Saturday, 24 September 2016

Cream Cheese Cookies

It has been quite a while since I've baked the last batch of cookies. Of course, homemade cookies are the best as shared previously from easy to make easy Lavender CookiesBanana Oat breakfast cookies to festive cookies like Pork Floss CookiesVanilla butter sugar cookies to stamped cookies and my big kids' all-time favourite copycat Famous Amos double choc chips cookies

Chance upon a cookie recipe that uses cream cheese.  With the exact quantity of cream cheese left in the fridge ... this is also the first time that I used cream cheese in cookies. I love lemony taste so I added some lemon juice and zest to the cookie dough.

Recipe source : Food52 cream cheese cookies
Below my slightly modified version with addition of lemon zest and juice.

Cream Cheese Cookies
Yields about 20
116g unsalted butter, at room temperature
80g cream cheese, softened
55g caster sugar
125g all-purpose plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon (my addition)
2 teaspoons lemon juice (my addition)

Preheat oven to 180°C and position the rack in center of oven. (* the oven temperature may vary, do adjust accordingly).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (do not need to grease)

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter, cream cheese and caster sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 - 5 minutes).
Mix in the lemon zest and juice till incorporated.
Mix in flour and salt just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and give it a quick stir with a spoon to make sure everything is evenly mixed.

Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets.
Space the shapes well apart about 1 1/2 inches between each cookie (they will spread a little).

Bake for about 13 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Do not over-bake.

Cool slightly on the baking sheet (about 3-5 minutes) before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store them in airtight container.

Enjoy !

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Black & White Banana Cake

I'm not a big fan of bananas. ... if I'm given a choice to choose between an apple and a banana, I will not hesitate to grab that apple.

But I love to add bananas in my bakes. Shared previously the lighter version with no vegetable oil or butter added here, reduced butter Banana Bread, a healthier version with added oatmeal here.

Got 3 large overripe bananas but 1 was rotten, so could only used 2 bananas to make the cake.

I'm sure banana cake is the all-time classic cake. This duo flavour banana cake is so easy to bake. With just one batter and add the cocoa powder last in the remaining batter.  Of course, you could have all chocolate batter or just plain banana batter.  But sometimes I like to have a duo colour tone or marbling effect of the cake ... a nice "visual presentation" of my bake before I nom nom nom... hee.. hee ! The texture is not too dense, but moist with a tender crumb.  Love both the buttery & banana fragrant.

Recipe source, largely adapted from : Taste and Tell

Below my slightly modified version as I've reduced the quantity of some ingredients.

Black & White Banana Cake
116g butter, softened at room temperature
140g caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g ripe bananas, peeled & mashed
189g all-purpose plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
28g  unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
Dust with some snow powder (optional)

Method :
1) Position the rack in the middle and preheat oven to 180°C. Note : The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

2) Line a 8x8-inch baking pan with lightly greased parchment paper.

3) In a big clean bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4) In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar using an electric mixer at medium speed for about 2 - 3 minutes until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract, then beat in the mashed bananas for about 1 - 2 minutes.

5) Stir in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spread about 2/3 of the mixture in the bottom of the baking pan. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining batter, mix well and gently spread over the top of the batter.

6) Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Check for doneness with a skewer inserted into the center of the cake if it comes out clean.  
Serve warm if you like. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely before storing in airtight container.  

Sprinkle with some snow powder

Having said that I'm not a big fan of banana ... but I enjoy a slice of these chocolaty moist and tender crumb banana cake.  Served warm and dust with some snow powder. Enjoy !

Monday, 12 September 2016

Rock Buns

Kinda miss this traditional tea-time snack.

Hands-up if you've learned to make Rock Buns during your secondary school Home Economics lessons ....
I remembered that Rock Buns was one of the cake baking lessons learned then and was wondering why bake 'rock'  ... hee.. hee !

According to information :
A rock cake, also called a rock bun, is a small, hard fruit cake with a rough surface resembling a rock. Rock cakes originated in Great Britain, where they are a traditional tea-time treat, but are now popular in many parts of the world.

Recipe adapted from the cookbook "Cakes and Bakes 500" by Martha Day, below my slight modification made in blue.

Rock Buns
Makes 12
Ingredients :
225g all purpose plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder (1 teaspoon)
115g unsalted cold butter (cut into cubes)
115g mixed dried fruits (I used 80g raisins)
115g demerara (raw) sugar (I reduced to 80g)
Zest of half an orange (omitted) 
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoons fresh milk

1) Preheat the oven to 200ºC, position the rack in the center. 
Note: The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

2) Line two baking sheets with lightly greased parchment paper.

3) Combine the flour and baking powder, sift into a big bowl. Then rub in the cold cubed butter using your fingertips or a pantry cutter until it resembles breadcrumbs.

4) Stir in the sugar, raisins, orange zest (if used) with a spatula. Add in the beaten egg and milk enough to bind and form stiff dough.

5) Drop tablespoonful of mixture on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until golden browned.
Serve warm if you like or leave to cool on wire rack before storing.

Solid as a rock? Of course not. These fuss free easy to make light and crumbly snacks somewhat a cross between cookie and cake.  Enjoy with a glass of cold or hot beverage.
Happy baking!

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown Specials: BAKE

Cookbook Countdown

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Baked Mini Chicken Curry Puffs

There are times that I just wanna have some curry puffs but didn't want to deep fried or make the dough from scratch.  Yes .. lazy me .... Store bought frozen puff pastry is quite versatile and convenient to turn them into easy fruity tarts or savoury puffs/pies. So, here I made baked mini chicken curry puffs, with ingredients like frozen green peas and curry powder easily available in my fridge/pantry.

Baked Mini Chicken Curry Puffs
Makes about 22
Ingredients :
7cm round cookie cutter
4 sheets store bought frozen Puff pastry

For the filling
200g minced chicken
1 medium potato
1 - 2 tablespoon cooking oil
2 small onions - finely chopped
2 cloves garlic - crushed and chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons frozen green peas (thawed)
Water about 50-80ml
1/5 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper to taste
1 small egg (beaten for egg wash)

To make the fillings :
1) Heat frying pan / wok in medium flame, add 1 - 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
2) Add onion and garlic, cook for about 3 – 5 minutes or until soft.
3) Add the potato and cook for about 3 – 5 minutes.  Next add the minced chicken, continue to cook for a few minutes.  Break up the lumps using the back of the spoon.
4) Add curry powder and salt, stir constantly.  Pour water, continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Cook until the water reduced and potato is softened.
5) Stir in the green peas, add dash of pepper and give a few stirring.
*adjust the taste to your preference.
Off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

To make the curry puffs
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Position the rack in the center.
  2. Prepare the baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper.
  3. Place the pastry sheet on the light floured work surface.
  4. Use a round cup or a 7cm cookie cutter to cut out rounds from the pastry sheet.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of cooled filling in the center of each circle.
  6.  Fold/Press to enclose and twist the edges together to seal. Brush the pastries lightly with egg wash.
  7. Place the pastries onto the baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.

These flaky freshly baked mini curry puffs certainly tasted great when they're served warm. Enjoy !
Happy baking  ... Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Apricot Yogurt Chiffon Cake

I couldn't agree more with Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids that this yogurt cake is "light and spongy and it tastes a little like smooth and milky cheesecake"  I must say that this cheesecake-like yogurt chiffon cake with tangy apricot is SO SO SO good to eat !

This is not the first time I baked chiffon cakes with added dried fruits like cranberry, raisins etc. But I seldom add dried fruits for my chiffon cake as I find it difficult to make a neat and nice cut due to bits of fruits.  Perhaps to chop/mince the dried fruits finely may help.  First time I incorporated yogurt in chiffon cake recipe and I simply love the cheesecake-like soft and light yet fine crumbs texture.

Recipe source & adapted from :
Bake for Happy Kids

Apricot Yogurt Chiffon Cake
17cm chiffon pan
Ingredients :
For the yolk mixture
4 egg yolk
30g canola oil
35g caster sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
100g plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon salt
80g cake flour (sifted)

For the meringue
4 egg white
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
35g caster sugar

30g dried apricot  (finely minced in small pieces and coat with 1 tablespoon cake flour)

Method :
1) Coat the dried apricot with 1 tablespoon of cake flour. Sift to remove any excess un-coated flour. Set aside.

Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. (the size of my egg is 65g each with shell)

2) Position the rack in the lowest level and preheat oven to 170°C.

3) In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the cold egg whites and cream of tartar till foamy using the electric stand mixer. Gradually add in caster sugar in 3 separate additions and beat till stiff peak, formed into a firm meringue. Transfer to a big bowl and chill in the fridge.

4) In the same mixing bowl, cream together egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thickened using the electric mixer (about 3 - 4 minutes). Add canola oil and lemon juice and continue beating till combined.  Next, add the yogurt and whisk until the mixture is combined.

5) Sift in cake flour and salt and whisk again until mixture is well combined.

6) Gently but quickly fold 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture with a spatula. Fold the remaining meringue in 2 batches into the mixture until it looks evenly mixed (no streaks of meringue).

7) Stir in the flour-coated dried apricots into the batter with a spoon. Pour the batter into the un-greased chiffon pan. Lightly tap the pan a few times on a table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.

8) Bake in a preheated 170ºC for 10 mins. Reduce to 160ºC and continue baking for 25 mins or until the cake surface turns golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cover with a piece of loose foil over the pan if top of the cake is browning too quickly.
(Note: The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly and observe especially in the last 10 - 15 minutes of baking.)

9) When the pan was removed from the oven, I used the suggested technique to drop the pan at a height of 20~30cm onto a table top. This action helps to keep the springy texture of the cake when it is left to cool.

10) Immediately invert the pan to cool before unmoulding the cake from pan.
*note: to unmould the cake:
a) Run a thin-bladed knife or palette knife around the edge of the pan and the funnel. Release the cake and run the knife along the base of the pan to remove the cake.
b) By hand, gently pull cake from the sides of the tube pan. Turn the cake pan over and press down on the bottom firmly to dislodge.  Gently pull the cake from the base around the edge and around the whole cake. Continue to lift up the cake and moving inwards until you reach the tube.
Yeah !!! first time I unmould a chiffon cake with bare hands ! Thanks to Susanne of Loving Creations for You for the video tutorial on how-to unmould chiffon cake by hands.

Yeah ! I could unmould the cake with bare hands!
So fluffy !

the texture is so light and spongy ... so, are you convinced?

Here's how I enjoy slices of soft and spongy cheesecake-like yogurt chiffon cake with bits of tangy apricots over a cup of coffee black :)

Go bake this spongy cheesecake-like yogurt chiffon cake if you have not baked one before !
Enjoy & Happy baking !

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Lemon Curd with Mixed Berries

Ever wonder what to do with some leftover lemon curd that's been idling in the fridge?  Well, simply spread it over bread or dip some crackers and finish it off. But I remembered I'd ever made easy Honey Cranberry Yogurt, so I turned these tangy creamy lemon curd into cold parfaits-kinda desserts. Top with graham cracker crumbs or any biscuits/cookies/granola that you could find in the pantry.

Lemon Curd with Mixed Berries
Serves 2

Recipe for making lemon curd here
Ingredients :
65g blueberries
65g strawberries, hulled and diced
4 - 5 teaspoons graham cracker crumbs
(put crackers inside Ziploc bag, sealed and crush them to crumbs)
Two 220ml containers or glasses

To assemble :
Spoon 2 tablespoons of chilled lemon curd into a 220ml container.

Top serving with about 2 tablespoons of mixed berries.

Repeat a layer of lemon curd and top with 2 teaspoons cracker crumbs. Garnish with whole strawberry.

Keep refrigerated.

This is so easy to assemble and tasted tangy refreshingly good served as aftermeal desserts.

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 !