Sunday, June 27, 2010

Brioche I - French Butter Bread



Brioche? Have you heard of this French bread before? Well, I did a little research and found that Brioche is a highly enriched French bread, whose high eggs and butter content give it what it seen as a rich and tender butter crumb. It has a dark, golden, and flaky crust from egg wash applied after proofing. A Brioche is normally baked in a fluted round tin; a large ball of dough is placed on the bottom and topped with a smaller ball of dough to form the head."Well, you have been a lot of cakes lately", said my Hubby to me…..hmm, did I? Ok, fine then, maybe I did, because even he kids said so……..and my waistline shows a little disappointment already………OK! I'll bake breads and buns starting this weekend I thought, for a change, since he and the kids voiced out…..and I don't want to add another inch to my waistline or another kg to my bathroom scale, :P
I was a bit fed-up with the traditional 'Sweet Bun Dough' varieties that I have been baking all these while…….as I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone, so I picked 'Brioche' – something not Asian, but French. Since a friend recently told me that I'm quite good in all things French……hehe, let's see if this works ^-^
The recipe I had chose was taken from my own cookbook collection – Alex Goh's The World of Bread. It's pretty straightforward and doesn't look any complicated……well, the only 'unique' step that I found a bit unusual is that it requires the dough to be kept in the freezer for 1 hour, as the refrigeration will solidifies the dough which still rises, albeit slowly making it easier to form before it is being divided into individual buns to be shaped. The outcome was really good, I must admit I like it so much, and so are the kids…….even my little girl, Angelica who seldom is a supporter to anything I baked (except Meringue cookies), but hey, for Brioche……..she ate 3 in a roll and demand for a 4th one….LOL. This recipe yields only 12 buns and I actually intended to kept some for the boys to bring to school the next day, but ………ended all gone in less than an hour, :P Its was very buttery in taste and smell, the texture was really soft and its good even eaten plain……..though they say its normally being spread with butter, jam or marmalade.
If you are a fan of breads or buns, do add this to your baking list…….it won't disappoint you, I promise ;)


 
BRIOCHE
Ingredients:
(A)
250gm bread flour / H.P.flour
1 tsp salt
25gm castor sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
(B)
2 eggs, room temperature
50ml cold water
(C)
100gm butter, softened

Method:
  1. Mix (A) till well blended and then add (B) and mix to form a dough.
  2. Add (C) and continue to mix to form a smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Shape it into a ball. Place it in a bowl and cover with clear cling wrap / kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 hour. (FYI, I went out for breakfast and left it there for 3 hours :P)
  4. Knead the dough again and make it into a ball. Cover it again with cling wrap / kitchen towel and put it in the freezer for 1 hour.
  5. Remove dough from the freezer and divide it into 40gm pieces. Shape them into balls and put them into 8cm brioche fluted mould. Press the centre with your index finger to make a deep indentation.
  6. Make some small balls from the remaining dough and place them onto the indentations to form the 'head'.
  7. Brush on some egg wash and leave them to proof for another 50 minutes.
  8. Brush with egg wash again before putting them into the oven to bake for 15 minutes at preheated oven of 180 degree Celcius.
  9. Remove from the oven and serve when it's still hot. (But it's as good even after it cools down).

Happy Brioche baking!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chocolate Molten Cake with Vanilla Ice-cream



It's another night of endless 'exciting' football matches lined up and I just have to bake something to keep me awake so that I can last through the twilight until 2.30am's match. :P Tonight I wanted to eat something that has chocolate in it, I meant really, and lots of chocolate in it…….I can opt for a bar of Toblerone though, but that just doesn't quite do the trick. I flipped through my recipe files in the study room and even get some generous suggestion from the kids to see what they have in mind…….but 'sigh' they are so hooked up in their computer and PSP games……that no one is suggesting anything. Fine! I'll do the pick myself……..and I chose "Chocolate Molten Cake" because when I read through the recipes, I'm a bit curious this cake, or should I say 'little cake', as it was baked in ramekin like soufflés………does not calls for any flour in it. Wooo……pure semi-sweet chocolate, I love that…..just what I want……it promises a texture that is light and soft, and airy and yet……you don't feel like you have eaten a huge bar of chocolate and later felt guilty about it….cool huh?


Yeap, that's what I wanted now…….this will be my dinner tonight……and on top of it, I'm going to eat it with a full scoop of Vanilla Ice-cream…….tell me about the calories later :P
Here's where I got the recipe……..something different, something special!



Happy Baking !

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Orange Cheesecake for Happy Father’s Day



Yes, today is "Happy Father's Day" …..so happy, happy Father's Day to all the daddies in the world….and most of all, to the 2 daddies in the house, my Hubby and my FiL….hehe :P I missed my dad so much , every year when it's Father's Day, I'll have very deep thoughts of him, it always feels like he has just gone not so long ago, but in fact this is the 13th year already ………..that's why I people always says 'Time flies so that it heals those who are hurt'…….God bless you Dad and I'll always love you ^_^
I haven't been making cheesecakes lately, I think the last one I did was an order made by a friend to be gifted as an "anniversary cake" to her client. So, I decided to make cheesecake for this occasion as you might still remember me quoting that MiL bought a box of oranges few days ago? Hehe………this is another excuse of using those oranges as an ingredient in one of my bakes again.
Orange + Cheese = Orange Cheesecake…….perfect! I already love the sound of it, as I'm a citrus fan myself, so any food with a citrus blend in it is my cup of tea…..LOL
I chose the recipe from my cookbook – 'The Ultimate Indulgence Cheesecake' by Chef Alan Kok. It's a really rich cheesecake but perfect with a blend of fresh orange juice and the taste is just nice…..that doesn't make you feel each piece is as heavy as it is ;)

 ORANGE CHEESECAKE
Base :
1 slice 8 inch chocolate sponge cake
(By the way, I substituted the sponge cake base with a biscuit base instead)
-150gm Digestive biscuits, crushed
-70gm butter, melted in a double-boiler
To make the biscuit base - Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter, mix well. Then pour it into a lined 8 inch cake tin and pressed to the base until firm and smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Cream cheese mixture:
(A)
500gm cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 egg yolks
50ml milk
1 orange, squeezed juice
Zest of 1 orange Tbsp orange liquor / rum (Optional)
50gm plain flour, sieved
(B)
2 egg whites
90gm castor sugar

 Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius. Line and 8 inch round cake tin with grease proof paper and put in a piece of prepared sponge cake.
  2. Cream the cream cheese, egg yolks and milk until smooth. Add in orange juice, orange zest, orange liquor / rum is using, plain flour and stir until well mixed and smooth.
  3. Whisk egg whites and castor sugar at high speed until stiff peak is formed (about 5-7 minutes). Fold the egg whites into cream cheese mixture in 3 batches slowly.
  4. Pour the mixture onto the sponge cake and level the surface.
  5. Steam bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven at 200 degree Celsius for 15 minutes or until the surface is lightly brown. Reduce the temperature to 150 degree Celsius and bake for another 50 minutes or until cooked. Turn off the heat. Leave cake to cool in the oven with door ajar for 1 hour by placing a wooden spoon at the oven door.
  6. Remove the cake from the tin after 1 hour of cooling, and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before decorating or serve.
     
Happy Cheesecake baking !  

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Learn2Bake June Part 2 Challenge – Danish Butter Cookies



OK, it's the month of the FIFA Worldcup and to tell you the truth, I'm on watching all the matches I can get myself up and awake at :P Therefore, you can see that I'm lagging behind on my postings lately, hehe……I'll try to catch up as much as possible as I wouldn't want to be left with post that is too overdue and expired. The Learn2Bake club is still carrying on with the challenges and I'm not going to let the Worldcup drag slow me down, so I decided that since this weekend is 'Happy Father's Day' , I'll make it a point to bake something and also to complete my challenge that has been lining up in my "TO DO" list. So I baked my Learn2Bake June Part 2 Challenge – Danish Butter Cookies today.I did not use the recipe chosen for the challenge, as I wanted to try other 'Danish Butter Cookies' recipes that I have collected. This is an advantage for myself and the members as we get to test 2 recipes at the same time. The reason also being that I heard a few members who has already completed their challenge commented that the recipe given was a bit 'sweet' and the 'buttery' taste of the cookie is not that obvious…….hmm, I wonder this one that I'm going to use will be a bit different, as I realized that the one the members are using has 'a teaspoon of lemon juice' in it…….and mine doesn't :P
I did made a note to cut down on the sugar as I find that it's a bit ridiculous to call for 1 ½ cup of sugar (337gm)…….that was really a lot!!! I initially wanted to shaped the dough into a flower shape using the cookie piping tube, but the dough was way too soft and the shape just doesn't come out as one, it was all in a lump and to tell you the truth, it was really messy….especially when I had to clean and wash it…..gosh! So lastly, I decided to do a 'drop' cookie using 2 teaspoons……..and well, it sure safe me a lot of time and mess too. The decorating was pretty simple as I want it to be as simple as just a 'Butter Cookies' , so I used only cut glace cherries and toasted almond flakes.
Final verdict, I would say the texture was really crispy and crunchy, though I still find it a little sweet (even after cutting down the sugar to 190gm, maybe I should use only 150gm next time), but the cookie was a really buttery Danish Butter Cookie……the kids loved them. This recipe yield about 2.5 dozen (2 full cookie jars) and it was gone in 2 days…….hehe
So, this is another Danish Butter Cookie recipe that you might want to keep besides the one that was being selected for the challenge……..for me, one challenge down and one more to go (Daring Bakers)…….phew!!


DANISH BUTTER COOKIES
(Recipe from CDKitchen.com, yields 2.5 dozen)
 Ingredients:
1¼ cup / 285gm unsalted butter, softened
1½ cup / 337gm granulated sugar (Please cut down to at least 150-160gm, as I find that 190gm is still sweet)
3 egg yolks, beaten
2¼ cup / 280gm all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1½ tsp vanilla essence / almond essence

 Method:
  1. Cream butter and sugar until pale in colour and fluffy.
  2. Beat egg yolks in, one at a time. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill dough for about 30 – 40 minutes. (I did not chill as I was in a rush, hehe :P)
  3. Use a teaspoon to scoop a dollop of the dough, and light put on the cookies sheet lined with parchment paper. You can the back of another teaspoon to push the dough down and shape it to a round ball, then lightly flatten with the back of the spoon. Glaced with cut cherries or toasted almond flakes, or you can just leave it plain.
  4. Bake at preheated oven at 170 degree Celcius for 12 – 15 minutes or until the cookies is lightly brown in gold colour. Take note that the cookie will be soft to the touch when it's still hot, but will hardened when it's cool.

  1. Remove the cookie from the oven and cool on the rack for about 10 minutes, then transfer it to the rack to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.  


Happy Butter Cookies Baking !!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Orange Chiffon Cake



Oranges, Oranges and more oranges.......hehe, my MiL bought a box of USA Navel Oranges and she gave me some to bring home. These oranges are so sweet and juicy and the best part is....there are seedless and fibreless. I was so tempted to bake something out it. I haven't bake cakes for the past few days already as I was busy watching my Worldcup matches starting from 7.30pm.....but I have to tonight because of these tempting juicy and sweet oranges :P
I picked this 'Lemon Chiffon Cake' recipe that a friend gave me few months ago, and substituted the lemon for orange.......and guess what, it turned out really good, the cake was airy, soft, light and not dry to the throat, it's perfectly moist with the citrusy orange smell and taste. Do take this recipe down and try it out......you'll love it, because I do ;)


Orange Chiffon Cake
(Makes one 18cm tube cake)
Ingredients:
100gm cake flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 egg yolks
40gm castor sugar
50ml canola oil
50ml water
25ml fresh orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
*3 egg whites
*40gm castor sugar

 Method:
  1. Preheat oven at 170 degree Celsius. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside. Separate the eggs yolks/ whites.
  2. Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl, add sugar in 3 separate additions and whisk until the mixture becomes thick and pale in color.
  3. Pour in the oil into the egg yolk mixture, whisking until the mixture fully combined. Then pour in the water and whisk until fully combine, then add in the orange juice and mix well.
  4. Add in the flour and whisk until the mixture is fully incorporated, add in the orange zest and mix well. Set aside.
  5. In a clean and dry bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy and foamy, then gradually add in the sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  6. Add in the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk batter in 3 separate additions, folding in slowly and gently with a spatula until evenly blended.
  7. Pour the batter into a 18cm / 7 inch ungreased tube pan. Tap the pan lightly on the table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 170 degree Celsius for 35-40 minutes or until your cake skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. The cake surface should be turned golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven, invert the tube tin immediately, and let it cool completely before un-moulding the cake.
  10. To remove the cake from the tin, run a sharp palette knife around the inside of the pan and centre core. Release the cake and run a knife along the base of the pan to remove the cake. Ready to serve....:)



Happy Orange Chiffon Cake baking !

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mango Vanilla Sponge Trifle



This is the first time I made trifle and I kinda like it though…….although if I can……I'll have fresh–cut mangoes instead of Mango puree for substitution. It's a little rush and last minute for me to come up with this idea of making this trifle because I was left with quite an amount of leftover cut-out vanilla sponge cake from the Learn2Bake June Part 1 Challenge……..because I made a heart-shaped vanilla sponge cake, so that's why……hehe.I hate to dumped all the leftover cut-outs of the sponge cake into the bin, so I thought why not, make use of it for the trifle instead……and that will be my dessert while watching my WorldCup matches, :P I made 4 cups altogether and sent 2 to my SiL and she made a comment that it was nice, but a little too sweet…..which I totally agree too ;) That's why, if you plan to make these trifle, please do adjust the sugar according to your own sweetness preference, as some mangoes can be really nice and sweet. I used Mango filling and puree and …….there are really sweet already….lessons learnt and noted that the next time, I will cut down on the sugar for sure…..:P
Anyway, there was no specific recipes for this one as I actually made it up myself……..to what I wanted my Mango Trifle to taste like…..well, of course I do hope you like it too ^-^ here it is……..

 MANGO VANILLA SPONGE TRIFLE
There are a few steps in making this trifle, first……..
Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe can be obtained from here.
Second, you need to prepare this Crème Anglaise before you start making the trifle.
 Recipe for the Crème Anglaise:
½ cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
¼ cup castor sugar (please adjust according to your sweetness)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

 Method: 
  1. Prepare an ice-bath for cooling the crème.
  2. Bring the milk, heavy cream to boil in a small saucepan.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well mixed. Still whisking the yolk, add a little bit of the hot liquid (from #1), then slowly pour the rest into it. Put the pan over medium heat and constantly stir with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon.
  4. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and strain the custard into a large measuring cup or a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Put the measuring cup / bowl into the ice-bath to cool it down. Place plastic wrap directly onto the cooled custard and refrigerate until ready to use. Its best to let it chill for 24 hours before using to bring out the best of its flavor. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Recipe for the Trifle, makes 4 servings:
28 small cubed size Vanilla sponge cake, cut into 1 inch x 1 inch and thickness of about ½ inch (you can use more than 28 pcs if you like)
1 portion of the Crème Anglaise
1 ½ cups of Mango filling / puree (or if you have fresh-cut mangoes are even better)

 Method:
  1. Place you glasses on the flat working surface.
  2. Put 6-7 pieces of the cubed sponge cake into the glass, then put in some mango filling and then the crème anglaise.
  3. Alternate the mango filling / puree with the crème anglaise until you filled ¾ of the glass. You can always add extra cubed sponge cake into the glass and decorate as you like.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4-6 hours before serving……..enjoy!



Happy Trifle Making …………….!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Learn2Bake June Challenge – Part 1 – Sponge Cake



This month there are 2 challenges again as the club is celebrating Happy Father's Day on the 20th June. So, we are being asked to make Sponge Cake from scratch, meaning not using any Sponge Cake mix. I personally like to make Sponge Cake from scratch although sometimes, when I'm in a hurry, or when I'm feeling super lazy, then I'll opt for the Sponge Mix method. We are also being challenge to decorate the cake for an occasion, so it has to be with frosting. As most of us already knew that sponge cake can be used or….should I say compliment in a lot of other bakings too, such as using it as a base for cheesecake, using in desserts setting like trifle and many more. I have decided to make my Vanilla Sponge Cake into a heart-shaped , decorate it with Raspberry Cream Cheese frosting and topped with Chocolate shavings……and present it for all the Learn2Bake Club members who are celebrating their birthdays in June……..as I knew there are quite a number of them. I also used the leftover cut-out sponge cake to make some Mango Trifles for dessert, not wanting to waste it.
The Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe this time was taken from Creative Cake Decorating.com as you can check it out here too.

 VANILLA SPONGE CAKE

(makes a 7 inch Square tin / 8 inch Round tin)
Ingredients:
130gm Self Raising flour
¼ tsp baking powder
4 eggs, separated
¼ tsp cream of tartar
A pinch of salt
180gm castor sugar
60gm butter, melted
60ml water
1 tsp vanilla essence


Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 170degree Celcius.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, 2-3 times and set aside.
  3. Whisk egg white with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks, butter, water and vanilla essence. Fold into egg whites and combine well.
  5. Finally fold in the dry ingredients and make sure there are no lumps in the mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared greased cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or the cake skewer inserted to the centre, comes out clean. The cake is done when the top springs back when gently pressed.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely on the rack before decorating.
I have chosen to frost my cake with 'Raspberry Cream Cheese Buttercream' as I want the frosting in between the sandwiched cake to contrast a little colour instead of just plain cream cheese buttercream. I also shaved some bittersweet chocolate for the topping and a cherry for décor. The buttercream recipe was also taken from Creative Cake Decorating.com and I did a little adjustment by adding a teaspoon of Raspberry Jam.

 Raspberry Cream Cheese Buttercream (Half Batch)
Ingredients:
180gm cream cheese, softened at room temperature
45gm butter, softened
100gm icing sugar, sifted twice
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 – 2 tsp Raspberry jam / Raspberry pie filling (add according to your own preference)
Some bittersweet cooking chocolate for shaving and decoration

 Method:
  1. Beat cream cheese until softened.
  2. Add in butter and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add icing sugar a little at a time and beat well. Add vanilla essence and continue beating until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  4. Add in the raspberry jam / pie filling and mix well using a spatula, and ready to frost. This buttercream can be used as a filling for sandwich cakes or to frost the sides and top of a cake.
For me, I used it as a filling for my sandwich 'heart-shaped' vanilla sponge cake. To get the heart-shaped cake, I cut the sponge cake into 2 layers, and using a heart shape cookie cutter (4 inches) to cut out the shape. Then spread the buttercream evenly on the cake and sandwich it together, mine was a 3 layer sandwich cake. Then using a cheese grater, shave some cooking chocolate to be placed on top of the cake for decoration. Voila……….ready to serve ^-^

 


Happy Sponge Cake baking !


Blueberry Buns



Ya, bread and buns post again……well, this one was baked over the weekend during the long holidays too…..:P The recipe for the 'sweet bun dough / straight dough' was indeed the same taken from Alex Goh's The World of Bread cookbook that I have been using for the past few buns and breads blogs. Therefore, you can check it out from there for the recipe and whereas the filling this time is 'Blueberry' ….something more fruity and slightly sweet for a Sunday afternoon tea at home, tucked under my blanket, sitting on the couch, hearing the heavy rain outside tapping the on the ground……and of course watching my favourite TV series – Ghost Whisperer Season 5……with the kids as my faithful companion……LOL ^-^I quickly have the dough ready in the morning as I knew that in the afternoon the temperature in the kitchen will not be warm enough for the dough to prove as it has been raining very heavily everyday for the past whole month now….and the timing is just so exact, that you just know when it is going to rain…..everyday around 2.30pm……I can almost become a weather forecaster myself……LOL
So, I got the buns ready hot and smelling really nice in the kitchen at around 4pm when the rain outside was pouring hard and heavy. Staying indoor is the best place I would do when weather like this……there's this saying by the Chinese – "chase the dogs out, they also wouldn't go out"…..well, so I'm staying in and having tea and blueberry buns with the kids and enjoyed our TV……hope you are too ;)

 
BLUEBERRY BUNS
Prepare a basic 'Sweet Bun Dough' from the recipe here.
 Mexico topping:
(A)
60gm butter
50gm castor sugar
Pinch of salt
(B) 1 Egg
(C) 85gm plain flour
(D) Blueberry jam (I used Blueberry pie filling for a thicker and concentrate taste)

Method:
  1. Prepare Mexico topping : Cream (A) until well blended. Add (B) and cream till smooth. Lastly add (C) and mix till well blended, set aside.
  2. Divide the sweet bun dough into 60gm each portions, shape into balls and put them into a 10cm foil pie dish.
  3. Leave the dough balls to prove for 45 minutes or till they are double in size.
  4. Put the Mexico topping into a piping bag, and pipe some Mexico topping on the bun dough after it has risen, then pipe some blueberry jam in the centre of the bun.
  5. Bake at preheated oven at 190~C in the middle rack in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes, and serve.


Happy Blueberry Buns baking!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chocolate Souffle with Rich Chocolate Sauce



Bola! Bola! Bola! Yes……..the FIFA WorldCup fever is on…….and I'm in the fever alright, LOL. Tonight there will be 2 matches at 7.30pm and 10pm and another one in the early morning of the next following day at 2.30am. Geez……that means I will be up and awake the whole night……..hmm, I must prepare something to eat and do while waiting for the time to pass, kekeke :pI have always wanted to try making 'soufflés' especially everytime when I turned those cookbook pages, seeing how fluffy and soft the soufflés are…..rise up to the rim of the ramekin bowls……looking so yummy and appetizing…..hmmm, slurp :p Some of the soufflés are just plain cheese or chocolate, while others are filled with ham, corn and all sorts of savoury fillings. Since I'm not looking for something that is really filling, just something light to keep me up and awake, and yummy of course, I chosed this 'Chocolate Soufflés with Chocolate Sauce'…..which I think would be just perfect for a light dessert at night ;)
This recipe was taken from Desserts Magazine (gosh, sorry I can't remember which issue was that), but don't worry, I'll have it written down almost word for word according to the magazine for you ^-^


 
CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE WITH RICH CHOCOLATE SAUCE
(Makes 4-5, 6oz ramekins)

Ingredients:2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp / 1 oz. Unsalted butterof the egg white
2 large eggs, separated
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup / 1 oz. confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp chocolate liqueur, I used Kahlua
 For chocolate sauce:
100gm bittersweet chocolate
1 ½ Tbsp heavy cream


Method:
  1. Lightly butter 4-5 , 6oz. soufflé dish / ramekins and dust with granulated sugar, tapping out the excess. Set the ramekins on a small baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl over a saucepan of hot water (not boiling) or in a microwave, melt chocolate with butter. Remove from heat and whisk until glossy and smooth. Stir in chocolate liqueur and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, and beat in 3 tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.
  4. In another bowl, beat egg yolks with remaining sugar until thick and pale yellow. Beat in chocolate mixture until incorporated. Fold in ¼ of the egg whites; gently fold in the remaining whites. Divide into prepared container. (Can be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 4 hours or freeze for up to 2 weeks).
  5. Place dish on baking sheet. Bake in lower third of 375 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until puffed and the exterior is set but the interior is a bit loose and creamy and risen about 1 inch above the ramekins. Careful not to overbake.
  6. When the soufflés is in the baking, to make the sauce, double –boil the chocolate and the heavy cream, stir to melt the chocolate. When the chocolate has fully melted, leave it to cool slightly and continue stirring.
  7. When the soufflé is done, take it out of the oven, drizzle the chocolate sauce on top and dust the soufflés with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Note: If you are baking the stored soufflés from the freezer, unwrap the ramekins and set them on a small baking sheet, let them sit for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake on a baking sheet until puffed and risen about 1 inch above the ramekin, about 18 – 20 minutes.
 


Happy Souffles baking…….Goal!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Marble Chiffon Cake…..Super Light & Cottony Soft



It has been raining and raining for weeks already in KK……..sunny in the morning and all so cloudy in the afternoon starting around 3pm, and heavy downpour will start after that. Hmm…..weather like this will make a lot of people falling sick for no reason….just like me! I suddenly lost my voice 2 days ago and I can't think of what I have done or eaten that caused the loss……..some friends suggested that I stopped baking for awhile as they thought I might have been baking and eating at the same time, especially when the things are still hot and heaty right out of the oven……….no lah, I usually don't eat what I baked, only taste testing and that means…..only a small bite leh.Then, Hubby was saying maybe I screamed at the kids too much during the holidays…….since I'm at home with them most of the time, well OK…….maybe a little, but not until I lost my voice…….anyway, I would blamed it on the crazy ever-changing weather for this! But….who cares! The baking still goes on as that is what I like……..LOL.
So last night after the heavy rain……..I felt so lazy and sleepy (hey, it's only 7.45pm), then I thought maybe I'll bake something to keep me awake….and the good excuse is….baking for breakfast tomorrow, I know that is not a good excuse to bake, but well, now that the kids are on school holiday…..I have no one ordering me to bake for recess time, not until they goes back to school in another 1 weeks time. As I have gathered these varieties of Chiffon Cakes recipes, different flavors and all looking so yummy, how can I resist baking them? So I chosed 'Marble Chiffon Cake' tonight…….and the rest will follow next :P
I found this recipe here and I have also gathered a few more for the line-up…….the outcome, I must tell you the very truth…..it's super soft, super light and it tears like cotton……if you know what I meant, when you eat……… you must try and definitely a keeper !! I must say I did not follow exactly the method stated in the recipe, so I'm not going to put in word by word as that would not be fair, so the method is according to what I did ^-^


 
MARBLE CHIFFON CAKE
(for 21cm tube tin)

 
Ingredients for egg white mixture:
180gm egg whites (approximately from 5-6 eggs)
90gm castor sugar
10gm cornflour

 Ingredients for egg yolk mixtures:
70gm egg yolks (from 3-4 eggs)
60gm water
60gm vegetable oil (I used Canola Oil)
70gm + 10gm Plain flour (I used Superfine flour because my plain flour ran out)
20gm caster sugar
8gm Cocoa powder (I used 1 Tbsp)

 Method :
  1. Beat the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until frothy, add in the sugar tablespoon by tablespoon. Then add in the cornflour and beat until the egg whites forms stiff peak. Set aside.
  2. Mix the egg yolks, water and oil together until well combined. Add in the 70gm flour and 20gm sugar and mix well until the mixtures is smooth and creamy.
  3. Divide the egg yolk mixture to two equal portion in two separate bowl (A and B).
  4. Pre heat oven to 170~C and place rack in the centre of the oven.
  5. In bowl (A), mix in the 10gm flour and mix well.
  6. In bowl (B), mix the 8gm cocoa powder into it and mix well.
  7. Divide the egg whites into 2 equal portion and fold in to bowl (A) and bowl (B). Make sure to gently fold in to get a well blended mixture, avoiding not to over mix and breaking up the meringue too much.
  8. Pour the 1/3 of the (A) into the ungreased 21cm tube tin, then followed by (B), use a skewer to swirl it.
  9. Then repeat with the (A) and then (B) and swirl again until you get all the batter into the tube tin. Bake at preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until your cake tester inserted to the centre comes out clean.
  10. Invert the cake immediately after removing from the oven and let it cool completely before unmolding it from the tube tin. Enjoy!



Happy Chiffon Cake baking !!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge for May 2010 – A Piece of Montee / Croquembouche


It's the Daring Bakers Challenge posting period again, and you might start to queried me as this is already the month of June ( and to be exact, 1st week of June is gone) and I'm only posting my completed May challenge now?? Yeah, yeah, I'm so, so late this time, and I have personally write in to apologized and also requested a late posting date from the organizer………….hehehe, and guess what, I'm not the only one lah…that's makes me feels so much better knowing that there are members out there who also lives in the 'real' world where…….sometimes, you just get out of schedule and be late for something, that's just normal……phew!! :P
So, I finally completed my 'Piece of Montee' after so many postponements due this this lah, that lah…..and sometimes, when it comes to baking, I don't know about you, but me…..it's all about the mood, and the mood swing includes what you want to bake for the day…..not anything will do, that's the thingy :P Anyway, I'm just glad that I did it and have however fulfill the members criteria……..as we are only allowed to miss maximum 4 challenge in a year and I have already skip two.
Ok, getting back to the challenge, May challenge was all about the Montee / Croquembouche where it is the traditional wedding cake in France. They are also often served at occasions like Baptisms or Communions. I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw the notes for the challenge…..I was thinking that what am I going to do with a mountain of Choux Puffs after the challenge??? I don't have a wedding to be gifted to , or a Baptism or even a Communion………and who is going to eat all these up……as I'm not talking about 10 choux puffs…….but at least 28 – 40 pieces of choux to be mounted up high in order to get that height to be qualified as a MONTEE!! OK…….no worries, I'll get to that later I thought, I'll find my eating troupes who are willing to wallop that montee for me…..LOL
The challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake and the recipes are from Peter Kump's Baking School in Manhattan and also designed by famous pastry chef , Nick Malgieri. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't deny that this is s far 'd' best Pate A Choux recipe in my collection. The recipe given has 3 components in it and that is the (1) Pate A Choux (2) Crème Patissiere and also (3) Chocolate Glaze as the mounting agent. I made the Crème Patissiere a day ealier as it requires at least 6 hours or overnight to cool and the flavor I have chosen is Vanilla.

 

 Ingredients:
For the Vanilla Crème Patissiere

1 cup (225ml) whole milk
2 Tbsp. Constarch
6 Tbsp. (100gm) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30gm) unsalted butter
1 tsp. Vanilla essence

Method:
  1. Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.
  2. Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.
  3. Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continue whisking.
  4. Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify / cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla essence.
  5. Pour cream into a stainless steel / ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.
     
Pate a Choux (Yield about 28, but I got about 46)
¾ cup (175ml) water
6 Tbsp. (85gm) unsalted butter
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup (125gm) all –purpose flour
4 large eggs

For Egg wash: 1 egg and a pinch of salt (I personally don't like the egg wash, as I feel that it browned too fast, the puff doesn't look nice)

Preparing batter:
  1. Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.
  2. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly. Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny.
  4. As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes. It is this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs. 
Piping:
  1. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip. Pipe choux about 1 inch- apart in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide.
  2. Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of the choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.
  3. Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with a pinch of salt).
  4. Bake the choux at 425~F / 220~C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.
  5. Lower the temperature to 350~F/ 180~C degrees and continue baking until well-coloured and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool. Can be stored in an airtight container overnight.
Filling:
  1. When you are ready to assemble your piece montee, using a plain pastry tip, pierce the bottom of each choux. Fill the choux with pastry cream, using either the same tip or a star tip, and place on a paper-lined sheet.
  2. Choux can be refrigerated briefly at this point while you make the glaze.
Chocolate Glaze
Ingredients:
8 ounces (200gm) finely chopped chocolate (use the finest quality you can afford as the taste will be quite pronounced; I would recommend the semi-sweet)

Melt the chocolate in microwave or double-boiler. Stir at regular intervals to avoid burning. Use immediately.



Assembly of your Montee:
You may want to lay out your unfilled, unglazed choux in a practice design to get the feel for how to assemble the dessert. For example, if making a conical shape, trace a circle (no bigger than 8 inches) on a piece of parchment to use as a pattern. The take some of the larger choux and assemble them in circle for the bottom layer. Practice seeing which pieces fit together best.

Once you are ready to assemble, dip the top of each choux in the chocolate galze (carefully as it may be still hot!), and start assembling on your cake board/ plate/ cheet. Continue dipping and adding choux in levels using the glaze to hold them together as you build up.

When you have finished the design of your piece montee, you may drizzle with the remaining glaze or use ribbons, sugar cookie cut-outs, almonds, flowers and etc. to decorate. Have fun and enjoy!



Happy Montee Assembling !

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dried Apricot Shortbread Hearts



Today is another Public Holiday and it's one of those Agung's birthday as far as I know……but please don't test me or ask me his name or age…..I really have no idea. I think I'm not the only Malaysian who doesn't bother about that as long as there is a PH for us to stay back at home and spent some quality time with the family….:PAnyway, today I was the only one at home with the kids as Hubby still has to open for business in the morning and night……and moreover the twins (Daniel & Dylan) are participating in the KK Chess Association Chess Competition that will be held over 2 days. I sent them to the Asia City Shopping Centre and get them registered, then left for home until later at 2pm then head back there to fetch them. Well, not that I don't want to be there to see them compete………but they chased me off so that they don't feel nervous wo……L ok lah…..let them compete peacefully without having to worry their 'mum' will be there peeping through some crowd to see them, LOL.
So , as I reached home around 10.30am, still so early, and the other two (Ian & Angelica) were still in slumberland……I decided to bake something easy and fast just to kill time before I start catching up on my outdated blogs. I chosed to baked this "Dried Apricot Shortbread' because I have actually wanted to bake this for Christmas last year, but couldn't find dried apricots…….and now that I have a packet of it in the fridge, why not?
This recipe was taken down by me from here and the outcome was very rich, buttery shortbread with the apricot blending in so nicely…..it's just perfect! I love it and gave some to my SiL and will definitely make this again…..especially for Christmas as a gift! Keep that in mind…… ^-^

 
Dried Apricot Shortbread Hearts
Ingredients
223gm unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup Confectioners / Icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups multi-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup finely chopped dried apricots (or any other dried fruits of your choice)

 
Methods
  1. Pre heat oven to 325~F / 180~C and place the rack in the centre of the oven.
  2. Put butter, sugar, vanilla essence, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine all the ingredients together, but not creamy.
  3. Add in the dried apricot. Pour the mixture into an 8-inch square baking pan. Press the dough evenly and firmly on the baking pan.
  4. Bake at preheated oven for about 30 minutes or slightly golden in colour. You might want to cover the top with aluminium foil after baking for 20 minutes to prevent overly browned.
  5. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Run a knife along the edges of the baking pan and transfer the shortbread to a flat work surface.
  6. Cut out heart with a 2 or 3 inch 'heart shaped cookie cutter'. Trim off the stray bits of the apricot with a sharp knife.
  7. The shortbreads can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.



Happy Shortbread Baking !

Friday, June 4, 2010

Almond Flakes Brittle (Crocante)


Geez….this post is so outdated that I have almost forgotten about it. Yesterday I have a friend who asked me to share this "Almond Flakes Brittle" with her as she would like to give it a try……then I realized that I haven't had this posted up since April……aiyoh, apa macam ah??? Hehehe :P
OK, don't ask me why and what makes me get into the mood of making this Crocante…..or should I say, 'Toffee Candy' (that's what I think it tasted like). I think I have short term memory loss that I can forget things so easily just with a snap of a finger. Anyway, I do remember where I got this recipe from and I love everything about this blog too…….the write-up, the recipes and the photographs…..very professional ;) Here's where you should check this out……and the only thing I change in this recipe is the pine nuts used…….as I don't have pine nuts in my inventory at that time when I wanted so much to make this, I substituted it with lightly toasted Almond Flakes……and it tasted just as good too. Next time I'll definitely try the original version….with pine nuts! ^-^

 
Ingredients (makes about 2 cups of Crocantes)
1 cup Castor sugar
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1 cup pine nuts (I used Almond flakes, lightly toasted)


 
Method:
  1. Line a large baking pan pr cookie sheet with parchment paper, foil or silicone mat. Lightly grease the parchment if using. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy medium saucepan over medium –high heat, combine together the sugar, water, butter, corn syrup and salt. Cook and stirring occasionally, and brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until the mixture turns deep golden brown in color and the candy thermometer register 350~F.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the pine nuts / almond flakes with a wooden spoon.
  4. Make sure the caramel evenly coats all the nuts. Pour the mixture out onto the prepared pan lined with parchment paper, and using a heat-resistant spatula, spread it so the nuts are in a single layer (about 4mm in thickness).
  5. Let the brittle cool completely before breaking them into pieces with your hands. Keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks…….but I doubt it'll last that long, because it's so addictive once you start eating a piece, it just leads you on and on and …….on

Happy Crocante Making……^-^

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

MAYO, HAM AND CHEESE BUNS



Another posting on bread and buns……gosh! Am I glad that there's this long holiday going on in May……I can almost bake bread and buns everyday :P My family has almost all the members a big fan of bread and buns, so making it will not have me worry that it will be kept for days and then ended up in the bin. This time I let the kids decide what they want the filling to inside the buns…….and they requested , "mayonnaise with ham with mozzarella cheese and some extra cheese for topping……….wah! so fulfilling oh…..OK! here you go kids…all for you guys this time!!
Well, you can too come up with your own favourite fillings. The 'Sweet Bun Dough / Straight Dough is also taken from "Alex Goh's The World of Bread" cookbook and you can refer here for the recipe….. …..Happy buns baking again ;)

 MAYO, HAM AND CHEESE BUNS
For the Filling
6 pieces of Tulip Cooked Ham / Chicken Ham / Turkey Ham, cut into small squares
3 Tbsp of Mayonnaise
A dash of salt and pepper to taste
Some grated Mozzarella Cheese
Some grated Cheddar Cheese for topping
1 Egg for egg wash


 
Filling Preparation:
  1. Mix the cut ham and mayonnaise together in a clean bowl.
  2. Add in the grated Mozzarella cheese and mix well. Put in the salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to use.
Method for Bread:
  1. Mix (A) till well blended.
  2. Add (B) and knead to form a dough. (Remember to add the water bit by bit until you can get the dough to not stick to your hands, and not too soft. Sometimes you might find that you don't need to use all the water, because different flour brand, has different water absorption level).
  3. Add (C), continue to knead to form a smooth and elastic dough.
  4. Cover the dough with clear film or a damp kitchen towel. Let it prove for 50-60 minutes, or until it double its size.
  5. Use your finger, dip into flour and press into the centre of the dough. It should show a clear finger dip mark, but the dough should not sink. The finger mark should stay there too.
  6. Divide the dough into 60gm portions, mould them into balls and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Flatten the dough balls lightly using the palm of your hand on a flat work surface to release out all the air bubbles, and mould it into a round shape.
  8. Fill in the Mayo, Ham and Cheese filling, about 1 tsp in the centre, and using your fingers to seal the opening .
  9. Put them on the baking tray, lightly greased, and let it prove for about 30 – 40 minutes, or until double in size again.
  10. Eggwash the top of the buns, and sprinkle some grated Cheddar Cheese on top.
  11. Bake at preheat oven at 190~C in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes. Serve.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

CHEESE STRIPS BREAD



First of all, I would like to wish all the Kadazan-Dusun friends of mine a very "Happy Harvest Festival" or "Kotobian Tadau Kaamatan"………and that means it's public holiday for us and this year, it falls on a Sunday and Monday (30th and 31st of May) and we get an extra day in replacement of the Sunday. Wow, we haven't had this for quite some time already……..those who have planned well ahead, would have gone overseas for a vacation. As for me and my family, we had no special plans but just staying back at home to rest have some quality family time. Me? I baked almost everyday starting from the 29th since it was a Saturday……:P This blog is going to talk about what I baked on the 30th and that is "Cheese Sticks" ( I called it Cheese Strips instead). This is one of my little girl's favourite bread and she will not miss buying it each time she sees it. So, this is for you, Angelica sweetie J
I just love to bake bread and buns, I think I have said this many times and you might have this phrase sunk deep inside your head already…..but sorry to repeat it again……, hehe ^_^ but I still do……especially when I have the whole day to do it. This time I have chosen to use 'Alex Goh's - The World of Bread' cookbook from my mini library to make the 'Sweet Bun Dough' or what he called 'Straight Dough'.


 
Sweet Bun Dough / Straight Dough
(A)
480gm Bread flour
120gm Plain flour
110gm Castor sugar
10gm Salt
20gm Milk powder
4 tsp Instant Yeast
(B)
1 Egg
300ml Cold water
(C)
60gm Butter, softened

 
*Grated Cheddar Cheese
*Sugar

 
Method for Bread:
  1. Mix (A) till well blended.
  2. Add (B) and knead to form a dough. (Remember to add the water bit by bit until you can get the dough to not stick to your hands, and not too soft. Sometimes you might find that you don't need to use all the water, because different flour brand, has different water absorption level).
  3. Add (C), continue to knead to form a smooth and elastic dough.
  4. Cover the dough with clear film or a damp kitchen towel. Let it prove for 50-60 minutes, or until it double its size.
  5. Use your finger, dip into flour and press into the centre of the dough. It should show a clear finger dip mark, but the dough should not sink. The finger mark should stay there too.
  6. Divide the dough into 60gm portions and mould them into balls. Leave them to rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Flatten the dough balls lightly using the palm of your hand on a flat work surface to release out all the air bubbles, and roll them out into 30cm long strips.
  8. Place them in a greased baking tray and put in a warm place to prove for 45 minutes.
  9. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with some grated Cheddar Cheese, then with sugar on top.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 190~C for 12 minutes, or until golden brown, in the middle rack of the oven. Ready to serve. 

Happy Buns Baking………^_^