Tuesday, January 17, 2017

CNY Cookies - Butter Cookies

In the same afternoon, beside pineapple tarts, I baked the butter cookies.  This time, I used President unsalted butter with a pinch of salt to replace Golden Churn Salted Butter.  Somehow, it didn't taste as fragrant as the one with Golden Churn Salted Butter.  Probably, my taste bud leans toward to salty side.   It was a good experiment as it helped me to determine the best butter for this cookie that suited my preference.

Recipe ?  Pls refer to following link.


CNY Cookies - Pineapple Tarts

How not to bake Chinese New Year Cookies to usher the Chinese New Year?  I am glad that my higher cert program just ended in time for me to do some baking for Chinese New Year.  The flip side is I don't have a break as immediate after the course, I rushed into the Chinese New Year Cookies baking spree.

In view of the early reunion lunch with my in-laws' family on Jan 15 , I decided to kick start the baking with pineapple tarts as I wanted to give them this cookie when we met up. Pineapple tart is the most favorite cookie by the majority of the Singaporean.  It's a must item during the Chinese New Year. 


This year, I targeted to bake 3 packs of pineapple jam.  It's 50% more than what I did in the past.  I baked two variations of recipes, one was adopted from Sonia of  Nasi Lemak Lover (which use condense milk), another was my old recipe  (I use milk powder).  The aim was to compare two recipes and determine whether I should continue using my recipe moving forward.

Frankly speaking, I still prefer my recipe as  I think it's more fragrant and buttery. I've the same feedback from my family and siblings.   Anyway, taste is very individual.  What taste good to me may not taste good to you.  Hence, you don't need to take my word.



If you would like to give my recipe a try, here you go.. 


Pineapple Tarts Recipe

Preparation:
- Preheat fan oven at 175*C for 15 mins. Baking Time: 21-23 mins. Makes about 70 pcs.

Ingredients 
- 300g butter (cold and firm)
- 2 big egg yolks       
- ¼ vanilla essence

- 400g plain flour   } sift
-  12g milk powder }
- 1 Tbsp icing sugar }

- 700g pineapple jam
- 1 egg yolk + 2 drops of cooking oil and water} for egg wash

Method
1. Cream butter till pale (about 3 mins), add in egg yolks with vanilla essence one at a time and mix till combine.  (don't over beat)
2. Sift the flours, milk powder and icing sugar together, add into step 1.  Gently mix them together by hand. Use finger to stir and scrap aside the flour to butter batter till even distributed. Kneed for a few minutes to form dough.  Chill for at least 30 mins.
3. Weigh 10g pineapple jam, roll into a ball. Repeat the same step till finish the jam. Put aside.
4. Remove dough (step 2) from fridge, portion them into 10g each.  Roll into ball, make an indent, wrap with pineapple jam ball from step 3, roll into a round shape and make some design using cookie cutter or scraper, etc 
and then place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Chill for another 30 mins.
5. Remove from fridge, egg wash tart.  Bake at 175*C (top bottom heat) for 10 mins and then lower to 170*C for another 10-12 mins  till lightly golden. (inner temperature is about 170-165*C)
6. Allow tarts to cool on wire rack before storing .


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Butter Cookies


When I was a kid, I loved Danish butter cookies and always ate as breakfast, sometimes I also ate as snack after meal.  Though these days, I cut down a lot, once in a while, I still crave for it.
 Lately, I found many bloggers were experimenting and trying to identify the best butter cookies, it enticed me to try out and therefore decided to join the fun.  I did 4 recipes within a weekend, below were my finding.  

The first recipe was adopted from baking for the happy kids, same as her, I used unsalted butter.  I liked the texture of the cookies, it indeed gave me the melt in the mouth effect but the taste was too light and not enough sweetness.
 The second recipe was adopted from Miss Tam Chiak, same as her, I used Golden Churn salted butter.  The cookies were crispy outside, melt in the mouth, it was very fragrant and buttery.   On my first bite, I really liked it but after a few bites, I found it too salty for me.  

The third recipe was adopted from one of the article from her world plus, I used Golden Churn salted butter.   On my first bite, in comparison with Miss Tam Chiak's, I think the cookies were less fragrant and buttery, other than that, it was perfectly good.   

I decided to improvise the third recipe and hence made another batch of cookie.   I added 10g caster sugar and 25g more of butter.   This time, the cookie turned out super good.  It tasted like Danish cookies, buttery, crispy and melt in the mouth. 

If you like butter cookies, try this recipe! 


Ingredients:
  • 120g cold salted butter 
  • 1 egg yolk (beaten)       } mix 
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence    } together
  • 65g cake flour    } Dry
  • 20g plain flour    }  Ingredients: 
  • 65g cornstarch    }  sift and mix 
  • 40g icing sugar   } together
  • 10 g caster sugar }
  • 5g milk powder   }



Method:
1. Beat butter on low speed until pale and light (about 2-3 mins). 

2. Add egg yolk and vanilla essence a little at a time on medium low speed till combine.  
3. Fold in dry ingredients till dough forms (don't overmix), wrap dough and chill in fridge for at least an hour. 
4.  Fill the dough in a piping bag with desired nozzle.  Pipe on baking tray lined with parchment paper. Chill for another 1 hour. 
5.  Preheat oven to 190*C (top-bottom heat) 15-20 mins before baking.
6.  Bake at 180*C for 10 mins and 160*C for another 8-10 mins or until golden brown.
7.  Transfer to cooling rack.  Store in airtight container once it's cooled down. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tips and Tricks from School - Pancakes, Crepes and Waffles


I love the waffles at Hatter Street, a cafe specializes in desserts influenced by Asian culinary traditions.   Their waffles are extremely crispy and yet remain moist inside, top with a scoop of vanilla/ pandan icecream with some salted caramel/ Gula Melaka sauce, it tastes so heavenly good!  

Dining in such cafe is quite costly these days, a waffle with a scoop of ice cream normally cost $10 or more.   That's why when I came to know Waffles, Crepes and Pancakes making was part of the curriculum,  I was so excited.  4 recipes were taught, i.e. Crepes Suzette, Buttermilk Pancake, Mandarin Pancakes with Roast Duck and Waffles. I wish I could make these professionally after the lessons. 


What are pancakes, crepes and waffles?  

They are the oldest forms of bread, the making process is very simple and straight forward.  

The primary ingredients for the batter are flour, egg and milk.  Leavening agents and other mix-ins can be added in.

Plain flour is most commonly used, it gives structure and flavor.   

Egg tenderize and milk gives moisture and richness.  

Butter in waffle provides richness and crispiness.
Here are some of the pointers I takeaway from our lessons:
  • Always preheat the pans
  • Mix dry ingredients and liquid ingredients separately and then mix them together.
  • Use the liquids at room temperature
  • Don't overmix the batter, this is to prevent gluten overdevelop. Else the texture will become rubbery.
  • Use the batter as soon as possible after mix especially when it is added with baking powder.
  • Cook on medium heat
  • Store the pancake/crepes/waffles tightly wrapped, chill if for 2-3 days, freeze it if for longer period.

Pineapple Tarts (enclosed version)

I've a lot of sentiments for pineapple tarts as it was the first cookie I baked, and because of that bake, it fired my passion into baking.  I once abandoned this baking passion but glad that I'm back and now pursuing a professional qualification.  I am still unsure whether I'll switch career but I enjoy every moment of the learning journey.  Hope I can figure out what exactly I want to do before I graduate.  
Pineapple tarts is one of the most popular CNY cookies for most people.  I used to love so much that I could "swallow" many a day but after being able to bake, I only do tasting as the tasting itself can make me consumed unnecessary calories.
I baked this at the request of my daughter's BFF.  She had the craving for it.  I used to have a recipe for pineapple tarts but it was difficult to handle, the crust/ skin always stuck onto my fingers.  That's the reason pushing me to look for another good recipe and after several searches, I decided to adopt the recipe from Sonia of  Nasi Lemak Lover.  

I can't say this is the best recipe but it's considered very good. This recipe has the melt-in-the mouth effect but as compare to my old recipe, the degree is lesser.   You can hover to Sonia's blog or refer to the following which has been modified to my preference.

Ingredients:

  • 450g Golden Churn Pure Creamery Butter (cold and firm)
  • 130g Condense milk
  • 660g Plain flour (sifted)
  • 3 egg yolks (large)
  • 1 kg Pineapple jam mixed well with 2-3 limes (to reduce sweetness)
Egg wash:  1 egg yolk with 1 tsp cream/milk

Preparation: Scale 9g of pineapple jam and roll into a ball.  You should get about 110 pcs of pineapple jam balls.

Method:
  1. Cream butter on medium speed till smooth (2-3 mins), add in condensed milk till light (1-2 mins) (don't over beat as too much creaming will create crumbly product).
  2. Add in egg yolk one at a time on medium low speed and mix till combine.
  3. Add in 50% of flour on low speed and when it hits 50-60% incorporation, add in remaining.  Stop the mixer upon mix well (don't overmix).
  4. Remove from mixer and form into dough.  Divide dough into 10g each.
  5. Flatten a piece of dough, place a piece of pineapple jam balls and roll it to give a neat round shape.  Cut a few lines on the top surface and then place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  6. Chill for 30 mins or more.  Preheat oven at 170*C  15 mins before baking.
  7. Glaze a layer of egg yolk over the top and bake at 170*C for 20-23 mins or till golden brown.
  8. Cool completely before storing.
Bake the world a better place !

Monday, December 26, 2016

Pandan Chiffon Cake

I baked this for my daughter,  adopted the recipe from Jennie Tay but used a tube pan and bake at 165*C for 35 mins instead. It looks drier as I didn't use bain marie method.  


Also, I think my pandan juice is too thick as I can feel bitter after taste.  I need to remember to dilute with slighter more water and add a bit of vanilla paste  next time.

 The result is not to my expectation but still eatable. 

Please follow this link for Jeannie's recipe.

Coconut Milk Loaf

No more bread at home, should I buy from supermart so that I can go out for shopping?

In fact, these days I shop online often and I am no longer interested in shopping malls.  And because of shop online, I tend to buy lesser things than before.  In the past, once I went shopping, I tended to spend more as beside shopping the goods, I dined in restaurant or cafe.  When shopping online, if I'm tired, resting at home is free.  Moreover, normally, after I create the shopping cart, I don't submit the order immediately unless is something really urgently needed.  This is because I want to reassess my shopping decision to ensure I only buy things that I will use it or necessary.

What bread to bake?  Should I bake another pullman loaf?  After second thought, I decided to do a variation from pullman loaf.  This time, I use coconut milk instead of water and milk powder.  I adopted this recipe from a Taiwan baker, Carol.

The turnout is pretty good, it's soft, moist, chewy with a hint of coconut flavor. 

Recipe?  Here you go ..

Ingredients (for one 11cmx11cmx19cm loaf pan):
  • 270g bread flour   }  sift together
  • 30g cake flour       }
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 30g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg (about 50-55g)
  • 150g Coconut milk (cold)
Methods:
  1. Combine the flours,  yeast, sugar, salt and egg (salt and yeast to be placed apart from each other) in a bowl and mix it till combined on low speed.
  2. Add in coconut milk gradually on low speed and mix on medium-low speed till windowpane is achieved ( about 13 mins)
  3. Remove the dough from mixing bowl, round to ball and cover it with plastic wrap it in a bowl.  Leave it to ferment for 1 hour or till the size becomes double.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl, dust some flour on the table top (if needed), slightly punch and deflate the dough.   
  5.  Fold the top and bottom to the center.  Repeat the same for another two sides.   Seam side up covered with baker's couch and rest for 15 mins (bench rest).  
  6. Spray the loaf pan with cooking spray gently. 
  7. Take out the dough to final shape.  Stretch into rectangular, take the top half and bring it into the center and press it down with finger tips.  Take the bottom half and bring it up to the center and press it down with finger tips again.  Press the seam side to ensure no gap.  
  8. Put the dough in a greased loaf pan with seam side down and leave it to proof for another 1 hour or till it raise to 80% of pan .
  9. Bake at 200*C for 50-55 hour, take it out from pan immediately and let it cool.  


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Cheese Chiffon with Choc Chip Cake

Yesterday, our Chef asked us to bring back some remaining coconut milk from the Nyonya dessert lesson as the expiry date was due within these two days.  I took back a package and planed to bake a Pandan Chiffon cake today.  However, the coconut milk couldn't wait, it turned sour before I began my baking.  It was a relief to me actually, I could trash it without guilt and could focus on clearing the remaining creamcheese that left over from last Sunday's bake.

I searched for cookie recipe since cookie can keep longer, however, I couldn't find any recipe that could consume the amount of the creamcheese left (130g) unless I doubled or tripled it.  I decided to bake a cake instead and chosen one of my favorite recipe, i.e.  Cheese Chiffon with Choc Chip Cake.

I reckoned I had two new tall tube pans that I bought from Phoon Huat last month during their sales and hadn't have any chance to use it, now it's a time to show case.

 
This recipe is using 6 big and 1 small eggs as I forget to remove one of the egg yolk.  I thought the cake might turn out denser but to my surprise, it's much better than my previous bakes.  The texture is very soft, light and fluffy.  The addition of chocolate chip has boosted the cake to another level,  it gives a chocolaty on top of cheesy flavor. 

Do you like this tall tube pan? Does it look like toilet paper roll  ?

Recipe here:
Ingredients
- 135g milk
- 130g cream cheese
- 80g butter 
- 150g  cake flour (sifted)
- pinch of salt
- 6 big + 1 small egg yolks
- 6 big + 1 small egg whites
- 120g caster sugar
- 100g chocolate chips (mix with some flour)

Method:
Preheat oven to 165*C.
  1. Put butter, cream cheese and milk in a heavy duty saucepan and heat on low fire or  over double-boiler until just simmering (around 70*C),  stir/ whisk till smooth and thicken (not too long).  Remove from fire.
  2. Add flour and salt immediately and whisk till smooth.
  3. Add in egg yolk one at a time, whisk well with each addition.  Set aside. 
  4. Use a mixer,  whisk the egg whites till frothy , gradually add in sugar and whisk till medium peak form.
  5. Sacrifice some meringue to dilute the cheese mixture from step 3.
  6. Fold in 1/3 of the meringue into the cheese mixture until almost combined.
  7. Repeat the same for remaining 2 portions, fold in the meringue lightly until well combined.
  8. Add in chocolate chips and fold gently.  Pour batter into two 15cm (6" diameter) x 10cm (4" height) tube pans 
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 165*C for 15 mins and 160*C for 35mins or until skewer comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven, invert cake onto table till it cool down.    
  11. Remove cake from pan and serve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tips and Tricks from School - Nyonya Desserts


I am a fan of Nyonya Kuehs, I always like to buy the kuehs from Bengawan Solo and treated as a dessert to complete my lunch.  Many a time if I didn't feel like eating a proper lunch, I just ate the Nyonya Kuehs with a cup of coffee.  My favorite Nyonya Kuehs are Ang Ko Kueh, Kueh Da Dar and some other Durian kuehs.  

I find Nyonya Kueh in Malaysia is tastier than Singapore.  It's so rich and fragrant.  Everytime  I go to KL or Malacca, I always like to hunt for it.

In Singapore, beside Bengawan Solo and a handful good one out there, others are not up to mark. Many of them, their texture is so tough and not much taste.  It's just chewy with a lot of colouring.  

When I noticed our higher certificate's syllable includes Nyonya Desserts module, I thought it was weird as Nyonya desserts are mainly steamed and cooked stuffs,  how that fit into Baking and Pastry.   Anyway, I was quite happy since I had no experience making Nyonya Kueh, it's a good opportunity to learn something new.  Moreover, both I and my elder daughter love to eat Nyonya Kueh, I would be able to make it myself after acquired the techniques.

In fact, making Nyonya dessert is not difficult. We learned how to make Onde Onde, Kui Bingka Ubi, Goreng Pisang, Pulut Inti, Pulut Hitam and Kuih Koci.  The key ingredients in Nyonya desserts are rice flour, granted coconut, coconut milk, Pandan leaves, Gula Melaka, tropical fruits and dry spices.

Talking about ingredients, we learned how to prepare the Gula Melaka, Panda leaves, Banana leaves, Goreng Pisang, Coconut, Glutinous Rice, Tapioca and etc.  Some of the take away here.
  • Gula Melaka - dissolve Gula Melaka in the water over medium heat and before using, it should be strained to get rid of sediments and impurities.
  • Pandan Leaves - Rub the Pandan leaves to release fragrant and  tie them to a knot.  Only add them to the end of the cooking (5-10 mins before) to minimize fragrant dissipate.
  • Banana Leaves - Run the Banana leaf under running water or wipe with a damp cloth. Before using, it should be blanched for a few minutes so that it becomes pliable for wrapping and folding.
  • Goreng  Pisang - Oil has to be preheated to high temperature before frying to achieve crispiness and golden brown colour.  Always heat the oil to regain the desired temperature between each frying batch.

  • Fresh coconut and coconut milk - Always steam it or parboil it before using to ensure the coconut is sterilized without turning bad.
  • Glutinous Rice - Always soak them over night to reduce cooking time.
  • Tapioca - Always soak it in water for a few hours and squeeze out the water to remove the bitterness.
I was overdosed with coconut, glutinous rice and Gula Melaka by end of the module,  I think I can take a break from eating Nyonya Kueh for a while.   I need to on diet after this higher certificate course as I have been consuming high calories  and unhealthy desserts since the course started :<
So glad that this week is a short week for us, only 2.5 days class.  Now, I'm free to enjoy and celebrate X'mas holiday!  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Pandan Gula Melaka Layer Cake

One day, I found someone left  half a piece of Gula Melaka Pandan Cake (from Cedele) in the fridge.  Out of curiosity, I cut a small piece to try.  After a bite, I realized it was so good that I couldn't resist myself from finishing all.
It was just a simple pandan sponge cake with a layer of gula melaka cream frosting.   My daughter told me that she was the one left the cake in the fridge and she wanted me to try out.  

I googled around and found a PANDAN COTTON CAKE WITH GULA MELAKA SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM recipe from Bake With Paws and decided to give it a shot. 
I would say the Pandan cotton cake is really excellent, everyone who tried it gave a thumps-up.  However,  the butter cream is not to my liking, it's too gelak.  I'm not a fan of butter cream, to me, butter cream is too oily and overly rich.   This is my first time using the Swiss meringue butter cream method, I though it should be much lighter than the usual one, though it's lighter, it's still too oily and rich for me.

To get into bottom of my doubt on what frosting Cedele used for their Gula Melaka Pandan Cake, I found the following product description from their website

A soft, aromatic pandan cake layered with steamed egg pandan custard. Frosted with gula melaka-sweetened cream cheese and finished with a fragrant sprinkling of fresh coconut shreds.
Now, I realized the gap.  Cedele uses cream cheese, not butter cream!
My lesson learned is to do sufficient homework before deciding which recipe to adopt.   

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