Chocolate Mint Meringue Cookies.

 

Mm.. best combination ev0r, chocolate mint!

Mm.. best combination ev0r, chocolate mint!

When these came out of the oven, they definitely looked very different from my first two meringue attempts. Yes I still haven’t managed to get them to be round and cute and all.. but these tasted amaazing!!! (Well they will, if you like mint.) 

Basically, I followed the recipe in the last entry but instead of 1 teaspoon of vanilla, in went 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract (you may want to use less, depending on how good your extract is. Mine ain’t that happening, neither is my vanilla, which I always add extra of). Or you can just add it till the mixture tastes minty enough for your tastes. 

I also decreased the mini chocolate chips to about 3/4 cup, and kept the cocoa powder. 

Result: Chocolatey AND minty meringues! *hearts* 

And this was the main reason why I needed to make these meringues… 

 

More more more!

More more more!

My favourite green tea sweets used up several egg yolks and I needed a quick recipe to balance out the whites. So.. hence, the meringues. No regrets making them though because they turned out totally delish! 

 

Twin towers of cookies.

Twin towers of cookies.

July 19, 2008 at 2:15 am 2 comments

Kona Inn Banana Bread

 

Soft, rich, yellow banana bread!

Soft, rich, yellow banana bread!

 

This is a REALLY GOOD banana bread recipe. Although I’ve not tried any others I’m quite content to keep this as my favourite. BUT the type of bananas you use really affects the outcome, a lot! 

Thankfully living here in good ol’ tropical Singapore gives us access to loads of sweet, yummy tropical bananas. Del Monte doesn’t work for this. I tried it out the 2nd time I baked this and my bread turned out much drier than the first time. 

I used really mushy, soft, sweet mini bananas that were overripe for this one, and it turned out beautifully. Very moist, very flavourful, very very yellow and just oh-so-tasty. 

Kona Inn Banana Bread
adapted from Last Crumb

Yields: Two Loaves, Prep Time: 20 minutes, Baking Time: 45-60 minutes (I don’t know what kind of loaf pan this is, but I only did half the recipe as stated below and I stupidly filled one of my disposable tins all the way to the brim and ended up with a pulsing bread monster in my oven: 

Scary overflowing monster bread!

Scary overflowing monster bread!

So if you’re using these disposable loaf pans, HALF THE FOLLOWING MEASUREMENTS WILL ACTUALLY GIVE YOU TWO GOOD PANFULS OF BREAD.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup softened un-salted butter
  • 6 ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 3 cups)
  • 4 eggs, well-beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flower
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. With an electric beater, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add bananas and eggs, beating until well mixed.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients three times. Blend with banana mixture, but do not over mix.
  4. Pour into (2) lightly greased loaf pans. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until firm in the centers and the edges begin to separate from pans.
  5. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
This too is a fairly easy recipe, and it produces such yummy results too! 
View my 2nd attempt at this bread here. 
Rating: 4.5/5 
Would I bake this again? Of course! 😀 

July 19, 2008 at 1:35 am 2 comments

Oreo Cheesecake cups

)

Yum! Finished in 4 bites. 🙂

This was my first batch of oreo cheesecake cups. I’ve adapted this recipe from a number of sources, cross-referring here and there to get the best mix. This is a really easy dessert to make – and yes I love making every bite-sized in this house so its 1) convenient to bring out to offer to other guinea pigs 2) easy to eat. 

Oreo Cheesecake Cups

(makes about 13 mini cupcake cups, more or less depending on how much oreo base you make)

12 oreo cookies, finely crushed 
1 8oz container cream cheese (no, you cannot use cottage cheese.)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk (optional, I did this recipe twice and this didn’t make much of a difference)

3 coarsely crumbled oreo cookies 

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 
  • Combine crushed cookies and butter in a medium bowl. 
  • Grease about 10 mini cupcake tins to begin with. How many cups you finally end up with will depend on how thick your cookie base is. 
  • Drop about 1/2 tablespoon of cookie mixture into tin and press in with back of a spoon. If you prefer a heartier crust, feel free to add more as crust remains soft after baking and will still be easy to eat.
  • Set aside. 
  • Cream the cream cheese and sugar until well combined in electric mixer. 
  • Add egg and milk until well combined as well. 
  • Stir in coarsely crumbled cookies. If you want a grey tone, crumble them more finely. (Pictured above)
  • Pour cheesecake mixture into tin almost to the very top. 
  • Optional step: Either sprinkle top of mixture with fine oreo crumbs
    Crumb version.

    Crumb version.

    OR quarter more oreo cookies and stick it on top of the mixture as decoration.

    2nd batch of cups with different decor.

    2nd batch of cups with different decor.

  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove and cool at room temperature, then chill in fridge till ready to serve. (Best left for 2 to 3 hours at LEAST.)
  • Will still taste good (or even better!) up to 4 days later. 🙂 
Melted chocolate badly forming friends' initials.

Melted chocolate badly forming friends' initials.

I love this recipe! Its relatively fuss-free and utterly delicious. Von said it tasted like Starbucks cheesecake. Not sure if thats a complement to me considering how many bad experiences I’ve had with Starbucks’ cakes (Singapore Starbucks, please QC!). But on the whole this is one dessert I really enjoy consuming myself. 🙂 
Rating: 4.5/5
Would I bake this again? Yes I will and I have! Its a really fun item if you want to bake for a party without going through too much trouble and still have something that tastes good enough for the occasion.  

July 17, 2008 at 1:27 am Leave a comment

Behemoth Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake.

MONSTAAR!

MONSTAAR!

Okay, this is one photo that speaks for itself. You should check out the original, it looks far more superb than how mine turned out. 

 

 I love Julia’s site (dozenflours.com) because everything always looks good on it and her own invaluable comments makes it easier for me to decide if its a recipe worth trying. 

Well. About this behemoth cake, not only was it behemoth in size (and as heavy and daunting as Julia said it would be), it was also a behemoth task to BAKE. 

The whole process took me about 6 hours, not including going to Bedok to get supplies. But including the interlude in which I ran out of Vanilla Extract (down to my 3rd bottle in 3 weeks) and had to drop by Cold Storage to buy (where the lil’ old lady at the counter curtly told me it was BYOB day).

One thing I hadn’t realise about the cake is how aesthetically scary it is. Especially when your frosting turns out wrong and starts drooling all over the place, effectively making your cake look more like a monster burger from Carls’ Junior thats dripping sauce and meat in 360 different directions. In fact, given its size and girth, Carls’ Junior would be an understatement. 

And I haven’t been able to call it anything ‘The Monster Burger’ because scarred in my mind, thats all it resembles to me. :O

 

This cake was actually intended for Charmaine’s birthday (Penne had an outing yesterday, more on that later) but it was so totally hideously ugly that I couldn’t bear having to use it. 

And, notes on why it turned out so bad:

The entire process was fine UP TILL the frosting. Why? Because Liz decided to try and save money (cheese is not cheap!) by buying cottage cheese instead of cream cheese (so much for that since it turned out cottage cheese was only $.50 cheaper per box!). So instead of creamy, yummy cheese, I had cheese that was dotted with lots of curds. ( Which was basically bad for spreading. And the texture of nutella turned the nutella layers REALLY watery and basically all it did was moosh and squish down the sides of the ‘cake’ to my disgust and horror. The peanut butter layers (given the consistency of good, sticky, creamy peanut butter) were perfectly fine. But basically the frosting ruined any semblance of prettiness that I might have hoped to achieve. Lesson learnt. Use the best ingredients (even if it means you’ll be counting calories till kingdom come) and never try to substitute key ingredients. *nods*

Well the fugliness of the cake made me quite depressed and Weili (whom I was periodically chronicling my baking journey to on MSN) was SO VERY UN-ENCOURAGING about it. 

Well its royal ugliness made it clear that there was no way on God’s green earth I was going to put that thing in front of Charmaine for her birthday. So to comfort myself that it probably tasted better than it looked, I cleaned it up and cut a slice for myself. 

 

Tasted it and because I had been smelling cookie layers and frosting for the WHOLE afternoon, I could barely taste it on my tongue anymore. Nice or not – I also don’t know. So I just decided to bring most of it, sliced up (since it would probably be impossible to slice later on) for the rest of Penne to decide for themselves if it was edible. 

The feedback went mostly along the lines of ‘good’, ‘okay’, ‘not bad’ and ‘nice’ so at least that proved it’s edibility. I did bring quite a chunk back (because everyone was too full from dinner and there was another cake AND muffins), which mysteriously disappeared this morning. Either my parents actually ate it up (because it wasn’t in the dustbin so it clearly wasn’t thrown away), brought it to work, or tossed it somewhere I couldn’t see. Hee. But Mom and Dad WERE intrigued by the scary mass in their fridge and actually ventured to try it even before I came home last night. They both said it was not bad but Mom didn’t fail to point out that it was quite ugly.

But it was all, my bad. Ugly it was, but everyone who tried it thought it was yummy. So.. Well, I guess I’m going to have to work on aesthetics!

Behemonth Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
adapted from Dozen Flours

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Filling – Plain
4 8oz packages of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

-or-

Frosting Variation – Peanut Butter and Nutella – 
3 8 oz packages cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cups confectioners’ sugar
3-5 spoonfulls peanut butter (or more to taste)
3-5 spoonfulls nutella (or more to taste)
If you have a Silpat mat: Trace an 8 inch circle on a piece of parchment paper using a thick pencil. Place it face up on a cookie sheet. Place your Silpat mat face up on top of the parchment. You should be able to see the circle you drew peeking beneath the Silpat. If you don’t have a Silpat mat, flip the parchment paper face down on the cookie sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter and brown and granulated sugars into mixer bowl and mix on medium until well combined (it will look very dry and not fluffy at all). Mix in vanilla, eggs, and yolks. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the cream. Stir in chocolate chips.
For each of the 5 layers, drop 1 level cup batter + plus a little extra onto center of a baking sheet lined with parchment (I used about 1 and 1/4 cup of batter per cookie. I measured out 5 separate cups and then divided the rest of the left over batter evenly). Keep unbaked dough refrigerated while the other dough is baking. Using a small offset spatula, spread into an 8-inch circle, or as close as you can get it.

Bake until edges are pale golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Use offset spatula to reshape circle.(Here’s an alternative approach – I used the frame of my 8.5 inch spring form pan. I very carefully coaxed the undercooked cookie inside the buttered pan. I then returned the cookie and the pan to the oven to cook for the remaining 8 minutes. You could just bake this in a spring form pan but if you do that, the edges of the cookie will bake up high and cake like. I prefer the uneven cookie like edge.) Return to oven; bake until edges are golden brown, 7-9 minutes (DO NOT OVER COOK! Remember you’re going to have to cut through all 5 cookies. Slightly under-cooked cookies is what you want. Transfer to wire rack; let cool. Can be stored airtight up to 1 day.

Frosting (both Plain and PB & Nutella) – Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar in clean mixer bowl on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Original – Divide into 4 separate equal portions and spread onto 4 cookies. (I reduced this from 5 8oz blocks to only 4, but after I made this and I watched people eat around the massive amounts of frosting, 3 blocks might be better. It looks pretty to have lots of frosting in between the layers, but it’s a bit of overkill in my opinion.) 

Variation – Divide frosting into 2 bowls. Add 3-5 spoonfuls of peanut butter to one bowl and 3-5 spoonfuls of Nutella to the other and mix until well blended. Spread half of the peanut butter frosting on one cookie, top with another cookie and spread half the Nutella flavored frosting. Repeat with remaining two cookies. 

Stack cookies onto a cake board or platter, placing unfrosted cookie on top. Refrigerate until frosting is set, at least 20 minutes or overnight. Serve at room temperature.

 

Looks somewhat better inside.

Looks somewhat better inside.

Well, overall it was an interesting experience trying to bake this fella. 

Rating: 3/5
Would I bake this again? Probably not. The 5 individual cookie layers had to be baked one by one for about 20 mins each. The frosting.. well that was my bad. And after scrutinizing the two examples of the cake I’ve seen on the net (dozenflours and the martha stewards site), I’ve decided that even if it went perfect, it’s still not very pretty (Liz likes pretty things) and unless I find someone madly in love with chocolate chip cookies enough to prefer it over a real cake, I doubt I’ll be wanting to attempt it again.

July 17, 2008 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

Green Tea Sweets.

Heart-shaped green tea sweets.

 

Tried the well-heralded, Lovescool’s Green Tea Sweets which have been featured on at leastfive recipe blogs I frequent. The recipe has been said to taste fantastisch so of course I must, MUST try it. It TEMPTED me (a massive consumer of all green tea products) for long enough! Except for the bit where I actually had to procure green tea powder from somewhere. But apparently, quite a number of baking shops in Singapore do sell it (like Phoon Huat, as overpriced as some of the stuff there is…). 

So I trooped down to Phoon Huat in Bedok to pick up that tiny 20g bottle of Bakable Green Tea Powder for $2.57. (!!!!) 

Bought a cute multi hearts cookie cutter (its this device that has 4 hearts attached so you can just chop out 4 biscuits at one go… very fun, like play-dough.) to create the above shortbread yummies (yes they’re actually shortbread). And they tasted as delicious as all the enthusiastic blog reviews (and here I am adding yet another to the collection). It is a really really yummy recipe. I’ll definitely do it again. 🙂 

Green Tea Sweets
adapted from Lovescool

Ingredients
Yield (2” leaf shape): Approx 25
(clearly, I made FAR smaller, bite-sized cookies… feedback from a friend said I ought to make them bigger to retain the green tea flavour better though)

3/4 cup (2.25 oz) Confectioners sugar
5 oz Unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 3/4 cup (8.5 oz) All-purpose flour
3 Large egg yolks
1.5 TBS Matcha (powdered green tea) (I added up to 2!)
1 cup Granulated sugar (for coating)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and green tea together in a bowl.
  • Add the butter and green tea/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and light in color.
  • Add the flour and mix until well combined.
  • Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.
  • Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes).
  • Roll the dough out to ½” thickness.
  • Cut the dough with a leaf cookie cutter.
  • Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat.
  • Place the sugar-coated cookie on a parchment lined pan. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.

 —

I might be biased towards green tea just because I absolutely LOVE anything related to green tea, but the reputation and success of this recipe has been well circulated enough to stand credible on its own. 🙂 

You know you want them! 

Rating: 5/5
Would I make these again? ABSOLUTELY!!! In fact, I did!

July 6, 2008 at 11:54 pm 1 comment

Coffee Club (Siglap).

So, Rene, Von and I dined at Coffee Club on Thursday because Rene had to do a restaurant review for her HTM assignment). Wasn’t particularly in the mood, I never know what to eat there actually, and I normally only go there for the yummy and generous serving of mudpie. But after much poring over the menu and selecting the Coffee Club Burger by process of elimination, I’ll have to grudgingly admit that it tasted pretty good.

Coffee Club Burger

Coffee Club Burger

The beef patty was acceptably juicy, and the wedges generally decent. (The only reason I actually bothered with pictures this time was because Rene needs them for her assignment. So since I have ’em, might as well use ’em!) Surprising. Considering the fact that almost every time we go to Coffee Club I have so much difficulty trying to find something I actually want to eat. The Garlic Prawn Pasta, that some people I know seem to love, is honestly palatable – but a tad too oily for my taste.

Rene had the Piri Piri Chicken…

Piri Piri Chicken

Piri Piri Chicken

Which was supposedly covered with some sort of ‘special’ Bolognese/Neapolitan/whatever that tasted most ordinaire. It was also almost camouflaged by a sea of rocket lettuce that Rene really doesn’t appreciate but I thankfully do.

We also tried the Wasabi Prawn Salad…

Wasabi Prawn Salad

Which was quite nice except for the strange-block-of-brown-seedy-thing-that-I-cannot-put-a-name-to that also co-existed with the otherwise decent salad. Rene says she’s never liked it (the brown thing) – even at Malay stalls (yes I presume it actually has a Malay name except that I don’t know what it is. Can someone enlighten me? Its brown, its rectangular cuboids, soft, and strange tasting. =X). It doesn’t really go with the rest of the dish. Fusion perhaps. :S

Also, please don’t drink the Strawberry Milkshake. Rene had it and it was like, sickeningly sweet Magnolia Strawberry Milk that was blended with ice, garnished and served. 

Overall, the food is decent, the ambience is always good for chilling out, and it is still one of my preferred cafe haunts. However, service standards were lacking and the cakes on display also tend to get a bit dry past evening time. So I suggest you stick to the mudpie. 😀

July 6, 2008 at 1:28 am Leave a comment

Chocolate Mint Bars.

Semi-failed mint bars.

Semi-failed mint bars.

This recipe didn’t turn out too well for me for many reasons. If you cross-refer it to the original recipe, you’ll realize that mine didn’t turn out ANYTHING like it. For one, I didn’t have time to put the last layer of chocolate glaze. For others, using Hershey’s chocolate syrup as a base for any cake results in it sorely lacking character. So my base layer wad very brown and almost tasteless – redeemed only by the mint frosting that had lovely texture but tasted more like toothpaste than Andes’ mint chocolate. 😦 

Chocolate Mint Bars
adapted from The Repressed Pastry Chef

Bottom Layer
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16oz) can chocolate syrup

Mint Layer (double the recipe for this!)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops green food coloring (I omitted this, am not much a fan of the artificially colored mint department)

Chocolate Glaze Topping
3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350F
Generously coat a 13″x9″ pan with cooking spray

For the bottom layer: 
Combine granulated sugar, eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 tablespoons water, vanilla extract and chocolate syrup… stir until smooth. Add flour and salt to the chocolate mixture and stir until blended. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

For the mint layer:
Combine powdered sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, milk, peppermint extract and food coloring – beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread this mixture evenly over the cooled bottom layer. Note: this is the recipe however the next time I make this I will make 50% more of the mint layer.

For the glaze topping:
Once the mint layer has set (about 20 minutes)… combine the chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute or until the chocolate is melted. Stir well until smooth and then let it stand for 2-3 minutes. Spread the chocolate evenly over the mint layer. KEEP REFRIGERATED until ready to serve then slice into desired-size pieces and enjoy. 

I suppose this was one of those times where things go quite disastrously wrong. I’m quite sure if it turned out correctly it would’ve tasted palatable enough but I don’t think I’ll be giving it a second try anytime soon.

July 6, 2008 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

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