Friday, November 7, 2014

Crunchy Almond Cookies


I love crunchy cookies. These almond cookies were baked using Nasi Lemak Lover's recipe. A big thank you to her for sharing this easy-to-follow recipe. I ran out of corn flour during baking (only 128g left), so I substituted the rest with yellow cornmeal flour, which I purchased a few months ago to bake Kenny Roger's Corn Muffins :D 

There aren't many recipes that used yellow cornmeal, except corn bread or muffins, so I had no idea what to do with the balance. There were some cookies recipes using yellow cornmeal, so it was an impromptu decision to substitute with it when I was in the midst of preparing the recipe.

These cookies are crunchy on the outside, not sure how to describe the inside of the cookies. But the salty aftertaste gave them a 古早味 feeling, like cookies I had eaten during childhood. I used 1/2tsp of salt and felt that was sufficient.

Here's the list of ingredients I used based on what I had on hand. Please visit Nasi Lemak Lover's blog for the original recipe and method.

Ingredients

- 160g unsalted butter, soften
- 100g golden granulated sugar
- 120g ground almond (bought from Phoon Huat)
- 128g corn flour + 42g yellow cornmeal (bought from Phoon Huat)
- 1/2tsp salt
- 2/3 tsp double-acting baking powder

Method

1. Mix butter, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl with a wire whisk until batter is white and fluffy.
2. Add ground almond to batter and mix with a spatula.
3. Add corn flour, cornmeal and baking powder and mix with a spatula. Batter will come together to form a dough.
4. Roll dough with a rolling pin (sandwich dough between 2 pieces of cling wrap for easy handling). Cut with a cookie dough. Transfer to baking pan lined with baking sheet.
5. Bake in 170 degC preheated oven for 20 mins or until golden brown.

Baking almond cookies reminds me of my ex-colleague/friend, as she love almond cookies and I have not had the chance to bake for her before. Now that she is back in Singapore, hopefully one day I can bake these for her.

The ugly cookies at the back were rolled and flatten by hand. The pretty ones in front were rolled with a rolling pin, and cut using a cookie cutter. See the difference?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Birthday Cupcakes


Last week was my kid's birthday. I baked a total of 50 cupcakes (40 classmates + 3 teachers + extra) for her to bring to school. I baked a mix of Very Chocolatey Cupcakes and Hummingbird Vanilla Cupcakes. It was indeed very tiring after baking and wrapping up the cupcakes. But the thought of 43 smiling faces is worth it all :)



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Soft & Fluffy Chocolate Cupcakes


I think my search for the ultimate chocolate cupcake to bake for my kid's classmates on her birthday has ended. Many thanks to unpastiche for sharing this Very Chocolatey Cupcakes. Previously I have tried another of her recipes, which yields very delicious chocolate cupcakes as well. This recipe yields a soft and fluffy chocolate cupcake, while the One-bowl Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes yields an intense chocolatey flavor and denser (compared to this recipe) cupcake. I absolutely love that recipe, but I may opt for this recipe - actually, I can't decide :D

Been pondering on what exactly contributes to a soft and fluffy cupcake - buttermilk? creaming method? oven temperature?

Here's the list of ingredients from unpastiche. Please refer to her blog for the recipe and method.

Ingredients
Makes 12 cupcakes (Makes 11 for me, size 50x39mm)

60g butter
120g white sugar (I used 100g golden granulated sugar)*
1 egg
125g plain flour
1/2tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4tsp baking powder (I used 1/2tsp double-acting baking powder)
120g milk
1 drop of vanilla paste
35g unsweetened cocoa powder
100g hot water + 1/2tsp instant coffee granules

*Updated on 7 Nov 2014: not sweet enough with 100g sugar, according to my taste bud :p 120g is just nice :)


my notes:
  • I preheated my oven to 190 degC, then reduced to 175 degC once I put the cupcakes into the oven. Because of that, I removed the cupcakes from the oven after 18 mins as the toothpick inserted came out with only a few crumbs.
  • Cups were filled between 1/2 to 2/3 full.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Hummingbird Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes


I was searching for an easy recipe to bake for 40 kids for my daughter's birthday. It has to be yummy and pretty too, since they are for kids and kids love pretty things, don't they?

Found this Hummingbird Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes recipe online. Actually, this recipe can be found on many sites. The variation is the Chocolate flavor, which you can replace 20g of flour with cocoa powder. The steps seem easy to follow, and they look very pretty with a slight domed top. I tried the chocolate version first. The recipe says it will make 12 cupcakes, but perhaps it is referring to smaller cups? I only managed to fill 6 cups, and I filled them up too full - about 3/4. The result is cracked tops and one of the cupcakes overflew. They are quite ugly :p After analyzing the issue, I baked a second batch, and this time, I filled up 8 cups, and each cup 2/3 full. The cupcakes rose beautifully in the first 10-15 mins, then strangely they collapsed slightly on the sides, so only the middle part of each cupcake was risen slight. It's somewhat funny looking, but not too obvious. I have been thinking about how to achieve a smooth, slightly domed-top cupcake since :p But I guess the result was still encouraging.

I did not frost the cupcakes as I always thought they are sweet enough, frosting is pretty but I'd like to reserve for very special occasions. I brought these cupcakes for my Korean class teacher and classmates yesterday. I know kids love the sight of cupcakes, but adults? The answer is, adults love seeing cupcakes too! :D Love seeing happy faces :)

As I finally tried one this morning (somehow I forgot to put this one into my bag yesterday), I was surprised to find that the cupcake was very soft! I wonder if it has got to do with the evaporated milk I swopped in place of regular milk. I have tried baking muffins with evaporated milk before and they turned out soft each time. Perhaps that is the reason?

Here's the recipe I used. Please refer to goodtoknow for the original recipe and method. The recipe is from a famous bakery called The Hummingbird Bakery.

Ingredients
Makes 8, 50x39mm cupcakes

120g plain flour
1tsp double-acting baking powder
a pinch of salt
100g castor sugar (original recipe uses 140g)
40g unsalted butter, soften
120g evaporated milk (original recipe uses whole milk)
1 egg
1 drop of vanilla paste (original recipe uses 1/4tsp vanilla extract)

Method
  1. Preheat oven at 170 degC.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add salt, sugar, and butter. Mix with a whisk (original recipe uses an electric mixer) until a sandy consistency.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and milk well. Add half of the mixture into the flour mixture and mix. Add rest of milk mixture and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be smooth.
  5. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 mins.


It was a sunny, hot and humid afternoon in Singapore (as usual? :D). The color of the cupcakes look washed-out (taken with my humble iphone 5S camera).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chocolate Muffin


I was craving for a high domed muffin, you know, like those from Chocolate 'N Spice. I googled and found some bloggers tried to recreate the high domed and cake-like muffin. Then, I saw the photo of a somewhat familiar looking muffin on Joy of Baking and decided to use her recipe.

Some baking experts said that the temperature of the oven is the key to a high domed muffin. Setting the oven temperature at 200 degC seems to be the trick. Joy of Baking uses 190 degC, which is pretty close to 200 degC. Of course if the muffins are baked at 200 degC, they will be overbaked/burnt if you bake them for the same period of time. That requires some adjustments based on your oven at home. I didn't want to take the risk of a burnt muffin, so I preheat the oven at 200 degC, then lowered it to 190 degC at the start of the baking. I lowered it further to 180 degC after 10 mins, but had to bake it 10-15 mins longer than the 20 mins per the original recipe. More experiments will be required before I can figured out what is the secret formula for my oven :p The muffin is done once an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean (a few crumbs is ok).

Here's the recipe I used, please refer to Joy of Baking for the original recipe and method/video.

Ingredients
Makes 12 5cm-diameter paper muffin cups

113g unsalted butter, melted
130g top flour
100g organic wholemeal flour (I ran out of plain flour :p)
60g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp double-acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
110g dark brown sugar + dry demerara sugar (original recipe uses 265g light brown sugar)
3 medium eggs (original recipe uses 2 large eggs)
240g low-fat milk including 1 tbsp vinegar (original recipe uses buttermilk)
few drops of vanilla paste (original recipe uses 2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
100g chocolate chips (original recipe uses 170g)

This recipe produces a soft, cake-like muffin although it uses the dry- and wet-ingredients method.

my notes:
- butter can be melted using bain marie
- to substitute for buttermilk, pour 1 tbsp of vinegar in a cup, add milk to 240g
- batter is thick
- stop folding once no trace of dry ingredients is seen
- drastic reduction in sugar results in a muffin that is not very sweet, but just nice for my palate
- chocolate muffins/cakes usually taste more flavorful the next day

Simple recipe, simple pleasure in life :)

I'm not able to take a good photo of the muffin as the color is very dark :D