Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last year, when i first 'rekindled' my baking hobby, i made a birthday cake for one of my best friends. Another best friend of mine got wind of it and called me to 'request' for the same thing, but at that time she was in Sydney doing her Master. She has since graduated and back to S'pore. I did plan to bake a cake for her this year, but since i knew that my another friend had ordered a cake for her, i decided to make something else for her. After thinking through, cookie seems to be a good choice as gift, and HHB's chocolate chip cookies immediately came into mind.

Actually the cookies were made whilst i was waiting for my carrot milk loaf to proof. The timing of bread making and cookie making is just right, and there's no time wasted ;-) For the vanilla extract, instead of the normal one, i used Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste which i recently ordered from Elyn. I like this vanilla extract as it's a close choice to the very-expensive vanilla bean pod, and i can still see the specks of vanilla beans!

Ingredients/ Method:

115g butter, softened
115g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour
175g plain or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 180degC. Line baking trays with parchment paper.
2. With a wooden spoon or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until the mixture turns pale and fluffy.
3. Beat in the egg gradually. Mix well after each addition. Add in vanilla extract, mix well.
4. Sift the flour over the mixture, fold in with wooden spoon or a spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Drop tablespoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the prepared baking tray. Leave some space between the cookies to allow for spreading. Flatten each cookie dough slightly with the back of a fork, keeping the shape as even as possible.
6. Bake for 10 mins or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies stay crispy even until today, but i find it a tad too sweet. Will reduce the amount of sugar the next time i baked it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Easy birthday cake

Why i call this an easy birthday cake is because ... i cheated. Instead of baking a sponge cake from scratch, i used Phoon Huat's Sponge Cake Mix. I only need to add eggs and water, and that's all. I still prefer sponge cake with my own mix of sugar, eggs, butter, flour, etc. It's a kind of satisfaction when the sponge cake comes out golden brown, properly rise, no sunken top, soft and fluffy texture, etc.

The mixed fruits were requested by my aunt cat, although it's uncle goh (go go)'s birthday. Grapefruits with skin removed, strawberries, mango. Actually, i bought gooseberries as well, but there is no space on the small cake. The freshness of fruits give this cake a lift! I hope they both like the cake made especially for them ;-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Purple Sweet Potato Milk Loaf

After my successful attempts in making bread and especially carrot loaf, i toyed with the idea of baking a purple sweet potato bread. However, i couldn't get any purple sweet potato in the supermarket, there were only yellow ones available. Few days later, i saw Honey Bee Sweet posting a Purple sweet potato milk loaf, and it made me more determined to bake this one. Hence, on Saturday morning, i woke up rather early and took a bus to our nearest wet market, hoping that these purple sweet potato are available there, together with my little one. At 2+, little zak still wants to be carried most of the time. But he can somehow understand now when we tell him that we are tired and got no more energy to carry him. So last Saturday, he obediently walked from our block to the bus-stop, and throughout our walk to the foodcourt and thereafter to the market, we held hands and took small little steps that whole morning. A good feeling!

Turning to getting the purple sweet potato, all the vegetable stalls do not carry them, except for one, and they cost about $3/kg. I didnt get to start preparing the bread until after our dinner as i only realised that i don't have enough bread flour after our morning marketing. Although the preparation is easy, the proofing time is rather long. By the time i finished baking the bread, i think it's around 3am! That's how bad my time-management is ;-( I didn't take any pictures when the loaves are out of the oven, which i usually do, as i'm dead tired!

I like the purple colour, they look so sweet and so 'Barney'. I told my little zak that he can call it purple bread or Barney bread, which the little purple dinosaur is his favourite character. By the way, purple is the first and only colour that he can confidently identify at the moment!

Ingredients/ Method
400g bread flour
220g purple sweet potato (peeled, sliced, steamed-10mins and mashed)
60g sugar (i reduced to 25g, which is still sweet)
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant active yeast
60ml fresh whipping cream
100ml fresh milk
60g unsalted butter
1 cup cranberries/ raisins (i omitted this)

1. Put all ingredients except butter (and cranberries/ raisins) in the BM and let it knead for 20 mins, restart the BM and knead for a further 10 mins. Add in the butter into the dough after about 8 mins of kneading.
2. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap and allow to proof for at least 90 mins.
3. Punch out the air in the dough and divide into 4 equal portions. ( I divided the dough into many portions cos my bread tin is too small to 'accomodate' everything, and I'm managed to fill up another tin with the remaining dough.)
4. Flatten the dough and roll from the short edge like swiss roll.
5. Cover the dough with cling wrap and let it proof for another 90 mins.
6. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
7. I omitted the egg wash on the loaf top and put the loaf tins into the oven and bake for 30 mins at 180 deg C (i feel my oven is slighter hotter and reduce the temp. to 170 deg C throughout the baking process.)
8. Remove the loaf from bread tin immediately when done and cool on rack completely before slicing.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Carrot raisin milk bun

This morning, using the same Carrot Milk Loaf recipe, i added 60gm of raisins and made it into 3x3 buns. Since the raisins are sweet, i reduce the sugar further to 25g. Unlike the earlier loaf i did, this dough did not rise much during the first 25mins, and it took very much longer during the 2nd proof to reach double in size. The sweetness is just nice. However, in terms of softness and colour, i still prefer the original loaf.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Carrot Milk Loaf

Recently, I bought a recipe book from the make-shift newspaper stand near my work place. Flipping through the book whilst on my way home during the train ride, I already made up my mind to do the simpliest recipe - Carrot milk loaf. In fact, i did 2 loaves, yesterday and today. 1 failed and the other taste delicious! It always happen, the simpliest recipe always fail on me. This is the 1st bread that turns successful without using the breadmaker!

This picture shows the specks of carrot and the softness of bread

Ingredients/ Method:-
(Recipe adapted from Daniel Choong, Baked & Steamed Bun - 面包蒸烘味)

130g bread flour
70g cake flour
55g grated carrot (i used 35g as that's what I'm left after the 1st failed loaf)
40g sugar (original recipe uses 50g)
1 tsp salt
8g instant yeast
40g butter
12g milk powder

80g grated carrot (totally omitted cos I've no more carrots left)
50g cold water

1) Put ingredients (A) into mixing bowl and stir well.
2) Add in ingredient (B) and beat to form elastic dough.
3) Remove dough from the mixing bowl and cover with a big bowl and leave to rest for 25mins.
4) Flatten the dough into long oval shape, roll like a swiss roll, and press lightly into greased loaf tin.
5) Rest for 15 mins or prove till double in size.
6) Brush some evaporated milk. Make a slit in the middle of the bun using a sharp knife. Pipe butter into the slit. Sprinkle some sugar and grated carrot on it. (I omitted this step)
7) Bake at 185 deg C in the middle of the over for 25-30 mins or till golden brown.

Don't you think this looks like a tortoise head?