese ancestors. A few important things you should do before the calendar rolls over to January 1 include:

  • Cleaning your house
  • Fill your wallet with money (no empty wallets unless you want an empty wallet all year!)
  • Scatter coins around the house and outside your door
  • Eat round grapes at the stroke of midnight
  • Have long noodles for long life

I’m also going to be jumping twelve times at midnight to increase my height this year. 🙂

Cookies in the oven

Also, on New Year’s Day, it’s very important that you don’t clean anything and don’t spend any money at all! You wouldn’t want to wipe away the good luck that came in on New Year’s Eve, and your spending habits on January 1 will last for the rest of the year! As in, if you spend money of New Year’s Day, you’ll spend away too much of your money this coming year!

Bok Choy and Broccoli has a very international audience, many of you hailing from the United States, Canada, and the Philippines. Please in the comments leave how you celebrate the New Year and what your superstitions are (if you have any)! Until next time, have a great 2014 ahead of you!

Toblerone Cookies

White Toblerone Macadamia Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups (approx. 2 bars) white Toblerone, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, comine flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour mixture and macadamia, and blend at low speed until just combined. Do not over-mix!
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to cool, flat surface.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Hi everyone! It’s about noon here in Dallas so I wanted to pop in and greet you all. Depending on where in the world you are, I hope you are either enjoying what’s left of your Christmas Day or that you had a great Christmas already!

I really wanted to put out a Toblerone cookie recipe my mom came up with, but unfortunately my computer had some issues this past week (bad timing, I know), so I won’t be able to get the photos until at least tomorrow.

So instead of a Christmas present, the cookies will have to be a New Year’s gift or something. 🙂

Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and great food.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

With love,
Joshua and Boots

Harry Potter Butterbeer Latte/Frappuccino

Starbucks Butterbeer Frappuccino

Back in the summer, my family and I made it out to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Despite not being a big Harry Potter person (yet), I really enjoyed it! My younger brother is actually the Harry Potter person in the family—he’s reading the seventh book right now!—so he got an even bigger kick out of the place than the rest of us did.

Here's my mom, brother, and me outside Hogwarts Castle! Notice the Butterbeer in my brother's hands. :)

Here’s my mom, brother, and me outside Hogwarts Castle! Notice the Butterbeer in my brother’s hands. 🙂

When I’d go around and tell people I knew that I was gonna go to Harry Potter World, I kept hearing the same thing over and over. “You have to try the Butterbeer!”

And so, that’s what we did! We actually got the souvenir mug so we could get a ton of refills because we thought it’d look best and add to the experience.

Butterbeer at Universal Orlando Resort

Butterbeer at Universal Orlando Resort

Butterbeer apparently tastes just like cream soda, but I’ve never actually had cream soda so I can’t really compare. But hey, if the Internet and all my friends say so, then it must taste like cream soda! It’s very sweet and refreshing, especially since it was a very hot Florida day! Butterbeer comes in two types: regular and frozen. The frozen one tastes a lot better so don’t even waste your time with the regular one.

Now, I understand that not everyone will be able to go off to Orlando, pay for tickets into Universal, and buy their Butterbeer whenever you feel like it. Did I mention that getting Butterbeer in the plastic, souvenir mug can cost around $10? (You can get it in a disposable cup for $3.49 for the regular and $4.49 for the frozen, but there’s no fun in that.)

Frappuccino

So here’s the good news: you can get something very similar at a place you most likely have just around the corner—Starbucks! There are two varieties of the Starbucks Butterbeer recipe floating around—one for a latte and one for a frappuccino. I like them both, but the latte is probably the smarter one considering the weather. 🙂

They’re both ridiculously sweet—just like the real thing!—so please, please, please don’t have too much of this. Responsible wizards and witches make sure they don’t simultaneously lose all their teeth from cavities. The amount of caffeine and sugar in here definitely isn’t something you want to have very much.

Also, you can only get this during the winter, as some of these syrups are seasonal items. So try it while you can!

For more pictures of Harry Potter World, head over to my personal blog, Kuya’s Notebook. There are a ton of pictures for anyone interested!

Harry Potter Frappuccino

Starbucks “Butterbeer” Latte / Frappuccino

  1. Fly your broom over to your local Three Broomsticks pub Starbucks.
  2. Tell the cashier you want the following:
    • For the latte
      • A whole milk steamer
      • Caramel syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
      • Toffee nut syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
      • Cinnamon dolce syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
      • Whipped cream and salted caramel (or creme brûlée topping) on top
    • For the frappuccino
      • A Creme Frappuccino base (needs to be whole milk)
      • Caramel syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
      • Toffee nut syrup (2 for tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti)
      • Caramel drizzle on top

White Chocolate Toblerone Fudge

It’s really crazy to think it’s already midway through October! It feels like it hasn’t been that long since school started in late August. Maybe it’s just the ridiculous amount of things I’ve been up to lately!

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Last weekend, I went to a homecoming football game and dance with an old friend at her school. And to go along with Texan tradition, we exchanged the gigantic mums (a huge, fake chrysanthemum flower with a million long, flowing ribbons coming off it) and arm garters too. Just yesterday, I took the PSAT for my second time—the “real deal” is next year (junior year) when it counts for scholarships. (It made me choose one race, which was kind of problematic considering that I’m biracial.) Also, I’m going to my own school’s homecoming this weekend! Whew, that’s a lot of “social time” for a somewhat awkward introvert like me!

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My grandparents on my mom’s side came from the Philippines a few weeks ago, as well. With them, they brought a bunch of mini Toblerone bars—in milk chocolate, white chocolate, and dark chocolate flavors! My favorite definitely has to be the white chocolate. I mean, how can you go wrong with white chocolate?

Fun Fact: White chocolate isn’t actually chocolate. It’s just a chocolate derivative. Why? Because it doesn’t have any cocoa solids!

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Toblerone is something my mom would always eat when she was younger. For her, it was just one of the many foods that made up her childhood. While I can’t say the same about mine, I’m definitely glad my mom and grandparents showed me Toblerone, because it’s amazing.

Halloween is coming up soon, so I thought you might enjoy this fudge recipe. It may not be candy, but it should satisfy your cravings!

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White Chocolate Toblerone Fudge

This recipe was Pinterest-inspired and adapted from Lea & Jay’s Bailey’s Irish Cream & Pistachio Fudge recipe.

  • 1 lb white chocolate morsels
  • 1 bar white chocolate Toblerone
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur, such as Baileys (we used McCormick)
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped

In a heavy pot, melt the chocolates and condensed milk on low heat. Add vanilla extract, salt, and Irish cream liqueur when halfway melted. Take the pan off the heat when fully melted. Stir in the pistachios and combine well. Line a shallow rectangular pan with non-stick foil (or use a lightly buttered pan). Pour the melted chocolate onto the rectangular pan. Chill until hardened. Cut into square pieces and serve.

Avocado Cilantro Cream Salsa

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Labor Day has, unfortunately, come to a close. I found myself crying myself to sleep last night, solely because my extended three-day weekend came to an untimely end. Why me? I bawled. Why so soon?

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But of course, the end of breaks are inevitable. No matter how often I’d pray as a young child for some extension of my summer/spring/fall/winter/other break, it’d never come. I remember in the winter, everyone in my third grade class performed these crazy “snow rituals” in an attempt to convince the clouds to pour out snow, ice, hail… whatever would get us out of school! Of course, Dallas isn’t the ideal place for snow (much less the blizzard we wanted to summon), and it never worked.

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Maybe it’s better, though, that the work/school week is back. When I have a day off, I usually just lie in my bed and hope I don’t have to do anything all day. (“I’m recovering!”) Weekends and vacations, as nice as they are, have a tendency to sap all motivation out of me.

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Over on Kuya’s Notebook, my personal blog, I haven’t added anything to the draft that’s been sitting in my dashboard for a good two months. Eh, oh well, I’m sure I’ll get it out eventually! (And I have all of my New York and Orlando trips to write about!) You know, you could even take a look here… This is my first post in a while! (I’ll try to get my schedule all in order again—sorry guys!)

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I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way sometimes, especially when it comes to food. Because let’s be honest, cooking anything can be exhausting if you do it all the time! I tried to bake cookies from scratch and brownies from a mix within a span of two weeks and I’m baked out.

Because I live in a land where Tex-Mex reigns supreme, here’s a fun avocado cilantro cream salsa for you. It’s not too difficult, and it’s a fun dip for chips—something you can have when you’re not in the mood for a big meal or snack. Just something small!

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Avocado Cilantro Cream Salsa

  • 1 extra-large avocado or 2 small avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cream, preferably Mexican table cream
  • 1½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Mix until smooth. Serve with choice of tortilla chips.

Nutella Turon

Turon is one of the easiest, most delicious little desserts I’ve ever had. What’s turon, you ask? It’s a Filipino snack made of saging (banana), langka (jackfruit), and brown sugar rolled in spring roll wrappers and fried. Here in Dallas, it’s not exactly easy to get the jackfruit—or even the same bananas!—to make the truly authentic turon, which left my mom and I to experiment.

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Your Tagalog Word of the Week:

Saging

(Meaning: Banana)

My mom first showed me what turon was not too long ago… maybe a year? (Then again, I could’ve been eating turon all my life and just never knew the name of it, so I can’t be sure.) I was taken aback by the delicious, sweet taste of the saging and langka and I just. Wanted. More.

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Turon is one of my favorite desserts, behind macarons (which I have an obsession for). The sad part is I can’t have it all the time because you just can’t get the same type of bananas here in Dallas… and I can’t find that really good jackfruit! So when you can’t make it authentically, you just have to experiment.

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My mom called for me one morning yelling, “Josh! Josh! I have this great idea for the blog!” By now, I’m so used to her calling for me with some recipe she wants to make, and half of them don’t make it past that initial “I have a great idea!” phase.

“I want to make a Nutella turon!”

My eyes lit up. Really? Turon? Let’s do it! And that’s how our turon recipe got pushed to the front of our list—above everything else we’d been planning.

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Making turon is actually really fun. I rolled a few of the turon, and it’s actually really easy. Just make sure you wrap the banana and nutella in the spring roll wrapper very tightly, or it’ll look really bad and won’t hold together very well. Also, a little something I learned is that if the wrapper itself is not sticking together and becoming a roll, then just dab a little water on it, and the wrapper will stick to that.

Here’s a little step-by-step on how to wrap the turon.

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Have fun with this turon. If you’re skeptical, just remember that this one has Nutella. And it’s a well-known scientific fact that Nutella descended from heaven into Italy in the mid-twentieth century. By virtue of having Nutella in this recipe, it’s instantly good.

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Nutella Turon

Makes one individual turon. Obviously you’ll want a LOT more so just multiply this by the number of turon you want to make. One million is a good starting number.

  • 1 spring roll wrapper
  • 1/4 of a banana — slice it as if you were making a plus-sign (+) out of the banana. So slice it in half vertically, then again horizontally
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • dollop of Nutella

Place 1/4 of a banana on top of a spring roll wrapper. Then sprinkle a little cinnamon on the banana slice. Spread Nutella on the banana slice, and begin rolling the turon. (See the above slideshow for step-by-step instructions on how to roll the turon.) Add oil in a small pan and put over heat. When hot, fry the turon until browned on both sides. Serve with your choice of dessert—we used a dulce de leche ice cream with a Nutella drizzle.

For the Nutella drizzle

Add 2 tablespoons of Nutella and 2 tablespoons of whipping cream in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then mix well. Lightly drizzle over the turon (and possibly other desserts!) for maximum deliciousness.

Have any thoughts? (I know you do, don’t lie.) Feel free to share in the comment section below. I love to hear from you guys, especially if you made this turon! (Then please, please, PLEASE tell us how it went!)

Moo Shu Tofu

Ever since I was little, Mulan has always been my hero. She was one of my favorite Disney characters, only behind Lilo and Stitch. I always admired her bravery and courage, and like most children, I completely ignored the idea that she’s a fictional character. To make matters slightly more confusing, I’d met her and her guardian dragon Mushu at Disney World in Orlando, Florida! How could she possibly be fake?

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The reason I bring this up is because my younger brother Jude watched Mulan and Mulan II for the very first time last month. When he heard my mom and I were trying to make Moo Shu Tofu, he freaked out. “NO!” he screamed. “I refuse to let you make anything with Mushu in it!”

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Right now I’m in Fort Myers, Florida. This time, the whole family is united for a week-long vacation, and Disney World is one of our stops. The Epcot park in Disney World is one of my favorite places, mostly because it represents multiple countries from around the world, and if you know me, I have a very global worldview.

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I definitely expect to go head to the China pavilion at Epcot. Why? So I can meet Mulan and Mushu, of course! And then maybe Jude will realize that my mom and I didn’t actually cook Mushu. (Besides, I think “dragons” would be considered an animal and off-limits to vegetarians. Right? Right?)

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After the hustle-and-bustle of New York City, I can’t wait to have some time to just rest and relax on the beaches of Florida. If you want to keep up with my adventures in Florida (which will mostly include Orlando) or read about my trip to New York City, you can check it out on my personal blog, Kuya’s Notebook. I’ll be posting more about both trips over the course of the next few weeks so check back if you’re interested!

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And without further ado, here’s the Moo Shu Tofu recipe! Don’t worry, not a single Mushu was harmed in the making of this recipe.

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Moo Shu Tofu

Makes 12 servings.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 block organic, extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes (about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6–8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bag (14-ounces) coleslaw mix — to make from scratch, see our Asian Coleslaw recipe
  • 12 Bibb or romaine lettuce leaves

* Some items are repeated because they are used for multiple steps.

Directions

  1. Combine the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and tofu slices in a ziplock bag. Marinate at least 2–3 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Prepare the dipping sauce by combining the sesame oil, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mustard powder. Set aside.
  3. Heat about 1–2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or pan. Add diced tofu to the wok, reserving the marinade, and stir-fry until browned on most sides, which should take about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.
  4. Add remaining oil to the wok while still hot, and add the mushrooms. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the bag of coleslaw mix and cook until wilted. Add the tofu and the reserved marinade until well combined.
  5. Serve on lettuce leaves with the dipping sauce.