Tuesday, December 30, 2008

DB's December Challenge: French Yule Log



This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

What is a French Yule Log? In France, you can buy two kinds of Yule log, either the Genoise and Buttercream type or what is more commonly purchased which is a frozen Yule Log very reminiscent of an ice cream cake, only often it’s not made of ice cream but rather frozen mousse of some sort. In French this is called an entremets which is sometimes loosely translated in English as simply a cream dessert. This also means that this recipe is not holiday-specific, it is also just a scrumptious dessert recipe.

I was worried when I found out that its 18 pages long!!! I read the instructions again and again. I think it was more than 10 times or something to understand. Seriously before, I joined DB, I never make such desserts before. Every challenge in DB, were my first time.

There is a challenge rule. You must make all 6 of these elements for the log:
1) Dacquoise Biscuit
2) Mousse
3) Ganache Insert
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert
5) Creme Brulee Insert
6) Icing

With such a lengthy instructions, oh boy, its really time consuming and you will have a very messing kitchen! It took me 3 nights to finish the log. I started with Vanilla Creme Brulee and Praline Feuillete Chocolate Crisp. 2nd night, I made the Cinnamon-Milk Ganache and Vanilla Mousse. 3rd night, were Daquoise Almond Biscuit and Dark Chocolate Icing. I was very happy with the 5 elements that I made but I was very disappointed with my vanilla mousse. It was very watery. I never made mousse before, so I do not know how it will be like. I wanted to make a new one the next night but I was short of heavy cream and do not want to waste the one I made so I put the mousse in the freezer, hoping it will be thicken but not. I was hard but it melt very fast. The only reason, I can think of is that I did not put the right amount of agar-agar in the mousse.

So is here how my french yule log looks like:



I was quite disappointed with my french yule log, it could be better. My mousse was watery and melt so fast. The very last part, I overlooked (once you asembled the log, freeze it before putting the icing) at the last instructions for the icing, I poured the icing first. Although, it took me 3 days to finish this yule log, I will definitely make this french yule log again.



Since it is a very long instructions, Hilda had create a link for us. You can check out for the recipe here (Daring Bakers 2008 December Recipe.doc)!!!! Thanks Hilda.

You may also like to check out the rest of DB's members website here!

Again, Thank you Hilda and Blueberry and Marion for this great challenge! :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Congratulations! I won!!


I received an email from dessert magazine online yesterday... In the email, it said "CONGRATULATIONS! You are one of the winners for the BAKE ME A WISH cake." I was caught by surprise. I didnt thought I could have won the contest. yay!!!

Sad but true, I am unable to eat the delicious and scrumptious cake because I am not in US now... Since my better half is in US, he will be receiving it on my behalf. I wonder what is his feedback... hmmm...

The dessert magazines online (http://www.dessertsmag.com/) is awesome. I love their fantastic dessert recipes and they have sweet deals that you can win something.. Check out their Latest Issue - Desserts Magazine Issue #5 and their past issues here.

Click here to see the winners for the Desserts Magazine Issue #5.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

In Memoriam: Ms Lo Hwei Yen killed in Terror Attack!

Its been almost 2 weeks now, that the stories still in the news and in everyone's mind. I would like to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about the recent attack at Oberoi Trident Hotel in Mumbai. When I heard about a Singaporean being held hostage in the attack, I cant help but to pray for the safety of my fellow Singaporean. Days later when I found out that it was Ms Lo Hwei Yen, 28 years old, a lawyer was killed, it shocked me immensely. This just sadden me although I do not know her personally. It was her first time, first night to India. Just a short business trip, Ms Hwei Yen was taken hostage with several other people from around the world and later were killed when the terrorist attacked the hotel. Ms Hwei Yen and her husband, Mr Michael Puhaindran, 37 years old had just got married in their dream wedding in Bali last June. Why there are those people who claimed that they are religious people would killed other people just to prove to god that you are religious?? This is just insane... Why cant there be peace and harmony among all races and religion in the world? All I can do is pray for peace and harmony in this world.

I hereby offer my sincerest condolences to the Lo and Puhaindran families and to the other victims families.

May she/they rest in peace.

News:

Channel News Asia

Singapore Yahoo News

Globalwhelming

Condolences to the Family of Lawyer Lo Hwei Yen and the Puhaindran Family (by Chia Ti Lik)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cookie Carnival (November) - The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Due to my busy schedule last month, I had to forgo the challenge but, this month, I must not!Its easy and its definately my favorite cookies!!!

Kate from The Clean Plate Club has chosen THE ULTIMATE CHEWY and SOFT CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES from Regan Daley from her absolutely fabulous MUST-HAVE book, In The Sweet Kitchen. I don't have this book yet but I will get it someday. I have plenty of cookies recipe books and I don't mind to add another book to the collection.. :)

To make the cookies were very easy and simple and very yummy! The texture and very chocolaty.... I even add extra bitter-sweet chocolate chips to the mixture... hehe... I only made 1 dozen of the cookies and save the rest for later... Within the same day, all the 1 dozen cookies were gone!


The Ultimate Chewy and Soft Chocolate Chunk Cookies

INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
3 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
16 oz. flavorful bitter or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly butter them, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

2. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

3. Using your hands, shape knobs of dough about the size of a large walnut and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. (I use 2 spoons to scoop the dough thou) Stagger the rows of cookies to ensure even baking. Bake 12-15 for smaller cookies, 14-17 for larger ones or until the tops are a light golden brown. If the cookies are neither firm nor dark when they are removed from the oven, they will cool chewy and soft. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. If somehow they don't get inhaled immediately, they may be stored airtight at room temperature for up to one week.

ENJOY!

DB's November Challenge: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting




It seems like my baking skill in unconsistence! I need to work on my baking skill, especially when baking a cake! Maybe I should go for baking lessons or bake more often. I wish I could but I'm so busy with work and preparing for my wedding, I just couldnt have the time to bake more often nowadays..

Anyhoo, this month sugar is the Star of the party. Host by Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, co-host by Alex (Brownie) of the Blondie & Brownie, Jenny of Foray into Food and also for alternative baking, Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go.

This month recipe courtesy by author, Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater and her signature caramel cake, a homemake caramel syrup (sooo sweet). There's also an optional challenge: Alice Medrich’s Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels, with LOTS of variation but I decided not to make it. :(

I also added some sweet strawberries and nutella spread and top with Caramel frosting... Hmm... Yummy

And now…THE RECIPES:
CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free:
So the GF changes to the cake would be:
2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or 2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 - 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to the amount it might need to be raised to & I'm going to check)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

4. Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed.

5. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

6. Sift flour and baking powder.

7. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

8.Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

9. Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

10. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

CARAMEL SYRUP
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light (recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)


~ OPTIONAL ~
GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS
- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -
Ingredients
1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

Equipment
A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer

Procedure
Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.

Variations

Fleur de Sel Caramels: Extra salt, in the form of fleur de sel or another coarse flaked salt, brings out the flavor of the caramel and offers a little ying to the yang. Add an extra scant 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to the recipe. Or, to keep the salt crunchy, let the caramel cool and firm. Then sprinkle with two pinches of flaky salt and press it in. Invert, remove the pan liner, sprinkle with more salt. Then cut and wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane.

Nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Caramels: Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the cream before you heat it. Cardamom Caramels: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon slightly crushed cardamom seeds (from about 15 cardamom pods) to the cream before heating it. Strain the cream when you add it to the caramel; discard the seeds.

Caramel Sauce: Stop cooking any caramel recipe or variation when it reaches 225°F or, for a sauce that thickens like hot fudge over ice cream, 228°F. Pour it into a sauceboat to serve or into a heatproof jar for storage. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for ages and reheated gently in the microwave or a saucepan just until hot and flowing before use. You can stir in rum or brandy to taste. If the sauce is too thick or stiff to serve over ice cream, it can always be thinned with a little water or cream. Or, if you like a sauce that thickens more over ice cream, simmer it for a few minutes longer. (recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert)


If you’re looking for additional guidance on the cake, Shuna’s got some great information posted here as well (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/shuna/2007/11/caramel-cake-a.html) and here (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006/12/24/caramel-cake-the-recipe/). And metric conversions can be found here (http://www.worldwidemetric.com/metcal.htm).

Shuna's notes:

This is one of those cakes that is truly about baking. It may sound strange because aren't all cakes about baking? What I mean is that getting this cake to bake is about balancing fat with acid and protein JUST RIGHT. Gluten free flours are going to have a hard time getting this cake to work. Not impossible, for nothing is impossible these days with all the chemical (natural and icky) at our fingertips, but very very tricky. One hint for the gluten free baker-- liquid Lecithen is your friend.It would be very easy to get various other flavours in the caramel cake but what's tricky is making sure the flavour does not screw up the liquid-fat-flour ratio too much. Ideas/flavours: Browned Butter, vanilla bean, rosemary, burnt orange, warm spices, etc. Just remember: various flavouring ingredients and agents carry with them their own acidity and moisture contents...Flavour imparting ingredients can be poached in the caramel once it's done. Even a cold steep would be good with some highly aromatic ingredients, like coffee beans or rosemary. One could make scented sugar and use that in tandem with the sugar in the recipe.But I will say this about flavours: you will hide and lose the subtlety of the caramel flavour in the cake and that's what this cake is about.



Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sweet & Simple Bakes (October) - Spooktacular - Halloween - Cupcakes

It's HALLOWEEN. I still remember when I was still working at Loof Bar last year, I had those artistic make up done by the expert. hehe..
Anyway for this month's challenge, it was Spooktacular - Halloween Cupcakes. My attempt to make this month's challenge, was good but not as spooky as what Rosie and Maria (Sweet and Simple Bakes) mentioned in the post. Well, by adding raisins and chocolate chip to the mixture, is that creative too?? Hmm.. I do not have the witch cookie cutter or pumpkin cookie cutter or the black color icing to decorate my cupcake. I used grapefruit icing and added orange color to it. The cut-outs were actually real cookie that I baked separately (unfortunately, they were slightly burnt because I forgot to turn the oven temperature down... lol). Besides using the normal cupcake cases, I used the mini paper cupcakes cases too because they look so cute.. mini.. ;)

Spooktacular - Halloween - Cupcakes!
Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
175g (6 oz / 1 &1/3 cups) self-raising flour
175g (6 oz /1 &1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
175g (6 oz / 1 cup) of caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 - 4 tbsp milk
Icing/frosting of your choice – go wild and make a statement
Decorations of your choice – the spookier the better :)

You will need a 12 hole-muffin tin and 12 cupcake paper cases

Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Line a 12 hole-muffin tin with cupcake paper cases.

Sieve the flour into a bowl and leave aside. In a large mixing bowl add the butter and sugar and beat until the mixture becomes light in colour and fluffy. Add one egg at a time beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and then gently fold in the flour until combined. Stir in the milk until you have a good dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture equally into the prepared muffin tin and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.

Rosie’s notes:
1. Fill the cupcake paper cases no more than two-thirds full for the cupcakes to rise.
2. If the tops dome a little when completely cool, take a segregated knife and slice the domed tops off and discard, this enables flat tops for icing and decorations.
3. I have also measured my ingredients that I weighed out into cup measures as requested but please note if using, I cannot guarantee how accurate these measures are in cups.
4.
If using plain flour because you cannot acquire self-raising flour add 1½ tsp of baking powder to the plain flour.


Though my cupcakes are not as spooky as they should be, but I tell you, they taste great!!! I am sure to make more of these cupcakes.. Thank you Rosie and Maria for this great recipe! :)
Check out the rest for the Spooktacular - Halloween - Cupcakes!!

Anyhoo, for the month of October, I was unable to complete one challenge from Cookie Carnival. But do check out for the October Round-Up here!

Have a good weekend everyone! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DB's October Challenge - Pizza and Toppings



This month's challenge, hosted by sweet Rosa of Yummy Yums. She chose an easy pizza recipe from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice”. I was so excited when I found out about this month's challenge... It's perfect!!!! Currently, the place I worked for is a pizza place. Hence, I asked the supervisor if I could use their kitchen for my challenge. She approved and I was so excited.. Of course, I used the recipe provided, bought some ingredients for the toppings and did all on my own.

For this challenge, I wanted to make one dessert pizza (blueberry) and one white pizza (caesar dressing). I used their toppings for the rest of the dough. There is one interesting rule for this challenge. The challenge was to use the tossing method. I thought that I will never be able to make it or my dough will never turn out well. At first, I thought of just skip the tossing method but decided to go for it. It was a little hard at first but from the second toss onwards, I got the hang of it and I was like never wanted to stop and my dear sister who helped to snap the picture, had a hard time to snap when I tossed the dough.. LOL... Oh man, my pizza dough turned out great!


Here, Im trying to toss my dough..



Here are the photo of the pizzas:

Blueberry pizza. Unfortunately, my friend bought the wrong type. He got the blueberry with light syrup instead of the blueberry pie fillings.. But this is as good as the blueberry pie fillings.

I added some feta cheese on top of the blueberry. This one is caesar dressing with turkey ham, sweet pineapple, italian sausages, turkey bacon and cheese with sweet chilli sauce.... this is really good!!!



For the remaining dough, here are some photos................

This is vegetarian pizza: tomatoes, pineapples, black olives, green peppers, feta, mozzarella with pesto sauce as the based. My sun-dried tomatoes got burnt, should have put them before the cheese. :(


This pizza is a mixed of black olives, mushrooms, chicken chunks,pineapples, green peppers, bbq sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheese with yogurt based.




EQUIPMENT: Stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments (optional, see recipe), cooking thermometer, baking sheet, parchment paper, cooking oil, plastic wrap, pizza peel/scraper, pizza stone or pan.

RECIPE SOURCE: “The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread” by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.


~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches).

Ingredients:
4 1/2 Cups (607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast
1/4 Cup (60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting ( I omit this out)

Method:
DAY ONE
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE:
If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

DAY TWO
8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan. (I used vegetable oil so that the dough doesnt stick to the pan)

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE ON SAUCE: Your sauce (any) should not be too thick as it will thicken in the hot oven. Less is more but make the less truly more by using quality ingredients.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Thank you to the supervisor, Yaz for letting me use kitchen and some of their ingredients for the pizza....

Thanks to this wonderful challenge, I think they were the best pizzas I ever made.. ;)

I hope everyone had a wonderful time making October's challenge as much as I did! :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Amazing Chocolate Chips Cookies

A lot of people enjoy chocolate chip cookies or in general cookies. So I baked some chocolate chip cookies the other day. Everyone at home enjoyed these cookies. These delicious chocolate chips cookies were gone so quickly!!! It was gone within 2 days after I baked them. Its hard on the outside and soft in the inside. Even when I gave some to my cousin and my best friend, they said the cookies were gone fast too! hehe.. I did post about these chocolate chip cookies in livejournal before but now since I am using blogspot for my food blog, I should post these delicious chocolate chips cookies here too and share with everyone. Just too bad, I am unable to share these cookies with my fiance since we are so far away for now. :(

Here is the recipe.....

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp hot water
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped pistachios (optional, in the photo, I did not use any nuts)

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 Deg

2. Dissolve baking soda in the hot water. Set aside. Cream together butter and both white and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs but one at a time, then stir in vanilla essence.

3. Add to the batter along with salt. Stir in flour, both white and chocolate chips and pistachios. Mix well.

4. Drop by large spoonful onto the cookie sheets.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned.

Cheers! :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sweet & Simple Bakes (September) - Vanilla Apple Cake


Maybe, I didnt do it right.... I don't know what happened???? I baked this simple vanilla apple cake. Unfortunately, my cake sunk in the middle and I didn't take a good picture. I was really disappointed with my vanilla apple cake. Here how it looked like.... 

From the picture, you can't really see it but it did... Kind of embarrass to be added in the round up together with the rest of the group.. They did a great job with the vanilla apple cake. You may like to check out here.

See ya!

DB's September Challenge - Lavash Crackers & Toppings



I am super late to post DB September's challenge. I have been so busy with work and preparing for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, I was not able to make the crackers on time.. Today, I finally got a day to make some and post it here..

The challenge is to make Lavash Crackers and create a dip/spread/relish to accompany it. With so much freedom in this challenge, I created my own version of salsa. Unfortunately, I didn't take any measurements... I just estimated on the ingredients.. At the same time, I was not able to find any unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend here, all I got was organic unbleached flour. I could have just used the wheat flour but I totally forgot about it when I went to get the ingredients... Because my oven here is small, I had to divide the dough into 2... I am not sure, if it is right but its all good....

September Challenge - Lavash Crackers & Toppings
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers


* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bread-Dough-Has-Been-Mixed-Long-Enough for a description of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

OR

2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.

OR

4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.



You may use your choice of topping/dip/salsa/relish/spread for your lavash crackers as long as it is vegan and gluten free.


For my salsa, I was being creative. I see whatever there were in the refrigerator... I chopped the baby tomatoes, green peppers, garlic, orange, grapes and Chinese parsley. Below is the list:

* baby tomatoes
* green peppers
* garlic
* orange
* grapes (green color - no seeds)
* Chinese parsley
* sugar
* salt and pepper to taste


I want to thank Lisa for letting me post it later than it should be. Thank you, Lisa! :)

SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI. MAAF ZAHIR & BATIN!!!! xoxo :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Busy... busy...

I didn't get much sleep these few weeks because of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. So many things to do and my job has been taking most of my time. I also had to make the cookies that my mom's customers had ordered. At the same time, had to clean the house to look pretty and clean.. (hehe) since we'll be expecting a lot of people to visit this year for Hari Raya Aidilfitri... I didn't take time off from work because I just started this new job. Even it is Hari Raya Aidilfitri yesterday, I had to work in the morning.. Gosh!!! I am just soooo tired!!!!

Anyway, for the monthly challenges for Daring Bakers and Sweet and Simple Bakes, I am a little slow this time round, but I will post them up very soon. :(

I also would like to take this opportunity to wish to all Muslims and my Muslims friends in Singapore and around the world,

"SELAMAT HARI RAYA ALDILFITRI.
MAAF ZAHIR & BATIN".


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cookie Carnival (September) : Pink Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies



For September's challenge at Cookie Carnival, Kate decided to choose Martha's Pink Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies suggested by Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake. When I read Kate's email, I think to myself, "Not, grapefruit!! So sour..." I remember, I ate this fruit long time ago and it was so sour, I never had it again!!!

Anyway, I had a hard time looking for this fruit. I couldn't find any grapefruit at the big supermarkets here but I found the fruit at "Sheng Shiong", a local grocery store. The cashier told me that the fruits just arrived that morning. I was so happy and immediately bought the fruit. As grapefruits are generally sour, I thought the cookies and the filling would be sour too but with the right amount of sweetness from honey and sugar, they taste great. But one thing for sure, my dad commented that the cookies were a little hard! :(

Well, you can get the recipe from Martha's website and also watch a video demo, Martha with Brenda Chenoweth of "Pushing Daisies." Click here to watch the video:

So here is the recipe:
Pink Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies
You can bake the cookies and make the filling a day ahead.


Ingredients for cookies

Makes 15 sandwich cookies. (I used a smaller cookie cutter so I had more than 15 cookies. hehe.. )

* Grated zest of 1 Ruby Red grapefruit, plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed juice
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
* 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 large egg yolks
* Pink Grapefruit Cream Filling


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, combine zest with 1 tablespoon sugar; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg yolks, and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in reserved zest-sugar mixture. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the juice, and beat to combine.

3. Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out disk to 1/8 inch thick using a lightly floured rolling pin. Using a lightly floured 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds and place about 1 inch apart on prepared sheet. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes. Transfer parchment paper and cookies to rack to cool completely.

5. Using an offset spatula, spread 1 tablespoon filling onto flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping flat sides down. Once filled, cookies can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Ingredients for filling
Makes enough to fill 15 sandwich cookies.

* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice


Directions
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in honey. Add juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until filling holds together and is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside until ready to use.


Thanks Mari for your suggestion and Kate for choosing Mari's suggestion. Have a good day everyone! :)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ayam Masak Merah

This recipe is called "Ayam Masak Merah". It is a spicy chicken Malay dish. To translate it in English >> Ayam~Chicken, Masak~Cooking, Merah~Red. Anyway, I was at work today, and people at work was wondering if I can cook for the 'break-fast'!! No! No! not breakfast but to break the fast.

Let me share with you what is fasting all about... It is the Islamic month of fasting which takes place during the 9th month (RAMADAN) in the Muslim calender. Participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat "sahur", the pre-dawn meal. We do not eat or drink anything after first prayer is said, until the fourth prayer of the day, is due. Well, after the sun has set, we may continue to eat and drink until the next morning's "fajr" prayer. The fast is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which Muslims seek a raised level of closeness to God Almighty. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate. It is also intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable. After the whole month of fasting, we celebrate "Hari Raya Aidilfitri" :)

So that it is, about fasting... but my post today is not about that. It is about "Ayam Masak Merah"! Back to my story.... Hmm... since I am working with my sister, she said "Don't ask her, she enjoys cooking and she is down with it and she'll do it.." hehe... my sister knows me well... So I asked them what do they want me to cook.. To make a fast and simple dish, I thought of just cooking pasta.. but they said for that, it is easy for them to make... Then one of them said, "Ayam Masak Merah"... I was like... hmmm.. I do not know, but I can find out! So since all my recipe books at home, and all I have is the Internet in the office, so I searched for this recipe. I found one from The Star Online - Kuali, Malaysian Recipes. After they got the ingredients from the supermarket, I start with my cooking.... :)


Recipe: Ayam Masak Merah
Serving: 4 people

Ingredients
1 kg chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used a whole chicken and cut into 12 pieces.)
2 onions, quartered
3 potatoes, cut into wedges
2 tomatoes, quartered
1 small can tomato paste
150ml water
4cm piece cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 star anise
3–4 tbsp oil

Ground spices (A):
10 shallots
4 cloves garlic
12 red chillies, seeded
3cm ginger
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder

Seasoning (B):
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tbsp sugar or to taste

Method
Heat oil until hot, sauté ground spices (A) until fragrant. Add in cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise. Fry for 1–2 minutes. Add onions, tomato paste and potatoes. Stir-fry well. Mix in water and tomatoes. Cook until mixture starts to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is tender and gravy turns thick. Add seasoning to taste and serve this mildly spiced curry dish with bread slices or with plain rice.


Enjoy and have a good day everyone! :)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sweet & Simple Bakes (August) - Victoria Sandwich Cake

First of all, thank you, Rosie and Maria for this great and simple recipe. Sweet and Simple Bakes selected Victoria Sandwich Cake for August Bake. A classic cake which is so simple and easy to make. You can enjoy this cake while you having your afternoon tea or anytime of the day.

The ‘creaming’ method is used which means creaming fat & sugar together to incorporate air, and then adding the liquids slowly to avoid curdling the mixture and gently folding in the flour. This is no problem for me, since I used this kind of method before in the past.

Top Tip from Rosie, to have all ingredients at room temperature before you commence, should the mixture curdle when incorporating the eggs, add 1 tablespoon of flour and all will come together without any problems. In this recipe, it said to use 2 sandwich tins (cake pans) 2 x 20cm (8 in) with depth of at least 5cm (2 in) but I used 2 aluminum cake pans when I baked this cake so the cake does not look even on the sides. I did thought of just using one pan but I used two instead. Looks like I should have used one and cut into half.. But its all good because the cake turned out great. The cake finished fast as soon as I served. The whole family enjoyed this classic cake.

Recipe can be found here : Victoria Sandwich Cake

Check out for the rest of the entries too @ Sweet and Simple Bakes.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daring Bakers August Challenge - Chocolate Eclairs



My first challenge with Daring Bakers. How I got interested to join Daring Bakers?? I saw a few food blogs, and they were talking about Daring Bakers challenges. Then I decided to check the Daring Bakers website out. Wonderful! I think it is interesting to be part of such amazing group. Well, at that time, I had nothing much to do, so that is why I joined. But seriously, now my new job take away most of my time, I just hope that I can still do it. I was hoping that my first challenge will not be too difficult because the previous challenges, it seems way too difficult for an amateur baker like me...

Chocolate eclairs were selected by Tony Tahhan and MeetaK who are the hosts for August challenge. Eclairs and cream puff are my favorites, and I was so delighted when it got selected. Although I love this pastry, I haven't made them before. I always buy from the bakery shop.

Anyhoo, for this challenge, we were allowed to change one thing of this recipe, either the chocolate filling or the chocolate glaze. I decided to change the chocolate filling to orange custard. Unfortunately, my chocolate glaze did not turn out well. I was disappointed with my chocolate glaze and had to throw them out. In the end, I used chocolate chips and also milk chocolate on a double-boiler (separate).

Although my chocolate glaze was a little disappointment, overall, the eclairs turned out good. My mom was surprised when I told her that made those eclairs. She commented that the eclairs were soft and yummy! thanks mom. :)




Éclairs consist of 3 elements:
- Pâte à Choux, also known as Choux Pastry or Cream Puff Dough
- Pastry Cream
- Chocolate glaze

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts By Pierre Hermé (makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes:
1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.
Assembling the éclairs:
• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the mean time fill the bottom with the pastry cream.
3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes:
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create bubbles.
2)The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes:
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry CreamRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.
2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.
3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat). Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.
4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.
5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

Notes:
1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.
3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé (makes 1 cup or 300g)
• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:
1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.
2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate SauceRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)
• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes:
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

Orange custard3 oz orange juice
6 oz milk
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp orange rind
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp custard powder

Boil the milk. Add the custard powder, a little at a time in the milk. Stir to mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cook in low heat until thick.
Leave to cool before proceed on.


I had a fun baking these eclairs and hope ya'll did too.... I think I will probably make these again in the future.... Thanks Tony and Meetak for hosting... Have a great day ahead! :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cookie Carnival (August) - Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti

Its that time of the month again.. Cookie Carnival by Kate. I almost forgot to make this delicious biscotti... I've been so busy and I just started my new job which take most of my time... But its all good.. I managed to bake today... YAY!!!!!

I never baked biscotti before and I do not like hazelnuts, well mostly nuts except for cashew nuts in my cookies or ice-cream or other desserts. I always thought biscotti should be cut very thinly, but this recipe calls for 2-1/2 inch. Seriously, I am just really bad at measuring without using the ruler or measuring tape.. so I just estimate and cut thicker... Also, I have FORGOTTEN the baking soda and baking powder!!!!! How could this be????? I had it right there, and yet I forgot.. what am I thinking.... LOL.... But they turned out well and that all counts...



Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti
Bon Appétit from The Bakehouse, Bloomington, IN

 Makes about 4 dozen.

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grind 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts in processor. Set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl.

Beat butter and sugar in another large bowl to blend. Add eggs and vanilla and almond extracts and beat until well blended. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in 1 cup whole toasted hazelnuts, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece on baking sheet into 2 1/2-inch-wide by 14-inch-long log. Place logs on prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake until logs feel firm when tops are gently pressed, about 35 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Using long wide spatula, transfer baked logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Thanks Kate for the delicious biscotti.... Marvelous!!

Have a good day everyone. :)


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kuih Lopes or lopez......



This is known as kuih lopes or just lopes. Made from glutinous rice wrapped in individual triangles using banana leaves and left to boil for a few hours. The rice pieces are then tossed with grated coconut all over and served with palm sugar syrup. Glutinous rice is also called sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, mochi rice, and pearl rice. It is a type of short-grained Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked.

Kuih lopes has been my all-time favorite dessert. Well not any kuih lopes ya know. I always love it when mom made her them. Her lopes is soft and the best (my opinion). I would have 2 or 3 pieces or even more and put a lot of the palm sugar syrup..  So this time, I helped her to make kuih lopes and learnt the way she make it. :) She makes a lot of kuih lopes  because she sells them at her food stall and a lot of time, it is always sold out!!! Both my mom and my grandma are so good at what they do when comes to cooking and they do not need to use measuring cups or weighing scale! I wonder how they do it.. For me, its a must.. hehe..

Soooo... when she soak the glutinous rice in water, she add this thing, I am not sure what it is but mom said it is "abuchang", something like soda (i dun even know if the spelling is right). Well, if you are unable to get this, it doesn't matter. You can omit this and soak the rice until it expand. Here is the pic to show you, how "abuchang" looked like:

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 kg glutinous rice
1 - 2 piece "abuchang"
Water
Banana leaves
a few drops of green color (optional)

Coconut
1/2 coconut - grated
pinch of salt


Palm Sugar Syrup

2 cup palm sugar (gula melaka), roughly chopped
1-1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
2 -3 pandan leaves

To make the palm sugar syrup, place the palm sugar and water in a small pot. Add a little bit of salt. Heat over low fire till the sugar completely melts and the mixture is slightly thick and sticky. Tie a knot on the pandan leaves and drop in the syrup. Once all the sugar melts, strain the syrup and set aside. You can make the syrup a few days before. The syrup can be kept for a few weeks in the refrigerator. 

For the coconut, use only the white part and steamed for about 30 minutes with a little salt. You may use the desiccated coconut but it won't taste as good as the fresh coconut. But try this, put the desiccated coconut flakes, coconut milk, salt and sugar in a small saucepan under a low fire. mix well and cook just for a short time.

To make the lopes, wash and soak glutinous rice with "abuchang" for at least 1 or 2 hours or until the glutinous rice has expand. Put through a strainer, wash and rise again.

Soften the banana leaves by dipping in hot water. Tear them into 3 inches strips. Then fold the the banana strips into a cone  by the end.  Fill in 2 tablespoons of the glutinous rice and fold compact like you folding a samosa. stack 3 triangles together and tie them up with raffias or rubber-bands.

In a big pot, fill with 3/4 full of water and let it boil under a medium heat. Place all the lopes and let it boil for 3-4 hours. The banana leaves will be soft and so as the rice. About 2 mins before you remove the triangles, add a few drops of the green color and mix well. - to be very gentle and careful not to break the lopes. The green color will make the lopes changed to green color. Once cooked, drain and cool thoroughly.

Discard the banana leaves and cover lopes with steamed coconut and have it with your palm-sugar syrup.. Yummy... 

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kuih Dadar (Coconut Pancake)

I am very sorry that I haven't been updating my blog the past 2 weeks or so. Not becoz I am lazy but I've been busy. I came back to Singapore 2 weeks ago and then I went to Shah Alam(Malaysia) last week. Gosh.. I kinda hate the long traveling part.. tiring... Other than traveling, I also had a job interview in Singapore. (on a quick note, I got the job... yay!!) Anyway now I have to get back on blogging... :) This month, I have so many baking to do and I am so excited to start back working on it.

Well, yesterday early morning, I helped my grandma to make some delicious kuih for my mom who would sell the kuih-muih* at her food stall at Kim Keat Ave (Singapore). I love this kuih because its simply delicious and easy-to-make. The wrap is a combination of flour, eggs, and water or some use coconut milk. The filling is grated coconut, sweetened with gula melaka (palm sugar). Since my grandma do not use any measurement cups or weighing scales when mixing the ingredients, so I have to find the measurements... :)

*Kuih is the term given to various manners of bite-sized food items in Malay. They are usually - but not always - sweet and intricate creations, including cakes, cookies and puddings. It can also be described as pastry, however it is to be noted that the Asian concept of "cakes" and "pastries" is different from that of the Western one. Kuihs, plurified kueh-mueh or kuih-muih in Malay are more often steamed than baked, and thus very different in texture, flavour and appearance from Western cakes or puff pastries. Kuihs come in different shapes, colours, texture and designs. Some examples are filled, coated, wrapped, sliced and layered kuihs. Also, as mentioned earlier, most kuihs are steamed, with some being boiled or baked. They can also be deep-fried, and sometimes even grilled. Kuihs are not confined to a certain meal but are eaten throughout the day. (wikipedia)



Recipe: Kueh Dadar (Coconut Pancake)
Ingredients:
Filling:
90g palm sugar or brown sugar
40ml plain water
200g granted coconut, skin removed
1/3 tsp salt
1 egg

Cook palm sugar with water till palm sugar dissolves. Add grated coconut and salt, stir-fry till mixture is fairly dry. Then add the egg and mix well. Remove and set aside.


Batter:
100g all purpose flour
1 egg
1/3 tsp salt
1 tbsp pandan juice or green food colouring
150ml plain water
a few drops of vegetable oil


Sift flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the egg, pandan juice or green coloring, vegetable oil and water. Use a hand whisk to mix well and form a batter. Add a little more water if the batter is too thick.


Heat flat-bottomed frying pan and pour in a little oil. Pour enough batter and lightly swirl pan to let batter spread into a thin pancake.


Heat till pancake is cooked then remove and let cool.


Place the coconut filing on pancake (the top part when you cooked it).


Fold the left and right side first before the center part.


Roll the pancake like a spring roll.

Enjoy! :)







Remarks: Coconut filling you can make 1 week beforehand and keep cool inside fridge.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...