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Archive for October, 2010

Candied Orange Slices

October 31, 2010 10 comments

I love the way candied orange look. Their flesh are translucent, and the glossy sheen just seems to catch any light coming their way.

They are supposedly quite easy to make too. You just have to boil, then simmer them in sugared water.

I guess u can pretty much use them wherever you like.

I placed mine on a cake and watched it transform from boring to ravishing!

But while these candied orange are decorational, i have to be brutally honest. They don’t taste that great after all.

Or maybe it’s just mine. I think i might have tried candied orange slices before once or twice in some upscale restaurants. If my memory serves me right, they are supposed to be crunchy, relatively hard and sweet. I guess it might have been like eating on a thin piece of hard candy.

Sadly, my batch didn’t really turn out that way. They were hard and candy-like all right, but they were bitter. I suspect it might have been the way they were prepared.

For a whole orange, i boiled 1/2 cup sugar with some water till they dissolve. I dumped the sliced oranges in and basically just let them simmer till the sugar water mixture turned thick and syrupy.

I let them cool for quite a bit before fishing them out with a pair of chopsticks and laid them on a piece of parchment.

The whole process took barely half an hour. Really, i thought these steps were too quick and easy to make candied oranges. I mean, something’s gotta be done to take away the bitterness of the pit right?

Did i not cook it long enough?

or was there insufficient sugar?

Am i even using the right oranges?

Anyways, i am not providing a link up, because this recipe didn’t really work. Hopefully it will save you from repeating the same mistakes.

So, until i found a better way to make candied oranges, these shall just be props to my cakes.

Props that are conveniently flicked aside while i dive into my cake.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies, Week #5 Mr. Meringue Frosty

October 29, 2010 28 comments

Meringue ghosts seem to be popular now that halloween is around the corner. I’ve seen them on cupcakes, whole cakes, or even as cookies. It comes as pretty much a no-brainer for me to make meringue snowmen for 12 Weeks Of Christmas Cookies. I mean, since they are both supposedly white anyways.

Meet Mr. Frosty. He is every bit as his ghostly cousin in compositiion, except maybe less spooky.

The thing i like about meringue cookies is that they only need two ingredients. Egg whites and sugar. That’s probably something every household has on hands at all times. There is probably no need for that run to the store to get some last minute ingredients.

These said egg whites and sugar are whipped senseless before they are sent to bake in an oven. As many of you would have known, something magical happens when u whip these egg whites. They form into a voluminous mass which u can easily coax to form whatever u fancy.

Like a melted Mr.Frosty perhaps,

LOL, that’s probably Frosty’s girlfriend panicking over her boyfriend.

U can also pipe them into kisses with a star shaped nozzle.

And they take colour quite easily too! My kisses are streaked with the festive green and red.

How long you bake it depends on your personal preference. I like mine with a crisp outer shell, with a gooey surprise centre. So its a relatively quick bake for me.

Anyways,  having raved about the wonders of meringue cookies , there is also one setback.

With sugar as its primary ingredients, these cookies are pretty much on the sweeter side, something that the dentist will probably tsked u for eating, or something that doctors wouldn’t touch with a pole.

But then again, what’s Christmas without a bit of an indulgence? 🙂

Recipe by me.

3 egg whites

150 grams sugar

1. Double boil egg whites till hot to the touch

2. Whip the egg whites senseless till it forms stiff peaks

3. Shape them into your desired shapes

4. Bake them at a low temperature oven ( How long u bake them depends on how big your cookies are and how crisp u want them to be). For Mr Frosty i baked mine at 140 degree C ( Not F!) for 40 minutes.

Geez, i dont think i am cut out to be a recipe writer. This so doesnt sound convincing. In fact, it is sounding a wee bit shady. But it worked for me. Nevertheless, please feel free to use other meringue cookies recipe!

Categories: Cookies Tags: , ,

Chiffon Complication

October 28, 2010 16 comments

Can anyone tell me,

Why does my chiffon tops always crack?

Or why does the said top fold and bunch up upon itself and creat a dense layer on the top of the cake?

I can pretty much overlook the crack. But the inconsistency in the texture of the cake (Heavy top), buggs me till no end.

It’s not the recipe for sure, because this happens to most of the chiffons recipes i attempt.

Of course the cake can be flipped and reversed, and the denser layer now gets hidden below.

So i can hide the failures of this cake, to get somewhat decent shots.

But that doesnt erase the fact this is a letdown. Or that i am a poor baker. *whimper*

Can someone pls help me shed some light into this mystery? pretty please?

Categories: Cakes Tags: , ,

Lil’ Miss Weird

October 26, 2010 6 comments

What an odd looking dessert.

It’s green, with a dark red belly, and a head of white.

It’s not a muffin, nor a cupcake.

Whoops, where are my manners, let me get you guys acquainted.

Meet Matcha Sponge Cake.

She sandwiches Red Bean Mousse

And she sports a head of buttercream with a sprinkle of shredded white chocolate.

She tastes pretty good 🙂

Recipe from Add a little love (Thanks for sharing!)

Ingredients:

Green tea cake base
4 eggs
1 cup cake flour
2 tbsp green tea powder
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Red bean mousse
1 cup red bean paste
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp gelatin

Cake topping
1 mango
1 kiwi
few cherries, and 1 strawberry
5 tbsp boiling water
1/2 tbsp gelatin
1 tbsp sugar

Directions:
The first thing to do is to preheat the oven 325F.

Green Tea Cake Base
A. Mix cake flour, green tea powder, 1/3 cup icing sugar ( another 1/3 saved for the egg white), baking powder, salt.
B. Shift through
C. Add vegetable oil, milk, vanilla extract, and egg yolks.
D. Mix well

E. Put egg white in a different bowl.
F. Beat for one minute, add the rest of 1/3 cup icing sugar, and cream of tartar.
G. Beat for few more minute
H. It is ready when the egg white does not move when put the bowl upside down.

Q. Remove the crust on the top of the cake. I over baked the cake, it is tough on the top. Normally you don’t have to remove it.
R. Use four tooth picks to center each side of the cake.
S. Cut along the tooth picks making sure that the cake is evenly cut into two slices. Same method can be used to cut three layers as well.
T. Put the bottom layer back into the baking pan. Surround it with new parchment paper.

When working with the gelatin, soak it in the water for 3 minutes, heat it up in a microwave for 1 minute. Let it sit for 3 minutes, the gelatin water will become completely clear as shown on the bottom right.

U. Beat the whipping cream until stiff.
V. Mix red bean paste, milk, sour cream, and clear gelatin water. Mix well, and then fold in the whipped cream.
W. Pour 1/3 of the red bean mix onto the first layer of the cake.
X. Drop the second layer cake, gently press it down. Then pour the rest of the red bean mix. Leave it in the fridge at least for 5 hours.

Categories: Cakes Tags: , ,

Watermelon Chiffon Pie

October 24, 2010 13 comments

I dont know if any of you would agree with me, but for me, pie making is generally laborious. As if all that mixing chilling, rolling and (sometimes) pre-baking pie dough isn’t enough, there is still all that fancy filling to prepare.

I guess there are steps in which you can prepare before hand, but for this pie, i was feeling a lil too ambitious.

I just had to make my own graham cracker crumbs for my pie, the actual pie crust and the filling, on the SAME day. And when it came to the final step of popping the pie into the refrigerator, i was quite sure that i needed the chilling more than that pie.

I’ve never had chiffon pies before, so i don’t really have a standard. But as far as this goes, it is pretty delightful. Instead of a thick creamy filling that accompanies most pies, this has a light, fluffy, mousse-like filling.

Did i mention that this was watermelon flavoured?

Apparently, slicing across a watermelon is not as easy as it looks, and it definitely justified my take on “laborious” in this pie making.

Whoops, sorry for the slightly wobbly and weather beaten filling in this pic. I was kinda taking my time taking the first few uncut shots of this pie under the sun, which happens to be the best lighting prop. Ever.

Anyways, as you can see Lil Miss Maintenance is definitely not liking the sun too much. No biggie, just pop her back into the fridge, and she’ll be fine 🙂

A lil side note, the filling recipe makes waaaay too much. I poured the remaining into a mini cup.

Or a lot of mini cups. See when i said  “Waaaaaay too much”? LOL

I am not complaining though. They are pretty handy to grab off the fridge!

Recipe from Nancy at Food.com (Thanks for Sharingg!)

Ingredients:

Servings:

10 10

10-12

Filling

Garnish

Directions:

Prep Time: 20 mins 

Total Time: 4 1/2 hrs

  1. 1 Place a medium sized bowl and a set of beaters in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. 2 Bake pie crust according to directions and let cool; Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. 3 Combine the watermelon and granulated sugar in a very large bowl; using a potato masher, mash until the mixture is quite liquid; set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. 4 After 15 minutes, drain the mixture through a strainer, reserving almost 2 ¾ cups of the watermelon juice and then discard pulp and seeds.
  5. 5 Put ¼ cup of the juice in a medium size bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it; set aside for 3 to 4 minutes to dissolve.
  6. 6 Heat ½ cup of the juice in a small saucepan over medium heat (or in the microwave) to a near boil; whisk the hot juice into the dissolved gelatin.
  7. 7 Pour the remaining 2 cups watermelon juice into a large bowl an stir in the gelatin-watermelon juice mixture; stir in the lime juice; place in refrigerator.
  8. 8 Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a medium size bowl until stiff peaks form; set aside; clean and dry beaters;
  9. 9 Using the chilled medium-size bowl and chilled beaters, beat the heavy cream with the mixer until it holds soft peaks; add the confectioners? sugar and beat until smooth and stiff but not grainy; refrigerate.
  10. 10 When the watermelon juice mixture starts to firm up, add about one-quarter of the whipped cream and beat with the electric mixer until smooth.
  11. 11 Add the beaten egg whites and remaining whipped cream and gently fold them in with a large rubber spatula; if necessary, use a whisk-very briefly- to smooth the mixture and break up any large globs of whites or whipped cream;
  12. 12 Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell; shake to settle; cover with loosely tented aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  13. 13 To serve, garnish each slice with a dusting of confections? sugar, and then add a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
Categories: Pastries Tags: , ,

12 Weeks of Christmas, Week #4 Albino Gingerbread Men

October 21, 2010 33 comments

It is week 4 into 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies.

I was wondering whether it is still too early to be introducing cookies with the festive colours of green and red.After all, week 4 means that we are STILL 8 weeks away from Christmas.

But, that’s pretty subjective isn’t it? We could be: We are ONLY 8 weeks away from Christmas!

So I’ve decided to play it cool, slowly incorporating the colours, bit by bit. Starting from drawn green and red features on my troop. Nothing too gaudy here. Yet.

And these cookies, inspired by i-bake-for-you are just it!

Being a snow-washed colour, these cookies are also like blank canvases, so ready to take the merry colours of the season.

They are also made from tapioca starch. Now, i am not a flour expert here, but i think these are gluten free (can anyone clarify on that?). Because no matter how much i kneaded the dough, the familiar gluten strands didnt form.

But having said that, i think the fact that these are gluten free made these cookies really fragile (again, is this accurate?). They are of this melt-in-your-mouth, sandy texture.

You dont really need to chew them, u can just break these cookies by pushing it against the roof mouth with your tongue. It will pretty much shatter and dissolve on its own. Geez, am i even making sense here??

Ah, my smart looking, friendly, albeit brittle troop.

And of course, some casuaties are inevitable aren’t they. No biggie, just pop them into your mouth and none will be the wiser. 🙂

I didn’t follow the recipe published on I-bake-for-you as it called for stir frying that tapioca starch. I wasn’t interested  in a creating flour bath in my kitchen,  instead i settled on this ingenious recipe which called for microwaving the said starch. Ah!

Recipe adapted from Little Corner of Mine (Thanks for sharing!)

Ingredients:

-2 1/2 cups tapioca flour/tapioca starch
-1 Tbp. butter, melted
-1 egg yolk (from large egg)
-1 cup icing sugar
-120ml thick coconut milk (or coconut cream)

Method:

1. Place a paper towel on a microwave safed bowl, add the tapioca flour and microwave for 1 minute. Set aside and let it cool. (You can fry the flour in the wok if you don’t have a microwave.)

Microwave extra tapioca flour for standby (to flour the surface) and kneading purposes.

2. Sift tapioca flour and icing sugar in a big bowl. Add melted butter, yolk & coconut milk. Knead until the dough is pliable. (If the dough is wet or soft, add more tapioca flour, 1 Tbp. at a time and knead until it becomes a harder dough. Likewise, if it’s too dry, add more coconut milk).

3. Roll out the dough on lightly floured surface to about 3mm thickness. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter (Or you can use the kuih bangkit mould (this required longer baked time). Arrange on lined baking tray and bake at 350’F for 15 minutes. It will puff when baked.

Again, i thank Abby for hosting the wonderful event! I am excited to see what the other cookie makers do this week!

Categories: Cookies Tags: , ,

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

October 20, 2010 9 comments

I almost didnt want to post this up. Let’s face it, this isnt exactly the most interesting looking cake. It is brown, plain and dull. In fact it is looking kinda ugly.

And no matter which angle i took it from, the pics just refused to come out right. I bent over my back, trying to capture it from an angle that would make it look somewhat prettier, but it didnt work. I gave up, but still uploaded it to the computer anyway, out of habit.

I took a bite of the cake. It was good. Moist, dense, and very flavourful.

I am a sucker for brown sugar, and was absolutely loving the aroma it brought to the cake.

I placed the cake in a cake stand, and left it around for the other family members to eat it. They did, each silently helping him/herself to the slice.

No one commented though, and that’s pretty common, cause i bake almost everyday, and it is quite needless for them to be commenting everyday. And i let it at that, no bothering to ask for opinions as well.

The next morning i cut myself another slice from the now much smaller cake.

The day old cake really impressed me this time. The brown sugar left DEEP marks within the cake and gave the cake such a strong personality. , and boy, that was when i decided that this post HAS to go up.

I am for that  “not all that glitter is gold” thing today. For this definitely didnt glitter, but it still shone!

Recipe from nosh with me

(who adapted from L.A Times) Thanks for sharing!!

*note:  I omitted the glaze as i thought the cake was sweet enough as it is

Cake Ingredients
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened, plus additional for greasing the pan
1 (1-pound) box dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
5 eggs

Cake Preparation

  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir with a fork; set aside. Into a small bowl, pour the milk and add the vanilla; set aside.
  3. With a mixer, beat the butter at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar in three batches, then add all of the white sugar, beating after each addition. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
  4. Reduce the speed to low and add half of the flour mixture and then half the milk, beating until the flour or milk has disappeared into the batter. Add the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk in the same way. Quickly scrape the batter into the tube pan and bake until the cake is nicely browned at the edges, springs back when lightly touched at the center and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and leave it on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. Loosen the cake from the pan with a table knife and turn it out onto a wire rack or plate, then leave it to cool completely. When cool, glaze with caramel glaze.

Glaze Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons half and half (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze Preparation

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add milk and brown sugar, stir to combine.
  3. Boil vigorously for 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat and beat in 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
  5. Cool slightly then beat in the vanilla and remaining powdered sugar, adding more milk if necessary.
  6. Quickly spoon over cake before glaze sets.
Categories: Cakes Tags: , , , ,