There’s been a hilarious train of failed bakes. In an attempt to stop kid#2 become a complete slug in the lockdown period, I tasked her to make some mug cakes and they came out…um…weird. Luckily the kids were hungry enough to finish them off. Then I got helper D to try out some keto hot cross buns and…someone must have been cross with these buns because they turned out collapsed and deformed. Luckily they tasted really good so I was the one who inhaled them this time. Anyway I figured that I had to break this dysfunctional cycle so I decided to bake on my day off.
It’s really odd how in this lockdown period, one wants to do less and less. Actually I have no complaints as I get to go to work as my work is considered an essential service. So I am not shut in by four walls and home, to me, is still both a happy refuge and the kitchen is a creative wonderland. I am certainly not bored. But I think I had gone into a mini-spiral of moodiness and not wanting to do anything but lay in bed with my phone. But I think my general sense of malaise may have had its roots in too much social media and looking at news feeds! Because the only natural end point was anxiety which in me would push me to online shopping and grocery hoarding. So during Holy Week last week I had a good time slowing down and spending more time out of the social media sphere and the reprieve was so helpful that I continued this reduction of attention to Covid19 related news. It’s not that I don’t keep up; I read the Straits Times (hard copy) but I will only open selected articles that people send or post. I also choose what to pay attention to, like looking for ways to help people tide over this season or amazingly well done Zoom choirs.
But I think the major mindset shift was a couple of days ago when I was reminded that I truly have no control over my circumstances (although I will still live prudently and responsibly with face mask and hand washing). And there was a freedom in embracing the thought “if today were my last day, I would do this…”. Surprisingly it helped me to focus on the joy of today and the simplicity of a daily purpose. And what also helped me was starting the day with a mental roll call about what I was thankful for. Simple things like the brighter sunlight we seem to be having (perhaps the air quality is better of late?) or the opportunity to breath deeply and freely in the car before getting to work and masking up.
So today was my day off. I think of late my days have become full again with work and many night zoom meetings for church ministry. So I feel gainfully occupied enough to appreciate my mid-week Sabbath. I decided to bake today; I have been cooking a bit more of late, but I had made less sweet treats in a fear that in this season of less activity that we would all become blimps by the end of the lockdown period. But I figured we all deserve a little joy once in a while. For this bake, I used Carolyn Ketchum’s gingerbread cheesecake bites as a base recipe and modified it. Truth is, I love anything matcha (Japanese green tea) flavoured and I thought this would go so well with the cheesecake icing. So here’s the recipe for this fun bake. This big bake will find its way tomorrow to clinic for my staff as well!
Green Tea and Cheesecake Bites
- Green tea cake batter
- 4 cups of almond flour
- 1/2 cup sugar substitute
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp green tea (matcha) powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 30 drops of liquid stevia
- 180g softened cream cheese
- 3 tbsp confectioners sugar substitute
- 1 1/2 tbsp heavy cream
- 15 drops of liquid stevia
- Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
- Mix the almond flour, sugar substitute, green tea powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt together in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract and stevia together. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together.
- In another bowl, use a mixer to beat the cream cheese, cream, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract and stevia together. Place the icing mix into a piping bag with a large nozzle.
- Put mini-muffin cases into a mini cupcake tray. Roll balls of the cake batter into 1 inch size, then place in the muffin case and press down. With the handle end of a wooden spoon, indent the top of the batter, creating a well for the icing. Pipe in the cheesecake icing into each well.
- Bake for 10-11 minutes each. Remove from the tray and allow the bites to cool before serving