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. Lightly 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!


Thursday 9 July 2015

Lavender Lemonade Bars

Very nice lavender fragrant when the pan was taken out from the oven. Opps! Obviously I've over-baked it .... a few "sexy" cracked lines.

My first bite on this robust sour tangy lemonade bar ... gosh! SO SOUR ! I couldn’t open my eyes ... the sharp citrus lemon flavour "pierced" into my taste buds and my nerves ! I shouldn’t have reduced the sugar amount …. I should have reduced the lemon juice ….

Recipe adapted from The Suburban Soapbox
Slight modification made in blue.

Lavender Lemonade Bars
Makes 16
For the crust:
142g unsalted butter (I used 113g)
190g all-purpose flour
97g granulated sugar (I used 60g)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For lemon filling:
97g granulated sugar (I reduced to 50g)
15g all-purpose plain flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
3 lemons, juiced
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons low-fat plain greek yogurt
1 teaspoon heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (omitted)
1 tablespoon culinary lavender

Snow Powder or Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Method :

Preheat oven to 176ºC degrees. (I adjusted to 170ºC)

Coat the inside of an 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.  Coat the parchment with cooking spray and set aside. (I greased the parchment paper lightly with soft low-fat spread)

In a food processor, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt.  Pulse until crumbs begin to form.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press onto the bottom of the pan firmly. Make sure to cover the bottom evenly.

Bake until golden brown, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

While the crust is baking, make the lemon filling :
Remove the zest first before halving and squeezing the lemon to obtain the lemon juice.

Whisk together the eggs, yolk, sugar, lemon zest,  flour, yogurt, heavy cream, salt and lavender using a manual whisk. Lastly add the lemon juice and stir to combine.

When the crust is baked, pour the lemon mixture into the baking pan and bake until set, approximately 15-18 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool completely. Once cooled, refrigerate until cold.

Holding both sides of the parchment paper, lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 bars (4 x 4).

The bars can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Dust with snow powder or confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

My big boy: "Nice, it's not too sour for me !"
My girl : "Taste better with dusted snow powder."

Anyway, dust with some snow powder and I really enjoyed these cold lemony bars after awhile.  My taste buds has been accustomed to the sour tangy taste ?! …  Love the nice aroma of lavender too. Perfect with a glass of iced mint tea ! Enjoy ^-^!

Linking this post to Bake-Along event, hosted by
ZoeJoyce & Lena

Bake-Along #82 : Theme - Lemon Bars 

Sunday 5 July 2015

Pumpkin Kaya

Many years ago, I'd tried making the traditional pandan coconut jam or kaya ... Wa ! The making process was too tedious for me ... hee ... hee.  Since then, I didn’t attempt anymore homemade kaya.

But I love pumpkin and I saw many blogger pals shared the fragrant silky smooth Pumpkin Kaya ... pretty easy to attempt ^-^! Linking a few here and thanks to their sharing :
LY's Kitchen Ventures
Sunflower Grace

Recipe reference from the links above.
Pumpkin Kaya
Ingredients :
200g Pumpkin Puree
100g Coconut Milk
60g *Gula Melaka/Palm Sugar
2 pieces Pandan Leaves (tied knots)

Method :
1) To make pumpkin puree, 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. Blend the puree with blender for a smoother texture.

2) Chop the palm sugar into smaller pieces. Cook with coconut milk in a small pot with low flame until sugar dissolved, sieve the mixture into a bowl.

3) Combine all the ingredients to a heatproof 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. Stir the mixture occasionally.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until the mixture thickened.

4) Discard the pandan leaves and pour the pumpkin kaya into a container or jar. Cover the container once it's completely cooled.

My notes:
*can use granulated sugar or rock sugar and adjust the sweetness to your preference.

as there are no preservatives added, advisable to keep in refrigerator and to consume all within 3 days.

Finally ! I've made a small jar to enjoy this wonderful homemade spread cos I've yet to find any commercial pumpkin kaya available from the bakeries or supermarkets.
Enjoy our brekkie :D

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

Thursday 2 July 2015

Mint & Lavender Honey Tea Chiffon Cake

I used to make pots of mint & honey tea with fresh mint leaves. I enjoyed sipping the menthol taste infused in the drink. Was trying out mint with lavender tea one day. Having baked 2 chiffon cakes using tea : Rose Tea Chiffon cake & Rose Tea Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcakes,  I was game enough to try out using mint and lavender tea to make this fluffy soft tea flavour chiffon cake.  I've added 2 drops of violet food colouring, thought of making a pale shade of lavender colour.  Haiz ! But it turned out pale brownish instead. Oh ! I should have omitted it ...  Anyway, I liked the hint of cool sensation minty effect especially when chilled (yes, I kept some in the fridge for our next day's brekkie), a hint of icy mint cooling and the aroma of the lavender. Truly enjoyed!

Mint & Lavender Honey Tea Chiffon Cake
17cm chiffon pan
Ingredients :
For Batter :
80g Top flour
3 egg yolks
25g caster sugar
40ml vegetable oil
60ml mint & lavender tea (10g mint leaves + 1 teaspoon dried lavender + 1.5 teaspoons honey see *(2) below)
Mint leaves - few pieces finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried lavender
2 drops of violet food colouring (optional)

For Meringue :
4 egg whites (cold)
40g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Method :
1) Sift the flour and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2) *For making the mint & lavender honey tea:
Pour about 100ml of hot boiling water over the mint leaves and lavender in a teapot and allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Stir and mix the honey before straining 60ml of tea into a cup, set aside to cool.

This is how I made the mint & lavender tea
Let it steep for 15 minutes to bring out the mint & lavender fragrant.
Stir in some honey before straining the tea into a cup

3) Separate the eggs into yolks and whites.

4) 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.

5) In the same mixing bowl, cream together egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thick using the electric mixer (about 3 - 4 minutes).  Add vegetable oil and continue beating. Next stir in the chopped mint and the mint & lavender honey tea.

6) Fold in the sifted top flour with a spatula and mix until just combined. Next stir in the dried lavender and 2 drops of violet food colouring and mix well.

7) 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).

8) Pour batter evenly into the ungreased chiffon pan and gently give the pan a bang on the table top to release air bubbles.

9) Bake chiffon cake at 180°C oven for 20 minutes, lower the temperature to 160°C and continue to bake another 15 minutes until the cake surface turns golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
*note : I used the lowest rack.
The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust the temperature and timing to suit your oven.

10) 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.

11) Immediately invert the pan to cool before unmoulding the cake from pan.

Aiyoh ! Cracked!

Happy baking & enjoy your weekend!