Thursday, October 29, 2015

Spooky Speculoos Cream Cheese Tarts, Happy Halloween!

Halloween is just around the corner! Such an exciting day for the kids since it is usually filled with sweets and treats! Not to mention they get to be some one else, ha! 

Usually on this day itself, I would bake up or simply whip up something fun and spooky for the kids to enjoy. Frankly speaking the feel is Singapore is really low, mostly are commercialised events. Luckily for me this year I will be away from home and experiencing trick or treating in California! Do stay tune to my Snapchat Honeybeesweets and Instagram for more live updates teehee  :D So when you are reading this post...I will already be in California, weee! 

Okay, let's not get too excited. Back to spooky cheese tart shall we? So this idea came because I wanted to create a new recipe using the Speculoos butter that has been in my cupboard in the past months. I know I know...seems almost like a sin to waste it away! So here I am, creating some delicious cream cheese tarts....with loads of Speculoos goodness into it and a touch of spookiness. :9
Okay, I admit this ain't as scary. But I can guarantee you that these cheese tarts taste darn good! Or should I say spookily good? I had 3 little tasters whom all gave me thumbs up after chomping down a tart each, yay! Since we want to impress our guests with speculiciously good treats on this Spooky Halloween day or any day, let's get on with the baking!

Ingredients for Spooky Speculoos Cream Cheese Tarts (makes 14)
125 g Speculoos finely blended cookie crumbs
170 g all plain flour
60 g sifted powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
150 g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla paste


  • Blend Speculoos cookies till fine. 

  • Then add the Speculoos cookie crumbs to the flour and powdered sugar into mixing bowl. Mix well with a whisk. 
  • Rub butter into flour mixture until resembles coarse crumbs using only your finger tips.
  • Add in egg yolk and vanilla paste.

  • Preheat the oven to 170C and grease that tart mounds with softened butter. Then weigh out the dough portions of about 40 g each. 
  • Place dough onto tart moulds and press the dough to shape into the tart. Then poked the base with a toothpick to release the hot air trapped underneath that tart pastry. 
  • Bake at 170C for 12-14 minutes or until light golden brown.

  • Remove the tart base from the oven and let cool before filling them later.
Cream Cheese Fillings
350 g cream cheese at room temperature
20 g unsalted butter, room temperature
60 g powdered sugar
large egg

100 g speculoos butter

  • Preheat the oven to 170 C.
  • In a mixing bowl, add in the cream cheese, butter, egg and sugar in. Beat the mixture till smooth and creamy.

  • Scoop the cream cheese mixture into the Speculoos tartlets' cavities.

  • Smooth out the cheese filling. The spoon the 100 g of the Speculoos butter into piping bag with the tip snipped off. Pipe spider webs over the top of the cream cheese fillings. (if you are making these after Halloween, you can just do swirls....unless you like spider webs haha)

  • Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes till the cream cheese filling just set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before placing them in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. 
  • Once the tarts has cooled, prepare some black sesame paste and place in a piping bag. Bare in mind this step is not necessary if you are not going to make Halloween spooky tarts.  

  • Pipe little spiders on the webs. Basically 2 rounds, one head and one body, then 4 skinny legs on each side of the body.

Okay, I have a confession to make. I did not wait for the tarts to be chilled in the fridge before piping those little spiders on them. So you might find the spiders all smudge....Oh man! But some still look okay...much like a bug or something haha. :P I was in such a rush making these that I didn't even have time to unmould them before the photoshoot...haiz. :P

Okay I have to say these tarts are quite delicious...did I say that earlier? Because they are! I urge you to try them out when you get the chance. I couldn't say enough praise about them. The crust was speculoos-cookie-like-yumminess but more buttery, oh my. :9 The cream cheese filling was perfectly not too sweet (I only used 60 g!), creamy and paired wonderfully with the speculoos butter on top which kind of toasted and crusty after the bake, like a speculoos chocolate like texture.
Okay...this shot should pretty much sums it up. Tempting huh? I actually like the crust so much that I had purposely made a thicker crust for these teehee. Good choice isn't it.
Okay, another shot just in case. :P And oh yes, I will try to load the video I complied for this recipe. Will post it on my Facebook page at HoneyBeeSweets Kitchen. Stay tune yo!

Try it, eat it and tell me ya? Looking forward already!
Have fun baking and eating it too!
Okay...I am off Trick or Treating now, have a spooky fun and delicious Halloween guys!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wholewheat Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Cornflake

The first time I ever came across a zucchini cake was when I was still living in California. When my Caucasian neighbour had happily offered me her home baked zucchini loaf. Boy it was moist and delicious! I didn't think twice about it since my neighbour was a fabulous baker and can make anything taste great. And it seems that baking with this vegetable is pretty norm there, much like carrot cake. Somehow I never thought about baking it myself because the thought of a vegetable in a cake? Not happening. Well, at least that was how I felt back then.

Recent years, I have been using Zucchini more often in my savoury dishes. It is such a versatile vegetable! It is good for roasting, sautéing and even grilling. At the back of my mind I always remember that moist zucchini cake my neighbour gave me. Plus I knew I am long overdue for a healthy bake. Procrastinated no more, I finally baked my very own Wholewheat Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Cornflake. And so so glad I did!

When I was formulating this recipe, I needed my ingredients to be on the healthier side.   Besides incorporating wholewheat flour, less sugar, replacing butter with organic coconut oil, I also opted for MARIGOLD HL Chocolate Milk in place of the other brands available in the market. Why chocolate milk? Why not non-fat or low fat plain milk you say? Well, since I didn't want to compromise on the chocolaty flavour, using plain white milk just doesn't cut it.

This delicious milk is not only rich in Calcium, protein, and fortified with 9 Vitamins (Vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D3, E and K, Niacin and Panthonenic Acid) to supplement your daily requirement, it also contains a unique BonePlus formulation with vitamins K and D that aids in calcium absorption and improves bone strength. Enough said, I'm sold! 
So without further ado, let us look at the ingredients and the step by step instructions for this delicious and healthy bake:

Ingredients for Wholewheat Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Main Cake Batter
300 g zucchini, stemmed 
130 g cake flour
50 g wholewheat flour
25 g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
100 g 75% cocoa chocolate bar, chopped (optional)
60 ml organic cold pressed coconut oil
130 ml MARIGOLD HL Chocolate Milk + 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 large egg (~ 50-55g without shell)
25 g caster sugar
80 g light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 

Cornflake toppings (optional)
50 g plain cornflakes
40 g unsalted butter at room temp
40 g light brown sugar

Method for Crunchy Cornflake Toppings: 
  • Weigh out and combine everything together in a mixing bowl. 
  • Using your finger tips, crush the cornflakes a little when doing so. Mixture should look like the picture below. Place in fridge to chill, until ready for use later.

Method for Chocolate Zucchini Cake: 

1) Make your very own low fat chocolate buttermilk (curdled milk) using MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Chocolate Milk. Add the lemon juice to the weighed out chocolate milk and let stand for 20 minutes at room temperature. You will notice it starts to curdle after a while.

2) Preheat the oven to 170C and grease your loaf tin and line with parchment paper.

3) Shred the zucchini. Mine are rather finely shredded, but you can use a coarser grate of your preference.

4) Scatter the shredded vegetable over a kitchen towel or two sheets of kitchen paper towels. Cover and lightly pat it down, leave it for 15 minutes. You do not want to extract out too much of its liquid as it will still contribute to the moisture of the cake. 

5) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cake flour, wholewheat flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the chopped chocolate chunks. Mix well to combine.

6) In another mixing bowl, combine coconut oil, curdled chocolate milk and the egg. Then add in  both sugars and vanilla extract. Whisk well to make sure it is uniformly incorporated.

7) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir to combine but try not to over mix the batter. Lastly add in the shredded zucchini. Toss to combine. 

8) Once the batter is well combined. Pour it into prepared greased and parchment lined pans.
Note: I used these nonstick mini loaf pans to bake. So I only lined the base with parchment paper and grease the paper again.

9) Now bake it in the preheated oven of 170C for 8 minutes. Once the oven beeps, carefully remove the cake pans out from the oven. You will notice that the cake is very slightly set on top. Now you sprinkle the crunchy cornflake topping over the top. 
Note : If you opt not to put the cornflakes topping, you can just go ahead and bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes straight without removing it from the oven. 

10) Carefully bring the cake back inside the oven again and bake for another 25-28 minutes or till the tester comes out clean or with fine moist crumbs. This step is essential as it will prevent the cornflake toppings from sinking into the cake batter.
Note: Mine is a smaller loaf tin size, so it took about 25-28 mins to bake. If you are using one standard 9x5x5 size loaf tin, bake for 35-38 minutes or when the tester comes out clean or with fine moist crumbs. For muffin size, bake them for 13-15 minutes.

11) Once baked, remove from oven and let cool on the rack for 15 minutes. Then remove from pan and cool completely before slicing. 

Okay, that crunchy cornflake topping is totally optional. Omitting it will actually yield a healthier bake as no butter and lesser sugar will be introduced to the cake. So by all means, if you intend to make a healthier version, forget the cornflake toppings. But, I do love that sweet crunchy topping, much like honey coated cornflakes cereal, a perfect contrast to the soft cake. My whole family loves it! 

But if you do not intend to consume the cake on the same day, I suggest not having the cornflake topping. It will soften a little the following day. 

The cake was so rich is chocolate flavour, and I must say it not only comes from the cocoa powder and chocolate chunks, but also from the MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Chocolate milk I added in. Even when I drink the milk itself, the rich chocolaty flavour is very satisfying. Who would have thought something so rich is low fat and packed full of vitamins! 

I have to say the cake was indeed a success. How so? When I gave them to my kids, they did not even suspect that there was vegetable in it...and to think that I added about 300 g of it in! No scent or taste of that zucchini. And I am really happy with the moist texture, the right amount of sweetness and perfect flavour.

I reckon if I were to remake this recipe using just plain flour and MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Milk the next time, I still won't taste the vegetables. But it will definitely be moist and delicious.

If that doesn't look moist and rich to you...I don't know what does. It is definitely not dense, but a nice cake bite to it which I find it really satisfying. Plus that crunchy cornflakes on top just gives it that perfect contrast in texture. 
Hope you all will give this recipe a try. A healthier bake with "hidden" vegetables which your family especially the kids will love, perfect! Be sure to use MARIGOLD HL Low Fat Chocolate Milk for the best results in this recipe. 

Definitely no regrets on my end, and I can finally say I baked my very own zucchini cake after so many years. Yay!

Happy Baking Folks!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nutella Light Cream Cheese

Who doesn't love a good cheese cake? I do! But if I have a choice, I would always go for a light cheese cake rather then the traditional dense NY style cheesecake. Never seem to be able to finish a slice of those. But for light cheese cake, that would be a totally different story. Light, fluffy texture that won't weigh you down or making you feel guilty have a big slice. ;)

Incorporating the egg separation and meringue method, light cheese cake is much like a chiffon cake with extra creaminess and moisture. With the use of steam baking, it kept the cake moist and creamy as well. Though it can be a little more hassle to set up the steam bath, this technique has proven to yield a much nicer texture for cheesecakes. 

This time I have decided to incorporate the household favourite spread in this cheese cake recipe. Nutella! Hazel-nutty, chocolaty goodness to top off the already delicious cheesecake, I say why not?
I am sure many of us has already eaten or even baked a plain or vanilla cheesecake before. But not many of us has ventured to try out different flavours. Yes indeed this Nutella flavour ain't your usual but after trying it, I personally feel it is a keeper since Nutella is such a well loved flavoured. My kids enjoyed this very much. I am definitely okay to serve this to them because it is steam baked, it kind of takes off the edge about serving them heaty bakes during this exam period. ;)

One note about baking this cake is to allow ample time for the cake to chill in the fridge before serving it. Preferably overnight as it will taste much better and the creamy texture will come through.

Ingredients for Nutella Light Cheese Cake (makes an 8" x 2.5" round cake)
175 g cream cheese, room temperature (preferably Philadelphia brand ) 
75g Nutella
5 egg yolks
60g castor sugar
50g butter
150 g full cream milk
60 g cake flour
20g cornflour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Vanilla extract
5 egg whites
60g castor sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 155C. Prepare a tray with water for steam baking the cake. Grease and line the base of a 8" by 3" round cake pan with parchment.
  • In a sauce pan, add in the Nutella, cream cheese, caster sugar, butter and milk. Heat the saucepan over low medium fire. Stirring it constantly all the ingredients melt and combines well together into a silky smooth mixture.

  • Remove the saucepan away from the fire. Let it cool before use. 
  • Add in the egg yolks and whisk in well to combine.

  • Now sift the cake and cornflour into the cooled egg yolk batter. Whisk well making sure there is no lumps.
  • In the meantime, beat your egg whites in a large mixing bowl. When the egg white is foamy, gradually add in the caster sugar. Continue to beat till the whites reaches stiff peaks.
  • In 3 separate portions, fold in the egg white batter into the egg yolk batter till everything is well combined.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Use a tooth pick to do a quick run through the batter to remove any air pockets trapped inside.

  • Wrap the base of the cake pan with thick aluminium foil to prevent any water leakage if your cake pan is those removable base pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 58-60 minutes or till the cake tester comes out clean.

  • Remove the pan from the oven and let cool on the rack. Once cooled, gently remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely.
  • Then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight before slicing or serving it. 
My cake came out a little too toasty on the top. So do take note, if you find your cake browning too fast, remember to cover it with aluminium foil. But do not touch the top of the cake. 

Luckily the cake was baked evenly and it sliced out nicely. :) Wheee! 
The cake was light, moist and perfect sweetness the way I like it. But feel free to reduce the sugar a little more if you are on a low sugar diet. However, less sugar can also affect the texture, so try to keep it to a minimal reduction.

And how to make it even more awesome then it already is? How about some gooey warm Nutella right over the top?

Recipe is versatile enough to substitute the Nutella with creamy PB or sweetened Black Sesame paste or even fruit compote. The sugar level will have to be adjusted as per needed depending of the ingredient you use. 
If you do try this recipe out, let me know how it worked out for you! 

And all the very best to the students that are still sitting for examinations these few days. 加油!Maybe a big slice of this Nutella light cheesecake can be the "fuel" to motivate you on haha!

Do what you love and enjoy every moment of it!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

One Pot Chicken Casserole

The haze coming from Indonesia has gotten bad to worst. Most of the families are trying not to be outdoors and that would means more home cooking. :P So I can totally understand when someone (like me) having to think what to cook 3 meals for a few days in a  row at home, it can get a little draining. A simple one pot dish is definitely a good idea. Less mess and less washing for sure! Plus I have been meaning to put up this Chicken casserole / Chicken stew recipe for the longest time. An easy dish that I always go back to every now and then. You can twig parts of the recipe by substituting some of the ingredients, but the "base" ingredients and technique are pretty much the same. 
Toast up some good baguette and you can mop up that delicious gravy from the dish. And this time I used Le Creuset's 26 cm Cool Mint Buffet casserole pot to cook this dish. Yes, all the cooking done in this casserole pot itself, brilliant isn't it!

Personally I love this buffet casserole pot. 26 cm diameter pot seems like the perfect size for my 4 pax family needs. It is approximately 3 inches tall, not your usual cast-iron pot height, but still deep enough for frying too. Easier to store and the wide flat cooking surface is good for cooking dishes like risotto or even pan searing two steaks at one go. Hopefully I can get to work on these recipes as well soon! 

In the meantime....Chicken casserole! Let's have a run down what are the required ingredients for this dish. ;)

Ingredients for One Pot Chicken Casserole  (serves 3-4 adults)

2 whole chicken legs
2 whole chicken wings
3-4 smoked sausages or any sausage link of your preference
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup thawed frozen green peas
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into bite size
2-3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 stalks celery sticks, cut into bite size
8-10 cremini mushrooms, cut into 4 sections 

Thickening rue : (not shown in pic)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp plain flour
400 ml homemade / store bought chicken stock (not shown)

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

  • After you have rinsed the chicken pieces, drain them dry and season well with salt and pepper.

  • Add about 1 cup of cooking oil in the buffet casserole over medium low fire. Prepare some plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder to coat the chicken pieces for frying. Mix the flour well then coat the chicken pieces and dust off extra. Gently drop them in the preheated cooking oil to fry.

  • Repeat till all the chicken pieces are coated and placed into the cooking oil to fry. Fry at medium low temperature and making sure you do not burnt them.

  • Remember to turn the chicken pieces and fry on both sides. Each sides takes about 6-8 minutes to fry up till golden brown. No worries if some of the blood oozes out, usually happens when you uses frozen chicken pieces. Remove the chicken pieces and drain over paper towels for use later. Personally I feel this frying of the chicken pieces is quite an important step, so do not skip it. It helps seal the juices and flavours of the chicken.

  • Drain away the frying oil. It is okay that bits of the meat is "stuck" at the base of the casserole. Once you add in your next ingredient (onions), it will slowly render off. Those bits are gonna help flavour your dish, so please DO NOT scrap them away. Add in the chopped onion and 1 tsp of olive oil over medium low fire and stir to cook.

  • Cook till the onions starts to soften. Give the base a slight scrap to release the bits of meat. Next add in the sausages or bacon, whichever you fancy. These salty flavourful meats will boost that extra depth in flavour in the chicken casserole. 

  • Cook the sausages for a couple minutes. Add in the chopped vegetables ; potato, celery and carrots. Cook for 5-6 minutes till the vegetables are half cooked, stirring constantly.

  • Add salt and fresh ground pepper to the vegetables. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add in the cremini mushrooms and sweet peas in. Cover the casserole and leave it to cook for 2 minutes. The mushroom will cook down on its own. 
  • After 2-3 minutes, open the cover and give it a quick stir. Now you can start making the rue which will thicken the whole dish. Place the cold butter right in the center of the hot casserole and let it melt down.

  • Once the butter is melted, add in the 3 tbsp of plain flour and cook over that "Pool" of melted  butter. Stir to cook the flour and butter mixture. Make sure the fire level is at low, and do not burnt your ingredients. 
  • The flour butter mixture will start ti bubble a little. At this point, stir in the chicken stock. Slowly drizzle in and stir as you pour to mix well.

  • Bring the whole casserole to a gently boil. At this point, you can season a little more. Salt, sugar, pepper, then stir well. Lastly, add in the fried chicken pieces.

  • Cover the pot and let it simmer for a good 13-15 minutes at low fire. Till all the ingredients "marinate" each other's flavour and taste. Off the fire and let sit covered for a good 30 minutes. Yes marinate further with the heat retained by the casserole pot itself. 

Well if this doesn't spell comfort, I don't know what does. Thick flavourful gravy coating the tender soft chicken. And those soft vegetables are just irresistible too! Whether you prefer to have this chicken casserole with steam rice or toasted bread or just plain alone on it's own, I can guarantee you will enjoy every bite of it.

The buffet casserole did make this dish an ease to prepare. Everything done with in it, no fuss no hassle, easy peasy. And that cast iron pot did retained the heat super well. Reason  said that is after I cooked it for 1.5hrs, it was still warm and nice.

Hope you guys love this simple chicken casserole one pot meal. If you decided to try this out, do drop me a comment as well, either here or at IG, appreciate it. Happy cooking!

Do what you love!