Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some call it chocolate therapy




Finally I get to bake again! During the A'level period, I have been browsing through many food blogs just to suppress the longing to bake. Pathetic right? I know. I even bought Hershey's Unsweetened  Cocoa Powder and Ghiradelli's chocolate chips over the weekend during grocery shopping just to satisfy the baking craving. Asked my mom and sister for their comments and preferences to select the first thing I'll bake to break the baking hiatus. So there you go, the recipe for the awesome looking and tasting cookie above.

Chocolate Therapy Brownie Cookie
adapted from cookiebakerlynn.blogspot.com
makes about 2 dozen 2" cookies


29g unsalted butter
29g unsweetened chopped chocolate*
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
3/8 cup self-raising flour**
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
3/8 cup white sugar*** 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 180°C

2. Melt butter, chopped chocolate and 3/8 cup chocolate chips in a large, heavy saucepan on low heat. Stir continuously to ensure everything has melted. Set aside and cool.

3. Combine flour and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

4. Beat the egg, sugar and vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer.

5. Gradually add in the flour mixture and beat well.

6. Add in the chocolate mixture and mix well.

7. Stir in the remaining 3/8 cup chocolate chips (You can add in other ingredients like nuts or berries if you want at this stage)

8. Drop blobs of cookie dough onto a baking tray lined with baking/parchment paper, about 2" apart (they will expand!) - I used 2 tablespoons to help carry out this step.

9. Bake for 8-10min, no longer. Otherwise they'll burn and when they cool, the cookies will be as hard as rocks! Cool them in the tray for a few minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack for complete cooling.

10. Serve and enjoy! (Best eaten on the day itself)

*I used Ghiradelli's 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips instead. Saved the trouble of chopping the chocolate up :D


**I used self-raising flour because I didn't have all-purpose flour and baking powder :/

***I reduced the sugar added and substituted in a little brown sugar for better taste.

Because I left them in slightly more than 10min (but still under 11min), my cookies were burnt a little. After they cooled completely, the cookies were only a little chewy, but they weren't moist. Hmm, I should leave them for only 8-9min next time I bake. Or maybe my oven was too hot? Anyhow, they still tasted delish a few minutes after cooling (: Yeah I couldn't resist!


 
(Inspiration for this photo came from cookiebakerlynn.blogspot.com!)

The best way to start the day



"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day"
That is what I strongly believe in. The day can only proceed right if you start it right! Right? (:



Today I have the luxury of slacking the day away, because Alevels are OVER! (sort of) Well I have a remaining Physics mcq on Monday next week but there's still time for me to laze around and BAKE. My sister requested for Chocolate Chip Pancakes! Awesome way to start the day if you ask me. But I would have preferred to use Wholemeal Flour, just to make it seem healthier hahah. But there are 2 problems: 1, I'm the only one in my family who eats wholemeal (grain) stuff. 2, I have to use up the self-rising flour left in the cupboards. They turned out gorgeous according to my sister, and I trust her taste! (: So here's the recipe.


Yummy Chocolate Chip Pancakes
adapted from joyofbaking.com
makes about 7 3"pancake



1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated white sugar
1/2 egg
1/2 cup low-fat (HL) milk
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted


1. Whisk flour, salt and sugar together in a big bowl.


2. Whisk egg, milk and melted butter in another bowl.


3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add the chocolate chips at this point (or blueberries, bananas etc - optional)


4. Heat a frying pan/griddle over medium high heat.


5. Brush the pan with a little butter so the pancakes don't stick.*


6. Using a small ladle, pour a ladle-full of the pancake batter.


7. Flip the pancakes when bottom of the pancakes are brown and bubbles start to appear on the surface.


8. Cook until lightly brown on both sides.


9. Serve with butter, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, fruits or whatever you feel like having (:


*I used a non-stick pan to fry the pancakes so I didn't use any butter. Healthy living ftw! :D





While I love cooking up a storm for breakfast, I personally prefer eating something else - nutella and peanut butter on wholemeal toast!! It's sort of my everyday staple. Although I'm Asian, I prefer bread to rice. Call me crazy but I love bread! Of course with dollops of nutella and peanut butter. Mmmm yum!


EDIT:


I just found out that there's such a thing as World Nutella Day on 5th Feb! Okay, I shall attempt to bake something that contains nutella next year on that day :D


I love Nutella!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Signed sealed delivered



This must be a sign. It has to be!
Broken digestives must be a God-sent sign for me to start baking again! Hahah (:
Two more days. Woohoo!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oat to Joy

I have underestimated oats. They may look simple and unattractive, but they pack a punch when incorporated into the dough of an ordinary cookie. This post is dedicated to an all-time favourite: the Oatmeal Raisin Wonder Cookie!



Although my family is not a fan of the wonder cookie, I choose to be unique. I'm a self-proclaimed foodie and am super proud of it! Despite my attempts to diet nowadays, I still manage to indulge once in a while (: God didn't provide air for Man to eat, He provided food. Bread was broken at the Last Supper mind you. So anyway, back to the wonder cookie.. This chewy sensation delights most tastebuds around the world, hence it can be called an "all-time favourite" right? In my honest opinion, yes. Let's celebrate this wonder cookie by baking it over and over again till we rejoin the Lord in Heaven (:

Oatmeal Raisin Wonder Cookie
adapted from joyofbaking.com
makes 20-24 large cookies

170g unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cup rolled oats
1 cup raisins/cranberries/chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment or baking paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl.

3. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon

5. Add in the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix well.

6. Stir in the oats and raisins/cranberries/chocolate chips at this point.

7. With wet hands, shape the cookie batter and place on the parchment paper. Alternatively, you can use an icecream scoop to get the perfect round shape (but what's a homemade cookie without the ragged edges??)

8. Bake for about 10-12min or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.

9. Cool and serve!

My cookies turned out scrumptious even though they didn't look their very best. Next time, I will reduce the amount of batter for each cookie, otherwise they'll end up joined together like this attempt :/

Bite me!
Cheryl :D

My baking buddy


It's always nice to have someone to bake with, be it a friend or a family member. The baking gets done in half the time and the success always seems twice as sweet.

Felicia, my baking buddy, came around to my house last year during the holidays to get some baking done. The two of us are secondary school friends and have remained close ever since! We were in the same CCA (dance) and although we went to different JCs, we made it a point to study together. It was the end of last year that we discovered our similar passion for baking, hence the closer friendship (: It is amazing how baking breaks down walls and soothes the soul (which explains why I am having baking-withdrawal-syndromes during A's now). World leaders should just bake together and everything will be alright.


Peanut Butter Cookies (made with love)
adapted from joyofbaking.com

makes about 40 cookies


170g unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar & extra for glazing

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy up to you)
2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped peanuts/chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment or baking paper.

2. Cream butter and sugars in a bowl, about 2-3min using electric mixer. Beat in the peanut butter.

3. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

5. Add into the peanut butter mixture and fold in peanuts/chocolate chips at this stage.

6. Roll the batter into 1" balls and arrange on the parchment paper. Use a fork dipped in the white granulated sugar to make # patterns

7. Bake for 10-12 min or until cookies are lightly browned around the edges.

8. Cool and serve!



Enjoy baking with friends. It's one of life's simple pleasures (:

Bite me!
Cheryl :D

I like it raw



There are pros and cons when my mom travels on business trips.
Cons: I'll miss her. The house will feel weird and empty without her (although she's barely at home due to hectic work schedule even if she's in Singapore).
Pros: She'll bring back loads of goodies - food and souvenirs!

Recently she went to Japan and we requested for her to buy back Royce chocolates; both the nama chocolate and the nutty bar chocolate. They are 'boomz'!! ;D We ate a box of Au Lait nama chocolate yesterday night just for the fun of it. Okay I know my family doesn't have a very healthy eating lifestyle, but who am I to complain? I'm loving every second of it.



The first time we tried the nama chocolate was when my mom got it as a gift from her Japanese colleague (yes, the Japanese are very generous!). The way the powdered, smooth raw chocolate melts in your mouth is simply to die for! From then on, we would make it a monthly affair to go to the Royce shop at Suntec City Mall to buy these gorgeous chocolates. It was only when we were coming back from a family holiday at Japan when we saw these exact same chocolates at the Narita Airport going for much less! Okay so it was decided. Since my mom has to go to Japan often for business trips, we would get our supply of Royce directly from Japan :D The exact same quality for much less. Enough said.

As for the nutty bar chocolate, it's discovery was much less subtle. Mom bought it back from Japan just to let us try since we have always been eating the same nama chocolates. Voila! It became our new staple. The milk chocolate encased bar with it's crunchy nuts and crispy almond puff was simply too irresistable! Royce was also recently advertised in the Lifestyle section of the Sunday Times a few weeks back as it's new outlet opened at Ion Orchard Singapore. I haven't made a trip there to take a look yet, but I'm sure I wouldn't buy anything from there. After all, given the Asian culture of thriftiness (my econs paper was yesterday hahah), why would I buy something more expensive when I know there is a cheaper perfect substitute for it in Japan? You know, being the exact same product and all. Hmm, maybe I should visit the Royce chocolate factory in Japan one day...

My verdict: Awesome and highly recommended.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hey Doraemon, have a Dorayaki!



I've never been a fan of the Japanese blue and white cartoon character that Doraemon is. But I do have to credit him for having good taste!

Recently, my mom's colleague gave her a box of Japanese red bean pancakes - Dorayaki. I've seen them around before but never tried them until that one fateful day. It was just last week after one of my papers when I reached home in the early afternoon. Being greedy, I decided to indulge in an after-school snack, just to reward myself for completing that paper. I happened to see the box of opened Dorayaki lying on the table (they were opened because my mom brought some to office for her colleague). Ooh they looked super inviting. The plastic wrapper wasn't any ordinary plastic, it was of the highest quality! That aside, I tore it open and the delectable aroma of the pancake wafted into the air. Amazing! It was that good I tell you. Maybe it's the brand, I don't know. So anyway, I took a bite of the soft goodness and to my surprise, the red bean wasn't overly sweet and cloying like normal Japanese red bean products. Think mochi and other Japanese sweets. I fell in love with it. Enough said.

Went online and found out that the scrumptious pancake was the favourite snack of Doraemon! Hmm so that explains the similarity in name I suppose. Well, that was the only link I could draw as sadly, I'm not Japanese (Japanese cuisine is awesome fyi!).

I will search and try out the recipe for Dorayaki after my A's. For now, these photos are taken of the brand I ate. Do check it out if you're ever in Japan! They receive a two thumbs up from me :D



Bite me!
Cheryl :D

Dinner for two, what say you?



Whenever my parents are out of town, the duty of making dinner falls heavily on my shoulders. Being a picky eater, my sister is hard to satisfy. I have to find recipes for food that the both of us like, which is actually quite hard. I remember making shepherd's pie once and the plates were clean. So this time, surprisingly, my sister requested for Aglio Olio. I immediately went online to search for recipes. Since it was my first attempt at cooking this dish, I can't say it turned out well. The spaghetti wasn't very successful as it ended up tasting a whole lot like peppery noodles :/

I can't remember the exact measurements of the ingredients used but I do remember what I added in!

Spaghetti Aglio Olio
makes 2 servings

white pepper
coarse black pepper

olive oil

dry chilli flakes

1 red chilli padi

2 cloves of garlic
spaghetti noodles


These are the basic ingredients for the Aglio Olio spaghetti but please do not trust it. The noodles look nice and are edible (yes they are!) but the taste could be improved a whole whole lot.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rolling in chocolate



In order to tide me over the baking-hiatus during the exam period, I've been baking these mini chocolate croissants (Pain au Chocolat) for my sister. They're really really easy to make! No seriously. All I have to do is to cut up the ready-made puff pastry dough (storebought), chop up some chocolate and roll it up! As simple as that. There really isn't any recipe to follow since you can roll them in any shape and size you want, depending on your sweet tooth or diet plans. I have to credit Nigella Lawson since I got the inspiration from her cooking show - Nigella Express. Do watch it if you have cable (:



Mini Chocolate Croissants (Pain au Chocolat)
adapted from Nigella.com

1 sheet ready-rolled butter puff pastry
6 squares of baking chocolate (or any other chocolate based on preference)
1 egg beaten (for glazing)
Serving Size : Makes 12 mini croissants



1. Preheat oven to 220°C/230°C.

2. Roughly chop the chocolate.

3. Take the pastry sheet out of the

4. Cut each sheet of pastry into half.

5. Cut the half into about 3 rectangles to get 6 rectangles.

6. Half each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles so that you'll yield 12 triangles per sheet.

7. Position the triangles such that the base is nearest to you.

8. Place the chopped chocolate onto the triangles and carefully roll them up.

9. Seal the ends of the rolled up pastry slightly with your fingertips to prevent chocolate from oozing out.

10. Place the croissants on a lined but not buttered baking tray and brush the beaten egg over to glaze.

11. Bake for 15-20min or until golden brown and puffed up. Serve as is.



Personally, I left the pastry in the fridge until I was ready to deal with them as they got overly soft for handling on my first attempt. Hope my directions are understandable! It's my first time writing such baking instructions so do comment if they stink! ><

So anyway, my sister gobbles these up for her breakfast, afternoon or late night snack and they seem to get better and better! Not sure why. Maybe it's because everytime I make it, I increase the amount of chocolate I put inside these croissants. Oh well, these are one of the few things I bake that she appreciates. Not that I'm complaining or anything (okay maybe I am, oops!), my family's not very supportive of my baking. Sure they are supportive when it comes to buying the baking supplies and stuff, but when it comes to the eating... That's why I'm kind of restricted to what I bake. My family likes chocolate but they don't like peanut butter, oats, baked apples etc! It's appalling. That's why I have to rely on my friends to be my guinea pigs :/ At least they're the real foodies and can appreciate what I bake better.

Happy baking everyone!

Bite me!
Cheryl :D

Nearly there



Ahh I'm exactly 2/3 done with A'levels!! :D

After that, it's time to bake. Seriously I haven't baked in the longest time! Close to 2 months I think. It's actually a miracle that I managed to survive hahah.

Right I know I'm supposed to be studying right now but I couldn't resist blogging about this amusing article I came across recently in The Sunday Times Nov 15 09. If you have the original copy, look it up! Because seeing is believing (: Anyhow, I'm going to type it all out here just for your viewing pleasure.
"New scientific research has proven that low-carb diets make a person crabby, what the
world needs is a carb-on-carb side dish. Think buttery mashed potatoes topped with crispy
crinkle cut fries.

....... (I didn't bother typing the part here because it wasn't very read-worthy)

Okay, so this is not the way to get svelte. But who likes thin, cranky people anyway?"

- Cheap and good: Spoonfuls of goodness; Lifestyle, taste page 25
Tan Hsueh Yun
You see, this particular article caught my eye mainly because it made me rethink my diet. I'm currently on a mission to lose weight before my prom in Dec. It's kind of tough but necessary if I want to look nice in whichever dress I want to wear then. The baking-hiatus now kind of helps keep my diet in check as I won't gorge on whatever. Although recently, I kind of like the feeling of giving what I bake away. Take for example my jelly hearts cheesecake. I gave like 7/8 of the whole cake to my friends at school and only took 1 small bite from the entire thing! No regrets though. I like it when people enjoy what I bake. It's that little satisfaction that makes my day (:

Oh no it's time to go back to my books. Just have to endure for another week or so!
Wish me luck! :D

Bite me!
Cheryl :]
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