Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ham & Cheese + Koala Bear Buns

After the long school break, it's back to my usual routine again. Some how I am glad because I get to have more time to myself which means more baking!^_^. It's usually bread that comes to mind when I wonder which recipe to try out. What can I say, it's my favorite comfort food! After a visit to the salon yesterday, I went to buy some cold cuts, and decided on some lovely smoked chicken breast. Yup! Been wanting to make some ham & cheese bread for my family, which happen to be my husband's favorite sandwich combo. After some "research", I came up with a bread dough recipe which should be pretty good. :) Hard work does pay off! The bread is great with the delicious smoked chicken and thin slices of Cheddar....why did I wait so long to make this?!
This bread recipe is great! However this recipe requires a starter, which I think can be prepared a day ahead. Furthermore, its a really sticky dough, so pretty hard to knead, took me more then >30 mins to get to the texture I want! Hold it....did I say "Koala Bear" in my title? Heehee, almost slipped out of my mind...yeah, here it is:
Nowadays I always double my recipe so that I can have some "play-dough" session...get it? Heehee, it's so fun to shape those dough into cute shapes to attract my kids to eat them. If they recognise what you mould out...then you've done a great job shaping the dough. If'll be something like what I did in the picture:

Hahaha, this bun totally looks like some prehistoric creature/reptile that has yet finish evolving! Didn't quite know what was going through my mind when I snipped scales at the back?!'s one yummy prehistoric bun alright, heehee. ;D Need convincing? Check out the picture below, let it do the "talking":
The bread is super duper soft and nice....go so well with the ham & cheese! Me & my family ate up half of the loaf ring once it came our fresh from the oven! This recipe is definitly a keeper...will probably make it again with other savory fillings, yummy!Since my recipe is doubled, feel free to portion it to half if it's too much for yourself. Okay...I know you want it is:

Ingredients for Soft Sanwich/Bun bread:

(starter dough)湯種:
150g bread flour
12g caster sugar
200ml hot water
60g unsalted butter

Main Dough:
450g bread flour
100g cake flour
1 whole egg
350ml water
9g instant active yeast
6g salt
75g caster sugar
25g milk powder

30g unsalted butter

200g smoked chicken breast, sliced (cold cuts of your choice)
8 to 10 slices sandwich Cheddar Cheese
Nutella / Cream cheese filling

  • In a small pot, cook the starter dough ingredients with low fire till the mixture comes together. Remove from fire and set aside to cool completely before use.
  • Mix all ingredients in main dough except for butter together in a large mixing bowl to form a soft dough. Place on work area to knead or mixer to do the kneading. Knead the dough till it is not sticky, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the unsalted butter in and continue to knead till the dough is shiny and elastic. To test if the dough is ready, pull a small piece off and stretching it with your fingers. If dough is very elastic and pulls to almost see through without breaking, then it's done.
  • Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for at least 90 minutes to 2hrs.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Half for ham and cheese, the other for other fillings of your desire.
  • In one half of the dough portion, divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll round and let rest covered before shaping them. The remaining half dough portion, do what ever shape you like, else make more ham and cheese buns.
  • For the 8 pieces, roll it into a round flat circle. Place a slice of ham and cheese in the center and roll it up like a swiss roll. Seal the edges and cut right in the middle, so you have 2 small logs.
  • Place the 2 small logs, cut side facing up in your desired greased baking pan. Repeat until all dough pieces, ham and cheese slices are used up.
  • Let proof covered for 45 mins. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Bake in the oven for 40 minutes till the top is golden brown. Remove from mould after 5 minutes and let cool on rack.

Here it is, the whole lot that I made. Some how after making all these bread...I still feel it's not enough to go around! I guess, it's never enough good stuff, haha! One last picture to show you all before I go...well, maybe you already noticed it....
Yikes! This Koala bear is spitting foam! Technically it's cream cheese...but just pop out right at the mouth area?! Have to admit it looks gross! If you know what "吐白沫" means...this is the exact looks for that, hahaha! Hope you did not lost your appetite upon seeing this. :-P Guess I better "clean" up the "foam" before giving it to my girls...else they might find it not so appetizing after all, haha!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Hubby!

Today is my husband's Lunar calendar birthday. Have been planning to make him a nice cake that he will enjoy...of course the rest of the family too. You must be wondering why Lunar calendar...why not the usual calendar. I guess it's my I did not forget, more specifically is I knowingly ask to postpone the celebration! So bad horr...but I was so pressing for time, with the mooncakes and packing for's driving me up the walls! *Excuses!* Anyway, my better half (always understanding) said it's alright and decided to have his cake today instead. *phew* Although we did have a mini cake (store bought) while we were back home with the family in Singapore on the actual day. :) But I was really glad that I finally get to make this cake for him....which he lovingly approved the tastiness of it. ;)
You must be going " small and simple cake!". Hmmm...I should have placed something beside the cake while taking this picture to show the relative height. This is no small cake, it's actually 5.5 inches tall and 9 inches wide (almost can't fit into my fridge!!). Simple? Mmm...I will let you be the judge of that as we move on.

Wait a minute..did I go haywire and layer the cake wrongly?? Why is it vertical layering instead of horizontal?? No I did not go bongus and mess it up, this is the so call "Thousand" Layer Chocolate Cake. I shan't go into the mushy detail on why I choose this thousand layer cake for my dear husband, haha, just in case. :) Okay, I admit "thousand" is a bit far fetch, but there are indeed several layers in this cake...vertically that is. How I did it? Read on. :)

Ingredients for "Thousand" Layer Chocolate Cake:
330g all purpose flour
325g caster sugar(portion to 200g & 125g)
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
110g unsweetened quality cocoa powder
5 egg yolks
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
5 egg whites
200ml strong brewed espresso coffee
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Chocolate cream layering:
250ml non-dairy whipping cream, whipped
125g quality dark chocolate
50g unsalted butter

Butter cream frosting:
125g unsalted butter
75g shortening
100g confectioner's sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Coating:
200g quality dark chocolate
200ml heavy cream

Decoration (optional):
Unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark chocolate crunch balls

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and 200g sugar together till it is light and fluffy. Then add in the egg yolks and mix well.
  • Add vanilla extract in and stir till blended. Sift the plain flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder into another bowl. Stir the sour cream and buttermilk together and set aside.
  • Alternating with the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, add in 3 separate portions into the butter mixture. Beat well after each addition. Continue till everything is incorporated in.
  • In separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites and the remaining 100g of the sugar till stiff peaks.
  • Gently fold in the egg white mixture into the cake batter in separate portions till everything is blended in.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Greased and lined with parchment paper a baking tray of 10"by12".
  • Pour 1/3 of the cake batter into the prepared baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 170°C to bake for another 5 minutes. Bake till cake is done and remove from oven to cool completely on rack.
  • Repeat the above step twice again till all the cake batter is baked and you have 3 sheets of chocolate cake of 10"by12" in size.
  • Meanwhile make the chocolate cream: Melt the chocolate and butter under double boiler and let cool. Mix the melted chocolate mixture together with the whipped cream and set aside.
  • After the cakes has cooled. Cut the cake length wise to get two 5" by 12" cake sheets. Repeat with the other 2 cake and you will arrive with 6 sheets of 5" by 12" cakes.
  • Spread 1/6 of the chocolate cream all over the surface on one of the cake sheet. Then roll it up from the short side inwards in a swiss roll form.
  • Again spread another cake sheet with chocolate cream and roll the cake up placing the first swiss roll inline with the 2nd sheet so as the continue the swiss rolling make a bigger roll. Repeat this process till all the cake sheet is used up and cream is used up and you have an enormous swiss roll cake. See picture below :
  • Be extra careful in handling the cake while rolling as this cake is rather delicate and moist (with the presence of buttermilk and sour cream), not your usual swiss roll cake texture.
  • Refrigerate the cake for 1hr before proceeding. Meanwhile, make the buttercream frosting: Cream all the ingredients together till all is well combined and mixture is light and fluffy. Takes about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • To make the chocolate coating: Heat up the heavy cream till bubbly. Then pour the chocolate in and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir mixture till smooth. Let cool before using it.
  • After 1 hr, take cake out from the fridge and trim away the uneven edges on the top. Then frost the whole cake with buttercream. Place the cake back in the fridge and chill for another 1 hr.
  • After 1hr, gently place the chilled cake on a rack and slowly pour the chocolate coating all over the cake to completely cover it. Let sit for 2 minutes to let the chocolate finish dripping on the sides, then place it in the fridge again to chill for another 30 minutes.
  • Once set, remove cake from fridge. Dust some quality cocoa powder on top and decorate cake with some chocolate crunch balls on top.

*Phew* That was tedious! I have to admit this is no easy piece of cake to make! But the end result makes it all worthwhile. :) This ingenious idea is originated from one of the latest cookbook I bought lately
, "Chocolate Dreams" from some Taiwan publisher which I bought from Kinokuniya. But I did not follow the recipe from the book but came up with this chocolate cake recipe myself, only following the shaping method it showed in the book.

Be sure to use the best quality dark chocolate you can find. I used Valrohna so there was no doubt on how well the chocolate taste turned out. The cake was chocolaty of course, plus it's moist and soft. It's not too sweet and the chocolate cream makes it smooth and silky. The deep chocolate coating plus the mini chocolate balls makes it such a treat to eat the cake...definitely a chocolate lover's dream come true! Not to mention, my whole family enjoyed the cake a lot. Hope I have redeemed myself for not able to make a cake for my hubby on his actual birthday. :-P Anyway, Happy Birthday Dear!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sun tanned Panda Bread loaf & Mooncakes

Have been away back home in Singapore for the few days. It was a super long school break due to Hari Raya for the kids here in Malaysia, a total of 10 days! Now I just worry that they might get grouchy when school starts next Monday....ain't looking forward to that. :-P Like any other school holidays, I am always looking for ways to have fun with my girls in baking when they are home with me. Besides, I was itching to bake since the long break.This time, I decided to bake another fun bread recipe which I sooooo want to make for the longest time. :) Yup, the Panda bread...err....for my case, specifically the "Sun tanned" Panda bear bread, haha! Why suntan? Well, I thought chocolate flavored bread will probably taste much better then plain ones...anything is better with chocolate, at least in my philosophy! So brown==sun tanned? Hahahaha!
I can't stop smiling when I sliced open the bread loaf and seeing that cute bear face inside. :D I was so worried that it won't turn out the ears sticking together or one eye drooping down etc. Luckily it was still acceptably recognizable, heehee! This recipe was inspired by Florence (Do What I like) which she also extract it from Cookpad. However I modified it to make it into an oat bread version. I shall post this recipe here for my own future reference.

Ingredients for Panda Bear Oat Bread:
50g quick cook oats
125ml fresh milk
500g bread flour
100g cake flour
50g caster sugar
5g salt
3 tbsp milk powder
1 egg
300ml fresh milk
6g instant active yeast
40g unsalted butter, rm temp

Coloring & Flavoring:
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bamboo charcoal powder
3 tbsp pandan juice + 1 tbsp cake flour
(3 pine screw leaves blended with 3 tbsp water)

  • Cook the oats and milk in a pot at medium low heat till it becomes a thick paste consistency. Let cool on a plate for later use.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all the other ingredients for the bread except for butter and mix well. Add in the above oat mixture and knead to form a soft dough. Continue to knead for 20 minutes till it's not sticky and elastic.
  • Add in the butter and continue to knead the dough till it's smooth.
  • Divide the dough: 200g for charcoal powder mixture, 400g for cocoa powder and the remaining for the pandan mixture.
  • Knead the flavoring into the dough respectively and let proof in separate greased containers, covered for 90 mins. Punch out the air, and let proof again for 30 minutes before shaping.
  • For shaping details, please refer to the original recipe here. Good luck!
  • After shaping, place the whole dough into the bread tin (10cmX10cmX25cm) covered, to continue proofing for another hour. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Bake in the oven (covered) for 42 to 45mins till done. Let loaf cool in tin for 10 minutes before unmoulding. Then remove from tin and let cool on rack completely before slicing.

Ta-dah! The bread is soft and fragrant, again no evident oat taste at all. Neither of the flavorings overpower the other, just a slight scent each, so it was great overall. My girls were absolutely amused when I showed them the bear face in the bread.
Better yet, they like eating it, which little did they know the wholesome oats I added in which makes this a fun, tasty and healthful loaf. Tripe score!!!

Okay, this is computer edited version, please don't be mistaken the bread has taken a life of it's own, haha! Well, at least this is the version I hope I come close to making the bread to look like. ;) It was really fun making this loaf, so do try it out yourself. Hopefully in the future I can come up with more interesting bread on my own and post for everyone to try. ;)

And since the amount of dough I used was more then enough to fill the bread tin, I kind of portion out like 1/6 of the left over dough to make a large oval yam bun.

The combination was delicious. Wish I have more yam left over to make more of these buns. Okay...left over yam? Well, I made yam filled mooncakes last weekend right before I left for my holiday. The left over filling was frozen and was still good as a filling in the bun. This is a homemade yam filling which is good for any baking. Here is a view of the mooncakes I made:
In case any of you out there wonder why I did not blog about the mooncakes I made this year...well I did not have time!! I was crazy busy making over 60 of these be given away to friends and family. Which I guess by now has already been devoured or digested...I hope! Sorry, forgotten to take a picture of the inside of the mooncake this time...just use your imagination! BTW, those with red dots are with salted egg yolk. :) This is not the first time I made these Spiral Skin mooncake...which happen to be my favorite kind. However this time round I used pork lard for the dough which turned the skin into this super crisp and fragrant texture..yummy! Luckily the comments I got so far from my friends and family were good ones, so I was really glad I made the effort to make them for everyone to enjoy. BTW, it still not late to wish everyone out there an awesome Mid-autumn festival this year! Go easy on the mooncakes...cheers! ;)

Missed out posts

Have been so busy that I totally did not find any time to blog about all the food that I've made for the past week. That does not include all those great restaurants I went dinning with my family when I was back in Singapore! *Yaaaa!!* Nowadays when I am free, I would rather cook/bake later. Kind of frustrating when the things keep piling up but I guess I'll just have to live with it and start posting!! So now I am just going to have a quick run through of some of the "selective" bakes and dishes that I made just for reference sake in the future. :) First up is Pandan Kaya Butter Cake from Yochana's blog. One look at the picture and I was sold! I knew I had to try baking this cake since I like pandan flavor, I like butter and of course kaya. ;) Furthermore I had a little of the homemade kaya left over which I made earlier, so it was perfect! ;)
The cake was great, buttery and flavorful, not too sweet. Definitely a nice treat during tea time. :) It almost like eating a cross between a butter cake and pandan chiffon cake. :) Such a nice fusion...this recipe defintely can be used in other chiffon flavors. Err...will try it when I find time. ;)Next is "三杯鸡", A.K.A. Three cup chicken. This recipe is extracted from Rasa Malaysia, which I ever so frequently visit to get ideas for dinner dishes. When I first saw this dish on Rasa Malaysia, I was literally salivating! I so miss this dish which I used to had back in California. Some how Thai Basil is not so easily avaible in markets here, so it took me awhile to finally found it and cook this delicious dish. ;)
This is such an excellent dish to go with steam rice. But bare in mind to find fresh basil for this dish, it makes a lot of difference. I was lucky to buy a bunch that was really fresh and I kept in the frigde that lasted 1 week! ;) It allowed me to cook this dish twice in that week....yeah, twice...that's how much I like this "三杯鸡", heehee. :) Do try it out if you found fresh won't regret it. ;)

Last up is Peanut Butter Chococlate Chip Cookies. Empty cookie jar needs to be filled, so I asked my girls what kind of cookies they want. My little cookie "monsters" suggested peanut butter flavored cookies, which was great since I love peanut butter too! ;) Found this great recipe in Smitten Kitchen which she claim it is THE best Peanut Butter cookies..period. Since I am also a fan of her website, I trust her taste, heehee. Indeed the cookies were fabulous! When the cookies were baking away in the oven, it smell like peanut heaven in my kitchen! Being a peanut butter lover, this is a great treat for my craving. Since I used no sugar added Organic peanut butter, this cookie was not as "sinful" as it looks. ;D And surprisingly, this cookie is not overly weet but just right. ;)
The cookies were rolled in a thin layer of sugar coating before baking them. So when you bite into one, there is a slight sugar "crunch" on the outside and chewy on the inside. It's too bad I only have chocolate chips and not peanut butter chips else it will taste even better I bet! ;)

Okay, I am just going to keep this post short and sweet. Ain't gonna blurt on, so thanks for reading and visiting my blog friends. Happy cooking! ;)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tiramisu Cake wannabe?

Okay, why that title? It's either I made a tiramisu cake or I don't. It a long story, so bare with me a little. :) Last Saturday me and my girlfriends went out for a pre-celebration for 2 of my friends' coming birthday. It was a nice dinner at Alexis Bristol at Bangsar follow by a couple of drinks at Finnegan's Irish Pub. It was a wonderful night, something I will remember for a long time. :) While dinning at Alexis, my friends were all raving about their wonderful tiramisu and it's a MUST try desert. So I was really looking forward to trying it. Indeed it was a tasty cake, deep coffee flavors, soft chiffon cake soaked in coffee liquor and crunchy caramelized almonds on the sides, not your usual tiramisu I would say. :) After "carefully" tasting the cake, I decided (in my mind) that I should try making something similar just for my friend's actual birth date, since she really enjoyed the cake in Alexis.
This cake is totally inspired by what I tasted in Alexis, but it is purely my own creation on how it is made. Interested bakers can check out my recipe:

Ingredients for Coffee Sponge Cake:
6 egg yolks
90g caster sugar
55g maple syrup
8g coffee granulates / powder
30ml fresh milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
120g cake flour
10g corn flour
6g cream of tartar

100ml non-dairy whipping cream, whipped
15g confectioner's sugar
3 tbsp sour cream
80g dark chocolate shavings
50g cream cheese, room temperature

Icing & decorations:
200ml non-dairy whipping cream, whipped

250g raw almonds, roasted and cooled and roughly chopped
200g caster sugar
1/4 cup water
Dark chocolate, melted & place in piping bag
Fresh strawberries

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the egg yolks and 30g of the caster sugar. Beat mixture till light in color.
  • Melt the coffee powder in to the milk and stir into the egg mixture till well combined.
  • Add maple syrup and cooled melted butter into the egg mixture and stir well.
  • Sift cake flour and corn flour into the egg mixture and stir till everything comes together.
  • In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining caster sugar and cream of tartar. Beat till stiff peaks.
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line with parchment paper an 9 inch round cake pan.
  • Gently fold in the egg white mixture in 3 separate portions into the flour mixture till everything is combined.
  • Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and bake in the oven for 35 to 40 mins.
  • Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing it and cool completely on the rack.
  • Cut the cake into 2 discs and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, make the filling. Beat the cream cheese & sour cream with sugar till creamy. Add the chocolate shavings and mix well. Finally add the whipped cream and stir till everything is well combined.
  • To make the caramelized almonds, place the sugar and water in a small pot and start to boil the mixture. Once it almost changes to yellowish color, add the almonds and stir well. Remove from heat and pour on to a parchment lined tray. Spread the mixture evenly and not in clumps. Let cool completely. Then break up the pieces and set aside.
  • Spread the filling evenly on top of one of the cake disc. Place the other cake disc over it.
  • Spread the whipped cream all over the cake evenly. Plant the caramelized almonds all around the sides of the cake. Decorate at will.

I apologize for the quality of the pictures (so dark!). Was kind of in a rush to finish it so that I can give the cake to my friend, so did not take the time to take the pictures nicely. :-P But luckily the taste of the cake turned out good. I just wish I had more time to decorate it nicely. I merely just pop 2 fresh strawberries on top and piped the wordings over. :-P Wonder how long I take to make this cake? 4hrs++. :) But I guess time does not really matter since I do enjoy baking so much, haha!

As you can see the coffee and the maple syrup kind of turned the cake into a nice brownish tone. ;) The maple syrup essentuates the taste of the coffee, nice! The sponge cake did not really rise as nicely as I hoped for, some how I always have problem with this. :-P But overall it was really acceptably soft and with the crunchy almonds, it was pretty good. Everyone enjoyed the cake, including the little ones...I was a little worried at first that the coffee flavor might turn them off! :P The filling in the middle was a pleasant surprise, tasted like cookies and cream cheese ice cream, haha!

Although I have only known Reese for less then a year, we share a common strong interest, which is baking and cooking. She has this jovial and non-pretentious personality which can brighten you up. She's also generous to the people around her, especially on the food, haha! I was glad to bake this cake for her, and even more so when seeing the joy in her when she saw it. Happy Birthday Reese!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Butter Roll Crisp Bread & New Style Calzones

Do you find yourself running out of time? I do. There's so much on your plate, things that have K.I.V. for awhile now, but you just did not bring yourself to do it? That's me sometimes. It's frustrating, with the ongoing daily routine, it's really easy to get those things slipped out of your mind. *sigh* Take this post for example, it was meant to be posted out last Sunday, but I only got time to seat down to write out till today. :-P Nevertheless, I always tell myself it's better to keep oneself busy rather then wondering what to do next. Expected, this will be a busy week for me as I need to make mooncakes, not just for the family but friends as well. I already have all the ingredients but putting them on hold till the last few days because I want them to be fresh. :) Anyway, that will be in another post. Today the usual stuff, bread. It's Butter Roll Crisp Bread to be specific. Again something that I saw awhile back but waited till now to try it out.
I got this recipe from a Taiwan blog..I think. Next time I should really copy down the blog link as well! One important note to this recipe is to again use the best quality butter, it will be worth the money you paid when you taste the buttery fragrant bread. Anyway, I did change a little of the recipe, here it is:

Ingredients for Butter Roll Crisp Bread:
400g bread flour
20g quality unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
6g salt
1 egg yolk
220ml fresh milk
6g instant active yeast

60g quality salted butter, room temperature (divide into 2 portions)
30g cream cheese, room temperature

  • Knead the ingredients bread dough together till it's smooth and elastic.
  • Let proof in a covered container up to 90 minutes or more till double in size.
  • Punch out the air and roll into a ball. Let rest for 20 minutes before shaping.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into 20cm by 40cm rectangular sheet.
  • Spread one portion of the salted butter on to the dough evenly, leaving 1" at the edges.
  • Fold up the dough in a letter form and again roll out into 20cm by 40cm rectangular sheet. At this point if the dough is hard to manage, chill in fridge for 15 minutes before working with it again.
  • Spread the 2nd portion of the rectangular sheet dough and fold in letter form again. Again repeat the above, then spreading the cream cheese at last. Finally fold and roll out into 10cm by 20cm.
  • Using a rubber scraper, cut the dough into half, meaning 2 pieces of 10cm by 10cm.
  • While working on one, chill the other portion. Cut the dough into 10 strips of 1cm by 1cm. Do not worry if you don't get the measurement accurately, just make sure you can get at least 8 to 9 strips of dough out of one portion.
  • Twirl the strips, cut side facing up and coil the dough up and place in a greased baking pan of your choice. Repeat till all dough is used.
  • Let proof for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Brush the top with egg wash and bake in the oven for 20 to 24 minutes till top is golden brown.
  • Once out of the oven, you can glazed the top with warm jam else leave it to cool on rack.
Since I did not put a lot of cream cheese, there was no evident taste of it present. But the butter taste of the bread was real nice. And since I also glazed the surface with some warm apricot jam, it kind of loses it crisp top too. :-P But the shine from the glaze looks good, haha!
I experimented baking the dough in different baking moulds. It turned out the muffin cups looks really good! Like a "flower" bun blooming away, haha!
The bread was really soft, certainly a dough that can be used in any bun recipe . But eating it plain with a cup of tea is really nice too. ;) Try it out and let me know how it turns out for you. :)

Last Sunday evening, I was really in the mood for some pizza. But decided to twist the recipe and change it into a calzone! I used the usual wheat pizza dough and pasta sauce I have, and get it all "wrapped" up into 2 giant calzones. Actually, it looks more like 2 giant curry puffs to me, haha! Due to my poor sealing method, the cheese was oozing out from the sides while baking in the oven! But my husband was really happy when he saw that and commented he loves "crispy" cheese, haha!
In my version of the calzone, I added hard boiled eggs, honey baked ham and the usual pasta sauce. It was an instant hit! My family loves it! The 2 whole calzones were gone in a flash soon after it came out from the oven. ;) I used to make calzones all the time while I was in California. But kind of forgotten about it until when we went dinning at a place call Murni's in SS2. At Murni's, they serve up this "Dragon Pizza" which is actually a calzone that looks like a dragon's back. Anyway, I will definitely make calzones again in the future but perhaps with different filling and shaping method. ;) Cheers!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Linzer Cookies & Claypot Tofu Meat Balls

What have I been up to lately? Sudoku. Have you played Sudoku before? If not, you should really try it! It really gets your brain juice working! Perhaps I have already miss the "trend"? Because it was an international hit in 2005. And for a period of time, Sudoku was quite a hot topic, but now, it kinds of quiet down a little. Nevertheless, it's still pretty popular since they still offer a wide range of books in store. Yeah, you guessed it, I'm addicted to it now. When I get some free time, I'll start doing a puzzle. No, I'm not an expert at it, but somehow I like being able to complete the number puzzles...sort of a tiny accomplishment for me, haha! Furthermore, I need to get my rusty brain working these days...else all I think about is the usual daily routine. :-P Lately me and my better half would just quietly seat by the sofa and furiously working on a Sudoku puzzle, haha! And because of that...I'm really behind on my posts!! This is one of those "So much to do, so little time" thingy. Anyway, if you're interested to try out this game, click here!

You must be wondering about my post name....Linzer Cookies? I know it's no where near Christmas yet. It's not even Mooncake festival! I just happen to have the mood to make some Linzer cookies . :)
Love the buttery, melt in your mouth texture. ;) So who says we need to wait till Christmas for these delicious treats?
Ingredients (makes about 22 to 24 coookies):
350g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
90g confectioner's sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Jam, dark chocolate, nutella for the filling

  • In a bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla extract and stir till well blend.
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix well till it comes together.
  • Press the dough together to form a ball, divide into half. Flatten each dough into a disk and wrap in cling warp. Refridgerate until firm, about 40 minutes.
  • Remove one of the disk from the fridge. Lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick.
  • Use desired cookie cutters and place the cookies on parchement lined baking tray. make sure you have same number of cookie base and top. Top meaning there will be a small cut out in the center.
  • Preheat the oven to 165°C.
  • Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes, till it turns light golden brown. Transfer on rack to cool completely before filling them.
  • Leaving a 1/4" boder uncoveres, spread about 1 teaspoon of the jam or chocolate filling to the cookie base.
  • Sandwish the cookie base and top together. Dust a little confectioner's sugar on the surface if desired. Store in aritight containers up to 4 days.
I have opt not to dust any confectioner's sugar over the cookies. Reason being it makes the cookies sweeter, which is not what I want. And it will also soften the cookie when it melts...not desirable too. I guess I will only have that "snowy" look when it's meant for Christmas.:) Love the little cutouts in the middle. Well, there's princess tiara (again), flower, Micky Mouse and also star. It goes without saying which are the ones that are gone first. Even though this is a relatively difficult dough to work with (sticky), I still think it is really worth the trouble. It's light and crisp texture is really to die for. Be sure to use the best quality butter, as it will yield a much more fragrant and tasty cookie. ;)
Wanted to add another dish that I made for dinner a couple nights back into this post. It's call Tofu Meat Balls in Claypot (again!!) You all must be wondering why lately I have been putting up dinner dishes in my posts?! Reason is I have friends that has been asking me why all I cook is cakes,cookies and bread...what do I cook for dinner? I guess these dishes are really useful to those busy moms that run out of ideas to cook. So I figured why not just add on to my posts once in a while to give out some ideas to those busy moms. ;) Ingredients A:
300g minced pork/chicken
1 egg tofu
1 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked and chopped
1 tbsp cornflour

1/4 tsp salt
1/2 beaten egg

Ingredients B:
some corn flour
2 cups cooking oil for deep fry

1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tbsp shredded ginger

3 black mushrooms, soaked and sliced

200g Chinese cabbage, cut into bite size

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1/2 tbsp sugar

Dash Sesame oil & pepper

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

500ml water

  • Put ingredients A into a mixing bowl and stir until well mixed. Form into small balls.
  • Coat the balls with corn flour, then deep fry them in cooking oil until golden brown. Dish and drain.
  • In a claypot, heat up 1 tbsp cooking oil. Saute the garlic and giner until fragrant. Add mushrooms, Chinese cabbage and seasoning. Cook till the vegetables have release it's liquid and soften a little, add the meat balls.
  • Continue to simmer at lower fire for abohter 10 minutes till the sauce thickens. Serve hot with steam rice.
This is a delicious dish to go with steam rice. ;) The tofu meat balls is tender due to the added tofu and flavorful too, something the old and young will enjoy.
I love dishes that has gravy with them. I enjoy drizzling the tasty gravy over steam rice...which now has also been a habit for my girls. ;) No clay pot? No worries, use any pot you have, it will taste as great. ;) Do try out this simple and delicious dish tonight.