Japanese White Bread, #TwelveLoaves

French style patisseries line Tokyo’s Omotesando and rival any found in Paris cafés. Omotesando Hills is adjacent to the long catwalk of fashion boutiques of Harajuku. (Remember fashionista singer Gwen Stefani’s Japanese backup dancers named the Harajuku Girls?) Beyond the high-end patisseries are mom-and-pop coffee shops where huge hunks of Japanese white bread are served with butter and jam. Or topped with skinny strips of melted cheese and called pizza toast.

#EatDrinkBeMerry Gluten Free Christmas

There is magic in the air as the dawning of Christmas Day approaches. Smiles abound and Santa is not the only one with a twinkle in his eye. Udi’s Gluten Free certainly is in the Christmas spirit. Scroll down to see how you can win LOTS of prizes from the famed seller of scrumptious gluten free goodies. Udi’s Gluten Free also gifted this Ninja Baker with two big boxes of fantabulous yummies. (After years of only nibbles of bread, I’m now consuming Udi’s Gluten Free Millet Chia every other morning!)  Here are a few suggestions to inspire and infuse your Christmas day with the spirit of good cheer.

Carrot Cupcakes, #TheCakeSliceBakers

In my junior year of high school I spotted carrot cake for the first time on a newly arrived from America Denny’s restaurant dessert menu. At the time, I was more fascinated with the cool boys on the basketball team who’d walk in after practice. Otherwise carrot cake was absent from the Tokyo scene. Especially in the late 1970s.

After a bit of research on Google Japan, I see more recipes in Japanese for carrot cake. However, the shops that actually sell carrot cakes appear to be few and far between or owned by foreigners. One shop’s site was in – of course, Japanese – and Arabic! Tomi’s Shortbread House, The British Pastry Shop also serves carrot cake.
 

Chocolate Chip and Mandarin Orange Cookie Bars, #CreativeCookieExchange

A hush of peace, a rush of joy, December brings a bundle of contradictions.

An explosion of chocolate, cookies and cakes crowd kitchen counters. Shoppers shimmy past one another in malls, snatching toys of technology, which promise happiness.

Yet, a sense of the profane also presides over the season.  Candles are lit. Songs of praise to the Creator spill from homes, synagogues and churches.

I’m comfortable with the holiday paradox. In my hometown of Tokyo...

Rum Glazed Cookie Cream Buns, #SundaySupper

Drunk on the joys of the season, I created Rum Glazed Cookie Cream Buns. Doughnut textured buns stuffed with cookie cream, smothered with rum glaze and topped with Japanese cookie crumbles, Rum Glazed Cookie Cream Buns are this Ninja Baker’s celebration of Christmastime dessert! The recipe is adapted from Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist, Megan Beimer’s winning Chocolate Doughnut Poppers. Her beauties are crammed with...

Vegan Midori Melon Cupcakes, #CupcakeDay

Christmas in Tokyo is a commercial affair. Tinseltown LA is similar. Last Christmas, I was touched to see true reverence for the season in Medina, Ohio. Snowy churchyards cradled full-size crèches. Never had I seen so many Nativity scenes or churches in one location. My heart still warms at the memory.

Yet I confess I also smile when seeing photos of Tokyo dressed up for Christmas. The illuminated Omotesando Hills looks like fairyland. (The avenue gives Disneyland’s Main Street at Christmastime a run for their money.) The Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada shops in the Omotesando/Harajuku area also vies for the most creative Christmas displays. Similar to Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive. Strolling down Omotesando or Rodeo Drive is like walking through the pages of a glossy magazine.

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