Friday, April 24, 2015

Chocolate PB Granola Bars

I am always trying to eat healthy lately. No really, I am. I guess it has something to do with my age catching up, so having a healthy balanced meal, especially breakfast, seems really important to me nowadays. Plus I found that eating a well balanced and more wholesome breakfast, will last me satisfied the whole morning without having to sneak a bite later during the mid day. 

So lately I have this craze over granola. Any kind, any flavor, I will chomp it down with my creamy Greek yogurt. :9 One of the tastier granola recipes I found online is from Smitten Kitchen, which she shares her awesome Chunky Maple Granola recipe. One that I always go back to when I run dry of ideas or just plain lazy to create a new one. :P

Well, not this time! Decided to do a simple granola bar recipe which incorporates two of my top favorite ingredients; Chocolate and Peanut Butter. I know I know, its yours too. And thus this Chocolate PB Granola Bar recipe was born...
You got to have something you love to be able enjoy it daily without getting sick of it so easily. No worries, I did the "minimal" amount of these "indulgence", so as to not feeling all fat again when munching on them. :P Besides, looking at the photo above alone already got me feeling all wholesome inside!

Ingredients for Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars (makes a 1" x8"x8")
225g rolled oats
75g walnuts
75g whole almonds
20g sesame seeds
50g sunflower seeds
20g coconut flakes
100g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks
80g dried sweetened cranberries
100g smooth natural peanut butter 100
150g honey
1 tbsp coconut oil
pinch of salt
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the rolled oats, both nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut flakes. Toss to mix. Then pour out the mixture on to a baking tray. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven for a good 10 minutes, giving it a toss every 5 minutes. 
  • Once toasted, you will smell the nutty fragrance filling the whole house. Oats and nuts will be in darker brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Next prepare the liquid mixture. In a bowl, add in the honey, peanut butter and coconut oil, mix well. Place in the microwave and heat up the mixture at 1 minute high.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the toasted oats and nuts in. Then add in the chopped chocolate and dried cranberries in as well. Lastly, add in the heated PB mixture.
  • The heat from the PB mixture will gradually melt the chocolate a little, which is ok. The chocolate will be acting as one of the binding agent to hold the granola bar together. So don't panic if you see most of the chocolate melting. 
  • Prepare a square baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper as well. Next, pour the granola mixture in the prepared pan.
  • Press down with the back of the spoon to flatten and compress the whole mixture. You want it as pack as possible so it won't fall apart when you unmould and slice later.
  • Place a clean plastic wrap over the surface and then another baking tray over the pressed granola.
  • Place in the fridge to chill for a good 4 hours but preferably overnight.
  • Next day, take it out and remove the baking tray on top and the plastic wrap. The granola should be rock solid. Using the parchment paper to pull the whole granola block out and on a chopping board.
  • Cut the granola up into desired sizes. I cut mine into 10 pieces.
  • It is okay if some of the corners break off. No worries. You can wrap these individually which I am too lazy to do haha. I simply stored them into air tight containers in room temperature or you can chill in the fridge.

 I like mine with honey greek yogurt, best thing in the world. Cold creamy verses crunchy nutty, loving the contrast in texture. Plus that nutty and chocolaty bite is sure to satisfy anyone!

Another close up to show you all that goodness. :9 I can eat this everyday for sure!

Try it out and make your breakfast a wholesome one today...or maybe tomorrow. ;)
Have fun guys!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beetroot bread with Apricot and Cream Cheese

Yes guys, you see right. It's Beetroot bread! I actually had this idea of incorporating beetroot into my bread recipe for the longest time, just never really execute it. It comes to no surprise why I want to try it...mainly because of it's vibrant magenta colour of course. Adding it to bakes just makes it look so "catchy", nice I hope and not in any way scary haha! But often too many times I turned away the idea because I was worried about the stain of the root vegetable getting on my kitchen tiles haha! Well, this time I was well prepared! So these lovely (really la) breads were born. ;9
Okay, the colour does look a little unusual on a bread I admit...but still not bad aye? I'm getting quite fond of that sweet pink in case you don't know haha! But in terms of taste, texture and flavor...I have to say I've got it on point. Yes, I may sound a little overrating my own creation here...but I was truly please with my new bread creation, woot! (Omg...what's with the big head? lol)

Recipe for Beetroot bread 
Pre-fermented dough recipe
250g bread flour
160ml water
3g instant dry yeast
1g salt
  • Knead everything together till it forms a soft pliable dough. No need to be smooth. Divide dough into 50g or100g portions depending on your needs and let chill in fridge up to 12 hours. Alternatively store in freezer up to 3 months.
Main Dough recipe
200g pre-fermented dough (above for recipe)
150 beetroot, pierced, steamed l, peeled and blend (~200g with skin before steam)
300g bread flour

100ml water
20g milk powder
5 g instant active yeast
3 g salt
50g caster sugar
30g unsalted butter room temp

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

  • Rinse the beetroot clean, then pierce with a sharp knife so it will steam up easier. Then place the whole root vegetable into the steamer over medium high fire. Steam for a good 15minutes or till a toothpick can pierce into it easily. 
  • Remove from steamer and let cool before working on it. 
  • Please wear cloths before handling the beetroot...unless you don't mind having pink hand for the next day or two! Peel the beetroot, cut into large chunks.
  • Place the beetroot chunks into the blender and blend till puree. Need about a good minute on that.
  • Then in the mixer, add in pre-fermented dough, beetroot puree, bread flour, caster sugar, salt, instant active yeast, milk powder and water. 
  • Starts kneading till the dough comes together. It might be sticky at first, but DO NOT be tempted to add in more flour. Give it time to knead through 8-10minutes, break 2 minutes, knead another 8-10 minutes till the dough pulls away from the mixer bowl completely.
  •  Just look at the vibrant pink! No edit at all, this is the true natural colours of beetroot bread dough. Love much aye?
  •  Once the dough pulls away from the bowl, add in the unsalted butter and continue to knead. It should take at most another 4-5 minutes for the dough to knead through and pull away from the mixing bowl or reaches window panel.

  •  Okay I have to admit guys, it's hard to stretch the dough to thin window panel in one hand while the other is holding that heavy DSLR trying to snap a good picture. So pardon me if this picture didn't really show the window panel clearly, but you get the idea ya?
  • Place dough in a greased bowl and let proof covered for 1.5hrs or till the dough doubled in size.
  • In the meantime, make your apricot and cream cheese filling.
Ingredients for Cream cheese filling
150g cream cheese 
30g confectioners sugar
20g unsalted butter

100g dried apricot 
  • In the blender, add in all the ingredients except the apricots. Zap at high speed till the mixture is smooth and creamy. Scoop out and set aside for use later.
  • Next you cut the apricots into smaller chunks.

  • By now the dough should have already doubled. Check out the big pink ball!

  • Punch out the air and divide out dough portions of 520g and 80g. The remaining dough can be shaped into a flower bun like what I did. Where each ball is about 50g.
  • Roll out the 520g into a flat rectangle of 35cm by 25cm. Then spread the cream cheese mixture over the rectangle dough surface, leaving about 1 inch of allowance on the sides.
  •  Next you sprinkle the cut up apricot chunks over the surface as seen above. Distributing the dried fruit evenly over the surface.
  • Then from the shorter end, roll it up like a swiss roll.

  • Once you rolled all the way to the end, seal up the sides by pinching in the dough.

  • Once sealed, gently place the whole rolled up dough into a greased loaf pan.
  • Next you can make some patterns using the remaining 90g dough; divide into 3 equal portions of 30g. Roll into long logs about slightly longer then the length of the loaf pan. Pleat into a ponytail and place over the loaf in the pan.

  • Shaping the flower buns is easy. just divide the dough into 7 equal portions. Take one of the portion and add in 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder and knead in. The colour will become slightly darker. The rest of the 6 dough just roll round and seal necessary edges. Place the dark brown dough in the center and the rest of the six buns around it. I have chose to leave these buns plain without filling. Feel free to fill them with anything you fancy.
  • Let the shaped out doughs proof. It should take no longer then 45minutes. Preheat the oven to 175C in the meantime. (My oven is slightly on the high side) Mama Mia...look at the colour! I swear I didn't add filters!
  • Once the dough in the loaf pan proof and filled till rim of the pan, it's ready to be baked. Bake in the preheated oven. 20-23 minutes for the flower buns while 28-30 minutes for the loaf.
The dough did becomes a little toasty brown on the surface after baking, but it still look awesome. ;) And if you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen how I have torn up my bread in that little "bread porn" video to demonstrate the fluffiness and softness of the bread. Yes go watch and don't get too excited about it please haha!
A look at the sliced interior...since I ain't uploading any video here haha. loving the well proofed interior! Though the cream cheese filling did weigh down a little but it was so delicious, I regret not adding it in at all! :9 
Of course the bread is delicious on it's own. But with a little more butter and wildflower honey, it gonna taste amazing, yummy! So happy that my first attempt of this beetroot bread turned out successful! Gonna attempt more exciting flavors real soooon! Why? Because I love bread and I love baking it even more!

Have a great day ahead all!