Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Lavender Sugar & Lavender Sugar Cookies

About two months ago, I'd baked some  Lavender Cookies and I really like the accented lavender cookies. Having found out about lavender sugar, I made a small jar.  Love the sugar infused lavender fragrance ...

It's so easy to make lavender sugar.  There are some references obtainable online. I refer to the source adapted here.  After a few days of "sniffing" & starring at the jar of sugar, I finally used it in tea and baked some cookies  ... hee ... hee! Sprinkle or coat the infused sugar in bake, like baking these lavender sugar cookies. Or adding a teaspoon to a cuppa of tea.

Tea with lavender sugar

Baked a batch of cookies using this jar of infused lavender brown sugar.

Recipe adapted from Quiver full of blessings
Below slight adjustment made in using lavender brown sugar and my notes in blue.
Lavender Sugar Cookies
Ingredients :
1 cup (232g) softened butter
1/2 cup (102g) lavender sugar (I reduced to 70g, additional  about 20g for coating the cookies)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cup (253g) all-purpose plain flour

1) In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer, then add salt and flour. Mix thoroughly. Chill for one hour.

2) Preheat the oven to 180ºC, position the rack in the center. The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

3) Line 2 cookie sheets/trays with parchment paper. Do not grease.

4) Form the dough into balls, each about 1 inch size and roll in additional lavender sugar.  Place them on cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.

5) Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack before storing them in airtight container.

I begin to appreciate and enjoy this small jar of homemade lavender sugar :D
Next .... planning to make a jar of lavender light muscovado sugar .... ^-^!

Happy baking & have a great week ahead !


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, 24 August 2015

Caribbean Bananas

A quick and easy warm dessert served after dinner. But I think it served great as appetizer too as these soft baked bananas in a refreshing with sourish lime juice and a rich sweet and spicy sauce of ground allspice.

Recipe adapted from the cookbook "Desserts All Around The Year" by Martha Day, slightly modified in blue below.
Caribbean Bananas
Serves 4
Ingredients :
2 tablespoons low-fat spread
8 firm ripe bananas
Juice of 1 lime
75g soft dark brown sugar (I reduced to 50g)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Seeds from 6 cardamoms crushed (omitted as I don’t have any on hand)
2 tablespoons rum
Low-fat crème fraîche, to serve (optional)
(I serve it with Yogurt )

Method :
1) Preheat the oven to 200°C. Use a little of the spread to grease a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the bananas snugly on a single layer.

2) Peel the bananas and cut them in half lengthways. Arrange the bananas in the dish. Pour the lime juice over the bananas.

3) In a small bowl, mix the sugar, allspice, ginger and the crushed cardamom seeds. Sprinkle the mixture over the bananas. Dot the remaining low-fat spread. Bake for about 15 minutes, basting once.

4) Remove the dish from the oven. Warm the rum in a small pan or metal soup ladle, pour it over the bananas and set it alight.
(I just poured the warm rum over without setting it with fire).

5) As soon as the flame dies down, serve while still hot and add a dollop of low-fat crème fraîche if you like.

From the Cook - variation:
For a version that will appeal more to children, use orange juice instead of line and leave out the rum.


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.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Soybean Milk Agar Agar

I was in a rush, so grabbed a few items plus 2 packs of soybean milk on offer price "buy 2 at $XX" ... dashed to checkout cashier.

A few days later ... was wondering ... why the 2 packs of soybean milk were so slow moving in the refrigerator ...

Boy : Mom, you've bought the wrong type ... these soybean milk is not sweet at all !!

I took a closer look at the packaging "Unsweetened" ... oppsie ! ...

Mom : So what should I do with these 1 & half packs of soybean or soya bean milk ?
Girl : Go make some cold desserts for us ... hee ... hee!

Since I've got a small sachet of agar agar powder, let's try out some agar agar .... using the packaging printed instructions as guide. Replaced the water to soybean milk and here's some Soybean Milk Agar Agar.

Chilled for a few hours and served with some fruits and canned longan ... very refreshing.  They commented that these cold desserts tasted nice, texture soft and has some fragrance of 豆花 soya bean curd.  Well, to finish off the soymilk, I made another batch of soymilk agar agar the next day ....


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.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Japanese Dark Pearl Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes

To bake along theme Hokkaido chiffon cupcakes event with my cyber blogger pals, I've planned 2 flavours.  Here's the Lemon Curd HCC shared earlier.

Since we all so loved that very chocolatey chiffon cake I'd baked on my birthday .... yes that Japanese Dark Pearl Chiffon Cake (here)  .... hee ... hee ... Well, why not try it as Japanese Dark Pearl Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcake? With cream cheese filling.  I'm not sure if this filling will match well with this dark chocolate flavour ... let's see.

Using the same recipe (here)
Japanese Dark Pearl Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcake with Cream Cheese
Yields 10 depends on the size of cupcake liners.
For the batter
3 egg yolks
35g corn oil
60g milk
80g chocolate, chopped
35g cake flour
15g cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 egg whites
45g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (or you may replace it with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice)

First melt chocolate over double boiler or microwave. Stir until smooth and set aside to cool.

* Dry ingredients : Combine and sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

Preheat the oven at 160°C.
The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust the temperature and timing to suit your oven.

In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the cold egg whites and cream of tartar 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. Transfer to a big bowl and chill in the fridge.

In the same bowl (wipe off the meringue with kitchen towel), beat the egg yolks lightly with a hand whisk. Next add the oil, milk and the slightly warm melted chocolate. Stir well.  Add the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture, mix till to a smooth & thick batter.

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

Scoop batter into pre-arranged cupcake liners to about ¾ full.

Bake at 160°C for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the cream cheese filling. I estimated the amount, used all for this batch. Should have made more so I could pipe nice & bigger swirls for the top.

Cream Cheese Frosting/Filling:
25g unsalted butter, softened
100g cream cheese, softened
80g icing sugar, sifted (add more if you preferred it sweeter)

Beat the butter and cream cheese until very smooth and creamy with electric mixer. Add the icing sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, fill cream cheese in a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.  Push the piping tip into the centre of the cupcake and pipe/squeeze some amount. Decorate the top to your desire.
Chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Ta dah ! Yes ! Presenting ... chocolatey, soft & moist Japanese Dark Pearl Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcake with Cream Cheese ^-^!
My big boy had two at one sitting (the 'models' after the photo shoot). He commented 'very very nice' :D

#Update : brought a few to office to treat my colleagues and they also commented very nice & delicious! ... happy ^-^!

Up ... up ! Jump ! ... onto the last wagon for this bake-along theme Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes.
♡Have a great weekend♡

Linking this post to "Bake-Along #84"
Theme Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes
Hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen Wings.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Chocolate Muffins

My big kids love anything chocolates ...
Baked these quick & easy warm chocolate muffins for our brekkie :D

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking, below my slightly modified version as I've halved the recipe and reduced the amount of sugar.

Chocolate Muffins:
Yields 6 muffins
50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
100g buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
110g all-purpose flour
30g unsweetened cocoa powder
60g light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
65g milk or semisweet chocolate chips (I used chocolate chips)
Snow powder for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. (I adjusted my oven to 180ºC). Position rack in center of oven. Butter the muffin pan, or line with paper liners.

In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together : flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Fold in with a rubber spatula and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.

Evenly fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop.

Ha ha ! A patch of brown !
Bake for about 20 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean, it's done. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Dust with some snow powder (a touch of make-up ... hee.. hee .. "white foundation") ... Enjoy !

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, 10 August 2015

Fried Yam Puff (Wu Kok 芋角)

I don't own many cookbooks ... just a few handful which were bought many years ago. And this Dim Sum cookbook has been with me for more than 20 years. I recalled that I was so 'crazy' in making fried yam puff (Wu Kok in Cantonese) in the early years when I had this cookbook. I would make some for family gatherings cos I love fried yam puff.

After the birth of my kids, I seldom make dim sum at home. Occasionally would make those easy and less "tedious/hassle in cooking" like steamed Lo Mai Kai, fried Wanton, steamed/fried Siu Mai, Salad Prawn Dumplings etc. It has been a long long time since I'd last made fried yam puff. After when I'm finally done with it ... I was like 'Oh! look at the kitchen, what a mess' ... hee hee ... glad that these yam puff turned out OK even with my rusty skills :D

Recipe adapted from the cookbook - Quick & Easy Dim Sum Appetizers and Light Meals by Judy Law.

Below my slightly modified ingredients with notes in blue
Fried Yam Puff (Wu Kok 芋角)
(Makes about 10)
225g Minced pork or chicken
(I used 200g of minced pork. Seasoning the meat with below and keep in refrigerator for about 1 hour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon rice wine (omitted)
Dash of pepper

60g black dried mushroom - softened & diced (40g Shitake mushroom)
60g big onion - diced (40g)
Carrot - some 30g diced carrot my addition 

To cook the filling:
1 tablespoon Cooking oil
60ml soup stock (I replaced with water + 1/2 teaspoon granulated chicken seasoning powder)
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons Oyster sauce (vegetarian oyster sauce)

For the crust:
450g Yam
1 teaspoon cooking oil
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoon cornflour
Soup stock (I replaced with 100ml water + 1/2 teaspoon granulated chicken seasoning powder)

For coating the yam crust:
1 egg beaten
220g Panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons all-purpose plain flour
Some cornflour to dust fingers

Cooking oil for deep frying  (enough to cover the yam puff)

Method :
1) Heat wok/pan with medium heat, add cooking oil. Stir-fry the diced onions till fragrant (about 1 - 2 mins). Add the carrots, minced meat and mushrooms and continue to cook for about 2 - 3 minutes. Add oyster sauce.

2) Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornflour in the stock. Pour in, continue cooking and bring to a boil to thicken sauce. *Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of water if you preferred to have more sauce.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

3) To steam the yam: Peel the yam skin, clean and slice about 1.5 cm thickness. Arrange in steamer and steam under rapidly boiling water on medium heat for about 1/2 hour or till tender.

4) In a small pan, dissolve 2 tablespoons cornflour with 100ml water + 1/2 teaspoon granulated chicken seasoning powder. Cook in small flame. Bring to boil and let cool.

5) Drain any excess liquid and mash the yam while still hot. Mix in enough of the thickened soup stock (refer to step 4) and cooking oil to resemble thick mashed potatoes. Add salt and mix thoroughly.

6) Divide the mashed yam into 10 equal portions.
About 60g each, form into a round ball and flatten to form a 1/2" (1.5cm) thick round.
(It's easier to shape/handle the mashed yam when it's slightly cooled)
Dust your fingers with some cornflour to keep from sticking.

7) Place about 1 tablespoon filling in the center of the yam and close / seal the top. Roll and shape to form an oval shape with hands.
Coat with plain flour, then dip in egg liquid and roll in panko breadcrumbs.

8) In a frying pan/wok, heat cooking oil over medium-high flame.  Carefully drop in the yam puff and deep-fry for about 3 - 4 minutes or until golden brown.

9) Place the fried yam puff on a plate lined with kitchen towel to drain some excess oil. Serve immediately.

Suggestions :
° For variations, add green peas, sweet corn kennels, water chestnut, prawns etc. to the filling.
°Adjust the taste to your preference.

Enjoy and have a great week ahead ^-^!

Jom ! Let's go yum cha! Enjoy !

Sharing this post with Cook-Your-Books #26 
Hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Minted White Chocolate Cakes

Sweet, sweet, sweet ! These mini white chocolate cakes are too sweet for me even though I've reduced the amount of sugar.  But I like the icy mint taste ... and the super soft texture !

Recipe adapted from Just 5 Ingredients Cakes & Desserts Published by Hamlyn. I halved the recipe to make 6 mini cakes and reduced the sugar slightly.

Minted White Chocolate Cakes 
Ingredients for 12 cupcakes :
8g mint leaves
125g lightly salted butter, softened
2 eggs
175g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
100g caster sugar
150g Self- raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Icing sugar for dusting  (optional)

Method :
1) Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper liners.

2) Sift the flour together with baking powder and set aside.

3) Wash the mint leaves clean and put in heatproof bowl or cup, cover with boiling water and leave for 30 seconds. Drain and pat dry on kitchen towel. Put the leaves in a food processor with the caster sugar and process until the mint is finely chopped.

4) In a clean mixing bowl, cream the butter and eggs till pale and creamy with electric mixer. Pour in the mint sugar and flour and continue to whisk for about a minute until light and creamy.

5) Stir in about 100g of the white chocolate. Divide the mixture between the paper liners till 3/4 full.  Scatter with the remaining chocolate.

6) Bake for 20 minutes or until the cakes are risen and just firm to touch. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake if it comes out clean.

7) Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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

My big kids loved these sweet fluffy minty mini white chocolate cakes :D

Happy baking & have a great weekend!