Saturday, 21 July 2012

Soft Raisin Breads

I think baking yeast breads is fast becoming a weekly routine for me. They usually last me for three breakfasts over the week.

It's time to invest is an excellent bread knife, or a bread-cutting machine!

Raspberry Tarts

I have no idea why these tarts are called Babsie's tarts but I shall it raspberry tart because that is what it contains. But, the name is really cute. I chanced upon this recipe while using almond as the key search word for ingredients. You might have guessed right. The tart base used almond flour, and also plain flour.

This tarts are easily to bake, looks really cute and sweet. Great for a tea time snack with a cuppa. Almond flour gives it a special and "French" feel.

Raspberry Tarts (adapted from my

Ingredients: ( I did half the recipe)

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cups fine granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks, room temp
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon (i omitted but i think lemon zest is a taste enhancer)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup package of blanched, slivered almonds, finely ground ( I used ready bought almond flour)
  • 1 15.5 oz jar seedless raspberry jam (my experience is to not use sugar-free jam as their texture is different and seem to be produce liquid during handling)


  1. Preheat oven to 350degF (176degF). Prepare two 12-cup muffin tins by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. 
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you mix when necessary.
  3. Whisk together AP flour, ground cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Gradually add this mixture to the butter mixture and stir until well combined. Add the ground almond and mix until combined.
  4. Use a small cookie scoop (about 2tbsp size), scoop dough into 24 muffin cups. Pat the dough evenly around in the bottom of the muffin tin; even out the surface.
  5. Use a teaspoon and dollop two teaspoonful of raspberry jam onto the top of each section of dough. 
  6. Bake in preheat oven for 15-16 min or until the dough raises up around the jam and is slight brown at the edges.
  7. Cool the tarts in the pans until cool to touch (1hr). Very Carefully remove them from the pans (a pointed offset spatula should work well here).

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Bread Series: Milk Loaf, Sesame Burger Buns and Matcha-Chocolate Swirl Bread

I think I am into making yeast bread these days. Nothing beats having homemade bread for breakfast and more importantly, Dear has been super supportive. Yeast breads are not easy to make; they are time consuming and may turn out hard like rocks. But, Dear encouraged me to keep making for practice makes perfect.

I am so glad that I am able to make soft, fluffy bread for him now.

Milk Loaf

This was amazingly aromatic, soft and fluffy.

Sesame Burger Buns

Very soft. Really soft.

Matcha-Chocolate Swirl Bread

This was slightly problematic in the bread-making process but it turned out fine. I could use less cocoa powder next time as it overwhelmed the green tea aroma.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

Another breakfast food. Second attempt at scones. A different kind of scones. There are just so many kinds of scones and I shall try until I find the one I like the most. The first scones I made were buttermilk scones, which I had replaced the buttermilk with yoghurt. Those plain scones are ideal with cream and jam.

The ones here are cream scones. I think they tasted delicious! I liked them so moist and their textures. With Hershey's chocolate chips embedded everywhere, they'll definitely make your day. 

Chocolate Chip Cream scones (adapted from the food librarian)
makes about 15 4-in round scones

  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 56g granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 113.4g butter (cold, cut into pieces)
  • 1 cup (8 oz) heavy whipping cream (cold) ( I used 3/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup non-fat yoghurt)
  • desirable amount of miniature chocolate chips (depending on preference)
Topping (I omitted)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp sanding sugar or granulated sugar
  1. Preheat over to 218degC
  2. Mix together dry ingredients. 
  3. Cut in the butter until you get a coarse-meal crumbs like consistency. 
  4. Add whipping cream and chocolate chips. Blend together quickly. Do not overmix.
  5. Shape into a round or square. 
  6. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. (I did not)
  7. Cut into shapes. Place on parchment or Silpat covered baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 14-16 minutes until golden brown and delicious.

Lemon Curd Tart

This was Dear's birthday cake for 2012. I wanted to make a special "cake" and decide to make a tart instead.

I thought the lemon curd was quite sour. I have a habit of reducing the sugar that the recipe calls for. I can say that that doesn't affect all of the recipes I have tried but for this one, the lemon was more powerful than the baker!

Lemon Curd Tart (adapted from
makes a 10-in tart/pie



  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp cream (I used milk; not sure if that was the reason why the crust was crumbly)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat over to 204degC.
  2. Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in flour, kosher salt, cream and vanilla, until mixture is moist and crumbly.
  3. Press dough tart pan and press it up the sides, making sure the layer on the bottom is even.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is set and firm at the edges. Cool, then fill with desired filling and bake as that recipe directs.
Lemon Curd


  • 1 cup sugar (I used 194g)
  • 2/3 cup Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained ( I had two lemons and yielded a bit less than 2/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into half inch pieces

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together zest, eggs and egg yolks. When sugar mixture comes to a boil, pour very small amounts down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture while whisking continuously to temper the mixture. Continue to add only a few tablespoons at a time until all has been incorporated.
  3. Transfer egg mixture back to sauce pan and return to stove. Cook on medium heat until thickened, about 8 minutes, whisking frequently.
  4. Remove custard from stove and whisk in butter, adding in one piece at a time.
  5. When all butter has been added, cool curd for 15 minutes before pouring into prepared tart crusts.
  6. Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours before serving. (Mine cut better when refrigerated for 24hrs)
  7. Decorate with icing sugar, as desired.

Chocolate-Banana Marble Cake & Nutella-Banana Bread

I wonder who among my friends visit the public and national libraries these days? I haven't went in a long time until one afternoon after I visited Bras Basah Artfriend and I had some time to kill before the next appointment.

Gosh! To my pleasant surprise, I find our national library very complete. It has a wide collection of books, at least for the baking and cooking and food section. But, if something like baking and cooking already have a detailed collection, what can we say about other popular categories? Even better I suppose. I notice they have the latest titles that I cannot even find in For those who are running out of things to do, I would strongly recommend a visit to the library. If you do not have time to read or have no intention of borrowing (lest the hassle of having to return it), it is also nice to grab a book, find a comfortable spot in the library and enjoy the pictures while you waiting for your appointment. 

Anyway, i got hold of book "the art and soul of baking". I have heard pretty decent good reviews and wanted to check it out before making a purchase. It was a heavy big book of recipes! love it. 

A simple, down-to-earth marbled cake got hold of my attention. I have never made a marbled bread but there are such detailed pictorial instructions that I feel I should give it a try and I did. 

The process was fun and the cake was chocolatey and bursting with banana flavours.

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake (adapted from "the art and soul of baking")
makes a 9in-by-5in loaf 

  • 3 medium banana, very ripe, mashed with a fork, should yield about 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk ( i used non-fat yoghurt)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup, unsifted unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Van Houten's)
  • 3 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, soften
  • 1 cup sugar (I used190g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temp, lightly beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 176degC. Butter a 9in-5in loaf pan.
  2. Add buttermilk and vanilla to the cup of mashed banana
  3. sift cake flour, baking powder and soda into a medium bowl. whisk to blend well. set aside
  4. dissolve cocoa powder in the boiling water and stir until a smooth paste is formed. add extra water if it is too thick
  5. Beat butter and sugar, at medium high speed until very light, and fluffy (4-5min)
  6. Turn speed to medium and add eggs one by one
  7. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with banana-buttermilk mixture. DO NOT over-mix. It is okay to see patches of flour.
  8. transfer half the batter into another bowl and add the cocoa paste. Mix well, gently but thoroughly.
  9. Drop alternating spoon of dark and light batters into prepared pan. Create marbling effect by using a spoon to gently turn the batter over in 3 places over the length of the pan.
  10. Bake the cake for about 55-65min ( I baked mine for about 80min). Remove from oven and let cool. When cooled, slice gently using a serrated knife.

After I made this, my cousins suggested Nutella-Banana cake. What can I say more about Nutella? It has always been a winner. 

Nutella-Banana Chocolate Cake

Same recipe as above except that the cocoa paste was replaced with about 120g of Nutella.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter is the love my life! well, almost... of course my loved ones are the real loves of my life! 

but... there isn't a day without peanut butter for me. I can have it for breakfast or lunch or dinner (but rarely, with the Hub watching me so closely on my food choices).

my relationship with PB (and chocolates!): never enough of it.

PB is sooooo versatile; you can have it with jelly, jam, nutella, cream and - my favourite combination - Kaya. extremely sinful, yes, but totally comforting. And, you can have it on breads (ALL kinds, ANY bread, ANY brand. in fact, if the bread does not taste good on its own, just spread them generously with PB  and they will be most delicious..), cream crackers, scones, etc. Or, in milkshakes even... 

and, PB whether crunchy or creamy is a wonderful baking ingredient. personally, i use crunchy ones for baking and creamy ones just to eat it on its own. recently, i bought a large tin of crunchy PB just for baking and here is what I tried out. 

Peanut Butter (shortbread) cookies (adapted from Leite's Culinaria)


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter 
  1. Preheat the oven to 176°C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, beat together the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy, something like 4 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the peanut butter and mix until everything is smooth and uniform. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix again a few times by hand.
  4. To make small cookies, roll scant teaspoon-sized portions of dough into 3/4-inch balls. To make larger cookies, roll 1 1/2-tablespoon portions of dough into balls. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the cookies slightly and imprint the cookie dough with any design you like. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake in batches until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers for up to 2 days