Saturday, April 8, 2017

Purple Sweet Potato Hot Cross Bun



This Sunday is Palm Sunday , the Sunday before Easter and it marks the start of the Holy week that encompasses Maundy Thursday which commemorates the last supper of Jesus ; Good Friday , when Jesus was crucified and Holy Saturday, the day Jesus was placed in His tomb after his death. He rose on the 3rd day and that will be Easter Sunday.  This is the time, we reflect on our lives, gives up our vices for Lent and remembering the sufferings and trials Jesus had to go through . My baking the hot cross buns has nothing to do with tradition or a must have but making them and looking at the cross reminds me of God's great sacrifice.He sacrifice His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life .  

Instead of making the tradition hot cross buns using fruit peels ,  I used purple sweet potato for the natural purple color and it turned out fabulous.  The buns were soft and fluffy and the sweet purple color gave the bun its attraction.  I added some brandy soaked raisins  for extra flavor.  These hot cross buns were really delicious. A keeper for sure.






















beautiful piece of purple dough
love the natural color dye from the purple sweet potato






















 one recipe can make 9 pieces of buns






















once the buns have proof and ready for the oven
pipe in the cross.. so fun piping on the cross
 this is symbolic for me as the cross reminds me
of the  Gift God has given to us. Eternal life through
His only begotten Son


 after baking for 20mins, the buns were ready for our tea snack























the buns turned out soft and fluffy


 waiting for the buns to cool down before serving :)


 you will know it is fluffy when you see this :)






















Purple Sweet Potato Hot Cross Bun - adapted from Nasilemaklover

For the bread

75 gm mashed purple sweet potato
50 gm raisins soaked in brandy -optional
250 gm high protein flour or bread flour
30 gm caster sugar
25 gm sweetened condensed full cream milk
1 tsp instant yeast
120 gm milk
1/4 tsp fine salt
 25 gm unsalted butter

For Topping
40 gm high protein flour
55 gm milk
10 gm sugar

Method:
1. Mix all bread ingredients in a mixing bowl except butter, mix till smooth.
2. Add in butter, knead  till elastic and shining dough. Set aside to rest for an hour.
3. Divide equally into 9 portions, roll into round balls.
4. Grease a baking pan of 9" X 9" and place the round balls onto the greased pan. Leave to rise for another 30 mins.
5. Mix the topping ingredients together till you get a smooth paste. Put into a piping bag and pipe a cross on top of buns.  Baked at preheated oven 180C for 20 mins.

HAPPY EASTER !







Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fudge Ribbon Cake


























Love anything chocolatey and this is a gorgeous !  I managed to get some Valrhona cooking chocolate from Singapore and could not wait to use it and here is the most delicious fudge ribbon cake I have baked thus far. Googled and got the recipe from here.  It is moist , and so chocolatey that I just want to have the whole tray all to myself :) This is a keeper for sure. The ribbon swirl is cream cheese. Oh gosh! the waistline is getting broader :p  I omitted the frosting as I find this fudge cake is rich enough and I love it without the frosting.


























this is so chocolatey cheesy good that my piggy daughter asked for more


























Fudge Ribbon Cake - adapted from Grammy's Apron

Ingredients:

Cheesecake Layer:
2 Tbsp. butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream 2 Tbsp. butter with cream cheese, 1/4 c. sugar and cornstarch.  Add 1 egg, 2 Tbsp. milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Beat at high speed until smooth.  Set aside.

Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar * I reduced to 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 cups milk (divided use)
2 eggs
4 oz. unsweetened Baker's chocolate (melted) * I used Valrhona cooking chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla


Combine 2 cups flour with 2 cups sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in large bowl. 

Add 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup milk;  blend, and beat 1 1/2 minutes. 

Add 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs, melted chocolate and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Spread 1/2 of batter into greased and floured 13x9" pan.  Carefully spread cream cheese mixture over to cover.  Top with remaining batter, and again, carefully spread to cover cream cheese mixture. 

Bake at 350'F for 50-60 minute. 

Cool and frost with Fudge Frosting. * I omitted the frosting


Fudge Frosting:
1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. butter
1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Combine milk and butter in pan; let come to a boil.  Remove from heat. 

Blend in chocolate. 

Stir in vanilla and sugar.  Beat until of spreading consistency.  Add a few drops of milk if necessary.  Spread evenly over cooled cake.


 Enjoy !

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bacon Epi Bears Recipe























I had so much fun making these Epi bear buns filled with bacon and cheese.  It is play dough time for me :)  This is my lastest addiction besides making plain bread for breakfast and our tea snack.  Shaping animal characters with the bread dough is so fun and I can't wait for the next play dough time.  There are many more characters that can be shaped with the bread dough and I feel like a kid again :p  And once again I say...practice makes perfect...these bear are not so beautiful as the one made by the original baker , a far cry in fact if compared with the original ones.  I did not have mini sausages at home when making the bears , thus I used the extra dough to make the ears and nose :p  .  Hubby said I am creative enough and he chomped down the row of bears in one sitting...LOL!  I am happy that he likes the taste of the buns ...of course, it is filled with bacon and cheese..his favourites ! Though the bears don't look cute but they taste good :)  Practice makes perfect...this is my first try anyway LOL!






















I love kneading the dough because it gives me satisfaction
when it turned out nice :)  leave to proof for 1 hour






















after 1 hour , poke a finger into the dough and if the dent remains
then it is then ready for use


visual steps






















my epi bears are ready for baking :)






















when they were taken out from the oven 
was " oh gosh ! they looked too cute to be eaten !"


they dont look like epi bears but more like grizzly bears
just the same, the taste delicious !



Bacon Epi Bears Recipe - adapted from edible-bears.blogspot.my

Ingredients:

250 gm bread flour
155 gm lukewarm water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp instant dry yeast

4 slices of bacon
some grated cheddar cheese ( or cheese of your choice )

For eyes
toasted nori seaweed * I use chocolate - melted

For ears
sausage  * I replaced with dough
dry spaghetti - to attach the ear

For noses
toasted nori seaweed, sausage * I replaced with dough

Method:
1.  Measure the ingredients . Sieve the bread flour into a mixing bowl.  Add water, salt, black pepper and dry yeast into the flour.  Stir till well combined and knead a little. Take the mixture out and knead on a floured counter surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes just enough for the dough to become smooth.

2. Roll the dough into a ball and place in a bowl.  Cling wrap and place in a warm place and let it proof till double its size.

3. Floured a surface.  Gently take out the dough onto the floured surface and divide the dough into 2 equal parts.

4. Take one portion , roll out the dough and fold the dough, so that the top and bottom to meet at center of it.  Close it firmly as if you were pasting it together. Place the seam facing the bottom. Do the same with the other portion.

5. Leave the two pieces of dough to proof for another 15 to 20 mins . Cover with a damp cloth.

6. Roll out the dough into a 10cm X 24cm rectangular.  Make sure that both horizonally and vertically the size allows for two strips of bacon to be placed on it.  Wipe off water from the bacon and place 2 strips of bacon on top of the dough.  Place grated cheese on the strip of bacon closer to you.

7. Start rolling the dough beginning with the side that is closer to you towards the other side, as if you were pasting it together.  Place the roll with the seam facing the bottom on lined baking pan. Repeat same with the second dough.

8. Leave the rolls to proof a second time till it doubles in size. ( cover with damp cloth )Right before baking, mark the dough at 6 different spots with your fingers. Then cut the dough on those spots using scissors and pull them lto the sides alternating left and right. Preheat oven to 230 C and bake for 18 minutes.

Cut the sausages in round slices of about 0,4 inches and fry in a frying pan. While the bread is still hot, break the spaghetti in pieces of an appropriate length and use them to prick the sausage slices. These will become the bears' ears.
 
Please use the spaghetti without boiling them. If you prick the sausages when the bread is still hot, they will absorb some water, which will make them easier to eat.
let them cool down on a rack. 

Note: If using dough for the ear and nose, attach them to the bear face before baking. You can hop over here  for  clearer illustrations .


Enjoy !







Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Homemade Extracts And Flavoring For Baking


When you have a bottle of Vodka and it has been sitting in your cupboard for sometime, what do you do with it? Yes, you can make your own extracts and flavorings for your baking. As for me, I bought a bottle of Absolut Vodka back from the duty free liquor shop at Changi Airport just for this purpose. I have been wanting to try making my own vanilla , lemon and orange extracts from the day I started baking, but never had the opportunity to do so until recently I was given some Madagascar vanilla beans from my brother who stays in the States and my dear friend Gertrude of My Kitchen's Snippets.  Homemade extracts taste much better than store bought ones and easy to make too. I just have to add a few drops of the extract into my cake batter and the aroma lingers .

Yesterday, I did a second batch of vanilla extract and I took the opportunity to also make some orange and lemon extracts  as I do not want to keep the already opened Vodka  for fear that the alcohol might evaporate or lost its taste if unused for a long period :)  A bottle of 1 liter Absolut Vodka ( Sweden made ) can made 4 bottles of extracts of these size as shown in the picture above.  To make good quality extracts, make sure to use good quality vanilla beans and a not too low grade alcohol as it will affect the taste of the end product. You can use Vodka, Rum or Bourbon.  Making your own extracts guaranteed quality extracts.  Not cheap as the price of vanilla beans and Vodka are expensive over here in this part of the world :p  So happy that I can make my own extracts and flavoring from home :) You can do it too !  Not hard to make and I will have a whole year supply of quality extracts for my baking !

























 Soak and wash 2 Sunkist oranges (USA) and 3 lemons (Turkey)
to remove wax coating, wipe dry them with the kitchen towels
before using

























Madagascar Vanilla Beans - split open extract more flavor
oranges/lemon- use the rind and try not avoid the pith

my measurement - I filled the bottles with 1/3 of rinds for fruit extracts
and 6 vanilla beans  and fill vodka to the neck of the bottle.



































I bought the bottles from Daiso..just testing it out 
and see if they are air tight as claimed to be :)


I have 2 bottles of vanilla extracts and 1 bottle each of orange and lemon extracts
to last me a year or two :)

Some pointers when making your own extracts

Getting the Right Alcohol
 You don't have to buy the top shelf stuff, but it's important not to use low-quality alcohol as it affects the taste of the end product. For some extracts, you can choose from a few different types of alcohol based on your taste.

Steeping Your Extracts 
 hile your extracts are steeping, you need to store them in a cool, dark place and give them a good shake about once a week. After it's done, be sure to remove the ingredients and strain the extract before storing it so it doesn't keep getting stronger.



Vanilla Extract

Split 3 vanilla beans and cover them with about half a cup of vodka, bourbon, or rum. Let steep for about two months.

Orange And Lemon Extract 
Using the rind of the fruit, but it's important not to include any of the white pith because it's very bitter. Cover the rind of one large lemon or navel orange with half a cup of vodka and steep for 5 to 6 weeks. 

Enjoy and happy baking with your own homemade extracts
I know I will :)


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Matcha Swirl Bread






My bread making passion is back and nothing makes me happier than kneading and kneading dough to make bread or bun for our tea break .  Now that the addiction of making bread is back, Wildboar and I will be having bread for most of our tea break... LOL!  Wildboar loves bread just like his dad. I remembered my father-in-law had bread everyday for breakfast. Looks like he takes after his dad. Good for me that he loves eating bread. I get to enjoy making bread and someone gets to eat the bread. 

He has taken a liking to my homemade ones.  Thank God for that, otherwise I have to eat my own bakes then...soon I will look like a loaf of bread ...okay back to this matcha swirl bread.  Love this matcha swirl bread .The aroma of matcha waffing out of the oven as it is baking in the oven is intoxicating ! The best aromatherapy for the house is the smell of freshly baked bread!  Agree? Only a bread lovers will understand this language :)  Easy to make and so therapeutic for the soul ...try it and who knows you might be addicted to it too. 


 use the knuckles to knead till window pane ( stretch thin )
divide into two portions..one with matcha and the other leave plain
cling wrap and proof for 1 hour, then divide into 2 equal portions
of each type..2 portions of matcha and 2 portions of original


 leave to proof for 15 mins, then roll out flat of same size


 stack one layer of matcha and original alternately
and roll like how you roll a  swiss roll





 place the bread roll into a greased bread






















cling wrap and leave to proof for another hour






















once it has proof to double its size,
bake in preheated oven 180 deg C for 30 minutes 





















once it is golden brown and cooked through ,take out of oven






















 and turn over the bread and cool on a wire rack, cover with 
clean kitchen towel till the bread has cool down.
Cut into slices, thickness of your choice :)
hubby likes it thicker


 love the matcha swirl...at least it looks done by a pro baker :)
 I am strong believer of "practice makes perfect"






















Keep in air tight container ...the left over bread can be kept in fridge
and zap it for 20 sec in a microwave oven 
it will maintain is softness and still taste
 like freshly baked bread

Matcha Swirl Bread

To make matcha paste:

5 gm of matcha powder mix with 1/4 tsp water - stir till become a paste

 dough ingredients:

220 gm high protein flour
120 ml warm water
3 gm dry yeast
3 gm salt
1 egg
20 gm butter  - room temp

matcha paste 

Method :

To make the dough -  
1.Put all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Give it a stir to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed. 

2.Add beaten egg to the flour and stir into the flour mixture. Slowly add in the warm water and use a pair of chopsticks to stir till you get a sticky dough.  Add in butter and using the hand , blend in the butter into the dough till it is incorporated into the dough.  

3.Place the still sticky dough on a floured surface and using the knuckles knead till the dough is not sticky and you can stretch till thin ( window pane stage ). 

4.Divide dough into two equal portions.  One portion of dough , leave it plain.  The other portion of dough ,add in matcha paste and continue to knead till the matcha paste is well incorporated into the dough. 

5.Place the two pieces of dough in two separate clean bowls and cling wrap them and leave to proof 1 hour ( fermentation hour) 

6. After 1 hour of proofing or double its size, punch down the dough and divide into another 2 equal portions ( there will be 4 portions in total - 2 matcha and 2 original )

7. Roll into balls and leave to proof for 15 mins.  Flatten the round ball and roll flat into same size.
Stack alternately one after the other ,  starting with the plain dough and ending with the matcha layer. Lightly flatten with a rolling pin before rolling into swiss roll. 

8. Place the  bread roll onto a greased loaf pan. Cling wrap  and leave to proof again for 1 hour or till double in size.

9. Bake in a preheated oven of 180deg C for 30 mins or till top has turned golden and a tap on the crust gives a hollow sound.

10. Turn the bread onto a wire rack to cool down. Cover with a clean kitchen towel till it has cooled down before cutting into slices. Cut bread with serrated knife for a neat and clean cut.

* note:
keep bread in air tight container after slicing.  Left overs can be kept in fridge and zap 20 secs in microwave and it taste as good freshly baked ones.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY


























HOMEGROWN MANDEVILLA FLOWERS

WISHING ALL MY READERS AND LOVED ONES

 HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY



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