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


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