June 28, 2009

Wanna have some chocolate chip buns?

Another of Dean Brettschneider's recipe in the book Global Baker - by Dean Brettschneider. This is one of the recipes that attracted me to buy as I was flipping through it. He has modified traditional hot cross buns into chocolate chip version and was a hit in the Chinese market, according to him.

I made it but omitted the hot cross mixture and the result was fabulous! This recipe is definitely a keeper. It satisfied my craving for chocolate when I didn't want anything cakey. :)

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients for Dough:

300g bread flour
30g cocoa powder
5g salt
25g butter
25g sugar
zest of 1 orange
5g active dried yeast
1 small egg, weight no more than 50g when cracked
150ml water
140g chocolate chips, chilled beforehand

Ingredients for cross mixture:

150g plain flour
50g vegetable oil
150ml water

Ingredients for sugar glaze:

40g sugar
100ml water
zest of 1 orange


  1. Place all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl and combine to form a dough.
  2. Knead dough for 10-15 minutes, resting for 30 seconds every 2-3 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be soft and sticky but do not add more flour. Finally add cold chocolate chips and knead gently until well incoporated into the dough. (For me, I just use my bread maker to knead the dough).
  3. Place dough in a lightly oiled large bowl and covered with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place and let it proof for 45-60 minutes.
  4. Gently knock back the dough in the bowl by folding it back onto itself. Cover again with plastoc wrap and leave for 30 minutes.
  5. Tip dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape to form a small ball.
  6. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with plastic wrap and let it proof for about 30-45 minutes, depending on temperature.
  7. To make the cross mixture, place flour and oil in a bowl and whisk slowly, adding just enough water to make a smooth, lump-free paste.
  8. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  9. Put the cross mixture into a piping bag fitted with plain 3mm piping nozzle, and pipe crosses onto the buns.
  10. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
  11. In the meantime, heat the sugar, water and orange zest to boiling and remove from the heat to make the glaze. Remove buns from the oven and brush with the sugar glaze, Place on a wire rack to cool.
Recipe Source: Global Baker - by Dean Brettschneider

Sorry for showing my slightly burnt buns :P Usually I'll remember to tent the buns with a foil but I've forgotten for these chocolate buns as I couldn't see the burnt colour cos' it all black!

June 21, 2009

Dean Brettschneider

Global Baker - by Dean Brettschneider is a recent book that I acquired when there was this 30% off all books at Borders with a cut-out coupon. I didn't really have any books that I wanted to buy in mind but since it was such a good offer, I hopped down to Borders for a book-shopping.

Call me ignorant, or maybe not, I have not heard of Dean Brettschneider before I have his book but as I was browsing through the many cookbooks, this particular one attracted me as the recipes are not those "old-fashion" or "classic" recipes that you commonly see from American/European bakers. Owing to the fact that he is currently based in Shanghai, some of his recipes are given an Asian twist such as "red bean & sesame ring bread", "chocolate chip hot cross buns" , "chinese flower steam buns", and many other interesting cakes, bread and pastries which somehow appeals to me.This book is accompanied by a dvd showing a snapshot of a day in this baker's life in Shanghai. A little disappointing is that the entire film is probably only about half an hour. This irish soda bread is the first recipe that I tried. I have seen quite a fair bit of such bread in other baker's books such as Martha Steward but this is the first time I try making it. It seems to me an easy quick bread minus the sugar so I often wonder how it taste like. I decided to give this a try as all I wanted for next day's breakfast was a very easy-to-bake healthy quick bread. Overall, it's a nice soft bread that is good when toasted and spread with butter or jam.
Being not a too-picky eater, this bread is fine. I guess in terms of pastries, I still prefer Asian's sweet soft buns, that why I'm not really fond of muffins, but I do like Artisan hard crust bread!
If anyone is interested in the recipe, then drop me a note. :)

Ok, my second recipe here. This is your usual favourite subway cookie - if you love their cookies. Sweet, chewy, giant cookie, but you can't find in Subway, so you gotta make it yourself! White chocolate and pistachio is a good combination, sweet white chocolate pairs with salty pistachio nuts helps to balance the overall sweetness. I made this for my dd's best buddy and his wife who will be staying in Australia for two years. :)
Pistachio & White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
135g butter, softened
100g sugar
100g soft brown sugar (I used 80g each)
1 small egg
10ml milk
few drops of vanilla essence or extract
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
45g rolled oats
55g pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
140g white chocolate drops, coarsely chopped
60g pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped, for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 175°C
  2. Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar with electric beater until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg , milk and vanilla essence/extract and mix in.
  4. Sieve all the dry ingredients, and add to the creamed mixture along with the rolled oats until well combined and evenly mixed.
  5. Add pistachio nuts and white chocolate and mix again until well combined.
  6. Using a tablespoon, scoop spoonfuls (about 35g) and roll into round balls using floured hands and place 10cm apart on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. (Do not flatten, otherwise the cookies will spread too much.
  7. Sprinkle a few chopped pistachio nuts over the top and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. You can bake for 10-14 minutes for crispier cookies.
  8. Place on a wire rack to cool.


Update: Due to some requests, I have posted the recipe of the irish soda bread here. Enjoy!!

Wholewheat Irish Soda Bread


  • 215g plain flour
  • 10g baking powder
  • 5g baking soda
  • 5g cream of tartar
  • good pinch of salt
  • 225g wholewheat or wholemeal flour
  • 20g treacle, honey or golden syrup, warmed
  • 225ml milk
  • 225g natural yoghurt
  • rolled oats for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  2. Sieve the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt into a large mixing bowl, add wholemeal flour and stir together.
  3. Add warmed honey, milk and natural yoghurt and use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture together until smooth with a batter-like consistency. Do not be tempted to add more flour.
  4. Pour mixture into a greased 21cm by 9cm and level the top so it is smooth. Sprinkle with rolled oats.
  5. Brush the bottom edge of a large scraper with oil and push it halfway down into the batter, then remove it. This will create a split as the loaf rises during the first stages of baking.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
  7. Remove from oven and tip onto a wire rack to cool.

Recipe Source: Global Baker - by Dean Brettschneider

June 12, 2009

birthday cake for my ice-cream-lover

Sometimes when we leave a comment at someone's blog, we can have the option to see follow-up comments and this was what I did when I first left a comment in Happy Homebaker's post of an oreo ice-cream cake. Wow... I ended up receiving via my email many many follow-up comments from other bloggers about the ice-cream cake that sets me thinking"hmm... is ice-cream so special? maybe I should try an ice-cream some day."

So, when I thought of making an ice-cream cake for my dd, the first thing I did was to immediately hopped onto her blog! Ice-cream has always been my dd's favourite dessert. So he is always asking whether I want to eat ice-cream whenever we were out but I think he's the one craving for it! LOL! I chose this Tin Loaf Brownie ice-cream with nuts but it was not really that special. It was almost like oreo ice-cream.

I had thought making this no-bake cake would be much easier than baked cakes but definitely it is not. The cake remained soft even after several hours of chilling. It melted and formed a small puddle at the side thus I covered with "Vicenzi" Italian Ladyfingers to hold the heart-shape in shape. It was a good choice as I find this Italian biscuits goes well with not only Tiramisu but ice-cream as well. :)

After this try, my advise is if you need the cake on that particular day, it is best that you make it a day earlier, as it needs a good chill in the freezer before it is good for serving.

I wanted to make some chocolate decorations and pipe wordings so I had fun playing, piping setting and eating the chocolates! :P

The cake was really delicious, I believe no one can go wrong with an ice-cream cake right! The topping can be up to your preferences. :) I'll probably try some fruity flavoured ice-cream if I were to make it again.

I think this is the first time I'm encouraging dd to eat so much ice-cream. Hehe... ok we can rest for 2 months without eating ice-cream ;)