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Archive for September, 2011

Star Studded, Caramel Walnut Cupcakes

September 28, 2011 6 comments

It’s been a while since i made cupcakes, so i thought why not?
I havent really found a vanilla cupcake recipe that i really really would fall back upon, but if my memory served me right, the Magnolia Bakery’s one wasnt too bad.

So using that as the cupcake, i have topped one with some homemade caramel and walnuts,

I havent really mastered the arts of caramel making, so i wont be posting the recipe.

This recipe seemed pretty runny when i frosted, but then again, it was also still warm. It did kinda thicken up after some time.

As for the walnuts, they were just toasted for a bit in the oven. I wanted to make candied walnuts, but got too lazy to go about doing it.

This next cupcake is for the little niece,

A star studded cupcake for the little star.

She wiped out the star gummies on this cupcake. And the frosting. 

The cupcake was pinched, crumbled and squeezed. I dont think she ate any of it. LOL

All packed up and ready to go !

Magnolia”s Vanilla Cupcake

Taken from foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

Icing:

  • Vanilla Buttercream, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Chicken Bacon Sandwich, Homemade Fries, and Strawberry Sponge Cake

September 26, 2011 5 comments

As the title says,
Chicken Bacon Sandwich,
Homemade Fries
And Strawberry Spongecake.

That sounded a lot for breakfast doesn’t it?
It seems like i might go overboard with my breakfast menus at times.
I think i might be just a lil bit obsessed.

Nevertheless, obsessed or not, lets get started shall we?

So we were eating out the other night, and ordered one half of a roasted chicken. And though the chicken was not dry, it was pretty bland and lacked flavour. So instead of trying to finish the chicken, we packed it in a doggie bag.

The doggie bag went into the fridge when we got home, and i scoured the internet for ways to somehow salvage the poor chicken.

Of course, it seems like Martha Stewart knows the answer to everything.

She came up with the idea of shredding the chicken and re sautee-ing it in bacon fats. Yes! what better ways to add flavour than add bacon fats!

So i first pan fried the bacon, and using the leftover grease from it, i dumped the shredded chicken in. And for good measure, a pinch of salt, and a dash of pepper. 🙂

As for the fries,

I made this fries from scratch. Like from the real potatotes.

Well, the truth behind these fries is that a new toy i just bought. A mandolin to be exact. The kind that allows you to shred, cut, slice, grate etc, etc..

I was reading the instruction manual and saw the settings for shoestring fries. And what do u know, i do happen to have potatoes in my kitchen! So there it is!

But of course, being a newbie in cooking, i did a lil bit of research before embarking on this french fries-ing.

It seems like the trick to getting your fries to crisp up is to first soak in in cold water to get rid of the starch on the surface, and fry it TWICE.

I found this instruction from the food network website. And i guess it did work, and the browning of the fries was quite even. On the other hand, this method is not totally foolproof as after sometime, the fries did get soggy like all fries would.

 And for dessert, it was a sponge cake sandwiching leftover strawberry preserve and with a dollop of pastry cream on the top.

Just another shot for the record,

I am officially full.

Chicken Bacon Sandwich

Adapted from Martha Stewart.com

Ingredients

  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1/3 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 slices Batard *

*Note:  I dipped the batard in a mixture of eggs and milk and pan fried (french toast style) it to soften

Directions

  1. In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium until crisp, 10 minutes. With tongs, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add chicken to skillet and stir to coat with drippings. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Spread mayonnaise on batard and layer with chicken, then the bacon. Top with the other slice of batard.

Perfect French Fries*

*Note: I didnt exactly bothered with the measuring of the temperature of the hot oil. I went by whatever instincts i had.

Taken from Foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet or kinnebec potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 by 1/4-inch thick batons
  • 2 quarts peanut oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Rinse cut potatoes in a large bowl with lots of cold running water until water becomes clear. Cover with water by 1-inch and cover with ice. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

In a 5-quart pot or Dutch oven fitted with a candy or deep-frying thermometer, (or in an electric deep fryer), heat oil over medium-low heat until the thermometer registers 325 degrees F. Make sure that you have at least 3 inches of space between the top of the oil and the top of the pan, as fries will bubble up when they are added.

Drain ice water from cut fries and wrap potato pieces in a clean dishcloth or tea towel and thoroughly pat dry. Increase the heat to medium-high and add fries, a handful at a time, to the hot oil. Fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft and limp and begin to turn a blond color, about 6 to 8 minutes. Using a skimmer or a slotted spoon, carefully remove fries from the oil and set aside to drain on paper towels. Let rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours.

When ready to serve the French fries, reheat the oil to 350 degrees F. Transfer the blanched potatoes to the hot oil and fry again, stirring frequently, until golden brown and puffed, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper lined platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

French Toast with Pastry Cream and Strawberry Preserve

September 23, 2011 6 comments

My mother bought me a pack of strawberries a few days ago. And while they were organic, and look really pretty with their bright scarlet colour, they were really really sour.

Anyone who took a bite of the strawberry winced.

There was really no way i could have eaten them on their own. I needed sugar. LOTS of sugar.

So i made a preserve out of it.

And if you were wondering what those curious white balls were,

they are pastry cream scooped with an ice cream scoop.

And to top it all off, some french toast to complete the meal.

Breakfast is served!

Coffee Crumb Cake with Lemon Cheesecake Filling

September 21, 2011 17 comments

I sometimes feel that butter cakes are rather plain and boring. And they are seldom their worth in calories ( we all know how much butter that goes into them, hence the name).

Sure, you can use very high quality butter to make them extra fragrant and delectable. But instead of doing that today, i have decided to use the extra money i would have spent on more expensive butter and bought some cream cheese instead.

Two slices of butter cake sandwiching a cream cheese filling.

🙂

And of course we have to mention the crumb toppings.

Crumbly crumb toppings made of butter, flour and brown sugar.

 

Boring buttercake no more!

Let’s DigIn!

Buttery Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Recipe taken from Kitchen Lab
CAKE

1 cup (225g) butter (no substitutes)
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream (I used crème fraiche)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

FILLING

2 (8 oz or 250g each) packages cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

TOPPING

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter

Set oven to 350F (175C) with oven rack set to second-lowest position. Grease a 13 x 9-inch (or an 11 x 7-inch, baking time will need to be increased slightly). Cream butter with sugar (about 3-4 minutes), add in eggs and sour cream or crème fraiche; beat well (about another 3 minutes). In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture; beat well until combined (batter will be thick). Spread more than half of the batter in the prepared baking pan. In another bowl, cream together all filling ingredients, then carefully spread over the cake batter. Spoon the remaining cake batter over the top of the cheese mixture. Mix all topping ingredients, pinching together with fingers until the consistency is like crumbs, and sprinkle over the top. Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until middle feels set and not jiggly.

Big Big Breakfast!

September 13, 2011 11 comments

I look forward to making breakfasts.

It’s the only time i get to play in the kitchen and prepare a meal.

I can never prepare dinner. Because by the time i get off work and reached home, dinner would turn to supper.

Breakfasts are different.

No one dictates what time i wake up. I can get up really really early if i wanted to.

Then proceed to my wonderland of a kitchen.

Today, the wonderland seen some chocolate.

And if these brownies already look perfect with their shiny, crackly top and deep, fudgy insides,

they are made even better, because they have hidden surprises.

See the whites in the brownies?

They are none other than oreo cookies, the nation’s favourite cookies!

Brownies for breakfast. That’s a load of fun isn’t it?

But of course, we can’t only have brownies for breakfast. Cause we are grown ups and we do not want  tummy aches.

Here is a grown up breakfast,

A ham and cheese sandwich.

I took a store-bought bread, sliced it into half, spread cream cheese on either side, slapped on some ham and cheese.

I wrapped the whole sandwich in foil, then placed it in the oven to get the cheese melting. I like warm sandwiches more than cold ones.

And of course, no meal should come unaccompanied by your greens.

Or whites in this case.

Doesnt matter, cause i am pretty damn sure white cabbage is part of the green family.

I am also quite surprised at how easy to make coleslaws are!

I shredded half a cabbage, and a whole carrot. And instead of red onions, i decided on the milder scallions as i didnt think anyone would like morning onion breath.  

As for the marinade, all it took was some mayo, some white vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper! Nothing fancy at all in this ingredient list.

I let my greens (or whites) sit in the  marinade overnight in the fridge, just to get the max flavour out in the cabbage. =)

So yupp, that was breakfast.

And here’s the whole crew hanging out together like a happy family.

 

Oreo-Stuffed Brownies

Recipe taken from Sing for your Supper

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 package Oreos (Double Stuff is best!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot, but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

While the sugar heats a second time, beat the eggs, cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla until smooth. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth.

Spoon half of the batter into the greased pan. Place the Oreos in even rows across the batter (as many as you can fit). Pour the remaining batter over the Oreos and gently spread to the edges of the pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the brownies for at least 10 minutes before serving.

 

Coleslaw

Half a head of cabbage

One Carrot

One Scallion blade

Coleslaw Marinade:

1 C mayonnaise (I used Best Foods Mayonnaise)

1/4 C White Distilled Vinegar

1/4 C Sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Shred the cabbage and carrot (I used a mandolin slicer). Chop the scallions. Mix them together.

Rinse and drain the vegetables.

In another bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar.

Pour the mayonnaise mixture into the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and let it sit overnight in the fridge.  

Serve chilled.

 

Mini Caramel Walnut Rolls

September 9, 2011 9 comments

I am so glad to be back!

I’ve been away on a trip to the US of A for the last three weeks.

And while i was totally having a blast and the time of my life, i couldnt help missing my oven laying cold and lonely back home.

So here’s me, doing what i love most.

Baking.

And today’s baking involved a little yeast,

A little flour,

A bit of kneading,

And a whole lot of brown sugar.

And you do want all that brown sugar.

Cause the brown sugar will caramelize, and create the beautiful glossy sheen on the surface of your rolls. Which is what these are.

These are cinammon rolls with caramel brown sugar glaze.

This is how they look like from the bottom.

Did you notice the chocolate chips i’ve sneaked into the filling? 🙂

I served these for breakfast along with a bacon, scrambled egg sandwich and some baked beans.

Now all i gotta do is figure out how to burn the calories in here for the day.

Mini Caramel Walnut Roll

  • 1 package Pillsbury crescent rolls ( I made my own rolls using the recipe HERE)
  • 1½ Tbs butter melted
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 – 3 Tbs brown sugar

Caramel:

  • ½ cup Butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • Pinch of salt

For the Caramel:

Mix together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Spread about 1 TBS of the mixture into each muffin tin. Scatter walnuts over the mixture.

For the Rolls:
Preheat oven to 350. Place the dough (I made my own dough instead of the frozen ones) on a floured surface and roll it with a rolling pin to make a thin rectangle. Brush topside of rectangles with butter, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Tightly roll dough rectangle starting from one of the short ends Cut the rolls crosswise and place each on the prepared muffin tins.

*Note:

My rolls were a bit on the small side. Between that and the fact that they are baked individually in muffin cups, these rolls bake up faster than usual. As a result, they were just a tad hard with a crunchy exterior. I would probably reduce the baking time for these the next time i make these.

Also, while turning these rolls out from the muffin tins to the serving plate, some of the caramel stuck to the base of the pan instead of sliding down the sides of these rolls. Again, i think i might have overbaked these which results in the sugar overcooking and turning candy like instead of remaning liquid.