DIY Pocky / Pepero

Here it is! Finally!

I’ve posted about my Pocky-making adventures for a while now on Instagram, and I’m so excited to finally show you the recipe/video that took me ONE YEAR to develop (well, not the entire year, but you know what I mean). Check it out!


Ingredients:
1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 tbsp. Water (room temperature)
1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
2 tbsp. Whole Milk (cold)
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour (+ 1-2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
Chocolate (milk, dark, white)
Toppings (almonds, Oreos, sprinkles, matcha green tea powder)

Equipment:
Scissors
Parchment Paper
Plastic Wrap
Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoons
Fork, Spoon
Small Plate
Small Bowl
Medium Bowl
Chef’s Knife
Rolling Pin
Ruler
Baking Pan
Cutting Board

Directions:

  1. A few hours before (or the night before), cut an 8″ square piece of parchment paper and fold up the sides 1″. Put it on a small plate, pour in 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil, and put it in the freezer to firm up.
  2. The next day, add 1 tbsp. of sugar to a bowl with 1 tbsp. of water. Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved, then add 2 tbsp. of cold milk and stir to dissolve the sugar completely.
  3. Combine  1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp. of baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. of salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the frozen oil to the flour, breaking up the oil with a fork, then knead the oil into the flour until the mixture feels fluffy and crumbly and all the oil is worked in.
  5. Add the sugary milk to the flour mixture, mixing until it comes together. Add 1-2 tsp. more flour if the mixture is too wet. Knead until smooth and the dough feels like soft play dough.
  6. Fold a large piece of parchment paper into a 13 x 30 cm rectangular package. Smoosh out the dough with your hands, then open the parchment paper and put the dough on a 13 x 30 cm-sized rectangle of the parchment paper.
  7. Fold up all 4 sides of the parchment paper package, then roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it has completely and evenly filled the package, all the way into the corners. It should be ~1.5-2 mm thick (it will double in height when it rises).
  8. Wrap the parchment paper dough package in plastic wrap, put it on a baking pan, and let the dough chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up and let the gluten in the dough relax. (We don’t want tough Pocky!)
  9. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Fold a 4-foot piece of parchment paper in half, then pleat the parchment paper with 1/2 to 1” pleats like you’re making a fan.
  10. Take the dough out from the fridge and uncover it (leaving it on the parchment paper). Put the parchment paper accordion on the baking pan (trim the ends if necessary), and cut the dough into long 3 mm wide by 13 cm long strips using a long chef’s knife. Lay the strips into the pleats one by one as you cut them, making sure not to twist or stretch the strips.
  11. Bake the strips for 20 minutes, check them for doneness (they should be slightly golden and completely firm — make sure to check the middles of the sticks), then bake them for another 5-10 minutes if necessary. Try not to overbake them or they’ll be super crispy or too brown!
  12. While the sticks are cooling, chop up your chocolate into small pieces, put them into a metal bowl, and put the bowl over a pot of hot water to melt, i.e., melt the chocolate using the double boiler method.
  13. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the sticks one by one using a small spoon, then tap the sticks against the spoon to remove any excess chocolate. Hang them up using clothespins on a skewer taped between 2 tall boxes. Tissue boxes work well.
  14. Have fun with different flavours and toppings! Chop up your toppings into bits and sprinkle them over your freshly chocolate-coated Pocky sticks. They should stick to the chocolate without any pressing or rolling necessary.
  15. Let your chocolate-coated sticks set over night. They should last 2 weeks or more in a  container with a tight lid (separate the flavours so they don’t all end up tasting the same), but you’ll probably eat them long before then, right?

Edit (after I posted the video to YouTube): Thank you to White Wolf for suggesting that the chocolate be tempered to speed up the setting process! I experimented a bit with tempering using this method although I was lazy and didn’t use a candy thermometer and just stuck my finger in to estimate the temperature ;D. The Food Network has a good page on tempering, which you can read here. If you want to go even more in depth, Chocoley explains everything in a lot of detail here. I’m not sure if real Pocky is coated in tempered chocolate since they don’t look glossy, but coating the sticks in this recipe would help give them that satisfying snap! that makes Pocky such a pleasure to eat.

Some recipe development backstory: I watched a lot of YouTube videos about Pocky and read through a lot of recipes but none of them seemed to combine the right mix of ingredients to produce a biscuit-y, cracker-like stick with a light snap, with a good method for getting a nice, even coating on the sticks. It took me 35-40 attempts before I came up with a recipe and technique that I was reasonably satisfied with — haha, that’s perfectionist Jen talking — and would be easy to do with ordinary kitchen ingredients and equipment (a dough-tube extruder and a conveyor-belt oven would have been great, but you know, budgetary restraints and whatnot). In the video, I added extra notes in blue boxes because I tweaked and adjusted the recipe so many times and didn’t want all of my Food Labbing to go to waste.

I’ve found that I really like recipe development! It’s painstaking and frustrating and slow at times but you end up learning so much because each failure or wonky batch forces you to think about each ingredient and technique and figure out to make them all work together. And then when you finally get a recipe that works, you leap out of your mental bathtub, running through the streets like a crazy person, incredibly thankful that you’ll never have to sample another chocolate-covered stick again.

It’s been hot and steamy recently so ice cream and popsicles have been on my mind. Hmmm, is that a hint about the next Harriet’s Kitchen? ;D

Dawn – Director’s Cut 2017

Back in 2014, I entered a short film called “Dawn” into the Golden Bell Festival — a terrific and well-attended event at Korean Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto. The purpose of the festival was to encourage knowledge around North-South Korean peace and reunification issues among young Koreans in Canada. I was incredibly honoured and chuffed to win first place in their film festival, and met some amazing people and got to be on local Korean TV and all that fun stuff.

After the festival, I uploaded the film and the behind-the-scenes footage to another YouTube channel and kind of forgot about it until I was cleaning up some of my old video files last week. I came across Dawn and thought, “Maybe my post-2014 subscribers would like to watch this quirky little film I made back in the day…” Coincidentally, South Korea recently elected a new president who has vowed to resolve tensions with North Korea and potentially engage in peace talks, so it seemed like pretty good timing for me to upload this film to Nuddy Bar.

Without further ado, here it is, slightly remastered from the 2014 version!


… and the behind-the-scenes footage:


If you’re wondering where I’ve been the past few weeks — what with the non-uploading-of-videos and lack of Instagramming and such — I took a break from Nuddy Bar for a bit to do some work-related stuff but now I’m back and excited to start regularly uploading videos again! I currently have about 5 videos in the works, all in various stages of completion, and I’m hoping to get one finished this upcoming week. So as always, stay tuned!

First Second-Hand Purchase This Year

Yikes, we’re already into April! Here’s February’s edition of No New Clothes For 1 Year!


It’s getting easier not buying new clothes as the year goes on. Poopy and I usually go for a walk at least once a day and instead of going to strip plazas or malls where we used to go, we’ve started to explore all the different neighbourhoods, parks, and trails that are within an hour’s walking distance of our house. And now that spring is here, we’re also soaking up all the lovely sun (in moderation) and getting a ton of fresh air, wuhoo! Do you find that you get happily zoned out and sleepy after being outside for a long time, especially away from cars and busy places? There must be scientific studies on why this happens … the big whoomph of pure oxygen to the brain? Nature + exercise = yes, please?

You’ll probably be seeing much more of the white tunic top in upcoming NNC41Y episodes since it’s such a versatile piece. At the second-hand store, I also got a couple of tops for Poopy — a green and navy blue striped polo top (Polo Rolf Lauren, $5) and a colourful plaid shirt (Timmy Hilfiger, $2) — that are both perfect for spring. I’m trying to limit my purchases for him as well. He has about 5 outfits — pants + tops/onesies –which I think is a good number for a toddler, since he’s going to outgrow them so quickly.

What’s coming up video-wise? Well, you might have seen what I’m planning for the next Harriet’s Kitchen on Instagram but I also have a couple of Sketchbooks in the works. I did some filming today that involved spring cleaning / rejigging the living room, so I’m hoping I can get that video out sometime this month as well!

Maple Syrup in Jeff’s Backyard

It’s maple syrup season! Zach and I visited our friend Jeff in Milton, where he’s been tapping a few of his backyard trees and making maple syrup.


I can remember visiting Black Creek Pioneer Village as a kid, and watching as freshly boiled maple syrup was dribbled across a long pan of fresh, clean snow. The syrup would instantly solidify into these lacy chunks of hard candy, and all the kids would scramble line up in an orderly fashion to sample them. The candy melted in your mouth and, of course, had an amazing maple flavour.

Seeing Jeff make maple syrup right in his own backyard was pretty neat. Admittedly, he does have a huge property with lots of trees, firewood, and a fire pit, but I was surprised at how low-tech and easy the process was. Like most DIY projects, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can do pretty much anything!

In the future, when Zach, Poopy, and I have a little farm and/or cabin in the woods somewhere, I’m looking forward to tapping the trees and making maple syrup. Until then, I’ll just have to content myself with maple syrup from the farmer’s market.

Thank you so much to Jeff and Krista for having us over (mmm, blueberry pancakes and waffles!), and to Jeff especially for answering all my Maple Syrup 101 questions. I’m hoping to document more of Jeff’s backyard projects during the spring and summer when all the trees and flowers are in full bloom. The series will be called, appropriately, Jeff’s Backyard. Stay tuned!

Here are a couple of links if you want to learn more about maple syrup:

Why I’m Doing #NNC41Y

I’ve completed my first month of the No New Clothes For 1 Year challenge! Check out the video below to learn why I’m doing this challenge and to see what I wore this month:


I’m just one month into this challenge and I’m already feeling the time and noggin-space savings of not buying any new clothes. A few examples:

  • Clothing sections at grocery stores (Costco, Loblaws, etc.) — I just walk on by
  • Flyers advertising sales — no thanks!
  • Crazy, deep-discounted, end-of-season sales? Tempting, but nah
  • Online browsing/shopping — meh (I browse online a lot less, and only to get sewing pattern or design ideas)

What have I been doing with all the saved time and noggin space? Planning new videos, learning about the pattern-making and dyeing, composing song lyrics, developing new recipes, spending more time with my family, and getting outside and breathing in the fresh air! Which makes me wonder — what was so attractive about shopping in my pre-NNC41Y days? There are so many better things to do, things that are useful, things that help others, things that make me genuinely happy in a long-lasting way.

Here are some further things to read/watch if you’re interested in learning more about the topics I mentioned in the video:

Next up on Nuddy Bar — more Harriet’s Kitchens and Sketchbooks! And some design/sewing tutorials and music videos. I’m not sure what order I’ll be publishing these, but I have several videos currently in the works. I often post progress photos on Instagram, so be sure to follow along there too!

No New Clothes for 1 Year


Ooooh, my first challenge! No new clothes for 1 year — it sounds like something that would require a lot of self-discipline and effort. But it’s actually something I’ve been moving toward over the past few years, even if I hadn’t specifically thought, “Buying no more clothes … yeah, that sounds like a bombdiggedy good idea! Let’s do it!”

I’ve been slowly editing down my closet, buying fewer and fewer things each year, and getting to a point where I really don’t need to buy new clothes, not even socks and undies. I have a job and a life that don’t require me to dress or look a certain way. I prefer clothing that is comfortable, durable, and classic, over dressy, trendy, or statement pieces. And with an active toddler choo-choo-ing around, I have less and less time for non-essential activities — shopping for clothes definitely falls into this category for me.

There are a lot of people who have already done this challenge. A quick DuckDuckGo will find you all sorts of blog posts and articles on it. And really, it’s not that big a deal. Many people do it and don’t think twice about it. My parents and husband have probably already done this several times, even if they didn’t document it or post the evidence on YouTube  ;P

In the next video in this series, I’ll go into more detail on why I’m doing this challenge. If you want to follow my progress or join in this challenge with me, the hashtag I’m using is #NNC41Y.

P.S. My closet looks so nice because I KonMari-ed the heck out of it. It makes a big difference and is really satisfying when you’re done!

2000 Subscribers!


Yaaay, Nuddy Bar has reached 2000 subscribers on YouTube! Thank you so much to all of you, my wonderful subscribers, for liking, sharing, and commenting on my silly videos. From my very first video to the most recent one, I have loved making and sharing all of them, and have so many fun new ones planned for this year!

As a small token of my big appreciation, I am giving away two Harriet hats (i.e., the red bunny hats I wear in Harriet’s Kitchen) — one on Facebook and the other on YouTube.

To enter, you can either:

1. Visit facebook.com/nuddybar and share the “Sketchbook: Making a Drumstick Plushie Rattle” video post.

or

2. Comment on the “2000 Subscribers! + GIVEAWAY + Donation” YouTube video, telling me what your favourite Nuddy Bar video is and why.

The contest ends on Sunday, January 15, 12PM EST, and I will randomly choose the winners by some to-be-determined amusing way, and announce who won in the next video, which should be up in a week or so.

Also, because I was able to make a bit of money from YouTube revenues, I have donated to two non-profit organizations (I’m hoping to continue this every year, and donate 20% of my Nuddy Bar revenues to two charities or non-profits — feel free to suggest some!). I will post on Facebook and Instagram who I donated to tomorrow, but right now, I gotta go to bed because zzzzzz ….