Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kabocha Squash Chiffon Cake (Rice Flour)


When it comes to baking, I can't procrastinate for too long, because I may never do it. Maybe it's the same when I faced other issues in life :D Been wanting to challenge chiffon cake or sponge cake again, but never gathered enough courage. Every chiffon cake baking is stressful for me - check the oven temperature, make sure all ingredients are measured correctly before I start work, separate the eggs carefully and ensure all bowls are clean and dry, etc etc. There are a lot of planning and preparations to be done. Unlike baking muffins, where little preparation is required.

I googled around for new recipes to try. Noticed that some recipes do not use milk, not sure why? In the end, I went back to the previous recipe I used, which is from Happy Flour. I replaced the thick coconut milk with low-fat fresh milk. This recipe is meant for a 20cm tube pan, but I only own a 12.5cm tube pan :p So I poured 2/3 of batter into this, and grabbed the nearest pan I could reached, which resulted in a funny looking cake, see photo at the end of this post for a laugh :D

And guess what? I used up the plain flour yesterday, which is an opportunity for me to try baking with rice flour :) Ever since I saw teacher Carol's gluten-free chiffon cupcake, I have been wanting to try it. So this cake is gluten-free, I guess? :)

Oh no, the cake did not shrink - I poured the leftover batter into my paper chiffon cake mould which was too big!

The look of this cake tickles me, it is so funny looking :D But surprisingly this tastes soft and spongy too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wholemeal Strawberries Almond Muffins



My fruits baking frenzy continues... This time I tried the Strawberries Almond Muffins recipe from Table for 2..... or more. The only change I made was replacing the plain flour with some wholemeal and corn flour. I don't fancy heavy and dense cakes either, so this recipe really attracts my attention.

Here are the ingredients I used based on what I had, please refer to Table for 2..... or more for the original recipe and method.

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:
- 100g organic wholemeal flour*
- 80g plain flour (which was all I had left)*
- 20g corn flour*
- 120g unrefined dry demerara sugar
- 2/3 tsp double-acting baking powder
- 1/3 tsp baking soda

* original recipe uses 200g plain flour

Wet ingredients:
- 60g butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp of vanilla paste
- 140g buttermilk substitute: place 1 tbsp vinegar in a glass and fill fresh milk up to 140g

The strawberries seem to be a bit sour as I bite into the muffins. Perhaps a little more sugar will be better. Next time, I will probably put the crumble toppings on these muffins too, as the kids love the toppings on the blueberries muffins.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blueberries Wholemeal Oats Crumble Muffins





As I was searching for healthier recipes to bake for my family, I started to read up on food and nutrition again. There are so many conflicting reports about what is good or bad for our bodies. This article gives a brief but good info on more healthful baking with white flour alternatives. Inspired by that, I decided to try baking with 50/50 wholemeal (or whole wheat) flour and plain flour.

Found this recipe, thanks to Felicia for sharing this healthful muffin recipe :) The original recipe she adapted was a blueberries muffin recipe, and since blueberries is in season now, I baked with blueberries and the result was very satisfactory :)

The crumble toppings recipe is from Happy Home Baking. Thanks to HHB for sharing this recipe. I was reading the two recipes concurrently, and finally decided to combine the two :)

Here's the list of ingredients I used, based on what I had.

Ingredients
Makes 9, 5cm diameter muffin cups
Updated on 22 Sept 14: tested successfully with the modified measurement in pink.

For the muffin (adapted from here):
90g plain flour
90g Origins organic wholemeal flour (130g wholemeal & 50g plain flour)
28g rolled oats
113g dry demerara sugar (100g)
1/2tsp salt
1-1/3tsp double-acting baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil (50g)
1/2 cup low-fat fresh milk (110g)
1 medium egg (about 50g without shell)
About 100g fresh blueberries

Please refer to method here. It is basically whisking the dry ingredients in one mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients in another mixing bowl, then pour the wet into the dry and fold with a spatula. Add the blueberries last. The batter should look lumpy and gooey.

I had been using a digital scale and got a bit lost using the cup to measure the ingredients. Therefore, the metric measurements you see here may not match Felicia's recipe. I only have one measuring cup, so I tried to memorize the metric measurements as I measure each ingredient with my cup :p 

For the crumble toppings (adapted from HHB's recipe):
20g plain flour
20g Origins organic wholemeal flour
25g dry demerara sugar
25g cold unsalted butter

Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl (butter last), and use your finger tips or a fork to rub-in the butter into the flour and sugar.

For the crumble toppings measurements, there was some hiccups too, as I thought I had a packet of grounded almond at home but I just couldn't find it! So, I had to use my impromptu judgment (better description is 手忙脚乱加误打误撞). Fortunately, the muffins turned up just the way I had imagined - crunchy on the outside and soft inside. I wouldn't be able to tell that wholemeal flour was used in this if I wasn't the one who baked it :D I think the addition of almond will give an even nicer crunch.

To assemble, fill the batter up to 2/3 full and sprinkle the crumble toppings on top.

Bake at 200 degC for 20 mins, it is done when a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

My kid does not like blueberries and even requested me to remove them. But I managed to convince her to try, which she did. I really hope that she will eat more fruits :p

My search for wholemeal flour recipes continues, as I have a whole 1kg packet to finish up :p

But certainly glad that at least I manage to introduce whole grains into our diets :)

Happy healthful baking!

* Word of caution: increase your intake of high-fiber food (like whole grains) gradually, as a sudden increase may cause bloating. Source: Webmd.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dim Sum Style




These egg tarts are really yummy. They are so good that I had to bake them two days in a row. Yesterday, I ate one and gave the rest to my mom and sis. But I can't stop thinking about how flaky the tart shell was, and how smooth the egg custard was, so I baked them again today. I devoured two egg tarts while they are still warm. These are the legendary Heimama Egg Tarts 黑妈妈祖传蛋挞. I am not sure why is it called Heimama, but I have seen this on many blogs. I first saw it on Happy Home Baking. A big thank you to the bloggers who share this recipe, as well as the original "creator" of this recipe.

You know those egg tarts commonly found at Cantonese Dim Sum restaurants? These egg tarts are pretty close to those. The crust is flaky and fragile, so handle with care when you flip them over while un-moulding them.

When I first saw this recipe on HHB, I really didn't pay attention to it. In my head I was thinking, it must be very tough to make these. I was reminded of the process of making fruit tart and I thought this would be as troublesome as that. Then, as I read through HHB's post some weeks/months later, I was inspired to bake these. And it was simpler than I had thought, and the results are surprisingly good. The toughest part for me was probably pressing the dough into the cups. I definitely don't have HHB's 巧手, so it is 好吃就好 :D I did not grease the tart moulds as advised, and I used my knuckles to knock the back of the mould to release the tart. On the other hand, those baked with the silicone cups came off very easily.


Here's the list of ingredients I used, for your easy reference. Please go to HHB's blog for the original recipe and detailed steps. As usual, her detailed steps make it very easy for me to follow :) Thanks HHB! :)

Ingredients
For some reason, I only managed to make 9 tarts :D

For the crust
- 150g plain flour
- 1 tbsp skimmed milk powder (available in Phoon Huat)
- 1 tbsp corn flour (original recipe uses custard powder, please read up on HHB's blog)
- 100g cold butter
- 1/2 tbsp dry demerara sugar
- 25 to 30g beaten egg
- few drops of vanilla paste

For the egg custard
- 140g water
- 55g dry demerara sugar
- 90 to 100g beaten egg
- 40g low-fat evaporated milk
- few drops of vanilla paste



I noticed the colour of the custard darkens the longer the tart is out of the oven. I am not sure why.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chocolate Snowskin Mooncake 2014


It is important to write down steps on how a dish is prepared, so that you can refer to it the next time you make the same dish. Now, repeat that 100 times (talking to myself). I do not have the habit of writing down the steps I took to prepare a dish successfully. I blame it on my laziness but my friend told me she wrote down because she is lazy (?) - different definition of laziness? :D

Too much time and food wasted if recipes and methods are not recorded down properly. In fact, part of the reason I started my own blog is to force myself to write down the recipes and steps, so that I may refer to them when I want to make them again. However, I also respect all the original bloggers who selflessly share their recipes online, and do not think I should copy their recipes and methods and paste on my blog, although I always make sure to make reference back to them. But, there's nothing like your own notes right? What you did correctly, or what you did wrong that you would want to remind yourself the next time.

I almost forgot why I brought this up :D As I began making mooncakes few weeks ago, I referred to my previous post on Chocolate Snowskin Mooncake. Sure, the ingredients were listed there, but I did not write down the method. Being myself (impulsive, impatient), I dashed straight into the kitchen and started making. It was a failure! Why? I have made it successfully last year. Well sorry, I forgot the crucial step of mixing the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients quickly, and in one direction. The result was a lumpy mess. So I went back to read up online to refresh my memory on how to make snowskin mooncakes especially when I am using oil and not shortening.

Lesson learned. So here is the recipe :p

Chocolate Snowskin Mooncakes
Makes 4, 50g mould mooncakes

Ingredients:

- 38g kou fen (available in Phoon Huat)
- 40g icing sugar
- 4g canola oil
- 60g drinking water
- 25g Cadbury Gold 70% Cocoa Chocolate Bar, melted

- store-bought lotus seeds paste
- some semisweet chocolate chips

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, mix kou fen and icing sugar together with a spatula or whisk.
2. Mix melted chocolate, oil and water together in a cup/bowl.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients. Stir and mix the ingredients together in one direction, do this quickly to ensure a uniform and smooth skin.
4. Once the mixture comes together to form a dough, knead with your hand until dough becomes smooth and does not stick to the mixing bowl.
5. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Make them into a ball. It is best to put on a pair of disposable, clean, food-grade gloves, or you can use a clean, food-grade plastic bag. Else, the dough will stick onto your hand.
6. Make the lotus seeds paste into 35g ball each, roll some chocolate chips over each ball.
7. Flatten the dough using your palm, put the lotus seeds paste ball in the center and wrap it up. Close all ends. Roll into a ball.
8. Roll the ball on some kou fen, dust the mooncake plunger mould with some kou fen too. Make sure that the mould is dry. Shake excess kou fen off. Put the ball into the plunger mould and press it out. Keep in the fridge until ready to consume.

Strongly encourage you to refer to Siu Kitchen's video to learn how to wrap mooncake, as well as how to use the plunger. The video is very useful.

The photo below is my attempt to make Earl Grey Tea Snowskin Mooncake. But the flavour of the Earl Grey Tea is extremely mild. I used the same recipe as the snowskin mooncake made last year, just replaced the water with Earl Grey Tea. I tried 60g Twinnings Earl Grey Tea but there was no hint of it :p


Happy mooncake making! :)