Sunday, 21 August 2016

Apricot Lemon Biscotti

Do you enjoy biscotti? I simply enjoy dunking crunchy & nutty biscotti in coffee.

Not sure why ... just hoping that the month of December will arrive any time sooner.  And biscotti is always my first edible homebake Christmas gift that I will associate with in the festive season. When I have the time to spare, I'll be in the mood of 'biscotti therapeutic baking' to bake some as giveaway gifts, some flavors  hereherehere & here

Have craving for biscotti today ...  baked a small batch of Apricot Lemon Biscotti, recipe adapted here with slightly tweaked a little in the ingredients
Apricot Lemon Biscotti
 1 egg
 50g caster sugar
 1 teaspoon lemon zest
 150g plain flour
 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
 2 teaspoons lemon juice
 6 dried apricots, finely chopped
 30g almond lightly toasted and coarsely  chopped

Step 1
Preheat oven to 180°C. Position the rack in center of oven. *Note : The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.
Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Set aside.

Step 2
Using an electric mixer, beat egg, sugar and lemon zest until thick and pale. Add in the lemon juice and continue beating till combined.  Sift over flour and baking powder. Add almond and apricots. Stir to combine with a spatula.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly until smooth. Shape into a 20cm long log. Place on prepared tray. Flatten slightly.

Step 3
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool on tray for 15 minutes.

Step 4
Reduce oven temperature to 140°C.

Gently transfer the log onto a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice log diagonally into 5mm-thick slices. I reused the baking paper. Place slices, in a single layer, on baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, or until dry and crisp. Stand on tray for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Can be stored in an airtight container for a week.

Enjoy !

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Because of its richness in butter, I seldom bake pound cakes or butter cakes.
According to  wikipedia  :The traditional pound cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar.

But it's been a long time since I've last baked a cherry lemon pound cake or rich butter cake.  Now, got some leftover cream cheese in the fridge and not knowing what to do with it.  Decided to bake this  ... butter + cream cheese = extra-rich pound cake ! (How am I  gonna shed my extra pounds ... Ha ha!)

Recipe source : Martha Stewart
Below my slightly modified version as I've scaled down to about 1/3 recipe and reduced the sugar quantity.

126g all-purpose plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs (the size of my egg is 60g each with shell)
100g caster sugar
113g salted butter, softened
113g cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method :
1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Position the rack in center of oven. Note : The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.
Sift together the plain flour and baking powder and set aside.

2) Butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) a 4x8-inch loaf pan.

3) With an electric mixer or hand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese in medium speed until smooth. Gradually add caster sugar in 2 additions, beat for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

4) Next,  add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Adjust the mixer on low speed, add in the flour and beat until just combined.

5) Pour batter into prepared pan and gently tap the pan a few times on table top to release the trapped bubbles in the batter. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, or until cakes are domed, nicely browned. If the cake seem to be browning too quickly, tent with a sheet of aluminium foil. Check for doneness with a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake if it comes out clean.

6) Cool the cake in pan for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Feel free to dust with icing sugar or glaze the pound cake if you like.  But I'm enjoying few two slices as it is ... love this nice golden brown crust, extra moist with fine crumbs and a hint of buttery fragrance. Yeah consume in moderation :)

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Lemon Yogurt Mini Bunny Cubes

Have you ever thought of baking mini cakes or muffins using Origami instead of the usual ready store bought muffin or cupcake liners? I’m sure you will love these mini DIY cakes using Origami technique. 

When my kids were young (probably age 4 to 6), we loved spending our leisure time in folding Origami together. Click here to find out about Origami.  With the tutorial instructions given on the book, it was not too difficult to use colourful Origami papers to fold simple shapes like heart, boat, flowers to slightly complicated steps for cute animals/insects like cow, dog, cat and butterfly, dragonfly etc.  Sometimes we would fold simple shapes and pasted them on DIY birthday cards for their kindergarten friends. 

Ever since they have grown up, we hardly … or rather, never make Origami together.

Inspired by Parchment Bunny Cubes the bunnies were folded in Origami, I lay my hands on Origami again … to have some fun in baking mini cakes with DIY parchment paper folded like bunny. I tried out just 4 …. Cut the size of parchment paper 20cm x 20cm.  Refer here for folding balloon rabbit 

Since we like loved the fragrant Rosemary Lemon Yogurt Cake, and easy to bake ... I modified slightly to make as mini cakes.

Lemon Yogurt Mini Bunny Cubes 
Make 7 mini cakes (3 cupcakes & 4 Origami bunny cubes)
Ingredients A
65g caster sugar
125g yogurt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon zest of lemon

Ingredients B
100g self-raising flour (sifted)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt

1) Position the rack in the center and preheat oven to 190°C.

2) Put all the ingredients A in a medium size mixing bowl and whisk together until incorporated.

3) Add in the sifted flour and the rest of ingredients B to the mixing bowl. Whisk until no lumps remain. Pour the batter into piping bag, pipe through the small hole (nose) to about slightly more than half for the bunny.  Fill the cupcake liner to about ¾ full.  Place all onto a baking tray.

4) Bake for about 25 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake if it comes out clean.

5) Transfer the bunny cubes and muffin cups to wire rack for cooling.  Serve warm if you like.

Note :
1) I made a slight mess on the spilled batter around the "nose". So I thought to 'camouflage' the unslightly stain by covering it with mini chocolate chip. It didn't help as it  become dark and clearly visible. I should have wiped clean the pipping nozzle.

2) The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

I'm sure this Origami Bunny cubes will be a fun & crafty DIY baking-together with young children ^-^!

Enjoy and have fun in Origami baking !

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Peach & Cream Cheese Muffins

It was raining heavily outside when baked some muffins.  So timely to serve those freshly baked muffins on the plate which printed "Rainy Day" that I had bought from Daiso :)


Recipe adapted from :
Baking Equals Love
Below my slight modification made in using self-raising flour, replaced apricot with peach and reduced the quantity of some ingredients.

Peach & Cream Cheese Muffins
Makes 9 muffins

Dry ingredients A
160g self-raising flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
90g caster sugar

Wet ingredients B
100 ml fresh milk
50g canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

5 peach halves (canned peach), drained
60g - 70g cream cheese diced into 9 cubes

Method :
1. Position the rack in the center and preheat oven to 190°C. (The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly).
Place 9 cupcake liners in a 12 cup muffin tray, set aside. Or you could just use muffin cups.

2. Drain the peaches, give a brief rinse and pat dry with kitchen towel. Dice 3 peach halves and set aside. Slice 2 peach halves into slices to decorate the batter top. 

3. Dry ingredients : Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk briefly. Make a well in the centre.

4. Wet ingredients : In a large measuring jug or bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients B. Pour the mixture in the dry ingredients and fold gently with a spatula a few times to combine. Add the diced peaches and fold in quickly and gently until only just mixed. Do not over mix. The end result of over-mixing is a tough texture.

5. Spoon the batter into the baking cups using an ice-cream scoop. Fill about 3/4 full. Gently push each cubed cream cheese into the middle of each muffin, making sure the cream cheese is covered by muffin mixture.  Place a slice of peach on top.

6. Bake at 190°C for 22 - 25 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tray and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm and best eaten warm on the day of baking. If unable to consume all within the day, refrigerate the muffins in air-tight container and warm it up the next day.

The texture of most muffins are usually dense and some drier but these muffins turned out slightly moist and fluffy.  I absolutely enjoy this kinda fruity cheesy muffin ... a slightly crisps crust with light fluffy soft texture.  More so with a cup of hot coffee on a rainy day :)

Hope for more sunshine for the coming weekends.  Happy Baking :)

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Chicken Mushroom & Ham Quiche

When was the last time I'd baked a quiche?  .... Couldn't recall when was the last time ... but I think I've baked it once last year.

I've made many times of mini quiches in Year 2014, replicated from the recipe here with different choice of fillings.

Decided to bake a big savoury quiche (25cm pie dish) for our weekend lunch. Realised that my "pie skills" had turned rusty :( .... should have rolled the pastry dough thinner.

Big kids were delighted a big fragrant quiche was served for lunch. ... hee... hee ... perhaps they really missed mom's "signature dish" ? LOL

Chicken, Mushroom & Ham Quiche
Makes one 25cm pie dish (serves 6 - 8 pax)
Ingredients :
Quiche filling
1 tablespoon finely diced onions
120g shredded cooked chicken
3 slices ham, diced
4 - 5 pieces shiitake mushroom, diced
50g corn kernels
3 eggs, lightly whisked
100ml whipping cream
100ml fresh milk
40g grated Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese

Short crust pastry
225g multi-purpose plain flour
125g cold salted butter, cut into small pieces
50ml ice cold water

Prepare the short crust pastry first.
Sift flour in a large bowl.
Cut cold butter in small cubes or pieces, pour into flour. (Depending on the weather, if warm, freeze the cut butter for about 4 - 5 minutes). Blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or fingertips (not palm) using rub-in method till crumbly consistency like coarse crumbs.

Add in water to the flour mixture and mix to desired consistency until it forms a soft ball. Flatten the dough slightly into a round disc, cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or just until firm.

Lightly grease the pie dish with some butter and set aside.

Position the rack in the center and preheat oven to 180°C. (The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly).

On the lightly flour surface, roll out dough to about 3mm thick and fit into the prepared pie dish. Gently press dough to cover all the sides.  Rest about 5 mins before tidying the edge with a knife or scrapper.  Lightly prick bottom of pastry crust with the tines of a small fork.

Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with some dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper, beans or rice and bake for a further 10 minutes or until light golden.

Prepare the filling:
In a jug or bowl, beat egg, liquid and strain. Set aside.

In a big bowl, mix and combine all the ingredients (except the liquid).  Fill the pie base with ingredients (slightly 3/4 full).

Pour liquid into pie dish to 3/4 full. Top with some Mozzarella cheese and bake about 35 - 40 mins.

1) The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly, suggested 180°C - 200°C.

2) If prefer to make individual small quiches, divide the dough accordingly. Eg 25g for muffin size foil case.

Freshly baked ... loved the aroma buttery cheesy fragrance.  We definitely enjoyed things that we've yearned for .... Couldn't wait to tuck ourselves in ... Enjoy ! Happy baking, have a great week ahead :)

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Baked Chicken Nuggets

This is the second time I made baked chicken nuggets.  As compared with the deep fried ones, of course baked nuggets are less oily.  From tonnes of baked chicken nuggets recipes one could refer to (online or cookbooks), I like only straight-forward non-frill preparation. I've learned that buttermilk tenderize meat, so obviously to 'soak' the chicken with some buttermilk. For the crumbs, if you are unable to find bread crumbs, cornflakes are also "do-able".

So here's my easy baked chicken nuggets .... of course do marinate the meat for few hours (or best overnight) in the fridge for a more flavorful and tastier nuggets.

Baked Chicken Nuggets
Serves 3 to 4 pax
Ingredients :
350g Chicken fillets (cut into bite sizes about 3cm cube)
150g buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt & some crushed pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

For the crumbs
80g to 100g Cornflake (put inside Ziploc bag, sealed and crush them to fine crumbs)
Crushed pepper and pinch of salt.

Marinate the chicken with ingredients in a Ziploc bag, sealed and leave in the fridge for few hours (or overnight).

Position the rack in the center and preheat oven to 200°C.
Prepare a baking tray with lined baking paper.  Meanwhile, combine cornflake crumbs, salt and crushed pepper in a bowl.

Drain the buttermilk and coat chicken in crumb mixture.

Place the chicken pieces in a single layer on the lined tray, repeat the process.

Bake, turning once during cooking, for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.

We are dipping these tasty baked chicken nuggets in buttermilk ranch dressing.  This is also very easy to make ... just remember a must have 2 important ingredients buttermilk & mayonnaise :)

For the sauce, recipe adapted from : Simply Recipes with slight adjustment made below.
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
120g buttermilk
55g mayonnaise (add more if you prefer a slightly thick texture)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Crushed black pepper & pinch of salt to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon paprika (omit if you want your sauce to be pure white colour)

Combine buttermilk and mayonnaise in a bowl and stir till fully mixed.
Add in the rest of the ingredients, mix well and adjust the taste to your preference.
Cover and keep in fridge till serving of nuggets.

Hmm ... very addictive ! I wanted to stop at the 3rd piece of nuggets ... but somehow I kept dipping and munching "non-stop".

Enjoy ! Have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Goji Berries, Pistachio & Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bark

I've been craving for some cold yogurt barks.  With some yogurt and blueberries in the fridge, it is not difficult to mix everything on a plate/tray and off it goes into the freezer ... Yogurt Bark again !

Goji berries are known as antioxidants, offer benefits for the skin, immune system, and more. Source sharing :here  That's why I often add some into my tea, soups or desserts. Or simply just sprinkle some on frozen yogurt bark.

My previous "brain freeze" yogurt bark here  This time I've added blueberries and replaced almond with pistachio.
Goji Berries, Pistachio & Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bark
Ingredients :
Serves 4
250g plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping mixture
70g blueberries
30g pistachios kernels coarsely chopped into pieces.
2 teaspoons goji berries

I used a round medium size Pyrex dish and line with aluminium foil leave with enough to grasp. Set aside. You could use small baking sheet or pan. Scatter some  goji berries.

In a small bowl, gently mix the chopped pistachios, blueberries and the remaining  goji berries  with 1 tablespoon of honey. Set aside.

Combine yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey and vanilla extract in a medium size bowl and lightly whisk till combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish, and use a spatula to spread across evenly about 1/2-inch thick the base of the dish.

Scatter the blueberries mixture evenly over the yogurt. Lightly press the blueberries and pistachios onto the yogurt.

Do not cover and freeze about 4 hours or overnight until hardened/solid. When completely solid, remove from freezer and lift the aluminium foil out of the dish/pan and set on a hard surface.

Cut into serving pieces and serve immediately, or keep frozen in an re-sealable plastic bag/container.

Yum! and my mouth is 'freezing cold' ... perfect to have some in hot weather here. Enjoy !