Archive for Desserts & Treats

My coffee affair: Macademia Brownies


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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


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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


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** Recipe Source: Just Desserts by Daniel Tay


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Scrumptious Strawberry Cheesecake

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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…


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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.


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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.


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Allspice Cookies ~ Speculaas


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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


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** Recipe from NCC Community


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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 😀

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Choux Pastry ~ Kue Sus

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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  😦

 

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  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!!!

 

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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

Rosewater Panna Cotta

 

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Rosewater. Ancient’s most romantic herbs used in various recipes during the Arab Empire to make sweet drinks and desserts or for seasoning savory dishes. I just love the idea of making sweets using rosewater. The sweet scent of  rose beautifully lingers on a little longer in the mouth after the the food has gone.

I love it!

Today, I decided to cook up a simple dessert with divine flavours of rosewater. Rosewater is a rare thing to find here in Inner Mongolia, but I managed to buy a bottle a few weeks ago. I’ve kept it for a while and now it’s the perfect time to make one. After last night’s simpe birthday party at home, left me with some ingredients, enough to make panna cotta – plus there’re lots of red roses for my photo props.

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ROSEWATER PANNA COTTA
(makes 6/7 pcs)

*  100 gr caster sugar
*  500 ml heavy cream
*  100 gr sour cream
*  4 tbs rosewater (dillute in 1 cup of water)
*  10 gr gelatine powder
*  sprinkles of vanilla crystal

1.)  Heat sugar, vanilla & rosewater + water in a pan
2.)  When sugar dissolved, add gelatine. Careful not to boil
3.)  Whisk it until gelatine dissolves completely
4.)  Add heavy cream. Cook through
5.)  Pour mixture into panna cotta moulds
6.)  Let it cool – refrigerate for 4/5 hrs until set.
7.)  Drizzle with rosewater syrup

 

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THIS POSTING IS SUBMITTED FOR  “SUGAR HIGH FRIDAY” hosted by SUSAN.
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Strawberry Cupcakes

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I love cooking. But baking is still a pretty new thing for me. Although I used to watch and help mom baked when I was a kid – she’s quite an expert in that field and does it as her side business, none of her baking skills seem to stick with me. My baking experience so far hasn’t been exactly a smooth ride; lots of hiccups that ends up in baking disasters. You name it, I’ve been through all of them: burnt cakes, underbaked bread, flat head muffins, dough that won’t rise and budge, etc. But not today

I wasn’t really planning on baking anything when I saw these beautifully ripe strawberries from Beijing stacked up on a display in the supermarket. They smell soooo sweet. I have to get them. Will decide later what to do with them.

Flipping through some cook books, I think I found a recipe from 500 Cupcakes Recipe Book. So simple to make and so wonderfully creamy with quite a distinct strawberry scent in it. Beautiful!!!

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STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES
Simple yet sophisticated!

Ingredients:
* 225 gram unsalted butter – softened
* 225 caster sugar
* 225 self-raising flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 4 eggs – room temp
* 1 tsp strawberry essence
* 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

For ICING:
* 200 gr cream cheese
* 375 gr icing sugar, sieved
* 225 gr unsalted butter, softened
* pink food coloring
* silver balls/sliced fresh strawberries
~ Whisk all with electric whisk until smooth

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Directions:
1.) Preheat oven 175C/350F – prepare baking cases in muffin tins
2.) Combine butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs & essence
     Beat with electric whisk until light and creamy
3.) Stir in chopped fresh strawberries
4.) Spoon batter into cases. Bake for 20 mnts
5.) Remove cupcakes and cool on a rack
6.) Spread icing on top of cupcakes

Recipe from 500 Cupcakes

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