Archive for December, 2010

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

December 28, 2010 10 comments

How do i describe these bars?

A chewy cookie base, a dense fudge filling with just a sprinkling of streusel over the top.

While the cookie base of oatmeal and brown sugar was delicious, the filling was absolutely divine. It’s lusciously thick, fudgy with just a hint of espresso.

That hint of espresso did it though. It took these bars over the edge to freefall wonderfulness, so please don’t leave that out.

But  thanks to my erronous judging skills,  i had to bake this twice to get it right.

You see, the recipe called for a 12 minute bake on the base oatmeal cookie layer. However, by the end of the 12 minutes, my cookie base still looked very wet and raw.

I decided that it needed extra baking time.

I let it stay in the oven for another 5 minutes,

then 10,

then 15.

Needless to say, the dough never got dry, i don’t think they are supposed to.

After about 20 minutes of staring at a wet cookie dough that never seemed to get any drier, i gave up and proceeded with fudge and the rest of the recipe.

Unfortunately, all that extra oven time really killed the crust which turned out super hard and pretty much inedible.

But i wasn’t about to give up there. NO sireee. For the fudge, even at its first attempt was already a star in the making.

I attempted the recipe a 2nd time the next day, this time, ignoring my flawed judgement and sticking to the recipe for all the stated baking times.

And boy, did i get a winner.

The shortened baking time made a really good chewy base this time. A very delightful chocolate fudge bar to say the least 🙂

Oatmeal Fudge Bars (Recipe taken from Sarah)
from America’s Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies 2010

1 c. quick-cooking oats
1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 c. flour
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/8 t. salt
10 T. butter, 8 T. melted and cooled
2 t. instant espresso or instant coffee
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg

1.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325°.  Line 8″ square baking pan with foil, allowing excess to hang over pan edges.  Grease foil.  Combine oats, 1 c. brown sugar, 3/4 c. flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/8 t. salt in bowl.  Stir in melted butter until combined.  Reserve 3/4 c. mixture for topping.  Sprinkle remaining mixture into prepared pan and press into even layer.  Bake until light golden brown, about 12 minutes.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.  Keep oven on.  (I didn’t let mine cool an hour and it was fine.)

2.  Combine remaining 1/4 c. flour, remaining 1/4 c. brown sugar, instant espresso, and remaining 1/4 t. salt in bowl.  Melt chocolate chips and remaining 2 T. butter in large bowl and cool slightly.  Add egg and whisk until combined.  Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated. Pour filling over cooled crust and sprinkle with reserved oatmeal mixture.  Bake until tooth pick inserted into center comes out with few crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack, 2 hours.  Using foil overhang, lift bars from pan and cut into squares.

Merry Christmas!

December 26, 2010 4 comments

Just logging in to wish every one a happy happy christmas admist all the christmas mess and share two cakes i have baked.

Swiss roll cake coated with white chocolate whipped cream, and surrounded by a wreath of green tinted marshmallow cornflakes. 🙂



A 30th Birthday Sponge cake with white chocolate whipped cream and decorated with retarded oreo critters.

A lil Christmas Baking

December 22, 2010 12 comments

A mini post on other Christmas related bakings i’ve done 🙂

1. Christmas Biscottis

While biscottis are traditionally dunked in tea, or coffee, these are good enough to be eaten on its own. Crushed candy canes are mixed into the biscottis batter for an added touch of sweetness to the otherwise plain tasting biscottis.  I’ve done this cookie two ways, one is to dip them in melted white chocolate and sprinkle them with more crushed candy canes:

And another is to drizzle some white frosting on them and sprinkle even more candy canes!

A lil note though, the candy canes will lose their crunch and get a bit sticky after a while. But that didnt bother me as they were still delicious.

Recipe from Annie

Candy Cane Biscotti

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup finely chopped peppermint candies, plus extra for garnish
14 oz. white chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir briefly with a fork to combine.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Fold in the 2/3 cup crushed peppermints with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated.

Evenly divide the dough into 4 portions.  Form each into a 9″ by 1½” log on the prepared baking sheet, spaced evenly.  Bake until the cookies are light golden brown on top, about 18-20 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F.

After the logs have cooled for 10 minutes, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the logs into ½-inch slices on the diagonal.  Arrange the cut pieces on the baking sheet, laying on one of their cut sides so one cut side is facing up.  Bake for 15 minutes more, until the cookies are light golden brown and crisp.  (They may seem a bit soft, but will firm as they cool.)  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the biscotti have cooled, melt the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler.  Dip one half of each cookie in the chocolate, shake gently to remove the excess, and transfer to a baking sheet or work surface lined with wax paper.  Sprinkle with extra crushed candy canes while the chocolate is still wet.  Let stand at room temperature until the chocolate has set completely.  Store in an airtight container.

2. Cranberry Bliss Bar

The cranberry bliss bar is a Starbucks breakfast favourite it seems, but the truth is, i have never tasted the ones sold there before. The Starbucks here (Indonesia) don’t have it on the menu! But if the ones sold taste anywhere as good as these, i could definitely relate to why they are such a hit.

The base of these bars are subtly flavoured with ginger and studded with cranberries and white chocolate. They are then topped with a lemony cream cheese frosting before being piped with a sugared icing.

Between the white chocolate vs cranberries, or, the cream cheese frosting vs the sugary icing, these bars are a good balance of sweetness and tartness. These will definitely zest up your mornings and double up as good wake up calls!

Recipe from Megan

Cranberry Bliss Bars
see on Brownies for Dinner, originally from My Little Mochi
(printable recipe)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Drizzling Icing:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1-2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt and mix well. Gradually add flour and mix until smooth. Stir in cranberries and white chocolate. Pour the batter into the greased pan, using a spatula to evenly spread the batter in the pan. Bake 30-40 minutes, until edges are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice until completely smooth. Spread on the completely cool cake. Sprinkle the top with cranberries.

Drizzling Icing:
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp of milk, powdered sugar, and vegetable shortening. Gradually add more milk until the icing has a thick but drizzly consistency. I used closer to 2 tablespoons. Put the icing into a ziploc bag and snip off a tiny bit of the corner. Drizzle the icing on top in zig-zags.

Cut into squares or triangles and enjoy!

3. Chocolate Hearts with Crushed Christmas Candies

These are yogurt cakelets made in a heart shaped pan, dunked in melted dark chocolate and sprinkled with christmas candies. The yogurt cakelets are incredibly moist and dense, but most importantly they pop out prettily from the pan 🙂

These are better refrigerated as the candies and the chocolate will get melty and sticky after a while. But i am definitely liking the dark chocolate contrast against the candies.

Recipe from Kirbie

Vanilla Yogurt Cakelets


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the cakelet pan.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl and set it aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, and eggs. Slowly whisk the dry
ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the
vegetable oil into the batter until well incorporated.
4. With a
spoon fill the cake pan with the cake batter about 3/4 full. Do not over fill it. Bake
in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and
cake is lightly brown.
5. Remove from cake pan
once it is completely cool

With that, I would like to thank Annie, Megan and Kirbie for sharing the wonderful recipes! Happy Christmas everyone!

Unsliced Bread may be the greatest thing since Sliced bread

December 20, 2010 4 comments

I am sure many are familiar with the quote “….. is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I don’t know how the quote came about, but i am guessing sliced bread must have pretty much taken the world by storm to be quoted in such a timeless fashion.

Sure, sliced bread is great, it takes away that nerve wrecking task of bread cutting. And if you don’t own a serrated knife, you definitely will appreciate pre-sliced bread more than your counterparts with a serrated knife.

I am fortunately a proud owner of a serrated knife, and i do enjoy slicing my own bread. And let me tell you how wonderful it is to be baking my own bread, a sandwich loaf no less.

It will probably take your whole afternoon. So, don’t expect to serve this for breakfast the morning you decide to start baking. Don’t let that scare you though, for all that time intensiveness, you do get much loafing (no pun intended) around. That is of course, after u are done with the initial kneading stage. Once you are through that hurdle, all you have to do is pretty much wait around for the second, third, fourth … rising (I told you it will take some time).

I seemed to have acquired the patience of a rock statue the day i made this bread. I followed the instructions, kneaded my dues and then goofed my afternoon away with a little kitchen timer in my hand to remind me of the next “session” i have with my dough, be it the next punch down, or the next shaping… etc. I didn’t for one regret though, at the end of all that timed activities, i got myself a soft crumbed tall sandwich loaf 🙂

Yup, all that goodness in a sliced bread minus all the harmful chemicals and preservatives. A good homemade sandwich loaf, which u can pretty much serve in any way you fancy.

Like with lettuce, cheese and tomatoes? (Sorry i ran out of Bacon to make this a regular BLT)

Or maybe with some blueberry jam?

That is of course the goodness you can get out of sliced bread. But waittt, there is more.

What about an UNsliced loaf? After all, the title is about unsliced loaves being greater than their sliced cousins right?

Surely there are some goodness in that too?

Right ON!

We make bread boxes out of sandwich loaves.

These bread boxes, better known as Honey Toasts are very popular as asian desserts. I believe they may have originated from Hongkong.

Basically, the interior of the bread is removed via a slit made at the bottom of the loaf. They are then buttered and given a light toasting before they are replaced back in the bread boxes with a drizzle of honey. They are usually topped with ice cream and u can imagine how wonderful it is when the ice cream melts and soaks up the underlying bread pieces.

I however, replaced the ice cream with Rum pastry cream as i was gifting these to my friends and there was no way ice cream could have survived the journey.

I arranged the fresh fruits over the pastry cream and gave it a light coating of honey for an added touch of sweetness and shine. 🙂

So let’s get loafing!

White Sandwich Bread

Recipe from Happy Homebaking Thanks for sharing!!
(makes one 11cm x 11cm x 20cm loaf)

(A) Gelatinised dough

75g bread flour
53g boiling water

(B) Overnight sponge dough

100g bread flour
60g water (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

(C) Main dough

225g bread flour
10g milk powder
22g caster sugar
5g salt
4g instant yeast
143g water (room temperature)
60g overnight sponge dough
gelatinised dough from (A)
30g butter (cut into cubes)


– Gelatinised dough

Add the boiling water in (A) into the bread flour, stir and mix to form a rough dough. Cover dough and set aside to cool. Wrap dough and leave it to chill in fridge for at least 12 hrs. (Bring back to room temperature before using.)

– Overnight sponge dough

Mix bread flour in (B) with instant yeast. Add water and mix to form a rough dough. Cover dough let it proof for 30mins. Wrap dough and refrigerate overnight. Note: only 60g is required. Bring back to room temperature before using.

– Main dough
  1. Mix together bread four, milk powder, caster sugar, salt and instant yeast in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, and add in water and overnight dough. Knead to form a rough dough. Knead in gelatinised-dough.
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough till smooth. This should take about 10mins. Knead in the butter. Continue to knead the dough until it no longer sticks to your hand, becomes smooth and elastic. This should take about another 15~20 mins. Do the window pane test: pinch a piece of the dough, pull and stretch it. It should be elastic, and can be pulled away into a thin membrane without tearing/breaking apart easily.
  3. Place dough in a lightly greased (use vegetable oil or butter) mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and let proof in room temperature (around 28 to 30 degC) for about 60mins, or until double in bulk.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and give a few light kneading to press out the gas in the dough. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Roll each dough into smooth rounds, cover with a damp cloth or cling wrap and let the doughs rest for 10mins.
  5. On a lightly floured work surface, flatten each dough and roll out to form a longish oval shape. Starting from the shorter end, roll it up swiss-roll style. Leave the doughs to rest for another 10 mins.
  6. Flatten each dough and roll it out again to form a long rectangle (around 30cm x 10cm). Flip the dough over and roll up swiss-roll style, roll up as tightly as possible. Pinch and seal the seams. Place the three doughs, seam side down, in a well greased (with butter) pullman tin.
  7. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap and leave doughs to proof for the second time for about 50~60mins, or until the pan is 80% full. Cover the lid (well greased with butter) and bake at 220degC for 35mins. Unmold immediately and once cool store in an airtight container.

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies, Week #12 – Potato Chips Christmas Tree

December 16, 2010 24 comments

It’s official. This is the last week of 12 WOCC, and i can’t tell you enough how much i loved and thoroughly enjoyed each of the 12 weeks.. I’ve gotten to know so many talented and creative bloggers out there, and seen so many of their inspiring cookies. I do sincerely hope that this event will continue next year, and i do hope that i am still actively baking and blogging then. 🙂 Once again, my thanks go to Abby for organizing the lovely event!

Anyways, for my final week, i made another Christmas tree. This time, with potato chips, and it looks something like this.

I was eating a bag of chips when i noticed how each chip is shaped like a leaf. I have also observed an on going trend of potato chips dipped in chocolate. And combining two and two, this tree idea got stuck to my head.

The idea is really simple. First thing first, i baked a blondie batter in a cone shaped vessel.

Why blondie batter ?

Cause i wanted something sturdy, which is able to stand up on its own and hold the weight of the potato chip “leaves”. I didn’t want any of that rising butter cakes and sponge cakes get. I also didnt want a brownie batter*, as a brownie batter, with its high chocolate content might be too fudgy and wet  for this structure.

*Believe me or not, blondies are actually brownies, without chocolate. LOL.

Do take note though, the batter will probably take more time to bake cause of the shape of the vessel which  has lesser surface area and thus less heat contact. Also, be sure to have something sturdy to prop the vessel while baking ( I used a square loaf tin)

Next, we slather buttercream onto the tree core.

Be generous with the buttercream. It will act as a “glue” for the leaves.

Then we stick on the “leaves”.

Wait, WHAT leaves?

White chocolate dipped leaves of course. White chocolate because i wanted a white Christmas tree. I couldn’t imagine a brown Christmas tree using milk or dark chocolate.

It’s really easy these leaves, just drop the potato chips into the melted white chocolate, fish it out and let it dry. I microwaved my white chocolate with a little bit of shortening, to thin it down a bit. I didn’t want the white chocolate coating to get too thick and weigh down the leaves.

Once we the tree is in full bloom, we go on to decorations, for what is a Christmas tree without the decorations?I decided that since the leaves are already so elaborate, decorations should be kept at a minimum. I didnt want the decorations to diminish that full bloom, leafy effect. It was just a matter of sticking a few mini M&M’s strategically. My leaves were only semi dry by then, my M&M’s readily stuck to each leaf. However, if ur leaves were already dried up, u might need to dip the underside of the M&Ms in more white chocolate to get it to stick.

And there you have it, My Potato Chips Christmas Tree. Place these tree on the dining table during Christmas dinner and watch spring turn to fall as guests help themselves to the leaves. Do make extra leaves and replenish the bald patches as the evening go by, and come dessert time, slice up the tree core of a blondie and distribute them around! Merry Christmas!
Blondie Recipe

8 TBS unsalted butter, melted ( 1 stick)
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
1/3 C granulated sugar
1 large egg
1tsp pure vanilla extract
1 C AP flour
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush an cone shaped baking pan with butter. Line pan with a piece of parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang on two sides. Grease paper

2. In a large bowl, whisk butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour and salt, mix until just moistened ( do not overmix ).  Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula.

3. Bake 40- 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set pan on wire rack and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift the brownies from the pan and transfer to a cutting board.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream From Martha Stewart

* Note i scaled down the recipe to using 2 egg whites.

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips
A bag of Potato Chips
200 grams white chocolate, chopped
50 grams shortening, chopped
1.  In a sauce pan, double boil white chocolate and shortening till both are melted and combined.
2. Coat the potato chips with the white chocolate mixture and leave it to set at room temperature.
Assembling the Potato Chips Christmas Tree
1. Coat the cone shaped blondie with a generous amount of buttercream
2. Stick the chocolate dipped leaves over the Buttercream
3. Decorate as desired.

Candied Apples

December 15, 2010 3 comments

Growing up in Singapore, i have never seen had candied apples before. In fact, i have never even laid eyes on a candied apple. All i know is that i have a fridge full of Fuji Apples, and they are being eaten at a rate slower than than they are at going bad.

So in my mind, i was hoping a lil bit of caramel might trick people into eating these apples a bit faster. :p

Okay, so while an apple a day keeps the doctors away, these will definitely round up the dentists. I dont think any dentists in their right minds would recommend eating chewy, sticky, gooey, rich, milky, sweet, delicious caramel. Sure, they stick all over your teeth, but then again, it’s not as if you can’t brush your teeth after?

And anyways, apples! They are fruits! and so what’s a lil caramel when you know you are eating something so rich in vitamins, anti-oxidants and fibers in exchange?

So there!

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Classic Caramel Apples

Makes 6

  • 6 wooden craft sticks
  • 6 small apples, any variety, stems removed
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Insert sticks into tops of apples. Prepare an ice-water bath.
  2. Bring cream, sugar, corn syrup, and butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to pan, and continue to cook until mixture reaches 245 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Place pan in ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Dip bottom of each apple in caramel. Using a spoon, coat apple halfway to three-quarters of the way up sides. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes (or overnight).

Read more at Classic Caramel Apples – Martha Stewart Recipes

Categories: Dessert Tags: , ,

Almond, Orange, and Cranberry MiniCupcakes

December 12, 2010 11 comments

Almond, Orange, Cranberry Cupcakes. Geez, the title itself is already a mouthful isn’t it?  There is the fruits, and the nuts all rolled into a medley. But fret not, despite the jumbled mess of a name, this will work just fine.

These cupcakes might take a lil bit more fostering than the average cupcakes. It’s not just a matter of throwing in a bunch of chocolate chips, or a handful of nuts.

The oranges have to be zested, and the cranberries chopped, and then soaked.

And let me tell you about these soaked cranberries… I soaked these cranberries in Grand Marnier, and i can’t tell you enough how wonderfully plump and flavourful each cranberry became. It was like biting into mini bursts of delight, fruity, full-bodied, and fragrant. I think Grand Marnier is fast becoming a baking favourite.

A lil downfall in these soaked cranberries though, literally. The cranberries get heavy, and they sink downward. Although some did manage to stay afloat, most of them made their way south.  I know i should have chopped the cranberries smaller, and pat them dry, or sprinkle a lil flour before dumping them into the batter. But i guess i got a lil lazy. Lesson learnt.

Let me go on to marvel at the cake now. In case you were wondering, the dark shade of this cake is brought about by the glorious brown sugar. And just by having brown sugar, these cupcakes by default are delicious. I love brown sugar, and i have come to notice a trend with it. Brown sugar baked goods somehow get more flavoursome and all the more luscious with time. These cupcakes taste better on the second day, so i guess that kinda challenges that cliche “fresh from the oven” slogan so overused today eh?

Anyways, for the recipe, i have adapted Pastry Girl’s Apricot, Orange, and Almond Mini Cakes and subbed the Apricots for Dried Cranberries. And in case you havent already, do head over to her blog for the most amazing display of desserts. Her pictures of stunningly gorgeous! Thanks Anita for sharing the recipe!

Apricot, Orange, and Almond Loaf Cakes

adapted from Carole Bloom’s Bite-Size Desserts

makes 12 4″x 2 1/4″ loaves

2/3 cup (4 ounces) dried apricots, finely chopped (i used dried cranberries)

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

2 cups (9 ounces) flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup (5 ounces) sugar plus extra for sprinkling

3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar

2 extra-large eggs, room temperature (I used large and it turned out fine)

1 extra-large egg yolk, room temperature (same as above)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon orange extract

zest of 1 orange

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray twelve mini loaf pans with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.

Combine apricots and Grand Marnier in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate for 15 minutes.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

Beat butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until well combined.

Combine eggs, egg yolk, extracts, and orange peel in a small bowl. Add to mixture and beat until well combined.

Add the flour mixture and buttermilk in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined.

Add in the apricots and mix until combined.

Divide mixture among prepared pans, filling about 3/4 full. Sprinkle almonds and sugar over the tops.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool on wire racks before serving.

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies, Week #11 – Santa’s Hats Cookies

December 9, 2010 30 comments

Christmas is hitting upon us like a bullet train. I cant believe that this is already week 11 of 12 WOCC!

One more week to go. Sigh, i am definitely gonna miss this. I’ve been looking forward to Fridays ever since 12 WOCC started, just because i can watch the panel of thumbnail shots of what other bloggers did. The panel will start with just a few entries, and as the day progresses, so will the number of thumbnails. I love hitting the ‘refresh’ button after every few hours or so to check out for new entries. Yes, i am definitely gonna miss that.

And having said that, i would like to thank Abby for organizing such a wonderful event!

Anyhoo, for week #11, i made these Santa’s hats

I have been visualizing this for quite a number of weeks, but i wasn’t sure whether it would work. These hats are made of red, cone shaped choux pastry. And i was really doubting on whether it was even possible to make red, cone shaped choux pastry. There are too many unaddressed technicalities, like whether the choux pastry will puff, the way they usually do and lose that cone shape. Or whether the dough will slide down the wafer cone i used as the pastry was baking. Confused yet?

Let me do a brief run on what i visualized, which fortunately did materialize. LOl

As mentioned, the santa’s hats are actually made of red choux pastry dough, which i have piped around a wafer cone.

I got these wafer cones from a local baking supply shop. They are meant to pipe buttercream roses on.  Basically, you are supposed to pipe roses on them and transfer the whole thing (wafer+rose) onto your cakes. They are just tasteless edible wafer which come in multi colour.

So anyways, once piped, i sent them to bake and got these:

Yes! it worked! Although the dough did puff somewhat, they did manage to retain its shape, and nope, the dough didn’t slide down the wafer cones as it was baking. In fact it stuck to the wafer cone quite a bit, so u have to gently kinda ease the cones out of the choux shells.

Okays, now that the difficult part is done, so what of these crispy shells now?

We pipe them with white chocolate mousse of course! The same mousse i piped on those chocolate cups last week. U can just pipe into the hollow, or you can pipe into the hollow AND the sides. Piping around the mouth of the choux pastry shell will give u that extra ruffle in the eventual cookies.

Next, comes the base

I needed an untainted white base for these hats, and what better recipe to follow than that tapioca floured cookie recipe i used for my Albino Gingerbread men? 🙂

We then attach the filled and piped cookies onto that pristine white bases

Oh, a word of advise, fill, pipe cookies and attach them to their designated bases just before serving though. Both cookie base and the choux pastry will get soggy quite quickly. But having said that, you can definitely make the cookies and the mousse in advance,  and refrigerate and assemble them when they are ready to be eaten.

Oh, and don’t forget to pipe that mini fluff of a ball on the tips of these cookies

Santa’s Hat Cookies all good to go!

Choux Pastry Recipe

(Taken from an Indonesian cookbook, please bear the pathetic translation!)

100 gram butter

200 ml water

1/4 tsp salt

125 grams AP flour

180 grams egg, beaten lightly

A few drops of red colouring

1. Heat the butter, water, red colouring and salt till they come to a rolling boil.

2. Remove from heat and immediately dump in all the flour. Mix well and return to fire still mixing till the dough dries out. Remove from heat and let cool

3. Beat the eggs into the dough gradually, mix till they are well combined.

4. Spoon dough into a pipping bag, and pipe around the wafer cones.

5. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or till they are dry.

Chocolate Mousse Recipe

For the white chocolate mousse:

150 gr white chocolate

150 gr heavy cream

1. In a double boiler, melt white chocolate till smooth, set aside to cool to room temp.

2. In another larger bowl, beat heavy cream till soft peaks. Drizzle in melted white chocolate and beat till you have a thick, pipping consistency.

White Cookie Base Recipe:

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


-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)


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*. Arrange on lined baking tray and bake at 350′F for 15 minutes. It will puff when baked.

*Note: i used a circular cookie cutter.

Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart

December 6, 2010 20 comments

I wanted to recreate the success i’ve had with the mind blowing Peanut Caramel Topped Brownies I made just a couple of days ago. And yet, i didn’t want to make the brownie a second time in such a short period of time.

So, my fingers kept flipping to the page where the recipe for the Chocolate Crunched Caramel Tart was.  This recipe is like a cousin of the brownies, both carrying chocolate, caramel and peanuts heritage.

And being of the same lineage, this tart, almost as a birthright was readily welcomed in the family. Of course, it didn’t hurt that this tart was so handsomely dark, luscious and mysterious.

And whoever said about beauty runs skin deep is totally wrong when it came to this tart. For beneath that surface of the ganache, lay a display as impressive, the caramel peanuts.

Ahh, be still my lil’ heart…

My heart did a double take when i saw how neatly this tart cut. The ganache set beautifully with the caramel peanuts just peeking beneath it.

And if that brownie of a cousin was considered rich, this tart probably thieved more than half of the family’s heirloom, qualifying it to be in the “filthy rich” bracket.

And who wouldn’t want a piece of that filthy rich pie, or rather tart? LOL.

Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart (I was too lazy to type the recipe in , this recipe is from Chocolate Moosey. She chose this tart for TWD last September. A very fine choice indeed!)

Scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

3/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 9-inch tart shell made with Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough (p.444), fully baked and cooled

Getting Ready: Because you have to work quickly once the sugar caramelizes, you should have all the ingredients for the caramel measured out and at hand before you start. Also have a medium heatproof bowl at hand to hold the hot caramel.

To Make the Caramel: Bring the heavy cream to a boil.

Meanwhile, put a medium skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat and sprinkle in about 3 tablespoons of the sugar. When it melts, stir it with a wooden spatula or fork and sprinkle over another 3 tablespoons. When that sugar is melted, add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar – the sugar in the pan may already have started to color, and that’s fine. Stir in the corn syrup and boil the syrup until it reaches a deep caramel color – it will probably begin to smoke, and that’s normal.

Stand back and stir in the butter. The caramel will bubble furiously and may spatter, so make sure you’re away from the action. When the butter is in, add the warm cream – the caramel will bubble furiously again. Lower the temperature just a tad and let the caramel boil for just 2 minutes (226F on candy thermometer). Pour the seething caramel into the heatproof bowl and set aside while you make the ganache.

To Make the Ganache: Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and have a whisk or a rubber spatula at hand.

Bring the cream to a boil. Then pour half of it over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Working with the whisk/spatula, very gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles. Pour in the remainder of the cream and blend it into the chocolate. When the ganache is smooth and shiny, stir in the butter piece by piece. Don’t stir any more than you must to blend the ingredients – the less you work it, the darker, smoother and shinier it will be.

Cover the ganache with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface to create an airtight seal. Set aside at room temperature for the moment.

To Assemble the Tart: Stir the peanuts into the caramel. If the caramel has cooled and is too thick to spread easily, gently warm in the microwave in 3-second spurts. Spread the caramel over the bottom of the tart shell; you’ll have a thin layer. Refrigerate the tart for 15 minutes to set the caramel.

Check the ganache. If it has thickened, warm it in 3-second spurts. Rap the bowl to break any surface bubbles, pour the ganache over the caramel and jiggle the pan to even it.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes – no longer – then keep it at room temperature until serving time.

Salty Oat Cookies

December 4, 2010 13 comments

I am thoroughly convinced that these cookies qualify as a health food.

Okay, maybe these cookies are not totally fat or sugar free. But in comparison, i think these cookies are relatively healthier than many out there.

I mean with that amount of oatmeal (10.5 ounces), it has to be right?

Well, health food or not, these cookies definitely re-ignited my love for oatmeal. It’s been a while since i used oatmeal in my bakings, and i forgot just how wonderful it was. The oatmeal gave these cookies a fragrance not quite like any other. I cant really describe it, it’s like wheaty and nutty at the same time. But, Whatever it was, i am definitely definitely loving it. And i am only using quick cooking oats as opposed to rolled oats that the recipe called for. I bet using rolled oats will make the flavour even more pronounced. I shall try that the next time!

To add on to that wholesome deliciousness, these cookies are sprinkled with a lil coarse salt before they are popped into the oven.  Let us take a closer look.

Okays, while the salt grains are not really that visible, their presence is unmistaken. The salt gives the cookies an added dimension, outshining the average common oatmeal cookies.

Coarse grained sea salt. Now, i am not a salt expert, but i did a mini taste test on table salt and sea salt while making these cookies. I was quite surprised at the difference. While sea salt are salty, table salt are much much more saltier. In fact, i found the saltiness in table salt to be a lil offensive. I am not sure whether you can sub table salt for sea salt in sprinkling these cookies, but i would definitely stick with sea salt if i could.

These cookies are best baked till they are just crisp on the outside, while the centers are still soft and moist. With such a low butter content, i think these cookies might turn out rather hard instead of crisp if they were to bake further.

I feel pretty good serving these to my family instead of the usual .. er.. less healthy cookies. At the very least, i feel like i am contributing to their daily fiber quota! 🙂

Recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

1 C (5 ounces) AP flour

1/2 TSP Baking Soda

1/4 TSP Table Salt

16 TBS (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

1 C (7 ounces) Granulated Sugar

1/4 C packed (13/4 ounces) Light Brown Sugar

1 Large Egg

1 TSP Vanilla Extract

31/2 C (10 ounces) old fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2 TSP Coarse Sea Salt, for Sprinkling


1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions, and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda and table salt together in a medium bowl.

2. In a large bowl. beat the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 – 6 minutes. neat in the egg and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the oats until just incorporated.

4. Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Flatten the cookies to a 3/4 inch thickness with your palm. Sprinkle a few grains of the coarse salt over the flattened tops of each cookie.

5. Bake the cookies until the edges are set and beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 15-17 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. (The cookies will look raw between the cracks and seem underdone)

6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Categories: Cookies Tags: , ,

12 Weeks of Christmas, Week #10, White Choc Mousse X’mas Tree in Choco cups

December 2, 2010 22 comments

I cant believe we are already in our 10th Week of WOCC. I vividly remember deciding my first submission for this event like only it was yesterday.

I really had lots of fun through this event, and have gotten to know so many talented bloggers out there. I cant thank Abby enough for organizing this event. But i guess all good things come to an end don’t they? Sigh. I can only wish that i would be able to participate in this all over again next year!

Anyways, let’s move on from the gloom and embrace the festivities at its max! For this week, i have decided to make a white chocolate mousse Christmas Trees in chocolate cups.

The original plan was to shape them like white christmas trees. But i guess my retarded piping skills sort of got in the way. So instead of pipping them tall with tapered tops, i could only make them short and stout, kinda like a dwarf versions of a tree.

No one guessed that these were Christmas Tree wannabees though. They just thought of these as some other fancy dessert.

Despite the obvious little yellow stars i made out of cookie icing, and painstakingly positioned on their tops.

Or the decorative sprinkles around the piped mousse.

But that’s okay. Even with their obvious height issues, they were still able to draw an “ooh, that’s so pretty!’, and a “these are cute”  from some of their end consumers.

Oh well, i guess u can’t win them all.

As for how they tasted?

Well, they ARE chocolate cups and white chocolate mousse. I mean with that kind of double chocolate, i dont think anyone can go wrong.

So till i get better at piping, these will have to do.

Recipe :

For the chocolate Cups:

200 gr Dark chocolate

– In a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate until smooth. Dip a paintbrush into chocolate and paint a thick coat of  to the inside of the cupcake liners. Set aside to cool and harden*. Apply a second coat if necessary and let dry.

* You can of course speed up this process by placing it in the refrigerator, but somehow, my chocolate cups sweat when i do that, so i rather let them air dry at a cool room temperature.

For the white chocolate mousse:

150 gr white chocolate

150 gr heavy cream

1. In a double boiler, melt white chocolate till smooth, set aside to cool to room temp.

2. In another larger bowl, beat heavy cream till soft peaks. Drizzle in melted white chocolate and beat till you have a thick, pipping consistency.

Once chocolate cups are cooled and dried, peel cupcake liners off the chocolate cups, and pipe white chocolate mousse in its cavity. Decorate as desired.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,