28 February 2013

Danish Butter Cookies

I've been busy. Very busy. 
Ok, maybe just a tad bit lazy. 

My last post was in October last year!!  (*gasps in horror*)

What have I been up to?
Since my last post, there was the holiday in Bangkok (too much eating).
Then the work trip to Hong Kong (more food, and 'looting' at Twins Co., Hong Kong's Phoon Huat equivalent). 
And then there was Christmas (more food), New Year (more food), Chinese New Year (more food). 
And then a week in Melbourne (omg, more food again!).  

Ok, I need to slow down (on food). Take it easy for a while and maybe detox a little. 
But then Alan of Travelling Foodies had to post his sinfully gorgeous photos of his perfect Danish Butter Cookies and throw my diet detox plan totally off course!

My first attempt at his recipe actually didn't turn out too well. The butter was not soft enough so I ended up with a really stiff batter that almost gave me a broken wrist trying to pipe the batter.

This time round, I let the butter soften sufficiently and it worked its magic! I didn't even use a mixer! Just some good old elbow grease :) 

Now, since I'm on my diet detox plan, I halved his recipe. But because I didn't want to have half an egg leftover, I took Alan's advice and replaced the half egg with 25g butter. It worked perfectly! Eggless cookies!!

adapted from Travelling Foodies

125g butter, softened 
60g icing sugar 
165g flour 
1-2 tbs vanilla extract

Put all ingredients into a bowl. 
With a wooden spoon, stir everything together till well combined. 
Transfer to a cookie press (or cookie gun) and pipe onto baking tray. 
Bake at 190*C for 10 min. 
Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 
When cool, store in an airtight container.

How not to be tempted by this?

Thank you to Alan of Travelling Foodies, who tempted me with his gorgeous photos, shared this fabulous recipe, and patiently helped me troubleshoot when my first attempt at these cookies didn't turn out quite so well. 

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17 October 2012

Chocolate Minicakes (chiffon method)

I was in the mood for chocolate.

Chocolate with something else.
But I couldn't decide on that 'something else'. 
So I made them all!

Chocolate cake with Ferrero Rocher.
Chocolate cake with almonds.
Chocolate cake with chocolate chips.

This time round, I decided to try my usual cupcake recipe with a twist.
Instead of the usual creaming method, I made these using the chiffon or egg separation method.

The result: a lighter fluffier cake but a little drier.
I reckon it's the meringue.

I can't say if this yielded a better result or not. It's really a matter of personal taste. If you like lighter cakes, this is the way to go; but if you favour denser, richer, moister cakes, then the creaming method would be your choice.

CHOCOLATE CAKE (chiffon method)
Makes 8 regular sized cupcakes.

50g chocolate, plus milk to make 1/2 cup or 120ml volume
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
30g sugar
80g butter
70g sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g plain flour
10g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder

In a glass measuring cup, measure 50g of chocolate.
Then pour in milk till it reaches the 1/2 cup or 120ml mark.
Microwave the mixture, stirring frequently, till the chocolate is melted and thoroughly mixed with the milk.
Set aside to cool.

Combine egg whites, cream of tartar and 30g sugar in a mixing bowl.
Whisk till soft peaks form.
Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add egg yolks one at a time till well combined.
Add vanilla extract.
Add cooled chocolate milk mixture and mix well. 

Sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Add to batter and mix on low till just combined.
Add the meringue and mix on low till just combined.
Or for an even lighter cake, fold in the meringue using a spatula or balloon whisk.

The batter is now ready for the cupcake liners.
For the Rocher cake, fill cupcake liner 3/4, then place a Rocher on top.
For the almond cake, sprinkle some sliced almonds on top.
For the triple choc chip cake, stir some choc chips into the batter, then fill the cupcake liner. Sprinkle top with more choc chips!

Bake at 150*C for about 25 mins.
Best served warm.
Or better still, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream :)


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More cake recipes can be found HERE.

15 September 2012

Mini Strawberry Cheesecake

I used to dread making cheesecake.
Only because it would take 60-90 minutes in the oven!!
(That's way too long for an impatient person like me.)

But then I realised that if I made minis, it would take just 20 minutes!!
And it eliminated the need for messy slicing.
And they're much cuter :)
And I get to use my hoard of cupcake liners.
What's not good about mini cheesecakes??

Makes 10 minis.

180g Digestive biscuits, crushed
50g butter, melted

Stir melted butter into crushed biscuits till even combined.
Equally divide among the cupcake liners.
Press into the base of the cupcake liners.
Set aside while you prepare the filling.

375g cream cheese
80g sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
2 eggs
2 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Allow the cream cheese to soften till it reaches room temperature. If you use cream cheese that's still cold, there's a high risk of curdling, and that won't make nice cheesecake.

With the paddle attachment, cream the cheese and sugar till evenly blended.
Add eggs one at a time, allowing each addition to combine completely before adding the next.
Add milk and vanilla extract till thoroughly combined.

Divide mixture equally among cupcake liners.
It's ok to fill the liners almost to the brim, as these don't rise much in the oven.
Bake at 140*C in a water bath for 20 min.

Chill the cakes in the fridge after they cool down to room temperature.
Best to make these a day in advance to let the flavours mature.
Just before serving, spoon 1 tsp of strawberry jam onto the top of the cake and top with half a strawberry.

Or simply enjoy it plain!


Click HERE for more cheesecake recipes.

10 September 2012

Hawaiian & Portobello Pizza

Why wait an hour for pizza delivery when you can make your own in the same time with fresh pizza dough and as much topping as you like?
Plus, I guarantee it's cheaper and more delicious!

Don't believe me?
Then give this a try and tell me your verdict.

Makes a 12x12" pizza.

150ml warm water
1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt
1-1/4 tsp instant yeast

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
225g bread flour

Stir sugar and salt into warm water to dissolve.
Sprinkle yeast over water and set aside for about 10 min to activate the yeast.

Add olive oil and flour. Stir till dough comes together. 
Then knead till smooth and springy.

Place ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl. 

Proof for about 30 min till double in size.

Punch dough down. Rest 5 min.
Flour the dough ball generously, then press evenly into a greased 12x12" pan.

Spread pizza sauce on top of the dough. (I took a short cut today and just used pasta sauce from a jar.) Sprinkle generously with oregano and some freshly cracked black pepper.

Then layer on your favourite toppings.
For Hawaiian: ham and pineapple cubes (I used canned pineapples, drained and rinsed) 
For Portobello: bacon and portobello mushrooms, sliced

Finally, sprinkle with mozarella cheese. 

Bake in a 200*C oven for about 20 min.  

Best enjoyed when still warm!

More pizza ideas: 

24 August 2012

Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

I've been really busy with so many things lately - work, chores, errands, other hobbies, salsa classes, family, friends, home improvement projects...
Goodness, and I don't even have kids yet!  How do those working moms do it??

So, this is gonna be a real quick post to share with you a new recipe I tried recently. I was looking for cream cheese frosting recipes and chanced upon one that used whipped cream instead of butter!

Now, doesn't that sound nice?  No butter :) 

But before I dive into the recipe, I just wanted to digress for a moment so I can abuse this blog and brag a bit about the cushion covers I designed myself and just finished knitting :)

I bought the yarn on my New Zealand holiday 2 years ago. Yes, 2 long years! I have a (bad) habit of hoarding long lists of "To Do" projects. Please console me and tell me I'm not the only one with this terrible habit?

Alright, ok, my 5 seconds of bragging is over. Now back to the recipe...

Makes about 20 mini cupcakes.

80g butter
95g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tbs lemon juice
100ml milk
130g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder, sifted with flour
60g grated coconut

Cream butter and sugar till pale and fluffy.
Gradually add eggs and extracts, and mix till thoroughly combined.
Add lemon juice and milk and mix well.
Mix in flour and baking powder on low speed till just combined.
Then fold in grated coconut till evenly distributed.
Fill baking cups till about 80% full.
Bake at 150*C for 15-18 min till done.
Cool completely before frosting.

Makes more than enough for 20 mini cupcakes.

100g cream cheese, softened
80g caster sugar (more or less according to preference)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon extract (optional)
yellow food colouring (optional)
180ml whipping cream

Combine cream cheese, half of the sugar, extracts and colouring.
Whisk or cream until smooth. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk whipping cream and the remaining half sugar until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold whipped cream into cream cheese till evenly combined.
Transfer to a piping bag attached with your preferred piping tip and decorate your cupcakes!  

The frosting was a little weepy in the hot and humid climate I live in. So next time, I'll try adding a little gelatin into the frosting to see if it'll help stabilise the frosting. Will post the results when I try this again. 

These little cuppies were made specially for a gathering with a group of fellow baking enthusiasts who were such fun company and so generous (aka way too much food). Hope you ladies and gents enjoyed it :)

I may not have time to post the food porn from the gathering, but I don't want you to miss out on the titillating images, so please head over to their blogs to check out the X-rated photos  :)

Passionate About Baking - Grilled Vege Frittata, Creamy Prawn & Mushroom Canapes
Dreamersloft - Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Precious Moments - Banana Sherbet, Coffee Ice Cream

Peng's Kitchen - Cherry Cake
All That Matters - Puff Biscuits, Chicken Stew
Honey Bee Sweets - Chicken Kebabs
Travelling Foodies - Ikan Gerang Assam, Durian Apam Balik, Macaron Roselle
@kokken - Ngoh Hiang
Wen's Delight - Korean Rice Rolls
Baking Library - Chicken Pies
I Love. I Cook. I Bake. - Steamed Pandan Brownies, Chocolate Pudding
Annielicious Food - Tiramisu

07 July 2012

Chiffon Cheesecake with Hershey's Syrup Swirls

It's been a long time since I had chiffon cheesecake, better known as Japanese cheesecake to some. Many of you would already be familiar with this, so it needs no introduction.

For a little bit of fun, I added some Hershey's Syrup into some batter and marbled it on the top. While the visual effect was quite nice, I didn't quite taste enough Hershey's. More next time!!!

with Hershey's Syrup Swirls
Makes a 6x9" cake.

20g butter
115g cream cheese
45ml milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 tbs vanilla extract
1/2 tbs lemon juice
30g cake or plain flour
10g corn flour
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
65g caster sugar
60ml Hershey's syrup

Melt butter, cheese and milk over a water bath. (Or just stick it in the microwave in 10-second shots, stirring in between till you get a smooth mixture.)
Set aside to cool.

Add egg yolks, vanilla extract and lemon juice and stir till well combined.
Combine the flours, then sift it into the mixture and stir till well combined. 

In a clean mixing bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar.
Whisk till soft peaks form.

Pour egg whites into cheese mixture and fold gently (preferably with a balloon whisk) till no whites streaks are visible.

Pour batter into a greased and lined baking tin, saving just about 1/2 cup (120ml) of batter. Add Hershey's syrup into the remaining batter and stir gently will well combined. Randomly dot the top with the Hershey's mixture, then use a chopstick to create swirls.

Bake at 160*C in a water bath for 45-50 min till a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top has browned nicely.

Best to slice the cake when chilled so that there are less crumbs.

03 July 2012

Mini Oreo Cupcakes

I've been wanting to bake Oreo cupcakes for a while. And I finally got down to it some weeks ago.

You can use any Oreo flavour you like, but I think the classic flavour is still the best :)

You may not be able to tell from the pictures, but these are really small and cute! Each cupcake is only about 3cm in diameter. They're just too cute!! (If you're wondering, these cupcake liners are from Phoon Huat. Look for item code 13189.)

Makes about 20 mini cupcakes.

80g butter
90g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml whipping cream
130g plain flour
5g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
4 Oreos, filling scraped off and set aside, biscuits crushed

Sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Set aside. 
Beat butter and sugar till fluffy.
Add Oreo filling, eggs and vanilla extract and beat till well combined.
Add whipping cream and beat till well combined.
Add flour mixture and briefly beat till just combined.
Gently fold in crushed Oreos. (The Oreos can be roughly smashed into chunky bits, which will give a nice texture to the cupcake. But if you prefer a more refined texture, then finely crush them.)

Spoon into paper liners and bake at 160*C for 12-15 min. (Regular sized cupcakes will take 15-20 min.)
Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, I used Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Recipe can be found here

For the toppings, I used crushed Oreos, desiccated coconut, chocolate rice and rainbow sprinkles.