Saturday, April 24, 2010

Nibby Pecan Cookies - Discovering the Beauty of Cocoa Nibs

This April, two of life's simple pleasures made me wonder what took me so long to find them. The first was Yuzu Tea, which has now become my staple comfort drink at home and at work. The second, is cocoa nibs. Since reading about it on one of the local food blogs, I've been searching for it and came across it at Sun Lik some months ago. I grabbed a pack and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. Finally, the packet was opened and the cocoa nibs got to see daylight today. Using the Nibby Pecan Cookies recipe from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet, I made half a batch using these Valrhona cocoa nibs. The smell from the oven was so enticing that I had to try one immediately though the recipe recommended the cookies to be served 24 hours after baking. At first bite, I loved it. I love the crunchy, nutty texture of the cocoa nibs, the strong cocoa flavour yet without the sweetness of chocolate. Boy, why did it take me so long to find you my love?

These may not look like the most appetising food you can find, but I love it for its dark, intense flavour without the complicating sweetness to it. I love the crunchiness and bite it lends to this delicious cookie. Now I'm wondering what else can these cocoa nibs go into. As an ice cream topping maybe? Or as a mix in for chiffon cakes? Hmmmm any suggestions? I still have quite some cocoa nibs waiting to be used :).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yuzu Tea Chiffon Cake - Loving my ゆず茶

These days my throat seems to be hinting to me on a possible inflammation. I can feel the heat rising from my throat, stopping at the base of my chin yet refusing to move from there. Without me asking, mum bought a jar of Yuzu Tea and told me to drink it. Once I tried, I was hooked. I simply love the sweet, citrusy, soothing drink that seems to quench that fiery throat. Since then, it has become my sweet comfort. I got mum to buy me another jar for my office and at the same time I also came across a Yuzu Tea Chiffon Cake recipe online. How timely is that! Since I'm fascinated by all Yuzu Tea related things these days, how can I miss out on a recipe that marries two of my current most favourite foods?

This recipe yields a slightly different chiffon from the ones I usually make. It's a little denser, more moist, less eggy and with more bite. Weight-wise, it's also a little heavier. I love the strips of Yuzu that adds a cool citrusy touch to this cake. Instead of using my normal 21 cm chiffon pan, I used a 16cm one and 2 mini chiffon pans from Daiso. The best thing about this cake is definitely the smell. Imagine waking up to a nice warm cup of Yuzu Tea and a slice of Yuzu Tea Chiffon Cake. To me, that's probably the best thing to have in the midst of the rainy season :).

Ooh how I love you Yuzu Tea...:P

Yuzu Tea Chiffon Cake

3 egg yolks
20g castor sugar
50g yuzu tea marmalade
50ml hot water
40ml vegetable oil
70g cake flour

4 egg whites
50g castor sugar
8g corn flour

1. Dissolve Yuzu Tea Marmalade in the hot water and sieve flour. Set aside.

2. Mix egg yolks, sugar in a medium bowl until pale, add the oil and mix till well incorporated. Add the yuzu tea mixture and mix well before adding the flour. Mix till the flour is fully incorporated into the mixture.

3. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy, add 1/2 the sugar and corn flour mixture and beat for a few minutes, add the remaining mixture and beat till stiff peak form.

4. Measure out 1/3 of the egg whites and fold into the egg yolk mixture. Then pour the mixture into the rest of the egg whites and gently fold in the egg whites until well incorporated.

5. Pour the batter into the chiffon pans (I used 1 16cm and 2 mini pans) and bake at 160 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Yields an 18cm chiffon cake.


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