Review of 2013 Bakes

As 2013 comes to a close, I reviewed my bakes and summarised my monthly favourites.
Happy 2014 and have more yummy bakes!

January -Hazelnut Chocolate Entremet (Flourless)
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September - Durian Puffs
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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

My  last attempt of baked pasta and cheese didn't turn out too moist. So I decided to try making Baked Macaroni & Cheese for a Christmas dinner with family friends. I know my friend's son loves my baked pasta (tomato based sauce). So this time, I decided to make Macaroni & Cheese instead. 

This time, the macaroni & cheese was moist and very cheesy too. My friends and their children loved it. Here's how I made the moist Baked Macaroni & Cheese.
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Recipe for Baked Macaroni & Cheese
(Makes for 10 persons)

Ingredients:
500g Elbow pasta, cooked till al dente, drained and set aside
Some olive oil
2 cloves Garlic, chopped coarsely
300g Bacon, cooked till fragrant
1 can Button mushrooms, sliced
500g Cooking cream (20% fats)
350g Whole milk
Salt to taste
Some herbs, eg. Mixed herbs
300g Shredded Red Cheddar Cheese
300g Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
300g Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (for baking)
150g Shredded Red Cheddar Cheese (for baking)

Method:

1. Heat up a large wok. Add olive oil, followed by garlic to saute. 
2. Add in mushrooms and stir fried for a while before adding the cooked bacon to mix.
3. Add in cooking cream, followed by whole milk and stir to mix well. Add in salt and some mixed herbs if using.
4. Add in the elbow pastas. Mix well with the cream sauce.
5. Add in 300g of red cheddar cheese. Stir well to mix. Add in 300g of white cheddar cheese and mix well. It will become cheesy.
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6. When all the cheese has melted and mix in, scoop them into baking dish. I used two glass baking dish of approximiately 9"x9" size. Or you may use one 9" x 13" baking dish.
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7. Topped up the macaroni with the 150g shredded red cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese and spread them out well.
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8. Bake in the preheated oven of 190C for 20-23mins or until the cheese on top turns brown.
9. Remove and serve immediately.

I'm submitting this to 'Baby Sumo's Christmas Recipes Collection 2013hosted by Baby Sumo of  Eat Your Heart Out.

Honey Cinnamon Cookies

This post is sponsored by Liv butter. Try Liv today!
Liv Butter - Salted & Unsalted-001
Christmas is round the corner. Ever since I started baking, I've been thinking what Christmas presents I should bake/make for my family and friends. As there are many people I wanted to give, I didn't want them to be too complicated. Even though I don't really like cookies, but I think cut-out cookies are really nice, especially when it's frosted. I have to admit, I'm not so diligent, nor am I a perfectionist. Hahaha... (did you hear excuses coming?)

With so many recipes online and from books and magazine, I finally decided on making Honey Cinnamon (Cutout) Cookies.
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Recipe for Honey Cinnamon Cookies, modified from "Super Food Ideas", Dec2012/Jan2013 Issue.
(Makes approx. 46 cookies)

Ingredients:
250g LIV unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
3 cups Plain flour, sifted
3/4 cups Icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
A pinch of Ground ginger
A pinch of Ground nutmeg
A pinch of Chili powder
1 Whole egg
2 tbsp Honey

Method:

1. Place butter, flour, powders and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl.
2. Rub in chilled butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. (You may use a food processor for this step if you have).
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3. Add egg and honey. Stir until mixture comes together. (Continue to use food processor if you are using it.)
4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth. Divide mixture into half.
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5. Shape into 2 discs. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 mins. (You can freeze the other half for up to one month. Thaw in the fridge overnight, stand at room temperature for 30 mins before continuing to cut out and bake.)
6. Preheat oven to 170C fan forced.
7. Roll 1 dough disc between 2 plastic sheets (or baking papers) until 5mm thick.
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8. Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut out the pattern from the dough. Re-rolling and cutting dough scraps.
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9. Place on prepared baking trays, 1cm apart. Bake 1 tray at a time, for 13-14mins or until pale golden.
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10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
11. Wrap it individually and give it as present.

Also to  'Baby Sumo's Christmas Recipes Collection 2013hosted by Baby Sumo of  Eat Your Heart Out.
Wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!

Lavender Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This post is sponsored by Liv butter. Try Liv today!
Liv Butter - Salted & Unsalted-001
Good as a gifts for Christmas. :)
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Recipe for Lavender Cream Cheese Pound Cake, adapted from Honey Bee Sweets.
(Makes 3 small and 3 mini loaves)

Ingredients:
330g Plain Flour
340g LIV unsalted butter, room temperature
250g Cream cheese, room temperature
6 Whole eggs
240g Castor Sugar
 tbsp Rum
1 tsp Salt
1½ tsp Dried Lavender

Method:
  1. Preheat fan oven to 160°C. With a k-beater, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in rum and lavender.
  3. With mixer on low, add flour and salt in three additions, beating until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared pans. Even the top with a spatula.
  5. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out almost clean, approximately 40-43mins.
  6. Cool them in the pan completely before serving.
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I'm submitting this post to  Aspiring Bakers #38: Boozy-licious (December 2013) hosted by Jasline of Foodie Baker.

Coconut & Lemongrass Rice

An accidental discovery I had when I ran out of pandan leaves one day while deciding to cook nasi lemak. In the end, I used lemongrass and the taste was fantastic! The first time my helper cooked, the coconut taste was not so prominent, but the coconut was very fragrant. The lemongrass smell was not prominent but there was a nice after taste. 
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Then we did it again for a family dinner. This time, my helper cooked five cups of rice with 200g Kara coconut cream and a packet of 50g Santan Coconut powder with two stalks of lemongrass. It was very nice and well received by my family. Dad who initially took a little of the rice, decided to go for second helping. Some of us who usually didn't take rice, took some too! In the end, the rice wasn't enough and my helper had to cook another round. 

We bought some food for our Nasi Lemak, while the rest was cooked by my helper - Fried Selar fish, Fried Drumsticks, Fried eggs and Green vegetables. We also bought fishballs, beancurd fishcakes, otah, ikan bilis and sweet sambal chilli. Enjoy your nasi lemak with lots of dishes and chilli! Also to include cold Yuzu drinks to complete the meal. Sedap!
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Flourless Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

My daughter requested for Chocolate Cake for her birthday celebration. I had actually decided to bake a Chocolate Fudge Cake, ensuring that I had evaporated milk. Then when I saw Ann's post on Flourless Chocolate Cake, I changed my mind and decided that a flourless cake will be more popular with my family members. True enough, this was hit with my family members. The cake was soft, and you can feel the grainy hazelnut texture. Coupled with the raspberry coulis, it was a perfect combination of taste and texture. This is a sure keeper for me!
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Recipe for Flourless Hazelnut Chocolate Cake, adapted from Anncoo.
(Makes a 8" cake)

Ingredients:
100g Dark chocolate buttons (66%)
100g LIV unsalted butter, cubed
80g Caster sugar
2 tbsp Kahlua liqueur
100g Ground hazelnuts
1 tbsp Instant coffee granules with 1 tbsp hot water
4 Eggs (approx 55g each), separated

Raspberry coulis
120g Fresh raspberries
50g Water
40g Caster sugar

Method:
  1. Preheat fan oven to 150C. Grease deep 8" round cake pan and line base.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring until mixture is combined and chocolates melted.
  3. Combine chocolate mixture with sugar, kahlua, ground hazelnuts and coffee. Add in egg yolks, one at a time. Stir well to mix.
  4. Whisk egg whites with electric mixer until peak forms (not too stiff); gently fold into chocolate mixture in two batches.
  5. Pour mixture into pan; bake for 35 minutes or skewer inserted into cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan.
  6. In a small pot boil raspberries, sugar and water together and stir over medium heat.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes, mash raspberries with a spatula. Leave aside to cool totally.
  8. Decorate with some raspberries on top of the cake and raspberry coulis before serving.
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I'm submitting this post to  Aspiring Bakers #38: Boozy-licious (December 2013) hosted by Jasline of Foodie Baker.

Chocolate Chips Cheesecake

How time flies! It's already into December, the last month of the year. I've always like December period. It's a month full of celebrations and feasting. And the weather is usually cooling, which makes one less temperamental and more happy. December is also the month where three of my children celebrate their birthdays, starting from my eldest son.

Baking a birthday cake for my eldest son is not so difficult. Every year, it's Oreo cheesecake, or some sort of cheesecake. He likes cheesecakes. So this year, we celebrated his birthday earlier together with his maternal grandparents, aunties and cousins. I baked a Chocolate Chips Cheesecake for him and he like it.

Happy birthday to my beloved son! Hope you'll be matured and successful in your endeavours!
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Recipe for Chocolate Chips Cheesecake, modified from "Fantastic Cheesecake" by Alex Goh.
(Makes a 8" square cake)

Ingredients:
Cake base
2 x 120g Horlicks Biscuits, crushed finely
15g Cocoa powder
40g LIV unsalted butter, room temperature

Filling
500g Cream cheese
100g Caster sugar
20g Plain flour
2 Whole eggs
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1 Lemon zest, grated (I omitted this)
200g Whipping cream
100g Chocolate chips

Topping
200g Dark Chocolate, 55%, chopped coarsely (or use buttons)
200g Whipping Cream

Method:
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  1. Prepare an 8" (minimum 3" high) cake ring. Place baking paper below and secure it with a string. Put it on a baking tray.
  2. Cake base: Mix all the ingredients well together and press them onto the bottom of the cake ring. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Filling: Cream cheese, sugar and flour until light. Add eggs one by one and cream until smooth.
  4. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and cream till well combined.
  5. Add whipping cream and mix well.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Pour the cheese filling onto the prepared biscuit base.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 150C for 55mins, or until almost set at the centre and slightly browned on top.
  9. When it's baked, leave the oven door ajar and let it cool completely (overnight).
  10. Topping: Heat whipping cream in a saucepan over low heat. Keep stirring until almost boil.
  11. Then pour it over the dark chocolate in a mixing bowl. Let it sit for 1 min.
  12. Stir and mix well, ensure all chocolates are melted.
  13. Pour the ganache on the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate immediately (for at least 6 hours).
  14. Remove the cake from the cake ring using a spatula. Smooth the sides, and serve.
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