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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Indonesian FoodBlogger Challenge- Cassava & Yoghurt

September 25, 2013 2 comments

idfb 2

A glance at this photo wouldn’t have you guessing of the crazy that went behind making it.

This donut combines two of the most unfitting ingredients ever thought of in a challenge.

Cassava and Yogurt.

The Indonesian Foodblogger has outdone itself by challenging its members to use these two ingredients in a dish.

And if you think things couldnt get any worse, I’ve further outdone myself by choosing another fermenting component on top of my fermenting milk product (read: yogurt).

Yup, you guessed it, this donut is made from fermenting cassava.

IDFB5

While i would love to go on and on about the benefits of food that has been fermented, this donut is not it.

Because all the goodness in eating live organisms went out the window when i drowned these donuts in a pool of hot oil.

But what about the yogurt, you ask?

Well, the yogurt was sugared, egged and cooked to make pastry cream!

Oh wells, YOLO !

idfb4

So while this donut may not be the healthiest snack.I am glad I took up the challenge to combine two incomplementary product to make a mind blowing dessert.

Here’s to you, IDFB!

Donut tape Singkong (Recipe in Indonesian)

Taken from Sajian Sedap

Bahan:
300 gram tepung terigu protein tinggi
100 gram tepung terigu protein sedang
6 gram ragi instan
35 gram gula pasir
15 gram susu bubuk  (Saya pake creamer)
1/2 sendok teh baking powder
200 gram tape singkong
1 butir telur
175 ml air es
40 gram margarin
1 sendok teh garam
minyak padat untuk menggoreng

Cara membuat:

  1. Campur tepung terigu, ragi instan, gula pasir, susu bubuk, dan baking powder. Aduk rata. Tambahkan tape singkong. Uleni rata.
  2. Masukkan telur dan air es sedikit-sedikit sambil diuleni sampai kalis. Masukkan margarin dan garam. Uleni sampai elastis. Diamkan 15 menit.
  3. Kempiskan adonan. Timbang masing-masing 35 gram. Bulatkan. Diamkan 10 menit.
  4. Pipihkan adonan. Bentuk bulat lagi. Letakkan di loyang yang ditabur tipis tepung terigu. Diamkan 45 menit sampai mengembang.
  5. Goreng dalam minyak padat yang sudah dipanaskan di atas api sedang sampai matang. Dinginkan.

Yogurt Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups strawberry flavoured yogurt (Heavenly Blush)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, sugar,and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, and cornstarch. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot-yogurt mixture into the egg-yolk mixture. Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add the butter, and stir into the mixture. Let the mixture cool.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled. Pour into a pipping bag fitted with the longest pipping tip you can find at home.

To assemble:

Take a piece of the donut. Push the tip of the pastry cream filled pipping bag into the middle. Squeeze gently to fill the donut with the pastry cream

For the garnish, melt some hot chocolate over a double boiler. and dip the donut tops into it.

Homemade Sprinkles

July 18, 2013 3 comments

Ever since Baby Caitlyn started her solids, I’ve been really watchful of what she eats.

I go out of my way to ensure that all her meals were homemade and prepared with the freshest ingredients that were free of unecessary toxic chemicals. Yes, i am one of those pesky mothers who insist on organic produce.

I want her food to be healthy, wholesome and nourishing. I don’t want her to grow up mindlessly eating sugar laden cereal for breakfast, fast food burger and fries for lunch and takeaway pizza for dinner.

I want her to respect and enjoy food (and its preparation), the way I’m enjoying myself making meals daily for my family.

Geez, how can all the above sentences start with “I” when it’s all actually about her?

To be fair,  I (there I go again…) also dont want her to be the “weird” kid singled out at school with steamed brusselsprout in her lunch box.  I want Caitlyn to be the “cool” kid with the sprinkled chocolate bread in her lunch box.

Like so:

donut with homemade sprinkles 1

Made of icing sugar and cornstarch, this sprinkle is free of synthetic dyes, wax and whatever unpronounce-able ingredients that plague the storebought variety.

I used raspberry juice for the pink sprinkles,  and purple sweet potato for the purple one. banana chiffon with homemade sprinkles 9

I’m really excited about this. I bet i can make the whole spectrum of colors with other fruit juices and vegetables out there.

So come on, bring out the child in you and sprinkle some fun on your food!

Home made Pink sprinkle:

2 tablespoon of icing sugar

1/4 tsp of cornstarch

1 – 2  tsp of raspberry juice (strained of seeds)

Mix the ingredients together to form a thick batter of pipe-able consistency. The consistency of the batter should “sheeting” (batter should fall in sheets when lifted with spatula).

Fill your pipping bag with the batter. Cut ever so small an opening.

Pipe the batter in straight lines across a pre-greased parchment paper.

Let the piped sugar dry. It will harden as it dry

The sprinkle is ready to use.

 

 

Chocolate Bread Recipe:

This is actually a recipe for a doughnut, but instead of frying, i decided to bake it instead.

Recipe taken from Resep donut Ala Jco by Fatmah Bahalwan

A

225 grams bread flour

7 grams instant yeast

150 ml water

0.25 tsp salt

Mix the ingredients together and set aside to proof for 90 mins.

 

B:

50 gr bread flour

30 grams sugar

15 grams milk powder

30 grams shortening

1 egg yolk

Mix ingredients B together, then knead it into ingredients A.

Preheat oven to 170 degree

Continue kneading till the dough is no longer sticky and is elastic.

Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into balls and let it proof for another 30 mins

Bake at 170 degree for +- 15 mins.

When the bread is cooked and cooled, dip it into the chocolate and sprinkle the sprinkles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sourdough Brownies

June 3, 2013 3 comments

Not bringing anything much to the table today. Just another sourdough discard recipe.

*hangs head in shame*

sourdough brownies2

I wasnt expecting anything extraordinary from this recipe. To me, it was just another recipe to help me save my daily sourdough discard.

sourdough brownies a

But i must say, i am pleasantly surprised at how they turned out. Dense, fudgy, and very chocolatey.

sourdough brownies 1

Just like how good brownies should be!

Sourdough Brownies

Taken from the Wild Yeast

Yield: 24 brownies (9 x 13-inch pan)

Time:

  • Mix: 10 minutes
  • Bake: 40 minutes

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 300 g 72% cocoa (bittersweet) chocolate, chopped
  • 226 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 200 g sugar
  • 6 g (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 8.4 g (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 160 g (3 whole) eggs, at room temperature
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 220 g mature 100%-hydration sourdough starter

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Butter a 9 x 13-inch metal baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment, and butter the parchment.
  3. In the microwave, melt together the chocolate and the butter. Check it frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  4. Whisk in the sugar, salt, and vanilla.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.
  6. Sift the cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  7. Add the starter and stir gently until it is completely incorporated.
  8. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center come out clean.
  9. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife, invert onto parchment paper, and re-invert onto a cooling rack.
  10. When completely cool, cut into squares.

 

Steamed Strawberry Cupcake

May 11, 2013 3 comments

As mentioned in my previous post, i am attempting to employ my gas stove more instead of my power draining oven.

This cupcake here, is a strawberry fanta flavoured steamed cupcake.

bolkus fanta 5

As with butter cakes, the surface of this cake is supposed to “break open”, indicating that the cake has fully risen.

And if you are wondering what the black stuff on it is, they were shredded chocolate.bolkus fanta 6

I love how the strawberry fanta imparts the pretty pink colour.

Not to mention a slightly strawberry flavour.

Fanta Steamed Cupcakes

2 eggs

200 grams sugar

275 grams AP flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

175ml Fanta

50 grams thick coconut milk

Some shredded chocolate

 

 

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, set aside

Beat eggs till pale and fluffy (about 10 mins)

Fold in the sifted flour alternately with the fanta and coconut milk

Pour onto cupcake molds which have been prelined.

Sprinkle chocolate over the cupcakes

Lower cupcakes into a pre-heated steamer, and heat with high heat for about 10 minutes.

 

 

Pigs chillin in Mud Cake

April 8, 2013 3 comments

So i have seen quite a few versions of this cake dotting the food blogsphere. While i have no clue to the imaginative genius who came up with it, i must say that it’s absolutely adorable and cute.

And i absolutely have to make it.

So off we go with my version.  🙂

 

pigs in mud

 

pigs in mud 2

oink !

Categories: Cakes, Dessert Tags: , , , , ,

Crusty Brownies

March 23, 2013 3 comments

I wanted instant gratification today. I wanted to make something which is quick, fast, and doesn’t need pages of instructions to execute.

Hence,

Brownies.

brownies

With just a lil bit of melting and mixing, brownies are usually ready to go.

Butter & chocolate melted over fire, sugar stirred in, flour folded in and voila! Very foolproof.

That’s where i was wrong.

Because the way you melt butter and chocolate, the way sugar is stirred in, affect the way your brownie turn out.

Let me try breaking it down.

Brownie recipes usually start with

Here’s an extract of the recipe I worked with

  1. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water; stir frequently until chocolate and butter are melted, about 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat; let cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Gently fold in flour and salt.

See the instructions in red?

That’s where this recipe deviates. Because as far as i know it, brownie recipes usually ask for the sugar to be stirred into the hot butter chocolate mixture to let it dissolve, and to create that papery thin shiny skin in brownies.

But then again, this is a Martha Stewart recipe.

She’s Martha Stewart. I am me.

Who am i to point out something Martha Stewart surely, surely can’t miss.

brownies 1

So, off i go, proceeding with the recipe as written.

But just as I suspected, the resultant brownie was just… meh…

Instead of the shiny papery crust, i got a dull cookie like crust that seemed to form a dome above the cookie. I think the crust must have risen in the oven while the rest of the brownies stayed. This dome cracks when i slice through the brownies.

Also, all that undissolved sugar also seemed to settle at the base of the brownies, thus forming another sugary crust.

So unless i must have somehow mis-understood, or mis-executed the recipe. I guess this is not the brownie i would fall back on.

So, Martha Stewart, while your recipes usually rock my world, this one, unfortunately barely caused a tremor.

Still a big fan though.

XOXO

Click here to find out more!

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

Taken from Marthastewart.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan or heatproof glass dish. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on 2 sides. Set aside. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water; stir frequently until chocolate and butter are melted, about 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat; let cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Gently fold in flour and salt.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake until cake tester inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edges of the pan. Using parchment, lift brownies out of pan and onto the rack. Transfer to a cutting board; cut into 2-inch squares.

 

 

 

Another Cheesy Post

March 8, 2013 5 comments

After the Oreo Cheesecake and the Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake earlier this year, you might think that i am done with cheesecake for now. After all, it’s only the beginning of March.

But nope, i went ahead and baked two more cheesecake. Even though it’s only the beginning of March.

So that makes it four cheesecakes in less than three months.

I am such an over-achiever sometimes.

So, let’s review my achievements shall we?

JEFFY BDAY

First up,

The good old plain cheesecake with fruit toppings.

JEFFY BDAY 1

Oh, so you noticed the “Happy Birthday” sign!;)

Yup, this cake is made for my dearest, dearest friend, Jeffy.

She was my bridesmaid the day i got married.

She woke up at the ungodly hour of 3.30 A.M that day.

She broke her back picking after my crazy train of a wedding gown.

She held my bouquet, wiped my sweat, fetched me water and food.

JEFFY BDAY 2

Yes, i owed this cake to her.

So, Happy Birthday Jeff!

xoxo.

Okayyyss. so there goes one, let’s move on to the other.

The Coffee Chocolate Cheesecake

coffee chocolate cheesecake

uh-huh, uh-huh. It’s cheesecake again, with coffee and chocolate this time.

coffee chocolate cheesecake 1

\And topped with chocolate rubbles.

coffee chocolate cheesecake 2

“Why did you make another cheesecake?” you ask?

Well, no particular reason.

I just wanted a coffee cheesecake with chocolate rubbles on it.

Geez. what a cheesy post. Sorry guys, you see It’s 5.47am, and i just fed my daughter. I am going back to bed now (PS: no judging. it’s Saturday!!). nite nite peeps!

Recipe taken from Use Real Butter
Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake

crust
2 cups / 180g plain cookies
4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp / 24g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

plain cheesecake
24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup / 210g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake

chocolate espresso cheesecake
24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup / 210g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz. heavy cream
4.5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 tbsp espresso powder
1 tbsp boiling water
1 tbsp vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp Kahlua or coffee liqueur

Preheat oven to 350°F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan.

Set crust aside. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.[For chocolate-espresso: combine boiling water with espresso powder. Add cream, chocolate, espresso, vanilla, and Kahlua to the cream cheese batter and mix until smooth and creamy.]

Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface

Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water. Bake 45 to 55 minuteuntil it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, unmold and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

October 23, 2012 1 comment

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Who could resist a muffin with a name like that?

One moment, I was in bed reading a blog post off the Food Librarian,

And the next thing i knew, I was in the kitchen taking butter out of my fridge.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins
From: Joy the Baker Cookbook (Via the Food Librarian)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chunks (I used Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I used 96 grams of Nestle white chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a muffin pan. Joy’s recipe says it yields 12 muffins, but I must have made mine a bit smaller and got 16 muffins.

Create a double boiler (place some water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer) and place the butter (chopped into about 8 pieces) and 5 ounces of chocolate into a heatproof bowl over the simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water. Melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring together. Once melted, remove and set aside to cool a bit while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, soda, salt.

Whisk the brown sugar into the chocolate mixture. Follow with the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and fold together. Don’t overmix. Add the chocolate chunks.

Dish into muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes – until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan after 5 minutes and place muffins on wire rack to cool completely.

When the muffins are cool (or as long as you can wait), melt the white chocolate like you did the semi-sweet chocolate. Note that white chocolate melts at a lower temperature. Once melted, have fun drizzling it over the muffins.

 

 

 

Chocolate Mochi Brownies

May 7, 2012 15 comments

If you ever had mochi before, I am sure you will be no stranger its chewy texture.

So when i first came across these “Chocolate Mochi Brownies”, i was like “whaaa…t?”

Chewy brownies? Really?

Naturally curiousity got the better of me, and here i am,

True to its promise, these brownies were indeed chewy.

If anything, they remind me of the Chinese “nian gao” or rice cakes that are so popular during the Lunar New Year.

But they still retained the dark, fudgy characteristics of a good brownie. So it’s like eating a really rich, dark, chocolatey brownie. But with extra jaw work out.

I am not saying that i prefer these to the traditional dark, fudgy brownies, but they are definitely definitely worth a try.

And they fulfill both my chocolate craving and my curiosity.

Chocolate Mochi Brownies

Taken from Just Jenn

Ingredients:
1 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment and butter it. This will make your life way easier when you go to take these out.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate chips and stir to combine. Set aside and let cool for a bit.

In a bowl whisk together the mochiko, sugar, baking soda and salt.

Add the melted chocolate mixture, evaporated milk, vanilla and the egg. Mix until combined.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the batter, then bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the center is done, it’s hard to tell since the mochi does give these a little more ‘spring’ than the average brownie, but you can kind of tell when it’s cooked through.

Let cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, then using the overlapping parchment, pull the brownies out of the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Cut the brownies into squares and you are good to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Brownies Tags: , , , ,

Chocolate Sheet Cake & Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

April 6, 2012 8 comments

I have never been one to abide the mise en place (everything in place) rule when it comes to baking. For me, it’s just a matter of jotting down the list of ingredients on odd pieces of scrap paper, then making a mad dash for the kitchen to get started.

So it is no surprise that I only discovered that this chocolate sheet cake recipe was eggless when my arms were elbow deep in chocolate cake batter.

I was somewhat disappointed.

I love eggs.

They are almost always a part of whatever i am baking. In fact, i was doubtful that any baking could be done without eggs.

But hey, I might be old, but i am no old dog. And with all the vegan movements around, I am definitely open to new tricks.
So here I am, with my first eggless chocolate cake.

And my skepticism towards anything eggless evaporated.

Because this turned out to be moist, soft, flavorful and oh-so chocolatey!

And i suppose i could have made this vegan and all.

But i just have this natural flair to mess things up.

I used sour cream for the chocolate frosting.

I’m sorry.

But i am not regretting.

Because never would i have expected that something so good could come out of just chopped up chocolate and sour cream (U read it right, just these two ingredients!)

These two ingredients that infuse and firm up so well that frosting was a piece of cake!

Not to mention absolutely delicious!

I am glad for the new tricks I learnt today. I guess somehow being a slop, and not following the rules have its own plus points!

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

Taken from Hungrymouse (with adjustments)

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup olive oil or canola oil
2 Tbls. white vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups water
spray oil to grease the pan

*I used 2 pans sized 8×8

Directions

Lightly spray both baking pans with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl).

In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together (oil, vinegar, vanilla, water).

Slowly , pour the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, (bit by bit to avoid clumps) whisking till just combined. Do not overmix as you might toughen the cake.

Divide batters into prepared pans, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or till the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, take one piece of the cake, spread the chocolate frosting.

Top with the other cake, and frost all around.

For Dercorations:

Grate some white chocolate, and place a couple of maraschino cherries. VOILA!

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting Directions

10 0z. chopped chocolate

1 C sour cream

Directions:

Double boil the chocolate to melt.

Tip the sour cream into melted chocolate and watch magic appears ! (Frosting immediately becomes thick and frost-able!)

And now cakes aside, its postcards time again.

More of my favourite vintages! 🙂

A White Bread vintage ad from Angel again! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! *love love love vintage ad esp when it’s related to baking*!!

Another vintage from Magnolia in Canada 🙂

And a last postcard depicting life in Austria between the years of 1905- 1910 of a little girl with a horoscope newspaper salesman from Pelra. How lovely!

Categories: Cakes Tags: , , , ,

Junior Brownie Swirl Cheesecake

October 17, 2011 13 comments

It seems like i have savoury  posts on my blog more than ever.

Today, i return to the familiar grounds of cakes and cookie land with this Brownie Swirl Cheesecake.

This cheesecake sits on top of a brownie crust, and has chocolate swirls on it.

And if u were wondering what those squares of brownies at the bottom of the cake are, they are brownie bites.

The brownie bites were baked from the same brownie base batter. But they were baked in a separate pan. This brownie batch is then cut into 1 inch cubes and arranged at the base of the cake (on top of the brownie base) before the cheesecake mixture gets poured in.

I hope i didnt confuse you.

But read the recipe, then you will get what i mean.

Making these brownie bites is a bit more of a work.

But it also means more brownies in the cheesecake.

 

There is a crack in my cheesecake.

I am not letting it get to me.

Instead, i blitzed a few oreo cookies and made a ring around the cake to sort of divert the attention away from the crack.

The recipe called for walnuts to make that ring. But since the cake is already yellowish brown in hue,  i thought the black oreo cookies would stand out more rather than the walnuts.

Plus, i didnt have any walnuts anyways.

Junior Brownie Swirl Cheesecake

Recipe taken from Suite 101

For the brownie crust and brownie bites:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet
  • or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the Cheesecake:

  • three 8-ounce packages
  • cream cheese (use only full fat),
  • at room temperature
  • 11/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing
  • 2 ounces bittersweet
  • or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

How To Make A Cheesecake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and an 8-inch square baking pan. Line the baking pan (but not the springform) with parchment or waxed paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang over the sides. Wrap the outside of the springform with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.
  2. To make the brownies, melt the chocolate (page 23) with the butter and let cool. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high until light yellow and thick, about 3 minutes. With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar, then the chocolate mixture and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and blend in the flour mixture just until it disappears.
  3. Spread 2 cups of the batter in the springform to make the crust and the rest in the baking pan. Bake just until set around the sides, about 10 minutes for the crust and 25 minutes for the baking pan. (The centers will be slightly soft.) Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Leave the brownie crust in the springform. Lift the brownies out of the square pan onto a plate, using the paper hanging over the sides as handles. Cover both the crust and the square of brownies with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Cut the square of brownies with a serrated knife into 1-inch squares and set aside. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the 2/3 cup of cream just until completely blended. Don’t overmix! Transfer 1 cup of the batter to a small bowl and set aside for the chocolate swirls.
  5. Cover the chocolate brownie crust in the pan with small brownie bites (12 to 16), covering as much of the crust as possible. Use only one layer of brownie bites in order to leave plenty of room for the cheesecake batter. (Eat the rest of the brownies!) Gently spoon the white batter over the brownie bites.
  6. Now make the chocolate swirls. Melt the chocolate (page 23) and stir into the reserved white batter until completely blended. Using a teaspoon, drop the chocolate batter on top of the white batter, pushing it down slightly as you go. Using a thin, pointed knife, cut through the batter a few times in a swirling “figure 8” design, just until chocolate swirls appear.
  7. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top of the cake has golden and dark chocolate swirls, about 11/4 hours. Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away—don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  8. To serve, release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon cream in a 1-inch border around the top edge of the cake (this helps keep the nuts in place). Sprinkle the walnuts over the cream, pressing the nuts down gently, making a 1-inch border around the top outside edge. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover leftover cake and refrigerate or freeze up to 1 month.
  9. Makes one 9-inch cheesecake, about 3 inches high.

Read more at Suite101: Junior’s Brownie Swirl Cheesecake Recipe: Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cheesecake | Suite101.com http://donna-diegel.suite101.com/juniors-brownie-swirl-cheesecake-recipe-a76551#ixzz1b1FafxMG

 

I spread Nutella on everything!

August 15, 2011 13 comments

So i like Nutella.

I like them in cookies,

i like them in brownies,

and i like them in pastries.

And  now i like them in donuts.

Chocolate hazelnut goodness piped into a piece of fluffy light deep fried dough.

It’s totally worth going to the gym for.

Speaking of which, I wonder whether most people go to the gym because they need to burn all the excess calories they ate?

Or do they go to the gym so that they can eat excess calories?

I belong to team eat first, gym later.

I will eat this, and vouch to go to the gym.

And 30 percent of the time, I deliver.

For the remaining 70 percent, i just sucked it in. Literally. I suck in my stomach.

And then i make more donuts,

this time for my niece, who loves sprinkles everything.

And like all girls her age (3), pink is her favourite crayon.

but lets not digress, for this post is dedicated to NUTELLA.

And i am not done with showing you what i’ve got.

That’s a generous spoonful of Nutella.

It took quite a bit for me not to just shovel it into my mouth.

Because i had grander plans,

And that’s to spread it on a piece of crepes

Then top it with Bananas

awesome-ness! 🙂

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

July 27, 2011 9 comments

Just when you think life cannot get any better than chocolate chip cookies,

Someone came up with NUTELLA Chocolate Chip Cookies.

That’s chocolate chip cookies with Nutella swirls.

I know. Epic right?

The trick for these cookies is to not overmix the Nutella into the dough.

That way, you are able to see and taste the Nutella swirls.

And i wouldn’t recommend overbaking these cookies.

They are most perfect when they are soft, and chewy.

And also because soft cookies are perfect for growing little teeth.

Meet my little cookie monster.

My bubbly, singing niece of 3.

Isn’t she the most precious?

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies from JustJENN recipes

Mottling Bananas and Frozen Fruits

July 25, 2011 6 comments

I had a pack of strawberries in my refrigerator a few days ago. They were firm and fresh.

Besides eating them fresh alongside breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the occassional few i popped into my mouth each time i opened the fridge (That’s A LOT of strawberries judging at how often i visit the fridge btw), i had no other agendas planned for my strawberries.

I knew the window to use up these fresh strawberries was closing in on me. And before i know it, I would be feeding my trashcan with white, mossed strawberries in total remorse.

So i searched online for a strawberry recipe that would knock the socks off everyone while knocking out the chances of the impending fleece attack. But nothing screamed out at me. Nothing even whispered to me.

I chucked the strawberries into the freezer in resignation.

A few days later, i had the exact same problem.

This time, with another fruit.

Mottling bananas complete with its army of fruit flies.

Like the strawberries, i threw the bananas into the freezer, feeling incredibly grateful of this magical box where i was able to put aside my problems.

A couple days later, I bought another bunch of bananas and was faced with more of that mottling banana problem. Geez, when will i ever learn?

I yanked open the freezer door, and felt deeply unsettled with my growing frozen fruit forest AND the black speckled bananas in my hands.

I had to do something fast.

In fact, i had to do a COUPLE of things fast.

First I tackled the problem in my hands (literally).

A banana cake for my fully ripened bananas,

In case you havent already known, a banana cake is like the perfect docking place for all aging bananas.

A banana cake wouldn’t discriminate against how far along your bananas have gone.

In fact, the more spotty, freckled, and speckled your bananas are, the more precious your banana cake is because it will only get sweeter.

I’ve topped my banana cake with a bit of leftover chocolate fudge from a chocolate fudge cake i made earlier.

I dont think anyone minded. 🙂

Next up, i tackled the jungle of fruits i had in my freezer.

I heard that using frozen fruits, bananas especially, create the thickest shakes as you dispense with putting in ice cubes.

I decided to give it a whirl. In my food processor. Because i dont quite yet own a blender.

And you don’t really need a recipe for this.

I just went by feel.

A frozen banana, a handful of strawberries, and a splash of yoghurt.

PS: Pls ignore the advertorial texts on my cup. It’s a free cup from a local milk company.I havent gotten down to unpacking my usual props of plates and cups.

PPS: The strawberries at the sides are frozebitten, not fleeced with white moss. 🙂

Best Banana Cake from Dorie Greenspan Taken from Sugar and Spice

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

1  large frozen Banana

a handful of frozen strawberries

A splash of strawberry yoghurt

Icing sugar, to taste

1. Chop up the frozen bananas, strawberries.

2. Add sugar to taste

3. Add a splash of yoghurt

4. Whirl in your food processor till smooth and smoothie like

Bes

Chocolate Fudge Cake

July 22, 2011 16 comments

I needed to thank my dressmaker today.

The lady who designed my gown.

She put up with every of my whims and fancy,

and tailored with the most lovely and beautiful gown.

Photo courtesy of Edward Suhadi

See the beads on the chest?

I painstakingly chose each and everyone of them. Because somehow, i have developed this super- visual abilities. I was able to spot how some beads are larger than the others. Or how some beads have more shine to them.

I didn’t even care that the beads come from the same box

or that they are from same manufacturer.

Thank God, the patient lady designer put up with me.

She even put out her palms to collect my chosen beads, and incorporated it to the gown.

She really really deserves a cake.

If you read my previous post, you probably knew that i am still getting to know my new kitchen. Without the familiarity, i was almost afraid to bake something sensitive.

With all the beaten eggs, a sponge cake is sensitive in this point in time. I decided to forgo that and opted for the more stable chocolate butter cake.

I also knew that i wouldnt be able to refrigerate this before passing it to Patient Lady Designer. Because with the newer, smaller kitchen, was the new, even smaller refrigerator.

So unless i wanna excavate my refrigerator from its everyday residents of eggs, milk, fruits, and Reese’s PB cups just to make room for it, i needed a plan B.

Plan B was chocolate fudge, which is most perfectly malleable at room temperature.

Here’s what i did:

Dollop.

Drop another layer of cake, and dollop some more!

Smooth and frost,

Arrange a few decorational strawberries

Oh, and unless you are planning to keep this for more than a couple of days, i wouldnt really recommend refrigerating it as the fudge will harden up.

I am really hoping that Patient Lady Designer polishes this off before it had the chance to make that trip to the chiller!

Recipe:

Moist Devil’s Foodcake w Mrs Milman’s Chocolate Frosting

Categories: Cakes, Dessert Tags: , , , ,

Salted Pretzels Chocolate Buttons

July 10, 2011 9 comments

I’ve had my eyes on these chocolate buttons for the longest time. It must have been a couple of Christmases ago when i first saw them at First look, then cook.

Yup. Not even last christmas, which was almost 8 months ago. The christmas of 2009. Thats 20 months ago. Talk about proscratinating.

And all u need is some pretzels and M&M’s, and some Hershey Kisses. I used Cadbury’s Candy Chocolate though. It still works beautifully.

And you won’t believe how easy it is! Just place the chocolate onto the pretzel, bake it a bit to get the chocolate melting, and push your M&M’s in!

yuumm!!

Salted pretzels and chocolate. Can we ever go wrong with those?

Salted Pretzels with Chocolate

 

Sunken Chocolate Cake

June 20, 2011 17 comments

Oh no. It can’t be.

This blog hasn’t seen chocolate in weeks!

A rectification of the situation is in order. A quick one preferably, cause even under such dire situations, i still need to get to the office by 9 am.

Okay 9.30 if the boss ain’t around.

Or maybe 9.45 since i needed to make a grand entrance with this cake.

This mysteriously dark, luxurious, rich chocolatey cake.

It started off as a cake, baked in a springform pan.

This cake has seen greater heights when it was still baking in the oven. It reached the brim of the springform.

But take it out of the warm oven, and it starts to sink. That’s the thing with fallen cake, they are supposed to look like crap. But i am kind of liking how this cake turned out. It is charming in its own way. Curvaceous and waisted. Sexy isnt it?

Slice into it and you see a dark, bold and intensely chocolatey cake. I didn’t even have to taste it to know how chocolatey it was. The scent that hit me as i was slicing the cake gave me hints.

Texture wise, it is soft and sponge-like. It’s actually like a super soft sponge cake, but with a taste as rich as a brownie.

It’s like nothing i’ve ever tasted before. You really gotta try this to know what i am talking about!

Sunken Chocolate Cake

Recipe from Happy Home Baking

 

 

 

Categories: Cakes Tags: , , , ,

Boston Cream Donuts

June 2, 2011 19 comments

While Boston Cream Pies are conventional, and Boston Cream Cupcakes are uninspiring, i was so excited when i thought i was the first one who thought of extending the Boston Cream family to donuts.

Boston Cream Donuts.

Sound good doesn’t it?

That’s when i typed the words into google and saw the deluge of recipes available from people who have done it before.

So much for thinking i was gonna be the pioneer in this.

I am not blaming the world for coming up with this earlier than me though. Cause seriously, it’s just too good to NOT think about.

True to the Boston Cream  family signature, these donuts are filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate.

I’ve used a different recipe for the donuts. This one is pretty different. It called for the use of a new(at least to me) ingredient. The Japanese bread flour.

I am not very familiar with the ingredient, but from what i have been reading, this flour contains more protein than the usual bread flour. It results in better gluten formation, better rise and ultimately softer, super aerated donuts. In fact, when i bit into it, it feels like biting on a cloud of cotton.

And while they are probably not the healthiest snack around, they are quite “light” in the sense that you probably have to eat 2, to get full. Or maybe 7.

So if you prefer something with more bulk, these are not for you.

For me, i decided to add bulk my way. Not by the texture of the donuts, but by filling the donuts.

One was, as seen above, to fill it up with pastry cream.

And another, with peanut butter.

I’ve thinned the peanut butter with a bit of a cream, topped the tops in white chocolate, and decorated with the dark chocolate.

  Pretty good!

Doughnut Recipe

Ingredients:
DOUGH 1
* 850 Japanese ‘Komachi’ bread flour. *
* 30 gr instant yeast
* 10 gr gsalt
* 600 ml water

* You can use regular bread flour for this, just adjust  by reducing the water by  75 to 100 ml. 

DOUGH 2:
* 200 gr  Japanese ‘Komachi’ bread flour
* 10 gr salt
* 60 gr milk powder

* 125 gr sugar
* 100 gr eggs
* 125 gr shortening

 

 

Cooking Direction:
1.) Mix dough 1 with a mixer till it comes together, cover & rest for 90 minutes
2.) Mix dough 2 together. Knead dough 2 into dough one til smooth and elastic. Cover and rest for 15 mnts
3.) With a roller pin, roll the dough abt 1 cm thick. Rest for 10 mnts
4.) Cut with round cookie cutter. Rest for another 10 mnts
5.) Deep fry in low heat until it turns light golden yellow.
6.) Cool on cooling rack.

 

Pastry Cream Recipe can be found HERE

To assemble:

  1. Pipe cooled pastry cream into the cooled donuts. (I used a kitchen shear to tear an opening before jamming my pipping bag into the donut).
  2. Melt some dark chocolate and dip the tops of the filled donut
  3. Set aside to dry

Caramel Drenched Chocolate Loaf

May 13, 2011 18 comments

U know that pot of gold beneath the rainbow?

I think i may just have found it.

My very pot of molten golden caramel.

And like all basic commodity, you can pretty much apply it in anyway you fancy.

Like on a bed of lusciously dark, and almost black gold.

The good people at Wall street term “black gold” as anything ranging from coal, oil, or even coffee.

They must have unintentionally missed out on chocolate. What a shame.

But for us bakers, chocolate might be worth more than their weight in gold.   

And with this  lush chocolate cake topped with molten, sweet golden caramel.

I think we have hit a double gold mine here!

Caramel drenched Double Chocolate Loaf

Recipe taken from How sweet it is

Click HERE for recipe

Categories: Cakes, Dessert Tags: , , , ,

Coffee Cream Brownies

May 10, 2011 44 comments

Here in Crustabakes, we tend to get a little over-indulgent.

Take these brownies for instance.

They are pretty much delicious as they are. Chewy, fudgy, and moist.

But we just had to go the extra mile,

And spread some coffee flavoured buttercream. YUM!

Then, we like to go further and push the limits,

with this poured on chocolate ganache.

Chocolate brownies with coffee frostings and chocolate ganache. Can you really say no to that?

Coffee Cream Brownies

(Taken from Brownies  & bars from Taste of home )

1/2 C butter

3 Ounces chopped Chocolate

2 eggs

1 C sugar

1 tsp Vanilla extract

2/3 C All purpose Flour

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

Filling:

1 TBS whipping cream

1 tsp instant coffee granules

2 tbs butter, softened

1 C confectioner’s sugar

Glaze:

1 C ( 6 ounces ) semi sweet chocolate chips

1/3 C heavy whipping cream

1. In a microwave, melt butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate mixture. Combine flour and baking soda, gradually add to the chocolate mixture.

2. Spread into a greased 8 inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

3. For the filling, combine cream and coffee granules in a small bowl. Stir until the coffee is dissolved. In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in coffee mixture, spread over brownies.

4. In a small saucepan, combine chips and cream. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is thickened. Cool slightly. Carefully spread over filling. Let stand for 30 minutes or until glaze is set. Cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.

This post has been submitted to 
Aspiring Bakers #7 – Chocolate Delight (May 2011) hosted by DG from Tested and Tasted

Cookie Dough Truffles

April 30, 2011 14 comments

This post is inspired by the cookie dough with the hard boiled egg i made yesterday. Even though it was unbaked, using cooked egg means that it was salmonella free and safe for consumption.

Shamefully, no one but the bakers know the wonders of unbaked cookie dough. The rest had to eat it baked.

This cookie dough truffles however, will change that.

With no raw egg, and no raw flour, these are even safer havens for the people around me to have a taste of the uncooked cookies that i (the baker) get to indulge in every now and then.

There is a couple of  much experimented (and proven) equations that i’ve had since i started baking. They go something like this.

Peanut Butter + Chocolate = Winner.

Chocolate + Salt = Bigger Winner.

These truffles, composed of the three components of peanut butter, crushed salty pretzel sticks and chocolate chips just scored a hat trick.

They are then enrobed in more chocolate, and (if you fancy), sprinkled with more sea salt. Yes, i tend to get over-indulgent.

So please, make these and let the people out there know the perks of a baker in the world of raw cookie dough!

Peanut Butter, Pretzels and Chocolate Chip Truffles

4 TBS Butter

1 C Peanut Butter

1 C Confectioner’s Sugar

1 C Crushed Pretzel Sticks

1 C Chocolate Chips

For coating:

1/2 Pounds Chocolate

1 TBS shortening

For Garnish:

Some Sea Salt

Some Hundreds and Thousands

1. Cream butter and peanut butter together. Sift in confectioners sugar and beat till well combined, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

2. Stir in pretzel sticks and chocolate chips.

3. Refrigerate cookie dough for about 15 minutes, or till they are easy to handle.

4. Roll the dough into 1 inch dough balls (I used an ice cream scoop) and place them on lined cookie sheets. Cover the balls loosely with plastic and freeze them for another 15 minutes.

5. In the meantime, melt the chocolate with the shortening (I used the microwave at 10 seconds bursts).

6. Drop the frozen balls into the melted chocolate, and sprinkle with desired toppings ( I used seasalt and hundreds and thousands)

Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 29, 2011 14 comments

I am quite adventurous when it comes to my food. And a recipe titled hard boiled egg chocolate chip cookies intrigued me more rather than gross me out.

If you are skeptical about it, take it from me. You won’t even notice it there.

See the surface of the cookies? No traces of boiled egg at all!

But why put a boiled egg in anyway? Why not the conventional raw egg into the batter?

Well, for one, the egg adds extra moistness in the cookies.

And second, adding a hard boiled egg as opposed to a raw one makes a dry cookie dough. You know how sometimes cookie doughs get muggy and mud-like? Or how they need to be refrigerated before they can be handled?

Well, this is not it.That would safe a bit of time.

On top of that, the raw cookie dough are also salmonella safe, which made me an extra happy baker this morning, sneaking in chunks of dough into my mouth instead of the awaiting cookie tray.

Recipe taken from Tablespoon.com

For recipe, click HERE

Grandma Sylvia’s Salt Butter Cookies

April 26, 2011 13 comments

Grandma Sylvia’s Salt Butter Cookies. That’s quite an odd name for a cookie isn’t it?

But nonetheless, it caught my attention all right.

 I really like it when a name gets attached to a recipe. Take Mrs Milman for instance. She makes pretty good chocolate ganache frosting

I am kinda hoping Grandma Sylvia would work her magic as well. She seems to know her stuff, cause she had the word “salt” in her butter cookies (We don’t even need to go on and on again about how i love salt in my desserts). By using salted butter, i think Grandma Sylvia and i might just make the best of friends!

 

Besides the salt, these cookies also sandwich a chocolate filling.  While the cookies were perfectly crumbly, tender and deliciously buttery (i think this might just be my to- go butter cookie recipe now), i am not too sure about the filling. The filling was a bit on the runny side for me. It runs down the sides of the cookie, and make messy globs where it lands. That is even after i refrigerated it for a bit. I guess i should have added more confectioner’s sugar to get it to set.

But I am not running away from this runny frostings cause it was pretty delicious. All that confectionar’s sugar in the filling recipe went very well with the subtly sweet butter cookies. I went forward and spread it to one side of the cookie. But instead of generously piling the frosting on like i always do, i had to be quite strategic about it. A mini blob on each cookie. Nothing too much as it will spill over the sides of the cookies and make quite the mess.

Once you are done with that one, make a couple more strategic blobs,

to get more cookies.

Don’t forget to bring them to work. They would make you popular person of today!

Grandma Sylvia’s Salt Butter Cookies

Taken from America’s Test Kitchen’s Holiday Cookies

Cookies
2 sticks salted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla2

1 tsp. whiskey (I omitted this)
1/4 cups AP flour
 
Filling:
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup water
2 cups confectioners sugar
 
Preheat oven to 350. Adjust rack to middle position. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar together til fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Reduce speed and add the yolk and beat til combined.
3. Add the vanilla and whiskey (if using)
4. Sift in flour and beat till just combined.
5. Shape the dough into 3/4″ balls (I used the smallest cookie scoop i had). Space half the balls 1″ apart on baking sheet.
6. Bake til lightly browned around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
7. Cool cookies on sheet 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
 
Filling:
 
1. Combine chocolate and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat till the chocolate melts.
2. Off the heat, whisk in confectioners sugar til smooth.
3. Spread filling (I just dropped a blob in the middle) onto one cookie and top with another to make sandwich.
4. Let filling set til hardened.  ( I sent it to the refrigerator)
 

Eclairs

April 18, 2011 19 comments

I wanted to break away from the monotomy of baking the usual cakes and cookies. Much as i liked baking them, i can see the end users of my bakes losing their interests in what i brought out from my kitchen.

So i journeyed west, and went a little French this morning with the French Eclairs.

Finger shaped choux pastries filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate.

Before baking, my choux pastries started out sleek and smooth. They were just slightly bigger than regular pencils, only half the lengths.

But, they grew in the oven though, and turned out like these Frankenstein fingers. Fat and ripped.

 Not that i minded of course. Ugly, big, fat fingers was exactly what i was looking for. In fact, they bigger they get, the better, cause it means they got bigger caves in them.

 

Which means you can pipe in more fillings!

Of course, the choice of fillings is completely up to your discretion. I’ve made both vanilla and chocolate pastry cream. Just because majority end users are pro-chocolates!

 

Recipe taken from Ounces and Grams

For Recipe, Click–> Eclairs

Nutella Crunch Brownies

April 15, 2011 17 comments

You know you made good when people come back for seconds right after they finished their first bars.

These brownies are one of it.

A chewy brownie base is topped with crunchy chocolate rice krispies, held together by chocolate and Nutella.You can of course use the original plain rice krispies. I used the chocolate ones to just re-inforce my excessive personality.

And having Nutella in any of your recipe is like having a latent insurance that your brownies will be in great demand. Trust me, i have done my market research.

I was half expecting the rice krispies to go soggy on me after being soaked in the Chocolate -Nutella mixture. But surprisingly, theystayed lightly crisp.

The chewy and moist brownie base was just of the right structure to support the frostings. You can lift each of these bars up without having the brownie base crumble upon you from the weight of the rice krispies frostings. Yet, they were also soft enough for your knife to slice through with the least resistance.

Like wise for the topping. I didnt refrigerate the brownies as i didnt want problems slicing through the hardened chocolate. But much to my delight, the frosting did set and dry on its own at room temperature resulting in a semi-soft, truffle-like consistency with crunchy bits from the rice krispies.

And i do love a good, dry chocolate surface. They are not as messy and you can easily stack them up together for storage. Not that these would be in storage for long though.

Nutella Crunch Brownies

Recipe taken from Pastry Chef’s Baking 

*(I scaled downthe recipe to fit an 8×8 baking tin in red)

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled – 84 grams
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened – 102 grams,
1 ¾ cups sugar – 210 grams
3 eggs – 1 large egg + 1 yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour – 75 grams
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) – omitted
 
Nutella Crunch Topping
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips – 152 grams dark chocolate
1 cup Nutella – 135 grams
1 tablespoon unsalted butter – 9 grams
1 ½ cups crispy rice cereal – 1 C
1.  Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.  Grease a 9 x 13 x 2  (8x8x4)inch pan or line with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted chocolate and butter and stir until smooth.  Add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. (I double boiled to melt both chocolate and butter)
 Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Mix in the flour and nuts, if using, and stir.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
3.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the edges appear to be set (the center should still be soft).  Do not overbake.
4.  While the brownies are baking, place the chocolate chips, nutella, and butter in a medium saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until melted.  Remove from heat, add the cereal and mix well.  Allow this to cool for 3 minutes or so.  Spread the mixture evenly over the brownies once they’re baked.  Refrigerate until chilled before cutting. (didnt refrigerate)

Ganache Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 13, 2011 18 comments

Any chocolate chip cookie with brown sugar in it is by default a winner in my book. But by having a quick dip in a chocolate ganache pool, these were bigger winners!

Okay, i admit, these are a bit indulgent.

I would have made these a long long time ago if it weren’t for the 2 hours chilling time. I do most of my bakings in the morning, and the 2 hours chilling time is not exactly convenient in my daily mad morning rush.

I could have made the dough the night before , but i don’t like the idea of going to the kitchen and start pulling out my mixers, mixing bowls, and other related cookie making kitchen utensils in the evenings.

So, finally, this morning, i woke up extra early, and get myself a 2 hours head start just for these. And boy, was it worth it.

Oh, I really wouldn’t advise you to skip the chilling, cause without it, the dough would be too soft to handle.

So anyways, instead of dumping chocolate chips into the batter, individual scoops of unbaked cookie doughs were rolled into the choco chips . This caused the underside of the cookies to be delightfully overpopulous with said chocolate chips 🙂 Even i myself was pretty surprised.

While the cookies were deliciously chewy, moist and worthy of the classic american chocolate chip cookie title, the ganache wouldnt completely dry out. And since i was bringing them to work ( i  cant trust myself to leave them at home), stacking them together was quite a messy business.

So if you were planning to take these on a trip outside your home, i would suggest reducing the cream from the chocolate ganache. And unless you have some Herculean willpower, i woud really really suggest you bring these out of the house asap!

For Recipe,  Click:  HERE! Ganache Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Malted Whooper Drops

April 7, 2011 12 comments

I am sorry for the back to back post on malt/whooper cookies.

But you know the thing with malt powder and humidity? They don’t react too well with each other. They form these lumpy nuggets after a while.

I guess i could have fixed it with a tight, air and water-proof cannister. But i just didn’t have spare empty ones hanging around. So please bear with me as i try to use up my box of Ovaltine.

So anyways, today’s menu is Chocolate Malted Whooper Drops.

That’s a long name, but i am sure you can figure it out.

A drop cookie with malt and cocoa powder,

and topped with chocolate chunks and whoopers.

Oh, and cocoa and malt powder?

They work! They impart such a wonderful smoky, rich flavour in these cookies. I am tempted to introduce malt and chocolate as the next dynamic duo, right next to peanut butter and chocolate.

I would describe these cookies as cakey, but since they are generously horded with an army of big, boxy chocolate chunks, it’s inevitable that each bite was accompanied by something moist and fudgy.

Who can resist to that?

My mind subconsciously reached for them as i was trying to take pictures. I think i must have eaten at least, 3, or maybe 5 or 6, cause at the end of the photoshoot, i was feeling uncannily full.

 i have also planted my chopped malted milk balls onto each individual unbaked cookie dough drops, instead of mixing them into the cookie batter. Combining them into the batter makes them disappear, and i think i much prefer them to be visible.

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

(Taken from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen)

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup malted milk powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 3 tbsp butter (11 tablespoons), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups (6 ounces) Whoppers, coarsely chopped
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla until combined. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Mix in the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. With the mixer on low, mix in the malted milk balls and chopped chocolate.
  4. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls on to the sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Let the cookies rest for 2 minutes before using a wide metal spatula to transfer them to the racks to cool to room temperature.

Malted Chocolate Tart

April 6, 2011 17 comments

This tart is a cookie.

Or shall i say that this is a cookie baked in a tart pan?

A jumbo sized cookie the size of a skillet, and kicked up a notch with some malt powder.

The malt powder in the cookie is a welcoming fresh take than the usual chocolate and vanilla cookie. It gave the cookie such different depth and flavour.

And since it’s been a while since i had a malted milkshake, or malted anything, i dont think i could have put a finger on what could have brought about the familiarly comforting taste.

And the thing with malt powders, they are salted. We all love that bit of salt in our desserts don’t we? 🙂

These cookies are frosted with melted chocolate, and then topped with chopped malted milk balls. The malted milk balls were so delightful. They added a nice crunch to the cookie, and i really liked how it made the cookies look more interesting. I added Maraschino cherries too,  just for aesthetical pleasure.

Oh, u don’t want to overbake this. These are best when they are soft baked, just so that you can easily slice into them.

Malted Milk Cookie Tart

Taken from FoodBabbles

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup malted milk powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon (scant) coarse kosher salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (do not exceed 61% cacao)

1/2 cup malted milk balls, coarsely chopped

– Preheat oven to 325°F. In a food processor, pulse the flour, malted milk powder, sugar, and coarse salt. Add the butter and pulse until moist clumps form.

– Transfer dough to work surface; gather into ball. Press evenly onto bottom of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.

– Bake crust until evenly golden brown, about 25 minutes. Scatter chocolate chips over; let stand 5 minutes to soften…

…then spread melted chocolate over hot crust in the well that forms as center sinks.

– Sprinkle malted milk balls over.

Cool completely. Remove tart from pan; cut into wedges.

– Enjoy!

Zebra Cake

April 5, 2011 28 comments

Zebra cakes are very much like the more commonly seen swirled cake. In both cases,  two toned batters, usually chocolate and vanilla meet, mingle, and became best friends.

 

 The only difference between the zebra and the swirled cake,  is in how the two best friends hooked up.

In swirled cakes, the two batters meet spontaneously. They interact carelessly with each other, creating a swirly effect that was haphazard and unpredictable. The resultant effect is no less pretty than the zebra cake, that is of course considering the swirler is not me competent enough for the job.

The pattern in the zebra on the other hand, is more structured. The batters are poured alternately in specific amounts to get that orderly, systematic zebra-ish pattern.  The kind of methodical operation that is not exactly in my blood. Geez, my own handwriting is barely legible.

Anyways, back to the cake,

To check for done-ness,

Ah, good ole’ skewer test. Where would we be without it?

Whistling clean, just the way i like it 🙂

You couldn’t imagine how excited i was to slice through this cake. This is one of the incidents where the real thing couldn’t quite compare to the spoof. I dont remember being this excited to see the authentic zebra horse on my first trip to the zoo.

Moment of truth time. 

Honestly, i wasn’t very much impressed. This is definitely one of the prettiest zebras in the stable. Too much black, too little white. Too little spacing between the black and white. Plus the swirls are kinda squiggly.

Oh wells, let me claim the customary “A” for the effort at the very least.

So let’s get horsing around!

Zebra Cake

(Taken from AJ’s Cooking Secrets)

Ingredients
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (8 oz / 250 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) milk, at room temperature
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) oil (corn, vegetable or canola)
2 cups (10 oz / 300 g) all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Using a hand-held electric mixer or wire whisk beat until the mixture is creamy and light in color

3. Add milk and oil, and continue beating until well blended.

4. In a separate bowl, combine and mix flour, vanilla powder and baking powder. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients are
thoroughly incorporated. (DO NOT OVERBEAT to prevent air pockets from forming in the batter.

5. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions. Keep one portion plain. Add cocoa powder into another and mix well.

6. Lightly grease the pan with oil. If you don’t have non-stick baking pan, grease whatever pan you have then line it with parchment paper (baking paper).

7. The most important part is assembling the cake batter in a baking pan. This is what you do. Scoop 3 heaped tablespoons of plain batter (you can also use a ladle that would hold 3 tablespoons) into the middle of the baking pan. Then scoop 3 tablespoons of cocoa batter and pour it in the center on top of the plain batter. IMPORTANT! Do not stop and wait until the previous batter spreads – KEEP GOING! Do not spread the batter or tilt the pan to distribute the mixture. It will spread by itself and fill the pan gradually. Continue alternating the batters until you finish them.

8. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Do not open the oven door at least the first 20 minutes or the cake will shrink and will not rise. To check if the cake is ready, insert a toothpick into the center. It should come out clean when ready. Remove from the oven. Immediately run a small thin knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert the cake onto a cooking rack. Turn the cake back over and let cool. You can sprinkle the top of the cake with some powdered (confectioner’s) sugar or leave it plain.

Saltine Cracker Toffee

April 4, 2011 15 comments

How would you categorize these?

Are they cookies?

 

Or more like Candies?

I say candies.

Growing up, i have always had a preference over candies with a little crunch on it. The crunch could be anything from  rice krispies studded candy bars, or even the cookie bits from Hershey’s cookies and cream chocolates.

These saltine cracker toffee, with the saltine cracker bases promised just the crunch that i was looking for in my candies. And of course, with the word “salt” in “saltine”, these crackers are savoury. I am a religious dessert salt sprinkler, so you can pretty much guess how this candy is totally up my alley.

So there we have it. Savoury saltine crackers  blanketed with toffee and given another coat of chocolate.

Do you think you are ready for that?

Using dark brown sugar instead of the regular white, the toffee colour came out a perfect amber. The rich colour was reflective of the stronger caramel, and buttery taste. Everything was good, except for the fact that you gotta wrestle a bit with the toffee. The toffee is slightly sticky. Just slightly though, nothing major.

So the next time i am making these, i will be sure to practice a little restraint, and cook my sugar just a little longer before i pull it out of the oven. I would also wanna spread the toffee just a bit thinner. I think reaching the hard candy stage and a thinner layer of the  toffee would give it the light, brittle snap rather than a chewy one that was kinda tacky. It will at least be something that my dentist would approve of a little bit more.

So till then, these will have to do. And of course, let’s not forget my crazy fixation over the extra salt over the chocolate. I wouldn’t even consider it as being optional.

40 salted saltine crackers or enough to line your pan
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips
(optional) 3/4 cup chopped pecans

*You can either use salted butter or salted saltines but not both. I used salted crackers and unsalted butter in this one.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with saltine crackers in a single layer. 
 
In a small pot combine sugar and butter and bring to a boil. Once mixture is at a boil, continue boiling for 3 minutes. Mixture should be a deep caramel color. Immediately pour over saltines and spread to cover crackers completely.

Bake at 400 degrees 5 to 6 minutes. It will get all bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let sit a couple of minutes to melt. Sometimes I melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for about 1 minute then spread it on. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts if desired. Cool completely and break into pieces.

Cappuccino Meringue Cookies

April 3, 2011 11 comments

I gotta be honest with these,

While they look cute as buttons, these Cappuccino Meringue Cookies  didnt exactly rock my world.

Because in my opinion, although the cookies were aromatic enough with cappuccino powder in it, they didn’t have the melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies texture.

They were the type of  cookies your mom would force upon you to keep your tummy filled rather than the fancy soft baked, chocolate chip studded ones that would satisfy your sweet tooth. These are practical sturdy cookies.

Thank goodness for the meringue filling – sweet egg whites beaten senseless with sugar. It was really the lifesaver for the cookies.

The recipe even foresaw our pain in the messiness involved in most frosted cookies, be it sandwiched or as a topping. It was sharp enough to include the extra step of baking the filled cookies to dry out the meringue.

Just so you can stack them up, roll them around or shake them about in the cookie jar and they will still look as perfect.

Speaking of cookie jars, i thought these would be one of those cookies which would last forever (and ever) in the cookie jar. I thought i would have the problem ridding these cookies before they eventually stale and meet the trashcan.

Thank goodness i have a brother, a true problem solver.

He emptied the cookie jar, in one sitting. I think he must be really hungry.

Or maybe these cookies werent really that bad, and i was just being a demanding nitpicker.

Cappuccino Meringue Cookies

Taken from a free Cookie insert from Saji (an Indonesian food magazine)

150 gr Margarine (I used Butter)

100 gr Icing Sugar

1 Egg White

1 Sachet (25 grams) Cappuccino premix powder, dissolved in 1 TBS hot water (set aside to cool)

225 gr AP

25 gr CornFlour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Meringue Filling

1 Egg White

150 gr Icing Sugar

1/4 tsp Lemon Juice (I omitted this)

20 gr Chocolate Rice

Directions:

For the Cookies

1. Beat margarine and icing sugar till creamy (about 1 min). Add the egg yolk and the dissolved cappuccino mixture. Beat till well oombined

2. Sift in the AP, cornflour and baking powder. Mix till just combined.

3. Roll cookie dough into 1 inch sized balls, then flatten them with a fork on a pre-lined and greased baking sheet.

4.  Bake at 150 degree Celcius (not F) till they get cooked (about 25 mins). Set aside to cool

5. Take a piece of the cookie, frost it with the meringue filling and stack another cookie over the filling.

6. Bake the sandwiched cookie in the oven for another 3 mins or till the meringue dries.

For the Meringue Filling

1. Beat the egg white till it forms soft peaks. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat till it gets really thick. Add in the lemon juice, and beat till they are well combined. Fold in the chocolate rice.

Rotiboys

April 2, 2011 22 comments

What’s the weird saucer looking thing on my plate?

Commonly known as “rotiboys” or “mexican buns”, these UFO looking things took the world by storm quite a few years ago. Most of the people living in Asia would probably need no introduction to these, but for those of you who are unfamiliar, these are actually pillow soft Asian buns with a slightly crispy, coffee scented topping.

In fact, if i were to describe them, these rotiboys are like buns with a piped cookie topping.

They are usually filled with diced unsalted butter. But i decided to stray and filled mine with chocolate… again ( this blog is getting too predictable isn’t it?)

The name  “Rotiboy” is actually a brand which made this type of buns famous, and soon after, the name got attached to the product, just like how tissues are sometimes called “kleenex”

Of course, after seeing the success of Rotiboy,  every other family member wanted a piece of that fame, and names like “mama buns” or “roti papa” came about.

Not that i mind of course, i find that most of these replicas are almost as good as the original Rotiboy.

And this happens to be one of those replicas!

Crispy, cookie skin covering a soft and moist bread with a chocolate filling.

Or can i call it the “Roti Girls”?

RotiBoys

For the Bread Dough

Adapted from and Indonesian Cookbook Roti Unyil by Chendawati (Please pardon my poor translation)

Ingredients A

700 gr Bread Flour

300 gr AP Flour

250 gr Sugar

5 Egg Yolks

2 Egg Whites

150ml Evaporated Milk

275 Iced Water

20 gr Instant Yeast

10 gr Bread Softener *

50 gr Milk Powder

Ingredients B

75 gr Butter

75 gr Margarine

50 gr Butter Substitute

10 gr Bacom (Bread emulsifier) *

15 gr salt

*( I think U can omit this if you like, but i think this really helped in making the bread texture, making it that much softer and moister)

1. Combine Ingredients A till the dough stops sticking all over the surface and starts getting tacky and elastic.

2. Gradually add ingredients B and knead till the dough gets so elastic, you are able to stretch it into a thin membrane skin.

3. Gather the dough into a ball, and leave it covered for its first proofing for about 30 mins.

4. Punch down the dough, and scale the dough into balls weighing 30 grams each. Let them rest for 15 minutes, covered.

5. Roll the dough, fill with chocolate filling, and seal it in.

6. Let it proof for a second time till it doubles in size (60 minutes).

7. Pipe toppings onto the surface of the unbaked dough

8.  Bake at 200 degree CELCIUS till the surface looks crispy and brown (about 10 mins)

 

For the Chocolate Filling

20 gr Cocoa Powder

30 gr Milk Powder

100 gr Icing Sugar

100 gr Margarine

1/2 tsp Vanilla essence

Mix all ingredients together till well combined.

 

For the Coffee Topping

50 gr Buter

50 gr Margarine

100 gr Icing Sugar

100 ml Egg whites

120 gr Cake Flour

20 gr Milk Powder

1 TBS Coffee Paste

 

Mix all ingredients together till they are well combined.

Happy Birthday Cousin!

March 31, 2011 30 comments

It’s cousin Irien’s birthday a couple of days ago!

And ideally, I would have loved baking, frosting and decorating a no expense spared, collosal cake with all the works. A monster sized  cake just as big as her heart. 

But cousin Irien is so tiny! Barely into her twenties, she could be the dictionary illustration of “fashionably thin”. She could be a pea sharing  a pod with Nicole Richie, and boy would they rock that pod.

So i crossed that big collosal cake idea, and went for something small.

Inspired by Grace of La Mia Vita Dolce, these are called the Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes. But i strayed away from her recipe and settled on something i was familiar with. I guess i was not comfortable with experimenting with a new recipe when the stake (the birthday) is high.

So i started with baking cupcakes. A certain moist, and delicious chocolate cupcake

to which i piped on a white chocolate ganache frosting

And, dont worry, there is no need to go digging out your fancy pipping tips for this. In fact, i just loaded up my pipping bag sans any tip.

Because it will be covered with a good drizzle of melted chocolate.  YUMMM..*licks spoon.

Some fancy coloured sprinkles,

And of course a cherry on top to officiate the Sundae look.

Taa-Daaah!

That was easy peasy wasn’t it?

I’ve said it once, and i will say it again.

“Happy Birthday Cousin, may you stay eternally pixie cute, and be abundantly showered with love!”

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.

(Taken from Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CUPCAKES: (Makes about 12)
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preparation Instructions

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into cupcake lined tins and bake at 350-degrees for 15 minutes.

For the White Chocolate Ganache

200 gr White Chocolate, chopped

200 gr Whipping Cream

1. Double boil white chocolate till it fully melts, set aside to cool slightly

2. Whip the whipping cream to soft peaks. Drizzle in the cooled melted white chocolate, and whip to firm peaks (You want this to be of pipe-able consistency)

For Decorations:

Some melted chocolate

Some Fancypants sprinkles

Some maraschino cherries

Sleek, glossy Chocolate Cookies

March 28, 2011 14 comments

Like a spanking brand new leather wallet, i was totally drawn into the glossy, smooth, dark surfaces of these cookies.

I once had one of those gleaming, slick, leather wallet with the unblemished surface in my early teens (It was only later that i found out that the leather was synthetic…  doh teens).  I loved how sleek it looked, and how it caught the light.  I was totally infatuated with the wallet, till one fine day when it got its first scratch.

It was not a bad scratch, just a light score across the  surface of the wallet.  But i felt as if my perfect wallet has been disfigured for life, and vowed to take better care it. But of course, as they always do, accidents happen. I remember dying a little inside each time my wallet met its next scar.

It has been a long long time since that incident of course, but i have learnt my lesson and my subsequent wallets were always the dull textured, practical, albeit boring type. I guess that’s part of growing up isnt it?

But enough about wallets, lets talk about cookies,

These cookies started out as a roll and cut butter cookies. That is you roll the cookie dough out and use a cookie cutter to cut out each individual cookies.

And when you do that, you tend to get cookie scraps.

I dont know about you, but i like to bake these cookie scraps. 

My cookie scraps look like the polynesian islands.

And these are the actual  cookies, before hair and make up.

If you are the type who likes your chocolate cookies with a pronounced chocolate flavour, these are definitely for you. There is a high content of cocoa powder in this recipe, so you might want to use a higher grade cocoa powder for these.

But what i really liked about these cookies is how effortless the dough handling is. It was an agreeable dough, it rolled well and cut well without being too soft and sticky.

From my experience, co-operative cookie dough usually results in bad cookies. The high flour content which makes rolling a child’s play can never match the butter-full dough which threatens to melt on you with the slightest touch from the warmth of your hands.  But these cookie dough was a bit different. Instead of relying on flour, the dough had milk powder listed as one of its ingredients. That’s quite a smart way to overcome dough stickiness and introduce  a milky flavour at the same time. But having said that, the cocoa powder still remained the dominant flavour in these cookies. I can barely trace any form of milky taste.

Oh, in case you were wondering, those white lines are made of white chocolate.

So if sleek, glossy, chocolatey cookies are your thing, here goes:

Sleek, Glossy Chocolate Coated Cookies

Taken from a free insert on an Indonesian Magazine Saji

100 gr Butter

75 gr Icing Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

1 Egg Yolk

100 gr Cake Flour

25 gr Cornflour

25 gr Milk Powder

30 gr Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

Enough Dark Chocolate (to coat)

Enough White Chocolate (to pipe)

1. Beat Butter, icing sugar and salt till light and fluffy. Add in egg yolk, beat to combine

2. Sift in the flour, cornflour, milk powder, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Beat till just combined

3. Gather dough into a flat disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

4. Roll your cookies to about 1/2 cm in height, and using a cookie cutter, cut them to shape.

5. Bake at 150 degree Celcius on a pre-greased and pre-lined baking sheet for abt 25 mins or till they are cooked

6. Drop chocolate into the melted dark chocolate, wait till set, then decorate as you wish with the white chocolate.

Categories: Cookies Tags: , , ,

Chocolate Caramel Cream Pie

March 27, 2011 19 comments

Let’s face it. I am not good with chilled desserts. There is just something about “Refrigerate until filling is chilled and firm” that i can’t seem to abide. I am terribly when it comes to that part of the recipe, constantly snooping into the refrigerator and poking my nosey finger into the dessert to see if it is “firm”.

And this is just one of those desserts.

A silken chocolate pie.

I guess i only have myself to blame. I could have the most elegant looking slice of pie, prim and proper with the neatest cut. But instead i got this slipshod.

But just as Joe is sloppily delicious, so is this pie.

Being used to chocolate pies with rich chocolate ganache filling, this pie was new to me.

For one, the filling was light and super soft.

It was like a cross between a pudding and a custard. The texture of the filling was silken and smooth. If you are familiar with the Asian silken tofu, this is it, but slightly softer and less set. Eating this pie is like eating a cookies (the crust) dipped in soft serve ice cream (filling), hmm, that does sound good, doesnt it?

And as if that wasn’t enough, this pie has got another trick up its sleeves, because over the satiny, barely set custard, was a generous dollop of caramel infused whipped cream

With its pallid colour, i know i am probably not convincing anyone of its caramell-y goodness. I guess that’s what happens when you pour a liliputan bowl of caramel into a sea of whipped cream, and moreover, my caramel was a strong amber colour.

But trust me, while the whipped cream was laxing in colour, it did make up in flavour. The caramel taste was definitely tasteable and frankly speaking i wouldn’t have this any other way. A strong caramel whipped cream would probably overshadow the chocolate filling.

So there you have it,  soft, creamy chocolate filling topped with pale but delicious caramel whipped cream.

But what about the crust?

Well… this is akward, but really, the crust was just like a hamburger box to a hamburger. It served the pie well by walling up the wonderful content, but i really wouldn’t miss this crust if the filling was served on a bowl instead.

So if you have chocolate pie on your craving list, but have chocolate on your “say no to” diet list, this is definitely for you. With only 110 grams of chocolate and a couple of egg yolks, this pie is definitely less evil than its ganachey , full-on chocolate  counterpart (Not that i don’t love them though)!

Chocolate-Caramel Cream Pie

Taken from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour, for surface
  • Chocolate Pate Sucree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent to 70 percent cacao), finely chopped
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Caramel Whipped Cream
  • 1 thick block bittersweet chocolate, room temperature, for garnish

Directions

  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll pate sucree to 1/8-inch thickness. Fit into a 9-inch pie dish. Trim edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Tuck overhang under dough so edges are flush with rim, and crimp edges. Lightly prick bottom of dough with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line dough with parchment, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges begin to look dry, 20 to 22 minutes. Carefully remove weights and parchment. Bake until crust is darker around edges and bottom looks dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Chocolate crust can be stored overnight.)
  3. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. Heat milk and chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate melts.
  4. Whisk 1 cup hot milk mixture into sugar mixture until smooth. Whisk milk-sugar mixture into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, 4 to 5 minutes total (about 2 minutes after it comes to a boil).
  5. Whisk yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Pour in milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it just begins to bubble, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Let custard cool in saucepan on a wire rack, whisking occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  7. Pour custard into chocolate crust. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of custard. Refrigerate until custard filling is chilled and firm, at least 4 hours (or overnight).
  8. Spread caramel whipped cream over pie. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape chocolate block at a 45-degree angle to make a small mound of shavings, and sprinkle over whipped cream. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve within 2 hours.

Caramel Whipped Cream

Taken from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
  • Directions

  • Prepare an ice-water bath. Heat sugar, water, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • Cook, without stirring, until mixture is amber. (Do not let caramel burn.) Carefully pour in 1/2 cup cream in a slow, steady stream down the side of the saucepan, whisking constantly, until smooth (caramel will bubble).
  • Remove from heat, and place saucepan in ice-water bath. Let caramel mixture cool, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
  • Whisk remaining 3/4 cup cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold caramel mixture into whipped cream, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.
  • Cook’s Note

    The caramel mixture must be very cold before the whipped cream is folded in. Otherwise, the whipped cream will collapse.

    Chocolate Cupbread

    March 19, 2011 23 comments

    So while everyone needs no introduction to the universally celebrated cupcakes, i shall present cupbreads!

    Here in Indonesia, these breads are known as “bloeder”, or sometimes spelt as “bluder”. And I am guessing, from its name, it is probably western influenced. These breads are very much like French Brioche, without small head of a dough on top of it.

    Similar to the brioche, the bloeders is very high in both butter and egg content, they are indeed very rich and tender crumbed. I don’t even think you need to chew on these. Besides butter and egg, these bread are also very high in sugar content, which makes it pleasantly sweet tasting even when eaten on its own. But having said that, still, i have decided to fill them up with a generous chunk of milk chocolate. Because really, since i am already eating something sinfully delicious, why not go all the way? LOL

    The proofing time for this bread takes a wee bit longer than usual. I suspect it might be because of all that butter and sugar, which might dampen the yeast activities. The total proofing time for this bread was about three hours, and in my tropical weather, that’s considered very, very long.

    The dough for these bloeders are also quite different from the dough i am used to. Being high in butter content, these breads are very slimy. My hands kept sliding off the dough as i tried to knead it. Sealing the chocolate chunks within the dough was also not easy with the grease coating all over the dough.

    As for the texture of the final product, these breads are so fluffy that you tear a huge chunk off these bread, thinking you will get full after a few mouthful, but in reality, being voluminous looking because of air, these bites just dissolve into nothingness.And you risk looking like a glutton when u reach for your second piece.

    I also think i might have overbaked this dough as it turned out quite dry and crusty at the sides, and i must definitely keep closer watch over these next time!

    Chocolate Filled Cup Breads

    Recipe from an Indonesian cookbook “Roti sisir & Roti Sobek” by Lanny Soechan

    15 egg yolks

    250 gr granulated sugar

    1 kg bread flour

    20 gr instant yeast

    50 gr milk powder

    300 ml fresh milk

    250 gr butter

    1 tbs salt

    some chocolate chunks

    some evaporated milk

    some chocolate chips

    1. Beat egg yolks and sugar till it thickens and turns pale yellow

    2. Combine flour, yeast, and milk powder. Add in the egg yolk mixture gradually and stir till well combined.

    3. Add in the fresh milk, salt, and butter. Knead till elastic

    4. Leave to proof till double in size

    5. Punch down dough, cut and weigh each dough to be about 60 gr. Wrap the chocolate chunks within each dough and drop them into papercups. Let it proof a second time till double in size.

    6. Brush the surfaces with evaporated milk and sprinkle some chocolate chips.

    7. Bake at 160 degree celcius till the surfaces turn a nice golden brown.

    You are Toasts!

    March 15, 2011 14 comments

    Let’s have a toasty good time with these!

    Banana Flambe Toast

     

     

    Chocolate Almond Toast

     

     

     

    Sunny Side Up Toast

     

     

     

    Salami Toast

     

     

     

    Ice Cream Toast

    And in case you were wondering, no, i didn’t make these. I don’t think i have ever mentioned it in this blog, but i am currently working for a chain of restaurants, and these toasts are part of our menu items!

     

    Samoas Scones

    March 15, 2011 12 comments

    If you think that scones are just tasteless, dry, breakfast pastries, you got something coming at you today.

    Meet the Samoa Scone- a spin off from the Samoas Cookies

    Inspired by the Samoas Cookies, these scones are dipped in chocolate, topped with caramel and coconut, and drizzled with more chocolate.

    These scones are first baked at a moderately high temperature to get that beautiful golden crust outside, while the insides remain moist, soft and crumbly.

    To facilitate that, the scones are brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with coarse sugar which caramelises quickly.

    Off the oven, the scones are dipped in melted chocolate. 

    After which, coconut and caramel are spooned over their tops.

    And to top it off, more drizzled chocolate over the caramel. YUMM!

    Take a bite into these scones, and you will first experience the chewy caramel. You might need to battle a slight bit with the sugar threads as you pull the scones away from your lips.

    Beneath that chewy, stringy caramel, we arrive at a soft pastry so subtly sweetened so as not to overwhelm you with a sugar high. The scone is downplayed to allow you to truly savour the smokey, butterscotch flavour within that caramel.

    Your journey with the bite ends with a soft “cluck” of the chocolate base, and now you get to taste them altogether as your mouth works on that blissful combination.

    So, take the journey, and give these blissful scones a try!

    Samoas Scones

    (Taken from BakingBites)
    3 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
    3/4 – 1 cup milk
    6-oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
    1 cup prepared caramel sauce (store bought or use recipe below)
    3/4 cup shredded coconut

    Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in chilled butter and cut it into the flour mixture until no pieces larger than a pea remain visible (this can be done in a food processor).
    Add in 3/4 cup milk and stir to combine. Gradually add in remaining 1/4 cup milk until dough comes together into a ball.
    Divide dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten into a disc about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into quarters and place on baking sheet. Repeat with second piece of dough.
    Bake for 16-20 minutes, until scones are a light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

    Melt the chocolate in a small bowl. Use a small knife or spatula to spread a thin layer onto the bottom of each scone. Place coated scones on a cool baking sheet lined with a piece of wax or parchment paper to set up.
    Combine caramel and shredded coconut in a small bowl. Spread about 3 tbsp of the caramel and coconut mixture onto each scone and drizzle with remaining melted chocolate. Allow chocolate drizzle to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

    Makes 8 scones.

    Homemade Caramel Sauce
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/3 cup light corn syrup
    1/4 cup water
    1/8 tsp salt
    7 tbsp heavy cream
    1/2 tsp vanilla

    In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until syrup turns dark gold. Working carefully, stir in cream and vanilla. Caramel will start to steam and harden when you add the cream – continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until caramel is smooth. Transfer caramel to a refrigerator-safe container and cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

    Note: You may have extra caramel sauce if you use it for the scones, so feel free to use it as a topping for ice cream, etc.

    Happy Donuts

    March 6, 2011 11 comments

    I was looking over my archives when i realized that it’s been ages since i mucked about with yeasted dough.

    I guess i was somewhat put off by the labour and time intensive effort involved.

    Between all that kneading, rising, and re- rising, yeasted breads are definitely something i would never attempt for breakfast on a weekday morning.

    But it’s a happy, sunny Sunday today. I jumped at this opportunity to make doughnuts, a classic favourite in this household.

    Especially when they are dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with colours.

    And this green one is just for u, St. Pat’s, cause your big day is just around the corner!

    Doughnuts

    (Taken from Alan Ooi)

    Ingredients;

    (A)300g high protein flour
    200g plain flour
    80g sugar
    5g salt
    20g milk powder
    10g yeast
    (B) 230ml water
    1 medium egg
    (C) shortening/oil/butter/margerine

    Methods:
    1. Combine (A), add in (B) and knead into dough. Add in (C) and continue knead until smooth, elastic and shiny dough.
    2. Cover the dough and let it proof for 30 minutes (double bulk), Roll out the dough for 1cm thickness.
    3. Use doughnut cutter to cut out doughnuts, let it on tray and proof for another 20 minutes (double bulk).
    4. Use medium heat to deep-fry the doughnut till golden brown. Remove, place on absorbent paper.

    Samoas

    March 5, 2011 8 comments

    It seems like the girl scouts of America isn’t all about camping and earning badges. These girls also have got a winning product to sell.

    The Caramel Delites, or better known as Samoas, are indeed delightfully caramel-ey.

    Truth be told, growing up in Indonesia, i have never came across Samoas before. But from stalking various blogs, i knew that they were shortbread cookies topped with coconut in caramel, and dipped and drizzled with chocolate.

    Geez, who could say no to that??

    So since there was no way in the world i would come across an American girl scout setting up a table in Jakarta, i figured the only way to get these was to replicate it in my own Indonesian kitchen.

    I must admit though, between the baking of the cookies, cooling the cookies, and then dipping the bases in chocolate…

    hang on i am not finished yet…

    making the finicky caramel,  dipping the tops of the cookies in the caramel, cooling the caramel to set

    AND finally drizzling the top of that caramel in melted chocolate *wipes sweat off brow*, these cookies are not exactly a walk in the park.

    But damn, are they worth every single spoon, fork, pot, pan, baking tray, and mixing bowl dirtied (Yes, they do use up a lot of kitchen utensils too).

    So if u can’t find a girl scout in handy, you should definitely definitely give these a try.

    Homemade Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas

    Taken from Jaime at blogs.babble.com

    2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
    1 cup superfine sugar (or granulated)
    1 large egg
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
    Dipping Caramel (recipe follows)
    1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (available at health food stores)
    12 ounces of chocolate chips

    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add in egg and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the bowl, if necessary. Add in vanilla. Beat until smooth. With mixer on low, add in salt and flour. Mix until completely incorporated and dough is uniform. Pull dough together and shape into a cylinder with a diameter of about 2 1/2 inches. Wrap in parchment paper and freeze for at least 25 minutes.

    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice dough into 1/8 inch disks and place on baking sheets, about an inch apart. Once you have made 30 cookies, wrap up the cookie dough, freeze, and save for another time. Use a tiny circle shaped cookie cutter or a large round cake decorating tip to cut a hole in the center of each disk. Refrigerate for an additional 10 minutes. Bake for 8 minutes, or until crisp. Let cool completely.

    3. Add coconut into the caramel. Warm the caramel in the microwave for about 10 seconds if necessary. Take cooled cookies and gently dip them completely in the caramel. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze until set, about 5 minutes.

    4. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring well after each interval, until fully melted. Place the caramel coated cookies in the chocolate. Use a fork to pull them out of the chocolate and place them on a parchment line cookie sheet. Use the chocolate still on the fork to drizzle stripes over the top of the cookies. Refrigerate until set.

    Dipping Caramel

    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar)
    4 tablespoons corn syrup
    6 tablespoons water
    pinch of salt
    6 tablespoons butter
    6 tablespoons heavy cream* (DO NOT use plain whipping cream)
    1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

    1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan with high sides, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Whisk until combined, and set over medium-low heat. Swirl the pan every now and then to help distribute the heat. Use can use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush the sugar crystals down the sides of the saucepan. When the sugar dissolves completely, raise the heat to medium. When it comes to a boil, watch very carefully for the bubbles to become more viscous (this means that the water has evaporated and that it is ready to go through the candy stages). As it is bubbling away, you want it to turn a deep amber color. When it does, remove the heat and, working quickly, use the spoon to scoop up a small amount of the candy and drop it into the small glass of water. If the blob turns hard like lollipop, then it is ready. If the blob is still soft, put the pan back on the heat. Keep testing until the candy is hard. Remove from heat.

    2. Whisk in butter, 6 tablespoons of cream, and vanilla (Careful here, as the mixture should bubble violently for about 10 seconds). If the caramel isn’t smooth right away, return the pan to low heat and whisk until smooth.

    *To clarify, this cream should be heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream, not whipping cream.

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Tart

    February 27, 2011 39 comments

    Oh lordy lord. I have just made a tart.

    And boy, was it good.

    Can i tell you all about this pie? Pls say yes, i feel like i will burst if i don’t.

    Let’s start with the crust. The crust tastes just like peanut butter cookies. See the cookies on the side? Those are made from leftover tart dough, and they are good enough to be eaten as they are.

    But cookies are not the topic for today. Today, it’s about a certain tart, a chocolate peanut butter mousse tart.

    That’s the peanut butter mousse, all smooth, silky, soft and luscious. This mousse makes me go weak in my knees and my head swoon like a top.

    I just love recipes that totally scale to what you just need. This recipe makes just enough tart dough to make a full tart (and a few cookies), while the mousse recipe was just enough to fill up that tart.

    Frankly speaking, i was quite hoping that there will be some mousse left for me to dip my spatula into and lick off.

    But let’s be disciplined adults here. Good things will come. Soon.

    Chocolate ganache over peanut butter mousse. I don’t think i need to convince anyone.

    Next, comes the hardest part of the steps in the recipe- Refigerating this tart (2 hours at least) to set.

    I am sorry, i didn’t do that. I popped it into the fridge, and went to read some Archie Comics.

    I lasted about 15 minutes, and came back with a knife in my hand.

    So now, please please please do not fault this perfect pie for my impatience. This pie WILL cut cleanly if i didn’t muck around with it too soon. Trust me, i had another slice two hours later,  because i wanted to see whether it set as it was supposed to (what a lame excuse!).

    For now, let’s just be contend with a half set pie.

    Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Tart Recipe

    (Taken from David of Leite’s Culinaria)

    Ingredients

    | metric conversion

    For the peanut butter mousse
    • 7 tablespoons cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream, softly whipped
    For the milk chocolate ganache
    • 3 ounces milk chocolate
    • 2 ounces bittersweet  chocolate
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream
    • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    Make the peanut butter mousse

    1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, preferably fit with the whisk beater, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar just until the mixture is uniform in color. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla. Beat in 1/4 cup of the whipped cream just until it is incorporated. With a large rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the whipped cream, mixing until the mixture is well blended but still airy.

    2. Scrape the mousse into the sweet peanut butter cookie tart crust and smooth the surface so that it is level. (If the dough is rolled to the exact thickness specified, the filling and ganache amounts will be exact. If the dough is rolled a little thicker, there will be a little leftover filling and ganache.) Refrigerate the tart while preparing the ganache.

    Make the ganache topping

    1. Break the milk and bittersweet chocolates into several pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor fit with the metal blade. Process until the chocolate is very finely ground.

    2. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a heatproof glass measure in the microwave. With the food processor’s motor running, pour the hot cream through the feed tube into the chocolate mixture. Process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice, about 15 seconds. Add the vanilla and pulse a few times to incorporate it. Transfer the ganache to a bowl. Cool to room temperature.

    Assemble the tart

    1. Pour the ganache over the peanut butter mousse in a circular motion, being careful so that it does not land too heavily in any one spot and cause a depression in the mousse. Using a small metal spatula, start to spread the ganache to the edges of the pastry, then spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of the tart. If desired, make a spiral pattern by lightly pressing the spatula against the surface and running it from the outside of the tart to the center. Refrigerate the tart for at least 2 hours to set or up to 5 days. (You can wrap the tart well and freeze it for up to 3 months.)

    2. Remove the tart from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving. Unmold the tart and cut it with a sharp, thin-bladed knife, dipping it in hot water after each slice. It is as good lightly chilled as it is at room temperature.

    Sweet Peanut Butter Cookie Tart Crust Recipe

    Ingredients

    | metric conversion

    • 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour (dip and sweep method)
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/16 teaspoon salt (um, that’s a pinch)
    • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons sugar, preferably superfine
    • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably Jif, at room temperature
    • 1/2 large egg (beat the egg lightly before measuring out half of it, which ought to weigh .8 ounce)
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

    2. If using a food processor: In a food processor with the metal blade, process the sugars for several minutes or until very fine. With the motor running, add the butter cubes. Add the peanut butter and process until smooth and creamy, about 10 seconds. With the motor running, add the egg and vanilla and process until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse just until incorporated.

    If using an electric mixer: In a mixing bowl, beat the sugars until well mixed. Add the butter (you’ll need to softened it slightly) and peanut butter and beat for several minutes on medium-high speed until very smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Reduce sped to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

    3. Scrape the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

    4. Press the dough evenly into the tart pan. (It is a little more challenging, but faster and neater to roll the dough out between sheets of plastic wrap to about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thickness and 11 1/2 inches in diameter. Remove one piece of plastic, invert the dough into the tart pan, and gently ease the edge of the dough inside the pan so that the sharp top surface does not cut it off.) Use a piece of plastic wrap to gently and evenly press the dough into the pan, pressing it against the sides. If the dough softens and sticks, refrigerate it until the plastic wrap doesn’t stick. If the dough tears, simply press it together or use the scraps to press into any empty areas. Cover the tart pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. (You can wrap the unbaked crust well and freeze it for up to 3 months.)

    5. Bake the tart shell, without weights, in a preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. It will puff at first and then settle down toward the end of baking. The sides will be soft but spring back when touched gently with a finger. Cool on a wire rack.

    PoppyChow and CrackerJack

    February 26, 2011 5 comments

    I first saw poppychow at Michelle’s at Brown Eyed Baker. Looking at their images, i couldn’t really put a finger as to what they are exactly.

    It was only after reading the description that i got interested.

    Very interested.

    These are actually Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn sprinkled and dredged in icing sugar.

    I can’t find anything i didn’t like about that description.

    Basically peanut butter and chocolate are melted before it is poured over the popcorn, then it gets refrigerated to set.YUMM

    And of course, since i am making popcorn anyways, i cant be leaving out the classic Caramel popcorns (Also taken from Brown Eyed Baker).

    Ah yess, sweet popcorn of golden hues. These popcorns are drenched in caramel brown sugar and then sent to the oven to dry out and to let the caramel set further so we have less of that sticky, gooey of a mess (not that they are not delicious of course).

    So what’s the verdict on these two?

    I think i am loving poppychow more than crackerjack this time. But then again, Poppychow is not as travel friendly as Cracker Jack. The chocolate and peanut butter gets melty and sticky in tropical room temperature Indonesia, but straight off the fridge, they are totally delish!


    Chocolate & Peanut Butter Popcorn {Poppy Chow}

    (Taken from Brown Eyed Baker)

    Yield: About 8 to 10 servings (possibly more if you’re not chocolate/pb obsessed like me)

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    9 cups plain popcorn
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    ½ cup creamy peanut butter
    ¼ cup unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1½ cups powdered sugar

    1. Put the popcorn in a very large bowl.

    2. In a microwave (at 50% power) or over a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

    3. Pour the chocolate mixture all over the popcorn. Using a large spoon, stir until all of the popcorn is evenly coated with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture.

    4. Sift the powdered sugar over the chocolate-covered popcorn and stir until each piece is evenly coated. Spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set.

    5. Break it up and serve! Store leftovers in an airtight container.

    Homemade Cracker Jack

    (Taken from Brown Eyed Baker)

    Yield: About 10 cups of popcorn

    Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 1 hour

    10 cups of freshly-popped popcorn (or 3.5-oz bag of microwave popcorn, plain)
    1 cup light brown sugar
    ¼ cup light corn syrup
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    2 tablespoons water
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup lightly salted peanuts

    1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

    2. Pop the popcorn. Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and then transfer the popcorn to the bowl; set aside.

    3. In a small saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and water, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 3 to 5 minutes.

    4. Turn off the heat, and whisk in the vanilla and baking soda. Immediately pour the hot mixture over the popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn until all of the popcorn is coated. Gently stir in the peanuts, and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out.

    5. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Gently break up the popcorn. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

    February 22, 2011 17 comments

    So the latest Tuesdays With Dorie’s challenge was these Chocolate Oatmeal Drops.

    And when the blog-o-sphere started to get inundated with pretty pictures of these cookies, i just had to give it a go.

    I mean whats there not to like about fudgy, moist, slightly underbaked cookies right?

    Plus these cookies also boast oatmeal, which make them somewhat healthy, and legit breakfast items.

    And of course, what’s a couple of cookies without some milk?

    Well, actually, these cookies don’t need to be dunked in milk. They are moist and soft enough on their own. But then again, i am known to be over indulgent.

    So, here goes!

    Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

    (Taken from Bake with Us)

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
    1 tablespoon water
    1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
    9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    2 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

    Getting Ready: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

    Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

    Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl and sprinkle over the 1 tablespoon water, then add the brown sugar, followed by the chocolate. Stir occasionally until everything is just melted. Don’t let the ingredients get so hot that the butter separates from the sugar and chocolate, and don’t be concerned if the mixture looks grainy.

    Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs on at a time; the mixture will look shiny. Whisk in the dry ingredients, stirring only until they disappear into the dough. Stir in the oats. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each spoonful.

    Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until the cookies are dark around the edges and just slightly soft in the middle. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature. (If the cookies are difficult to lift from the baking sheet, wait a minute and try again.)

    Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

    Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

    February 20, 2011 14 comments

    I chose this recipe because of two reasons. One, because it combines the celebrated chocolate and peanut butter duo, and two, because this is one of the rare rice krispies recipe which doesn’t list marshmallows as one of its ingredients.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love marshmallows and totally luxuriate myself in smores and other marshy treats, but marshmallows are really hard to come by here in Indonesia, and like its texture, are plushy-priced.

    Of course, the absence of the all important marshmallow mean that u gotta compensate in some other ways. For this recipe, it’s to dig out your candy thermometer and cook sugar *gasp* till it reached the soft ball stage. I suppose this was done to replicate that sticky, gooey marshmallow property that holds the rice krispies together.

    As if chocolate ganache over chocolate peanut butter mixture isn’t enough, i had this prodigal idea to substitute rice krispies to cocoa puffs, the chocolate version of the rice bubbles.

    Yes, i can be over-indulgent sometimes, but trust me, it’s totally worth it.

    So after all that, what’s the verdict of this dessert anyways?

    This treat really deserves all the love it can get. The rice krispies (or cocoa puffs) managed to stay crispy after being drenched in all that peanut butter. And that contradictory crispy crunch against the smooth, silky peanut butter and chocolate ganache is such a tease to the palate.

    The only thing i might add on to this is that sprinkle of sea salt over the ganache. Amen.

    (Taken from Christina of Sweet Pea’s Kitchen)

    • 1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 5 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 3 ounces dark chocolate (60% to 72% percent cacao), coarsely chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    Directions:
    1. Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.
    2. Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
    3. Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees F.
    4. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.
    5. In a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.
    6. In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.
    7. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the topping hardens.
    8. Cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.

    Valentine LoveBug

    February 14, 2011 20 comments

     

    I was bugged when i saw these Valentine’s lovebugs at Wing-it vegan. They just wouldn’t stay off my mind. River made them so adorable and cute that i just had to adopt these bugs for myself.

    I tried to re-create them at home. They weren’t as cute as the ones River made of course, but i am still pretty happy about it.

    And u can pretty much apply them to however you deem fit,

    I’ve placed mine on cupcakes, and strewn plenty of love into it with these cute valentine’s sprinkles

    So let the lovebugs loose and spread a little love this Valentine’s

    Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

     

    oh, and do head over to Wing-it Vegan. She has a very helpful step by step instruction on how to go about making these. 🙂

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares

    February 7, 2011 12 comments

    This is kind of dessert you know u should share around,

    yet, you just can’t stop eating them.

    I had every intention to set aside at least half of this batch of squares, and give it away to the good people at work.

    Well, that didn’t happen cause between my family members, they disappeared in record time.

    I don’t blame them (or us), really, cause in our defence, they are pretty flat and it takes just a couple more, or maybe 5 or 6, of them to satisfy that cravings.

    These are actually your peanut butter cups, in a bar form.

    I guess i don’t have to go on and on to how wonderful they are.

    Cause everyone knows and probably loves PB cups.

    Oh Baby Bars

    Adapted from eatliverun.com

    makes about 48 small bars

    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

    1/4 cup butter, softened

    3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

    7 ounces milk chocolate

    4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

    1 T butter

    Blend together the brown sugar, powdered sugar, butter and peanut butter until it reaches a smooth paste-like consistency. Press into the bottom of a nine by thirteen inch pan.

    Melt the chocolate with the tablespoon of butter over very low heat (or in a microwave). Pour melted chocolate over the peanut butter crust and stick in the fridge for an hour to harden.

    Cut into squares and serve!

    You might also like:

    Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Maple Espresso Glaze

    February 4, 2011 18 comments

    I was quite upset over my last entry, the bundt cake with the torn surface and the forgotten chocolate chips. I told myself not to beat myself over it, but i just wasn’t able to put it to rest.

    I felt the need to rectify those flaws, I just had to attempt another bundt.

    So here goes my next bundt, tear free and with chocolate chips IN the batter. Hola!

    But i wasn’t that sure this bundt would come out perfect either, and i had a back up plan,

    A glaze to cover up any imperfections (should there be another) on the surface.

    And oh boy, what a glaze it was,

    Who would have thought that maple syrup and espresso could come together in such a perfection. Seriously, i don’t even think i could find words fitting enough to describe this glaze.

    This is the kind of glaze that you would close your eyes and moan to. Your sense of smell and taste would thank you in sheer gratification for this. It was all i could do not to drink this by the cupful.

    So the glaze goes over the cake. Sorry about the messiness, i was trying to pour the glaze over the cake with my left hand while balancing the camera with my right.

    My circus act resulted in something that looked like this

    Once the glaze is on, the next step in the recipe is to let stand at room temperature until glaze is firm, about 1 hour.

    I don’t know about you, but i am not waiting

    I cut myself A big fat slice,

    And this time with chocolate chips IN the cake.

    The recipe also called for the chips to be sprinkled with flour before they are thrown into the batter for better suspension. I always thought this step was for fruits which have higher water content, but i guess you could do that to chocolate chips too!

    Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple-Espresso Glaze

    (Taken from Food librarian who adapted from epicurious)

    Cake:

    • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    • 1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
    • 3 cups all purpose flour, divided
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon maple extract
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup buttermilk

    Glaze:

    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons (or more) whipping cream
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

    For cake:
    Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 12-cup Bundt pan. Spray pan generously with nonstick spray. Dust pan lightly with flour. Mix chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons flour in medium bowl. Sift remaining flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract and maple extract. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chip mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly.

    Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.

    GOOD TO KNOW:
    Mixing the chocolate chips with a little flour before adding them to the batter helps the chips stay evenly suspended in the batter and evenly distributed throughout the baked cake (otherwise, they may sink to the bottom).

    For glaze:
    Combine powdered sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons cream, and espresso powder in medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, adding more cream by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to drizzle. Spoon glaze decoratively over top of cake; let stand at room temperature until glaze is firm, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature.

    A little torn.

    February 2, 2011 10 comments

    So i made a little bundt  cake today,

    It’s marbled and it’s got pretty swirls of chocolate and yellow.

    Except for the little mishap i had unmoulding the cake.

    My cake was a little torn.

    A tear (from my eyes) for a tear (on the cake).

    So i made a little bundt cake today,

    and it was deliciously moist and tender,

    and u can see from the picture, it has got chocolate chips on the side.

    Yup, u read it right, chocolate chips on the side, all measured and looking pretty in a ramekin.

    It was supposed to go into the batter, but scatterbrain here, forgot.

    I just gotta remind myself that it’s still a good, moist and delicious cake, and it kept the people at work happy. And i will not get upset over it.

    Adapted from Night Baking
    (Serves 12-16. Keeps well at room temperature under a cake dome. Or an inverted metal bowl.)

    2 1/2 cups (17.5 ounces) sugar, divided
    1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) cocoa powder (Valrhona is great, but I used Hershey’s with great success)
    1/4 cup light corn syrup
    1/2 cup (4 ounces) hot water
    2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
    2 2/3 cups (11 3/8 ounces) flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 sticks butter, at room temperature
    4 eggs
    1 cup (8 ounces) milk
    1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips (I like Trader Joe’s)
    Make the chocolate syrup first: in a small saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) sugar, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and water. Bring just to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Set aside.
    Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray or grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. I sprayed mine with baking cooking spray, and I sprayed the heck out of it, and it still stuck. My cheapo bundt pan is the bane of my existence.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use the stand mixer to cream the butter with the remaining 2 cups (14 ounces) sugar until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, then beat in the remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla.
    Reduce the mixer speed to low. Beat in a third of the flour mixture just until the flour begins to disappear into the batter. Beat in half the milk. Beat in another third of the flour, then the rest of the milk, and then the rest of the flour; mix until smooth. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
    Scoop out a third of the batter into a medium bowl. Whisk in the reserved chocolate syrup and set aside. Spoon another third of the batter into the bundt pan and smooth it with a spatula. Spoon the chocolate batter evenly over it. Pour the remaining vanilla batter over the top. Lightly (go easy!) swirl the batter with a wooden skewer or butter knife to achieve a marbled effect. Making a continuous figure eight motion around the pan works well.
    Bake until the cake springs back lightly when touched, about 60-70 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Invert the cooled cake onto a cake plate and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Goes perfectly with tea or coffee!
    Categories: Cakes Tags: , , , , ,

    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.

    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.

    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: , , ,

    Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

    January 17, 2011 8 comments

    Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

    There is nothing in the name of this cookie that i didn’t like. Let’s analyse it from the back.

    “Peanut Butter” – Yum,

    “Double Chocolate” – Double Yum,

    “Salted” – Triple Yums!!

    I think my love for  salt in my bakings have been conveyed adequately in this blog. A healthy sprinkle of big, fat, granular sea salt  always brings such an added dimension to whatever sweet treats and confections concocted in my kitchen.

    Of course, i guess there is no need for me to convince you on the magical peanut butter and chocolate combination. The harmony between the two elements has been tried, tested, proven and given stamps of approvals a gazillion million times over all over the world. There is no exception with these cookies of course, dark fudgy chocolate cookies with a hint of peanut butter. Yeah baby!

    The only thing i am not too crazy about these cookies are the peanuts folded into the cookie dough. Don’t get me wrong, i love nuts, and my fingers subconsciously reach for that bowl of salted nuts in front of the TV, but somehow, they feel wrong in these cookies. The nuts don’t taste awful, but they just felt rather odd. But then again, maybe its just me! LOL

    Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

    Recipe taken from Brown Eyed Baker

    Yield: 16 to 18 large cookies

    Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 12 minutes

    1¼ cups all-purpose flour
    ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
    2/3 cup light brown sugar
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    ½ cup peanuts
    Coarse salt for sprinkling

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

    2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

    3. Beat together the butter, peanut butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Scrape the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips and peanuts.

    4. Drop by two heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle a small pinch of coarse salt on top of each cookie. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the outside of the cookies are set but the middles are still a little soft. Cool cookies on the baking sheets. Store in an airtight container.

    Cat’s Tongue Cookies

    January 10, 2011 16 comments

    I guess it’s quite obvious how these cookies got its name. The cat’s tongue cookies can probably trace its origins from Spain, and are identified by their signature cat’s tongue shape.

    These cookies are light, buttery and crisp. There is a very satisfying crunch as i bit into one, almost like eating a potato chip.  I suspect the lightness of these cookies came from all the beaten egg whites, which is rather unusual in a cookie recipe.

    Despite its Spanish origin, these cookies are very popular in Indonesia, and come Chinese New Year, you can probably lap at these cookies at every household you choose to visit.

    While these cookies are usually served plain, in its buttery glory, i have added a lil tongue twister into my versions.

    The dual tone Cat’s tongue cookies, easily achieved by flavouring half of the cookie batter with chocolate. I loaded up my pipping bag with both batters before squeezing the two cookie batter onto the awaiting cookie sheet.

    I love the taste of these cookies, it’s part vanilla, part chocolate and all buttery. YUM!

    Then i made a blueberry flavoured version of the cookies, simply just by pipping a strip of bluberry jam onto the unbaked cookie dough. The jam will dry up and turn sorta chewy and it adds a very nice blueberry flavour to the otherwise very buttery cookie. Of course i am not complaining about that very buttery cookie, i am just saying it makes quite a refreshing contrast. 🙂 In fact, if i were to make this again, i will be sure to pipe a fatter line of a jam down my cookies.

    I am also entering these cookies into Aspiring Baker #3 My favourite CNY Cookie hosted by J3ss Kitch3n. Thanks to J3ss for hosting the wonderful event! I can’t wait to see what the others come out with!

    Cat’s Tongue Cookies by Me!

    250 gr unsalted butter

    200 gr castor sugar

    225 gr AP flour

    150 ml (about 5) egg whites

    1 TBS Vanilla extract

    Some Chocolate paste

    1. Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy.

    2. Add egg whites gradually and beat till it turns even more light and voluminous.

    3. Add in vanilla and beat till well mixed

    4. Fold in flour

    5. Divide batter into half and add chocolate paste into one of that half

    6. Fill your pipping bags with batter (half chocolate, half white if you are attempting the duo coloured cookies)

    7. Pipe onto greased cookie sheet

    8. Bake at 350 for about 18 mins or till they turn dry and crisp.

    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.

    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

    Ingredients:
    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

    Directions:
    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)

    Bars:
    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)

    Frosting:
    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.

    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

    Ingredients

    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

    Directions

    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.
    3.
    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!

    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

    Directions

    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.

    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!)

    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*. 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!)

    Caramel
    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

    Ganache
    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.

    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: ,

    Peanut Caramel Topped Brownies

    November 30, 2010 9 comments

    Bakers who have been baking along Tuesdays with Dorie should be able to identify this cake straight away. This cake/ brownie just looks so strikingly different with bold whole caramel peanuts strewn over the top as topping. Quite frankly, i don’t think i have come across any other cake that looked like this.

    Well, maybe my re-creation of this cake is not 100% accurate. You see, the caramel was supposed to flow down the sides of the cake as it was drizzled over the top in its semi molten state.

    But i knew i was bringing this to work, and really, i would do much better if i didn’t have to deal with all the gooey, sticky caramel-ey mess no matter how delicious it promised to be. So i cooked the caramel a lil further, and  let it cool a bit to set before i spooned the peanuts onto the cake.

    Now, that looks pretty neat and orderly. I was actually quite glad i was able to coax the peanut/caramel combo into staying on top of the cake instead of having them slide down the sides.

    Now, lets get a closer look at that complying topping. This topping is part crunchy from the peanuts, and part chewy from the caramel and ALL awesome.

    Peanuts (apart from peanut butter) are probably the least used nuts in the baking world. I’ve seen recipes calling for walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, etc, but  only a couple that call for peanuts. But despite being underrated, the peanuts really showed the world a thing or two here.

    Now lets get on to the brownie part shall we?

    This brownie was cake like, soft and moist. It was lighter than most brownies, which complemented the topping rather well. A dense fudgy brownie would probably have made this dessert too cloyingly rich. The brownie was also very easily put together involving just a few simple whisking. There is no need to pull out your heavy machineries here. Pheww!

    The brownie rose pretty well too, almost reaching to the brim of my springform. That’s quite an achievement for a cake batter that didnt require any beating.  I also liked the spongy texture of the brownie that probably resulted from all that rising.

    On a lil side note though, while the caramel didn’t leave its trails in a sticky mess this time, i would probably want that the next time if i were to bake it again. While this semi hardened caramel was good. I think the original chewy, sticky, gooey would be better. Just saying. 🙂

    While i have a copy of Baking From My Home to Yours on my bedstand, i couldnt resist but hit the print button for the recipe from The Curvy Carrot who happened to have baked this recently. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to lugging the book to my kitchen have even more undesirable stains on the poor book! So here goes!

    Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake (Recipe taken from The Curvy Carrot) thanks so much for sharingg!

    Servings: 10

    Ingredients

    For the cake:

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

    5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped **(I just used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips….oh Ghiradelli…..sigh….)

    3 large eggs

    1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

    1/4 cup sugar

    3 tablespoons light corn syrup

    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    For the topping:

    2 cups sugar

    1/2 cup water

    1 and 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup

    2/3 cup heavy cream

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

    1 cup salted peanuts

    Instructions

    1.  For the cake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    2.  Butter an 8-inch round springform pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper.

    3.  Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

    4.  Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

    5. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water.

    6.  Add the butter and chocolate to the bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are just melted.

    7.  Remove the bowl from the heat.

    8. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended.

    9. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla.

    10.  Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate.

    11. Still working with a whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

    12.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread until even.

    13.  Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean.

    14.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the cake for 15 minutes, then run a blunt knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan.  Cool the cake to room temperature.

    15.  When the cake is completely cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan and peel off the paper.  Wash and dry the springform pan, and return the cake to it right-side up.  Refasten the sides.

    16. For the topping: Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients, and put the pan over medium-high heat on the stove.

    17.  Heat, without stirring, until the caramel turns deep amber (mine was the color of light beer….test it on a white plate if you are unsure), about 5 to 10 minutes (depending on your stove and pan).  As the sugar is caramelizing, wipe down any splatters on the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.

    18.  Lower the heat a bit, and standing back from the saucepan, add the cream and butter.  (BE CAREFUL…IT IS HOT AND WILL BUBBLE AGGRESSIVELY.)

    19.  When the caramel calms down a bit, stir to dissolve any lumps.

    20.  Add the peanuts and stir.  Transfer the hot mixture to a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or a heat-proof bowl.

    21.  Spoon the peanuts over the top of the cake, and then pour enough caramel to cover the peanuts and top of cake completely.  You may have leftover caramel.

    22.  Allow the topping to set at room temperature about 20 minutes or so.

    23.  When ready to serve, run a blunt knife around the edge of the springform pan and remove the sides.

    Source:  Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

    Tartine’s Brownies

    November 24, 2010 6 comments

    I was itching to try another recipe from the Tartine’s cookbook after that Banana Cream Pie with the Caramel and Chocolate. And when i came across Amanda of Fake Ginger‘s beautiful picture on her version of the Tartine’s Brownies, i was sold.

    This brownie is probably the epitome of a dense, fudgy brownie. And when it comes to brownie points, this would have scored a perfect 10.

    I am not exactly sure how these brownies should turn out. I have heard of an altogether different result from the same recipe. But as far as mine was concerned, this brownie is not much of a looker. It has the surface of a dry, caked up mud, a piece of barren land, unfitting for any form of life.

    And it handled very badly too. I mean with that scandalous amount of chocolate (a whole pound, no less!) one wouldn’t have expected anything less. There was even a disclaimer which goes “NOTE: The brownies are ready even when tester comes out wet.on Divine Baking, another blog which also featured this recipe. Anyways, as predicted, these brownies baked up very soft and delicate, and you have to be painstakingly careful when handling them to make sure it stays intact and not fall apart. Oh, and really, a nerves of steel would come in handy.

    But once all that pan to plate transfer is out of the way, do yourself a favour and cut  yourself a slice after all that anxiety. You deserve it.

    See what i mean? With that amount of flour, the brownies just wont bake up to something structually sound. Of course, it could have been me, being too impatient to let this brownies bake further, or cool some more. The brownie came out pretty much like a chocolate molten cake. No complaints there though. 🙂

    And as for the appearance department, nothing a lil sprinkle of powdered sugar cant solve, especially if you put a lil’ heart to it!

    Recipe from Fake Ginger and Divine Baking (Thanks so much for sharing, girls!!)

    Brownies
    from Tartine
    Printable Recipe

    3/4 cup butter
    1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    5 large eggs
    2 cups brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups nuts, optional for topping

    Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.

    In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

    Sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs.

    Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. If you are using nuts, evenly distribute them across the batter. Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

    Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares, or size desired. The brownies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

    Categories: Brownies Tags: , , ,

    12 Weeks of Christmas, Week #3 No bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Hedgehogss

    October 13, 2010 28 comments

    I know the theme for this event is to post happy, colourful Christmas cookies, but i just couldn’t resist sneaking in these little treats.

    Sure, hedgehogs are more suited for Halloween, which of course is also just around the corner. In fact, the original recipe called for them to be shaped into mice. But i wasn’t about to get licorice ropes just for the mice tails.

    So i kinda improvised, and tried to make them as friendly looking as i possibly could.

    The original recipe called for mini candies for the mice’s eyes.

    But, that’s not happening to my friendly hedgehogs, i wasn’t about to let them have red, evil stares.

    Instead, I dotted some white chocolate for these, plus a mini within for that extra innocence.

    And also, a sprinkle of thorns, for i just simply couldnt leave these cherubic faces defenceless.

    AAaaww

    That’s a hedgehog, eating a giant almond. Hedgehogs eat almonds right.

    Oh, did i mention that these are No-bake?

    Andthey are made up of the most perfect pair, peanut butter and chocolate?

    Ok, i shall not hedge for the recipe and hog on your attention any longer.

    Here goes! Recipe from Taste of Home

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    • 1-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
    • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
    • 12 ounces dark chocolate candy coating, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon shortening
    • 36 pieces black shoestring licorice (2 inches each)
    • Assorted candies: Red cake decorator dots, M&M’s semisweet miniature baking bits and black sugar

    Directions

    • In a small bowl, beat the peanut butter, butter and vanilla until blended; gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar. Stir in cereal. Shape into 1-in. balls, tapering one end to resemble a mouse. Position almonds on heads for ears. Refrigerate until chilled.
    • In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt candy coating and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip mice into coating; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Immediately insert licorice for tails. Add red dots for eyes and M&M’s miniature baking bits for noses. Sprinkle with black sugar. Refrigerate until set. Yield: 3 dozen.

    This is my week #3 of 12 weeks of Christmas Cookies. Third week, means that we are about 9 weeks away from Christmas!

    Thanks again Abbey Sweets for hosting the event. I cant wait to see what the others bake up with!

    Categories: Cookies Tags: , , , ,

    Yet another Birthday

    October 11, 2010 10 comments

    My brother – in- law’s birthday is one day after my brother. And after that purist chocolate of a cake for the brother, i wanted another element to be featured in this next cake.

    Don’t get me wrong, chocolate is still a favorite, and it’s presence is mandatory in this cake. However, for this cake, it, the chocolate content can take a backseat, and i was allowed room to introduce another ingredient.

    I recounted the various times i hung out with my brother in law, and noticed an ongoing trend. Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Starbucks, Starbucks. Yup, we are dealing with a coffee buff here.

    And so, the opera cake it is then!

    Layers of sponge cake sandwiching alternating layers of coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache.

    Winner!

    Categories: Cakes Tags: , , , ,

    No-Nonsense Chocolate Cake

    October 10, 2010 5 comments

    With a bold statement such as “chocolate and fruits should NEVER go together”, i couldn’t for the life of me risk putting fruits into his birthday cake.

    No pureed fruits into the cake batter,

    No macerated fruits between the cake layers,

    and not even glazed fruits to serve as aesthetic purposes.

    I am talking about my purist chocolate of a brother,  the Japanese based boy, who brought us the many super super cute Disney cookie cutters.

    Birthday boy popped in for a visit which coincided with his Birthday. Happy Birthday Brother!

    Categories: Cakes Tags: , , ,

    12 Weeks of Christmas, Week #2 – Chocolate Dipped Disney Cookies

    October 8, 2010 23 comments

    What do u do when a stranger smiles at you?

    For me, i smile back.

    So what happens when a whole army of Disney characters grin at you?

    I grin back of course,  out of reciprocal courtesy. We don’t want to be accused of bad manner.

    I was grinning at the first few these cookies, as i stamped on random Disney faces on a piece of flat shortbread dough. Mickey, Minnie, .. Winnie, Tigger… Chip and Dale ( I just realized i dont know Chip from Dale).

    But minutes into that, my grin faded to a smile, as the dough became increasingly sticky with all the extra handling.

    And soon after, the smile was replaced with a scowl, as i battled with the dough which went rebel on me and decided to stick to every crook and cranny within the facial features of my stamps.

    I stopped, and decided a cool-off period was in order, literally. I sent the dough to the fridge, and myself to the comfort of my air-conditioned bedroom.

    After half an hour or so, i came back with a chilled head, ready to face my challenger.

    I had a new strategy, to work as fast as humanely possible, before the butter melts, and i am faced with the repeated sticky (no pun intended) situation.

    As quickly as i could, I reached out for whichever cutter was nearest to me, not paying attention who i was stamping. As a result, i may or may not have ended up with too many mickeys, and too little tigger.

    Thats okay i guess, cause after all they just make one big happy family.

    My  happy mood was again restored as i pulled out a tray of pretty cookies.

    And to elevate that, i dipped those happy cookies into chocolate and sent happy mood to overjoy.

    This is my second cookie post for 12 weeks of Christmas Cookies.

    And for a list of what the other participants did, head over to the Abby Sweets (the host), or any other participants who will have a linky on their blogs. I’m sorry for the lack of the linky in my blog, cause apparently, WordPress doesnt support Mr.Linky.

    That aside, 10 more weeks to go before Christmas! And i am so geared up to see what the others baked up this week!

    Oh wait, there is the 3D version of these cookies too!

    Categories: Cookies Tags: , , ,

    Oreo Rubble

    October 7, 2010 11 comments

    I have been feeling a bit caught up, between muffins and cupcakes.

    I wanted them to look pretty, but i didn’t want the fussy frostings.

    Because, let’s admit it, each time i pack the cupcakes into a case, i have to beware of butterfinger smudges.

    And each time i walk with the said loaded case, i have to walk a lil bit slower.

    And i do say a lil prayer, for the weather to be just right, that it wouldn’t rain too hard, or shine too bright,

    Just so that my frostings would stay upright.

    But with this cupcakes, my precautions can take a mini break.

    These cuppies were swiftly sweeped into an awaiting lunchbox.

    And as i walk with the lunchbox, i could even afford a lil swing of my arm.

    I smiled upon the heavy deluge that accompanied us the whole of this morning.

    And i have to say, these cuppies are quite lookers too. Rustic, and homely, a different set of charm from its hollywood-ised, glammed up cousin with the pretty cream frostings.

    So if you are like me, or Dana, who are feeling in a lil bit of a cupcake scrooge mood, this is one recipe to turn to.

    Mississippi Mud Cupcakes
    Taken from Dana who adapted from Cupcakes!
    Makes 18-24 regular cupcakes

    I used Newman’s Own for the cookies.  The recipe says the yield is 18, but I got 24 – never a bad thing!

    2 1/4 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies , in 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch pieces
    1 cup (6oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
    Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcake Batter (recipe follows)
    3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.

    Spoon 1 tbsp. of the cookie pieces into the bottom of each paper liner, then spoon about 8 chocolate chips over the cookie pieces in each liner.  Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of batter over the chocolate chips.  Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips and cookie pieces over the  tops, pressing them gently into the batter.

    Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes.  Cool the cupcakes for 20 minutes in the pans on a wire rack.

    Carefully lift the cupcakes from the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.  Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water.  Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly.

    Use a small spoon to drizzle thin lines of melted chocolate over the top of each cooled cupcake.  The cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

    Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcake Batter

    This is a great basic cupcake to have in your repetoire.  All kinds of frosting taste great on top.

    3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
    1 cup flour
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup water

    Put the chocolate ina heatproof bowl and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water.  Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly.

    Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

    In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate.  On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well until each is blended into the batter.  Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture looks creamy and the color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute.  Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain.  On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it.  Mix in the water.  Mix in the remaining flour mixture unil it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.  Proceed with above recipe.

    Rockin’ the Rolls

    October 3, 2010 6 comments

    After yesterday’s less than satisfactory bread, i was itching to make something that will redeem my faith in my breadmaking.

    So, i went back to my true, tried and tested recipe, and switched from cinnamon to chocolate.  The process was just like visiting an old friend, i knew know what to do, what not to do, what to expect and and what not. It was quite relaxing, if not comforting.

    I kneaded the dough for a good 30 minutes, and was rewarded with the smoothest and silkiest dough which was able to pass that elusive window pane test. All it took was some patience, and persistence if you must.

    I left the dough to proof for about an hour, which was more than enough when u have a hot, humid climate like mine ( i live in Indonesia). By the end of the hour, the dough has more than tripled in size! i was a bit worried that i might have overproofed it, and that it might taste sour later on. But thankfully none of that happened.

    As for the filling, instead of the usual cinnamon sugar i settled on chocolate chips today, just because, u can never go wrong with chocolate.

    I moved at a leisurely pace as i rolled the dough into a log, sliced it, and let it proof a 2nd time. Just because it’s a Sunday, and i didnt have to worry about the office, or anything boring like that. A very indulgent baking session, really.

    The dough went into the oven for a good 20-25 minutes.

    and after all that time in the oven, i pulled out a pan of golden brown deliciousness.

    Which was promptly drizzled with chocolate, of course

    Next, came the final test,

    the texture of the bread.

    I pulled at the first roll and soft fluffy goodness greeted me. The texture was somewhat like a sandwich bread, a fresh one. The roll was so soft i had to collapse it sidewards, and use the gentlest sawing motion with my serrated knife.

    aahh, thats about right for Asian styled sweet bread.

    For dough recipe, refer to my older post, HERE.

    What a Happy Sunday Breakfast.

    12 Weeks of Christmas, Week #1- Smores Cookies

    October 1, 2010 18 comments

    I am probably ahead of everyone in posting my first post, but i am on the other side of the world, and it’s Friday for me already! Yays!!

    Anyways, for my first post, i decided that i wanted something familiar and comforting. Something homely, unpretentious and simple, for that is what Christmas is all about right?

    The first thing that came to mind was of course the classic – Chocolate chip cookies. These cookies don’t need any introduction, for they are practically a household staple.

    But, baking chocolate chip cookies would be boring.

    Every household probably already has their own favourite recipe they go back to from time to time. They don’t need me to post yet another recipe.

    So i decided to jazz it up a lil’ bit, and made these Smores Cookies.

    These cookies are basically your average chewy, soft baked chocolate chip cookies. But they kicked it up a notch by having graham cracker crumbs as part of its list of ingredients.

    Good thing i had that at the ready, homemade. That added extra depth in aroma and flavour.

    And of course, the obvious toppings didn’t hurt as well. The recipe called for Hershey’s chocolate blocs and marshmallows. I added graham cracker bits for good measure (yes, i am pretty obsessed with that cookie! )

    Michelle used these cookies to bribe someone to cover her shift. That’s a fair exchange. In fact, it might be in favour of the beneficiary of these cookies. I, for one, wouldn’t mind it for one bit. 🙂

    Thanks Michelle for sharing the recipe!

    Smores Cookies

    1 3/4 cups flour

    1 cup graham cracker crumbs

    1 tsp. baking soda

    1 tsp. salt

    1 cup/ 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

    3/4 cup sugar

    3/4 cup light brown sugar

    2 tsp. vanilla

    2 eggs

    2 cups miniature chocolate chips

    1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

    2 regular Hershey bars, roughly chopped

    In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars and mix until fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the flour, graham crackers, salt and baking soda and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips then cover and refrigerate the dough for about one hour. Preheat oven to 375 F. Take a tablespoon of the dough, roll into a ball, and drop onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of dough, leaving about 2 inches between each to allow it to spread. Bake for 6 minutes, then remove from the oven. Push a 3 – 5 marshmallows and a few pieces of a Hershey’s bar into each cookie. Return to oven and bake for another 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown and the marshmallows are a bit toasted. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

    I can’t wait to see what the others bake!

    For the complete list of the 12 weeks of christmas cookies participants, head over to Abby Sweets.

    Lastly, i wish a Happy Friday to everyone. Remember, we are only 12 weeks away from Christmas!

    Week 1 Twelve Weeks of Christmast:

    Categories: Cookies Tags: , , , ,

    Rocky Road Brownies

    September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

    U know those dark, fudgy, ooey gooey brownies with a shiny top? Well, these are those, except with topped with a generous sprinkling of walnuts, sliced almonds (i added this myself), chocolate chips and toasted marshmallow. Le sigh, isn’t it a sweet life?

    As with most brownies, these are really a no-brainer. All u have to do is just sprinkle your delicious mess of a topping over the baked brownies, and pop it back into the oven for a quick 5 mins ( 10 for me, as i wanted my marshmallow to have that toasted crispy shell )

    Amanda of Fake Ginger used these brownies to bribe her little boy to get a haircut. That is one happy boy right there. I didn’t have these to bribe me to get a haircut as a kid. I had to sulk with my lower lip pouting into the salon mirrors.

    Rocky Road Brownies Adapted from Fake Ginger (Thanks for sharing the recipe!)
    from Martha Stewart

    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
    1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 large eggs
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup marshmallows
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.

    In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

    Remove mixture from heat; stir in sugars and salt, then eggs, and finally flour, stirring just until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.

    Remove from oven, and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips, then marshmallows and nuts. Bake until chocolate is shiny and marshmallows are puffed, about 5 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares.

    Categories: Brownies Tags: , , ,

    Churros Con Chocolate

    September 20, 2010 2 comments


    Still on a choux pastry roll, i decided to take a lil walk on the wild side. Instead of baking, i decided to deep fry these choux pastries. I was pleased when i saw Baking Bites featured a churros recipe on her blog as her recipes are usually clear and work for me. (Thank You Baking Bites!!)

    While these mexican delights are tasty doused with a lil cinammon sugar, they are absolutely divine when dipped in chocolate sauce.

    The consistency of the chocolate was on the thin side, as it serves a dual purpose. One is of course to dip your churros into, but once you have reached the end of your churros stick, or second churros stick,  this chocolate sauce can also be drunk the way you nurse a cup of hot chocolate. Oh yeah baby.

    On a side note, i think i might have goofed up a bit on the deep frying tho. As typical of me, i totally disregarded the part of the recipe which called for measuring the temperature of the oil. I jumped straight into pipping my dough into the hot oil, marvelling at how pretty they turn out to be when they puff up into golden brown crispness.

    But i guess u can’t fool the law of choux pastry of never opening the oven door before the pastries are cooked, cause some of my casualties came out deflated, with soggy centers after they have been left to drain.

    Good thing i discovered the mistake early, and worked on my subsequent batches by lowering the heat, and making sure that each of them were a deep golden brown before i fished them out of the oil.

    These churros are crispy when served immeadiately, they tend to get soggy in a bit… and when they do, just pop them into the oven for a bit of a refresher, and voila, fresh churros all over again.

    Churros con Chocolate
    Adapted from Bakingbites who adapted from Chocolateria San Gines
    Churros
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup butter
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 cup all purpose flour
    3 large eggs
    vegetable oil, for frying
    confectioners’ sugar

    Chocolate Sauce
    1 tbsp cornstarch
    2 cups milk (any kind)
    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips)
    1/4 cup sugar

    In a medium saucepan, combine butter and water and bring to a boil. When mixture is boiling, add in flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Continue to stir and cook the dough for about 1 minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl or to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Turn the mixer on medium-high. Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each has been well incorporated before adding the next. Batter may look wet before it comes together, but keep mixing and a smooth dough will form.
    Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a medium or large star tip.
    Pour about 2-inches of oil into a deep saucepan. Bring the oil to about 365F.

    Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate sauce.
    Whisk together the cornstarch and milk. Add mixture, along with chocolate and sugar, to a small saucepan. Bring just to boil, whisking occasionally, and cook until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.

    Pipe 5 to 6-inch pieces of churro dough into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, then flip and cook until golden on the second side (about 5-6 minutes total). Remove from oil and set on some paper towels to drain, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.

    Serve churros with small cups of chocolate sauce.

    Makes about 20 churros.

    Categories: Cookies Tags: , ,

    Holey Moley Macaron-ey

    September 19, 2010 Leave a comment

    So much has been said about Macarons. From reviews to how addictive they are, to how difficult they are to make.

    I am agreeing to both parties. These macarons are indeed delicious. I have sandwiched chocolate filing onto mine to kinda offset the sweetness of the cookies.

    As for how they are made, well, as u can see from the shapes of my not so perfect macaron, i am really in no position to comment or offer any advices or link u to any recipes.Making macarons isn’t rocket science, but it sure ain’t easy.

    Go on, take the challenge, your worse situation will be to end up with a pile of unsightly macaron shells, which is not exactly a bad thing cause no matter how they turn out, they will still be absolutely delish!

    Eclairs

    September 18, 2010 1 comment



    After my bout with choquettes, i was kind of excited to make these eclairs, since they are both made of choux pastries.

    I decided to try on a different recipe instead of sticking to the choquette recipe, as i am not really in the habit of repeating recipes, unless i am absolutely certain that that was the best recipe.For other times, i like to experiment.

    After a brief search, i discovered that making eclair was a Daring Baker’s challenge, with Pierre Hermes’ choux recipe. I settled on that, since many daring bakers have had success with the recipe. And boy, was i impressed. This version of the choux pastry tastes way richer than the choquettes. It has a strong “eggy” aroma to it, which oddly speaking is kinda pleasant (well to me at least).

    The steps in the both recipes were pretty much the same and executed in the same orders. However, i totally dissed the part on wedging ur oven door open with a wooden spoon in Pierre’s recipe. No harm done deviating there it seemed.

    The DB challenge also requires a chocolate pastry cream to be filled into the eclairs. I chose to make a vanilla version, as i happen to have vanilla beans on hand, and plus, i didnt want to get a chocolate overload.

    Eileen from Living Tastefully happened to have similar ideas with the pastry cream issues. She has a vanilla pastry cream version (also from Pierre) on her blog instead. I chose to follow that instead.

    The pastry cream came really easily despite the part that called for a thermometer. Dont worry, i totally skipped that part (too!) and my pastry cream came out perfect.

    The last part to the challenge was to create a chocolate glaze.Again, i threw caution to the wind and totally went on my own on that. The recipe just seemed to fussy, requiring a two step process. I just stuck to my  trusted dark cocoa plus shortening combination.

    As you can see, i went astray from the recipe in quite a number of ways and in quite a number of times. But i guess i got lucky today since nothing major went wrong. (phew!)

    For me, this recipe is definitely for keeps. I just loved the contrast of the crispy shells against the soft pastry cream. It’s also a good thing that all of the components of this eclair can be done in advance as they have to be served immediately after assembly, to prevent the crust from getting soggy.
    Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Eclairs ( Taken From Living Tastefully)
    recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
    (makes 20-24 éclairs)

    CREAM PUFF DOUGH (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

    1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Divide the oven into thirds by positioning racks in the upper and lower half of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
    2.  Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.  Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in 4-inch lengths.  Leave about 2 inches between each dough strip to allow room to puff.  The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs (I got about 18).
    3.  Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes.  After 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep it ajar.  When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back.  Continue baking for another 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and FIRM.  The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes (I did not open the door after 7 minutes, and after 20 minutes I turned my oven off, but left the éclairs in the oven for another 5 minutes.  It’s probably just my oven).
    NOTES:  The éclairs can be kept in a cook, dry place for several hours before filling.

    Assembling the éclairs:
    • Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
    • Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

    1.  Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion.  Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
    2.  The glaze should be barely warm to the touch.  Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula.  Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.
    3.  Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs.  Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry.  Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

    Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough

    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
    • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

    1.  In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
    2.  Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon.  The dough comes together very quickly.  You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough.  After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
    3.  Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.  You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate.  Do not worry.  As you keep working the dough, it will come back together by the time you have added the third egg.  In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
    4.  The dough should be still warm.  It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

    NOTES:
    1.  Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
    2.  You can pipe the dough and then freeze it.  Simply pipe the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and slide the sheet into the freezer.  Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags.  They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

    Vanilla Pastry Cream

    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1 plump, moist vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
    • 6 large egg yolks
    • 1/2 cup (slightly rounded) sugar
    • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
    • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

    1.  In a small saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla bean (pulp and pod) to a boil over medium heat.  Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes, time enough for the liquids to be infused with the warm flavor of vanilla.
    2.  Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished cream and be placed in this ice bath.
    3.  Whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan.  Whisking all the while, very slowly drizzle a quarter of the ot milk into the yolks.  Still whisking, add the rest of the liquid to the tempered yolks in a steady stream.  Remove and discard the pod.
    4.  Place the saucepan over high heat and, whisking vigorously and without stop, bring the mixture to the boil.  Keep at the boil, whisking energetically, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.  Pour the cream into the reserved small bowl.  Set the bowl in the ice bath (you can add some cold water to the cubes now) and, stirring frequently so that the mixture remains smooth, cool the cream to 140 degrees F, as measure on an instant-read thermometer.  Stir in the butter in three or four additions.  Keep the cream over ice, stirring occasionally, until it is completely cool.  The cream can be used now or refrigerated.

    Chocolate Glaze

    • 1/3 cup heavy cream
    • 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
    • 7 tablespoons Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

    1.  In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil.  Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon.
    2.  Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

    Chocolate Sauce

    • 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1/3 cup sugar

    1.  Place all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly.  Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
    2.  It may take 10-15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

    It all started with a set of weird looking biscottis

    September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

    These biscottis are looking a lil bit odd and i have no one to blame for that but my inability to follow instructions.

    You see, the recipe called to shape the dough into a log measuring 1.5 inch wide. However, me, being simply ME, decided to throw caution to the wind and popped 2.5 inches logs into the oven.

    What i didn’t know was how these cookies would spread, making logs of dough look like the bottoms of upturned salad bowls.

    As a result, I had rows of flat biscottis, without the characteristical bump in the middle of each cookie. I am glad that the taste weren’t affected though, they were kinda like the harder version of chocolate chip cookies, which of course, is a universal favourite. And unlike most biscottis out there, these cookies are good enough to be eaten on its own. Thanks PheMOMenon for the wonderful recipe.

    Or of course, if you want to soften them a bit, u can dunk it in your fave cuppa coffee.

    Or, if u needed to distract people from the ugly shape of your biscotti, and what else could be so versatile than

    to dip it in chocolate?

    It seems to become a very predictable pattern around this blog to dip everything in chocolate isn’t it?

    I apologize for the lack of creativity. I will brainstorm for other ideas. But for now, chocolate it is.

    The original plan was to dip the ends of these cookies into chocolate, but my poor judgement skills made me melt waaaaay too much chocolate than what is necessary really. So i double and triple dipped both ends, and did a drizzle, making absolutely the most delicious mess.

    Try it!

    Almond Chocolate Chunk Biscotti (adapted from Phe.Mom.enon)

    2 cups all-purpose flour1

    1/2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 stick unsalted butter, soft

    1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

    1/2 cup sugar

    2 large eggs

    1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract

    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1/2 cup sliced almonds

    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (or chips)
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the center position.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment.

    In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
    In a large mixing bowl (preferably a stand mixer with paddle attachment) beat the softened butter, brown sugar and sugar together at medium speed for about 3 to 4 minutes until very light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat for 2 minutes more, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times to make sure everything is well beaten.  Add the almond extract and vanilla and beat till combined.
    Turn the speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Add the sliced almonds and chocolate chunks and mix till just combined.
    Scrape half the dough out onto one side of the lined baking sheet.  Using your hands and a rubber spatula, shape the dough into a log about 12-inches long and about 1 ½ inches wide.  The dough will be very sticky and should be more of a bumpy rectangle.  Repeat the process with the second half of the dough down the other side of the baking sheet.
    Bake the logs for 15 minutes, or until light golden but still soft to the touch.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow to cool on a rack 30 minutes before cutting and baking the cookies the second time.
    Use a wide metal spatula to move the logs to a cutting board.  Cut the logs into 1-inch thick slices and place the slices back on the lined baking sheet.  Bake the cookies another 15 minutes, until golden and firm.  Transfer them to a rack to cool completely.  Store the cookies in an airtight container to keep them more chewy

    Categories: Cookies Tags: , , , ,

    Choquettes with Pearl Sugar

    September 15, 2010 1 comment



    I have always shy-ed away from making choux pastry as i have heard uninspiring failures from others who have tried their hands on it.
    The stories were revolved around collapsing outer shells, uncooked centers, and generally soggy pastries.

    I knew it was a pastry that i wanted to learn and master ( come to think of it, what isn’t? ), but so far, nothing gave me the sufficient kick in my butt to get started.

    Not until yesterday, when i was watching a TV show called ” Sugar” by Anna Olson. She was making them eclairs, which are choux pastries filled with pastry cream and glazed with chocolate coating.( Well, if that isn’t motivating enough, i don’t know what is).

    So i looked over the many different websites, each with their own sets of do’s and don’ts, and settled on David Lebovits choquette.

    Why choquettes?! u ask, there are so plain, none of the fancy pastry cream and chocolate coating that motivated u in the start!

    Well… u see, i wasn’t so convinced that i would succeed making these pastries. And i definitely do not want to get stuck with a huge bowl of pastry cream, or chocolate glaze with no pastries.

    I am kinda regretting that though. Looking at the beautiful hollow within each pastry, i wished i had something to fill them up with. Well, maybe next time, but for now, i shall be contented with eating my pearl sugared choux pastry with a victory dance.

    Chouquettes adapted from David lebovitz
    About 25 Puffs

    From The Sweet Life in Paris (Broadway Books)

    Shaping the mounds of dough is easiest to do with a pastry bag, although you can use two spoons or a spring-loaded ice cream scoop.

    1 cup (250ml) water
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons sugar
    6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
    1 cup (135g) flour
    4 large eggs, at room temperature

    Glaze: 1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon milk
    Crystal sugar (Coarse sugar is available in the US from King Arthur and in some Ikea stores. In Paris, I buy mine at G. Detou.)

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (220 C.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

    2. Heat the water, salt, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan, stirring, until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and dump all the flour in at once. Stir rapidly until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

    3. Allow dough to cool for two minutes, then briskly beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth and shiny.

    4. Using two spoons, scoop up a mound of dough with one spoon roughly the size of an unshelled walnut, and scrape it off with the other spoon onto the baking sheet.

    5. Place the mounds evenly-spaced apart on the baking sheet. Brush the top of each mound with some of the egg glaze then press coarse sugar crystals over the top and sides of each mound. Use a lot. Once the puffs expand rise, you’ll appreciate the extra effort (and sugar.)

    6. Bake the cream puffs for 35 minutes, or until puffed and well-browned.

    (If you want to make them crispier, you can poke a hole in the side with a knife after you take them out of the oven to let the steam escape.)

    The cream puffs are best eaten the same day they’re made. Once cooled, they can be frozen in a zip-top freezer bag for up to one month. Defrost at room temperature, then warm briefly on a baking sheet in a moderate oven, until crisp.

    Caramel Filled Cookies. Oh yes pls.

    September 13, 2010 Leave a comment



    These cookies may look plain and boring on the outside, but bite into it, and u find magic inside.

    Yes, I am talking about molten, ooey-gooey, stretchy caramel.

    Chocolate and caramel. I don’t have to convince you what a perfect pair they are right?

    These cookies were also so ridiculously easy to make, well at least for this version, because i chose to buy store bought caramel candies. The candies come in  uniform sized balls which made it so convenient to be pushed into the awaiting cookie dough.

    But take extra care to make sure that the surface is all smooth with no visible cracks though. The molten caramel has a way of leaking through these cracks.

    Trust me. I have had a couple of casualties.

    Other than that, we’re good to go!

    Caramel Filled Cookies, adapted from Culinary in the Desert
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour (preferably white whole wheat)
    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (my favorite is King Arthur’s Double Dutch)
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 sticks butter, softened
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    2 large eggs, room temperature
    2 tsp vanilla
    48 Rolos (or substitute peanut butter cups or plain caramels)

    Sift together the flours, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bow. Set aside.

    Combine the butter and sugars, beat until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating the first before adding the second. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir just until incorporated (I recommend doing this by hand with a big wooden spoon; the dough is pretty soft so it shouldn’t be too hard on your arms). Scrape dough into a plastic bag and chill for at least 2 hours.

    When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Divide the dough into quarters, and work with one section at a time. Divide a quarter into 12 equal pieces of dough and roll into balls. Make sure you have unwrapped all the foil from your Rolos! Seriously!! Poke a hole in the center of each dough ball and insert a Rolo; shape the dough around the candy so that it is completely covered, and then roll between your palms back into a ball. Dip the top of each cookie in additional granulated sugar, if desired, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, sugared side up. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until the tops are firm and cookies are set, approximately 12 minutes. If you feel like the cookies are a bit too puffy looking you can press them down a bit right after they come out of the oven, but don’t push too hard! You don’t want to squish the caramel out. Let sit on the pan for a few minutes, and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

    Blondes have more fun Blondies

    September 12, 2010 Leave a comment



    I came across this blondie recipe and was immediately enchanted by its whimsical charm.

    They just look so fun and happy, kinda like eating a McDonald’s happy meal on a bright Sunday morning when you were 5.

    These blondies however, were on the thin side. They were almost bar cookie like, but they still have that dense fudgy characteristic of most brownies.

    My only complaint is that i live in a houseful of adults, with no kids to pack these into their lunchboxes.

    But, if u happen to have a kid in handy, here goes:

    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 C dark chocolate chips
    1C colour coated candies

    1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush an 8×8 inch square 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 ). Fold in 1/2 C each of the chocolate chips and colour coated candies. Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips and candies.

    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, Cut into 16 squares. Store bars in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

    Of sweating chocolate, hot weather, and bad chinese handwriting

    From the title above, you can see that this post will not be a very happy one. Lots of hiccups went along the making of this cake. Lots.

    Let me gripe, bear with me or just skip the next couple of paragraphs.

    Hiccup #1 – After successfully separating 6 eggs, i broke ONE egg yolk over my pool of egg whites and contaminated the whole batch.. Great. Now i gotta re-crack another 6 eggs. No biggie right? Except i dont have 6 extra eggs on hands.

    Hiccup #2- After all the egg white drama and a short trip to the grocery store, i finally have my pristine batch of egg whites in my mixing bowl.

    Next step, add a tsp of Cream of Tartar. Okays, easy enuff, i thought dumping the white stuff into my egg whites.

    Except it wasn’t cream of tartar in my hands. It was baking powder. I suppose i could have fished the baking powder out while still salvaging my egg whites, but i knew for a fact that egg whites have to be squeaky clean and uncontaminated when it is to be beaten to peaks.

    And i wasn’t in the mood to experiment the effect of baking powder on the beating of egg whites. at least not today

    BACK TO square ONE. I re- cracked my eggs again for the third time, feeling super frustrated at the amount of eggs i wasted. Damn, this cake better be worth all these effort!

    Hiccup #3- fast forward to the point where i was popping the cake batter into the oven. By this time, I was so glad that all active part in the making of the cake was done. Now it’s up to the oven to do its thing while i take my deserved break.
    I was so eager to leave my sweltering kitchen. Too eager in fact that i forgot to set the little timer. And it turns out, i am not so hot in judging whether a cake is done or not. I guess i might have removed the cake from the oven a tad too early, resulting in a soggy cake with a sticky top.

    At this stage, i am SO not gonna go back to stage one and re-crack my eggs again all over again! Onwards i proceeded with my less than perfect cake with the frosting stage. No crazy mishaps thankfully. The baking fairy must have finally taken sympathy at my sorry state..
    or at the remaining eggs that are at the mercy of being cracked into unfunctional states. Just like their predecessors.

    I frosted like a madwoman, chocolate fudge in my hands, arms, hands and face. I held my breath and steadied my fingers as i attempted to write the chinese wordings on it. The wordings didnt turn out perfect. But at least they were the right words and they were legible. Now that was over with, came the less nervewrecking stage of decorating the top of the cake with strawberries and oranges.

    Now now, The cake was not set to be delivered till the next day. Which means, it gets to stay overnight. The question is where?? In a hot and humid room? or in a cool, temperature controlled refrigerator?

    Hot and humid room doesnt sound like such a good idea for my soggy, slightly underbaked spongecake. In fact, it sounds like a perfect bacterial playground.

    Yet, a cool refrigerator will definitely cause a sweaty chocolate finish after it has been removed from its controlled cool climate.

    I chose the second option. For i care about the well beings of the people who eat this cake more than its presentation.

    Mud Hen Bars

    I know i was sold on making these bars when i came across the recipe off the internet and visualized the final product.

    Chewy cookie base, and gooey brown sugar meringue sandwiching chocolate.

    It just sounds like a blissful union to me!

    It was only after further reading, and a few clicks linking me from site to site that i discovered its name- The Mud Hen Bars.

    WHAAAaaat? u ask..

    Yeah. Go figure.

    Recipe here:

    The cake that looks like a giant Donut

    July 21, 2010 1 comment

    U can’t see the insides of this cake. But it’s marbled, and i was too lazy to take another shot of the interior of the cake.

    This recipe came from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s latest book, Heavenly Cakes, titled "Marble Velvet Cake" .

    This cake did deliver what the book promises, a velvety, rich and moist butter cake that is part chocolate and part vanilla.

    To top all that goodness, i drizzled a generous coating of the optional, but super yumm-eh, chocolate ganache over it.

    This chocolate ganache totally won me over. Its glossy appearance turns matte when the chocolate has cooled and dried up. (YES! this chocolate ganache actually dries up in the tropical and humid climate i am in!)

    Cool and dry chocolate ganache are a dream come true for me. Cakes with cool and dry chocolate ganache are travel friendly can be delivered messy- free to unsuspecting recipients, which in turn, gives me more room to bake. ^^

    Recipe:

    85 gr dark chocolate

    112 gr egg yolks ( about 6)

    242 gr sour cream (1 cup)

    2 tsp vanilla extract

    300 gr cake flour

    300 gr superfine sugar

    1 tsp baking powder

    3/4 tsp baking soda

    1/2 tsp salt

    255 gr unsalted butter

    1. Double boil or using the microwave, melt the dark chocolate

    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, 1/4 c of the sour cream, and vanilla till just combined

    3. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low for 30 secs. Add butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low until ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1.5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

    4. Starting on medium low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in three parts. Beat on medium for 20 seconds after each additions to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

    5. Remove 1/3 of the batter (354 gr) to a bowl and stir in melted chocolate until uniform in colour. Scoop 1/3 of remaining batter onto prepared pan. Top with dollops of half the chocolate batter. Spread gently, but evenly. Top with another 1/3 of the plain batter, then dollops of the remaining chocolate batter. Spread evenly and top with remaining 1/3 of the plain batter, spreading it evenly over the top. Use a regular spoon to marbelize the batter lightly. Dip the tablespoon without touching the bottom or sides and lift up and over in a folding motion, 6 to 8 times, going all around the pan. Smooth the surface evenly.

    6. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, or  until a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the side comes out clean, and the cake lightly springs back when lightly touched. The cake should start to shrink from the pan after removal from oven. During baking, it will rise above the centre tube, but on cooling, it will level from center tube.

    7. Let cool in wire rack for 10 minutes before unmoulding.

    Cat’s Tongue Cookies

    The Cat’s Tongue Cookies probably got its name from its shape.

    As a kid, i remember savouring each of these cookies one by one. I didnt chew on them, instead, i just let them slowly dissolve in my mouth.

    Yupp, these are one of those buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, crisp, and subtly sweet cookies. I made two versions  – Chocolate and Plain. Both are good, but if i were to choose one, i take the plain.

    A word of advise: Keep these cookies in airtight container for  storage. They soften pretty easily if left uncovered.

    And, the recipe!

    100gr margarine

    100 gr salted butter

    150 gr cake flour

    20gr milk powder

    5 egg whites

    1/4 tsp salt

    75 gr icing sugar

    1/4 tsp chocolate paste

    1. Beat butter and margarine till soft and fluffy. Sift  in flour and milk powder. Mix to combine

    2. Beat egg whites and salt till soft peaks. Add icing sugar gradually. Beat till stiff peaks. Fold in egg whites to butter mixture.

    3. Divide batter into two. Add chocolate paste to one, while allowing the other to remain white.

    4. Fill batter into pipping bags. Pipe onto greased baking sheet

    5. Bake at 150 degree Celcius for 15 minutes

    Categories: Cookies Tags: , , ,

    Montana Mountain Cupcakes

    July 19, 2010 2 comments

    Here are three components that made up this cupcake

    Coffee, Caramel and Chocolate.

    Did i convince u to make them yet?

    The frosting was definitely a winner here. It was beaten to a pretty, glossy and stiff consistency and was able to form perfect little mounds when scooped onto the cupcakes. The coffee in the icing was very prominent. It imparted an aromatic and a slight bitter taste to the traditionally way-too-sweet plain 7 meringue icing.

    Yes 7 minute meringue icing, it is fat free, cause its all egg whites! Okay, let’s just ignore about the sugar content in meringue icing. For now.

    Brown sugar was used  for the caramel flavour for this frosting. But i guess the coffee was too strong to let the caramel flavor shine. No one is complaining though. The coffee keeps our tastebuds and sense of smell busy enough.

    As for the cake, nah.. definitely not in my top 10 list for the best chocolate cake. The chocolate flavour was pretty weak, and the texture was kinda chewy.. too chewy. The texture reminds me of those steamed chinese cakes. Or one of those eggless cakes with irregular holes and which rely on baking soda to rise.

    Will i be making this again? hmm.. maybe not the cake. But the frosting. oh YEAH!

    Recipe is from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Dessert

    Frosting recipe can be found HERE