Monday, July 26, 2010

Blueberry Cheesecake

July and August are the months of blueberries! How can I miss making something out of it?!! hahahahh! Used it as a topping over cheesecake, something which I really like to eat myself, and wish to perfect. The problem with testing out cheesecake recipes (or even whole cake recipes for that matter) is, you have the bake a whole cake and even if it tastes heavenly, it's impossible for my family to finish everything. The calories kill as well. So got the chance to do it at the monthly zadankais where I'll have guests over at my place.

Was lazy and decided to go for the easy way for cheesecakes - to just bake it without a water bath. The cheesecake recipe is from Jamie Oliver's Bloomin' Easy Vanilla Cheesecake. Honestly, I'm not crazy over this cheesecake. It's dense, rich and may I say, slightly dry as well. Personally prefer moist and creamy cheesecakes. Am really pleased with the blueberry topping though. Will add some lemon juice or a dash of gin the next time for a second level flavor.

Mom brought some of the cheesecake to her workplace as well and one of her colleagues - who's not a fan of cheesecake - love it to bits. and had multiple servings of it She said it tastes refreshing and it does not have the usual creamy sick dairy taste which most commercially prepared cheesecakes have. While I'm into creamy cheesecakes, here's one who doesn't heehee! Guess another man's poison is another's meat.

The best cheesecake I've ever tasted came from The Cheesecake Factory when I stayed in US then, but damn I can't find a good copycat recipe so far. Mom said I shouldn't be lazy anymore when it comes to baking cheesecake. Will only stick to water bath recipes in the future, I guess.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Biscuit Base -
175g digestive biscuits
85g unsalted butter

Cheesecake filling -
450g cream cheese
60g caster sugar
1.5 tbsp corn flour
1 large egg
60ml whipping cream
1 vanilla pod

Blueberry Topping (to prepare in advance) -
250g blueberries
70g sugar
6 tsp water

1. Cook blueberries, sugar and water in a pot on medium heat
2. Stir occasionally so that it is evenly cooked, be careful not to caramelize the sugar
3. Cook till blueberries are softened & set aside to cool
4. Pour blueberries into a container & store in fridge until ready for use

Cheesecake -
1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Combine digestive biscuit crumbs and butter in a bowl and press the crumbs on a 9"springform tin
3. Cook biscuit base for 7 mins & remove from oven. Put aside to cool while you prepare the cheese filling
4. Turn oven to 200°C
5. Combine sugar & cornflour in a bowl & add mixture into cream cheese. Beat mixture with an electric mixer until creamy
6. Add in egg and beat well
7. Gradually add in cream and beat until smooth
8. Scrap the pods off the vanilla and add into mixture, beat till smooth
9. Pour mixture onto biscuit base, gently shake to level out the filling
10. Put cheesecake in oven for 35 mins until top is golden brown or filling has set
11. Let cheesecake cool in oven for a while before removing it from oven to cool at room temperature
12. Spread blueberry topping over cheesecake & chill overnight or till ready to be served

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Matcha Azuki Muffins

Part 2 of baking weekend - Matcha muffins! Bought a can of azuki beans waiting to be nom-ed more than a month ago. Finally open ceremony it today. Modified my chocolate muffins recipe to matcha one with some adjustments. Love the results. The green tea taste is significant as I got generous with the matcha powder. Everyone who tried it smelt the matcha. Mom said the green looks pretty though I think it looks mutant-ish heehee.

Packed them in a box with encouragement on top as it's meant for a zadankai anyway. She said everyone was excited (probably due to the box) and love the muffins. Yayness for me!

Matcha Azuki Muffins

280g all purpose flour, sifted
100g caster sugar
120g unsalted butter, melted
300ml milk
2 eggs
6 tsp matcha powder
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
200g azuki beans

1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Add flour, matcha powder, sugar, baking powder & salt into a bowl and mix well
3. Lightly heat up milk and egg in a saucepan
4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture
5. Pour in milk mixture and melted butter into the well
6. Fold batter quickly until just combined
7. Fill up half of each muffin cup with the muffin batter
8. Add a spoonful of azuki beans on top of the half filled cups
9. Cover the muffin cups with the remaining batter
10. Bake for 20 mins
11. Leave muffins in baking tray to sit for 5 mins before cooling them on a wire rack

Friday, July 23, 2010

Banana Walnut Cake

Gonna make lotsa noms for my sister's zadankais in the weekend. First up is banana cake! Tried one of David Lebovitz's recipe from my newly bought cookbook, Ready for Dessert. Original recipe is here. I lowered the fat and sugar content as there will be old folks at the zadankai. Last thing I want is one of them to get a heart attack after eating my cake =S

Cake is moist and soft. I guess it must be the magic of sour cream. Cinnamon and banana go really well together as well. The kitchen smelt lovely with the blend of banana and cinnamon while the cake was baking. Had trouble chasing my dog away as she smelt it from the bedroom and think it's her food. I skipped the coffee powder simply because I don't have coffee powder at home hahahahh!! But I think it'll taste great if you followed the recipe to add a tablespoon of it.

Banana Walnut Cake (modified from David Lebovitz's Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting and Candied Peanuts)

350 g all purpose flour
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
200g unsalted butter
200g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
6 tbsp lite sour cream
450g bananas, mashed
120g walnuts, coarsely chopped & toasted

1. Preheat oven to 175°C & prepare a 9"x9" square baking tin
2. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda & salt in a bowl
3. Cream butter & sugar in a separate bowl with a mixer on medium speed until light & fluffy
4. Add in vanilla, then eggs one at a time into butter & sugar mixture
5. Stir in half of flour mixture into creamed mixture
6. Add in bananas and sour cream and stir
7. Pour in the remaining flour mixture and mix till just combined
8. Bake for 50mins or until the centre is set

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Gonna celebrate 2 of my friends' birthdays tomorrow. Decided to make cookies for them as birthday presents! Reused my Anna Olson's recipe, modified a little to reduce the fat and sugar content with minimal effect on the result. This time I also divided the cookie dough into two and added white chocolate and macadamia nuts to one portion, and milk chocolate to the other.

Decided to use chopped chocolate bar for the milk chocolate portion because I have this bar of baking chocolate lying around since I started baking few months ago. Was dumb and bought random chocolates which labeled "for baking" without considering the percentage of cocoa hahahha It actually gave a pretty good result because the chocolates are chopped coarsely so it gave a generous dosage per bite which melted nicely on the tongue. The chocolate shavings which came off from the bar during the slicing also gave the cookie a rustic look.

For the white chocolate portion, am pretty pleased that I didn't burn them this time. My previous 2 attempts baking them at the typical cookie baking temperature burnt the white chocolate chips and the appearance wasn't too....appealing.

Looks like I need a bigger cooling rack :/

Birthday Cookies! (adapted from Anna Olson's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe)

140g all purpose flour
75g butter, room temperature
20g white sugar
85g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp corn flour
50g white chocolate chips
40g macadamia nuts

1. Preheat oven to 175°C
2. Cream sugar and butter
3. Add in beaten egg and mix well, then add in vanilla extract
4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, mix well
5. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and fold in till well combined
6. Stir in chocolate chips & nuts
7. Drop tablespoons full of cookie dough onto aluminium prepared trays
8. Bake for 10 mins and transfer to wire rack to cool...and profittttt!!! xD

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffins

Have leftover cream cheese from making cheesecake brownies the other time, so I had to clear them quick. My past experiences storing opened cream cheese in the fridge didn't register too pleasant memories as they ended up curdling. I also love the awesome combination of chocolate with warm cheese heh heh

They were meant for a kite flying cum picnic session but it has been raining hard during morning so the plans are trashed. Gaahhh... Anyway they landed up at my boyfriend's place for his family, so it's all good :]

Shoved one to my boyfriend in the midst of a movie. He said the amount of sweetness is just right and he liked the little surprise cream cheese in the middle. He also had no qualms whether it's being eaten warm or not. Yayness for me! Will try this concept on other combination.
Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffins

160g all purpose flour, sifted
25g cocoa powder, sifted
120g caster sugar
80g chocolate chips
70g unsalted butter, melted
165ml milk
1 egg
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
icing sugar (for dusting)

Cream Cheese Filling:
120g cream cheese
1.5 tbsp white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate chips, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix well
3. Lightly heat up milk, egg and vanilla in a saucepan
4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture
5. Pour in milk mixture and melted butter into the well
6. Fold batter quickly until just combined
7. In a separate bowl, use a electric mixer to beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth
8. Fill up half of each muffin cup with the chocolate batter
9. Add a spoonful of cream cheese on top of the half filled cups
10. Cover the muffin cups with the remaining batter
11. Bake for 20 mins (centre doesn't come clean for this one due to the cream cheese :Þ)
12. Leave muffins in baking tray to sit for 5 mins before cooling them on a wire rack
13. Dust some icing sugar on the muffins...and profffiitttt!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Sweetest Thing Ever

Boyfriend told me he's gonna deliver something to my place out of the blue. So I was like sure, what's it? Turns out to be my breakfast for tomorrow. Apple ham topped with cheddar cheese, accompanied by nutritious multi-grain bread. He's worried about my bad eating habits, skipping breakfasts and dinners, munching on sugary junk food. Have to compliment him for making the sandwich to look like a cake too, so it'll look even more so irresistible to me teeheehee

Thank you :]

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cranberry Shortbread

Cranberry Shortbread is Christmas food!! But doesn't stop me from making them early in the year. Started off as a practice recipe in anticipation for Christmas gift giving for my colleagues in December. Ended up being my mom's favorite snack. Don't think she's too crazy about the shortbread, more of the fact that she can chew on the cranberries. "More cranberries!", she demanded. She finished my first batch all by herself. This is the second time I'm making them, think most of them will end up in her tummy as well, heh.

I like this recipe because it has no egg, so I need not make a big batch of them to meet the ratio. The tanginess of cranberry is pretty distinct, accompanied by buttery shortbread with a hint of vanilla. You can add orange zest if you like as well, to add onto that tangy flavor. Shortbread generally looks paler than cookies. If you like them to be browner, you can bake them slightly longer, but do bear in mind your shortbread may turn out drier and harder.
Cranberry Shortbread

115g all purpose flour
75g unsalted butter
35g white sugar
50g dried cranberries, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Cream butter and sugar
3. Add vanilla extract and mix well
4. Mix flour and salt in another bowl
5. Blend flour mixture into butter and sugar mixture to form a dough
6. Add the cranberries in and mix thoroughly
7. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 1h (I skipped this, resulting in really soft dough that is hard to handle)
8. Roll out dough to desired thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out the dough
9. Bake for 8 - 10 mins and and transfer to wire rack to cool. Proffiiitttt!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ramen Eggs

Learnt it during the CNY period after the many ramen pig out sessions with friends. Most of them will add an extra side for the egg. Kinda rude shock for me that a measly egg can cost a few bucks. "Must.Learn.Egg!!!", the oh-so-miserly-side-of-me shrieks.

Warcraft's elders' words of wisdom applies here - "Time is of the essence". Though online recipes may tell you 6 to 8 mins, the 2 minuted variance differs a lot in terms of results. General rule of thumb - The more runny you like your yolk to be, the shorter the cooking time. I did mine for abt 6 1/2 mins, hence the runny yolk. Make sure that your eggs are not kicking around violently in the pot. Simmering bubbling water shall do the trick. Cooking time varies from kitchen to kitchen, depending on how strong your stove fire is, size of your eggs and pans. Will take a few practices to get the timing right. But no egg goes to waste. If you overcook the eggs, just mashed them up, add some mayo, salt and pepper and you've gotten yourself a nice egg mayo filling for next day's breakfast.

One more thing to note is cold eggs crack, with a fire cracker pop-like kaboomz, upon contact with hot boiling water - that's why some recipes will recommend that you poke a hole on the shell to prevent that from happening, but my lazybone got the better of me, so I just dunk mine into the water. I do find that using fresh good quality eggs help to reduce the chances of this happening. Even if your eggs do crack, don't fret. Just remove the excess egg white which hangs out from the crack during the water bath and your egg is good as new.

Really inexpensive and easy to make. All you need is really just eggs. I soaked them in a ginger shoyu marinade overnight, but you can actually skip it and eat it in its good ol' eggy way.
Ramen Eggs

Eggs, straight out from the fridge

1 tbsp of Japanese shoyu
1 tbsp of light soya sauce
1 tsp of dark soya sauce
1 tbsp of sugar
1 cup of water
Ginger slices, blanched in hot water

1. Boil water in a saucepan, enough to cover the eggs
2. Put eggs into boiling water, & let it boil for 6-8 mins (I boil 2 at a time)
3. Remove eggs from boiling water & soak it in an iced water bath for >15mins
4. Combine all marinade ingredients in a separate bowl
5. Remove cooled eggs' shell & put them into marinade & put in fridge for at least 4h
6. You may serve the eggs chilled, or dunk it in hot ramen like all good eggs do =]

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie

A really late gatecrash to join the World Cup Fever. Glad I caught the match last night, the 2 teams really put up a good fight! Uruguay v Germany. Referee sure knows how to create drama by issuing a free kick for Uruguay at the last minute (literally!) when the score was already 2-3, causing German fans to break out in cold sweat teeheehee

Made some cheesecake brownie upon request of a dear friend as a halftime snack. Finally got the chance to open ceremony my Lindt’s dark chocolate for comparison to Cadbury’s Old Gold, and I must say I prefer the former. Lindt’s is relatively lighter and gives a better texture, and I like how it gives the brownie the original dark brown appearance as Cadbury leaves it almost-black. I also like how the bar is thin so I can simply snap it over the mixing bowl instead of having to whip out a chopping board just to cut them up; perfect reason for lazybones to choose Lindt over Cadbury anytime.

Made 2 mistakes:
(1) The swirling is a bad job done. I covered the whole brownie with cheese instead of leaving some brownie mixture exposed.
(2) I overbaked it. Having only baked normal brownies without cheese topping before, I did not know how much additional baking time is required. Did not camp by the oven on its last minutes, and the cream cheese browned, I thought it looked pretty much like pasta brownie HAHAHAHH Bf tried to comfort me that it doesn't look as bad as I think it does LOL

Nevertheless, I thought they look cute in the bear plastic wrappers I’ve gotten. Tastes unique too - Dense fudgy dark chocolate brownies with contrasting sweetness of cream cheese with a hint of saltiness.
Double Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie

80g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
80g unsalted butter
40g cocoa powder, sifted
30g all purpose flour, sifted
¼ tsp baking powder
100g white sugar
2 large eggs

Cream Cheese Topping:
200g cream cheese
1 egg yolk
60g caster sugar
Few drops of vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 180°C & prepare a 9"x9" square baking tin
2. Melt chocolate & butter on a double boil, leave aside to cool while you work on the dry mixture
3. Mix together cocoa powder, flour, sugar & baking powder, then add mixture to chocolate mixture
4. Stir well, beating in one egg at a time until you have a silky consistency
5. Pour brownie mixture into pan
6. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar & vanilla extract until smooth
7. Add dollops of cheese onto the brownie mixture & swirl them, making marble-liked patterns
8. Bake for 35mins or until the centre is set

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies I

Am constantly in search of the recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie to realise there's none. Everyone has their own definition of a great cookie. Some like it crispy, some like it with a massive chocolate chip invasion, some like it soft and chewy. I like it chewy! But bf likes it crispy and crunchy, think: Famous Amos, which till this day, I'm still figuring out how -_- Hey I guess it's famous for a reason ya.

Decided to give my favorite chef a shot at her recipe and not disappointed at all! It gives the melt-in-your-mouth kind of texture, yet chewy at the same time. Not as chewy as the ones I had from Subway though, but still great.

Didn't listen to Ms Anna's instructions to bake it at a slightly lower temperature than most cookie recipes, and tried one batch with +10°C baking temperature and ended up with puffy cookies, probably due to the baking soda. Puffy ain't my kind of cookies hurhur. Did a little modification by reducing the sugar by a teeny weeny bit, will reduce a little more butter and just a bit of sugar in my next try, for health reasons ahahaha! Will probably give Alton Brown's recipe a shot the next time. hmm.
Anna Olson's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

280g all purpose flour
170g butter, room temperature
40g white sugar
200g brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp corn flour
180g semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 175°C
2. Cream sugar and butter
3. Add in beaten egg and mix well, then add in vanilla extract
4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, mix well
5. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and fold in till well combined
6. Stir in chocolate chips
7. Drop tablespoons full of cookie dough onto aluminium prepared trays
8. Bake for 10 mins and transfer to wire rack to cool...and profittttt!!! xD

Monday, July 5, 2010


Welcome to the birth of my baking blog. Where I test, try out different combination of (think: let-your-powers-combined-I'm Captain-Planet! sort of thing), experiment, meddle around, try-to-poison-my-bf, messed with food :D

To be updated with more significant posts other than this one when I'm feeling hardworking.

Just a moment of omg-I'm-starting-something now.

Till we meet again!