Wednesday 28 September 2016

Apricot-Walnut Buttermilk Quick Bread

Lately I've been very busy ... working late ... late... and ... exhausted!
Making me no mood to try out any new recipes that I've bookmarked. Something quick to bake (and minimal washing) is what I need ... Yup just mix mix mix the ingredients and throw the pan into oven ! Ha ha ! Obviously this is no good for my baking therapeutic, right ? Anyway, here's the nutty citrus quick bread (non yeast) that's quick and easy to bake a decent loaf for the family.
According to information/source: "the name "Quick" Bread implies, quick to make. The dry ingredients are mixed together in one bowl, the wet ingredients are mixed together in another bowl. The two are combined and you are done".

Recipe source The Kitchn buttermilk quick bread
Below my slightly modified version as I've used combination of self-raising flour and plain flour.

Apricot-Walnut Buttermilk Quick Bread
Makes one - 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.
Dry ingredients
120g dried apricot chopped finely (*I will reduce to 80g on my next bake)
50g walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
153g all-purpose plain flour
100g self-raising flour
75g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients
248g buttermilk
1 large egg
53g canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Position the rack in the middle.
*Note : The temperature of the oven may vary, do adjust accordingly.

Lightly grease with butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) a standard 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a big bowl. Whisk in the caster sugar, salt, dried apricot and walnuts.

In a separate bowl or jug, whisk oil with the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients. Gently stir and fold the ingredients with spatula until all  incorporated, wet batter is formed. Be careful not to over-mix.

Scrape and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until golden brown with a nice dome about 45-50 minutes.

Test with tester or skewer inserted into the center and it comes out clean.  Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing and slicing.

Fluffy soft with nutty tangy taste.  Enjoy over for our brekkie or serve as afternoon coffee break.

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 use 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!