Monday, January 26, 2015

TBB: Gingersnaps

This is a very easy recipe.  Quick & Easy!!  Took me long time to figure out what Q&E was!  When I first saw it on Marie's blog, I kept thinking what is Q&E?  I know what Q&A stands for, but just not Q&E.  Later Marie explained what Q&E was and I was like "Hai, That's it!? Why didn't i think of it?"  Also I finally remembered to put the nice picture right on top so that when I post my link, people don't see my mixer or mixing bowl as the first picture. :)  (Catherine, I remembered, did you?)

Since this is a fairly easy recipe, not many steps and not many photos either.

First I melt the butter and syrup and let it cool.

Then add to the flour mixture and mix. 

After split the dough into 3 packs and put into the fridge to rest.

In the mean time while the dough is in the fridge, I stir fried vegetables (baby bak choy)...

And had my dinner - vegetables & herbal chicken soup.  

Herbal Chicken Soup

After dinner, the dough in the fridge is ready for baking. I rolled the dough 10g each.  I don't like big cookies. Big cookies scares me. Here, we like small cookies, bite size, so it is more Kawaii and also easier to eat.  When I first ordered cookie cutters from US, I was shocked to see the size of the 5" cookie cutters when they arrived...but now I'm getting used to it..but they still sit in my cupboard unused...

I baked as instructed. But after the cookies cooled down, I took a bite and tasted like raw dough inside. Maybe I'm not used to chewy cookies? Anyway..I gave my daughter a piece and she said the same thing too.  

So I put them back into the oven again for another 5 mins to crisp up entirely.  

Tasted very good on the day they were baked..the entire cookie so crisp and crunchy. These are now my husband's favourite and he is not a cookie person.  So that says a lot doesn't it?  

However, after 2 days later, the cookies turned quite hard on outside but still crisp on inside..LOL! But my husband still likes them....because he is still eating them while watching TV.  

But he said "Wow..your cookies so hard like rock now.. but it is ok still taste good...but those with dentures cannot eat these for sure".. 

My daughter took a bite and said "Hahaha.. ya Mom..cookies so hard now..hard to bite into it... but I still like it..".  

Makes me wonder though, do you think the both of them just saying it to curry favor and make me happy only?  Hmm....

Maybe I should drop the extra eggwhite and see what happens next time.  Actually, I quite like the cookies now the way it is, they are hard when I bite into it but they melt the moment they are in my mouth.  I only wish they had more spice - now seems to be no 'kick' as the ginger flavor is subtle. Perhaps I'm used to gingerbread cookies where there are more spices added. 

I think these hard cookies now will be great as a base for cheesecake too....


Monday, January 19, 2015

TBB: Golden Orange Panettone

I'm not very familiar with Panettone. I have seen them during Christmas at the stores, but I have not bought even once since they are usually expensive.  The only time I ate it was when someone gave it to me and the other time when I went Italy many years back but that was before I bake, so I didn't take note of what Panettone was supposed to be like and I have since forgotten exactly how it was.  

Since this recipe has so many steps, I decided to double up my recipe so that in case I fail one dough, I'll still have the next dough as a backup. 

On Friday night, I made the Biga (somehow I lost the photos of my Biga)..that was the easiest part..LOL!  And I left in it my fridge to rest for 3 days.  I used a mixture of King Arthur's BF & Pillsbury APF.  

On Monday I mixed the with rest of the ingredients and whisked it into liquid to make the Starter.

Then I sprinkled the rest of the dry ingredient on top of the starter and left in the fridge till next day.

I came home and placed the rest of the liquid ingredients and knead with mixer. 

Until it turned like this..shiny and glossy..and when you pull forms a really thin that's when I think it is ready to rest..

Then I added the raisins & citrus peel....I couldn't find any orange oil and was too late for me to order from Amazon, so I used orange zest instead and soaked it with Triple Sec/Raisins as instructed in the recipe.  

My mixer bowl was too big for the fridge. So I  had to split the dough into 2 batches at this point. 
I made markings..

After 1 hour, the dough expanded really quickly..and I left in fridge for 30 mins and then another 30mins to harden...I had to shorten the time because it was passed my bedtime...

So after I brought out the dough and turned it 2 more times and then put them into ziplock bags. 

Into ziplock bags to rest for 2 days.  I don't quite understand why I had to press the dough 1hr and the next 2hrs later. I did it anyway..but  I  might have pressed too hard cos my dough flatted into a disc instead of a round. LOL!

On Thursday night after work, I took out the dough from the fridge. It came off quite easily, I didn't have to cut open my ziplock bag. 
I split each dough into 4 even pieces and shaped into 3.5"x4" paper cups.

After my panettone baked.  The first 4 on the left I tend with foil after 20mins and they looked 'fairer'. Also it didn't raised up much because I placed them on baking sheet  on top of baking stone. 

I tried to sprinkle some pearl sugar on one just to test out. I regretted not doing it to the rest, should have sprinkled all of them with pearl sugar! 

The next 4 on the right I tend with foil after 30mins and thus they looked darker..almost burnt.  But they raised up more because I placed them directly on baking stone.  Also this time I used boiling water instead of ice..boiling water seems faster to create steam.

I was a bit disappointed because I felt that these panettone didn't look like the commercial ones I often see on photos or pictures. They looked weird to me.  I was too tired to wait for the mini Panettone-s to cool down as it was almost 2am. I took them to my bedroom with me..hahaha.. yes..literally..because if I leave them out in open in non-aircon room, esp. at night, the stupid house lizard will eat the bread!  (ya..ask me how I know!..lizards now eat bread and other food that has sugar.. and not insects or mosquitoes anymore!). I told myself I would just lie down for a short while on my bed and wait for them to cool and put close the lid of the container I placed them in.  But somehow the next moment when I woke up it was already morning..time to go to work. LOL!  

I got ready for work, quickly checked on the Panettones.. and I took photos too..with the morning sun..:)  And cut them into half. One from each batch.  

Inside of the bread.. to see the texture.

I was quite disappointed, thinking to myself why they look like bread.  I was expecting them to be fluffier and with more holes like Chiffon textured bread...

I kept thinking about what I might have done wrong on my way to work. Nearing office, I realised I forgot to put on makeup. I never have the habit of carrying any makeup with me except for lipgloss. So no choice, naked face for the whole day..well, at least I had my sunblock on.  As long as I don't scare people with my pale white face...should be ok.. LOL!

I voiced my disappointment on our FB group...and fellow alpha bakers Pat, Monica, KristinaNicola & Vicki re-assured me that I got my Panettone right and it is bread and not whatever I was imagining it to be. LOL!  That made me so happy. Kristina posted photo of her Panettone, so I was reassured. And after it didn't really mattered if I had makeup on or not that whole day...Oo 

I brought 1/4 slice each to work to taste test because I can't eat anything in the morning. 

No chocolate to drizzle on.  (sorry, I couldn't wait and took a please ignore the smaller slice. LOL!

I like how it tasted. It taste like sweet bread with delicate crumb. But I would have preferred more raisins though. I like the presence of citrus peel (I like them in fruitcakes too).   My daughter loves it, she is able to eat one mini loaf all by herself.  She said the flavor tasted just like the ones we had in Italy but probably not as soft. She added that if she remembered correctly, we were able to pull the bread out and it would tear like cotton-candy soft like texture...

Honestly, I cannot remember.  

This to me tasted like normal sweet bread (brioche-like)...of course with more flavor, richer and nice yellow color.  So I'm not sure if I will make it again though - all the hard work, and stress and not enough! Probably easier to just buy off the shelves. 

However, if there is any short cut to making them??  I wouldn't mind making it again... as long as the process is faster....:)

More photos.. after working on the dough for a week, I had to take more photos and post them!! lol..

Monday, January 12, 2015

TBB: Black & Blueberry Pie

This is my first time making other fruit pie (I've only ever made apple pie) I was looking forward to making it.  Making the crust in food processor was easy.  I read both methods.. the rubbing in flour etc..sounded like it will take forever, ..thus taking out the food processor from inside the cupboard seemed like a faster option.   I always like the faster option! :)  

My helper took this photo.. I don't know why she has to take from under my arm?!
I cropped of the rest of my arm because I saw some age spots...I don't think whitening cream will help.  So cropping off is a faster option. LOL!  

I used a 12" cake board to cut round.

Placed the frozen berries into the pie. The thing is I noticed that there were lots of ice stuck to the frozen berries..I tried to peel off as much as possible..but some are impossible to remove.  I wondered if they will make the pie more liquid? So I added 10g more of cornflour just in case.  

The decorating part of the pie was fun. I had pie dough left over and I had them all stuck to the rim of the pie ..I am a crust person...I like more crust.  Usually, when I eat any pie or tart or buns etc...i tend to throw away the inside and eat only the crust..and like baguette.. I only eat the crust if I can help it. :P  

I baked for 1 hr 5 mins ..and the pie juices was spitting at the side from that crack on the side (shaped like triangle.... can see?)  I took it out from the oven immediately..partly because I was worried about my oven more than the pie. 
I do not like sticky or oily oven... 

When I was turning my pie half way for even baking, the pie juices leaked out and that's why you see 3/4 of the pie had jam rim around it.  Ai ya..I regretted doing that..Next time I will not move my pie..!  

And the thing about that triangle shaped crack..while the pie was cooling, my itchy hand dug into the crack so I could taste some of the crust and juices.. BAD MOVE! Cos the juices start coming out from that crack....and onto my table! I had to tilt my pie to stop the flow.  At the same time I found out that the berry juice stains badly...I had to quickly clean off before the stain sets on my tabletop.  

A slice of pie 2-3 hours after it is baked.  Still soupy. I can see my blueberries still intact. 

Served with scoop of ice-cream. YUMMY!  

The next day!  

After the next day, the pie is all firmed up and no more soupy juices.

Made me wonder if it is because my room temperature is higher than the rest of alpha bakers', so upon standing in cooler temperature, theirs would have firmed up faster?  Mine needed like a night in the fridge to do that..

Pie with ice cream again!!
We can't get enough of it. So YUMMY! 
Besides apple pie, now I have to say this is my next favorite pie. Expensive though..the black & blueberries are expensive even frozen can only make it occasionally. :)  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

TBB: Chocolate Cuddle Cake

I made this cake in record speed...because I was running out of time, so I did a lot of short-cuts.  I didn't follow instructions exactly on the book, but I followed exactly the ingredients and weight measurements. 

First, I made the ganache.

I placed the cream, chocolate pieces into the glass bowl and microwave 20seconds x 2.

And got a smooth ganache. Then stirred in the Kuala and vanilla extract...and set aside to cool.

I forgot to take photos of cake making process because I was doing 2 things at the same time with both hands.  One hand was holding a hand-held mixer to beat the yolks/sugar/oil/chocolate/flour mixture and the other hand was pouring the sugar into my standing bowl mixture where the egg white was being whipped to become meringue. This way, I don't have to wait..I can have both ready at the same time to be folded in together. So, both hands tied... and my helper was busy with other things she had to do...  

Finally...after folding the egg white into the chocolate mixture, I poured the batter into the removable base pan.  From my experience baking chiffon in pan, there is no need to line the pan, neither is there a need to put a nail in the centre.  (I also did not put a cake strip around the pan either - actually I didn't realise I needed a cake strip around the pan..:p!).   So I took my chance and didn't do all that and baked in removable base pan.

While the cake is in the oven baking, I made caramel.  Not a lot of I used my tiny non-stick saucepan.  

Somehow, I didn't have any extra caramel left over. 
You can see the total caramel I had was 153g!..and I wasn't going to keep that 3g of caramel! 

Poured the chocolate/cream mixture into the caramel.

This is my chiffon cake stand.  I think this is popular in Asia. 
I see this chiffon cake stand for removal base pan in Chinese baking books quite often.  
And this is very good stand to have imo. :)  

Cake out of the oven and I flipped over the pan to let it stand on the chiffon cake stand..but I didn't centre the stand properly.. as long as the pan didn't fall over.   The stand despite being very thin, it's quite steady. It supports the removable base from collapsing onto the chiffon cake while cooling.

After cooling, I removed the cake from the pan...had to cut very close to the edge of the how you remove chiffon from tube pan.

You can see there are 4 small holes. The top is a bit burnt because I thought I lowered the temperature of the oven to 175c, but I didnt and it was set at a slightly higher temperature.
The top was very cracks. 

Marie mentioned that Woody said have to measure the height, so I had to find my ruler to measure my cake and take a picture as well. Quite high! :D  

I turned the cake upside down to frost the cake.

Frost with ganache...and pipe tiny shells on top.

Fill with Caramel Whipped Cream. I should have warmed up my caramel before I added to the whipped cream. Because I thought at our 27c room temperature, it should never fall below 21c. But when I put into the cold whipped cream, the caramel hardened! Yikes..very hard to make blend into the whipped cream.  I keep beating until the cream actually seized!..from over beating. I try to salvage it by adding more cream..and it worked..not 100% smooth...but at least 90% smooth and 10% grainy...

Below:  A slice of the chocolate cuddle cake - a brighter pic, verses a darker version.

I took all the photos with my phone, so the first photo didn't look as nice when I try to focus on the cake and the surrounding becomes over-exposed. 

How do we like it?  It's very good! Everyone in my family said it's good. The Caramel Whipped Cream is soo YUMMY! I like this new, refreshing flavor as a whipped cream. I love it so much, I think next time I will put caramel into my buttercream as well!  I would have preferred the cake to be sliced into 2 and layered with more caramel whipped cream.  The cake I find too tall with nothing in centre...quite a waste because the caramel whipped cream is soooo good..could have had more of it.

The cake is good too. Moist, spongy, soft. However, I felt it is not as soft as a regular chiffon because this chiffon cake uses unbleached flour as opposed to cake flour. I have tried other chiffon recipes in pan with cake flour and it worked as well and softer too.  I love this recipe, so I will definitely be making it again. But next time I will try with cake flour and double up the caramel whipped cream.


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