Friday, April 29, 2011

Coffee Macarons with Nutella Butter Cream

I had 6 egg whites left after the Daring Kitchen Maple Mousse cup challenge, 2 egg whites from the cannoli shells and 4 egg whites from the mousse.

And it has been aged for a week in the fridge, I have been doing the Challenge a bit later again, but still, I managed to squeeze in the challenge just a week before I decided to use the egg whites to make macarons, what else can be better? When I do a bit of "busy" cooking, I tend to do it during the weekends when I don't need to be rushed.

Coffee Macaron Shells:
180g Aged Egg Whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
145g almond meal
287.5g icing sugar
90g sugar
15g fine instant espresso
10g cocoa powder

Process the espresso, cocoa powder, icing sugar and almond meal in the food processor until well combined and sift.
Whisk meringue, add salt to the egg whites and start bench top mixer on medium high, and gradually increase to high, and at the meantime, slowly add in all the white sugar.  Until meringue is hard peak.
Blend in the sifted dry ingredients into the egg whites, prepare the pipng bag.
I prefer to use my trust worthy silicon baking mats for macarons so piping is rather free-lance as I can't really draw circles on the silicon.

Leave piped shells to form crust for an hour, and tap the bottom of the trays to let air bubble out.  Bake in pre-heated 150C oven for 12-15 minutes.
Stand till cool, and remove.

Nutella Buttercream
125g butter
1 egg
1 cup nutella
2 heap tablespoons icing sugar (add more if desired)

Whisk egg with icing sugar till pale, and meanwhile, warm the butter (I used the microwave) to just melt.  Slowly drip the very warm butter into the egg mixture and whisk vigoriously - to make sure the egg won't scramble.  Once it's mixed, fold in the nutella, mix till smooth and silky.  Leave  in fridge to cool to just below room temperature and start to fill the macarons. 

I freezes the macarons if I can't use them up and they do freeze well.  Great to bring some to work the next day as treats!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maple Mousse Served in an Edible Container - April 2011 Daring Baker Challenge

Thanks to Evelyn from Cheap Ethnic Eatz for the wonderful maple mousse and the challenge of creating the edible containers!

I had a lot of fun and it's such a lovely mousse.  The recipe for the mousse is here.

For the Maple Syrup:
• 1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
• 4 large egg yolks
• 1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatine
• 1 1/2 cups (360 ml. g/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35% fat content)


1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).

3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
4. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.

5. Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.

6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
7. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.

8. Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your edible containers.

For the Cannoli Shells, recipe adapted from Guy Grossi:

4 tbs butter

380g flour
1 egg
2 egg yolks
125ml marsala

Rub butter into flour, add egg, yolks, sugar and marsala, knead to form a dough.
Rest for an hour in fridge.

Roll dough out, use cookie cutter to cut the desired size of dough, roll out a bit more, and wrap around a
cannoli form. My cannoli forms were bought from Amazon.

Deep fry in clean oil for 30 seconds, remove cannoli form and continue to fry until centre is cooked.

I also made a Heart from Puff Pastry filled with Maple Mousse and home made Berry Jam:

A Maple Mousse Heart on Heart Shaped Cookie with Milk Chocolate Flakes:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Super Easy Coffee Pancake

Coffee flavoured pancakes are not hard to make.  This one is super easy.  I made them 2 weeks ago, and all because...

Hubby bought some Big M, iced coffee flavour, naughty him.  He's the only Big M fan at home, or any type of flavoured milk, so buying a 2 litre bottle, was a struggle for him, he bought the big bottle because that was on sales.  So, how to make the iced coffee milk accepted by everyone else?  Pancakes.

Big M Iced Coffee Pancakes

180ml Big M Iced Coffee
20g butter
1 egg
100g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda

Monique loved it but she could only take 2,

and hubby loved it in stacks...  With maple syrup.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lest We Forget... ANZAC Day, ANZAC Biscuits

ANZAC Day again.  It starts with Dawn Service and the March.  Lest we forget, our diggers that sacrificed their lives for this country. 

The tradition started from the landing of Gallipoli in 1915, and it's the traditional remberance day for all service men and women.  Hubby's grandfather was an original ANZAC who made it back alive from Gallipoli. So this day is quite emotional in some ways for us.

And part of the tradition each year, is the home made ANZAC Biscuits.

I made 2 batches this year, although I tried not to alter too much of recipe.  I often play with ingredients, but probably not much with the humble ANZAC biscuits, because of the history behind it.

The Biscuits:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon golden syrup (I used maple syrup for one batch)
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
2 tablespoon boiling water

Mix all dry ingredients.
Warm up butter, golden syrup and brown sugar till butter's all melt (I use microwave).  Add water to bi-carb soda and add to the golden syrup mixture.  Fold in all dry ingredients and you will get a gooey soft dough...  I use spoon to make small balls of them and dullop onto the baking sheets.  The batch that I used maple syrup was a bit too runny.  The biscuits do spread during cooking.
Bake in 180C oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Quest for the Perfect Hot Cross Bun - The Drunken Hot Dough Version

Aussies love their hot cross buns during Easter, most people love the traditional fruit buns, and there are usually newspaper articles about the perfect buns around the time - the Hot Cross Bun season, the perfect hot cross buns, are as important as the perfect chocolate eggs.

There is this article in Melbourne's local newspaper, the age, about How to spot a good hot cross bun.  I agreed to bring some buns to MIL, as we are visiting on Easter Sunday.

So, might as well get busy baking.  One useful hint from the newspaper article is the fruits should be soaked, and what else can be nicer than masala...  And I was keen to try out the hot dough version of bread making, so this is how I made the latest batch of hot cross buns:

The Day Before, prepare the fruit and the hot dough.

70g flour
100ml milk

Bring milk to a slow boil, I used the microwave.  Pour over the flour, knead into a pliable dough, put away in fridge in sealed freezer bag or container to develop gluten.

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice (that's nutmeg, cloves, cumin)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tbsp masala
1.5 cup mixed fruit, including glazed cherries, peels etc.

Mix all ingredients and set aside in a clean container, let fruit soak in the spices.

The day to make the buns:
700g strong bread flour
15g dry yeast
500ml full cream milk
1 egg - lightly whisked
75g butter
4 tbsp raw sugar
2 tsp all spice powder
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 pinch of salt

Bring butter, milk and sugar to a slow boil, scald and let cool to luke warm, add yeast, stir properly and let activate.
Put salt at the bottom of the mixing bowl, and mix all other dry ingredients, flour, spices, and add to the mixing bowl.  Slowly add in frothy yeast liquid, egg and the hot dough made the day before, and make the dough.  Once the dough is slightly elastic, knead in the fruits, you might need extra dry flour as the liquid from the fruit will make the dough wetter.
Knead dough as normal process of bread making.
Once the dough is elastic and smooth, let it set to proof.
Once the dough is dougle the size, knock it back and shape into small balls. 

Most Aussie hot cross buns are sticking to each other, they rise higher that way, but are ready to be pulled apart, so I did the same.
Meanwhile, make the paste for the cross.  These are traditional flour based paste, flour and water to a runny consistancy, and I just pipe them across.

Bake them in preheated 190C oven for 25-30 minutes, until ready, and brush on glaze.  This time, I used home made marmalade.  2 heap tablespoon of marmalade, add 2 tablespoon of boiling water, brush on to the hot buns just out of oven...

Fluffy buns...  The best buns made this season the family voted, and until next year...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chocolate Chips Hot Cross Buns - Children's Favourite

Do we have hot cross buns for Good Friday?  Of course, we have them for breakfast...

Children, the younger two, don't like the traditional fruit buns.  Luke doesn't like saltanas, raisens, and Monique doesn't like peels. 

So normally, I make a batch of chocolate chip ones for them, but this time, as I promised to make more fruit ones to MIL, we are only doing the chocolate chip ones for Good Friday.

I was playing around with the cross recipe and definitely the crosses are not the best for the buns, the stripes method didn't work.

For 6 Big Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns:

25g butter
7g dry yeast
300g plain flour
1 tsp ginger powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 pinch of salt
220ml milk
2/3 cup chocolate chips (roughly)

Bring milk sugar and butter into a slow boil, cool to lukewarm and add in yeast and let it activate.
Put salt, flour, cocoa powder, ginger powder in a large kneading bowl, and make a well.  Put frothy yeast mixture in there, and slowly to combine into a soft dough.  Work the dough till elastic and fold in the chocolate chips.  Set to proof under damp cloth or closed container.
Once double the size or more, shape them into buns and set to proof again, for around 30 minutes to an hour depending on room temperature.  Pipe on crosses (mine was too stiff this time, it needs to be a runny paste, usually it's just plain flour and water, cocoa was added to make the chocolate cross)

Bake in pre-heated oven 190C for 20-25 minutes and brush on glaze when hot.

1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp gelatine
2 tbsp boiling water.

Enjoy a chocoholic Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Egg Tarts from the Left Over Pastry

Dan tarts, egg tarts are quite popular amongst people who love yum cha.  I never liked it, but I do enjoy making them.  My whole family, (apart from me of course) all loves egg tarts, and making them and watching them eating them, is my enjoyment.

I've got some left over pastry from my pies - the Daring Cook's challenge. They do store well in the freezer, but hey, it's better just to use them up, so I have excuses to make more.

There are 2 types of egg tarts, the cookie shell and puff pastry shell, so it's perfect when I used the sour cream pastry and the rough puff pastry for 20 egg tarts.

For the custard:
180ml milk
40g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring 140ml milk and sugar to a slow boil and then turn down and set aside.  Whisk eggs and drip in the left of 40ml milk and vanilla, mix well till silky smooth.  Slowly mix in the warm milk mixture, make sure the eggs don't curdle.  Pour the mixture through sift to remove air bubbles and other lumps.

Pour slowly into the shells, make sure it's up to 70-80% full.  Bake them in pre-heated oven 180C for 15-20 minutes, but check constantly, if custart is puffing up, make sure just open up the oven door ajar to let hot air out.  Otherwise custard sink after baking.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blueberry Ricotta Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache

This is a rather dense slice, great for afternoon tea or morning tea, it's not extremely sweet.  A couple of weeks ago, I made some blueberry butter cream, and I had some left over, about a cup, that's stored away in the freezer.


1 cup blueberry butter cream (it's sweet enough and there's no extra sugar in the cake)
2 large eggs
100g ricotta cheese
200g self raising flour
200ml milk

80g Dark Chocolate - 70% cocoa
120ml thickened cream

The whole thing is rather easy.  Warm up the butter cream a little, so it will soften up, beat up the eggs with the butter cream, mix in milk and sift in flour. Fold in the ricotta cheese.  I put it in a greased square tin, because I want to make slices. Bake in 190C oven for around 30-40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
To make ganache, I simple just bring the cream to a slow boil and pour over cut up chocolate chunks.  Once smooth, pour over the cooled cake.

Cut into slices, and enjoy with coffee or tea.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Pot Stickers - The Wok Tek and Sang Gyen Bao - The Dumplings and Buns

There are all kinds of pot stickers, but I think there are two main catagories, one fermented, the Sang Gyen Baos and the other one plain skin - not fermented the Wok Tek which is more well known.

I decided to make the pot stickers yesterday, the Baos for the gathering of Monique's friendship group, one of the mum was from Shanghai and she'd like those I think, and the Wok Tek for dinner.

The doughs can be prepared a day ahead and the mixture, so there is no rush on the day.

The Fillings (for both)
500g pork shoulders
1 knob of ginger
1 small bunch of Chinese Chives
5 leaves of Wom Bok (Chinese Cabbage)
1 tbsp Chinese Wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 small pinch of salt
1 tsp raw sugar

Chop pork shoulders into rough mince, and use food processor to blend everything together.  The mixture can be stored in fridge overnight, in freezer bags.

Bao Dough:
200g super white bao flour
100g plain flour
1 tbsp yeast
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp white sugar
220ml tepid water (half milk half water if you would like something a bit creamy)

Warm up water to around 40C and let yeast desolve in water.  Put salt, sugar flour into a big bowl and make a well for the yeast mixture.   Knead into a soft dough.  Keep kneading till smooth.  Let dough proof till double.

Wok Tek Dough:
300g plain flour
1 pinch of salt
220-240 ml water

Make it into a soft dough and work the dough till elastic.  It's a very soft dough.  Let it rest for half a day or over night for better result.

Making the pot stickers, methods are similar for both.

Roll the dough into long sticks and dice off small knobs. 

Roll the little knobs in dry flour and rub into a small ball, and use lower part of palm to press it flat, roll out into small disks, turn when rolling, make sure the edges are thinner.  Baos are usually made into a round shape with gatherings on top and a twist, and let it proof for another hour or so.

The Wok Teks are usually half moon shapes.

Add a bit of oil on a non stick frying pan, put pot stickers on the pan and fry them, add water and put the lid on, let the steam do the rest of the job.  Water may need to be added a couple of times.  Only a little water can be added at a time, just touching the bottom, otherwise the pot stickers will be soggy.

When placing the Baos in the pan, leave enough room, they will grow a bit more in the pan, the Wok Teks can be placed closer to each other, as their skins are not fermented and won't grow.

Sang Gyen Baos are usually eaten as is, with no dippings, but my family prefer dippings for the Wok Teks, and hmm... 

heaps of home made chilli sate sauce...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Vanilla Chiffon Loaf Cake

A very simple cake.  That's what my mother likes, chiffon cake, or sponge cake, no cream, no ganache, no mousse, nothing.  She's not much of a dessert person (I got my sweet tooth from daddy) and it's not often, that she will accept a cake from me.  She always thinks that I cook too much, and not rest enough - mother, what else do they worry about, I guess I will always be little in her eyes.

But she does enjoy her simple cake.  She's not doing much baking, because of the power bills - like all other pensioners, mum and dad have cut back a lot of electricity usage because of the soaring cost.  I read from Herald Sun this morning, just a comment from a reader, that he works in Ray's Outdoors - a camping gear shop.  The sales of ourdoor lamps and kerosene lamps went up a lot lately.  He thought it was because of the long Easter Weekend, but that still doesn't explain the enthusiasm of the needs for lamps.  He said he found out later that the pensioners and low income earners are so worried about the new taxes government will put on everything, and the news that electricity will go up again, they are buying those lamps to use at home.

How sad.  Once a beautiful country where everyone has a fair go.  I've told mum not to worry because I'm paying her power bills, but still.

So, when she can accept a cake from me, that's the time to do something for her.

A simple vanilla chiffon cake:

150g Self Raising Flour
3 egg yolks
5 egg whites
60ml canola oil
60ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp raw sugar
4 tbsp white sugar

Beat egg yolks with raw sugar until it's silky smooth and pale.
Add in milk, canola oil, vanilla and keep beating till everything mix smoothly.
Beat egg whites seperately (using electric mixer) and slowly beat in white sugar till meringue is formed.
Fold meringue into the yolk mixture gradually, fold gentally not to lose too much air.
Once mixed properly, sift in flour.

Bake in a preheated oven 200C, in a lined but not greased loaf tin.  (I haven't got a proper chiffon cake tin)
Dust with plenty of icing sugar.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Edible Savory Containers - Daring Cook's Challenge April 2011 - Part II

I haven't made pies for a while, but since it's an edible container, pies, the one of the oldest "take away" boxes, I can't help making pies, for this challenge.

A proper pie for 1, in Australia, is puff pastry top, and short crust pastry bottom, with fillings in there, which can be beef mince, veggies, chicken, whatever. 

I came across some of the cute pie tins on sales, bought some, and it's time to make some proper size pies, using muffin tins usually give me smaller than normal pies. 

For the pastry, I resulted again in Maggie Beer's recipe,

her rough puff pastry.

and sour cream pastry.

I made 2 different sizes, the small ones I used my trust worthy silicon muffin tin, just the right size for party pies, for the children.  I used very simple ingredients, beef mince, diced potatoes and peas and corn.  Flavour was simple as well, passata and worcestershire sauce.

For the adult pies, I used chorizos, kalamata olives, onions, beef mince, pasley, dill, green chilli, potatoes, peas, corns and apart from passata and worcestershire sauce, I added a tiny bit of cumin powder and paprika, just to give it a bit of kick.

The filling was cooked and then cooled.
Once pies were made (bottom with sour cream pastry and top with puff pastry), brush on egg wash.

Bake in 190C oven for 30 minutes or till golden brown, top pastry puffed up.

I must say that the pastry was soooo lovely, and children loved their pies, and we loved ours!