Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2012

It's Christmas time once again! Another awesome year has passed and I have many things to thank God for this year. Time to sit back, relax and count the blessings :).

Since I'm really short on time this year, my colleagues and I decided to organise a combined baking session to make cookies for all our very helpful colleagues in the office! Here's what we made:

Chocolate Almond Rounds & Almond Cocoa Nib Cookies with handmade tags :).

I hope our colleagues love them as much as we enjoyed making them! I love these handmade tags!

As for family dinner this year, we had turkey, roast potatoes, mango avocado prawn salad and a chocolate logcake. Here's an overview of the spread :).

Mango Avocado Prawn Salad with Honey Dressing

Fruit Platter - Rainer Cherries, Korean Strawberries, Grapes and Longans

Table Setting with half the dinner spraed

Mini fresh Christmas Tree!

I didn't have the full set of photos as I went to finish up the turkey and potatoes after taking these, hence the incomplete pics! Anyway, thought I'd share these with you anyway as I haven't been blogging much these days.

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cookie Topped Chocolate Cream Puffs

You know, I lost my phone over the weekend. It's horrible and I hate this feeling, especially when I have no clue how I lost just disappeared. Well, looking on the bright side, I got a spanking new phone that does not have the iPhone button issues like my old phone...though it burnt a hole in my pocket. Sigh...these things happen don't they? I wish they didn't though...haha.

I made these Cookie Topped Chocolate Cream Puffs last week, months after my not-so-successful attempt at making eclairs. I have no idea what went wrong in my first attempt but the choux pastry really wasn't crisp nor tasty. This time round, I tried a different recipe adapted from Chelle's blog. The results turned out fabulous and I simply love how these cream puffs taste! They were less buttery and milky than the previous recipe I tried, perfect for my dairy-sensitive tastebuds :).

On the downside, I think my cream puffs turned out really ugly. The thick-skinned me still posted this up anyway...haha...simply because they were so delicious! Seriously, don't be put off by their looks. They could have looked alot better if I'd used a smaller piece of cookie dough on each of these little pastries. They would have spread a little more and looked more cute than burnt :).

Oh well, regardless of their looks, I love these nonetheless. I made a simple pastry cream using Pierre Herme's recipe and filled them with it...oooh....these were sooo chocolaty and yummy!

Recently, I also bought a new victorian style tiered plate for high tea. I'm dreaming of having a nice homemade afternoon tea with some of my friends one of these days! I hope it materialises real soon! Haha  :).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stamped Shortbreads

It was a special occasion, our 5 month anniversary, and we reached the point where we needed more grace in our relationship. Though I know "anniversary" is not quite the right word to describe it, but still, we used it used it anyway. Thought it would be nice to make something sweet and personal for him...and stamped shortbreads came up. I used a simple recipe from Daily Delicious and the cute little wordpress I had to create these. I have to say, I think they look pretty cute!

These were so easy to make that I had a dozen other cookie ideas as I was shaping them before baking. I can totally visualise how people will be so happy to receive personalised cookies like this!

To showcase the wordings, I packed them in a transparent box with a simple ribbon for the recipient. All the words that I wanted to say, prepared in the form that I know best - cookies.

And here's the recipes :).

Stamped Shortbreads
adapted from Daily Delicious

100g unsalted butter (cold and cut into pieces)
⅛tsp salt
40g icing sugar
120g cake flour
45g rice flour

1. Place the butter into a bowl and sift cake flour, rice flour, icing sugar and salt over the butter.
2. Cut the butter and flour mixture into small pieces (or you can use your fingers), when the mixture looks like small bits of bread crumb, pour out of the bowl onto a work surface.
3. Knead the crumbs until stick together and smooth.
4.Wrap with the plastic, flatten the dough into the shape of a disk, refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
5. When ready to back, preheat the oven to 160°C
6. Roll the dough until 5mm thick. Cut into the desired shapes, place on the prepared baking sheet and stamp the cookies with the prepared wordpress
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a light golden colour.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chocolate Mousse Tart

Hey hey it's Sunday! How I love slow and lazy Sunday mornings when I can wake up at any time I want and take my time to indulge in my favourite activities. Somehow I think brunch are made for Sundays, and I kinda wish I had a long relaxing brunch today, which didn't quite happen. The next best thing will be to spend a few hours in the kitchen, baking up something sweet and pretty :).

My initial plan was to make a layered cake...either a pure chocolate layered cake or a matcha chocolate version. I rummaged through the kitchen to see if I have all the ingredients I needed and found one key missing - eggs. Sigh, no cake for me today.

My thoughts went back to a lovely tart that I saw yesterday on Cannelle et Vanille - a Chocolate Tahini Tart. With no tahini on hand, I decided to go for a simple, yet decadent Chocolate Mousse Tart. 

Putting this together was such a breeze. The tart crust was easy to handle and I got one of my prettiest tart crust ever made! No fuss at all. However, I'm not a big fan of this crust as it's a little dry for my liking. I'd opt for Dorie Greenspan's trusty recipe or Pierre Herme's chocolate pate sablee anytime.

The mousse was a simple blend of whipped cream with melted chocolate - easy and foolproof. I still love my mousse with egg yolks in this but the simplicity of this recipe rocks. Haha.

For the recipe, head to Aran's blog here.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Earl Grey Milk Chocolate and Mocha Kahlua Macarons

A trip to Antoinette inspired me to make my own batch of macarons. I simply adore that place, its chic yet homely French decor...and its colourful array of desserts. Its well made macarons - smooth, pristine shells with sweet, flavourful fillings...I can still remember how it's Earl Grey Milk Chocolate flavour tasted with its raspberry centre. So good that I wish I can replicate the same flavour at home :).

When inspiration comes, the best thing to do with it is to bake with the flow. I decided to make a batch of 2 flavours - Earl Grey Milk Chocolate and Mocha Kahlua. I went with the flow and decided on the proportion of the flavourings in an instant, without putting too much thought into it. And guess what, this eventually yielded one of my most successful macaron batches ever.

Taking into account my previous experience with using Twinings earl grey tea in baked items, I bumped up the flavour in the macarons by using 3 full tea bags in the the point where I can smell the prominent earl grey scent even prior to baking them. The cream for the milk chocolate ganache was infused with another 3 tea bags, before mixing it into a ganache. Eventually, the earl grey flavour was very prominent, though I felt it could do with a little bit more balance and a softer texture. I'd be sure to increase the proportion of cream to milk chocolate the next time round.

Earl Grey Milk Chocolate Macarons

The second flavour is inspired by the new bottle of Kahlua my brother got me earlier last month. And I thought, how nice it would be to have Kahlua in my macaron fillings! I stumbled upon this lovely recipe for Mocha Kahlua Buttercream and decided to give it a good shot. This eventually turned out to be absolutely delicious! Imagine chewy dark chocolate macarons shells sandwiching a light coffee cocoa flavoured buttercream with a hint of Kahlua. Given another chance, I would add a tsp more Kahlua so that the liquor flavour is more prominent. But nevertheless, this was an instant hit with everyone who tried it :).

Mocha Kahlua Macarons

Yummy! I love both these flavours tremendously. Pretty sure I'll be repeating these flavours in the days to come, possibly with one or two minor tweaks to the recipe combination. Alright, I shall leave you with a final image of the macarons' innards.


Macaron innards

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fruit Rouges

On one of the rare days I have a day off, I decided to bake a cake...a REAL cake. Meaning, with layers and frosting and all. After 2 months of time-strapped baking, I can finally devote half a day completely to baking a good cake.

I've been eyeing this Fruit Rouges recipe by Hidemi Sugino for the longest time but haven't gone on to make it as the fruit puree I was eyeing was pretty expensive in my opinion. But thanks to my darling, who gave me some vouchers to spend at the baking supplies store, I get to buy a tub off the shelf without paying a single cent, weeee! Finally, I can bake this cake!

As you can see, my jaconde ended up plain as my attempt to pipe jam onto the jaconde batter failed terribly. The jam sunk into the cake and looked like deep slashes instead of pretty stripes. Anyone experienced the same problem? I gave up after a while and went with a foolproof plain jaconde instead. Nevertheless, the jaconde tastes really good! I'm amazed how it turned out even without using any oil or butter. It's one recipe for keeps!

Taste-wise, I love the tartness of the raspberry gelee and the mousse. As a result, the cake doesn't feel heavy at all...and I kept picking at the leftover pieces of the gelee as they were delicious! I'm not sure how this cake will go down with the men...but I'm pretty sure the ladies will love it...with the raspberries and pretty pink layers and all <3.

Since it's a ladies' cake, I packed one of these for my girlfriend in a simple white box decorated with pink ribbon. I hope she'll love this as much as I do :).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Earl Grey & Orange Chocolate Sables

Earl love affair with it started more than 3 months ago at a chocolate buffet with free flow of tea. I picked Earl Grey then and the flavour endeared to me ever since. There are so many possibilities with this variety of tea, I can imagine making entremets, chiffon cakes, cookies and macarons with it...all bearing its signature intoxicating scent. For a start, I made Earl Grey Sables - a buttery, crumbly cookie with a light Earl Grey scent.

I love the texture of these cookies, and how it's not too oily nor too sweet. The Earl Grey scent was really light, you can smell it, taste it, but to me it's a little faint. On my next try, I'll be sure to bump up the amount of tea used in here. Nevertheless, my darling loved the cookies, and I felt instantly reassured by that sweet remark :).

Inspired by a previous trip to Antoinette (which has a good selection of French sables), I decided to whip up a batch of Orange Chocolate Sables as well. This batch has an irresistible citrus scent! I love how the addition of orange zest and a few drops of lemon extract made the citrus flavour really pop in the cookies. Coupled with Valrhona Caraibe chocolate bits, I totally adore this flavour combination.

Both flavours were made using the same basic recipe from the Rose Cranberry Cookies recipe. I made some simple tweaks, by adding ground Earl Grey leaves and orange zest with chopped chocolate for the respective flavours. I'm thinking of doing a Lemon Lavender as well as a Chocolate Fleur de Sel version to fill up my cookie jars too!

In the meantime, I have one FULL cookie jar worth of sables to enjoy for now :). Can't wait for the next opportunity to bake again!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Caramel Madeleines

Time flies when you're busy. It's been more than a month since my last post and I miss my blog! I miss baking and conjuring up sweet treats in my kitchen. I did a short clean-up of my baking supplies stash and found many expired choice but to throw them all away...feels kinda wasted, oh well.

When there's no cocoa powder or lemons in my house, the next best flavour for madeleines would be caramel. Came across Shirley's post on Pierre Herme's Caramel Apricot Madeleines and decided to give it a try. Just like how she described it, the recipe yielded moist and fluffy madeleines with a nice burnt sugar taste that I love :). I have to agree that this is an excellent madeleine recipe!

These were so yummy that I had 2 at one go straight out of the oven, no kidding! My madeleines were alot darker in colour that Shirley's, which I think is due to the colour of the caramel I used. Mine was so dark it's almost black...hence I had brown coloured madeleines as a result, not as pretty as those Shirley made!

In any case, I'm happy with how these turned out. More pictures and the recipe below :).

Caramel Madeleines
adapted from Kokken

36g castor sugar
10g glucose
1g vanilla extract
65g egg
65g plain flour
2g baking powder
65g melted butter
37g caramel

1. Preheat oven to 200C.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix eggs, sugar, glucose using a hand whisk until well blended. (do not whisk)
4. Add in caramel and mix well.
5. Add in sifted flour in 3 additions mixing well after each addition.
6. Add in melted butter in 3 additions, mixing well after each addition.
7. Leave to stand for 20mins.
8. Place batter into a piping bag and pipe into a buttered and floured madeleine pan.
9. Bake at 200C for 8 minutes.

Yields 12 madeleines.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Orange Chocolate Macarons

Phew, what a first week of work it's been for me. I'm glad I survived when I could have potentially drowned in that mountain of work and new things to learn. Though I've been busy, I'm really excited and happy with the things I'm doing at my new place. I get to dabble with my favourite sports and the major sporting events that are being shown on television, something I've been wanting to do for a long, long time. It's getting reaaally close to my dream job and I'm all excited about it!

On the other side of the spectrum, things have been soooo hectic it really takes some getting used to at this point. I pray that it shall get easier as the days go by :).

I made these Orange Chocolate Macarons just before I started work this week. A friend of mine wanted to come over to my place for a baking session and I happily obliged. I always felt that I had to prepare in advance for such baking sessions hence I don't always say yes when such requests come in, just so that I won't feel too stressed out by the amount of preparation work I had to do beforehand. But recently, the requests are coming in at a much higher frequency that I decided to make an extra effort to accept more of them instead. Receiving these requests are definitely compliments to my baking and also encourages me to step out of my comfort zone to do something different for a change.

These Orange Chocolate Macarons were a such a breeze to make, yet yielding delicious macs all the same! I used my trusty Italian Meringue recipe and sandwiched the shells with a orange chocolate ganache made from Lindt's orange chocolate bar. I love this particular chocolate bar because of its lovely orange fragrance and the little chewy bits that are incorporated into the chocolate...very delicious! So far, the reviews I received were all positive, hence this is definitely a recipe for keeps - to reproduce again in the days to come :).

Okay, it's time to get a little more rest before work starts again tomorrow. Happy Weekend to you all!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Marbled Matcha Peach Tea Chiffon Cake

I never quite had a fascination for tea like the one I had for chocolate. I have now amassed enough varieties of chocolate at home to fill up one entire shelf of my baking supplies collection.  Anyways, this all changed after an outing with my bestie to TWG Tea Salon & Boutique to celebrate her birthday. I always thought that their selection of teas were confined to the sole shelf of packaged teas they have, until I opened their full tea menu.

Gosh, there were soooo many varieties of tea that I didn't even know where to begin. Spoilt for choice, we decided to ask the service staff for recommendations instead of getting lost in all the different varieties available. We settled for Snow Needles Tea, a light, floral tea perfect for the evening to accompany our macaron selection. Yes, macarons...I do love TWG's macarons for their lovely texture, balanced level of sweetness and the alluring tea-infused flavours. They were oh so goood! I decided there and then that I have to try my hand at using tea in my baked goods.

Up till now, I've only dabbled with using matcha powder in cakes and cookies. I've always wanted to posess a good variety of earl grey tea to use it in madeleines, macarons and tea cakes. So far, I haven't bought one yet and am looking for a nice one to try. Any suggestions?

I scanned my tiny tea collection for inspiration and spotted my Twinings Peach Tea. An idea came to mind and I decided to incorporate peach tea and matcha into a marbled chiffon cake. The fruity tea flavours melded perfectly and I love the resulting sweet smelling fragrance of the tea leaves in this chiffon...lovely :).

I left the tea leaves in the chiffon instead of filtering them out. Reviews from my friends on that were alright and they didn't feel it tasted weird or awful, which was a relief to me. This cake is so light and soft that I finished close to half a cake at one go - perfect to enjoy with a good cuppa tea on a cool, rainy day :).

Marbling cakes is one of the best ways to get 2 of my favourite flavours into the same cake, and it produces a pretty swirly effect too. I love looking at such pretty marbled cakes...somehow it cheers me up instantly...haha.

I used the base recipe from my last Chocolate Chiffon Cake and made slight adjustments for the replacement of cocoa powder with matcha powder and peach tea. I'm a little lazy today to post up the recipe but do drop me a note if you would like me to share that alright? I'd be happy to type them out in a while :).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Breakfast Pancakes

Election fever has taken over most, if not all Singaporeans. With such an unprecedented political environmental unlike that we've seen in preceding years, this year's elections is set to be a fiercely fought battle on many fronts. Somehow this got me thinking about the Singapore of older days (not that I have that many years under my belt), and how much Singapore has changed and transformed to become the modern city it is today.

I can honestly say I love being here, staying here and I love my country, as this is the place I call my home. This is family, this is Singapore, a place that I've grown up in and grown to love. Much of my adult years have been spent either in university or working in the corporate world and I have to say, this is a remarkable place to live in. There are many areas in which we can do better, without a doubt, but it is still one of the best places to live in - clean, comfortable and safe. I don't wish to take any of these for granted given the very exciting and volatile world events that are happening all around us. It's probably not the time to take a chance with the cards we have on our hands and take a risky bet on the future of our country. These are exciting times for us indeed, scenes that we'd love to see since years ago and now we are seeing it happen right before our very eyes. Now that it has happened, what do we do next? What do we want next? These are questions that have been weighing on my heart in recent days...

That aside, today is my first day of freedom from work! Years of working at the same company caused me to have an emotional attachment to the company and my colleagues, hence a teary and emotional farewell was inevitable yesterday. It feels good to be able to not work for the time being, yet at the same time, I feel sad that the place I call my second home is no longer that to me now.

On the other hand, this frees me up (finally) to have a slow, homey breakfast all by myself. I've been meaning to have homemade pancakes for the longest time and finally made them today! After reading Evan's post, I decided to try out this recipe that I've bookmarked for the longest time.

And the result? I love them! They are light, fluffy and very delicious with some whipped cream on the side :).

Looking around the kitchen for further inspiration, I topped these with some citron tea concentrate and they tasted even more awesome. I love these pancakes!

Haha, I was overly ambitious and I doubled the recipe when I made the recipe. It yielded me soooo much batter than there's no way I can finish them even with my family of four. I'll just have to keep them for tomorrow's breakfast, and perhaps try them out other alternative flavours :).

Breakfast Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1 egg, separated
2 tsps caster sugar
1 tbsp oil

1. Combine flour, baking powder & salt in a bowl and mix well.
2. In another bowl, whisk together egg yolk and milk followed by oil. Mix well and add in the flour mixture and whisk to combine.
3. Whisk egg white until foamy and gradually add the sugar and whisk till soft peak form. Fold the meringue into the mixture above. (the batter can be refrigerated overnight to prevent it from spreading too much when cooking)
4. Heat griddle or a non-stick frying pan on medium low heat then scoop batter, about 1 ladleful onto the pan. cook until bubbles appear evenly on the surface, flip it over and cook until golden.
5. Serve with whipped cream, chocolate sauce or maple syrup according to your personal preferences.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Black Bottomed Banana Squares

I'm back! I can't believe how long I've been missing in action when it comes to baking. Life has been extremely hectic for the past month I barely had time to breathe. Now that the majority of my work is completed and I'm looking to move on in my career, it's time to take a short breather and prepare my mind, body and spirit for the exciting journey ahead! :)

I have around 1.5 weeks before I start my new job...scary, but at the same time, I feel excited! Some of the spare time I have will be used to churn out some desserts, just so that my oven won't feel too neglected...haha.

I came across this lovely recipe on Min's blog for chocolate bottomed banana squares....couldn't find a more delightful chocolate banana combination in a banana cake format than this! Love the pretty contrast between the white and black layers, and the speckled crust with dark chocolate chips...looks sooo cute! Tempted, I set out to bake this yesterday and here are the results...

Pretty cute aren't they? I do find the chocolate layer a little dry for my liking. I'd probably cut the amount of flour in the chocolate layer the next time round so that it's easier on the palate. Otherwise, I love this cake! The sweet banana fragrance and the deep chocolate flavour makes it a winning combination in any case :).

This bake came at a timely moment too, in time for Aspiring Bakers #7 - Chocolate Delight! I'm submitting this for this month's challenge!

Black Bottomed Banana Squares
adapted from Min's blog

113g unsalted butter
60g castor sugar
1 egg 
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium bananas, mashed
180g cake flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
30g cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Cream the butter with sugar till light and fluffy.
2. Slowly add the egg, vanilla extract and mashed bananas. Beat till well incorporated.
3. Add the flour in 3 additions and fold into the mixture with a rubber spatula.
4. Divide the mixture into half and add the cocoa powder into one half of the mixture.
5. Pour the chocolate mixture into an 8" by 8" square pan, followed by the banana mixture. Top with dark chocolate chips.
6. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chocolate Banana Swiss Roll

Haven't been able to bake much this month, I really miss baking. I miss dreaming about the different flavour combinations and concoctions, shopping for ingredients and putting them together into pretty and delicious desserts. There's something about baking that makes it a highly therapeutic activity and gives me a sense of accomplishment every single time. I wish I'll have more time and opportunities to bake in the months ahead...I have so many more things to accomplish still!

I saw a bunch of bananas sitting at the kitchen counter and decided at a whim to make this Chocolate Banana Swiss Roll. I'm pretty sick of the overly sweet desserts outside and was craving for a rustic and homely cake. Besides chiffons, swiss rolls are the next item on my list of homely cakes...and plus, they are quick to put together and easy on the palate!

I was undecided on whether to use my leftover Van Houten chocolate chips or opt for the more luxurious Valrhona Caraibe for this. Eventually, I decided to use the point using the cheaper chocolate especially since it's for my loved ones' consumption. The cake turned out pretty tasty, not too sweet! Though I'd like it more if the sponge was more moist and the bananas more sweet and ripe. Perhaps brushing some sugar syrup over the sponge will help? Any other suggestions ? Else I might just try that next time :).

Am digging into a slice right now...will leave you with the recipe in the meantime :).

Chocolate Banana Swiss Roll
adapted from Eggplant10

25g unsalted butter, melted
45g cake flour, sifted
80g egg yolks
25g castor sugar
20g cocoa powder, sifted
10g cold water

120g egg whites
60g castor sugar
10g corn flour

[Chocolate Whipped Cream]
160g whipping cream
90g chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp milk

1. Whisk egg yolks with castor sugar over a double boiler until it becomes a pale and thick mixture.
2. Add sifted cocoa powder and cold water and whisk till well incorporated.
3. Beat egg whites in an electric stand mixer till foamy, slowly add the castor sugar and corn flour and beat till stiff peak form.
4. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the egg yolk and cocoa mixture until there are no more traces of egg whites left, then fold in another 1/3, followed by the last 1/3 of the meringue.
5. Fold in the sifted cake flour, followed by the melted butter.
6. Pour the batter into a line sheet pan and level. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 13 minutes. Cool on the wire rack until ready to use.

[Chocolate Whipped Cream]
1. Whip the cream until soft peak form.
2. Melt the chocolate and milk over a double boiler and mix till smooth.
3. Fold the melted chocolate mixture into the whipped cream and chill till ready to use.

1. Spread a layer of whipped cream onto the sponge. Line the bananas on top of the whipped cream and roll.
2. Chill in the refrigerator till ready to serve.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mango Mousse Cake - Happy Birthday to ME!

Happy Birthday to ME!

Haha I'm quite amused by this myself but I actually baked myself a birthday cake! I've been so soooo busy over the past two months that I hardly had time to rest, much less for baking. I probably did some simple bakes like financiers and chiffon cakes but didn't have the extra motivation or energy to take pictures and post them up here...haha.

Anyway, this year's birthday was a blast! Most of it made awesome by a very special someone. I really appreciate the thought and effort that goes into the little details, to make this occasion an extra special one for me. God is really really good, I had awesome company to celebrate my birthday with, and have extraordinary memories for keeps too! I wish I can slowly savour every moment, every person, every experience :).

Because this was a "rushed" cake given my pretty crazy schedule, I decided to go with a simple Mango Mousse Cake. Mum bought some really sweet and juicy mangoes a while ago and I decided to go with what I had on hand instead of the initially-planned Fruit Rouges cake. I put this together in under 3 hours and I think it looks pretty decent!

For today's dinner, I went to The Line at Shangri-La Hotel with my family. We are so stuffed that we can't even eat one more slice of cake! I guess we'll have to wait till tomorrow to cut the cake then...hence no pictures of the sliced cake as of now. I made this using a much-raved about recipe from Rei's blog. I tested the mousse and it tasted good! I hope the overall cake will taste alright too!

Ooh...I can't resist sharing these pretty pink tulips I received for my birthday with you lovely!

I am submitting the Mango Mouse Cake to Aspiring Bakers#5 - Fruity March ( Mar2011) hosted by Jess from Bakericious. Recipe follows...

Mango Mousse Cake
adapted from All The Matters

[Sponge Cake ]
2 egg whites
40g fine sugar
2 egg yolks
30g fine sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
50g milk
24g corn oil
68g cake flour (sifted)
1/4 Tsp bicarbonate of soda (sifted)

[Mango Mousse]
8g gelatine sheets
25g hot water
150g whipping cream
1.5 tbsp icing sugar
200g mango puree (if refrigerated, bring to room temperature)
140g diced mango

[Mango Glaze]
100g mango puree (bring to room temperature)
3 gelatin sheets
3 tbsp boiling water

[Sponge Cake]
1) Prepare and line a 7 x 7 inch baking tin. In a clean bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Slowly add sugar and whisk till stiff peak form. 
2) In another bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar till pale and fluffy.
3) Add vanilla essence, milk and corn oil to egg yolk mixture then fold in the sifted flour mixture.
4) Fold in the egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture.
5) Bake at 150°C for around 30 minutes or till skewer comes clean. Let the cake cool and slice horizontally 2 slices and trim them into 6 x 6 inch square.

[Mango Mousse]
1) In a mixing bowl, whip whipping cream with icing sugar to soft peak state. Refrigerate to chill.
2) In a small bowl, dissolve gelatine sheets in hot water. When the gelatine is fully dissolved, add to mango puree. Add rum to the mixture. Mix well.
3) Add the mango mixture to whipped cream. Mix well until incorporated.
4) Use a 7 x 7 inch cake ring, place a layer of cake and pour in mango mousse, or use a large piping tip to pipe the mixture. Do take note of the corners. Add mango cubes and cover them with some mousse. Let it slighty set for about 10 minutes in the fridge.
5) Lay another cake layer and pour the remaining mousse. Let it set for 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge.

[Mango Glaze]
6) Dissolve gelatine in hot water. Mix in mango puree. Wait till the mousse is set and the topping is cooled, arrange sliced fruits, if using, pour in the topping carefully. Let the cake chill for at least 3 hours before removing the cake ring.

Yields a 7 by 7 inch square cake.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mango Passion Coconut Macarons

This reminds me of a love story. When I first saw her, she seemed innocently pure with an inner radiance that's ultra attractive. And when I finally tasted her, the sweet, fruity fragrance melded perfectly with its crisp outer was :).

Ok I'm exaggerating. But I really love the flavour combination of these Mango Passion Coconut Macarons. The rich, tropical flavour of mango and passionfruit tames the overtly outstanding coconut flavour, providing a smooth and creamy complement to the chewy coconut bits.

I first tried this flavour when Chelle gave me a selection of hers, and I really loved it! She made hers using a French buttercream recipe and was delicious! My first attempt at French buttercream failed miserably though...all become one melty mess...hence I stuck with the trusty Swiss meringue buttercream instead. Nevertheless, it was delicious!

Though the flavour was good, the shells came out a little odd. These must be the oddest shells I ever produced from the Italian meringue method. The feet were so compact, so unlike how they usually turn out....I wonder why? I'm reluctant to believe that the addition of dessicated coconut into the macaron batter caused this this really it?

Aside from weird feet, these were still good to fill and equally scrumptious! Hmmm, what flavours should I try next? I'm feeling adventurous now...haha!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rose Cranberry Cookies

It's Chinese New Year Eve! I'm getting excited about the New Year and I hope you are too. Somehow I haven't quite gotten into the mood yet but I'm sure it'll get to me eventually!

Haven't had time to properly sit down and post up all my CNY cookies. Besides the Almond Cookies, Almond Crisps and Lemon Lavender Sables, I also made my all-time favourite cookie - Rose Cranberry Cookies and a batch of Chocolate Almond Rounds, which were equally delicious! If you've never tried making these Rose Cranberry Cookies, then you should, cos every girl will love it! It's that addictive :).

Instead of shaping the dough into a flat disk, I chilled them in logs and sliced them into rounds before baking. I prefer this way of making as it's neater and has less leftover dough than the former method. The pretty pink flecks in this cookie are just sooo cute!

This last shot was a wedding-inspired shot...reminds me of the long train of a wedding dress!

Thank God that I didn't have to go through the lengthy process of peeling the rose mum did it for me! Hence I just had to do the easy part and put the dough together and bake them. I absolutely love these cookies, for their looks as well as their taste. I surely hope my relatives will enjoy them as much as I do!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lemon Lavender Sables

What cookies are you making this Chinese New Year? I'm curious :).

Scanning through the newspapers, magazines and blogs today, I saw so many different cookie varieties. Among them, the almond, pork floss, sesame, seaweed, cashew, peanut varieties seem to be some of the most commonly available ones here...and of course, how can I miss out the hot favourite, pineapple tarts! For me, I hope to do things a little differently. Instead of having snacks that are commonly available at my other friends and relatives' houses, I chose a more floral route...hence these flower-inspired Lemon Lavender Sables!

If you ever get a chance to make these, I assure you that the fragrance of these cookies will get you hooked! It's like having aromatherapy in my own little kitchen. After retrieving a baked tray from the oven, I sat right in front of the hot tray, looking at these pretty golden rounds and enjoying their sweet floral fragrance. I simply adore the smell!

Taste-wise, these cookies have the shortbread texture - crisp on the outside yet buttery and crumbly at each bite. I love how sables so versatile, and take on the different flavours just like how a woman clothes herself in different styles of clothing. She varies her appearance on each day, yet stays ever so lovely and alluring.

Hmmm I'm wondering what other floral combinations can I try out. Suggestions anyone? :)

Oooh...I'm submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #3 My Favorite CNY Cookie (Jan 2011) as well. The details can be found here!

Lemon Lavender Sables
adapted from Happy Home Baking

7 ounces (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon dried lavender
Grated zest from one lemon
180g plain flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Sift flour and cornstarch, set aside.
2. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth, add icing sugar and beat until well blended.
3. Beat in the egg yolk, followed by salt, dried lavender and lemon zest.
4. Add the flour mixture and blend with a spatula. Mix just until flour is incorporated.
5. Gather dough to form a ball, and shape it into a log. Wrap and chill dough for at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Slice the log into 1/4 inch thick rounds and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are set but not brown. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Almond Cookies for Chinese New Year

I finally had time to start my CNY baking for the year! Been scanning through all the blogs for some inspiration and saw that German Butter Cookies were really popular in the blogosphere! Hmmm butter cookies aren't really my cup of tea so I opted for one of my all time favourites - Almond Cookies instead. I chose Jess' recipe for these and they baked up wonderfully well! The dough was a cinch to make and all I had to do was to roll them into balls, top with almond bits and bake! What a breeze!

And these were what I got in slightly under 2 hours :).

Cute little almond cookies! I wish I'd invested in prettier cups to hold these, but decided to curb my spending and use what I have brown cups will have to do!

Besides these Almond Cookies, which were very very delicious and not overly sweet, I also made the very popular Almond Crisps from last year's recipe. These were alot more tedious as I had to repeatedly spread the batter onto the baking sheet, bake and remove them. By the end of 3 hours, I was exhausted! However, these cookies are so delicious I'm pretty sure I'll make them again and again.

Now that I'm done with my first batch of CNY cookies, I'm motivated to do up the rest! 4 more varieties to go and a kueh lapis too if I'm in the mood :). I'm also submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #3 My Favorite CNY Cookie (Jan 2011). The details can be found here.

Happy CNY Baking!

Almond Cookies
adapted from J3ss Kitchen

150g self raising flour
60g icing sugar
80g ground almond
80g diced almonds
100g corn oil
1/2 tsp almond essence
Almond bits for decoration

1. Sift together flour and icing sugar, add in ground almond and diced almonds, mix well.
2. Mix almond essence into corn oil and stir well.
3. Mix both ingredients together to form a soft dough. (the dough will come together when you roll them)
4. Shape into small round balls and place into small paper casing and press it slightly.
5. Decorate with toppings of your choice and bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for 15-20mins or until slightly brown.
6. Cool completely on wire rack before storing into airtight containers.

Yields approximately 50 cookies.


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