Archive for Baking

My coffee affair: Macademia Brownies


Photobucket

As featured in  TastespottingFoodgawker


I’m going to stick to the recipe I know works, the one I got from Bakerzin’s Dessert Book by Daniel Tay, founder of Bakerzin. Those brownies are so heavenly moist, chocolatey, perfect sweetness and keeps well in the fridge. I still have a bag of fresh macademia nuts bought from the market a few days ago, sprinkles of chopped macademia creates a whole new flavours with touch of nuttiness to this perfect chocolatey bites.

Perfect for my morning coffee and afternoon tea!


Reposting recipe

MACADEMIA BROWNIES
Ingredients:
* 325 gr all purpose flour
* 5 gr baking powder
* 150 gr cocoa powder (I use Droste & Van Houten)
* 225 gr cream cheese
* 860 gr sugar (a bit too sweet for me, I use 660 gr only)
* 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
* 10 gr salt
* 450 gr unsalted butter (softened)
* 400 gr eggs
* 300 gr chopped macademia
* butter for greasing


Photobucket


Cooking Direction:
1.) Preheat oven 180C or 350F
2.) Sift flour, baking powder, cocoa powder into a bowl
3.) Separately mix sugar & butter till fluffy, then add
vanilla essence, salt & cream cheese till well blended
4.) Fold eggs into cream cheese mixture, then gradually
fold in flour mixture. Add chopped macademia nuts
5.) Lightly grease the pan you’re going to use
Level the batter and bake for 20-25 mnts
(for shallow square pan I use baking sheets)
6.) Unmould & cool brownie. Top with warm chocolate melt
and sprinkles of chopped macademia


Photobucket


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


** Recipe Source: Just Desserts by Daniel Tay


Return to Homepage

New Year Celebration, Nuts & Breads


Photobucket


Last chinese new year we managed to get away to Beijing. Unfortunately this year, Mike had to stay babysitting the hotel, as he sent all of the managers to take a few days leave. The city’s life is practically put on hold. Everywhere is so quiet, shops are all closed for more than a week (some would stay close for 2-3 weeks even), the hotel’s occupancy dropped significantly during these days. Food is getting scarce – *lucky that we live in a hotel where getting food is not really a problem* – unless one stocks up well prior to the celebration. The shopping frenzy happened 3 days before the celebration. Food stalls, street vendors, supermarkets were all packed with thousands of people and everything would be sold out instantly.

I’m not sure if I want to go out for the next coming few days, partially because of the weather that stay below minus two digits everyday, the other reason is that there isn’t much to do and see out there.

A few days ago, I experimented on the no-knead bread recipe. Thanks to Dita for her inspiring photo that makes me drool,  I peeked the recipe from Steamy Kitchen.  It’s amazing how one’s palate can change completely during pregnancy. I used to be more of a savoury person, but now I drool over things that’s super sweet, gooey, sticky caramelly with sprinkles of chopped nuts. A few months ago, I thought pickled cornichons was food from heaven. I must’ve gone mad!!!


Photobucket

No-knead Sticky Pecan Caramel Cinnamon Rolls
Click here for recipe
Modification: We’re not a big fan of walnut,
so we use pecans instead. The filling is made without nutmeg &
black pepper (yuck!) I added chopped brazilian nuts & dates.
Double yums!!!


PhotobucketNo-knead Gruyere Cheese Rolls
to view recipe click here
This is another modification I made, just by replacing the filling
with crushed garlic, sprinkles of oregano, sprinkles of basil,
grated vintage cheese and Gruyere cheese


All of the nuts I bought from the local market next door, literally, it’s a small alley located next to our place. On regular days this market is so full of vendors selling every unimaginable things. One day I spotted a guy walking around in the market with a live bull tied around the neck, he was selling it for the meat. Great little place to walk around and find little surprises. I bought a bag of fresh brazil nuts, macademia, pecans and roasted almonds  (about 500 gram each)  for 75 Yuan only – that would be about US$11 total.


Photobucket

Photobucket
From almonds, macademia, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds,
chestnuts, brazilian nuts, pistachios….
and some unidentified nuts. Take your pick!


Photobucket

Photobucket
Warm chestnuts is a beautiful snack in wintertime
This cost about 5 Yuan/bag – less than a dollar


Return to Homepage Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Scrumptious Strawberry Cheesecake

Photobucket

My kind of strawberry cheesecake –
as featured in TastespottingFoodgawker
(This image is also submitted for CLICK Photo Event)


Another baking trial day. Just a quick fix of sweets, I didn’t feel like following a complicated recipe. I just want something perfect to go with my fresh sweet strawberries bought from the market yesterday, along with fresh strawberry jam as a quick subs in case I need to make any sauce or glazing.

Guess what, it’s so perfectly silky and melts in the mouth. The smoothness creamy cheese blends in nicely with the sweet strawberry. I think I fall in love…


Photobucket Photobucket


STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE

Ingredients:
* 4 pcs of eggs
* 1 3/4 cup of sugar
* 24 oz cream cheese
* 1 tsp vanilla extract/crystals
* 2 cups of cracker crumbs for cheesecake
* 1 stick butter, melted
* 1 cup sour cream

Cooking Directions:
1.) In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter.
Press into a 9-10″ springform pan, pushing about an inch
of the mixture up the sides of the pan.
2.) Mix cream cheese, eggs, 1 cup of the sugar & vanilla.
Beat for about 20 minutes
3.) Pour filling into pan. Bake for 40 minutes at 325.
4.) Cool in oven for 35 minutes with door open

FOR TOPPING:
1.) Beat together the remaining 3/4 cup sugar & sour cream for
about 10 mnts until it gets fluffy.
2.) Pour over cooled cake and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
3.) Cool cake completely before slicing and serving.


Photobucket


Return to Homepage Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Thanks to all my food buddies for the support, I am also submitting this image to CLICK Photo Event – Red for January 2009, hosted by Jugalbandi.


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
For more information & participation have a look HERE

Allspice Cookies ~ Speculaas


Photobucket


We ran out of biscuits to go with our afternoon tea.  Apparently there’s a cookie monster at home who keeps gobblin down all the cookies.   Ah well, it’s time to start baking something different anyway after the last successful Gruyere Crusty Loaf.   This is by far the easiest cookies  I’ve ever baked.  Only the first attempt and they turned out beautifully crunchy with that pleasant allspice aroma – Indonesians call it  “spekkoek”  spices.


ALLSPICE COOKIES

Ingredients:

* 250 gr cookie flour
* 100 gr granulated palm sugar
* 125 gr unsalted butter
* 1 tbs ground allspice (spekkoek powder)
* 2 tbs milk
* 1 cup chopped cashews/almonds

Cooking Directions:
1.)  Whisk butter and palm sugar until completely  soft & fluffy
2.)  Prepare sifted flour, ground allspice & baking soda
Add butter-sugar mixture
3.)  Fold in chopped cashews/almonds
4.)  Using roller pin or hand, flat dough into surface
5.)  Cut into desired shape with cookie cutter
6.)  Place on silicon sheet & bake 150C for abt 30 mnts
7.)  Once baked, cool on wire rack.  Store in a tight container


Photobucket


** Recipe from NCC Community


Return to Homepage Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Crusty Loaves with Gruyere Cheese


Photobucket


As a true coffee junkie, I am constantly on a search for recipes of breads/cakes and other savouries to go with it. Although, in my opinion, the best match for morning coffee is cheese bread. This is such a wonderful loaf to bake. I was so excited when I prepared the starter dough the night before, wondering what wonderful taste & texture it would be like. I found the recipe from  HERE,  referred by Temperance on her Bread Baking Day#16. The starter puffed up very nicely overnight. Proofing took most of the time of the entire baking though, baking process only took about 30 mnts. So short, for such a rewarding result.

That morning my entire kitchen is wafting the smell of freshly baked cheese bread. The use of gruyere cheese – which I added a bit of mozzarella and drizzles of garlic oil, is just puuuurrr-fect!!! It’s melting beautifully, moist in the inside, crusty on the outside. Guess who loves it the most….. Mike 😀

This recipe is definitely going to be on the menu very often….

Photobucket


CRUSTY LOAF STUFFED WITH  GRUYERE CHEESE

Ingredients:
(i) Starter
* 1 1/4 cups unbleached Bread Flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
* 1/2 cup cool water

(ii) Dough
* all of the starter
* 1 cup + 2 tbs to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
* 1 tsp salt
* 3 1/2 cups unbleached Bread Flour
* 1/2 tsp instant yeast
* *Use more water in winter time

(iii) Filling
* 2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, or your preference
* 1 tbs garlic oil (optional)

Photobucket
Photobucket

Baking Directions:

1)  Starter: Mix the 1 1/4 cups flour, salt, yeast, half cup of water.
Cover & rest overnight

2) Dough: Combine the risen starter with second one,
water, salt, flour & yeast. Knead until elastic.

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover,
let it rise for 1-2 hours, till it’s nearly doubled in bulk.

4) Gently deflate the dough, stretch it into a 4 inch thick,
about 9″ x 12″. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.

5) Roll it into a log, pinching the seam to seal.
Place the log, seam-side down on a lightly oiled surface.

6) Cover & let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till puffy but
not doubled in bulk. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

7) Gently cut the log into four crosswise slices, for mini-breads;
or cut in half, for two normal-sized loaves. Place on silicone sheet.
Spritz with warm water, immediately place them in the preheated oven.

8) Bake for 20 – 35 mnts or until the cheese is melted & loaves are
a deep golden brown. Cool on a rack.

Recipe from: HERE

Photobucket


Submitted for a food event
“Bread Baking Day #16: Cheese Bread”
Hosted by Temperance ~  For more information & participation, have a look HERE


Return to Homepage Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Experimenting with Sweet Potato

Closing in to winter, root vegetables are becoming abundant in the local market. Potatoes, daikon, regular and purple carrots, and sweet potatoes. Heavy coal smelling air is also a sign that winter is in the air. The locals still use coals as their main heating. In this part of the world, even heating is still controlled by the government who decides that heater will only be allowed to be turned on at certain times of the day. Thank God we live in a hotel with certain privileges and so much better heating. Winter here can be quite harsh when the temperature drops down to minus 25ish degree celcius.

On the streets, baked sweet potato vendors are everywhere. With RMB1 or about 1 cent USD, you can get a nice big beautiful smelling baked sweet potato with skin charred from being slowly cooked for hours in the big smoky barrel.

I have a couple of fresh sweet potatoes in the kitchen and was thinking to make a dessert. Yups, the cravings for sweets is still there. Bubur Candil  had crossed my mind actually, but not sure if he likes it. Maybe it should be a cake with some nice frosting. I found a recipe that looks yummy and settled with that one.

 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Sweet Potato Cake with palm sugar drizzles

 

In short, the cake does not taste as what I had in mind. I guess I’m a bit of an old fashioned when it comes to flavours. Sweet potato should taste like sweet potato. Not white chocolate or cream cheese or anything minty. Honestly, how can I swallow something that tastes like a mouthwash in my cake?

Fine, I guess I will stick with “bubur candil” then. I know how it should taste like. Bubur candil brings me back to my late afternoon snacks – that is after shower in front of TV watching cartoons, buka puasa with relatives or treats mom usually brings back after her grocery shopping in the market. Bubur Candil means “home”.

 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBubur Candil ~ Sweet Potato Balls in Palm Sugar syrup
drizzled with coconut milk

 Let me know if you want to know the recipe 😀

Return to Homepage Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Choux Pastry ~ Kue Sus

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I’ve put off baking since coming back from that Shenzhen trip. Trying to catch up on the vacation pics, retouching, sorting out laundry & other things. But I have this crazy cravings for sweets which seems to be getting worse since I’m on my 20th week. Mike’s been talking about how he loves custard, that particular Edmonds brand from New Zealand. Suddenly I remember all of those choux pastries my mom often made at home.

I’ve never really tried to make them myself, although I remember clearly how she does it. I used to watch her a lot in the kitchen. Helping to stir or chop something and play with flour. After a quick scrambling of recipe search on the internet, I’m settled with the one from Penny Lane  and  Joy of Cooking  *Thank you Riana!*

True, it’s probably the easiest pastry to make, but it can be tricky too. With some helpful tips, those babies can rise beautifully, puffy and hollow on the inside. My first batch wasn’t quite a success. I didn’t cook the flour long enough, the dough was sort of watery and my biggest mistake was to dump in more flour. Tsk… tsk…!  Here’s the ‘unsuccessful’  first batch. Smacked flat! the inside is still a bit doughey  😦

 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
  The first batch went flat!       But the second one works!!

Determined to get this right, I made the second batch. I remember my mom this time “Let the flour to cook long enough on the heat” she would say.  I paid close attention to the eggs too. Three eggs till the dough consistency looked perfect. Not runny.  After about 20 mnts in the oven, those babies started rising higher and higher. Beautiful! Yay! It works!!!

 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

 

CHOUX PASTRY

Ingredients:
* 130 gr high protein flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 90 gr unsalted butter
* 3 pcs eggs
* 250 ml water

Fillings:  ( I made from instant custard)
*  2 tbs custard powder from Edmonds
*  4 tbs sugar
*  2 cups of fresh milk
*  3 tbs dark rum
*  1/2 tsp crystal vanilla

Cooking Directions:
1.) Heat water, butter & salt until boiling
2.) Add flour bit by bit while whisking, keep it on low heat
3.) Ensure to whisk the dough thoroughly till well blended
4.) Turn off heat. Let it cool for a while
5.) Add eggs one by one while whisking
6.) Spoon/use pastry bag & squeeze onto silicone sheet
7.) Make a big blog, ensure no hole at the bottom
8.) Pre-heat oven 200C, bake for 25-30 mnts

Few Tips:
* Do not open the oven door while baking
* Ensure dough is on low heat while mixing the flour
* Do not take out the puff when the surface is still
   bubbling with butter. Leave it a little bit longer
* Once baked, cool on a wire rack