January 25, 2009

CNY Baking 收工了!

Last Thursday was the day I officially 收工 for all my CNY bakes! I deliberately took half a day off just to finish up the baking, not forgetting some late night bakings. I had to finish it early cos' I'm still not done with my spring cleaning. My desk, pc and personal belongings were all in a mess and I had to do it up by today, i.e. 除夕夜。Thankfully all were done and thus I had a little time to do some blogging now ;)

These are what I've baked this year.

I had been wanting to make my own pineapple jam for years and this year I finally did it. Haha, the Nike Slogan does make sense. Before I call it off due to my constant hesitation, I already asked my dad to help my buy 4 pineapples. So, I just had to do it anyway since I already bought it.

I would say making pineapple jam wasn't that difficult but you got to have the patience to do it. Some people blend the pineapples in a blender but I choose to grate it.

I must feel ashame cos' I can only bake but when it comes to cooking, things were in total flop. :P Firstly, I need my dad to help me core the pineapples. The way he saw me doing it and he just couldn't help but took over the knife and helped me with it. He was saying" by the time I done it, the leftover pineapples would be so small!" haha! Heh know why, cos' my slicing was really bad that I almost chopped off a whole big slice instead of just slicing away the skin and "eye". Then comes the grating of pineapples. My mum also took over and showed me how to grate it when she saw me doing so "inefficiently". I think if she had not shown me, I would not be able to finish cooking my jam by day break (I did it at night). While cooking the jam. I acted with caution by cooking over "low heat". My mum said this wouldn't be done by day break if I continue doing so. So she adjusted the heat for my and kept stirring it. We had to watch over it more closely to prevent it from getting burnt. The crucial part is during the time the jam is semi-dry. You got to add in the sugar and keep stirring.

I took about 2 hours in total to cook the jam. Actually I wasn't sure if it was the right consistency. It was still quite soft the next day during baking but I was worried it would be too dry after chilling overnight. I think next year if I'm gonna make it again, I would cook a little drier before removing from the heat. Also, I felt that the jam was not pureed fine enough and there were still some tiny chunks of pineapple. :P

Anyway, homemade jam is really so much better than store bought. The sweetness is just right and it's definitely not dry and moist. Only thing is you must have the patience to do it. ;) You can refer to Oilin's blog for more detailed steps to make pineapple jam.
This year, I made the wrapped version as well as the open-style version pineapple tarts. For the wrapped version, I used
Mandy's recipe. This yielded a very soft melt-in-your mouth tarts. The soft crust almost burst into powdery form and melt in your mouth the moment you bite into it in your mouth. My dad felt it was too dry But I think it's good in my opinion. There are just too many preferences for pineapple tarts. :) But I think my wrapping skills is still very unprofessional cos despite feeling that I used the minimum amount of dough I can to wrap the jam, the resulting crust was still too rhick. I guess also probably my homemade jam was too soft, Thus I had more diffuculty wrapping up the jam.

For the open-style version, I used Aunty Yochana's recipe again (same as last year). As hers used a whole egg instead of 2 egg yolks, I reckon it would have a little more "structure" which is what I'm looking for in open-style version. Only thing was this year, I ran out of milk powder thus I replaced with corn flour. Both recipes were equally good and definitely a keeper!

Last year, I wanted to make this green pea cookies but I didn't have the time. I bought from Bangawan Solo but I did not like the too soft and melt-in-your mouth texture. I preferred it to be a little crunchy. Aunty Yochana' had two recipes of this green pea cookies (this and this). I used the first one, and brushed with egg wash (not stated in the recipe) but mine turned out a little hard. Maybe I should add more oil or I might try the other recipe if I'm going to make again.

This year, I also baked a batch of cornflake cookies. I love the crunch of these cornflake cookies. But for the first batch (the above photo), I overbaked a little. The second batch was fine. :) But in future, I would drop smaller teaspoons as I prefer the pop-in-your mouth crunch instead of this bigger cookie. My dd recently bought for me the 孟老师的道手功饼干 . This recipe was modified from the book and Amanda' cornflake cookie recipe.
Ok I got to rush to prepare for tonight's 团元饭 reunion dinner! Also wanna DIY manicure and pedicure. ;) Please drop me a comment if you want this cornflake cookie recipe ;)
Oh just to also make a note that I failed for my second batch of Kueh Bangkit :( I MUST remember not to add too much coconut milk and I used 2 egg yolks when I should have used only 1.5. cos' I x1.5 times the recipe. So my kueh bangkit turned out crispy on some parts instead of melt-in-your mouth. :( A kueh bangkit dough must never be too perfect. It must be a little dry. Heh I must remember this so I won't repeat the same mistake again.
I forgot to take pictures of the almond cookies that I'd also made. It's the same recipe as previous year and I'm not gonna switch to other almond cookie recipe again cos' this is really good! (Florence's blog). Do remember to toast the almond nibs. The first tub I did, I forgotten about it and it does make a whole lot of difference to the taste!

Here's wishing everyone a really good year in the Ox Year! Happy Lunar New Year and hope evryone enjoy your CNY break! I'd be going to Malacca/Genting with my family for a short trip on 大年初三. It's been ages we went for a holiday together。:D

January 13, 2009

Kueh Bangkit

Chinese New Year is approaching in two weeks time and frankly the only CNY goodies I've baked so far is this Kueh Bangkit! I'm getting a little anxious because there's still a list of goodies I'm planning to bake over the weekend and next week and as luck would have it, my work has recently starting piling up! I'm initially planning to take some time-off or half day leave to bake at home but unfortunately my work seems to arrive at the wrong time. :( I'm trying to clear my work asap, hopefully next week, I'd be able to squeeze in more time to get home early to bake. :)

While making this kueh bangkit, I realised it was two years since I last baked kueh bangkit for CNY! Yes, I remembered very vividly cos' I knew last year, I didn't get to bake this as I was too busy churning almond cookies for sale.

Back to my kueh bamgkit, I adapted the recipe from Youfei's blog. Surprisingly this recipe does not require any butter/margarine and the result was so good. It has a crispy exterior and melts in your mouth when you bite into it.

In Youfei's recipe, she started by combining 120ml of coconut milk and 350g of tapioca flour. However, she did not mention whether to add the remaining 150g of flour later on (as original recipe states 500g). For me, the 350g flour is sufficient. I did add the remaining coconut milk (total 200ml) but I did not use the remaining 150g flour. So do be caution and add slowly. Do not mix all the flour and milk all at once. :)

My advice is not to rely on a recipe entirely because the brand of flour and coconut cream you use can differ so when making this kueh bangkit, it is best to start with 120ml cream and 350g flour and then add a little at a time until you get a dough that doesn't break apart when you roll and cut with a cookie cutter. This is enough. The dough doesn't have to be too soft and pilable like our normal dough. I once did that by adding too much coconut cream and ended up with a crispy kueh bangkit inside out!

Do give this recipe a try if you like Kueh Bangkit. Happy Baking and will share more of my goodies after I'd made it! ;)

January 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kailing!

Hi there! It's the time to start another year of birthday cake-baking for my dearie family and friends! The first among the four of us (secondary school dearies) is our dear Kailing. :) Last year, I baked a blueberry cheesecake for her. This time round, at her random request, I baked a coffee cream cake. She likes coffee. :)

Went blog hopping for coffee cake recipe, but there ain't many coffee cake recipes. For your information, I learnt that coffee cakes in fact doesn't have to contain coffee, they are usually rich cakes with nuts or fruits. They are known as coffee cakes cos' they are usually served with coffee during breakfast or tea time. So I'm not refering to those, I'm looking for cakes with coffee flavour :) In the end, I just settled with a simple coffee layered cake sandwiched and topped with coffee cream. I used a coffee chiffon recipe from Florence's blog.
I was quite worried my chiffon cake won't turn out well, but luckily it did. ;) The cake layers were filled with whipped non-dairy cream flavoured with instant coffee and toasted walnuts. For the decoration, I intended to sift cocoa powder to create a teddy bear picture with the word "Happy Birthday" from a cake stencil but it just turned out too messy. So I had to abort the plan and sift the cocoa powder on the entire cake and piped some simple flowers. I think I really need to work on my piping skills. heheh...

I must say chiffon cake really produces a very soft fine texture, if you have success with it. :D
Next birthday gal will be me... who's going to bake me a birthday cake?? :P