Cashew Nut Cookies

I went through my list of recipes on what else I can bake with the QBB clarified butter. I found a recipe from QBB web-Cashew Nut Cresent Cookies. The instructions said to use a cresent-shaped cookie cutter, thus the name, Cresent Cookies. However, I just cannot gather enough dough to be able to cut them nicely into cresent shapes. In the end, I use the most primitive, but I thought effective way, roll it with my hands. I already tried my best to make it uniform and even. I guess it's not too bad afterall.


While the cookies were baking in the oven, I made a glass of avocado drink, to pamper myself a little after a whole day's baking. I use my Philips hand blender to blend together the avocado, milk, palm sugar and ice. The avocado is creamy, cold, rich and thick, just the way I like it. Still able to spare some time to enjoy myself between the bakes. Yummy.


Recipe for Cashew Nut Cookies from QBB website (with some modification).
Makes approximately 65 cookies.

Ingredients:
200g QBB
120g Caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
300g Plain flour, sifted
80g Desiccated coconut
1/2 tsp Salt
65 Cashew nuts
1 small egg, beaten for glazing

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Cream QBB, sugar, extract and egg yolk until light.
3. Stir in sifted flour, salt and coconut to combine into a dough.
4. Gather them together and pluck out some about a 20cts coin size.
5. Use your thumb to flatten them until about 5mm thick, and place them on the prepared trays.
6. Brush lightly with the beaten egg and place a piece of cashew nut in the centre of each cookie.
7. Bake in the preheat oven for about 20mins or until golden brown.
8. Leave on the tray for about 5 mins, then transfer them onto a wire rack.

Kueh Makmur

Last year, I tried my hands at making this Kueh Makmur. Didn't think of doing it this year actually. However, when I asked my family members what they would like for CNY goodies, my elder sister said that "thing with peanuts". I knew what she was referring to. So I went to buy some ground peanuts from PH, didn't want to roast and do everything myself. I remembered last year they commented that it wasn't very nice, though my colleagues did say it was okay. Actually, this year, I did this cookies in a haste too!

I was contemplating between Yochana's and Honey Bee Sweets recipes. As I was in a lazy mood, I didn't want to fry the flour, so I chose Yochana's instead. The dough was pretty messy, the peanut fillings was also very messy. And it made my mood "messy" too! And at the end, I just want to quickly finished up this cookies. The cookies at the end was rather big as the dough gets very soft and sticky. I even skipped crimpling the patterns! :( Don't why my mood wasn't right for baking this cookies yesterday.

Anyway, I'm glad the cookies turned out alright. My sister liked the cookies. Another sister bought this cookies from a bakery and they tried both mine and the store-bought. They concluded that mine tasted better as the crust was softer and the fillings more fragrant! *Whew!* Maybe I was more fortunate that they had a comparision so that mine taste better? *wicked grin*


Rendezvous

She was wearing a black top and jeans, sitted on a green plastic bench in Vivo City. She saw me waving from afar. Her face broke into a beautiful smile as she stood up and walked towards me. As we moved nearer to each other, we extended our hands and give each other a warm hug. We were just too happy to see each other again.


I brought her to HK Kim Gary for lunch as she mentioned that she missed HK food. We ate and chatted at the same time. Just talking about everything and anything under the sun. Guess we were just too comfortable with each other that we shared very openly.


After a good lunch, we took the train to Chinatown. As I've not been to Sia Huat, I thought we could go there and take a look. We were "wowed" by the kitchen equipment that they carried. We also kept visualising ourselves having a bakery together and we can buy this equipment or that equipment to use. It was pretty fun!


And further down the street was another shop- Lau Choy Seng. We also went in to check out their items. These items were just too commercialized for us homebakers. After the walk in the hot sun, we decided to take a rest and have a drink. I brought her to the chinatown market for a drink and recommended the "zhu chang fen" to her. As we were still very full from our lunch, we just had a drink to cool ourselves. After a short rest, we took a bus down to Sun Lik. She bought some stuff while I left the shop empty-handed. We parted from there. It was truly an afternoon well spent in catching up and sharing our experiences.


As usual, we made some goodies for each other. We knew that we will appreciate each other's efforts. These were the gifts from me.

Chocolate Kueh Lapis



Almond Cookies



Pineapple Tarts



Her wonderful baking gifts for me:

Vanilla and Chocolate Cookies



Peanut Cotton Cheesecake



Thank you Grace! For being a wonderful companion for an afternoon and your lunch treat! At least I know you'll be here to stay. :) Enjoy your trip home!

Cheddar Cheese Cake

Last week, my colleague and I were discussing making pineapple tarts. I shared with him that many home bakers swear by SCS butter (or Lurpak or Golden Churn) for making their pineapple tart crusts. However, being a thrifty person, he bought the Fairprice brand of butter when there was a promotion for "Buy 3 Get 1" free! I emphasized to him that he must truly get SCS butter for his pineapple tarts. Otherwise, he will be doing disjustice to the tarts! I also casually added that he can give me the Fairprice butter for me to bake butter cake for him.

And true enough, he bought the butters to office for me as he really went to buy SCS butters for his pineapple tarts! What an obedient colleague! He brought the pineapple tarts that he made to share with us. It was rather good considering his time making it (after many years).

With the butter that he brought for me, I decided to bake a simple butter cake to share with my colleagues. Found a simple Cheddar Cheese Cake from Alex's "Creative Making of Cakes". I brought it to office and the comments were pretty good!




Recipe for Cheddar Cheese Cake.

Ingredients:
250g Butter
170g Sugar
4 Eggs, lightly beaten
85g Cheddar Cheese
1 tsp Vanilla extract
100ml Milk
280g Plain Flour (I used unprocessed wheat flour)
1 tsp Baking Powder

Method:
1. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
2. Add eggs one at a time and mix till incorporated.
3. Add cheddar cheese and mix till well combined.
4. Add vanilla extract and mix well.
5. Sift flour and baking powder together.
6. Add 1/3 of the flour into the mixture, followed by milk. Alternate flour and milk and end with flour. Mix till incorporated.
7. Pour into a loaf pan and sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top.
8. Bake at 180C (160C fan oven) for 55mins.

Over the weekend, I also baked some pineapple tarts, and crimp them like roses. Elyn from e's joie has shared very good instructions on how to crimp them, and also her experience on the ingredients used. Visit her site to find out more.




Chocolate Kueh Lapis

ecipes that are used once a year for festive seasons are quite a headache sometimes. Even if I might have baked them very well last year, it doesn't necessarily mean that I'll do well this year.

Take this kueh lapis recipe. I made them last year without much problem. However, this year, first try, the portion was wrong, completely wrong!! Even though I wrote a note last year, it wasn't that detailed. Instead of using using a 7” pan, I used a 10” x 10” pan because my note on it wrote “10” x 10” pan”, but I didn't write 2x recipe!! So in the end, my lapis turned out to be a shortie. Flat and short.



I didn't want the kueh lapis to be just the traditional one. So I added some chocolate rice between the layers. Overall, the lapis taste was really good with the addition of chocolate rice, except it was too short, too little. If I had stacked them up, they'll look picture perfect!

Durian Gourmet Demo Workshop

Durian Gourmet workshop is what LA called it. A few of us, including my dear friend, Doris, attended her durian workshop on Sunday evening. I was waiting for this workshop. I asked Youfei if she was interested to attend, and she agreed quite readily. As it turned up, there were seven of us! I was surprised to see so many of us. I guess durian must've been the favourites amongst us Singaporeans!!

Like I mentioned in my previous workshop with LA, I enjoyed her workshops because she showed us different methods, different gadgets everytime! I told her if everytime we come, and everytime there are new accessories, in no time, we'll be broke if we followed her in getting all those stuffs! Anyway, it was an enjoyable workshop. We brought back the cakes that was baked during the workshop. They were just...YUMMY!

Here is the showcase of what was demonstrated during the workshop.




Our takeaways (ta-bao).

Simple Cookies

Not having too much on hand during weeknights, I prepare the cookie dough from Kitchen Corner during the weekend and left it in the freezer. I knew that if I can afford the time to bake, I'll just take it out, cut it and bake. Simple as ABC, convenient like microwave! Heehee...


I baked it this morning as I was on morning half day leave to settle my daughter. It was easy to bake, and the cookies taste good! I like them, and so does my daughter! However, the shape wasn't as nice and even like what Grace did. I think it's alright as long as it taste good, don't you think so?

Rosemary Corn Muffins

Few months back, I went shopping at Mustafa and bought a packet of whole wheat flour and a yellow corn flour. I've been wanting to bake some corn muffins and found a recipe from Martha Stewart website. Then I realised the recipe called for cornmeal, not cornflour. Oh dear! I thought cornmeal = cornflour. On second thought, I think I've seen cornmeals before. They are coarser and I believe it would be nicer when added to muffins. I was also surprised to find that the whole wheat flour is actually unprocessed. It has a very strong wheat smell and it's cream in colour instead of our usual bleached white colour.


Anyway, I decided to go ahead with the recipe. I used dried rosemary instead of fresh ones as that was the only herbs I have at the moment. I changed the recipe slightly. Surprisingly, it turned out quite good. The taste of the dried rosemary was very subtle. In fact, when it's placed in a container, the fragrance that arised was actually rosemary! I would think, fresh rosemary will stand out more if used. I shall try with cornmeal and fresh rosemary...if I can remember next time! :)


Recipe for Rosemary-Corn Muffins from Martha Stewart Website.

Ingredients
Makes 20 regular muffins

125g Plain flour
160g Yellow cornflour
70g Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Dried rosemary
125g Corn kernels, plus more for topping
245g Buttermilk
1 Large egg, lightly beaten
55g Vegetable oil

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan oven).
2. Line the muffin trays with paper cups.
3. Whisk flour, corn flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, rosemary and corn.
4. Combine buttermilk, egg and oil in a small bowl.
5. Add to flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
6. Spoon batter into muffin cups, and fill to the brim.
7. Topped with more corns if desired.
8. Bake until the tops are brown, about 15-16mins.
9. Let it cool in for 5 mins before turning out the muffins on a rack.

Brownies & Muffins Workshop

Last month, Stacey emailed me and told me she wanted to learn cupcakes, muffins, brownies and chocolate. I thought that was rather ambitious to achieve in a day! After much discussion, her friend and her decided to sign up for my chocolate valentine's workshop and a customised workshop-Brownies & Muffins. They attended my chocolate valentine's workshop last week, and today, they are back again for their second workshop. They felt more comfortable after last week's session.

The ladies had fun weighing and creaming their batters. The tasks today seemed less difficult, and more achievable for them even though we didn't use any mixers! I helped to train their biceps! I also baked some blueberry & almond muffins for their refreshment.


These were what they brought home with them after the workshop.

Brownies.


Assorted Muffins- Chocolate chips, Cheese and Orange.


Change in Lifestyle

Since my twins started their life in primary school this week, there will be a slight change in my lifestyle from now onwards. Change in my lifestyle as in baking. Usually, by the time I reached home, the kids will already be home and had taken their dinner. However, since school has started, they will reach home much later than me. Now, I go home to a quiet environment. No longer having them to greet me at the door sometimes. Somehow, I just missed their noise, their laughter and their bugging.

I guess it's just a matter of getting used to it. So instead of them greeting me previously, now, I go downstairs to wait for them to return from school. By the time they bathed and finished dinner, it was already 8pm. It was almost like an hour of "time loss" for me. Usually, my baking starts at about 6.45pm in the evening. Now, it starts an hour later. Dinner is later for me too. With the change in our daily routine, I supposed I might not bake so often in the evening now. And so, it will lead to less update in my blog too! *domino effect* :p

Last December, I went to Robinsons to buy a 9" Kaiser Bundt pan. Bundt seems to be quite the in thing now. It comes in different materials, including silicon ones. I've been dying to bake in such a pan. I found that if it's baked well, the cake can turn out to be really pretty, like this cake from Gina.


I've also wanted to bake the Walnut & Choc chips cake from Wen's Delight. It was sitting in my "To bake" file for a long time. So without hesitation, I bake this cake in my new bundt pan. Actually, the recipe was meant for a 10" pan, I baked it in my 9" pan. It sort of "overflowed". I filled the batter right to the brim, which I shouldn't have. And I greased the pan with cooking oil! Woah! After a "short break" from my baking, I seemed to have lost my checks!! Hahaha...


Anyway, the sides were slightly oily (thanks to the greasing). And I found the cake too sweet despite reducing the sugar already. If you want to try the recipe, do reduce the sugar to a total of 150g. I used a total of 200g and still find it sweet. Probably because of the chocolate rice I added. The funny thing is, when I printed the recipe, I didn't realise that steps #5 & 6 were missing from my printout! So instead of folding the egg white into egg yolk mixture, I fold in the flour first, followed by the chocolate rice and walnuts, then fold in the egg whites. That was quite a tricky part. In the end, I got myself a more airy cake, as compared to the original cake that Wen posted. I would very much preferred her texture, more dense than airy. Anyway, it's a learning experience. I still like the taste of the cake, with the walnut giving it a crunch!

1st Day in School

This is when parents are most anxious-their child in Primary One! Like them, I joined in in jostling with the hundreds of parents to see how our kids queue to buy their food during recess time. We were in school pretty late and managed to catch them going to their classroom. They were very happy to see us. I see them off in the school bus this morning. They looked rather settled when I closed the vehicle door.


They looked very happy to be able to buy food on their own. I'm glad to see that they will slowly become more independant. Life won't be easy from now onwards, but it sure going to be more enriching and fun!


Chocolate Valentine's Workshop

A month ago, I "advertised" on my Chocolate Valentine's Workshop. Initially, I thought I might need to cancel it as school will be starting soon and most parents are more anxious about being at home with the children and spending time with them. Fortunately, I didn't have to cancel as there were two ladies who were interested to attend this workshop.


It is quite disappointing when I have already prepared all my materials for workshops and there were no response. Even an enquiry or two will make me excited. Anyway, today's workshop went very smoothly and well. The participants have not baked before, but they were rather good in their moulded chocolate roses.




During this workshop, they were taught how to bake an Almond Pound Cake, mould chocolate roses & leaves and frost with chocolate ganache. They did all these themselves, which I'm really proud of. I'm sure their family members will be elated when they bring back the cake to share with them. Hope they can re-create this cake during valentine's day!


A Cake, a Pie and a Bread

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my blogger friends!

I just love the long long holidays, from New Year's eve half day, to New Year's day, to Saturday, then Sunday. There are so many days of non-work which I can plan and do my bakings. The sad truth is, school is re-opening so SOON! And my LTS (little twin stars) are going to Primary One on Monday! Like any anxious parents, I will tag along to ensure that they settled in in their P1 class. Not that it's the first time my child goes to P1, but that it marks a new phase in their life. So I just want to be in that part of the phase where they will remember and like.

Anyway, back to my bakings. My elder sister invited us to her place for dinner again on Saturday to celebrate her birthday. She prepared very sumptuous and wonderful dinner for us. She is one who believes in good quality food for her family and friends, and spends her time in the kitchen preparing these foods for us. I must say, they are truly truly GOOD!



I made two Walnut Pies and a Cheese & Onion Bread for my siblings and parents. I baked the pies on Thursday evening, and brought one over to a friend's house on New Year's day for a gathering.



For the Cheese & Onion bread, the original intend is to add cheese to the bread loaf only. However, I realised that my cheddar cheese has expired! :( So I had to use my pizza toppings cheese, which consists mostly of mozzarella cheese. Cheddar cheese are nicer for the bread because it's slightly saltier. So to bring some flavour, I caramelised some onions and add to the cheese. I was rather happy with the combination. Though the onions didn't make the bread salty, it does make it sweeter!




Finally, I promised to bake my sister a Chocolate Praline cake for her birthday. I learnt that from my Chocolate workshop a month ago. I'm glad the cake turned out successful despite it was my first attempt! Happy birthday Steph, and thanks for the wonderful dinner!


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