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Archive for January, 2011

Almond London Cookies

January 30, 2011 11 comments

I have no idea how these cookies got its name. I did a quick search on the internet but there wasn’t any readily available history on the cookies. Maybe they originated from London, but really what did it matter?

Cause they look too enticing to be passed off.

i mean who can go wrong with whole almond pieces wrapped in butter cookies and coated with chocolate?

Well, they do take a little bit of work though, they are probably the type of cookies u wanna dedicate half of your Sunday on (that’s me!).

They started out like this, naked as baby’s bottoms.

You might notice the discrepancy in my cookie shapes, some being round spheres, some being elongated ovals.

Well, as much as i aknowledge my moronic cookie shaping skill, these cookies are shaped that way  on purpose. They are shaped that way differentiate the Almond London Cookies from the Cashew London Cookies.

Yup, i used a mixture of cashews and almonds for these cookies. Just for the fun of it.

The round ones are filled with cashews of course. I realized that you can’t really shape anything crescent shaped into an oval. The ends of the cashews will poke out of the cookies, and that’s hardly aesthetic is it? lol.

My nestled cashew looks like a tooth.

Oh, u might also notice the lighter chocolate colour on these.

So besides the twist from almonds to cashews, i also went astray with the chocolate coating, and went from dark to milk.

And i must say, among the mad medley of round vs oval cookies, almonds vs cashews, milk vs dark chocolates,  London originated or not, what did it matter?

Cause they are all unanimously delicious!

Almond London Cookies

Take from Lily’s Wai Sek Hong

Ingredients:

9 tbsp butter room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar/powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
8 ozs bleached all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt

Whole toasted almonds with skin

Dark chocolate, melted

Almond nips

METHOD


Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolk and salt, cream until well combined.

Add flour and mix until a dough is formed. Rest dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take a marble-sized dough (I used a melon scoop), flatten and wrap around the almond. Shape into an oval cookie.

Place on lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven 350 f for 15 minutes.

Remove cookies to cool on cake racks.

Melt chocolate in the microwave.

Coat cookies with melted chocolate by dunking cookies in the melted chocolate and removing them with a fork and place on cake rack. Top with almond nips before the cookies set.

Place cookies on small paper cases.

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Categories: Cookies Tags: , , , ,

Black Beauty

January 28, 2011 8 comments

If you look really closely at the picture, you would notice that there are two layers of batters involved in making this beauty. The bottom layer is a layer of a brownie so moist and fudgy that it is almost custard like. The top is a buttercake recipe so rich and luxurious, it is more fitting to call it a brownie.

But that’s not the highlight of the buttercake. The highlight of this cake is the use of a certain flour called the black glutinous rice flour.

Black glutinous rice flour comes from black glutinous rice (doh!). Like its fair counterpart (white glutinous rice), the black glutinous rice is an especially sticky rice that is most commonly used for Asian desserts.

It’s only recently (well, maybe not that recent) that this sticky rice is made into flour. In this flour form, which is so agreeable to baking, does it start to leave its powdery imprints in the world of cakes and other bakes.

The flour is generally grey with specks of black, and it leaves a gritty texture into the resultant cake. I know you must be thinking, gritty texture ?? Eeeww!! but trust me, this one doesn’t taste anywhere like the health food we so often force fibrous wheatgerms into. This one actually tastes delicious. U just gotta trust me on this. LOL

Besides texture, the black glutinous rice flour is also very aromatic. Unlike the white glutinous rice flour which is bland, tasteless and scentless, the black glutinous rice imparts a waft of delightfully sweet smell with each bite you take. Not wanting this to run in the danger of sounding like a perfume advert, i must assure you that the smell is not at all overpowering. It’s subdued, yet full bodied at the same time and very very very delicious. I guess i can attest the many uses of the black glutinous rice in Asian desserts to attest to that!

Black Beauty*

For the Brownie Batter

125 gr Dark Chocolate

62.5 gr Butter

75 gr egg

100 gr caster sugar

65 gr AP

12.5 gr milk powder

1/4 tsp baking powder

1. In a heatproof bowl, put together chocolate and butter. Set bowl over simmering water till the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool.

2. In another bowl, beat the egg and caster sugar at high speed till it is thick and pale yellow. Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl and whisk to combine.

3. In yet another bowl, sift together the flour, milk powder and baking powder. Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Pour into a 8×8 inch pre-lined and greased pan.

For the cake batter

150 gr butter

125 gr icing sugar

25 gr condensed milk

150 gr eggs

113 gr black glutinous rice flour

13 gr cocoa powder

1. Beat the butter, icing sugar and condensed milk till light and fluffy.

2. Gradually add the eggs in.

3. In another bowl, sift the black glutinous rice flour and cocoa powder together and add it into the butter mixture.

4. Pour the mixture into the 8×8 inch pan and gently spread it across the above brownie batter.

5. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or till cooked.

*Note: Recipe adapted from an Indonesian cookbook, please pardon the poor translation. LOL

Marble Cake

January 26, 2011 13 comments

I cant tell you enough how many times i have been disappointed attempting to make the perfect butter cakes. Even recipes with promising titles such as  “the perfect butter cake” or “the best pound cake”, somehow, nothing met up with my expectations.

Most of them usually err to the dry side, and i find myself reaching for that dollop of whipped cream or even jam to be served alongside the cake.

Of course, there are recipes that call for milk, juices, or even water to moisten things up, but usually, the batter gets heavy, and needless to say, so will the eventual cake.

I guess my journey to find that perfect butter cake came to an end with this recipe. This recipe yields a good, soft, moist cake with very tight crumbs.

Without any liquid in the cake batter to counter the dryness so common in most butter cakes, this cake relies on only the butter for that moistness. From here, u can pretty much guess how wonderfully rich and lustrously buttery this cake would be.

The butter in the recipe is beaten and aerated, producing a cake that rose and was very light, but yet, this cake was still dense enough to carry all that buttery aroma in its fullest glory.

Although i am very much loving the marbled swirls in this cake, i must say that i am not really liking the chocolate batter as much as i do the plain one. The chocolate batter which had cocoa powder in it was naturally more bitter compared to the plain one. Also, the cocoa powder really took away all that wonderful buttery taste that i very much adore.

Kek Marble Susu (Milk Marble Cake)
(adapted from Ovenhaven)

250g butter
230g castor sugar
2 tsp ovalette
4 eggs
60g condensed milk
270g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp chocolate emulco

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar and ovalette until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add in the condensed milk, and mix well.
  5. Sift the flour together with the baking powder, and add slowly to the mixture, until it is well incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter into two, leaving one plain, and adding the chocolate emulco, cocoa powder and milk to the other.
  7. Drop alternate spoonfuls of the two batters into a 9-inch square pan, lined with baking paper. Bake at 170°C for 30-35mins.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

January 25, 2011 13 comments

These cookies are wickedd! They are such a tease to the palate, being sweet and salty at the same time. While i am very much in love with the cookies with the slight peanut butter taste and packed with oats, i am absolutely swooning over the filling.

I think this filling is a genius. Like all american buttercream, this filling is mainly butter (or peanut butter in this case) and icing sugar. However,  it has an additional quick  pour of heavy cream which really kicked it up a notch. The heavy cream really increased air binding ability in the buttercream, making it most ethereal and silky smooth.

While assembling these cookies, all i wanted to do was just dip my cookie into the cream, and pop into into my mouth. It took me LOTS of willpower to stop at what i was doing and actually made actual sandwich cookies out of these. Also, the thing with sandwich cookies is that u think u have lots of cookies going on for you, but really, after pairing them with their partners, you are left with only half of what you think you have.

After all that cookie dipping while assembling, i was left with scarcely less than a dozen cookies. That’s hardly enough to go around at my workplace. I packed each one of them while fending every evil temptation to have yet another cookie.

So while i was pretty upset at having so little cookies to show for, at least i was glad of a very delicious breakfast.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Taken from Buns in My Oven

yield about 16 sandwiches

For the cookies:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats

For the filling:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp whipping cream

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Begin by creaming the butter and sugars for the cookies. Beat in the egg and vanilla. In a small bowl mix together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix into the creamed butter and sugars. Mix in the oats and stir until combined. Drop teaspoonfuls (or use a small cookie scoop) of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Make a criss cross with a fork to flatten the cookies. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool.

To make the filling, beat all ingredients together until well mixed and smooth. Spread the filling on the bottom of one cookie and top with another to form a sandwich. Repeat with all the cookies.

Categories: Cookies Tags: , , ,

Chocolate Orange Cake

January 24, 2011 23 comments

There were two bars of chocolate sitting in my fridge one day. One just a bar of chocolate in its dark glory, and the other, a bar of dark chocolate with orange peel and cashew nuts in it.

I grabbed the second one, because, believe it or not, i have never really tasted chocolates with fruits in it (aside from the usual raisin studded chocolate bars).  I was prepped for disappointments as i thought of myself to be a chocolate purist, that chocolate should preferably be eaten on its own, without any interference from the various fruits and nuts so common in the world of chocolates.

I took a bite, and my firm stance on un-tampered, pure chocolate was heavily shaken. I liked what i ate and developed a new-found love for orange scented chocolates.

Needless to say, i began scouring the net for orange scented chocolate everything. Many were recipes for orange chocolate cake, and my decision rested on this particular recipe which called for a whole seville orange to be boiled and blitzed before it was added to the cake.

Yup, what better way to infuse that citrusy scent than to dump a whole orange, peel and all into the cake?

Like the chocolate, the shadows of doubt that came with that whole boiling and blitzing orange was dark yet alluring, but i decided it was worth the risk and decided to take a dive.

The resultant cake was fudgy, dense and moist, and the orange flavour was discernible. It is a pretty good cake, but i guess dense cakes are just not my thing, i would rather go all the way and make dense fudgy brownies instead. A dense cake is just halfway there and it doesnt quite cut it for me. I find myself scrapping and eating the ganache more than the cake.

And i think i just myself a pretty good chocolate ganache recipe. I upped the chocolate slightly from the recipe as the comments in the recipe indicated that it was more on the runny side. The minor adjustments i made is just perfect for my tropical, humid weather. The chocolate ganache was of the perfect consistency even after being left overnight. It is fudgy, without being too thick to be spread across the cake.

I also carelessly strewn a store bought mango peels across the cake, just for aesthetic purposes. But i do like how it tastes with the ganache. The tangy and slightly salted peel gave the ganache an extra texture and it was such a pleasant tease to the palate.

Chocolate Orange Cake

(Taken from bbcgoodfood.com)

  • 1 Seville orange
  • a little melted butter , for greasing
  • 100g plain chocolate , broken into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 240ml sunflower oil
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • orange candied peel , to decorate

For the Chocolate Ganache *

  • 200g plain chocolate , broken into pieces
  • 225ml double cream
  1. Pierce the orange with a skewer (right through). Cook in boiling water for 30 minutes until soft. Whizz the whole orange in a food processor until smooth; let cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C.Grease and line the base of a 23cm/9in round cake tin. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave for 2 minutes on High, stirring after 1 minute. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Gradually beat in the puréed orange, discarding any pips, then stir in the cooled melted chocolate. Sift in the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Mix well and pour into the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the middle. (Check after 45 minutes and cover with foil if it is browning too much.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Make the chocolate ganache: put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour over the chocolate. Leave for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Set aside until firm enough to spread over the cake – up to 1½ hours.
  5. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Using a palette knife, swirl the ganache over the top. Decorate with strips of candied orange peel.

* For the chocolate ganache, i added equal ratio of chocolate vs cream (1 :1).

Categories: Cakes Tags: , , , , ,

Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

January 19, 2011 8 comments

I cant describe the wonderful crunch that comes with every bite of this toffee. You can probably hear someone biting into this 3 metres away from the site of action. it’s pleasantly brittle and it snaps with just the lightest pressure.

I am attributing this perfection to the a little device called the candy thermometer. I am sure many of you have experienced the nerve-wracking, chaotic guesswork involved in cooking sugar. I am for team thermometer and really, a candy thermometer really saves you from all these hassle and gives u the most awesome caramel for the most awesome buttercrunch toffee.

What’s of that awesome buttercrunch toffee anyways?

It’s a layer of almond, over which you pour that gorgeous, snappy caramel, and over which u sprinkle chocolate.

Did you get that?

Let me rephrase…

A layer of lightly toasted almonds are welded together with hot caramel. Chocolate chips are then strewn over the hot caramel to melt slightly before it is spread with a spatula.

Chocolate and Caramel. YUMM!

Oh, and let’s not forget that sprinkle of seasalt. Excluding the seasalt in this is like not inviting your mom to your graduation day, a situation almost tragic, at least for me anyways.

Although these cookies are hardly Chinese, and probably never a part of the usual CNY cookie platter,  I am including this in Aspiring Baker #3, My Favourite Chinese New Year Cookie hosted by Jess from J3ss Kitch3n. Just because i think these cookies are THAT good, and we’ve been taught to share good stuffs!

Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

by David Lebovitz

2 cups (8 ounces, 225 g) toasted almonds or hazelnuts, chopped between ‘fine’ and ‘coarse’
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup (1 stick, 115 g) salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
a nice, big pinch of salt
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 g) packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (140 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup chocolate chips

optional: Roasted cocoa nibs and fleur de sel

1. Lightly oil a baking sheet with an unflavored vegetable oil.

2. Sprinkle half the nuts into a rectangle about 8″ x 10″ (20 x 25 cm) on the baking sheet.

3. In a medium heavy-duty saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the water, butter, salt, and both sugars. Cook, stirring as little as possible, until the thermometer reads 300 F degrees. Have the vanilla and baking soda handy.

4. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.

5. Quickly pour the mixture over the nuts on the baking sheet. Try to pour the mixture so it forms a relatively even layer. (If necessary, gently but quickly spread with a spatula, but don’t overwork it.)

If using, sprinkle with a small handful of cocoa nibs and a flurry of fleur des sel. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the chocolate and gently press them in with your hands.

Cool completely and break into pieces to serve. Store in an airtight container, for up to ten days.

Categories: Cookies, Dessert Tags: , , ,

German Crunch Cookies

January 18, 2011 17 comments

This cookie seems to be a hot favourite item for the upcoming Chinese New Year. I have seen many bloggers featuring this item whilst i do my routinal rounds from blogs to blogs.

I hopped into the bandwagon, made these cookies and instantly saw light. It’s no wonder at all why people are fervently making these, for it is only the most buttery, soft, and crumbly cookies i have ever made.

If you were wondering why potatoes are one of the props featured today, it’s because i used potato starch for this cookies. Of course, the potato starch are store bought for i couldn’t possibly made potato starch from these real potatoes. LOL!

Anyway, this is actually my first experience with potato starch, the texture is very much like its cousin made of corn, the corn starch. I guess this potato starch in the recipe is what made these cookies extra crumbly.

Oh, and a word of advise on the crumbly, u definitely want to make these bite sized so that u can pop the entire  cookie into your mouth. Because you will leave a trail of cookie crumbs if you tried eating these in a couple of bites, and I am guessing you don’t want to have to sweep after yourself, or to piss whoever it is who cleans up after your.

Melt-in-mouth German Cookies 德式酥饼
(Recipe taken from Small Small Baker)
Ingredients (makes 60 pieces)

125g butter
40g icing sugar, sifted
125g potato starch
80g superfine flour (I use plain flour, tried out both 50g and 80g, both good)

Method

1. Beat butter and icing sugar till fluffy and lighter in colour.

2. Sift in potato starch and flour, mix to form a soft dough.

3. Roll into small balls (about 2cm in diameter), arrange on lined baking pan and press lightly with a fork (dip the fork in water after each press to prevent cookie dough from sticking to the fork).

4. Bake in preheated oven at 170 deg C for 15 mins, upper rack (need not bake till cookies turn brown).