Saturday, February 26, 2011

my baking diary #24 raindow chiffon

i am waiting for my 'scones' to be baked while i am typing this entry... this is my 2nd attempt at baking the 'scones', but the result seems so different from my 1st attempt!! but that's going to be in another post, provided i even wanna blog about it... sad :(((((

anyway, what i did on a saturday morning was..... Rainbow Chiffon!! i had wanted to try baking chiffon cake for quite sometime, but never gotten around to doing it till i saw Chunky Cooky's post... its just too sweet and colourful, so i had to try my hands on it...

but this being my first attempt, don't expect a very nice cake... haha... i halfed the recipe, and use mini pans for it... bought a heart and star shaped mini pan from NTUC, and the round tube pan was from Daiso... the half recipe was just enough to fill all 3 mini pans...

the heart shaped one for Dear <3

the star shaped one...
this is the round shaped one using the tube pan...

Egg Yolk Batter
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp cooking oil
30ml milk
25gms caster sugar
few drops of colouring of your choice
55gms self-raising flour

Egg White Foam
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
50gms caster sugar

(do note that i halfed the recipe... just doubled up or pop over to Chunky Cooky for the full recipe!)

1. Combine egg yolk, oil, milk and sugar in a mixing bowl. Fold in the flour until combined till batter is formed
2. Divde the egg yolk batter into the no of portion for your colouring. I dvided mine into 3, and add Pink, Orange and Blue colouring to the batter
3. Beat egg white and cream of tartar until mixture forms soft peaks. Gradually add in suagr and beat till frothy and form stiff peaks
4. Divide the egg white foam into equal portions as the egg yolk batter (3 in my case) and gently fold in egg white foam into each of the egg yolk batter until blended
5. Pour the mixture into ungreased tub pan and bake in preheated oven at 170C for 30 - 40 mins or until cooked
6. Remove from oven, invert cake until completely cooled

i am going to submit the heart shaped rainbow chiffon to Aspiring Bakers #4 Love In The Air (Feb 2011) hosted by Ellena of Cusine Paradise...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

my baking diary #23 green tea and chocolate madeleines

its not often that i get to bake on a weekday... not that i am tired from work, but because of my inquisitve niece, YX... with her around, the time i need for preparation or baking can be doubled! coz mum is not feeling well, so sis brought YX home so mum can rest better...

since i googled for a couple of madeleine recipes, now's the best time to try the madeleine pan i got from daiso!

this madeleine recipe is from Cusine Paradise, which i thought was relatively simple as i have the required ingredients at home...

but though i followed the recipe and instructions exactly, i am not sure why the shell-side of the madeleines do not have a smooth finish compare to the back of the madeleines... and i thought madeleines are supposed to have the 'hump' on their back?

as i only had one madeleine mould, i had to bake mine in a few batches... i noticed that madeleines from the last two batches have a slight 'hump' compared to the first two batches... it could be due to leaving the batter to sit while baking, and hence, the 'hump' can be developed coz i noticed for certain recipes, the batter is supposed to be left aside for a couple of hours or even overnight before baking to achieve the 'hump'.
but overall, i find the texture of these small cakes rather soft and nice... mum like it too and even took one before she took her medicine (coz her med is to be taken after food)... and she even asked to set aside a couple for YX to bring to childcare tomorrow...

i am going to try out the other madeleines recipes i googled... but if you want something simple, you should give this a try!

45ml melted butter
45gms plain flour
3/4 tsp of green tea powder or cocoa powder
40gms caster sugar
1 medium egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
some chocolate chips (for the chocolate madeleines, but you can put them in the green tea ones too)

(this is a half recipe - i did one lot for green tea, and one lot for chocolate)

1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease the madeleine pan with some melted butter
2. Sieve the flour, green tea powder (or cocoa powder) and baking powder and set aside (i did not sieve these, hence, there are some tiny lumps in my madeleines :( )
3. Mix the egg and sugar together till pale and thicken
4. Mix in the flour mixture in two or three batches, then slowly add in the melted butter and stir till well combined (mixture should be thick and gluey, and not too runny)
5. Spoon the mixture to fill the pan to 3/4 full and top with some chocolate chips (you can top some azuki beans for the green tea ones, but i omit this)
6. Bake for 10 - 15 mins, depending on the size of your madeleines. The madeleines are ready when it spring back whe lightly pressed, or insert a skewer and it comes out clean. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

my baking diary #22 macarons!!

ok, i caught a fever... a macaron fever!!! wahahaha!!!

baking macarons shot right up to the top of my 'to-bake' list after reading Cathy and Jess's posts...

my first attempt went to a chocolate macaron recipe i found on another blog... but since you don't see any picture here, i am sure you know the outcome of it right? ya, i failed... no feet, cracked surface and sticks to the baking parchment...

since i still have some leftover egg whites, i decided to try Jess's recipe the next day... and ta-dah! SUCCESS!!

these 2 shells are from the first batch that went into the oven... i was soooooo happy at the sight of the feet ppearing though it was only 2 out of the 12 shells i piped, and coz of my poor piping skill, the feet only appear at one side and made it lopsided... but that doesn't matter to me... what matter was the feet!! haha!! 
the subsequent batches that was baked, most were successful, with feets... but with my poor piping skills, they did not turn out with nice even size, and like before, a couple only had feet on one side... but nonetheless, this recipe is definitely one you should try!
not knowing how my macarons will turn out, i did not think of the filling that i wanted... i followed Jess's recipe and baked green tea macaron shells... so i wanted something tangy to counter the sweetness... after going through the stuff i have, i decided to mix some lemon zest with Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chip and 2 tsp of thick cream (since i seen thick cream being used in most chocolate ganache)... i find that the semi-sweet choclate and lemon zest do complement the green tea macaron shell rather well...
the only down side? the testing of the failed chocolatey shells and the heat from the oven after sitting right in front of the oven monitoring the feet and bake - it worsen my sore throat and cough... i am almost losing my voice and coughing much badly then before, so its back to a visit to the company doctor again tomorrow... but then, i am a happy girl with my few pretty macarons... :D

oh and do pop over to Jess's blog for the recipe ya... now, i m off to rest :P

Friday, February 18, 2011

my baking diary #21 butter cookies

this is gonna be a short post... these Mickey butter cookies, along with the Horlick Doggies, are packed into sweet little cookies bags (i forgot to take pictures of those, coz it was nearly 2am by the time i was done packing!) are going to friends/schoolmates of little XN... She turns 3 today! Happy Birthday XN!!

for these butter cookies, i used Sugar Inc's 'reduced sugar butter cookies' since these are meant for kids... as you will need to subscribe to Sugar Inc's mailing list in order to get the recipe, i am not going to post it here... if you would like to try this out, do subscribe to Sugar Inc's mailing list, here.

i made some slight adjustments to the recipe, which includes further reducing the amount of sugar required since these are meant for 3 years old kiddies, as well as lowering the temperature coz i would prefer a lighter golden brown shade....

and a lesson i learnt from this attempt (and from Jess), when the instructions call for chilling of dough to firm it up before cutting out the desired shape, do roll the dough between plastic sheets before chilling them! maybe i am the only one who really follow the instructions, i.e. chill the dough before rolling it to the desired thickness... but by rolling it before chilling, it is really much easier to handle! i used the same recipe when i made the butter cookies in Jan for XH's birthday... but i remember i had to flour the cutters everytime i wanna cut of the cookies, and trying to lift the baking paper from the sticky dough... this time round, i used plastic sheets instead and did not even have to flour my cutters! when you first roll the dough between the plastic sheets, it might stick a little... but after its chilled, the plastic sheet comes up clean when you lift it off the dough. so, this is how i am going to roll and chill my cookies from now on!

i would like to get some views from fellow bakers on how much these cookies should be priced... just plucking a figure and based on what i calculate for this order, if 3 butter cookies alone in a cookie bag, i thought $1 per bag is quite a reasonable price, with say a minimum order of 30 bags (since this will be the rough number of cookies i get from 1 recipe)... For non-bakers, like one of my colleague, they seem to find it a tad too pricey... but i do have to spend a fair bit of time cutting the cookies and making sure the prints are in place and comes out nice...

What's your view? I am not turning my baking hobby into a business, but just wanna gather some info coz other colleagues are asking me to bake for their kids' birthday...

(erm, so this post is not as short as i thought it will be :P )

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

my baking diary #20 horlicks doggies

this is not my first attempt on horlicks doggies... guess largely due to the cute appearance and a not so sweet taste (to some kids its totally not sweet!), it appeal to adults! yes, adults! D tried baking once, and told me her colleagues like it, but not her 2 boys coz its not sweet! My colleague, P, who is a dog lover, just refuses to try this cookie!

sis requested for these cookies for XH's 1st b'day party favour in Jan, and guess i will be making it again for YX's 3rd bday in march...

this batch is for XN, sis's colleague's daughter who is turning 3 this coming Friday... after she got a pack of the cookies from XH's bday, she asked me to quote her for some order... i find it kinda hard to put a price to it... i mean, ok, i can calculate the cost of ingredients, packaging etc... but how about the time i spent in baking these? i am actually planning to turn entrepreneur with this by taking in some small orders for party favours, agar agar etc, so one of these days, i gotta sit down and really think how i should price my bakes and all!

Horlicks Doggies (recipe from Happy Home Baking)

180gms butter, soften
80gms Horlicks
200gms top flour or cake flour
25gms corn flour
20gms milk powder (i omit this and add on 20gms of Horlicks instead)
Chocolate Chips (i used Hershey's semi-sweet mini choc chips)
Chocolate Rice
Koko Crunch

1. Preheat oven to 140C. Line baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
2. Sieve top flour, corn flour and milk powder (if you are using it)
3. Cream butter and Horlicks for about 3 minutes at low speed. Do not overbeat.
4. Mix in the flour mixture and beat for 1 minute to form dough
5. Divide dough into 10gms each (i used a 1/2 teaspoon to measure instead). Put 3 chocolate chips into each piece of dough and roll into balls (i put 5 chocolate chips coz mine is mini and semi-sweet)
6. Place Koko Crunch as ears, chocolate rice as the eyes and a chocolate chip as the nose
7. Bake at 140C for about 20 - 25 mins depending on your oven (mine took about 20 mins)
8. Leave to cool before storing

Other then Horlicks, i have tried doing a batch using Milo, which were equally nice... Instead of using Koko Crunch for the ears, for a contrast in colour, you can use the Koko Crunch Duo which comes in white and milk chocolate... Alternatively, you can also use other cereals like Cookie Crisps for the ears, which gives a bear outlook...

If you prefer cookies with more buttery taste like Dear, you can increase the amount of butter used. But the dough will  be much softer to handle... You can chill them for a while for easier handling... Also, it tend to spread more if you use more butter, so do take note to spread them out on the baking paper...

these were my sweet surprises yesterday...
a bouquet of roses that was delivered to the office... and a watch in the evening... thanks Dear...
Love ya <3

Monday, February 14, 2011

my baking diary #17 osmanthus butter cookies, #18 chocolate shortbread and # 19 pistachio & almond cookies

over the weekend, i made 3 different bakes... all with heart-theme, so as to submit them to Aspiring Bakers #4 for February 2011!! Of course, as Valentine's Day is round the corner, these heart shaped bakes are also for my Dear... the rest will be shared with my colleagues, who are the 'guinea pigs' of my bakes! haha!!

#17 Butter Cookie (Basic Dough) with Osmanthus

As mentioned in my previous post, received a '1 Dough, 100 Cookies' receipe book from D during X'mas.. Been busy with CNY bakes so have yet to give it a try... I identified several which i wanted to try... but after trying 2 recipes, i wonder if i should continue... the dough were rather hard to handle, despite the chilling... or was it me?? 
This is the basic cookie dough... I got some osmanthus from e's joie sometime back, wanted to try the recipe for CNY... But i had too much to do, hence, i added the osmanthus to the basic recipe... I also had the intention to use this recipe to fulfil the cookie orders, find the dough to soft to handle.. I had to flour the surface and rolling pin quite a fair bit, and not forgetting the cookies cutters! 

I would prefer something easier to handle, considering i am going to bake the cookies in the evening after work.. so need something i can finish within the night and not having to sacrifice too much of my sleep :P

Other then making them into heart shaped with messages for Dear, i also used all the cookie cutters i bought, wanting to take nice nice pictures so i can use this take orders... but thought the colour of the cookies varies, and some prints were not obvious, so i gotta re-do this again another day... Can you spot the characters in this picture?

If you want to try the recipe, here you go...

Basic Cookie Dough (from 1 Dough, 100 Cookies by Linda Doeser)
225gms butter, soften
140g caster sugar*
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour

Dear's commented the cookies were a little too sweet, hence you might wanna reduce the sugar level...

For the basic cookie dough, there wasn't any steps indicated... after checking the whole book, the steps are rather similar, so i just followed one of them...

1. Preheat the oven to 190C*
2. Mix butter and sugar using a wooden spoon*, then beat in egg yolk and vanilla extract
3. Sift together the flour and salt into the mixture and stir till combined
4. Halve the dough, shape int balls, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 30 - 60 mins*
5. Unwrap the dough and roll out between 2 sheets of baking parhment to about 3mm thick
6. Stamp out cookies with cutter and put them on baking sheets
7. Bake for 10 - 15 mins, until golden brown
8. Leave to cool on baking sheets before transfering to cool on the wire racks

*the batch with all the cute character cutters were baked in 190C... but i thought it was too high as the colour of the cookies turned out rather 'too golden'and not consistent (could be due to my oven too i guess), so i lowered it to 170C for the heart shaped cookies... i prefer the colour of these heart cookies :)
i did not notice earlier i was supposed to mix the butter and suagr using a wooden spoon, and used an electric mixer instead... wonder if i overmix it, hence, the soft dough... i did not halve the dough nor wrap it in cling wrap, just placed the whole bowl of dough into the fridge and chill it... after which, i halve them and while working on one half, the other remain in the fridge... i have to alternate working with both halves as after a while, it became too soft to handle... and stick to the baking paper alot when trying to roll them.. please note you have to flour the baking paper, rolling pin and cookie cutters generously! as i reduce the temperature to 170C for the heart cookies, it took me a longer time to bake, about 20 - 25 mins...

#18 Chocolate Shortbread

I had wanted to bake a raspberry buttermilk cake for v-day, but after seeing this post on Bake for happy kids, i was contemplating which i should do... if i were to go with the first, i had to get raspberry and buttermilk... if i were to do the chocolate shortbread, i had all the ingredients (except for the chocolate ganache) on hand... hence, i decided to go with the latter... and ta da... here's what i made!!

if you compared my bakes to Zoe's the most obvious different will be the colour... i wonder why... Zoe's was so pretty with a nice whitish colour, but mine turn out rather golden... could it be due to my oven temperature?

i cut a total of 8 hearts and 30 flowers, so i can make 4 hearts and about 15 piece of the flowers... but mum took one without asking me, so i am left with 14 and a half... she say it taste buttery... but i cant really comment how it taste coz i have yet to eat one.. i usually don't eat what i bake, till perhaps the next day or so... i will update with comments on the taste..

while i was spreading the shortbread with Nutella, my elder niece, yx, walk into the kitchen and asked me what i was doing and requested for a piece... i wanted to gave her that half piece, but she insisted that i have to sandwich it up with another half like what i did for the rest! mind you, she is only turning 3 next month! i got no choice but to accede to her request, so i am left with 13.5 pieces now...

Yx walked out to the living room, muching the little flower... wonder if it really taste nice or was it because of the Nutella, she finished everything up herself, refusing to give my dad a bite! my mum told me she seem to really enjoy it, so i set aside 2 pieces for her to bring to childcare tomorrow... but her 2 pieces was not topped with chocolate drizzle as she had just recovered from a bout of cough recently...

Here's the recipe from Bake for happy kids:

50g butter, at room temperature
25g Icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
55g plain flour
20g almond meal
1 egg white

(i doubled up the recipe)

1. Line Baking tray with baking paper. Preheat oven to 170C
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla until light fluffy
3. Add flour and almond meal. Stir until combine.
4. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Refrigerate for 20 min or until firm.
5. Roll out dough to 5mm thickness and cut into shapes.
6. Brush shortbread with egg white and bake for 20 min or until light golden brown.
7. Allow to cool completely on tray.

Instead of sandwiching a chocolate ganache, i used Nutella instead :) but here's how Zoe made the chocolate ganache:

Thick chocolate ganache
50g dark chocolate
30ml double cream

1. Mix both chocolate and cream together and microwave them in low power until the chocolate melts
2 Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature and apply onto one side of the shortbread and sandwich another one on top of the ganache.
3. Place the sandwich shortbread on a wire rack or baking paper.
4. Using a microwave in low power, melt dark chocolate and drizzle on top of the sandwich shortbread. Allow chocolate to set. (I melt some Hershery's semi-sweet chocolate chips and use it for the drizzling and wordings instead)

#19 Pistachio and Almond Cookies

i thought i might have overmixed the butter and sugar in the earlier basic cookie, this time i used a wooden spoon instead... end result? the dough is still very soft to handle... i only managed to cut some with the heart shaped cutter, and the rest, i just scoop the dough, roll and flatten! 

this was not the very cookie i wanted to bake, but seeing i am rather short of time and since mum bought some pistachio for cny, all ingredients were available on hand... despite chilling them for more than 30 mins (and i think in total more than 60 mins!), the dough is still too soft to roll and cut into desired shapes... though the process in doing it was rather tough, glad the cookies, especially the heart shape ones turned out rather nice... a nice shade of golden brown... mum is usually the first taster of my bakes if Dear is not around... her comments? cookie is crunchy and crispy... the buttery smell is not as strong as the chocolate short bread (though i told her this recipe used more butter!)

as you can see from the second picture, the rounds one were the later batch, which i gave up trying to cut them into shapes... and i seem to have left them in the oven a tad too long, hence, the colour are slightly darker (but not burnt!)...

the instructions called for topping the pistachios after the dough is rolled, but after the first batch of heart cookies, i mixed in the remaining pistachios into the dough, hoping this will help to firm up the dough a bit, and hence for the round cookies you don't see the pistachio toppings...

Pistachio & Almond Cookies (from 1 Dough, 100 Cookies by Linda Doeser)

225gms butter, softened
140g caster sugar (i reduced this to 100gms this time round)
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp almond extract
225gms plain flour
55gms ground almond
55gms pistachio nuts, finely chopped
salt (i omit this as the pistachio were already lightly salted)

(considering the short time i had, i halved the recipe)

1. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl amd mix well with a wooden spoon, then beat in the egg yolk and almond extract
2. Sift together the flour and a pinch of salt into the mixture, add the ground almonds and stir till thoroughly combined
3. Halve the dough, shape into balls, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 30 - 60 mins
4. Preheat the oven to 190C and line tray with baking sheets (note i lower temperature to 170C)
5. Unwrap the dough and roll out between 2 sheets of baking parchments (i used plastic bags after the dough sticked too much to the baking paper! was rather easy when the dough is still cold but gave up after the first batch!) to about 3mm thick
6. Sprinkle half the pistachio nuts over each piece of dough and roll lightly with the rolling pin. Stamp out cookies with a cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheets spaced well apart
7. Bake for 10 - 12 minuts (in my case was about 15 - 20 mins). Leave to cool on the baking sheets for 5 - 10 mins, then transfer them to wire rack to cool completely

i am going to submit all 3 bakes to Aspiring Bakers #4 Love In The Air (Feb 2011) hosted by Ellena of Cusine Paradise... and its time to drift off to dreamland!

Happy baking everyone :) and Happy Valentine's Day! <3

Friday, February 11, 2011

my baking diary #16 more agar agar...

havn't got back the momentum for baking after CNY... but made some agar agar coz we are having a CNY cum gambling session at J's place tonight!!

the bunnies mould which i forgotten during CNY!! bought this specially since its the Bunny Year... but forgot about it coz the mould was not in sight... hence my earlier post was only fishes and pineapples...

hmm, the white bunnies does not look very obvious... while trying to put them in the office fridge, my colleague asked if that was a cow!! OMG!!! think something is wrong with his eyes... it may not look at bunny at one glance, but it sure does not look like a cow right?? 
i included green agar agar cut in 'grass' shapes... but think i should have just put in a layer of green agar agar on the plate, which save me time of having to cut the 'grass' and made me nearly late for work this morning! also included a couple of roses :)

of course, i had to make these cute fishes again.. this time, 3 are in coconut milk (those white ones) and 3 are just in the normal agar agar mixture (those translucent ones) coz i am not sure which my colleagues will prefer... oh, and yes, i made the pineapples again too.. just that they are not in the picture coz the will cover up all the fishes....
and this, is just a bigger version of the cny cookie mix...

hope i can bake some v-day stuff this weekend :D

Sunday, February 6, 2011

my baking diary #15 Happy Bunny Year!!

Happy Bunny Year to All on the 4th day of the Lunar Year!! Hope everyone will have a healthy, wealthy and properous year ahead!!

Been wanting to post the agar-agar i made for CNY, but as usual, short of time... after receiving nice comments on the Hello Kitty coconut milk agar-agar i made for xh's 1st birthday, mum suggested that i make more and bring them to aunt's house during CNY visiting....

bought the mini koi fish and pineapple moulds from Kitchen Capers during lunch sometime back... coz i thought "Nian Nian You Yu" and "Ong Lye" is rather auspicious for the festive season...  Came across the big koi fish mould at Phoon Huat, and since its only a couple of dollars, thought it would look more presentable! 

My initial plan was only to dab some orange colouring as most koi fishes are orangy-white in colour... But after seeing Anncoo's post on her colourful koi fish agar-agar, i can't help but add in a couple more colours! 

This was the first batch of koi fish agar-agar i made to bring to Dear's place as dessert after the reunion dinner... But even before dinner, a couple of Dear's siblings had already tested them... Comments received were good, as the coconut milk actually gave a very nice fragrance, and
the agar-agar- wasn't too sweet.... Dear's brother even commented that they look too good to be eaten!

I had wanted to try Ann's method of putting in raisins as eyes, but forgot on that very night i made them, so the fishes are 'eyeless'... guess this is the reason why i feel that they dun look that complete....

this was the second batch of agar-agar i made on new year's eve... instead of using raisins as eyes, i decided to use brown colouring to complete the eyes instead... so this batch of agar-agar making took me a long long time...

i had to add different colourings to different batches of agar-agar, hence, by the time i completed some, the agar-agar would have harden in the pot, and i have to boil them again to achieve the liquid form...

but with the 'eyes' i thought they look so much better, though i think it would look even better with black eyes?

though i used a couple of colours in making the koi fish agar-agar, the hardest to make was not the fish... but the pineapple!!

from the ribbon to the stem and the fruit... i have to hold the mould at slanted angles to make sure the colour does not run... in order to ensure they can 'harden' fast enough to start on the other colour, i had to cool the mixture in a bowl first, but gotta work fast in order to pour them in the mould! confused? think if you do agar-agar, you will understand what i am trying to say...

i actually bought a mould with four mini bunnies for the occasion as well! but i totally forgotten about it as it was not with the fish mould... i wonder why... but never mind, perhaps i can make them for this friday's gathering at J's place...

Now that the CNY festive baking period is over, its time to start on other cookies (but i still have some leftover pineapple paste, a packet of kueh bangkit premix, a packet of butter crunch cookie premix)... i got an order to fulfil - baking some cookies (butter cookies and horlicks doggies) as party favours for my sis's colleague's daughter... and i wanna bake some cookies for v-day as well... not forgetting yx's 3rd birthday in March... exploring icing cookies for J's daughter 3rd birthday with her (most likely) princess theme in mind...

Next on my to-do list, is to bake some cookies i have shortlisted from this "1 Dough, 100 Cookies' book that i got from D as a X'mas pressie...

Ok, back to reality after the long weekend... its back to work tomorrow...