Sunday, 15 January 2017

Almond cookies II ( CNY2017 #2)

I made these soft and melt in the mouth kinda almond cookies for CNY two years ago.  My family liked it very much.  When I chance upon another almond cookies shared by some group members in FB that the texture is crispy and crunchy type, I have to give it try. Like the buttery crunchy texture with a hint of almond fragrance.



Below my slightly adjusted version
Almond cookies 
Ingredients
186g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
265g all purpose plain flour
70g almond meal
1 egg yolk

Some almond flakes or nibs for decoration.
Egg wash : 1/2 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon water as I preferred lighter colour.

Method:
1. Position the rack in the middle and preheat oven to 170°C.  (The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust the temperature and timing to suit your oven).  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (Need not grease).

2. In a big mixing bowl, cream butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy with electric mixer. Add egg yolk and mix well.

3. Next, mix in almond meal till combined.

4. Fold in plain flour with spatula till combined.

5. Turn over on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough evenly (about 0.5cm thickness) and cut to desired shape using cookie cutter.



6. Brush with egg wash then spinkle some chopped almond nibs or flakes on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

7. Cool on tray for 2 - 3 minutes before transferring them to cool completely on wire rack.

Well, glad another yummy homemade almond cookies for CNY.
Happy baking!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Chocolate Chips & Peanut Butter Banana Bread




When I saw these quick bread baked by Phong Hong and Veronica of Peng's Kitchen ... I know I have to bake this.  Why? My big kids' favourite ingredients … not one but three in there:  chocolate chips, peanut butter & banana.  Mash the bananas and simply mix all the ingredients with a whisk and it's done within 10 minutes. Sprinkle with more chocolate chips and I sent three mini loaves into the oven. 


Recipe source/adapted from:
Peng's Kitchen
Phong Hong Bakes & Cooks

Chocolate Chips & Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Makes one 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan or 
3 small loaves (I used a heatproof paper pound cake mould 7.5cm x 17.8cm x 5cm)

Ingredients :
240grams self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
60grams butter, softened
80grams caster sugar
180grams creamy peanut butter
4 - 5 medium size bananas, mashed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240ml fresh milk
100g mini chocolate chips (I reserved about 1.5 tablespoons to sprinkle on the batter)

Method:
1) Position the rack in the center and preheat oven to 160°C.  Line the base of loaf pan with parchment paper.

2) Sift flour and salt together in a bowl.

3) In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until combined with a manual whisk. 

4) Beat in egg. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla and whisk till creamy.  Mix in the mashed bananas.

5) Add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Whisk until just combined and the batter is smooth.

6) Fold in chocolate chips with spatula. Pour batter into loaf pan, scrape down the sides of the bowl for no waste of batter. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle with the reserved chocolate chips (or more if you like).

7) Bake in preheated oven for 40 mins. Check for doneness with a skewer inserted into the center of the cake if it comes out clean.

8) Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake from pan to cool completely.





I like it warm … A hint of banana fragrance and the peanut butter gives it a rich, full flavour with a soft and moist crumb to satisfy our afternoon break and morning brekkie.  Delicious!  Enjoy !

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Crispy Honey Oat Bak Kwa Cookies (CNY2017 #1)

Although I'm not really obsessed with Pork floss or Bak Kwa, they are delicacies especially during the Chinese New Year (CNY) festive celebration.

I saw a box of Honey Bunches of Oats® with Almonds cereal on the table. The crispy flakes and crunchy oat clusters plus a hint of honey and savoury Bak Kwa bits will surely be a hit ! Whatmore, these super cruchy & crispy cookies are super easy to make.


Recipe source/adapted from: rice and bread
Below my slightly adjusted version.

Crispy Honey Oat Bak Kwa Cookies
About 33 - 35 pcs
Ingredients :
125g unsalted butter, softened
60g brown sugar
1 egg
113g self-raising flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
80g Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Crispy Almonds lightly crushed
1 slice of bak kwa (pork jerky) - chopped coarsely

Method:
1) Position the rack in the middle and preheat oven to 170°C.  (The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust the temperature and timing to suit your oven).  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (Need not grease).

2) In a big mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy with electric mixer. Beat in egg till combined.

3) Using a spatula, fold in the flour, salt, 20g crispy almond cereal and chopped bak kwa into the mixture till combined.

4) Scoop about 1.5 teaspoon full of mixture and roll into balls then roll into the remaining lightly crushed crispy cereal. Place on baking sheet leaving some space in between.  The cookies will spread out a little. ** if you find that the dough is too soft to handle, you can either:
a) drop the spoonful directly on the crushed cereal and briefly roll and coat.
OR
b) put the dough in freezer for about 3 - 5 minutes.




5) Bake cookies in preheated oven at 170°C for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to cool completely wire rack.  Store in air-tight container.

Note:
a) I will make smaller rounds (about 1 teaspoon) in the next batch for easier "1 mouthful" consumption.

b) My big boy "complained" not enough Bak Kwa. So will increase abit more.

These crispy cookies are super addictive.



Another easy to make Pork or Chicken Floss Cookies is also one of our favourites CNY homemade cookies !

So, start now to make some savoury CNY cookies ! Happy baking!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Lemon Curd Cookies



My first bake on the first day of the new year ! 2017 ! Citrusy tangy flavour lemon curd cookies !

I've made some lemon curd last night and was thinking to bake some cookies with it. So ... here it is ... a batch of citrus tangy sweet cookies to kick start the first day of the year.

Prepare the lemon curd in advance.
Recipe source : Joy of Baking Lemon Curd
Below my adjustment made - scale down to 2/3 recipe.
Lemon Curd 
Ingredients (A)
2 eggs
80g granulated white sugar
55ml fresh lemon juice (do not use the bottled lemon juice)

Ingredients (B)
40 grams unsalted butter (cut small pieces) at room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Method:
Combine the ingredients (A) into a heatproof/stainless bowl. Half-fill a cooking pot with water and bring to a simmer. Set the heatproof bowl in the mouth of the pot and cook with low flame. Whisk the mixture until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a hollandaise sauce). This will take about 8 -10 minutes.

Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Whisk butter into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate for up to a week.

Recipe source : Happy foods
Below my slightly adjusted version.
Lemon Curd Cookies
Ingredients
Makes about 45 pieces with cookie cutter
1 egg at room temperature
110g unsalted butter, softened
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)

240g all-purpose plain flour
Pinch of salt

Method:
1) Sift the flour together with salt in a clean bowl, set aside.

2) In a mixing bowl, combine caster sugar and butter; beat until creamy with electric mixer.  Add the egg and lemon zest and beat well.

3) Fold in the flour to the creamed mixture with a spatula briefly (about 1 minute). Then use your hand to bind, briefly knead to form a dough. Dough should stick together in a soft ball. If the dough is too difficult to work with, chill for about 15 minutes before continuing. Wrap in in a cling film and chill in the fridge for about 30 - 45 minutes. (*note: as I intended to use cookie cutter, I flattened the dough slightly in wrap)

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

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

6) Prepare 2 tablespoons of flour in a small bowl for dipping of cookie cutter and the tip of small wooden roller.

7) Take the dough out from the fridge. Flatten it slightly to about 5mm thickness.

8) Dip the cookie cutter lightly with flour when necessary. Cut the dough with cookie cutter and spacing them about 1/2 inch apart onto the prepared lined baking sheet. Use a measuring spoon or tip of small roller (or your floured finger) to press lightly to make indentation in center for the lemon curd.




9) Fill the lemon curd in piping bag and pipe a dollop of lemon curd onto each dent.

10) Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 10-13 minutes or until the bottom of the cookies are nicely browned.

11) Once baked, transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

To serve, simply have them as they are or dust with some icing sugar if you like.
Here, we are enjoying our LEMONY DAY with lovely baked yummy tangy lemon curd cookies and a cup of honey lemon tea !


Enjoy & happy baking !
Wishing all a Blessed New Year 2017! 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Strawberry Yoghurt Chiffon Cake

The cottony chiffon texture couldn't hold the two birthday candles, swaying like 'dancing left & right'  ... hee ... hee... :)

It has been almost two years that I'd last baked a so-called decor chiffon cake here with extra making of chiffon sheet for cut-out designs.

Finally! Baked a simple decor chiffon cake with some cut-out flowers.  So glad that it turned out fluffy tall, pretty sweet looking and the texture is so cottony soft.  Baked this for a dinner event and blessed it was served as a birthday cake.



Recipe source and adapted from :
Loving Creations for You ( Susanne)
Below my slight adjustment made.
Strawberry Yoghurt Chiffon Cake
21cm chiffon pan
Ingredients:
Yolk batter
6 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
78g vegetable/corn oil
95g strawberry yoghurt drink
120g cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 2 drops of pink food colouring (optional)

Meringue
7 egg whites
75g caster sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Place a tray of water under the lowest rack for steam baking.

2. Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. (the size of my egg is 60g each with shell)

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 the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thickened using the electric mixer (about 3 - 4 minutes). Add in canola oil, strawberry yoghurt drink and vanilla extract and whisk till combined.

5. Sift in cake flour and whisk again until mixture is well combined. Add in 1 - 2 drops of food colouring and mix well.

6.  Using a *hand whisk or a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites to the egg yolks mixture in 3 batches until it looks evenly mixed (no streaks of meringue).
{*First time I tried out using hand whisk instead of spatula to fold in the meringue to yolk batter, references Cookpad and Zoe from
Bake For Happy Kids}

7. Pour the batter into the un-greased chiffon pan. Smooth the top evenly with spatula. Lightly tap the pan  2 - 3 times on a table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.

8. Bake the chiffon cake for 15 min at 160°C and then at 150°C for 10 mins and 140°C for 30 mins.  Test with a skewer inserted into the centre if it comes out clean.

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 completely before unmoulding the cake from pan. To unmould cake 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.


Cut-out flowers strawberry sheet cake adapted from: Loving Creations for You, with modification made from the pandan sheet cake.

Strawberry sheet cake for flower
Ingredients :
1 egg yolk
10g castor sugar
20g vegetable/corn oil
20g strawberry yoghurt drink
¼ tsp vanilla extract
30g cake flour, sifted
1 - 2 drops of food colouring

Meringue
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
25g caster sugar

Method :
1. Lined a 25x25 inch baking sheet with parchment paper, need not grease and set aside.

2. Preheat oven at 160°C and position the rack in the center.

3. Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. (the size of my egg is 60g each with shell)

4. 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 2 separate additions and beat till stiff peak, formed into a firm meringue. Transfer to a big bowl and chill in the fridge.

5. In the same mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and caster sugar until pale and fluffy with manual whisk. Add in canola oil, strawberry yoghurt drink and vanilla extract and whisk till combined.

6. Sift in cake flour and whisk again until mixture is well combined.  Divide the batter into two portions. Add 1 drop of red food colouring in one portion and mix well.

7.  Divide the meringue into 2 portions. Gently but quickly fold in the meringue into the 2 batters with a manual whisk in 2 batches until it looks evenly mixed.

8. Pour the two batters on the prepared baking sheet, briefly made few marbling effect with the spatula. Bake for about 15 mins at 160°C  (do not over bake).

9. Flip over onto cooling rack, remove the parchment paper to cool completely.

Cut out some flowers with floral shape cutter.

10. To assemble, melt a few pieces of marshmallows with small amount of water, mix until cream like texture with spoon.  Apply small amount and "glue" the flowers onto chiffon cake and decorate as you like. I'd forgotten to sprinkle some sparkling sugar as rushed for the event.

When box it up, the height of the cake almost reach it's cover.

Happy that it was very well received.



A simple decor chiffon cake with some flowers in pastel colours to usher into the new year..  Goodbye 2016  .... Welcome 2017 !

Here's wishing you and family a Blessed and Happy New Year !

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Coffee Charlotte Christmas Cake

My big kids didn't like the traditional Christmas fruit cake. And I didn't want to make a log or stump Christmas cake either. So I thought a charlotte cake will definitely fit the bill for a home baked Christmas cake to celebrate the festive season. They love coffee cake with cream cheese icing. So I scaled down the recipe a little from the mini mango charlotte cake.  For a contrasting snowy effect, I coated the dipped sponge fingers with sparkling sugar. I like simple dercoration for this charlotte Christmas cake ... just 2 reindeers (I brushed with a little cream cheese and sprinkled a little sparkling sugar) and a big sprig of rosemary.  I have actually dust some icing sugar on the rosemary but not very visible.  Overall, I'm glad it turned out pretty well.



Coffee Charlotte Christmas Cake 
For the Sponge Cake
6-inch cake pan (removable base)
Ingredients :
2 eggs (the size of my egg is 60g each with shell)
65 grams caster sugar
80 grams cake flour
10 grams vegetable oil
10 grams unsalted butter
15 grams fresh milk
1 tablespoon Espresso coffee liquid

Method:
1) Line and grease the base of a round 6-inch removable cake pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the sides with butter.

2) Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Position the rack in the middle. The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust the temperature and timing to suit your oven.

3) Melt butter and milk in a heatproof pan. Once melted, add the vegetable oil and coffee and mix well.

4) Sift the cake flour and set aside. Separate the eggs into yolks and whites.

5) In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the cold egg whites till foamy using the electric mixer. Gradually add in caster sugar in 3 separate additions and beat till stiff peak, formed into a firm meringue.

6) Add the egg yolks to the meringue and whisk on low until evenly combined (about 1 - 2 minutes).

7) Next, fold in the sifted flour in 3 separate additions, folding gently with a spatula until combined.

8) Mix in the melted butter mixture in 2 separate additions with a spatula.

9) Pour batter into the cake pan. Tap the pan lightly on a table top a few times to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.

10) Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cake surface turns golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

11) 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.



12) Invert the cake pan onto the wire rack. Detach the removal base and peel off the parchment paper.  Remove the pan and leave the cake to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Icing:
55grams unsalted butter, room temperature
140 grams cream cheese, room temperature
80g grams powdered or icing sugar, sifted
2 - 3 tablespoon fresh milk (adjust the texture to your preference)

To make cream cheese icing:
1) Allow cream cheese and butter to stand at room temperature. In large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter with mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add in fresh milk and whisk to combine.

2) Gradually add in the powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating well. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.  Beat until it reach spreading consistency.
*note: I left with 140g cream cheese in the fridge.  So the icing is barely enough to coat the sponge fingers. Will need to adjust about 20% up for all ingredients to make the icing.

Sponge fingers coat with sprinkle sugar
A pack of store bought Savoiardi (sponge fingers).
15 pcs sponge fingers
2 tablespoon of sparkling sugar

Some canned halved peaches for the filling. Drained syrup and sliced thinly.
Or any fruits of your choice.

Cut about 2-inch off for each sponge finger.
Prepare a tray line with parchment paper.
Dip sponge finger with some cream cheese and sprinkle some sparkling sugar. Line the sponge finger (with sugar coating side face up) on the tray. Freeze for about 10 - 15 minutes.

To assemble the cake :
1) Slice horizontally half and frost the bottom slice with some cream cheese. Fill the center with sliced canned peaches.

2) Sandwich the 2 slices of cake and frost the whole cake with cream cheese.

3) With the sugar coated side, "glue" the sponge fingers gently around the cake. Refrigerate the cake until served.


Wishing you and family a blessed Christmas filled with love, joy & peace.
☆☆☆ MERRY CHRISTMAS ☆☆☆

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Girl: Nice ... soft and yummy. Hmm another one ! ... try one more!
Boy: Oh ! This is so nice. How many cookies did you bake?
They couldn't stop munching these warm yummy cookies while still cooling on the rack.
The addition of rolled oats gives slightly crisp on the outside yet soft in the center texture. Love the woody cinnamon fragrance too. I must say that these cookies are very addictive.  Easy  to bake as festive giveaway gifts for busy mom like me.




Recipe source: Livforcake
I reduced the sugar amount.
Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
Yields 35
Ingredients
(A)
116g butter (softened)
60g light brown sugar
20g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(B)
95g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

(C)
120g organic rolled oats
70g dried cranberries
60g chopped pecans

Method:
Allow butter to stand at room temperature.

Combine ingredients  (B) in a medium bowl and set a set.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars with electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy. (approx. 3 minutes).
Add egg and vanilla extract beat on high for 1 minute.
Turn mixer to low speed and add flour mixture, mix until just combined.

Fold in all the ingredients  (C) with a spatula and mix until just combined. Chill dough in the fridge for at least an hour. (I freeze the dough for about 10 - 15 minutes)

Preheat oven to 176°C and position the rack in the middle. *Note : The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a tablespoon measurement, scoop a round heap of dough on the prepared baking sheet and gently press to flatten top slightly if you wish to. Space the dough well apart about 1.5 inches between each cookie.

Bake for 12 mins or until edges are lightly browned but center is still soft and unset.

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


On the request of my girl, baked again another batch with mixture of raisins and cranberries. Packed some for giveaways as the first batch of cookies were finished by the "cookie monsters" in just a day ! ... hee ... hee!




Happy that these healthy cookies were well received :)
Happy baking ! Enjoy !