31 January 2011

Cornflake Cookies

Couldn't resist trying this recipe using only 1 egg white, since I had a spare egg white from a batch of pineapple tarts that I made.

At first, I thought that the cookies would not bind together and would just fall apart when you pick them up...  You see, after whisking the egg whites and adding in the cereal, the mixture was rather loose.  Thankfully, after its due time in the oven, the cookies firmed up nicely and held its shape. All you get is the crunchy goodness of your favourite cereal  :)

1 egg white
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup of your favourite cereal (I used POST Great Grains Crunchy Pecans)

Beat egg white until stiff.
Stir in sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat for a few more seconds.
Combine raisins, oats and cereal.
Mix dry and wet ingredients.
Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto your baking tray.
Bake at 170*C for 10 min or till lightly browned.

29 January 2011

Pineapple Tarts in 3 Designs

Pineapple tarts is one of my favourite Chinese New Year goodies. This was my first attempt at baking these. The initial few tarts were quite challenging, with me fumbling the tart cutters and the dough rather clumsily.

My pineapple jam was made from fresh pineapples. It was more liquid and less sweet, compared to the ready made ones.

I'll post the recipe the next time. It was from an old newspaper cutting 2 years ago.

Mini Chocolate Agar-Agar Cake

After a chance discovery of my shiraz chocolate layered cake (http://thebatterbaker.blogspot.com/2011/01/shiraz-chocolate-layered-cake.html), I decided to give it another go but this time using milk chocolate.

I made these two little cakes to thank two very sweet friends who helped to run some errands, despite their busy schedule.

Here's a closer shot of how the cake looked like.

28 January 2011

Peanut Flower Cookies (eggless)

So much for "no more cookies till next Christmas"!
It seems I can't run away from baking cookies for Chinese New Year too.  And instead of the usual rolled-up cookie balls, I decided that I'd make good use of my cookie press and make some pretty flower cookies instead. 

I'm submitting this to show my support for Aspiring Bakers #3: My Favourite CNY Cookie (Jan 2011) hosted by j3ss kitch3n.

Makes about 70-80 spritz cookies.
180g unsalted butter, softened
90g sugar (add more if you have a sweet tooth)
1 tbs vanilla
230g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
100g peanuts, shelled and preferably roasted for a nuttier flavour

- Combine flour, salt and peanuts, and blitz till peanuts are finely ground.  (If you blitz the peanuts without the flour, you'll get peanut butter!)
- In your mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy.
- Gradually add peanut flour and mix till you get a smooth dough.
- Fill up your cookie press, leaving as little air pockets as possible.  Then insert your favourite design plate into your cookie press and press out the cookies onto a baking tray.
- Bake 190*C for 10-13 min until the edges become firm and golden.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on wire rack.

Cinnamon Rolls 2

Remember my earlier Cinnamon Rolls attempt (when I overbaked it, all thanks to Food Network Channel)?

Well, I decided to have another go. This time round, instead of spacing them out individually on a baking tray, I decided to cosy them up in a smaller tin.  Plus, I added a layer of Nutella for the filling.  Yumms!  No difference to the texture, except that if you prefer crustier cinnamon rolls, then go for the spaced out arrangement.

A flashback from the earlier batch:

Which do you prefer - spaced out or cosy rolls?

26 January 2011

Shiraz Chocolate Layered Cake

This cake was a cake that was not meant to be what it was. It was supposed to be NEL's triple layered mousse cake, or rather double layered as I did not have white chocolate at home.
http://thebatterbaker.blogspot.com/2010/12/triple-chocolate-mousse-cake.html You can see that the two cakes did not have the slightest resemblance.

Well, I completely messed up the whipping cream step. Instead of whipping into a mousse, my whipping cream mixture became butter bits and milk. I made the big mistake of throwing the melted chocolate into the whipped cream when I should have folded it in gently.

As I needed the cake for a family member birthday and did not have time to make another one, I heat up my whipping cream mixture to dissolve the butter lumps. Then I added about 2 tablespoons of gelatine (soften with room temperature water) into the mixture. And preso! The mousse became chocolate agar agar after sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours. :) Tasted pretty good, I must say!

16 January 2011

Raspberry Jam cake

Tried a new sponge cake recipe today. But wasn't too pleased with the texture. Turned out rather dry and dense. So I'm not posting the recipe; just photos. 

This was how the cake looked like before frosting:

The recipe was taken from this book by Susannah Blake. Anyone has this book too?  What's your experience with the recipes?

15 January 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

Lesson learnt :: Never watch Food Network Channel when you need to mind the timer on your oven.

The consequence :: Overbaked cinnamon rolls.

Fortunately, it didn't reach the point of no return. With just a slightly overdone crisp crust, the cinnamon rolls still turned out yummy. Especially when they're fresh from the oven and still warm.

This recipe is from Joy of Baking. The only change I made was the temperature. I baked at 180*C instead of 190*C, since I used a dark pan. Surprisingly, the sugar level was just ok. It was sweet, as how you would expect a cinnamon roll to be, but not too sweet. If you're not a fan of butter, then cut down the butter for the filling. Otherwise, after about 5 minutes in the oven, you'll be hit with the aroma of butter and cinnamon. Hmmm... what a heavenly scent!

I'll let my pictures do the talking... Gonna grab another roll for myself now :)

14 January 2011

Hazelnut Marble Pound Cake

Another pound cake.  Another marble cake.
This time, I replaced half of the butter with margarine.  It was a risk, but it worked out great!
The cake had a richer flavour than just plain butter.

And today, instead of plain ol' vanilla extract, I used hazelnut syrup.  I found this in the coffee & tea section at the supermarket.  Intrigued, I picked up a bottle. (It's great for flavouring coffee, tea and hot chocolate too!)

RECIPE for a mini loaf:
55g margarine (I used Planta)
55g butter
90g sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp hazelnut syrup
1/4 tsp salt
85g flour
10g cocoa powder, dissolved with 2 tbs hot water

Beat margarine, butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add eggs, hazelnut syrup and salt and beat till well incorporated.
Fold in flour till just combined.

Divide batter to two parts.
Add cocoa mixture into one part and mix well.

Alternately scoop batters into baking pan.
Create a marbled effect by running a knife through the batter.
Bake at 160*C for 40-45 min till a skewer comes out clean.

Mini Milk Bread

This is my second loaf of milk bread this week. The crust for this bread is very soft, like those little buns sold in local bakeries.

The only difference is that I replaced the bread flour with top flour which has supposed to be extra fine and has an extra soft texture. It is usually for soft fluffy chiffon cake or cookies.

I cut three slits on the bread before the final proofing, just for the aesthetics of it.

Freshly baked, out of my favourite shocking pink silicone bakeware.

Time to tuck in!

12 January 2011

Pineapple Tarts - 1st attempt

I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #3: My Favorite CNY Cookie (Jan 2011).

And indeed my favourite CNY cookie is the humble Pineapple Tart.  I used to think that it was really difficult to make.  Maybe because of all the various p-tarts out there, I never really found one that quite compared to the one my cousin/aunt made every year.  I loved their buttery crumbly biscuit that would melt in the mouth, and the moist pineapple jam that had just the right amount of sweetness (no too sweet and dry like some awful supermarket brands).   

Initially, I hadn't planned on making pineapple tarts - because I was under the impression that it was difficult and time consuming.  But seeing so many bloggers share their experiences, and all their gorgeous pictures, I couldn't help but succumb to temptation. 

As I studied the recipes and methods, I realised the toughest part was the making of the pineapple jam from scratch.  Now that fairly good p-jam could be bought from the stores, the tough part was out of the way, and all I needed to do was to make the dough for the base.  Sounds easy enough for me :)

Makes about 50 tarts.

140g plain flour
10g cornflour
2 tbs icing sugar
1/8 tsp salt
90g butter, very cold
1 egg yolk
1 tbs cold water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
About 200g pineapple paste/jam
Milk or diluted egg yolk for glazing

Throw all ingredients from flour to butter into a food processor. 
Blitz till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Combine egg yolk, water and vanilla extract, and drizzle over the flour mixture.
With a spatula, gently fold and press the mixture into a ball. Do not overwork the dough and do not knead.  Chill the dough for 10-20 min till firm.

Roll out the dough evenly and cut out the tart base with a cookie cutter.
Glaze with milk or diluted egg yolk.
Then gently press balls of pineapple jam/paste in the centre of each tart.

Bake at 160*C for 15-20 min depending on the size of your tart.
It's done when the edges start to brown.
Let tarts cool on the baking sheet for about 2-3 min to let it firm up before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

So what is everyone baking this CNY??

11 January 2011

Mini Marble Chiffon Cheesecake

Another attempt at marbling.
This time with a chiffon version of cheesecake.  I revisited an earlier classic chiffon cheesecake recipe I used, but the results were rather disappointing.

You see, the cake rose tall and beautiful while baking.  But once it was done, and I let it cool gradually in the oven with door ajar, it deflated so much (like half the height) that it caused the cake to be so uneven.

What went wrong?  Did I overbeat the egg whites till they were too stiff??

Oh well, what the heck!  The marbling still turned out pretty nice (I'm shameless, haha) and it still tasted good.  At LEAST it still tasted good.

Victorian Milk Bread

This is a basic bread and it is easy to make. It comes with a soft crust and crumb, perfect for a morning toast with butter and jam.

I divided my dough into 3 equal parts. Having "itchy fingers", I felt that I had to add some extras into my plain bread.

So, each dough had some jam spread randomly on them after knocking down the dough the first time.

My 3-in-1 milk bread in one big loaf.

Not that pretty but well, this was part of the fun of baking. :)

Recipe (without the jam of course):
  • 300g bread flour

  • 1 tsp of instant yeast

  • 15g of sugar

  • 180ml of fresh milk (lukewarm)

  • 25g butter (softened)


  1. Mix the flour, yeast and sugar evenly.

  2. Add milk and butter.

  3. Knead until smooth and elastic.

  4. Proof until double the volume.

  5. Knock down, roll into desired shape and place into baking tin.

  6. Proof until double the volume.

  7. Bake at 200 degree celsius fo about 25 minutes.

09 January 2011

Fruit & Nut Pound Cake

I remember the days when we bought frozen Sara Lee. And every time I pulled it out of the freezer, it was rock hard. Even after a few moments in the microwave to warm it up, it was still dry. And a tad too sweet for me. 

So when I started baking, pound cake was one of the first few recipes I attempted. It looked easy enough, but as with all simple things, there is more to it than meets the eye...

My first few attempts were either too dry or too wet. But today, I think I've found a recipe that's worth sticking to. It had just the right amount of moisture, was dense yet not heavy, and with just the right amount of buttery taste without being overwhelming. The photo doesn't really do the cake justice. It's either the lighting, or just simply my lousy camera skills. 

OK, enough yapping. Here's the recipe. 

Makes a 9x5" loaf or 2 mini loaves. 

227g butter
200g sugar (up to 250g if you like it sweet)
4 eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp water
170g cake flour
60g raisins, currants, or cranberries
30g nuts (I used a mixture of pumpkin and sunflower seeds)

With your mixer on medium-high, whip butter till smooth and shiny. 
Gradually add sugar and beat till light and fluffy and almost white.

Stir together eggs, vanilla and water.
With mixer running, add egg mixture in a thin stream, and mix till fully incorporated.

Sift 1/3 of the flour over the batter.
Fold in gently with a spatula. Repeat twice more. 
Finally, fold in fruit and nut till evenly distributed.

Scrape batter into pan. Smooth top.
Bake at 160*C till skewer comes out clean, about 80 min for large loaf pan and 40 min for mini pans. 
When done, allow cake to cool in the pan for 5 min before unmoulding onto a cooling rack to cool completely. 

One thing still baffles me:  Why does the pound cake always split on top?  Has anyone found a way to make pound cake with a nice smooth top?  Please tell me...