Sunday, January 31, 2010

CNY Closed Pineapple Tarts (III) & (IV) - with Milk Powder

This pineapple tart uses a different recipe as my formal one as it has milk powder added.  I used to dislike this as I found the milk powder had overpowered the butter, as a result, the pastry didn't taste as buttery as I expected.    


Since everyone has their own preference, I decided to make half of the recipe for this version but cut down the amount of the milk powder from original recipe.  It's surprisingly, it turned out more fragrant and nicer as my formal one.  I think I will stick with this recipe moving forward.

If you like pastry with milk powder fragrant,  here you go.

Preparation:
- Preheat fan oven at 160*C for 15 mins. Baking Time: 15 mins. Makes about 105 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 }
- 945g pineapple jam
- 1 egg yolk + 2 drops of cooking oil and water} for egg wash

Method
1. Cream butter for 3 mins, add in egg yolks and beat for 3 more mins until light and creamy. Add in vanilla and mix till well combined.
2. Sift the flours, milk powder and icing sugar together, add into step 1, carefully 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. Put aside.
3. Take 1 tsp (8g) of pineapple jam and roll into a ball. Repeat the same step till finish the jam. Put aside.

4. Take 1 (compress) tsp (9-10g) of dough (from step 2) and roll into ball, make an indent, wrap with pineapple jam ball from step 3, roll to give it a neat round shape and then place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
5. Glaze a layer of egg yolk over the top of tarts and bake at 175*C (top bottom heat) for 20-22 mins or till lightly golden. (inner temperature is about 170-165*C)
6. Allow tarts to cool on wire rack before storing .

Updated on Feb 6:
Did another batch of closed pineapple tarts on Feb 6.  I was very satisfied with the result as I could control the oven temperature better.  It tastes so delicious!

CNY Honey Cornflake Cups (I) & (II)

This cookies will definitely be well received by all kids as it's crispy, sweet and buttery.  Since it is so simple and easy to make, it's highly recommended to bake for this coming Chinese New year!

There are many recipes around, some go with nuts, some with dried fruit, however, I still prefer pure cornflakes as it tastes best .  My daughters share the same view.


I hardly eat cereal, therefore, I'm not sure which brand to use for this cookie.  My daughter recommended Kellogg's as she thinks they have the best product.   This time round, I use two packs of cornflakes but I don't think it can last till Chinese New Year as both my daughters love this cookie, if they start to eat, they can't stop and each of them can finish half of the recipe at one go.   Therefore, I'll bake another round to keep for the big day.

If you would like to join the fun, here is the recipe.

Preparation - Preheat oven at 170*C for 15 mins. Makes about 50 cups.

Ingredients
- 45g butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 125g corn flakes

Method
1. Melt butter in microwave for 20 sec.
2. Add in sugar and honey, stir till sugar is dissolved.
3. Add in corn flakes and mix well.
4. Spoon into small paper cup and bake at 170*C for 8 mins or lightly golden.


2nd Batch:
Since this is a fuss free recipe, I decided to bake another batch on Feb 6.  I did 2 recipes this time round, it only filled up two bottles.    For this batch, I tried to add some almond flakes and raisins to some of cups, hope to add more flavour but it didn't make too much a different in term of taste and crispiness.    Anyway, it's just experimental!  Cheer!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

CNY Almond Shortbread Cookies

This is another type of Almond Cookie, since the pastry is similar to shortbread, I therefore named this as "Almond Shortbread Cookies" in order to differentiate this from other almond cookie.


What's so special about this cookie? This is not a melt-in-the-mouth type, it's very crunchy and full of almond flavour. If you like crunchy texture, this will be your choice.
This recipe can make about 60 pieces.  Here you go..have fun!


Preparation:
-  Preheat oven at 160*C (fan forced) for 15 mins. 

Ingredients:
-  200g plain flour                        }  sift
-  1/2 tsp baking power               }   together
-  96g fine sugar
-  140g butter (cold and firm)
-  1/2 tsp vanilla essence
-  90g toasted whole almonds and pounded (bake for 10 mins at 180*C fan forced)
-  some almond flakes for decoration
-  1 beaten egg yolks + few drops of oil and water for glazing






Method:
1.  Sift flour and baking powder and then mix well with sugar. 
2.  Cut butter into cubes and add into step 1.  Use rub in method and then add in vanilla essence.  Rub till it forms dough. 
3.  Add in pounded almond and knead well.
4.  Roll dough in between 2 sheets of plastic bag or baking paper to 3-4 mm thickness.
5.  Use cookie cutter and cut into desired shape.  Egg wash and place an almond flakes on each cookie.
6.  Bake in a preheated oven at 160*C (fan forced) or 180*C (top bottom) for 12-15 mins.

CNY Closed Pineapple Tarts (II)

This is the second batch of Pineapple Tarts I baked for this Chinese New Year using the same recipe as the formal one but this time round, the jam that I used was brought from a home-made supplier, not from the off-the-self. This jam is so much nicer as it's not too sweet and hard. The combination of the buttery pastry, the sweetness of the pineapple jam and the melt-in-the- mouth effect makes this cookie soooo yummy!

In order to improve the appearance, I used a cookie cuter to do some designs.  I was quite satisfied with it as it looked more "attractive" as compared to my first batch.   For each recipe, I could only make about 90 pieces, it's about 3 small bottles and took me more than 3 hours.  It's not sufficient to share with friends/ colleauges and give away to my slibings.  I'm planning to to take a day off to make  another one round.

CNY Almond Cookies (II) & (III)

This is the 2nd batch of Almond Cookies using the same recipe as this. Since this was well received by my family and brothers, I decided to bake for my colleagues and friends. The joy of sharing is always great!
This batch tastes better since with the experience from the previous batch, I could better manage the oven temperature and timing.


Updated on Feb 6:
Did the 3rd batch of Almond Cookies using the same recipe on Feb 6.  Again,  it tasted so well and appearance wise looked so good! Here you go..


Monday, January 25, 2010

CNY Cashewnut Cookies (I) & (II)

This recipe wasn't in my to-bake list since it wasn't the editor choice. In fact, I did bake cashew nut cookies last new year but that recipe didn't give me a very good impression, hence, I decided to explore this one.

I'm surprised about the outcome as it's very fragrant, crunchy outside and has melt-in-the-mouth effort. The combination of ghee and butter makes this cookie taste so yummy! 


Since this cookie is so yummy, this will be one of the treaties cannot be missed in Chinese New Year and I will definitely bake again.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 220g butter
  • 40g ghee
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 280g plain flour } sift
  • 20g corn flour } together
  • 200g cashew nuts, toasted and chopped (toasted for 8-10 mins at 160*C fan-forced)
  • 100g halved cashew nuts
  • 1 egg yolk for egg wash (mixed with 2-3 drops of water and oil)
Method:
1. Cream butter, ghee and caster sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy (3-5 mins)
2. Add in flours and cashew nuts, mix into a dough.
3. Roll out the dough into 7g balls, place onto a baking tray (lined with baking paper), glaze with beaten egg and press half of the cashew nut on each cookie.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 170*C (top buttom heat) for 18 mins or until cooked.

Updated on Feb 6:
Baked another batch of Cashewnut cookie on Feb 6 since I was very satisfiable with the last attempt.  I used two recipes this round, as expected, it still tasted so good.   Here you go.. Cheer!

CNY Peanut Cookies

Many bakers shared their peanut cookies recipe on blog and gave very good comment and compliment about it, this had urged me to give it a shot.

I chose this recipe because I liked the way the cookies were shaped in the cookbook. The picture was well taken and it looked very tempting as well. The recipe did ask for baked peanut and grind/ blend them into powder. I didn't follow what the recipe asked for because I had a pack of ground peanut left over in the fridge for couple of months, it's an opportunity for me to clear the "stock".
There is no hassle to make this cookie since you just need to mix all the ingredients together and roll into a small balls. I could complete one recipe within a hour (about 60 pieces). The cookies have the melt-in the mouth effect but the texture and taste are not what I expected. I believe if I would have used the traditional method (i.e. roasted peanut and grind into powder), the texture will be finer and the taste will be more fragrant.



Anyway, it's a good try. If I've the time to bake again, I will not short cut.

Here you go .. the recipe.
Ingredients:
  • 300g peanuts
  • 280g flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 120g cooking oil (might need more to achieve right consistency)
  • 1 egg yolk (for egg wash)

Method:
1. Bake peanut at 160*C for 10 mins and blend/ grind into powder.
2. Mix peanut powder, flour and icing sugar, pour in oil and mix to form dough. Shape into small balls. arrange on a lined baking tray, egg wash.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 13- 15 mins at 175*C.

CNY White Almond Cookies


This is the 2nd time I bake this cookie, it's supposed to be very tasty and crispy, however, somehow, I don't find it as delicious as I baked last year. I was a bit disappointed, it could be because of different recipe is used.

The only different of this recipe from my previous one is lesser shortening and sugar content, other than that, all ingredients look similar. I hardly use shortening for cookies since it's not a common ingredient, I only used for egg tart pastry as I was told it could enhance the crispiness.

Might be my memory didn't strike or my taste buds have changed over time but overall, it still tastes good. The cookies are crispy just that not as tasty as what I expected.

This cookie uses shortening and without egg, therefore, it's suitable for vegetarians. Here is the recipe.
Ingredient A:
  • 180g shortening
  • 90 g icing sugar
Ingredient B:
  • 150g toasted almond flakes
  • 140g corn starch
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
Method:
1. Cream A in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy (3 - 5 mins)
2. Slowly add in B and mix into a dough.
3. Roll out the dough into 1 cm thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place onto a baking tray.
4. Bake at 150*C for 30-35 mins or until cooked. Remove and leave to cool.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

CNY Crunchy Walnut Cookies

I was feeling stress at work and needed to do something to de-stress myself. Baking is one of the thing could help me to achieve as it requires patience and concentration.

I found this recipe from one of the local cookbook, since this is my first attempt, I was trying my luck hoping it would be as delicious as the book described.


Based on the cookbook, this cookies supposed to be crunchy and full of walnut flavour. However, what it turned out wasn't as good as it claimed. It's true that it's crunchy but the walnut flavour wasn't strong enough. From my view, this recipe has room for improvement.
Although it's not my best favourite, it's in fact not too bad after all.

If you like something crunchy but less strong in walnut flavour, this recipe suits you.

Ingredients:
- 140g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 50ml oil
- 50g walnuts (toasted and chopped)
- 320g top flour }
- 1/2 tsp baking soda } sift together
- 1/2 tsp baking powder }
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Egg yolk for glazing (beaten egg with 2 drops of water and oil)

Method:
1. Cream butter and sugar for about 1 minute at medium speed.
2. Lightly beat egg with vanilla essence and add to butter mixture. Beat till well combined.
3. Add oil and mix well.
4. Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder into the mixture from step 3, add salt and chopped walnuts .
5. Fold the mixture gently and knead lightly till a dough is formed.
6. Preheat oven at 180*C (fan forced) for 10 mins.
7. Roll the dough into 1/2 tsp size ball and place on the tray lined with baking paper.
8. Bake at 170*C (fan forced) for 5 mins and then turn to top bottom heat (remain 170*C) for 10-12 mins.
9. Allow cookies to cool down before storage.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

CNY Almond Cookies

Here you go..another almond cookies for Chinese Near Year! This is different from the Sugee Almond Cookies as the fat used is cooking oil instead of ghee. This is a fuss-free and easy-to-make treat. The baking time and step are much simpler than the former one. Not resting time needed.

This is my youngest daughter's favourite. It's very fragrant and crunchy, it has the melt-in-the mouth effect as well. In fact, my hubby and elder daughter also gave it a thump-up.


This recipe can make about 50 piece only. This batch of cookies was baked yesterday and I spent less than 1.5 hours to finish the whole process .


I gave a bottle to my eldest brother yesterday, I heard from my sis-in-law that he loved the cookies so much and asked why not considering to take order. Since I only bake for fun plus my current job commitment, it's hard for me to bake more. In fact, lately, I had been baking till midnight. Although it's very tiring, I enjoy the process.

Since the cookie is so easy to make, you should give it a try and sure you will win compliments from your family and friends! The recipe is here!

Preparation:
- Preheat oven at 180*C at 15 mins. 

Ingredients:
- 120g ground almond (super fine)           }
- 95g caster sugar                 } Ingredient A
- 1/4 tsp salt                        }
- 180g plain flour (sifted)        }
- 1 tsp baking powder (sifted) }
- 1 tsp baking soda (sifted)     }
- 122ml cooking oil
- 1 egg yolk (beaten plus mixed with a few drops of oil) for glazing
Method
1. Mix ingredient A (ground almond, caster sugar, salt, flour, baking powder and soda) together.
2. Combine cooking oil and ingredient A in a mixer, mix at lowest speed to form a dough (about 30sec to 1 min).
3. Scale the dough at 7-8g (or 1 tsp compressed) each and roll them into ball. Arrange each ball on lined baking trays and glaze the top surfaces.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180*C for 18mins or until lightly browned. Cool well before storage.
 
(Oven inside temperature was only at 170-175*C)

CNY Closed Pineapple Tarts


Pineapple Tart is one of the "must have"/ "must eat" cookies during Chinese New Year for most of the people. A lot of people is crazy about it and doesn't mind to pay a premium for something that is nicer and better in quality. Me too.. I used to stock up 2-3 bottles of pineapple tarts every year and I could eat it as breakfast for a consecutive 2 -3 weeks without fail. It's so amazing that how much I was hooked into it ...

Why Pineapple Tarts could cause such a craving to many people?? I guess the sweetness (with bit of sourness) of the pineapple, the buttery fragrant of the pastry and the melt-in-mouth effect make this cookie such a heavenly combination!




































This is not my first attempt to bake Pineapple Tarts, I started last year and tried a couple of times but I have never cooked the pineapple jam myself. I normally just pick up off-the-self from Supermart or Phoon Huat since it's hard for me to spare the time. I admit that the off-the-self jam is certainly not as good as those home-cooked, the quality of those off-the-self is also inconsistent, i.e. sometimes is too sweet or sour, sometimes is too hard. It depends on batch. Therefore, it's very hard to make good quality tarts.


I used Phoon Huat's and Bake King's brand for the pineapple tarts last year, although the quality wasn't that fantastic, it was still acceptable. This time round, I tested this batch using Bake King's, I was very disappointed as the jam was too hard. I remembered last year, I only complained about too sweet only. Anyway, for the next batch, I will not be using anymore off-the-self brand since I've asked my sis-in-law to order from a bakery shop although I have to pay a premium. I would rather spend a bit more than sorry.



This recipe is surely a keeper except the pineapple jam.  Pls try to cook your own or buy a premium one.











Preparation
- Preheat at 175*C (top bottom heat) for 15 mins. Baking Time: 15 mins. Makes about 105 pcs.
Ingredients
- 300g butter (cold and firm)
- 2 big egg yolks
- ¼ vanilla essence
- 380g plain flour }
- 40g corn flour } sift together
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 945g pineapple jam                                         
- 1 egg yolk + 2 drops of cooking oil and water ( for egg wash purpose)
Method
1. Cream butter for 3 mins, add in egg yolks and beat for 3 more mins until light and creamy. Add in vanilla and mix till well combined.
2. Sift the flours and baking powder together, add into step 1 together with sugar, carefully 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. Put aside. ball. Repeat the same step till finish the jam. Put aside.
3. Take 1 tsp (9g) of pineapple jam and roll into a
4. Take 1 (compress) tsp (7g) of dough (from step 2) and roll into ball, make an indent, wrap with pineapple jam ball from step 3, roll to give it a neat round shape and then place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
5. Glaze a layer of egg yolk over the top of tarts and bake at 175*C (top bottom heat) for 15 mins or till lightly golden.
6. Allow tarts to cool on wire rack before storing .

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