Monday, December 15, 2014

TBB: The Ischler

I like making cookies and eating cookies.  Except when it comes to rolled cookies, I tend to procrastinate a lot because of the waiting time. And because I have to wait for the dough to harden up in the fridge, I always forget about the dough...and usually the dough would end up resting in my fridge for a long time.

I know I'm not supposed to grind whole raw almonds mentioned in the book. But... I did it anyway!  I put the whole raw almonds (because I can't find sliced raw almonds..usually blanched ones here) into my mini-grinder and blitz them away.. and they turned out very fine and I added a bit of icing sugar to absorb the oil in case it turns oily...

The almonds all processed till fine.  Looked good to me! :D  

Then I transferred the ground almonds into my huge food processor and continued with the instructions on the recipe.  Add butter, flour etc. 

Dough is formed and feeling a bit wet. 
Cut the huge dough into quarters and wrapped in cling wrapped into the fridge. 

I was supposed to finished up the recipe that day..but as usual, while waiting for the dough to firm up in the fridge, I completely forgotten about it..till a week later..LOL!  

So after the dough rested 1 week in my fridge.. I finally took it out to roll them out and bake them.

You like my chinese frying ladle?  It is very versatile, can also be used as a cookie! 

Making ganache.  Ok..i went the lazy way. I just put the cream into the chocolate and microwave together. It's very hard to heat up 56g of cream in one more item to wash later. So i put them together and microwave.  :) worked..! As long as it works, I guess no harm right? LOL!  

See how smooth my ganache turned out?  Oh ya..the left over Lekvar in bottle from way back when I first made them during HCB bake-through (1 or 2 years ago?.. don't judge me.. it can keep indefinitely!) 

Finally!!!   I sandwich most of the cookies with chocolate ganache and 6 of them with the apricot lekvar. That's because I thought the cookies will absorb the moisture from the lekvar making it soft. Over here where it is always humid, cookies/crackers/toast/etc turn soft easily if not kept in airtight containers. Thus we like our cookies crisp and crunchy and often associate soft cookies as stale. 

However, over the years, I have also learned to like soft cookies too.  :)  Changed my mindset that soft cookies = stale cookies. 

Because I was running out of time, I brought some cookies to office to take photos.  Day light makes the photos very pretty. Usually, I take my photos at night so always end up dull and full of shadow. 

Oh ya, I just found out that I was supposed to fill the cookies with half ganache and half lekvar??! Really? I did not remember reading that part! That's why I filled them up separately! LOL!  Oh well, nevermind.  Next time.  

Verdict: As I have predicted the cookies sandwiched with chocolate ganache stayed crisp and the ones with lekvar turned really soft.  I like the ones with chocolate ganache better. I also like that these cookies are not-too-sweet.. (see i said it again!! not too sweet!..LOL!).  The sweetness level is just right!  Loving the almond speckle on the cookies, I think the speckles make the cookies look very pretty on its own. 

I got my office colleagues to try and they liked the ones with chocolate ganache better too.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

TBB: English Dried Fruit Cake

I love fruitcakes! I adore Rose's fruit cake recipe in HCB and bake them every Christmas without fail..and I will bake enough that will last till Chinese New Year. :D

This is equally amazing! I love the fresh apple crunchy texture...

I used a mixture of dried apricot, mango, pineapple and papaya.  I used more local dried fruits because they are cheaper.. LOL!   The combination worked extremely well with the apples. 

Did you notice the zester? It's Rose's ZestN'est Zester!  It's so easy to use and I love how neat it is, i.e., all the zest collected together. And it's very ergonomic designed..I can hold it easily and zest the entire orange/lemon easily! One of my kitchen must have.  :)   

Cooking the sugar and butter first. 

Then add the chopped up apples..I used Pink Lady apples.  I think this is my first time trying out Pink Lady apples. Normally I buy Fuji apples. (Actually I've never really bother what the names of the apples are as long as they are crispy and hard! I hate soft, powdery apples...they are only for babies when you need to scrape the apples with spoon to feed them...hmmm..ok...this statement applies till one day I get old and no longer can eat crunchy!)  

Anyway, my point is, next time I'll use Pink Lady apples for baking, I like how it is firm and has a slight tartness to it..yet not as tart as Green apples.  

So easy to make! And add the flour & pecan nuts into the apple mixture and it's all done! 

I've never liked pecan nuts because I thought they tasted rancid. But I was totally WRONG!  What I had been buying are lousy pecans..or spoilt ones..maybe due to the heat! Just recently I purchased a pack of organic Pecan nuts that cos $11+ per 150g ( expensive!!)...but the nuts were so GOOD and tasted Fresh!..No rancid taste at all!  

And this cake is a rum absorber. I doubled up the rum and still the cake didn't taste too rummy.  
I think can add more rum next time when I make it again.  When I was drowning my cake with rum, I remembered Rose said in her book that her dad likes to pour a lot of rum onto the cake too! 

This is amazing cake!! It's a really refreshing take on traditional fruit cake. I love the fresh apple texture - which the nuts and dried fruits compliment the apple flavor and the rum takes it one notch further.   SOO GOOD!  We all couldn't get enough of it.  I gave half of the cake to a friend and he also said it was moist, great flavor and not too sweet

This phrase "Not too sweet" is a huge compliment here!  Means your dessert is good and has right sweetness level!  Often you'll get to hear these comments:- "not too sweet" as compliment and "too sweet" as a disapproval..  

We, Singaporeans known for being health conscious..... examples:-

1)  food coloring, is a no-no (rainbow'll get comments like " much artificial food colouring will get cancer or not?" ... ) 
2)  too sweet - is also a no-no (you'll get comments like "too sweet will get diabetes"..and for children.."bad for teeth"...), 
3) savoury food too salty..(you'll get comments like "so salty, later get high blood pressure"...) 
4) too buttery/too many eggs - you might get comments like "so rich, will get high cholesterol"...)    LOL!

So now, when I give desserts away, I have to be sure that I give to my friends who really like & enjoy desserts,  that way, I don't put unnecessary pressure on those who doesn't want dessert.....!  :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

TBB: Kouigns Amann

I avoided making this recipe during the beta testing cos I was simply afraid of making laminated pastry..esp. in our hot weather here in Singapore.  But this had to be the first recipe scheduled for our new baking group, Rose's Alpha Bakers. So I guess this is the push factor for me try making it at least once right? 
When I finally had the courage to make it, I found out my hi-protein bread flour had expired..and the entire bag had to throw it away. But I had a package of Japanese bread flour (which makes the softest bread ever)..and I figured no harm using it since on the packaging it has a drawing of a!

- I followed instructions to the tee. Everything seemed ok until the step where I poured the superfine sugar onto countertop and rolled my dough and after place in the freezer/fridge

- to my dismay, after an hour later, my dough turned into a syrupy mess..the sugar melted and there was syrupy liquid leaking from the dough...probably due to the moisture it absorbed from condensation...

Even so, I carried on with final step, rolled the dough on the countertop with sugar..and baked as instructed.  During the last step, as I was rolling the dough, it was clear that my butter wasn't rolled properly..and must have had breakage or something I didn't do right cos there was uneven bits and pieces of butter all over the dough. You can see the butter pieces on the photo above..quite obvious. 

 Nonetheless, I proceeded with cutting, shaping and baking.

While the Kouigns Amanns were baking, there were lots of oil seepage...A LOT.. so much so my tray had a puddle of oil/butter (I forgot to take picture!).  The baked Amanns looked ok and tasted extremely sweet and oily, and I really didn't like it at all. But everyone else in my family thought it tasted great.

I wasn't happy with earlier result..because it didn't look or taste like the usual Kouigns Amanns should look like..but wasn't sure I would try making again. It didn't look dark and caramelised totally, neither had very flaky top that you would expect in laminated pastry. Interior was super soft..maybe too soft..? I think the Japanese bread flour probably better for making Asian breads...(cos we prefer our bread loaves/buns very very soft and

(If you fail, try again, you won't die from it! ..that's what my hubby always say...!)

Yup, that's what I did.  2-days later, I happened to be in another supermarket and saw King Arthur's bread flour and I thought, maybe I should give it a go again. I bought the recommended Kerry Gold Irish butter (I wanted to use Lurpark actually..about same price..)..and this time I bought salted butter instead!  

Also, I made the following changes:-

1)   put the dough in the fridge after proofing for 1 hour.  Cold dough is easier to roll with butter (that's what I think..may not be true..!)

2)   pound the salted butter with about 1/4 cup of flour

3)  added the fine (not superfine) sugar in the dough while turning, thus I made an extra turn. (So much easier to handle and no syrupy mess!)  only towards the last step, I had some sugar on the counter top when I rolled my was less messy also.. 

4)  rolled the dough into 24" x 8" long and cut the dough into 12 x 4" pcs.  I baked them in 3.2" pastry rings.  I like them smaller..cos more crunchy surface area imho.  Perhaps next time (if my backside itchy and want to make again...hahaha), I'll try 24" x 6" / 12" x 12" and cut them into 3" square each, yielding 16pcs.  

My hands look quite nice here isn't it? hahaha..

Above photos: All finished shaping and left to proof for an hour.  
I like how I can see so many layers of dough.. 

This time, the dough baked and caramelised beautifully.  I liked how the pastry puffed up really tall during baking.  There wasn't much butter leakage either. Not as oily as my earlier batch and somehow also tasted less sweet even though I used same amount of sugar or maybe more since I sprinkled extra for the counter top...(still very sweet for our Asian tastebuds, but just not as sweet as before).

Above photos: I couldn't wait for it to cool down and cut them into 2.

The top was so flakey and crispy..and bottom hardened with caramelised sugar.  Inside was full of layers, soft, butter and sugary.   This time my family could tell the difference and everyone gave the thumbs up.  And I'm happy cos now they looked like those sold at the bakeries..:)  

P/S: I turned on the air-conditioner to 20c for entire day! I had to work quickly too cos it was too cold to be in the kitchen. LOL! Now I realised why the pastry kitchen where I work is always super cold..the air-condition in our office is cold but no where compared to the pastry kitchen!    

I still have 2 more in the freezer for the souffle version, but I have not made it yet. Will update later when I do...  The reason why I'm delaying here is because I think these alone are very fattening..and to make it with heavy cream and all, I need to take a break first and exercise off the calories before I proceed to the souffle variation. LOL!   :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

I'm back!! I know I have kind of disappeared from blogging world because I was too lazy to blog.   But now I'm back!

I just received my copy of The Baking Bible! So exciting!! So many wonderful recipes and the book is so thick.  Look, isn't the cover gorgeous already?  

And thank you Rose for acknowledging us Beta Bakers!  See my name highlighted in yellow? hahaha.. Opps.. now everyone knows my real name. LOL! 

Now that the book has been released, we Beta Bakers have been promoted to Alpha Bakers! :))  We will be baking through the book weekly from December, for about 2 years.  I can't wait to start!

Only thing that worries me now is my waist line though..  esp. now that I am nearing 50s soon, I find my metabolic rate has slowed down considerably! I don't lose the pounds so easily as before.. :(

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Magic Cake

I've been seeing magic cakes everywhere on the internet and the recipe intrigued me that I just had to try it!  It's so quick & simple to make and I adore how the batter magically separates into top sponge cake layer and custard cake layer below.  And best of all it tastes YUMMY!  I've also found that using icing sugar gives me a better rise in the sponge cake and also a firmer custard. :)  And remember to grease your pan with butter! 

The recipe i've used is this:-

Watch her video will give you an idea how to fold in the eggwhites. :)

Her blog is in spanish but there is nothing that Google Translate can't translate right? :D


Monday, April 1, 2013

MIA.. and now posting for documentation..

Been too lazy to blog but I did bake lots..although some are not documented.  Lately I would just post the photos onto my own FB account so that I have an idea what I have baked.  However,  recently I had to refer back to this blog to check my older postings because I can't recall.

Milk Tea Loaves (using TWG's The Grand Wedding Tea Blend)

Hokkaido Milk Tea Loaves

Hot Cross Buns 
this recipe is a failure - not enough spice & raisins. recipe also didn't specify orange peel or mixed fruits. Added but still not enough imo.  

Cinnamon Buns 
(burnt top..but still tasted good!)

Coffee Buns 

Custard Buns

Cinnamon Buns

Baguette using pre-ferment
(not sure how to shape the dough yet)

Tina's White Crusted Bread
(simple, easy and taste so good!)

(not as soft as i expected)

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Water Chestnut Cake

Chocolate Loaf Cake & Cinnamon Bread

Tiramisu Cake
(Really very good!..must remember this..)

Blueberry & Raspberry Crumb Cake

Portugese Rice Cake

Pineapple Tarts

Egg Waffles
(got to find a better recipe that is more crispy!)

Macarons (French)
Testing different variations

 Pandan Butter Cake

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Fresh Pandan Juice

 Fresh Strawberry Cake


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