Monday, December 31, 2012

Macaron : Pretty in Pink





Last post for year 2012 - Pink Macaron with orange buttercream. I used them as small gifts for friends. Love the way these little cookies bring smiles on their faces.

 
 
I love making macarons now. It's challenging and every batch is different depending whether the meringue is beaten to the right stage or the macaronage stage is done correctly. When they do turn out okay, it's satisfying. So, when they go into the oven, I will be checking the oven every now and then just to see if the 'feet' will appear. I will be thrilled at the first sight of them and will do a happy dance in the kitchen. It does not end there, next is to monitor and open the oven door a few times just to make sure the oven does not get too hot and cause the top of the macs to crack. The whole baking experience for each batch is like a roller coaster ride....well, for me at least.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Macaron with cream custard



One thing for sure, I can only make a successful batch with aged eggs. So, planning ahead is important and I like to use an 'one egg' recipe for smaller quantity. The recipe is from blogger : Happy Flour.  I reduced the ingredients by half. I was lazy to blend the dry ingredients so I just sieved them through once.


The piped batter resting


With macarons, I am really still learning and trying very hard to get it right. I have more confidence now (after numerous failed attempts) and will try to avoid making the same mistakes. The funny thing is I am so determined and will not stop trying. There are so many things to explore, the colour of the shell, the flavour and the differemt kinds of filling. No wonder everyone loves them.

Here is how this batch looks like when they are out of the oven :


Look! They have 'feet'

If you are interested in trying, the recipe :

Macaron Shells

40g egg white ( from 1 large 60g egg, aged at least 24 hours)
30g castor sugar

40g almond meal
65g icing sugar
( place almond meal & icing sugar in blender and pulse a few times to get finer texture and sieve them together)
a pinch of purple colouring powder

- Plan ahead, separate the egg at least a day before you start baking. Keep the egg white and yolk separately wrapped in the fridge.
- On actual baking day, bring the egg white to room temperature before you start.
- Fill a sauce pan with water ( not too much) and heat up to just below boiling point. Place egg white and castor sugar in a heatproof bowl and place over the simmering water ( bowl not touching the water). Stir and warm the mixture till sugar dissolved and warm to the touch. If you have a candy thermometer, it should measure around 45 degrees celcius. Do not overheat.
- Remove from heat and use an electric mixer to beat the egg white mixture to medium soft peaks. Stop the moment the meringue shows swirls in the bowl to check stiffness. The beater should hold peak that look like a hook. At this point, add in colouring and continue to beat slightly till incorporated. Do not overbeat.
- Next, fold in the dry ingredients to the meringue in four batches. Do not overmix. The right consistency of the batter might need some practice. The batter should be shiny and able to slowly move from side to side when you tilt the bowl. When you scoop with the spatula, it should be able to drip slowly back to bowl like a ribbon.
- Prepare a disposable piping bag and a round nozzle tip. Pour batter into the bag and pipe round disc on a prepared pan with parchment paper or silicone mat.
- Rest the piped batter for at least 20 to 30 minutes. By then, a dry skin should have formed on the surface. When you touch with your finger, they should not be sticky.
- Bake in preheated oven of 150 degrees celcius for about 15-20 mins. The top should be hard and base of the cookie should be cooked.
- Remove from oven and let them cook completely before removing them.

Custard Cream Filling

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp of castor sugar
50ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp top flour

- Heat milk
- In a separate bowl, beat egg yolk + sugar + extract till pale white. Add in the flour and mix well.
- Next, add in the milk.
- Heat up the mixture again till boiling point. Whisk till mixture thickens.
- Spread the mixture in a pan or plate and cover with cling wrap.
- Place over ice water to cool down.
- Keep it in the fridge when cooled. Before using, smooth the top with a spatula.

*** Once macarons have cooled down, you can store them in the fridge first before filling them. Once you filled them with this custard, you need to serve them immediately as the shells will soften and become soggy unlike ganache or buttercream where they will harden when stored****


This is how it looks like after one bite!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hearts On Roll







First I made a template by tracing out heart shapes on a piece of A4 size paper. Next, I decided on the colour combination. Then, I started mixing the batter, following the recipe to the 'T'. I did not want any mishap and ruin my entire planning. As it turned out, I did a pretty good job and my piping skill has definitely improved. The hearts were in neat and smooth shapes. By the way, they tasted great too! Please refer to my post on Giraffe Patterned Swiss Roll for the recipe if you are interested.







So, I waited patiently for the sponge to bake and when it was ready, was so happy to see the perfect designs. Just the way I wanted them to be in the first place. Adorable, right?


Monday, December 17, 2012

Hello Kitty Macarons



I thought of giving these cuties a shot when I first saw it from this blog. I used the swiss meringue method because nothing else works. Somehow,with the swiss meringue method, at least I can see 'feet'. This batch yielded tiny feet but I had fun decorating them. These will make nice Christmas presents for office colleagues so I am going to bake another batch this weekend and plan to have assorted shapes and colours.

If you are interested, you can get the step by step recipe which I have used here . Of course, you need to tweak and not add the colouring for these Hello Kittys.

What you will need :

1) Heart shaped sprinkles for the ribbon
2) Edible food writers in black (eyes) and yellow (nose)
3) Melted white chocolate to act as glue for the ribbon
4) Your desired filling for the macarons
5) Decorate when macarons are nicely baked and cooled
6) Keep them refrigerated in air tight container after filling them

Remember to sieve your ground almond & icing sugar to get a glossy and smooth top. I did not pulse the ground almond as I felt they were fine enough but you have to use a spoon to force them through the sieve though. At the end when the coarser ones could not be forced through anymore, I just threw them into the sieved ground almond and icing sugar. Look, they turned out smooth too. I think the idea is more to break up the bigger lumps. For beginners, it's best to scale down the recipe to 1 egg white. That way, you will not end up with one big batch of ugly macarons if they don't turn out well. If they do turn out well, good for you. Just don't give up if the first few attempts fails. You just end up with meringue cookies that taste good with peanut butter. Still yummy and practice makes perfect.

Happy Trying!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Deco Roll Again




 

The thing about a craze is you just never snap out of it until you are really done and tired with it. This is exactly what is happening to me now. I am so into this deco rolls now and I think the guys at home is beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed. I used a 3 eggs recipe this time for my small swiss roll pan 9" x 12". Works fine but a bit on the dry side as it did not roll up as nicely as the 4 eggs recipe. Please refer to my giraffe patterned swiss roll for the recipe. As for the pattern, it's all up to you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Bread



Honestly, this is a far cry from the original post I saw from here. However, I guess it is close but not that close. I should have cut a larger piece from both ends when rolled. If you are interested, her blog even has a video with the step by step 'how to'. Brilliant! The only thing is I did not follow her recipe. I used the Tang Zhong loaf recipe for the dough and used cinnamon filling for the in betweens. Predictable! But Tang Zhong is here to stay for now.

Here's another close up shot.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

More on decorated swiss roll




The pattern is not from a template but rather free hand drawing with the batter. This is really getting addictive. I keep imagining now what kind of pattern I can use for my next roll.




 
Using the same recipe as the one for Giraffe Swiss Roll. More to come for sure.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Giraffe patterned swiss roll

 





One of the many bakes on my 'to bake' list and I finally tried and baked it. Decorated swiss roll. If you google and find out more, it all started with this Japanese blogger by the name of Junko and I think it got so popular that a special decorated roll kit is available for sale which comes with a special silicone mat with pre-printed designs and can also act as a dough mat for you to knead on. How ingenius! However, it is selling for about SGD$50 over and the recipe book is in Japanese and Chinese (translated) online (Gmarket). I don't read both so I figured it's not worth getting it. After all, patterns can be traced from almost anything that you like. You don't need to restrict yourself to what the mat has to offer. Furthermore, I got a silicone baking sheet from Phoon Huat which only cost SGD$3. It is also non-stick and allows easier handling of the cake. I saw what other bloggers did and decided to follow the recipe from Cathy's Joy. It has a lot of good reviews. Furthermore, the patterns for her recipe looked part of the cake when done unlike some recipes where the patterns looked not embedded and not part of the cake. Am I making sense? Well, google around and you will know what I mean.







This is my first attempt and I am pretty happy with the cake. It rolled up without cracks and of course the oohs and aahhs were enough to make me feel that my efforts have been paid off.



The recipe :






For the egg yolk batter :

4 egg yolks
15g castor sugar
40g vegetable oil
60g milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
70g top flour, sifted
10g cocoa powder (add later after you have scooped 2 tbsp out for the pattern's batter)

Batter for the patterns :

2 Tbsp egg yolk batter
1 tsp top flour
2 tsp sugar
20g egg white

Meringue :

4 egg whites
50g castor sugar

The steps :

Trace out giraffe patttern on a greaseproof paper. Prepare a swiss roll pan and place the paper with the pattern on the pan before lining it with another piece of greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  • Mix the egg yolks,sugar,oil, milk and vanilla essence till combined.
  • Stir in flour. Mix till smooth and well combined.
  • Remove 2 Tbsp of the batter and mix in 1 tsp top flour for the pattern batter. Set aside.
  • Add in cocoa powder to the remaining main batter. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, beat the 20g egg white with 2 tsp sugar till stiff peak. Add into the pattern batter and mix till combined.
  • Pipe the plain batter and trace the pattern on the pan. Bake for 1 min and remove from the oven.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the meringue. Beat till stiff peak. Fold into the egg yolk batter in a few batches gently.
  • Pour the prepared cocoa batter into the pan. Smooth the surface and make sure it is level.
  • Drop the pan onto the table top a few times to release air bubbles.
  • Bake for about 14-15 mins. To test doneness, press finger gently on the top of the cake, if it springs back , it's done. An inserted toothpick should comes out clean.
  • Remove the the cake immediately from the pan to cool on a wire rack.
  • When cooled slightly, remove the paper gently and let it cool completely on the wire rack.
  • Spread with your choice of filling and roll up the cake. Use the same greaseproof paper to wrap the roll and place in the fridge to set for at least 30 mins. Cut into smaller sizes and serve.

This is the pattern I used (printed from the internet)



This recipe is really good and I will probably use this again whenever I feel like baking swiss roll, almost perfect! But I guess it's subjective. Try it and see if it works for you too.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pumpkin Caterpillars Buns



Could not resist trying when I saw the recipe and photos from the same library book which I borrowed a few weeks ago. Homemade Bread 2 from the Jolly Kitchen Series. The book has recipes that come in smaller quantities and this recipe used only yielded 4 caterpillars. Good enough. After all, it is using the straight dough method and probably will not keep long.



For the eyes on the buns, I used melted chocolate and decorated the top of the head of the caterpillars with meat floss. It turned out rather cute. The bread is very fragrant. Must have been the pumpkin. I was pleased and my son brought this to school for his lunch box. I hope it did bring some joy to his hectic school life despite his young age.

The Recipe ( Adapted from Homemade Bread 2 / Jolly Kitchen Series) :

180g bread flour
80g mashed pumpkin ( I steamed the pumpkin first then weigh the portion required)
3/4 tsp instant yeast
10g warm water ( might need more as different pumpkin might have more or lesser water content)
20g evaporated milk ( recipe calls for whipping cream but I don't have any so I used evaporated milk and it turned out ok)
20g egg ( break 1 egg and beat lightly before measuring the required portion)
15g sugar
2g salt
16g butter

For the filling : Filling of your own choice. Mine was filled with meat floss.

Steps :

  • Dissolve yeast in water and let it stand for 10 mins.
  • Place all ingredients in a stand mixer except butter and knead to form a dough.
  • Once the dough is formed and start to cling to the dough hook, add in butter and continue to knead to elastic. Dough should not tear easily when stretched.
  • Once dough is ready, transfer to a clean bowl (which has been greased) and cover with a wet towel to rise. About 40-45 mins. Dough should doubled in size.

Before rise

After 45mins
  •  Punch down to knock out air. Knead a few times. Divide the dough into 16 equal parts
  • Shape them to round balls and let them rest for 10 mins.
  • Flatten each dough and wrap with your choice of filling. Seal tightly and placed them on a baking tray. Arrange in sets of 4 each.

 
 
 
  • Cover with cling wrap to proof further for about 40 mins or till dough is twice it's original size.
  • Brush with egg wash and sprinkle the 'body' of the caterpillars with sesame seeds. 
  • Bake in preheated oven of 180 degrees celcius for about 10-13mins.
  • Once removed from oven, transfer buns to cool on wire rack after 5mins.

When buns are completely cooled, start decorating the 'head' of the caterpillars with melted chocolate to make the eyes and mouth. Done!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cupcakes again!


Today's batch looked perfect and to my satisfaction. Somehow if I don't post this, I am not being fair to myself. Ever since having a blog, I must admit that I am eager to share whenever bakes of mine came out nice and perfect. Although I do not really have a lot of followers but it feels great when I know there will be viewers no matter how low the number is.


 I used the same recipe as my previous posting on chocolate cupcake. This was how the cuppies looked like when they came out of the oven. Loved the nice little dome...not too high..just nice.Melted some chocolate and used them as icing spread.




Yumz!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My First...



Braided bread. It does look like a flower and filled with cinnamon. I could not take a picture of the process of how I braided this but I sure had fun.


This is the before and after baking shots of the bread





Got this idea from the internet. But used the sweet dough recipe of Alex Goh ( refer to my previous posts on breads). To achieve this, after rolling up the dough with cinnamon sugar filling like a swiss roll, make a slit in the middle leaving a small top portion uncut then braid it with the cinnamon layers facing outward as much as possible. When it has been braided till the end, place both ends together and seal neatly to form a round circle. You can make use of the whole dough to form a bigger one or like me, divide dough to smaller portions and make several small ones.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Homemade Quiche



I think they turned out more like tartlette, a savoury one....oh well, whatever! My mom used to say homemade means not perfect. I think for once, I choose to agree with her.

 
Simple ingredients and simple indulgence.  Enough said!

Here's the recipe ( From RTHK website)

For the crust :

100g plain flour
50g butter (cold and cubed)
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt
20g cold water

For the filling :

2 eggs
some bacon
70g heavy cream
some shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Method :

  • Sieve the flour and salt
  • Add in butter and rub in till it resembles bread crumbs
  • Add in egg and water (might need to gauge depending on the brand of flour)
  • Mix everything until a dough is formed
  • Wrap with cling wrap and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Fry bacon till fragrant. Beat eggs and add in cream,salt and pepper. Sieve the mixture. Set aside
  • Roll out dough and cut to the size of the tart mould. Gently place dough over the mould and shape the dough neatly to the sides. Use a fork to poke holes at the bottom.
  • Blind bake at 200 degrees celcius for about 15 mins.
  • Remove from oven. Place bacon and shredded cheese on top and pour the egg mixture to fill the whole tart. Reduce oven heat to 180-190 degrees celcius.
  • Place them back into the oven and continue to bake till egg is set.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Easy Banana Cake on a lazy Sunday afternoon






There is a sudden craving for banana cake and as I browse the internet for a simple and quick recipe, I decided to try this one from Anncoo Journal. The recipe does not need butter and promises a light and soft version. Well, true enough, it is very light and you can easily gobble up the whole cake.
So, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, this recipe is indeed a quick fix.

The recipe :

2 medium size banana - mashed
2 small eggs ( original recipe calls for 1 large egg but I only have the small ones)
70g sugar
90g vegetable oil
125g top flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
25g evaporated milk
1/4 tsp vanilla essence

Method :
  • Beat egg and sugar till light and creamy
  • Add in oil, essence , mashed banana and milk - mix to combine
  • Add sifted flour with baking powder and soda into the egg mixture and fold in lightly.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake at pre-heated oven of 175 degrees celcius for about 25-30mins depending on your oven. Top should be golden brown and an inserted skewer should comes out clean to test if cake is done.
 
 
 


 Make sure you are using bananas that are over ripen so that the cake will have a more intense banana flavour. You may need to increase the sugar if you want a more sweeter cake. I might try it with butter and add in some cinnamon & walnut the next time for an added crunch.




Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tuna Cupbread




Turned a batch of Tangzhong dough into cupbread. Interesting! Made some tuna filling for these cuppies. The dough is really soft. Love every bite of it!




For the past few weeks, I have been baking a lot of bread. It has given me a whole new experience about baking. It's no longer about baking something for indulgence but rather something staple. Instead of grabbing a loaf of bread or buns from the bakery, I have an option now to bake them myself now. An achievement alright! Like what Jamie Oliver said - you will be proud of yourself when you see the end result.

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