Sunday, 2 August 2015

Chocolate Chip Teabread

I thought I have lots of chocolate bars in the refrigerator. When I was about to prepare the ingredients to bake this teabread, realised that I didn't have enough of dark milk chocolate. So I modified slightly to the recipe with mixture of some white milk chocolate and replaced with chocolate rice to sprinkle onto the buttercream.

Recipe adapted from the cookbook *Just 5 Ingredients Cakes & Desserts Published by Hamlyn (see *note below).

Chocolate Chip Teabread 
125g slightly salted butter, softened
2 eggs
25g cocoa powder
150g milk chocolate, chopped into 5mm pieces {reserved about 25g to scatter on top of cake}
(I used 90g mixture of dark & white milk chocolate)
125g light muscovado sugar  (I reduced to 80g)
125g self-raising flour

50g unsalted butter, softened
75g icing sugar, sifted (I reduced to 50g)
1 teaspoon of cocoa powder, sifted
3 tablespoons of Chocolate rice

Method :
1) Grease a 500g or 750ml loaf tin and line with non-stick baking paper.

2) Preheat oven to 160ºC.

3) Sift the flour together with cocoa powder and set aside.

4) In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar with electric mixer till light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time beat till combined.

5) Add the sifted flour continue to whisk for about a minute until light and creamy. Mix in the chopped chocolate to the bowl.

6) Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for about 50 minutes or until firm to the touch, a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

7) Loosen the cake and transfer to a wire rack. Peel of the lining paper and leave to cool.

To make the Buttercream :
In a clean mixing bowl, beat together butter and icing sugar till pale and creamy with electric mixer. Add in cocoa powder and mix till incorporated.
Spread the buttercream over the top of the cake and sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of chocolate rice.

* note:
When I saw the published title "Just 5 Ingredients Cakes & Desserts" ... I literally thought that all the recipes use only 5 or less ingredients. But according to the author "this series requires you to remember a few storecupboard extras only (eg. Flour, sugar, baking powder, oil etc.) ... make sure you have at least some of them at home at all times so that you know you are just five ingredients away from a decent dessert."

Our weekend afternoon tea break with slices of decadent chocolatey teabread!
Enjoy & have a great weekend !

Happy baking ^-^ !

This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up (August 2015 : Brown Sugar and Molasses) organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY, and hosted by Jess from Bakericious.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Earl Grey Shortbread Stamped Cookies

HOMEMADE cookies are so yummy-licious that they'll bring you a big SMILE ^-^!

I received these 2 lovely cookie stamps ... a gift from Germany. I know using shortbread recipe would be ideal to make a batch of nice stamped cookies. I've got a recipe from my baking sifu (master) friend but I was unable to try it out sooner as my kitchen was "hot like oven" due to the hot weather here lately.  No mood to do much baking over the weekends.

Finally! I got to play with these stamps to bake some shortbread cookies. Hmm ... I seldom use tea in baking & cooking ... to support LTU event theme Tea, I've added some tea leaves to the cookie dough.  
Ta-da ! Earl Grey Shortbread Stamped Cookies ! Lol .... hee .. hee !

Besides the cookie stamps, I've also got
a pack of sweet colourful cupcakes print napkins  

My slightly modified version to the recipe :
Earl Grey Shortbread Stamped Cookies
Makes about 20 using cookie stamps (size 3 inch and 2 inch).
Ingredients :
260g cake flour
20g milk powder (I replaced with *rice flour)
1/2 teaspoon Earl Grey tea leaves (my addition)
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g icing sugar (I reduced to 70g)
140g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg at room temperature

Method :
1. Sift the flours together with baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Cut open one Earl Grey teabag, scoop 1/2 teaspoon of tea leaves. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of the electric mixer, cream the butter and icing sugar until till pale and fluffy.

4. Add the egg, vanilla extract and tea leaves and continue whisk for another 1 minute.

5. Gently fold in the flour mixture with a spatula just until incorporated. Flattened the dough slightly and wrap with cling wrap. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

6. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

7. Roll dough between a sheet of parchment paper and cling wrap to about 5mm thickness. Remove the top cling wrap.

8. If using these cookie stamps, you will need cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Lighty dust the cookie stamp and cutter with flour before stamping/cutting rounds. Lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheets with a flat edge spatula. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for about 2 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked)

9. Bake for about 20 minutes or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I read that *rice flour gives the shortbread a slightly crunchy texture.
The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.
You can use any of your preferred cookie cutters if you don't have the cookie stamps.
These cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or jar for about one week.

Enjoy these rich, tender yet crumbly soft shortbread cookies ... with a cup of tea or coffee.
Happy baking and have a great week ahead :D


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Banana Nut Muffins

Quick fix for our morning brekkie ... Banana nut muffins :D

Recipe adapted from : Simply Recipes with slight changes made in blue below.

Banana Nut muffins
Ingredients :
2 to 3 ripe bananas, smashed
70g melted unsalted butter
145g caster sugar (I reduced to 90g)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon strong brewed coffee or espresso, or a pinch of instant coffee granules mixed with a tablespoon of water (optional)
(I added 1 tablespoon brewed coffee)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
190g plain all-purpose flour
172g chopped walnuts (toasted or raw) (I used 70g silvered almonds)

Method :
1) Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Position the rack in the center.
With a wooden spoon, mix melted butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.

2) Mix in the sugar, egg, coffee and vanilla.

3) Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.

4) Add the flour, mix until it is just incorporated. Fold in the nuts.

5) Pour mixture into a prepared muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean, it's done. Cool on a wire rack.

Yum yum ! nice freshly baked Banana Nut Muffins ... served warm and enjoy !

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Tea Leaf Eggs (Cha Ye Dan 茶叶蛋)

Tea Leaf Eggs (Cha Ye Dan 茶叶蛋)

According wikipedia :
"Tea egg is a typical Chinese savory food commonly sold as a snack, in which a pre-boiled egg is cracked and then boiled again in tea, sauce and/or spices. It is also known as marble egg because cracks in the egg shell create darkened lines with marble-like patterns. Commonly sold by street vendors or in night markets in most Chinese communities throughout the world, it is also commonly served in Asian restaurants. Although it originated from China and is traditionally associated with Chinese cuisine, other similar recipes and variations have been developed throughout Asia."

Pots of hot boiling or simmering Cha Ye Dan 茶叶蛋 could still be found at some night markets (Pasar  Malam) and some Chinese herbal medical shops, although very rare nowadays. In most shopping malls, almost 'non-existence'. That explains why my big kids have never seen/tasted Cha Ye Dan.

But … Honestly, I've only eaten once and that was many years ago although I loved to smell the very aromatic herbs Cha Ye Dan fragrance. Why? Because it’s so inconvenient … having to peel the egg shell and munch along my way … ha .. ha.. so cumbersome lor ! I would rather pick up a curry puff or bun if I needed some quick snacks to munch while doing my 'window shopping'.  So, why not take away (tabau) then  ?! … hee .. hee … I didn’t want to become “the center of attraction” due the strong herbal fragrance when I commute home by public transport.

Google search some recipes ... glad to know that it’s pretty easy to make Cha Ye Dan at home ^-^!

Recipe source : Taiwan om nom
My slight modification below, added some light soy sauce & peppercorns.

Tea Leaf Eggs 茶葉蛋 Cha Ye Dan
10 eggs (or any amount to cook in a suitable pot/saucepan)

Ingredients (B) tea & herbs
1.5 litre of boiling water
3 Tablespoons light soy sauce
3 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 Tablespoons black tea leaves (eg. Oolong, Pu-er, Tie Guan Yin)
2 cinammon stick
2 star anise
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, lightly bruised

Method :
Place the eggs in a pot or saucepan with cold water enough to cover the eggs.  Bring to boil in low flame. Off the flame and cover the pot let stand for about 10 minutes.

While making the hard boiled eggs, I used the electric slow cooker to make the tea & herbs. (I didn't want to watch the fire if using pots or saucepan over stove) Place the sauces, tea leaves & spices as listed in (B) in the inner pot of the slow cooker. Add about 1.5 litre of boiling water (or enough to cover the eggs). Set to high function.

Rinse the eggs with cold water till they are cooled. Drain the water. Gently crack the outer shell with the back of a spoon to create the marble effect.

Put the eggs in the slow cooker to boil. When it comes to a boil, set to low function to simmer for about 2 hours. The longer the simmer, the better the taste. I turned off the switch and let the eggs steep in the slow cooker overnight.

Yummy!  Nice tea herbal  fragrant. My big kids liked 茶葉蛋 ! Me too !


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes

I made these light and fluffy soft buttermilk pancakes a few times. My big kids loved them very much and commented "they tasted like McD hotcakes :D".

I've added some mashed pumpkin to the batter ... so we have another variation of pancakes .... Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes for our weekend brekkie ^-^!

Recipe source : myrecipes
Below my slightly modified version with added mashed pumpkin.

Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes
Ingredients :
126g all-purpose flour
1.5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt

60g mashed pumpkin (peeled and deseeded, cut roughly in small pieces and steam the pumpkin till softened. Drain any water and mash the pumpkin with a fork while still hot)
200g Buttermilk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Method :
1) Lightly whisk and combine the dry ingredients (A) in a large bowl, and make a well in centre of mixture.

2) In another smaller bowl, whisk ingredients (B) till combined and pour to (A) and whisk with a manual whisk until smooth.

3) Heat the non-stick griddle or pan with low flame. Dap some cooking oil with kitchen towel and lightly grease onto the non-stick griddle or pan.

4) Spoon batter of your desired size into the pan (big spoon, ladle or ice-cream scoop).
Flip gently with a spatula when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Cook for another 1 - 2 minutes or till golden brown on both sides.

Serve with drizzled maple syrup over the warm pancakes. Top with your preferred berries/fruits or savoury ham/bacon.

So fluffy soft ^-^!
Yummy ! Enjoy ... simply ♡ these fluffy soft pancakes!

Linking this post to the Best Recipes for Everyone
 July 2015 Event : I have a date with "Pumpkin"
organized by Fion of XuanHom's Mom and co-hosted by Rachel

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Lavender and Toasted Walnut Scones

It has been quite some time I've not baked scones and the last time I've made a batch of Sunflower Sultana Scones was last year.

Hmm ... Made a quick batch of lavender and walnut scones for our weekend coffee/tea break ^-^! Aren't these star-shaped scones pretty ?

Recipe source :

My slightly modified version below as I've halved the recipe and yielded about 13 pcs. I did not make the glaze as I've got some butter and apricot jam for spread.

Lavender and Toasted Walnut Scones
For the Biscuits:
1 teaspoon dried lavender
30g walnut pieces
190g all-purpose flour
1.5 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
85g unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1 small egg
90g buttermilk, cold
1 tablespoon buttermilk for brushing the top

Method :
Lightly toast the walnut for about 5 minutes in preheated oven at 170°C. Or until slightly browned and fragrant.  Remove from the oven to cool completely.  Chop coarsely and set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and position the rack in the center. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Using a clean cutting board and the back of a knife, grind or press the dried lavender into smaller pieces to bring out the essential oil and the fragrance.

Whisk together egg and buttermilk in a bowl or jug.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add lavender. Next, rub the cold butter into the flour with your finger tips, lifting the flour from the bottom up on top, until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.

Toss the walnut into the dry ingredient mixture, and create a small well in the center of the flour and butter mixture. Pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture, all at once, and use a fork to incorporate the ingredients.  Make sure that all of the flour bits are moistened by the egg and buttermilk.

Dump the shaggy dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Bring together, kneading lightly, until the dough forms a half-inch thickness, rectangular shape.
(*note: The dough should not be overworked as may end up with a hard and doughy scones).
I used a star-shaped cookie cutter. Cut out the biscuits with lightly floured cookie cutter.

Place them on prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with buttermilk and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown or until lightly golden brown on top and firm in the center. Cool the scones on a wire rack.

Serve split, spread with jam or low-fat spread.

Scones are best served the day they’re made.

Loved these crusty scones with light and soft texture ... and a hint fragrance of lavender with every bite.  I liked them to be served warm with some apricot jam and a cuppa !

Enjoy! Happy baking and have a great weekend ahead ^-^!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Green Tea & Red Bean Agar Agar

My big kids don't like matcha flavour Japanese green tea. I've ever used green tea or matcha powder to bake muffins or cupcakes, in desserts like Matcha Tiramisu and pudding .... sad to say ... from their facial expressions + comments given ... I know green tea is not their "cup of tea" :(

Was sipping my cup of green tea and was thinking perhaps they may like the chilled sweetened green tea agar agar due to the hot weather lately ... Yep ... hee.. hee ... ! Afterall, I've got a pack of sweet red bean paste bought from Daiso few weeks ago but didn't use it for an intended recipe.

These light greenish Green Tea agar agar may not look appealing ... still due to the hot weather here, kinda refreshing when served cold.  Perfect with red bean paste filling ^-^!

Green Tea & Red Bean Agar Agar
Ingredients :
500ml strained green tea
1 tablespoon Green Tea leaves
1.5 tablespoon granulated sugar (* do adjust the sweetness to your preference)
6g Agar Agar powder
200g Red Bean paste

Using the method per packaging for making agar agar, I replaced the water with tea :
1) Add about 600ml of boiling water in a teapot with tea leaves. Cover and steep for 10 - 15 minutes. Strain 500ml of tea, discard the tea leaves.

2) Make the sweet red bean paste into small balls, or just spoonfuls, drop them into moulds and set aside.

3) Mix the agar agar powder and sugar together well. Pour the mixture into the green tea. Cook with low flame and stirring occasionally and bring to a boil. Off the flame.

4) Pour into mould, chill to set in fridge a few hours before serving.

Glad that they finished all ... although they have commented that "desserts not sweet enough ... could taste green tea flavour ... too strong" ...
I've reduced the amount of sugar quite drastically as I reckoned that the sweetness of red bean paste filling would compliment the tea flavour ... hee .. hee ... my kind of dessert though :D

Enjoy your weekend!