67 Photos - Nov 6, 2011
Photo: Photo: World Peace Cookies redux
Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies. A change in cocoa and using light muscovado sugar led to a super crumbly dough; hence baked shaped instead of the usual log slices. A much firmer crumb than usual, hmm. Still... chocolate cookies for distribution to guinea pigs, err, tasters.

A quick Nexus 4 snap. It has its quirks, but serves me well enough. =)

#doriegreenspan #chocolate #cookiesPhoto: coconut oats almond bites

Wheat free baking for a little crunch to go with cuppas. Plural. Happily guilty, I seldom stop at one cup and even more seldom stop at one cookie; bite sized for easier portion control. Ahem. Being a newbie with a camera, cookies motivate for taking acceptable shots faster. Faster so I can get to them whilst they're warm, not cold, with hot being the ultimate goal. An incentive for me who likes to eat.

First photos of what I cook were taken after joining G+ as missives to friends afar. As such, the food albums are student diaries as I learn aesthetic considerations through photographers met here. On lines, light and colour. On depth of field, bokeh and framing; just for starters. It's tempting to delete earlier atrocities but refrained as they show my progress thus far; there's much to learn to cook, style and capture.

With this particular image, a surprise encouragement was received by way of a voice clip. An excited three year old in her sweet little voice,

("Cynthia big sis, your cookies are very pretty!")

The shot and bites are imperfect but had gladdened her eyes. Her voice was a gift from afar that melted and motivates me.

#coconut #oats #almonds #cookies #baking #wheatfree  Photo: layering textures and flavours

Lessened impact when they're merely two bites? Ahem.

chocolate crème pâtissière with coconut creamPhoto: coconut cream and chocolate crème pâtissière tartlets

An echo of the journey before.

#coconut    #chocolate   #tartlets   #baking   #glutenfreePhoto: Macaroon tart of coconut cream, chocolate crème pâtissière and caramelised popcorn: an afternoon cross-section.Photo: Macaroon tart of coconut cream, chocolate crème pâtissière and salted caramelised popcorn.Photo: Macaroon tart shell first filled with a layer of coconut cream.Photo: What cake may come

To mix, perchance to bake -Photo: Je pense à toi.

#sepiasaturdayPhoto: A summery garden in winter.

The chill of winter with the scent of summer; matched by a languidness with the recipe that is afforded when I'm not baking cookies nor cakes.

roasted rosewater berries with quinoa almond crumble

Mingle berries with honey, rosewater and a pinch of salt to taste. Roast at 160°C until reduced to your preference. This was around 20 minutes, but let sight and scent be the true guide.

Bind quinoa, ground almonds and coconut oil in 2:2:1 ratio (2 tablespoons of quinoa were used here). Add preferred spices as present mood dictates.. mine were cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Press as a thin layer on a baking tray and bake until golden. Form crumbs.

Swirl rosewater and sweetener through Greek styled yoghurt. Or not.

'Tis a languid weekend, proceed as willed. Hmm. There might be a point with friends associating me with feline tendencies.

#berries #rosewater #glutenfree (just happened to be) #quinoa   #crumble   #languidnessPhoto: Baking as meditation.

When spurious thoughts clutter my mind, I cook, I bake. The precise decisions and tactile motions mute unrelenting questions. Demanding, wafting questions. Weigh each ingredient. Be deft of hand for each step. Weigh each piece of cookie dough; 53 grams here. Shape. Chill. Bake.

These are really large cookies compared to my usual 15 gram crispy chewy double bites. I'm new to baking solely crispy cookies, having thought them messy to eat. Ditto with the size. A break from my norm. A change. A creativity distraction. A break from sorrowful tendrils.

Baking warmed this chilly apartment. I discovered fun in eating a cookie that's huge, that demands agility as each shattered morsel succumb to gravity, that is bitter and sweet.

That is breakfast.

Adapting Alice Medrich's Ultra-Thin Chocolate Chunk Cookies
~ Crimes I committed to the recipe.. I didn't have dark brown sugar nor corn syrup, so substitutions were made via honey (granular + honey and honey respectively). This explains the cookies' lighter shade, dryer texture and decreased spread akin to lace.
~ I baked at 140°C as mine's a fan forced oven.
~ These baked in 8 minutes instead of 20. Scent and sight were my gauge for when baking is done.
~ The cooled cookies were crisp and shattered merrily.
~ Finally, my first cookie dough that's doused with oats.
~ With thanks to lemonpi for her metric conversions.

6 ounces/170g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 sticks/140g unsalted butter, melted
1.5 ounces/42g quick rolled oats
3.5 ounces/95g granulated sugar
1.75 ounce/50g dark brown sugar
2 ounces/55g light corn syrup
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 ounces/200g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks

Combine the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oats, sugars, corn syrup, milk, and salt. Mix in the flour mixture. If the batter is warm from the butter, let it cool before adding the chocolate. Stir in the chocolate chunks. If possible, let the dough rest for at least several hours at room temperature or (better still) overnight in the fridge. The rest makes for an especially crisp and extra-flavourful cookie!

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Lay out 3 sheets of aluminium foil, cut to fit your cookie sheets, on the counter. Arrange 5 pieces of dough well apart on each sheet of foil, remembering that the cookies will spread to 5 inches. Flatten each piece of dough until it is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Slide two of the sheets onto baking sheets.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookies are thin and very brown. If they are too pale, they will not be crisp. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Slide the foil with cookies onto racks to cool completely before removing the cookies from the foil. Repeat with the third batch – you can even slide the next foil and cookie dough onto a hot baking sheet as long as you put the pan in the oven immediately. Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an airtight container for at least 3 days.

#chocolatechunk #crisp #shatters #cookies #alicemedrich #breakfast #meditation #wordsPhoto: Autumnal baking with writer's block.

秋。Autumn, to harvest with grain and fire.
愁。With a heart, melancholy arise. 

On a bright autumnal day with writer's block.. may the colours of my baking express where my words fail.

(It was a dark and stormy night...)

lemon orange flower almond cupcakes
... with a raspberry lemon twist
~ Cake recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson's Damp Lemon and Almond Cake. Recipe halved.
~ Orange Flower Water took the place of almond extract, my preference.
~ Baking time based on scent that waft through the kitchen and the colour of the cakes. Plus a handy bamboo skewer. 
~ A loose piece of foil covered the tray lest the cupcakes' tops browned too soon.
~ Raspberry lemon syrup to mimic beloved autumnal hues.. made by reducing raspberries with sugar, then the juice of a lemon stirred through.
~ A friend dubs this and its ilk my "procrastibaking".

#lemon   #orangeflowerwater   #almond   #raspberries    #cupcakes   #autumn     #writersblock     #procrastibakingPhoto: Coconut cupcakes...

The day was the perfect blue for baking (it's logical). Dug out How to be a Domestic Goddess to adapt its very kitsch (if with Malibu) coconut cake (which sadly I don't have).

Sunset light grants everything a golden glow.Photo: An attempt at the gooey Swedish chocolate cake "kladdkaka". Apparently the most Googled food in Sweden. =)

"The [Swedish] guards forgot to lock a group of prisoners in their cells for the night, and they decided to spend the time baking chocolate cake and watch TV." was read just post baking. An adorable comic! Appreciative when a pleasant happening is reported instead of disheartening tripe. ^^ http://satwcomic.com/what-to-do-what-to-do

Seeking to verify the tale, this newspaper snippet told three were murderers and it was the kladdkaka that was baked. If true, wow. =) http://www.neatorama.com/2013/05/28/What-Happened-When-the-Warden-Forgot-to-Lock-the-Cell-Doors-in-a-Swedish-Prison/#!sA1Ow

Further links:
~ Kladdkaka recipe adapted: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/75135/swedish-sticky-chocolate-cake-kladdkaka
- I only had raw caster and brown sugar so a combination of both substituted for the white sugar named. I'll decrease the quantity a little next time.
- The baking time was truncated to 25 minutes as suitable for my convection oven.
~ BBC's Top 10 mentioned the kladdkaka as the most Googled food in Sweden. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-25778730

#baking   #chocolatecake   #kladdkaka   #happinessPhoto: Ginger syrup simmered glutinous rice dumplings with toasted coconut and lotus seed sprinkles. aka. Unintentional dinner.

These, 糖不甩, offered to mingle
~ the aroma of hot ginger syrup with toasted coconut.
~ a dumpling's chewiness with the crunch of toasted sprinkles.
~ the sharp bite of ginger infused syrup with the sweetness of coconut and lotus seed.

~ The sprinkles commonly include crushed toasted peanuts and sesame. Toasted ground lotus seed and coconut reigned my moment.
~ CLANNAD's Dango Daikazoku song partly spurred my making these. The Dango song (with lyrics) remain lodged in my mindscape.
~ Each dumpling was awash in ginger syrup then in toasted goodness before consumption. Maximised flavour == happiness!
~ Past tense? Yes... "I'll taste test a few." -> "That's dinner done." Ahem.

#chinese   #dumplings   #糖不甩   #dango   #dessert  #N4Photo: Far Breton ~ a dessert originating from Brittany

For a while, I was cared for by a French friend who loves custard but not enamoured of hefty flavours. Inspired by that memory, blueberries were scattered on for a fruity burst in lieu of Armagnac soaked prunes. The texture of this custard-y pudding is smooth, dense, but not heavy.

Icing sugar could have been dusted on for a snowy look, but that would have meant extra time before I got to eat breakfast. Ahem.

Recipe and baking notes:
~ Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Far Breton recipe:
~ Unlike inebriated prunes, the cup of blueberries remained afloat vying for attention.
~ The recipe calls for an 8" pan but I only have a 9", resulting in flatter flan. Although it didn't dry out, the use of an 8" pan would likely yield a more tender custard.
~ The use of a baking sheet under the pan aids in even heat distribution and shields the custard's base from being  browned and hardened.

An unprocessed N4 snap.

#cake   #baking   #dessert   #brittany   #french   #twisted   #memoryPhoto: *lemon curd tart and tartlets*

My foray into making tarts achieved by using this crumbs formed pastry (to overcome my aversion to rolling out dough).

A messy shot taken with an SGS3 to placate a food post request. 

Pastry recipe 
~ http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/04/11/best_lemon_bar_recipe_zest_and_lots_of_fresh_lemon_juice_are_key.html
~ I did like the flavour of this lemon slice, but I have a strong dislike to flour thickened curd, so for these tarts I trialled a different recipe.)

Curd recipe
~ http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/sep/22/cook-perfect-tarte-au-citron
~ I used a cup of juice. Number of lemons is too ambiguous for my liking with the vastly varying sizes they come in.

#lemoncurdtartPhoto: coconut tapioca pudding

From a friend/foe came an image of a luscious baked tapioca pudding, a direct hit on my all things custard (buns, brûlée, trifles, even The Doctor's penchant with fish fingers) nerve. To sate my instant yearning (sigh) and to retaliate via a known weakness, a plot for a *coconut*-y (hah!) version bloomed. For justice! ;)

Tangential thought: BFF works for both friend and/or foe. Not a term I use, but it would work as an acknowledgement of the other party having made an effort? ^^

*Details, details:*
~ I adapted +Christine Ho's recipe (http://goo.gl/qg5bU) for three reasons. Her page looked promising (!), it didn't rely on (cornflour et al) thickeners, and it makes a small batch. 

*My tweaks for this coconut version*
~ 2 tbsp milk powder + a little vanilla extract instead of custard powder
I used this substitute since I have no aversion to eggs and having read custard powder's story (eg. at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird's_Custard).
~ added 2 tbsp dessicated coconut with the milk powder
First coconut layer!
~ 50 ml coconut cream instead of evaporated milk.
This coconut cream's texture was comparable with evaporated milk, an opportune opening for the second coconut layer.
~ 30 g honey instead of 45 g sugar
Unless sugar is needed for structure (eg. for a cookie), I tend to sweeten with a light honey.
~ 20 g coconut oil instead of butter
Third and final coconut infusion. ^^

The recipe was for three servings, but I opted for five smaller ramekins. The preference for the dainty & cute is yet another weakness. >.>

#coconut    #tapiocapudding    #thedoctor   #teaclub   #teacoffeechocolatefoodclub   #custardPhoto: coconut friand + lemon coconut sablé

Spring picnic tidbits for a chocolate averse, thus a coconut parcel of petite curvature.

~ Recipes by Dorie Greenspan.

#baked   #doriegreenspan   #sable   #friands   #coconutPhoto: almond coconut bread with blueberry jam

This was made to match grain free paleo constraints, and served with a solely juice sweetened blueberry jam to meet a request. (Paleo + refined sugar detox for a friend.)

Just which recipe had I used for this round of baking? sigh Scrounging is required to discern. I'd forgotten to jot it down.

#baked   #paleo   #glutenfree   #almond   #coconutPhoto: cm by cc

Not a chocolate cake... not even with chocolate. A twist on the more familiar macaroons, made with coconut flakes instead of its dessicated form. Morsels to be bitten through myriad layers, or be decimated by the sheath.

The allure? The crack of crisp caramel flecked flakes. Coupled with a moist soft centre that benefited from the mix having rest for half an hour, allowing the flakes to rehydrate. 

Taste test time. Mm.. better trial another for consistency. Then another in a few minutes. Duty calls for such sacrifice diligence.

Bonus points? The lingering scent.

* The recipe listed variations by adding chocolate, or by adding cinnamon and lime zest. Enticing, but I had only sought unadulterated coconut for these. Loved how the flavour were all the flakes, not needing drops of coconut extract.
* Next time.. perhaps with the cinnamon and zest as suggested, but some coarsely grounded almonds also? It's a mixture that has room for play. 
* Recipe: http://goo.gl/an1cf

#teaclub #foodfriday #coconut #macaroons #vegetarian #cookingPhoto: disclosure

A query was raised.. what's within the enclosure?

A story.

The tale of a velvety mousse teetering over the airy chocolate cake, lured to tumble into the abyss.

Of romance. An adventure.

That, is the balm of chocolate.

#cookingPhoto: ponderous baking

What do you do when there are thoughts to mull over, with a mind to clear? Some people run. Some meditate. I bake. (orly?) Baking quietens my mind as I go about with reasoned, measured motions. When done, I go on with the thoughts I need to mull over, with the bonus of having goodies to share with others. Win-Win.

There are so many reasons to love this recipe. How can I not when a lustrous velvety mousse foam spontaneously on folding in the yolk into the chocolate mixture? I could have stopped just then!

Moreover, this is a gluten-free, nut-free, four ingredient cake. Minimal butter and sugar was used along with just eggs and chocolate that create a dual-function batter. A 1/4 of the mousse-batter is reserved in the fridge, whilst the balance is baked into an airy cake that form a beautiful dome in the oven in just 30 minutes (so fast!), to be turned onto a serving plate. Removing the tin and paper reveal an evenly baked cake, shunning any mournfulness for the lost dome. Then 'lo! It cools to reveal a gentle crater, ready to cradle the chilled chocolate mousse topping. Then cocoa. And chocolate curls. Simple. Ingenious.

+Gemma Costa & +Mikael sh, not cookies, but it does have chocolate and the recipe follows. =)

~ I love recipes with weight measures. The desired egg weight allowed me to weigh the eggs for the recipe. Instead of picking any 12, with varied egg sizes, counting the number of eggs can result in a batter for something entirely different. Eg. When my batch of cookies became a pan of brownies because the size of my eggs much exceeded the recipe's expectations. =P
~ Since it only used four ingredients with nothing to obscure the flavour, please do use the best chocolate on hand.
~ No, it doesn't taste eggy.
~ It's mostly eggs. Then dark (not much sugar) chocolate. And for such a large cake, tolerable amount of butter and sugar. Acceptably healthy and cheerful. =)

recipe: Eve’s Chocolate Cake
(from the book French by Damien Pignolet)

360g bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
50g soft unsalted butter
12 x 65g (780g) eggs, separated (room temperature)
30g caster sugar (for whipping with egg yolks)
20g caster sugar (for whipping with egg whites)
a little grated bittersweet chocolate and cocoa, to decorate

Grease a 26-28cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 150′C.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a bain-marie of hot (not boiling) water then work in the soft butter.

Beat the egg yolks with the 30g of sugar until pale. Combine them with the melted chocolate and butter.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry (preferably in a copper bowl with a wire whisk), and then beat in the 20g of sugar until stiff. (I was lazy. Hello KitchenAid! )

Beat 1/4 of the egg-white mixture into the chocolate and then fold this gently but thoroughly back into the remaining egg-white mixture.

Transfer 1/4 of the cake mixture (I measured by ladle approximation) into a bowl and refrigerate. Pour the balance of the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30-40 minutes. It should remain slightly moist in the centre; to test, press the centre with your finger after 30 minutes – it should hold the indentation.

Remove from the oven and turn out directly onto a serving platter. Remove the springform ring and base. Leave to cool completely. The cake will collapse to leave a crater in the centre. Fill the crater with the reserved mixture and scatter with the chocolate. Dust lightly with cocoa and serve with whipped cream.

#food #chocolate #cake #damienpignolet #teaclub #baked #cookingPhoto: mini cinnamon scrolls

A continuation of my cinnamon scent craving (which has since thankfully abated.. baked cinnamon goods make the kitchen smell so wonderful). I'd come across this rather cheerful blog some time ago and thought, now is the time to try. I'd halved the recipe since I'd only wanted to test it, and not be a glutton.

They were indeed simple to whip up, quite soft. Next time, I will add shredded coconut amongst its folds for moisture, flavour and fragrance.

~ I'd sprayed the layers with rice bran oil instead of basting with melted butter. For health and laziness reasons.
~ recipe: http://happyhomebaking.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/magical-rolls.html

#food #baking #teaclub #cinnamonscrolls #cookingPhoto: baked cinnamon doughnuts

Late night craving for something cinnamon.. like a doughnut! Deep frying is too much of a hassle to clean, and a deep fryer is too mono-task for me to desire (anyhow, what am I to do with all the oil afterwards? I don't eat that much fried food.). Besides, I could justify making them just a little bit more if they're baked.

I halved the recipe I came across, added cinnamon to the batter as well (as I was really really in a cinnamon mood), and skimped on dipping the doughnuts in melted butter but used milk instead, before dusting with cinnamon sugar. Not too cakey, could be a smidgeon lighter. They do salve doughnut cravings without having to drive out in the middle of the night. ;)

+Yumi Shoji, doughnuts! =)

~ http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001561.html

#teaclub #food #donuts #doughnuts #baked #cookingPhoto: which hold sway?

Noooo! My kitchen scale won't even respond with a flatline. In lieu of cheerful digital flashes of weights and volumes... measures, that cross the metric and imperial divide... is only black stillness. Onward with volumetric measurements! quivers at loss

A buttery cookie bound by the deep lustrous tartness of pomegranate, with crunchy toasted sunflower seeds studded through its folds. I do wish the molasses' garnet hue would colour the crumb red velvet.

The conundrum. Shall each tablespoon of dough be lightly shaped into spheres for a thin crisp caramelised surface? Or be barely moulded into mounds for a melting moment texture? Which shall hold sway?

~ volumetric measures! It's true that humidity, temperature, and quality of ingredients can affect the outcome of a recipe. It's why I usually use weighed measurements to lessen variability in a baked recipe's execution. It's better for me to measure the effects of recipe tweaks.
~ recipe adapted from http://goo.gl/vWO2h using toasted sunflower seeds
~ the dough tastes good raw. twiddles fingers
~ taken with SGS with Vignette for Android.

#food #cookies #pomegranatemolasses #sunflowerseed #teaclub #cookingPhoto: chocolate sablé revisited

These words of Dorie Greenspan once enticed,
"The cookies... are chocolate sables, French shortbreads, but, because they've got more brown sugar than white in them, they've got more chew than most shortbreads. They've also got a generous amount of dark chocolate chunks and enough fleur de sel, moist... to make them noticeably salty and completely addictive."

... and they have done so again. There are hopes that I don't wish to dash.

Surreptitiously, these really are choc-chip chocolate cookies.. It was time for another CCCC by CC

~ Previous foray: https://plus.google.com/100901649987363776394/posts/EsCYgEhncBb?hl=en
~ I did use light brown sugar this time as the recipe called for, instead of dark brown sugar of my last bout. Less fruity, less juicy, but still good. (I'm not picking up another for taste testing before I sleep tonight! Will-power exerted!)
~ recipe, Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies - http://www.doriegreenspan.com/2009/02/tuesdays-with-dorie-world-peace-cookies.html
~ Photographed with SGS with Vignette app for Android

#cookies #chocolate #sablé #doriegreenspan #worldpeacecookies #teaclub #cookingPhoto: brownie sundays

Brunch thoughts. Brownies do begin with a "br-".

Crisp edged, with a bite tending towards a fudge-like truffle. Rich. Dark... No, not a blurb for a Mills & Boons novel.

Perfect little squares to have with a cuppa, and pouring through required reading.

~ Yes, this is a delayed posting.
~ Simple to make, although it does take some elbow grease. The notes prior to the recipe are definitely worth reading for information and humour.
~ I used 70% dark chocolate. I like my chocolatey things very chocolatey.
~ Next time, I might bake these in smaller containers so there'll be more edged pieces. No, I'm not going to acquire a edge brownie pan for this singular purpose. =)
~ Recipe: +David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert, posted at http://leitesculinaria.com/36645/recipes-brownies.html

#brownies #chocolate #teaclub #food #cookingPhoto: passage of time


#food #dessert #chocolate #cake #meringue #cookingPhoto: a chocolate cake of chaos and order

A slightly mad celebration cake with alternating layers of...
Lighter-than-air chocolate sponge.
Chocolate crème pâtissière.
Crisp outer, yet marshmallow-y inner cocoa meringue.

Topped with whipped Frangelico double cream and shaved chocolate.

recipes adapted from and inspired by:
~ Epicurious' Lighter than Air Chocolate Roll - http://goo.gl/JXduu
~ Nigella Lawson's Gooey Chocolate Stack - http://goo.gl/uJ1YN

#dessert #chocolate #cake #meringue #glutenfree #teaclub #cookingPhoto: crumbs

+Gemma Costa was curious about the texture of the melting moments, which gave me a legitimate reason to eat another one...

Pink halo courtesy of SGS. ^^

#cookingPhoto: melting moments with rhubarb curd

Melting Moments. An alluring appeal of visceral M-alliteration. Mm..

These melting biscuits are often filled with lemon (or if you are an Aussie, the aromatic passionfruit) butter cream. With the summer heat, a brightly coloured and flavoured curd leapt as an alternative.

Rhubarb takes centre stage from the well-trodden paths of oranges and lemons. Make the purée, if only to watch the homely stalks transform into a bright jewel red. Make the curd, if only to feel the sensation of tasting a luscious cloud.

In order to have different means to sample these elements, various cookie shapes and assembly methods were used. Thumbprint cookies were ruled out for example, because the baked curd became near baked jam in texture. I wanted the curd to remain a soft cloud. What is shown are the shapes I came to like.

Why are all the shapes miniatures?
I have a fondness for cute things. Besides, they're so much easier to tuck away in a bite, or two. =)

Little treats for our distributed tea club: +Gemma Costa, +Mikael sh, +Louisa Catharine Forsyth, +Thomas Paris, +Mikko Tyllinen and other members, plus everyone who likes a sweet snack with a brewed cuppa (of tea, coffee, chocolate, ..). =)

On a far-flung tangent, no, being Mm.. is not why M&M's were so named, according to Wikipedia. "One M was for Forrest E. Mars Sr. [founder of the Mars Company who makes M&M's], and one for Bruce Murrie, the son of Hershey's Chocolate president William F. R. Murrie." ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%26M's

~ Left jar: rhubarb curd. Right jar: rhubarb purée, an ingredient to make the curd.
~ For the sandwiching cookies, I used a levelled tablespoon of dough. For the smaller mounds, a heaped teaspoon. If the dough is a bit soft to shape with, do place it in the fridge to chill for ten minutes or so first.
~ Take the cookies out of the oven as soon as a hint of colour starts to show. They brown readily, and will continue to cook on being taken out of the oven. As my cookies were smaller, I began watching them at the ten minute mark.
~ The cookies are very fragile on coming out of the oven. Mine were baked on baking paper for the ease to slide the sheet gently off the tray and onto the rack to cool. Less handling and hastens cessation from cooking.
~ Curd is much more "squishable" than butter cream as a cookie sandwich filling, so a couple spoons of cornstarch were added in its making as instructed by an Epicurious recipe. I'll test just cooking the curd to a heftier thickness in the future to see if it can accomplish the same.
~ With the biscuits' yielding texture, the curd didn't squish down and squeeze out as a sandwich was bitten into. Do give the curd a little time to settle before eating though.
~ I haven't tried a butter cream filling that I like yet, preferring its fresh cream counterpart every time. I may be persuaded otherwise someday, but it hasn't happened yet. Another reason I chose curd.
~ My ability to use a ziplock bag to pipe icing/curd really needs more practice. embarrassed

Recipes & Inspiration:
~ Bill Granger's Passionfruit Melting Moments ~ http://goo.gl/7JYa5 - I'm really pleased with this recipe. Light crumbs that did just melt away without being greasy. And it's easy.
~ Lara Ferroni's Rhubarb Curd ~ http://www.laraferroni.com/2010/04/22/rhubarb-bars/
~ Epicurious' Petite Lemon Curd Cookies ~ http://goo.gl/eQqEK - for the confirmation to add tablespoons of corn starch to stabilise the curd.
~ Black Star Pastry ~ www.blackstarpastry.com.au - their lemon curd biscuits inspired, amongst their way too many tasty morsels. =)

#food #baked #biscuits #rhubarb #teacoffeechocolatefoodclub #foodfriday #teaclub #cookingPhoto: coconut crunch chocolate chip (marshmallow) cookie

What did I make for NYE? Something with chocolate. Something with marshmallows. Wha...? Marshmallows? Yes! It's festive and nurtures the inner child for the encroaching year. Of tenuous strands that molten marshmallows and chocolate chips gift when a cookie is torn. Momofuku Milkbar's cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie was the recipe that leapt for attention.

Without cornflakes nor milk powder in the house, my cookies were tweaked to have its crunch aspect made by toasting shredded coconut with the butter, sugar and salt. I liked it. I really want to try the recipe's cornflake crunch though. By all reviews, it's a hit.

Even at room temperature, the chocolate and marshmallow form lingering strands as the cookie is split asunder. Sentimental. Sweet.

The tipple for the night was scotch, as inspired by +Christopher Michel's image on NYE. Specifically, Glenfiddch's Snow Phoenix. A rising phoenix to greet the new year seemed apt. Scotch & chocolate chip cookies. That's quite me.

So the year wrapped up with a final CCCC(M)C by CC. 

~ The Snow Phoenix is a limited edition created when in 2010, several Glenfiddich warehouses collapsed under the weight of snow. Specific casks salvaged were then used to create this whisky by Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich's Malt Master. I like both the concept of snow and of the phoenix. It's a terrific tale. It's good whisky. It works for me.
~ Recipe: Christina Tosi's of Momofuku's Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies http://www.publicradio.org/columns/splendid-table/recipes/cornflake-chocolate-chip_marshmallow_cookies_with_holiday_variation.html
~ The oven temperature described was a bit hot for my oven, so it was toned down by trial and error. Discover what suits your oven by baking test cookies (which being the baker we get to sample first.. oh yes.).

#food #cookies #teacoffeechocolatefoodclub #scotch #snowphoenix #momofuku #teaclub #cookingPhoto: Wishing you a swift recovery, Takahiro!Photo: steamed ginger cake

Does warming up the eggs really make a difference to the quality of the whisked foam? After my debacle (https://plus.google.com/u/0/100901649987363776394/posts/8Dhxjd1j67e) with the some cooked whites, I wanted to know if the step was necessary. Besides, I was hungry. Nay, starved.

Verdict? The room temperature eggs frothed up nicely still, but somehow the texture of this cake was less tender than the other cake. Another iteration is required to ascertain the validity of this outcome. All for the sake of scientific process, indeed. munch ;)

Instead of jumping, +Gemma Costa, let's have cake with tea? xox

~ I had delight with the unadulterated flavours of the cake used in the savoury steamed sponge cake, but this morning I had felt like something more forward and warming, so a couple tablespoons of ground ginger were added to the flour. In hindsight, I still prefer the cake without this addition. Another reason to trial the recipe again.
~ This circular tin was so big it obstructed my view to check if water has run out for steaming! I wonder if there was a hiatus in the steaming due to lack of steam. Hmm.
~ I'll use the square tin again next time, so I could see if water had dried up. It's also better for the sanity of the starved me.. it's so much faster to line a straight edged tin. Besides, cutting the steamed cakes into squares or diamonds asserts a sense of simplicity and nostalgia. It suits the cake better, in my regard.
~ Yes, those are rose petals. The wafting rose scent was lovely as the lid was lifted off the pan. Very edible, too. =)
~ Recipe: http://blog.yam.com/homeeconomics/article/13231381 #food #cake #steamed #ginger #teacoffeechocolatefoodclub #cookingPhoto: coconut pikelets with lemon & honey

"You're having pikelets!", exclaimed I on spying what a friend had hunted & gathered. This lead to an expression of coveting woefulness. --> woeful =(

Must. Have. Pikelets. Too.

Shredded coconut was tossed into a basic pikelet batter, displacing some of the flour quota. Sliced lemons were heated in the pan briskly by post pikelet sizzling heat then doused with honey.

Sunny pikelets! This lead to an expression of joyful munching. --> =D

~ Batter a bit heavy to accommodate the coconut. Shall tweak recipe to balance this next time.
~ Taking photos of breakfast food is difficult.. I kept thinking . o O ( I want to eat it nowwwww. ) So make spares to nibble on to line appetite next time. =P

#pikelets #coconut #TeaCoffeeChocolateFoodClub 
+Tea Club ( Tea Coffee Chocolate Food Club ) #food #cookingPhoto: lemon sable

The right recipe, just one, opened the doors to my current quasi-obsession with sablé cookies. Hearing of my attempt at a chocolate sablé, a Parisian friend in a pleasantly inimitable way chimed that a simple sablé, even without flavouring or chocolate, were much loved. I wasn't convinced. The sablé I had tried thus far were dry bland discs, but the closed door has just become ajar some more.

Then the world peace cookies (Pierre Herme's chocolate sablé) surprised me. It wasn't chalk-like. The crumbly sablé was held by the crunchy caramelised brown sugar, adding to the addictive flavours of salt and chocolate. Was this all because of the brown sugar and the chocolate? A question rankled.. what really is a sablé? A simpler recipe was needed.

Lemon sablés* it came to be.. the allure of bruising lemon zest by sugar crystals to release its scent couldn't be resisted. Nor the subsequent waft of lemon as the oven door opened. The cookies were crisp, tender, and light. Again not dry, just ready to crumble. So my prior bought sablé experiences are to be dismissed?

I am now game to bake a batch from a recipe of basic sablé, no longer do I assume a sablé will be dry and bland. I even have it bookmarked.. although I hear sablés nantais are lovely and might bear investigation. What distinguishes a sablés nantais from other sablés? I have no idea, but in the name of research ahem I shall find out. =)

* I settled on a simpler Dorie Greenspan recipe, but not the simplest sablé recipe. Why not the simplest? She halted my steps with her words that "confectioners' sugar acts like a liquid, not a solid, in baking; it makes things soft" when in combination with granulated sugar for a cookie's body , and this combination is what is used in the recipe. I hadn't known this about icing sugar. I wanted to try for myself.
~ As the recipe states, there should be minimal handling of the dough once the flour is added. (Which reminds me of baking scones... a hop across the channel to the British Isles for afternoon tea?)
~ Keep an eye on the cookies after the 12 minute mark lest the cookies brown to a less appealing hue as my first tray had (I was reading and lost track of time.. timer, must set a timer). Granted, that tray became all justifiably mine... ;)

Recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/07/style/tmagazine/sable_recipe1.html

#lemon #sables #cookies #doriegreenspan #TeaCoffeeChocolateFoodClub #food #cookingPhoto: chocolate sablé ~ Dorie Greenspan's (via Pierre Herme) World Peace Cookies

"The cookies... are chocolate sables, French shortbreads, but, because they've got more brown sugar than white in them, they've got more chew than most shortbreads. They've also got a generous amount of dark chocolate chunks and enough fleur de sel, moist... to make them noticeably salty and completely addictive..."

With this alluring description, my first Dorie Greenspan recipe to attempt was decided. My first rolled cookies, and to my surprise, my first cookie recipe that didn't call for eggs! Sable.. French for sand, this had me wonder at what the resultant texture would be. My usual cookies are small, crisp on the outside and moist chewy within. The texture leant from the use of a mixture of sugars, eggs and ground almonds. How would it be without eggs?

These are indeed chocolatey.. having a quantity of Dutch cocoa mixed into the batter as well as mixing in a bar and a half of 70% chocolate that had been diced in large chunks. Although willing to crumble, they didn't fall apart. Instead, the crumbs were held in check by a moist crisp chewiness, a caramelised gift of the extra brown sugar. For these, I had moreover used dark brown sugar. Fruity and dark, with a few extra flakes of salt for a pleasant contrast in colour and flavour, they were (a few still remain!) addictive as Dorie promised.

This is the snack for our distributed tea break, dearest +Gemma Costa, +Mikael sh, +Louisa Catharine Forsyth, +Thomas Paris, other members our distributed tea club and whoever else would like to share a cuppa moment with us.

PS. Why World Peace Cookies? It's because Dorie's neighbour is "convinced that a daily dose of the cookies is all that's needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness."

recipe: http://www.doriegreenspan.com/2009/02/tuesdays-with-dorie-world-peace-cookies.html

#sablé #cookies #chocolate #food #cookingPhoto: coconut cake with orange curd & italian meringuePhoto: chocolate dulce de leche cakes

For this dual-purpose impromptu concoction, I lacked both the equipment and know-how to make the caramel. So instead, my first batch of dulce de leche was made as substitute. The plan was to make mini ruffled cakes.

Mini cakes... Coming out of the oven, I found the minis didn't have enough cake batter to keep the dulce de leche "levitated". On unmolding, each mini cake had a cavity at the bottom where the baked leche had shrunk due to caramelisation... hmm, I'll use the opportunity to add more filling! Mini couplets were further filled and sandwiched before being coated with chocolate ganache forming little castle towers. =) =) A patchwork fix.. with the peace offering of added chocolate and dulce de leche. dumdeedum

Onward to a larger mold! The round cakes came out better, moreover, the dulce de leche didn't shrink but kept its creaminess.. now I do wish I'd been less conservative when I dolloped it into each mold. But if I had, it might had sunk again... factors to consider. Hmm. These cakes also had ganache spooned over and sprinkled with salt flakes.

This unplanned round of baking was brought on by +Liz Lui's call out message to be inspired by her "rich caramel covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt", so these are my offerings to match with that image. =) As well, I received a birthday cake request from the wonderful donuts bestowing +Yumi Shoji! Happy Birthday Yumi! I hope these brought you a smile. =)

Recipe notes:
Generic dulce de leche and chocolate ganache recipes.
Cake recipe was David Lebowitz's Black Bottom Cupcake's cupcake layer.

Additional notes:
~ The flavour of salted caramel works well with this dark chocolate batter.

#chocolate #dulcedeleche #cake #food #cookingPhoto: strawberry & rhubarb tiramisù

Recently, I was enchanted by the photo of a raspberry tiramisù ~ striking rows of raspberries nestled in crisp mascarpone cream. Hmm. Then a sweet toothed friend who dislikes coffee extolled the red fruit tiramisù. Fate. Sealed.

In season strawberries & rhubarb were bulk purchased at slashed prices at a local weekly market. =) =) A compote was made, with some reserved berries quartered and stirred back in at the end. I used dark brown sugar out of habit. Flavoursome, but likely dulled the red compote's brightness.

The cream was made in the traditional method as kindly shared by +Gemma Costa, with fresh (just bought from the market) eggs. Not with cream nor gelatine. But I did tweak this. I used full cream natural yoghurt instead of mascarpone. It's the compromise struck between my tastebuds and vanity...

Recipe inspirations:

calms +Gemma Costa (no coffee? now no mascarpone??! aaaahhhh!) I only used eggs and sugar! It's mostly the traditional method... and karma has struck me already, see below. >.<

Notes to self, next time:
~ cut up the savoiardi into quarters instead of thirds.
~ check the savoiardi aren't mouldy before snacking on the way back to the car. This will save me from eating unexpected lemon-y tasting "greens", and from having to walk back to the shop to exchange for a new brand and packet of biscuits.
~ granulated sugar for a brighter compote?
~ consider mascarpone or a hybrid. The yoghurt cream tasted lovely. Lighter. Mascarpone needed for true decadence though.

#tiramisù #rhubarb #strawberry #food #cookingPhoto: neighbourly friands

Unexpected knocks rapped upon my door. Flummoxed. This is a secure apartment block, right...?

"Who is it?"

Turns out to be my neighbours from upstairs. They brought me these beautifully home-made friands! And my washed (to me, this is special) baked goods' ceramics. Aww. Much love. Happy. =)

They are my local knights who save me from excessive consumption of my own baking. <3

#food #neighbourly #happy =)Photo: cocoa brownies

Something simple. Something richly chocolatey. Purely chocolatey.

Dense and dark, with a moist even crumb. Fudgy with a lovely caramelised top.

I felt pensive and ill-at-ease last night. The therapeutic and meditative call of baking sung out to me as a remedy. For the focus to measure out ingredients.. the powdery, the sandy, the crack of the egg shell, the spoon of vanilla extract. Then, to bind them to form this bowl of dark lustrous sheen.

With a wooden spoon, a large scoop of this molten richness was brought high above the bowl, letting a continuous dark folding ribbon fall back invitingly into the bowl. Again and again, scoops were lifted, ribbons fell. The weight on my mind momentarily forgotten, the joy of baking took over.

Based on: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/01/best-cocoa-brownies/

#cocoa #chocolate #brownies #cookingPhoto: fudgey cocoa cookies with frangelico

Crisp edged with chewy centres, these chocolate morsels are tinged with Frangelico (a hazelnut liqueur) and are baked for the chocoholics I have come to know here on G+, and for chocoholics I have yet to meet (Hello!).

My apologies for their tardy arrival, dear +Gemma Costa, +Thomas Paris, +Mikael sh and other coffee tea chocolate food club members. xox They may also be good to have with a glass of milk later in the night? =)

I have a slight suspicion I may receive words of reprimand from +Mark Esguerra, after a recent comment... ;)

A knock on my neighbour's door later today is scheduled.

#food #chocolate #cookies #frangelico #foodfridayPhoto: the honey aftermath

... otherwise known as "baked goods and neighbourly love".

Last night, a small plate of cake was delivered to my newly acquainted neighbours. He was surprised I'd keep my word with sharing my baked goods with him and his partner, and let them avert me from the fate of gluttony. Much laughter, promises of future goodies exchange, and suggestion of picnic with wine was made. Ah.. the tradition of cake gifting to neighbours re-established.

So as it turns out, +Thomas Paris, baked goods do make for neighbourly conversation starting point. And this, +Paul Ho, is the aftermath of the honey cake.. a surprise visit from a friend assisted in its demise before this final blow.

PS. The cake really did improve overnight, and toasting it lightly did enhance it.
Back story from a couple weeks ago... an erstwhile nondescript amble to deliver red wine chocolate cake (https://plus.google.com/u/0/100901649987363776394/posts/aPAwCT8xoPA) spawned into an in hind-sight trepidatious frozen pizza undertaking, that even a tea prescription via cheerfulness (https://plus.google.com/u/0/100901649987363776394/posts/chcWwKZqMqx) was in vain.Photo: honey cake with st. germain

As I had told a friend, I wish I could have captured the scent that veiled my sanctuary this afternoon. It wasn't overpowering, but warm and lingering. Lightly spiced, tea moistened and partnered with St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur), the aroma wafted gently as the cake was baked. And as it cooled upon the rack.

This moist dense honey cake is rumoured to improve overnight. I shall find out. If it's good, I have two sets of neighbours to deliver cake to tomorrow.

Edit: For the next rendition, variations to consider include the use of Earl Grey instead of plain strong black tea. Cut down further on sugar. Partial substitution of tea with orange juice. Almond meal perhaps. Take more care for a more even crumb...

#food #honey #elderflower #cakePhoto: Carrot Cocoa CupcakesPhoto: The AftermathPhoto: Death by Chocolate with Ardbeg UigeadailPhoto: red wine chocolate cakePhoto: cinnamon chilli chocolate cake with cacao nibsPhoto: chilli chocolate cake with cacao nibs
served with French press brewed coffeePhoto: Spiced Chocolate Cookies with Champagne OolongPhoto: Hmm.. they look done, converses Thora & Chu TotoroPhoto: honey & ginger cookies with cacao nibs
(off the tray, into a saucer)Photo: honey & ginger cookies with cacao nibsPhoto: Sweet Treats Are Still FoodPhoto: Sweet Treats Are Still FoodPhoto: Brownie Cookie.
I have yet to try them in ice-cream sandwiches.
They were assigned that role since they have a thin crisp crust that breaks readily into brownie softness.Photo: Experiment: Wholemeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.Photo: Raspberry Ginger Butter Cookies.
Same dough, shaped differently.Photo: Sweet Treats Are Still FoodPhoto: A wedge of London Cheesecake with dark chocolate brushed digestives base.Photo: London Cheesecake with dark chocolate brushed digestives base.Photo: Everyday chocolate cake with chocolate chunks.Photo: Experimental dark chocolate cookies.