Monday, July 28, 2014

Chocolate Chips Muffins

This is another straight forward and simple recipe I tried the other day. This can be prepared with minimal fuss.

Found this recipe on Cookpad. I am not sure if it is similar to Starbucks muffins like the recipe owner mentioned, but the muffin is certainly soft and buttery.

I often find that muffins are so easy to put together that there is really no reason to buy from shops :p of course unless you are really not into baking.

- 210g cake flour
- 90g unsalted butter
- 60g sugar (I used dry demerara sugar)
- 2 eggs
- 160g fresh milk
- chocolate chips, as much as you want :p (original recipe uses Dars chocolate)
- 2 tsp of double acting baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (original recipe uses 3 drops of vanilla extract)

I modified the method slightly as I do not own a microwave oven.

1. Melt butter (This is what I did: Place butter in a small bowl, then, add some hot water in a bigger bowl.  place the small bowl into the bigger bowl). 
2. In another bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until foamy.
3. Add sugar and beat for about 3 mins.
4. Pour melted butter into eggs and sugar mixture. Mix well.
5. Add milk and stir.
6. Add vanilla paste and stir.
7. Sift cake flour and baking powder into mixture.
8. Using a spatula, fold the flour in using a cutting motion until there is  no trace of flour. As of all muffin recipes, do not overmix.
9. Fill muffin cups, add chocolate chips when half-filled, and more when it is 70% full.
10. Bake in preheated oven at 180 degC for 30 mins. Please adjust timing according to your oven as each is different.

Happy baking! :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Flapjack / Rolled Oats Bars / Granola Bars

These days I have been spending more time reading up on lunch box recipes and cooking. Thus, had neglected baking. I was not inspired to bake when I think of the amount of washing up I have to do after that. Found this recipe which looks easy and minimal washing so I went ahead to make a batch.

After researching on the web, it seems like flapjacks, rolled oats bar and granola bars are the same thing. They are perhaps called differently depending fron which country you are from.

Here's the recipe, thanks to  My Wok's Life for sharing. I also referred to Jamie's step-by-step recipe when I made them. A picture speaks a thousand words, the photos are very helpful.

- 70g butter
- 60g brown sugar (I used unrefined dark brown soft sugar)
- 60g golden syrup
- 170g rolled oats (I used organic rolled oats)
- about 1 tbs of ground peanuts

1. Line a 8" x 8" square pan with baking paper.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degC.

1. Put butter, sugar and golden syrup in a heavy bottom saucepan. Melt them in low heat.
2. Stir with a wooden or silicone spatula to combine the ingredients when the butter starts to melt.
3. Once the butter has melted, turn off the heat and add rolled oats and peanuts  into pan.
4. Mix them well.
5. Transfer the mixture to the square pan and press down with a spatula or metal spoon.
6. Bake for 25 mins. Please adjust baking time according to your oven, original recipe stated 20 mins.
7. Once baking is done, leave flapjack to cool in pan for 10 mins before cutting into squares with a knife. Leave flapjack to cool completely in pan. Store in air-tight container.

The texture of these flapjacks is chewy. I would prefer a crunchy texture, will try again next time to see how that can be achieved. Nevertheless, the taste of these flapjacks is very good, it does remind me of caramel popcorn. It is easy to put together so don't hesitate to try this recipe if you have some rolled oats onhand.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Kabocha Squash Chocolate Chips Muffins

Under the muffins is a cute glass table top from my friend - it's a nice background for photos too! :)

These lovely Kabocha Squash Muffins are made using the same Organic Japanese Pumpkin bought from NTUC the other day. The small and cute pumpkin actually yielded a lot of mashed pumpkin. After giving some to my mom, I could still manage to pack 3 packets of 100g each, and kept them in the freezer for later use.

Last Saturday, I met two ex-colleagues for dim sum. I wanted to bake them something and the mashed pumpkin came in handy for me to prepare some pumpkin muffins quickly. Thanks to the Halloween Pumpkin Muffin recipe from Cooking with Dog. To me, muffins is easier to prepare as compared to other bakes, as it needs no special equipment. You just need a whisk (or fork) and a big mixing bowl.

(makes 6-7 5cm diameter muffins cups)

50g Unsalted Butter 无盐牛油, soften
80g Sugar 糖 *I used light muscovador sugar  unrefined dry demerara sugar

A pinch of Salt 少许盐 *Omitted as I used salted butter
1 Beaten Egg 蛋, lightly beaten
100g Kabocha Squash - Japanese pumpkin 南瓜
40g Roasted Walnuts (1.4 oz) 核桃  *I replaced with chocolate chips instead

120g Cake Flour or All Purpose Flour 抵筋面粉, sifted
1 tsp Baking Powder 发粉 
50ml Milk 牛奶

Please refer to the video from Cooking with Dog. The instruction is very clear, and I always enjoy watching the chef cook/bake, she is so neat! So unlike me when I bake :p and my kitchen is always messy right after I baked :p

My friends said the muffin is nice and soft. I am glad they enjoyed them :)

Kabocha Squash Chiffon Cake

I was greatly encouraged by the success of my Lavender Chiffon Cake and bought more paper chiffon tube case from Daiso to continue my adventure. Only 15cm tube case was available at the branch I went to. Thus, I made 2 more cup cakes from the balance batter as the recipe from Happy Flour calls for a 20cm tube pan. Many thanks to Happy Flour for sharing the recipe :)

As the pan size I used is smaller, I wasn't sure exactly how much should the tube case be filled, so I filled it to about 60%, and the two 5cm diameter cup cake case. It turned out that the chiffon cake tube case has room for more batter, as you can see from the photo above. Maybe all the batter could fill it up :D

The end result is a moist, soft and fluffy cake. It was not as light and tall as the Lavender chiffon cake, but it was interesting to see the bits of mashed pumpkin spread out evenly in the cake when it was sliced. I didn't manage to take a good picture on the sliced cake.

Due to my lousy skill in unmounding the chiffon cake, the cake was broken on the bottom :p

Please refer to the original recipe from Happy Flour. I have made very slight adjustments to her recipe based on what I had on hand:

- 3 egg yolks
- 25g light muscovador sugar unrefined dry demerara sugar

- 1/4tsp low-sodium salt
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 70g steamed and mashed kabocha squash (aka Japanese pumpkin)
- 60g low-fat Carnation evaporated milk
- 70g organic unbleached all-purpose flour

- 3 egg whites
- 45g light muscovador sugar unrefined dry demerara sugar

It is a lovely cake and the organic Kabocha Squash I bought from NTUC was very sweet! :)

Happy baking! :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meet the Twins - Lavender Chiffon Cakes

As I continue my adventure in "cooking" cakes in the rice cooker, there was something that I had been wondering - how will the same chiffon cake recipe "perform" in an oven and a rice cooker? From the previous rice cooker chiffon cake experience, I know that the rice cooker can do the job well and save the hassle of heating up the oven and watching the temperature (and keeping my fingers crossed that the cake will rise). But it seems like the rice cooker "Cake" function took quite some time to finish "cooking" the cake.

Curiosity kills the cat. This time, I followed Happy Home Baking's Lemon Lavender Chiffon Cake recipe. Many thanks to HHB again for sharing the recipe! :) Please refer to her blog for the full recipe. I had made very slight changes: omit lemon; soak the lavender flowers in the hot water first. Somehow, I think soaking the flowers first will help bring out the flavor :D The 7" chiffon tube pan recipe fits my two 12cm (or 5") disposable chiffon pans nicely.

I put one into the oven, and the other into the RC, and waited anxiously for the results. The one in the oven finished baking after about 25 mins at 170 degC. The one in RC continued through its long process and took almost double the time. I forgot to set the timer but it took roughly double the time. Anybody has tried taking the timing before? Please share if you do.

By the time the RC finished "cooking" (in fact, I stopped it before the "cooking" cycle was completed), the oven twin had already cooled down. I put them side-by-side to compare - I can't tell who is taller :D Although it is obvious that the one that was baked in the oven has a nice brown top, while its twin has a "white" top.

After turning them over, I found that the oven baked cake's bottom is "fairer" than its twin. After  slicing them, I started to get confused which was which (haha). Is that how parents of twins feel sometimes? :) Texture wise they seem similar. The only small difference I could see was that, the RC cake looks a little bit denser near the top of the cake.

If you ask me then which method will I use next time, I will say if I need to do something else and cannot afford the time to keep checking on the oven, I will choose the RC. But in other cases, I may just use the oven as it is faster and supposed it will save some electricity?

Nevertheless, it was an interesting test. This recipe is really yummy and the sweetness is just right, there is no need to reduce the amount of sugar :)

Happy baking and "cooking" :)