Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Vanilla Kisses

BEFORE i plunge into making macarons which use expensive ground almonds instead of cheap plain flour, i decided to practice my piping skills with these cookies.. actually, i could also practice piping at the Icing Room but Dear and i know that we arent gonna eat much the cake full of whipped cream... so when i stumble upon this recipe, i knew instantly it will serve as a good practice. 

well, turned out that, piping needs practice! =P

aesthetics aside, the cookies tasteed pretty good. it fall apart easily when your teeth sink into it. think i read somewhere that some people call it "melting moments".. you get the idea. 

the only thing was......i was careless with the sugar... 

Vanilla Kisses (adapted from Women's Weekly)


125 g ------------ butter, soften
110 g ------------ caster sugar
1 ---------------- egg
35 g ------------- plain flour
100 g ------------ corn flour
35 g ------------- custard powder
35 g  ------------ self raising flour
1 tsp  ------------ vanilla extract (optional)

Vienna cream filling
60 g ----------- butter, soften
120 g --------- icing sugar
1 tsp ---------- vanilla extract
2 tsp ---------- milk


1. preheat oven to 200degC. grease and line two baking sheets
2. beat butter, sugar and egg until fluffy.
3. sift in the dry ingredients in two batches and stir well after each addition
4. spoon mixture into a pipe bag fitted with a 1cm wide tube. pipe 3-cm round mixtures, 3 cm apart onto baking sheets. bake for 10-15 min
5. meanwhile, prepare the vienna cream filling: beat butter and vanilla extract until as white as possible. mix in the icing sugar in two additions
6. when cookies are done, cool them on a wire rack
7when cooled, spoon 1-2tsp of vienna cream onto one cookie and top it with another cookie.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Duffin

says who that we cannot get the best of both worlds? well, you can.. simply by cross-breeding doughnuts and muffins! one advantage scientists claimed for cross-breeding is that offspring display the strengths of both parents. as i will illustrate here that Duffins, which essentially is a cross-breed between doughnuts and muffins, gives you the best of doughnuts and muffins. you get the a healthy doughnut, because it is baked rather than fried and you get a chewy muffin, like a doughnut..

Cinnamon Sugar Duffin (adapted from Bake Your Day)


220 g ---------------- plain four (i often mix plain flour with cake flour for baking)
1.5 tsp --------------- baking powder
1/2 tsp --------------- salt
1/3 cup -------------- canola oil
165 g --------------- caster sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup -------------- milk

for the toppings:
113 g ---------------- butter (i omitted it)
75 g ----------------- caster sugar
1 tbsp --------------- ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 176degC. line muffin tray with paper cups
2. combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. set aside
3. whisk together oil, sugar, egg and milk. add dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined. do not over mix
4. bake for 15-20 min until the tops are round, risen and golden. meanwhile, mix sugar and cinnamon meant for topping and melt the butter
5. remove muffins from pan while they are hot and dip the muffin tops into melted butter then roll into sugar-cinnamon mixture
6. let cool if desired

these duffins served as great snack while i moved house over the weekend.. Yippee!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Korean-style Tofu Salad

annyeonghaseyo. je ireum-eun Catrina imnida...
that simply translate to Hello, my name is Catrina. This dish is actually self-created but inspired by various Asian-style tofu salads, mainly Japanese and Thai. but since the secret ingredient is Korean Spicy BBQ Sauce, i call it Korean-style. 

i bought this sauce from Fairprice Finest and i really like its versatility! can be used in anything - marinating chicken, for use in fried rice and even in pasta! this time, i combined it with Japanese Sesame dressing (for salads) to marinate the beancurd pieces. 
Dear thought the salad was nice. that made my day. 

Korean-style Tofu Salad
1 piece medium size beancurd/ Tofu (Tau Gwa), cut into cubes and boiled
2 1/2 tbsp ---------------- Korean Spicy BBQ Sauce
1 - 1 1/2 tbsp ------------ Japanese sesame dressing
1 medium size cucumber, shredded, core/seeds removed (Japanese cucumber preferred)
1 small carrot, shredded

1 large egg
8 Swiss brown button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp ---------------------- roasted sesame seeds/ chopped peanuts/ pinenuts

1. combine the sauce and dressing and mix well 
2. marinate the cooled tofu pieces in sauce mixture for at least 30 min
3. meanwhile, added soya sauce to the egg and beat it lightly. stir in the sliced mushrooms
4. cook the mushroom-egg mixture on a heat pan over medium heat. when the underside is brown, flip the egg over and continue to cook until brown. 
5. divide the egg-mushroom pan omelette into quarters. 
6. arrange the shredded cucumber and carrot on a plate and the egg-mushroom omelette on top of them. transfer the marinated tofu pieces onto the it, including the sauce mixture. toss, sprinkle with sesame/nuts and serve

jal meokkesseumnida, which means bon appetite

Monday, 10 October 2011

Healthy Strawberry Oat Muffin

i wanted to bake oat & raisin muffins for breakfast (using recipe from Kitchenarian) but the recipe called for plain yoghurt which i did not have, and so with the strawberry yoghurt that i have in my fridge, i modified the recipe into a Healthy Strawberry Oat Muffin. also, it was a very small batch that i baked (only 6 mini muffins) as i was not sure of the outcome. well, the outcome was a super healthy muffin because of reduced oil and sugar and a wholesome goodness from the extra oats which i added. when drizzled with maple sauce, it tasted totally like PUFFINs - a cross between pancakes and muffins. =P 

personally i found it very good. perfect with any syrup, jam preserves and sauces. pretty sure it will be great with cream cheese too!

Healthy Strawberry Oat Muffins (makes 12 mini muffins)


50 g ---------------- plain flour
1/2 tsp ------------- ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ------------- baking powder
1/4 tsp ------------- salt
1/4 tsp ------------- baking soda

1 -------------------- egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp ------------- vanilla (i omitted, ran out of it)
1/6 cup ------------ brown sugar
1/2 cup ------------ strawberry yoghurt
1/2 cup ------------ instant oats (i used more)
1/6 cup ------------ canola oil
2-3 strawberries for topping (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 200 deg C.
2. mix yoghurt and oats together and leave them aside for 15 min (if you use rolled oats, leave them aside for longer, say 30 min)
3. sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt
4. add egg into yoghurt-oat mixture and mix well. 
5. stir in sugar, oil and vanilla into the mixture from 3 and whisk well
6. pour wet mixture into dry mixture and whisk until just well mixed (do not over mix)
7. spoon mixture into muffin paper cups or greased muffin trays and bake for about 15 min or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. remove from oven
8. drizzle with your preferred sauce and let cool on a rack 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

the cheesecake factory oreo cheesecake

i have never been to The Cheesecake Factory.. the only cheesecake speciality store i ever been to is Singapore's cheesecake cafe located at Siglap. from what i remember, the cheesecake is not particularly good, but it is nice enough..  i actually like cheesecakes from Coffee Bean & Tea leaf. they serve very decent blueberry cheesecake...

while i was searching for the original new york cheesecake recipe for two of friends' birthday (yes they share the same birthday, exactly.. what a small world..), i chanced upon this oreo cheesecake recipe from this website is super interesting for it shares secret recipes of famous foods, mostly those in US.

when i saw the recipe, i knew instantly that it would be the perfect birthday cake for them.

from buying the ingredients to finally getting a taste of it, the entire process took me about 28 hours... as the saying goes, you reap what you sow. what can i say more? although i have never tasted the cheesecake factory's signature oreo cheesecake, i think this can also sweep cheesecake lovers off the ground...

The Cheesecake Factory's Oreo Cheesecake (it is that good..)

Ingredients (i converted the measurement to metric units)

680 g ------------ cream cheese, room temp
226 g ------------ sour cream (i used yoghurt), room temp
5 ----------------- large eggs, room temp
5 ----------------- Oreo cookies, chopped coarsely
10 ---------------- Oreo cookies, chopped coarsely (for the topping)
125 g ------------ castor sugar
31 g ----------- plain flour
2 tsp ----------- vanilla
1/4 tsp --------- salt

25 -------------- Oreo cookies, finely chopped (for the base)
2 tbsp --------- melted butter


1. mix melted butter with finely chopped cookies and press into the bottom of 9-in spring form pan and 1.5in up the sides, set aside
2. beat cream cheese on low until fluffy
3. slowly add sugar and continue beating until well mixed
4. add eggs one at a time and continue to beat until well blended
5. measure the vanilla, salt and flour and pour into cream cheese- egg mixture and beat until smooth
6. add sourcream and beat well
7. stir in the coarsely chopping cookies with a spoon
8. pour cream cheese mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the other set of coarsely chopped cookies on the top of the cream cheese
9. baked in a preheated oven at 165degC for 1hr 15min.
10. after that, keep oven door open and leave the cake inside for another hour
11. remove cake from oven and let cool until cool enough to be chilled. refrigerate for 24 hours

it is a looong process, but completely worth it. i am sure this is the ONLY oreo cheesecake recipe i will ever use..

Monday, 3 October 2011

Pandan Chiffon Cake II

as mentioned in my earlier post, i will bake another PCC and here it is. this recipe is more tedious but it is completely worth it.

see the "holes" in my PCC? the result of over beating; too many air bubbles formed in the process..

Pandan Chiffon Cake II (adapted from ieatishootipost)


1 tsp ------------ pandan paste (original recipe uses fresh pandan leaves which i will the next round)
90-100 g ------- coconut cream (original recipe uses fresh coconut milk)
50 g ------------ caster sugar
60 g ------------ egg yolks (about 4 egg yolks)
100 g ---------- cake flour
60 g ----------- canola oil
1/4 tsp -------- salt
1 tsp ---------- baking powder

180 g --------- egg white (about 4-5 egg whites)
1/2 tsp ------- cream of tartar
50 g ---------- caster sugar


1. blend pandan paste into coconut milk. set aside
2. beat egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy. add sugar slowly until stiff peaks form. set aside
3. beat egg yolks with sugar until pale and creamy
4. add pandan-coconut milk mixture, oil and salt and whisk until well mixed
5. sift in cake flour and baking powder into yolk mixture and mix it well
6. add the beaten egg whites, one-third at a time, to the egg yolk mixture
7. after each addition, mix in the direction just used for whisking the egg whites, scraping bottom of bowl and lifting batter upwards just until evenly mixed.
8. lift bowl nd bang bowl hard against the worktop a few times to remove air bubbles.
9. pour batter into 21-cm chiffon tin, very slowly, so that more air bubbles are released.
10. bake cake in bottom of preheat oven of 180degC till risen (about 15 min)
11. place a baking tray on the top of oven (to block off heat from top) and continue to bake for another 25 min or so
12. remove cake from oven and invert it onto a rack to cool. after cooled, cut cake out from tin.

somehow, the sides of my PCC never browns and i wonder if it's got to do with my baking tin.. (anti-burn property???)