Saturday, January 22, 2011

Special Melting Moments

Today is a activities-filled day! At the repeated request of my boy, he wanted to take the train from our place to Changi Airport... nothing special if you are not staying in the farthest north of Singapore. I didn't really timed the journey, but I think it took at least 1.5 hours including the feeder service from my house to the MRT station. The return trip was another train and super long bus trip back from Changi Airport back home. Really a B.M.W. (bus.mrt.walk) day! Although it was pretty tiring, I really cherish and love these moments. Our conversation whilst in the sky train:-

Me: Are you happy today?
Zakris: I am happy!
Zakris: Mummy, are you happy?
Me: I'm happy because you are happy :-))
Zakris: Why?
Me: B'cos I love you <3<3<3>

I thought I would be too tired to do any baking today, but my energy level went up when I reached home. So here's another recipe which I'm trying from Agnes Chang's I Can Bake.... Special Melting Moments. Another easy and no-fuss (i.e. no mixer required) recipe which yield yummy & very delicate morsels. And these are made especially special because my darling helps with the mixing and piping :-))

Special Melting Moments
Recipe adapted from Agnes Chang's I Can Bake

Ingredients/ Method:
200g butter
80g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt
120g self-raising flour, sifted
120g corn flour, sifted
1. Cream butter, icing sugar, vanilla essence and salt using spatula till just combined.
2. Add self-raising flour, corn flour and mix into soft dough.
3. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a big star nozzle. Pipe onto a greased baking tray to form into the shape of rosette.
4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 deg C for 15 - 20 mins till light golden brown.
5. Cool on rack, sprinkle some icing sugar on top if desired.
6. Store in air tight tin before serving.

1. I reduced the icing sugar to 60g, sweetness is just nice for me.
2. As usual, I used my favourite pure vanilla bean paste.
3. I baked the cookies at 15 mins.
4. I sprinkled snow powder on some of the cookies but I think they look and taste better without them.
5. The next time I baked, I may want to add a bit of red cherries to make these cookies look brighter and cheery.
(Updated 23.1.2011: My relatives tried these but they don't fancy this cookies. General comment is that it's very salty. To omit salt or use unsalted butter the next time if I'm trying this recipe again.)

Melting Moments dusted with snow powder.

I'm submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #3: My Favourite CNY Cookie, hosted by j3ss kitch3n.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Daisy Mocha Cookies

Another CNY cookies that I made today - Daisy Mocha Cookies, the first recipe that I tried from Agnes Chang "I Can Bake" cookbook. Personally I'm not a cookie-person, and usually I don't pay much attention to the cookie section of any cookbooks. If you were to notice, I hardly bake cookies but during this CNY season, it seems that I'm going to bake more cookies than ever ;-))

The recipe is very easy to prepare, and only require a mixing bowl and spatula.

Daisy Mocha Cookies
Recipe adapted from Agnes Chang "I Can Bake"

Ingredients/ Method:
(A) 250g butter
120g castor sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2tsp coffee paste

(B) 420g plain flour, sifted
60g chocolate rice

Decoration: Some chocolate chips

1) Put all ingredients A into a mixing bowl and cream till well combined.
2) Mix in ingredients B and form into a firm pliable dough.
3) Place the dough in between 2 layers of grease-proof paper and roll it to 3mm thick.
4) Cut with daisy-shaped cookie cutter and arrange the shapes on a greased baking tray. Decorate each centre with a chocolate chip.
5) Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for about 15 - 20 mins, till lightly brown. Leave to cool before storing.

1) I reduced the sugar to 100g and level of sweetness is just right for me.
2) I replaced the coffee paste with 1 1/2tsp hot water and 2tsp nescafe granules, as I didn't want to buy the coffee paste which I know I will hardly use.
3) Work on a small portion of dough at a time, and put the remaining dough in the fridge. It's much easier to work with the dough when they are just out of the fridge.

Verdict: The cookies are crunchy & crispy, the coffee taste is mild and not over-powering. For a non-cookie person, I don't mind eating them at all. T prefers this over the Sugi cookies.

I'm also submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #3: My Favourite CNY Cookies hosted by j3ss kitch3n.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Nutella banana squares

The last thing I did in 2010 and first thing in 2011 is this nutella banana squares.... nothing elaborate and in fact a recipe which I tried before. Except that previously i baked in a muffin cup and it had a streusel topping, I decided to make mine in squares and slather lots of nutella and put on a cheery-red raspberry :)) Baking the banana cake was a breeze but I did have a tough time cutting up them in squares of 4cmx4cm as the nutella kept sticking on the knife. In the end, it was so messy that the last 2 pieces of squares was almost beyond recognition ;0

*P.S. The main reason for baking this was because of the very riped mini bananas sitting in my kitchen, and screaming to be eaten or else to be fed to the bin!

Happy holiday!

Happy eventS

Before I start blogging about my bakes & such in 2011, I want to complete this post about the happy eventS that happened in 2010.....

My Madagascar Vanilla Beans - one whole packet of fresh vanilla beans! ..... and

One big bottle of Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste - 944ml! ......

...... I think these are going to last me for many good years of baking!

However, the anxiety of waiting and happiness of receiving these vanilla bean (paste) does not beat seeing my dearest sis, who's residing in States, once again! Now, I'm looking forward to my trip to visit her this year ;-))

02102010 - These were cute little wedding cupcakes that I made and received positive feedbacks, there were some "ohhs" and "wows" .....

.... but what made me much happier is that my youngest brother has finally tied the knot!! I believe my mum would be the happiest at wherever she is now ;-))

To end our year 2010, we had dinner at Tims Restaurant & Cafe - a no-fuss place that served good food ....

From left to right: Cream of Asparagus with roasted almond, Chicken caesar salad, Oyster rockafellas

Fish & Chips

NZ Ribeye topped with sauteed pacific clam with black pepper sauce

Grilled lobster & panseared cajun spiced salmon fillet with basil cream sauce

Desserts: Blueberry cheesecake & strawberry ice-cream

I'm counting my blessings to be surrounded by many loved ones and good friends. Of course, there were many other happy, not-so-happy, ups&downs in 2010, but with a beginning of new year 2011, the goods will be remembered & the bad be bygones, everything will be refreshed. I'm wishing EVERYONE a very happy, healthy and smooth sailing year ahead! Cheers o(oO)o