Friday, February 5, 2016

Oatmeal cookies


I hardly ever prepare much, especially bake cookies, for CNY. However, when the oatmeal raisin cookies I ordered arrived, it was not quite what I had in mind.. And that's how triggered the great oatmeal cookie chase ^^||

Oatmeal raisin cookies (recipe adapted from david lebovitz)
227g unsalted butter
185g brown sugar
65g caster sugar
2 eggs
245g all purpose flour, sifted
3/4 tsp baking soda, sifted
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder, sifted
1/2 tsp sea salt
175 g rolled oats
250g raisins
* for oatmeal choc chip nut cookies: replace raisins with 200g choc chips and 100g toasted chopped walnuts

1. Beat butter and sugars till light and fluffy.

2. Add in eggs and mix till well combined.

3. Fold in flour, baking soda, cinnamon powder and sea salt. Lastly mix in the rolled oats and raisins (or choc chips and nuts).

4. Roll cookie dough into balls, or drop it freestyle into a lined baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven of 175C for 20-22 minutes, or till golden brown, and depending on how chewy or crunchy you want your cookies to be. If you want chewy cookies, do not overbake. I baked for about 22 minutes. as I wanted mine crunchy ^^


Now these cookies are exactly what I imagined oatmeal cookies to be ^^ Perfect!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nothing salted caramel can't fix ^^



This should be one of my last post for the year. 

It's been a slow year in terms of blogging and baking for me. I've seem to lost my mojo for a bit. And when I do bake, it's always the same old things. 

Though lately, I've been exploring (made it thrice!) a "cooked-dough" chocolate sponge cake recipe shared by jeannietay, This recipe is perfect for those who are "heavy-handed" and can never get sponge cakes right. Interestingly, I noticed the recipe is pretty much like that of an ogura cake..  

Anyway, my cakes turned out absolutely gorgeous, moist and cottony soft every time! It's the perfect foil for my salted caramel. banana and peanut buttercream combo. However, I felt there was a slight aftertaste (which no one noticed! ^^||).. possibly due to my use of greek yogurt in replacement of milk.. or my burning the oil! So I'm still working on getting it right. ^^

Well, for a change, I decided to switch up the recipe and made a plain sponge cake with some lemon zest and juice today. Not the best idea I'm afraid.. I forgot to save up the lemon juice to make lemon glaze! So the cake was rather plain, and I could taste a slight aftertaste (greek yogurt, perhaps??? sorry, I'm going through a greek yogurt phase! ^^||). Of course, I couldn't just leave it at that! And just to put it on record, there's really few things that salted caramel cannot make right ^^ I drizzled loads! And voila, a yummy cake is reborn! ^^ 

soft, fluffy plain  jane
Chubby pig who was visiting, pronounced the cake as "not bad", happily took a loaf home. Now what did I tell 'ya, there's nothing that salted caramel can't fix! ^^ ^^ ^^

Merry christmas and happy holidays! ^^


Friday, November 27, 2015

Caramel frankenstein cake ^^


I made this messy, frankenstein-ish cake for Baby pig who turned 14 yesterday ^^

His eyes were exceptionally bright and sparkling when he saw the caramel overload, haha! And when I heard his tell-tale soft humming after he had a slice of cake, I knew he was extremely happy! la-da-da-da... ^^ ^^ ^^

In case you fail to recognise the cake due to the mess, it's actually a decadently indulgent treat made up of tish boyle's deep chocolate sour cream pound cake, smothered with peanut butter buttercream frosting, layered with sliced bananas and drowned in oodles of salted caramel sauce ^^ oooooohhh, so so yums!!!

Tish Boyle's Deep chocolate sour cream pound cake (recipe from rima@bisouatoi)
90g all purpose flour
29g cake flour
21g dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
170g unsalted butter
200-210g granulated sugar
2 large eggs (I used the egg separation method, for a bouncier cake) 
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g sour cream

This is 1/2 the original recipe, which I baked in a 7" round cake tin at 170C for 60-65 minutes. For the step by step to making this cake, please head on to bisouatoi.. hehe, am too lazy to write it out, 'cos it's the usual way of cake making ie. butter cakes ^^
* I sliced the cake into 2 layers, and piled on the frosting, bananas and caramel sauce to make this birthday treat!
* I also tried the DIY wet cloth/towel wrapped around the cake tin method for even baking and to prevent a cracked domed top.. and it WORKS!!! No cracks at all, and the top was nicely flat and evenly baked ^^
* note to self: cake was soft and had a nice texture on day it was baked, but turned a touch dense after being refrigerated.. maybe a chocolate sponge cake would've been better as a cake base? 
* question to self: wonder if using a dutch-processed cocoa powder makes a difference? Answer: Yes, there's a difference.. stick to dutch processed cocoa if the recipe says so!!!

Peanut butter buttercream 
100g creamy peanut butter
30g unsalted butter, softened
80-100g icing sugar, sifted
30g-60g heavy or whipping cream, add to own desired consistency
* make more if planning to ice the whole cake

Beat peanut butter and butter together till soft and fluffy. Add sifted icing sugar and beat till well combined. Slowly mix in the whipping cream to your desired consistency. Do not make frosting overly runny/soft like I did (I even did it on purpose because I wanted a soft, runny frosting.. bad idea! this is what happens to amateurs who don't know much about frosting, haha!), or you'll end up with a frankenstein-y mess! ^^||

Bananas, sliced

Salted caramel sauce (recipe from sallysbakingaddiction or check here)
200g granulated sugar
6 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted is fine)
1/2 cup / 120ml heavy or whipping cream
1 tsp sea salt, or add to taste
* keep leftovers in the fridge, drizzle over ice cream etc.. yums yums! ^^
For best step by step to making caramel, see my favorite guy, david lebovitz's post. That's where I learned how to make caramel.. no thermometer needed!

An epic, frankenstein-caramelly-good birthday cake for an epic, caramel-toothed boy! Love you caramel-loads, Baby pig ^^

taken with phone under slightly better lighting ^^

** p.s I've actually played around with this combo of flavors before.. it was last year (see here), and it was for the same caramel-toothed person. But I didn't manage to make it then. 'Cos last year, we made an amateur Dr Who Bow Ties Are Cool cake, which almost ended up on Cake Wrecks, haha!   


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Happiness is..


Chubby pig was here for a sleepover recently. And spent the ENTIRE time playing BFME and goodness-knows-what-other comp games with Baby pig!

Now what has that to do with me? Well, it just means I got to bake.. LOTS ^^. And finally the chance to use my new enamel pie plate, a gift from one of my favorite people.. you know who you are! ^^

My babies were well fed. I'm happy ^^ ^^ ^^


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Almond-crisped peaches


Big's leaving tonight. He's off to spend a semester in Athens, Greece. And then back to college in the states. I will miss him oh-so much.

This time it'll be a long time before he comes back home. He's thinking of interning during the next summer break. So we are not sure when his next trip home will be. Perhaps I should brave the long flight and visit him in the states.. well, only if the exchange rate is favorable. ^^

Almond-crisped peaches (recipe adapted/from smittenkitchen)
10 peach halves (I used canned peaches)
100g almond meal
scant 1/2 tsp baking powder
60g sugar
6 tbsps rolled oats
90g cold butter, diced

1. Wash the syrup off the canned peaches, and dab dry with paper towels.

2. In a clean bowl, mix almond meal, baking powder, sugar and rolled oats together till well blended.

3. Whizz or cut the butter through the dry ingredients till it resembles breadcrumbs.

4. Place peach halves into a greased baking tray, and top with crumble mix.

5. Bake in a preheated oven of 200C for 30 minutes, or till tops turn golden brown. 

I just had to bake a peach-something for Big before he leaves. He loves peach desserts and I didn't manage to bake him any throughout the 3.5 months he was home. So on the excuse of his grandparents visit, I made a quick dessert just before I left for the all-important yellow rally.

And speaking of yesterday, I'm really happy to report it was a most peaceful rally of yellow. I'm seriously an unfit person. But I managed to brave and survived a crazy long walk under the hot sun and scorching heat (we parked crazy far away thinking the lrts were not going to work!). And what do I get? A whole night of migraine, dead legs, a knee in bandage.. and a clear heart.. and dare I say, perhaps hope for the future? ^^ I'll be honest, I'm sceptical that rallies will bring about changes overnight, if at all any. But yet I was there because I'm hopeful. This is home.

Anyways, back to this recipe, whether you call this a crisp or a crumble, they pretty much spell the same thing.. delicious! I know 'cos I left them at noon and came back to none ^^


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Super moist carrot cake with bailey's cream cheese frosting


My piggies especially Big, loves carrot cake. And Baby, he just can't get enough of bailey's cream cheese frosting!

So I decided to combine both. ^^

Super moist carrot cake (recipe from sallysbakingaddiction with modifications)
~ makes a 9x9 inch square cake
100g brown sugar
3/4 cup / 180ml neutral tasting oil
1/4 cup / 60g sour cream (original recipe calls for yogurt)
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups / 250-280g cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder (a pinch is good enough for me)
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 carrots /300g finely grated carrots
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3/4 cup raisins
4 egg whites
65 - 80g brown sugar

1. In a bowl, whisk 100g brown sugar and oil together. Mix in sour cream. Add egg yolks one at a time to the batter till well combined. Fold in vanilla extract.

2. In another bowl, sift cake flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together.

3. Place the dry ingredients, grated carrots, walnuts and raisins into the wet batter, and fold till just combined. Do not overmix.

4. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites till frothy, and slowly add in the 65-80g brown sugar. Beat till medium stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.

5. Take 1/3 meringue and mix into the wet batter. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue till just combined. Do not overmix.

6. Bake in a preheated oven of 175-180C for about 35-38 minutes till cake is golden brown, or till skewer comes out clean.

Bailey's cream cheese frosting
125g cream cheese
2 tbsps / 30g butter
3/4 cup / 150g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsps bailey's irish cream

Beat cream cheese, butter and icing sugar till light and fluffy. Fold in bailey's irish cream till well combined.

You know, I've always been wary of using vegetable oil in my bakes. I'm butter-girl! But I've to admit, this is one AWESOME cake! And I think I've figured it out ~ it's SOUR CREAM!!! ^^

If I didn't make this myself, I wouldn't even know this cake is made with vegetable oil! I'd think it was made with butter, using creaming and egg separation method. The texture and bite is exactly my kind of perfect cake! It's oh-so moist and springy plump "boing-boing". Gosh, you must think me mad for saying this.. well, it's almost succulent (as you would describe good ribs!), in a way. None of the flat, wet, sticky after taste texture you get from some veggie oil based cakes. PERFECT.

I've come to realize my post intros are getting shorter and shorter.. and there will probably come a time when I'll probably zip right to the recipe. After all, this blog is mainly to document recipes I've tried and liked.. and not ^^ But the post mortem and (over-)analyzing of my bakes is here to stay. Helps me to remember how I liked it and all ^^.

So for the record, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this carrot cake. A perfect carrot cake ~ just the way I like it. For once, it doesn't matter what piggies think (I didn't bother checking), "I" just think this is the best carrot cake I've made and had.. yet. ^^ A keeper!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Millionaire's shortbread


What could possibly go wrong when there's chocolate, caramel and sweet crust? ^^

You never know......

Millionaire's shortbread (recipe from deliciousmagazine)
~ use a 20x30cm / 9x13inch baking tray
175 g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar (50g is good enough for me)
250g plain flour

Caramel
100g unsalted butter
50g muscovado sugar (used raw sugar instead)
50g golden syrup
2x397g condensed milk

200g bittersweet chocolate
50-80ml heavy/whipping cream, own preference 

* Get the instructions at deliciousmagazine.

So, what went wrong...

1. I did not check out other recipes, and just followed this recipe on blind faith because it looks so easy and doable. Mistake.

2. I had decided to just make half the caramel recipe. Wise decision. 'Cos I later messed up the caramel.. twice! Note: KEEP STIRRING THE CARAMEL AT ALL TIMES!!! This is not mentioned in the original instructions. Lucky for me, I had some leftover caramel from a previous bake, so I used that. I recommend using your own favorite caramel recipe, lest you waste 2 good cans of condensed milk like I did ^^||

3. Melting the chocolate.. The minute I put the chocolate over the pot of simmering water. I realize it was not going to work. How do you spread such a thick paste? So I recommend adding some heavy/whipping cream for a more spreadable ganache. It's also a whole lot yummier when the chocolate is a bit ooey-gooey (even after it's set from chilling).

4. BTW, don't be a duh like me. "Leave to set" means chilling in the fridge, unless you live in the artic.

Ok, the shortbread did make it to the Sultan, in time for supper last night. And it's delicious, even with all the modifications! Phew! ^^

Ya, ya, how could one not love chocolate, caramel and sweet crust? Well, when you mess up big time, there is that moment when you don't!

p.s. Here's a shout out to you, mel (@melspantrykitchen)! Thank you! Spot one of your "thoughtfulness" in this post ^^