Sunday, December 11, 2011

Maple Shortbread

Canadian maple syrup is one of expensive stuffs imported and sold in HK. It's truly sad when I recently had to throw a whole bottle away because I totally forgot and left it stand peacefully in the cupboard until it had passed the expiry date for a few months before I found out! And instead of blaming myself, I simply passed all my guilt for such a wasting thing onto time that seems to fly so quick..actually, too quick to use up all ingredients I've crazily stocked  in/on time!!

With a new bottle bought to replace the old one, I have promised myself not to let the same thing happen again, so I was determined to make something about it and for some reason ( which I couldn't remember what it was! ) I ended up with this shortbread..

Anyway, I couldn't find any recipe that I am really fond of or keen on I decided to create my own recipe using few recipes on the net to be a guide...and here is what I've done at the end..


  • 1 cup cold maple butter , cut into cubes
  • 1/4 scant cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt    
For the maple syrup, In a small saucepan, bring 2/3 cup of the maple syrup to a boil and reduce by half (this should take about 15 minutes) Remove from heat and let it stand at room temp. When it is cool, add the butter and stir or gently whisk until well blended. Then
  • place in frigde until firm (I left it overnight).

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend the maple butter, sugar, and vanilla in a food processor just until smooth, about 30 seconds. Sift flour, cornstarch, and salt over butter mixture and pulse just until clumps form.

    Press the dough evenly into 8 inch square pan lined with parchment paper. Prick all over with a fork and freeze 5 minutes. Bake in middle of oven until edges are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes and, while still warm, cut into slices. Cool completely before removing from pan.



    It's all of a sudden that I felt like making these lamingtons..and nothing could stop me when this kind of feeling happens! After a quick search on google, I then ended up using two recipes which one is for the sponge cake and the other for chocolate frosting..

    The recipes could be found here ( the sponge cake) and here ( the frosting ).


    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Echaudés à l'anis

    It's been a while that I haven't posted anything on my blog but it doesn't mean that I haven't done any baking! At this time of a year, there're so many things to do while so little time's in hand..

    Anyway, I've been recently baking a few things which some are things I've baked and posted them here before and some are new that I am sharing them with you here.

    One of them I'd like to show is Echaudés à l'anis which is kind of French cookies and it reminded me of Italian Taralli I've made before..

    250 g. AP flour
    1 egg
    Milk, as needed
    1 tbsp. oil
    1/4 tbsp. salt
    1 tbsp. aniseed seeds (I added 1 tsp. seeds and 1 tsp. aniseed extract)
    2 tbs sugar
    1.In a bowl, mix the flour, eggs, oil, salt and aniseed seeds together. Add the milk slowly as you knead until the dough comes just together. The dough should be very stiff. Rest the dough overnight in the fridge, then roll it out about half an inch thick, cut strips, then triangles.

    2.Drop the triangles into lots of boiling water, in small batches.

    3.As soon as they rise to the surface (they sometimes stick to the pot, nudge them a little to make sure they are swimming free), set them aside on a tea towel until they are no longer tacky to touch.

    4.Finish them in a 180°C until they puff up and get barely golden.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Far Breton

    Far Breton (also Breton Far) is a traditional cake or dessert from the Brittany region in France. Its base is similar in composition to a clafoutis batter: a flan-style eggs-and-milk custard with flour added. Prunes or raisins are common additions. Numerous recipes available at popular websites suggest soaking the dried fruits in alcohol; this is not traditional practice but makes an interesting variation. Far Breton as served in Brittany is often cooked to a much more "burned" appearance than online recipes indicate; the top of the custard appears nearly blackened rather than golden-brown.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Browned Butter White Brownies

    I've made brownies lots of times using a variety of recipes but somehow had never tried a white version..can't help but wonder how I'd missed it for such a long time! Anyway, here it comes!

    Trying to be a brownie making expert, I decided to use all of my experience and skill to make my own version which ended up like the following..

    The recipe

    125 g white chocolate , chopped
    100 g butter, browned
    2 extra large eggs, room temperature
    50 g caster sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    80 g AP Flour
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips
    sliced almond for topping

    Method :

  • In a double boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate and browned butter; cool slightly.

  • In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light in color, add the vanilla and mix until blended. Gradually beat in the melted chocolate mixture. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; fold into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the chips.

  • Pour into a greased 8-in. x 8 in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before slicing.


    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Apple Cupcake

    I came accross this recipe of apple cake on one of my favorite sites while I was looking for something and I couldn't believe myself how I'd missed it for such a long time..anyway,it's always better late than never!

    The only problem of making the cake is that I could't find a golden apple called for in the recipe. Without any effort made, I simply substituted a granny smith apple for it with a hope that there wouldn't be much difference in the result !

    The recipe could be found here.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Orange-scented Marble Pound Cake

    I was inspired by this post to make my own version and instead of plain one, I decided to spice up my cake by making it marbled given orange and chocolate are always a great duo !

    Here is what I've done..

    150 g unsalted butter, room temperature
    3/4 scant tsp salt
    150 g caster sugar
    150 g cake flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    100 g milk
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    2 tsp vanilla
    1 rounded tbsp orange zest
    2 rounded tbsp cocoa powder + 2 tsp sugar + boiling water for cocoa paste

    Method :

    1. Preheat the oven to 160 c. , Lightly grease a loaf tin and line with parchment paper. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well each addition, stop the machine and scrape the batter down from time to time, until incorperated and the batter becomes smooth. Add the vanilla and the zest and mix all until blended.

    2. Add the flour mixture and milk alternatively and mix until smooth. Divide 1/3 of the batter to a mixing bowl and fold in the cocoa paste, mix until incorperated. Pour half of plain batter into the prepared tin, top with the cocoa batter and finish with the rest of the plain batter. Make a swirl with a thick toothpick or a cake checker. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center come out clean. Let cool in pan on a rack and turn out onto a rack.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Pan De Muerto..Bread of the Dead !

    Pan de muertos is a type of  bread traditionally baked in Mexico during the weeks leading up to the Día de los Muertos, which is celebrated on November 1 and 2. It is a sweetened soft bread shaped like a bun, often decorated with bone-like pieces. Pan de muertos is eaten on Día de los Muertos, at the gravesite or altar of the deceased. In some regions it is eaten for months before the official celebration of Dia de los Muertos. As part of the celebration, loved ones eat pan de muertos as well as the relative's favorite foods. The bones represent the lost one (difuntos or difuntas) and there is normally a baked tear drop on the bread to represent sorrow. The bones are represented in a circle to portray the circle of life.

    I wasn't aware of this bread's existence until I've recently found it on here.  As a bread (making) lover,I knew at the first sight that there's nothing that could stop me from making the bread! Given my husband doesn't fancy a taste or smell of orange blossom water, so I searched on google for other options and finally ended up with this one from here.

    I've also sent this bread to join yeastspotting hosted by Susan of Wildyeast.

    Spicy Stir-fried Sirloin with Thai Basil

    Instead of a plain sirloin steak , this dish is another way to jazz it up.. Along with other few ingredients, it could easily become much more interesting ...simple, yet scrumptious !!

    The recipe could be found here.