When Taiwanese-American Terry Chen got laid off from her consulting job because of the economic recession, she took up baking. “During that time, I figured out what I wanted to do,” Chen says. “I knew I had a passion for food. Long story short, there was a moment where I decided to incorporate the Asian flavors I grew up with into my baked goods.”
Since then, the entrepreneur and baker has launched Filled With Sweets, a start-up dedicated to creating East-meets-West baked goods. “This type of fusion is natural for me,” Chen says. “In many ways, it represents who I am culturally.”
Filled With Sweets serves up uniquely flavored pastries like black sesame, vanilla taro, and matcha black currant cupcakes. All of the recipes are developed by Chen herself, who spent months experimenting before she launched.
She shared with us a recipe for her signature maple black sugar cookie. “Taiwanese use black sugar a lot in their cooking, and the Japanese use it in their cookies,” Chen says. “There’s also a lot of health benefits of black sugar. It actually has minerals, and it’s not processed.”
Chen says she added the maple to complement the black sugar taste and to create a festive, fall flavor. “Then I tried out a basic coffee cream for the filling,” she says. “My thing is that it’s not that sweet, and I think that bitterness from the powder that I used to make it kind of gives it a nice balance to the cookie.”
Here is the full recipe:
Maple Black Sugar Cookies
Yield: Around 32
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2/3 cup sugar
6 ounces black sugar
8 tablespoon maple syrup
4 tablespoon water
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
7/8 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon of espresso powder
1 tablespoon of Kahlua
Combine the espresso powder and Kahlua into a bowl and stir until the
espresso powder is dissolved.
Add powdered sugar to the creamed butter.
Add the coffee mixture into the butter-and-powdered-sugar mixture. Keep mixing
until well combined.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a pot, place black sugar, maple syrup, and water on low heat. Mix
for about five minutes, until the black sugar has dissolved into the syrup and
water to create a syrup-like liquid. Note: Do not let the mixture harden or burn, so keep it on low heat.
In a medium-size bowl, cream butter and sugar until well mixed.
Add the egg and mix incorporate into mixture.
Into another small bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
First, mix one-third of the dry ingredients into the butter-and-sugar mixture. Then, add
the black sugar liquid into the batter. Make sure the batter is constantly
being mixed as the warm black sugar is poured.
Slowly add the remaining flour mixture into the butter-and-sugar mixture. The
dough should not be wet but rather should feel sticky.
Place tablespoon-size scoops of dough onto a pan, with one-inch separations
between each scoop.
Bake for 12 minutes and let cool for five minutes.
Once the cookies have cooled, spread a layer of the coffee cream on one side
of a cookie and place another cookie on top of it to create a sandwich.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 18, 2012