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

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry-Grapefruit Buttercream

For Mothers' Day! this post is self-explanatory......

Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart)

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (I reduced it to half cup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. 
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
  4. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely 
  6. Decorate as desired.
Raspberry-Grapefruit Buttercream filling 

  • 1/2 stick butter, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp grapefruit zest, unpacked
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 tsp Marks & Spencer Bat's Blood
  1. Cream the butter, powdered sugar, salt, and grapefruit zest on high 3 to 4 minutes. Add the bat's blood and mix for another minute

Espresso Choco-Chips Biscottii

I thought long and hard before deciding to bake this. my first experience with making biscotti was not smooth. the dough was extremely sticky and slicing the hot half-baked dough was a challenge. however, i was going to meet my girlfriends and i wanted to make sweet treats for them. and because we were planning on meeting after work, i needed something that easily "portable" and "durable" that could at least last until i meet them. although cookies and muffins were good choices (if not for the delicate frostings on cupcakes, i would have done cupcakes; they are sooo pretty.....), i decided to go with biscotti because they can keep for long and are good snacks with coffee. my group of girlfriends are hardworking professionals whom i assume enjoy a cuppa coffee now and then. i had hoped that the biscotti would serve as their tea-time snack during their hectic work days. 

Espresso Choco-Chip Biscotti (adapted from sagerecipes)

  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder ( i used vietnam coffee powder)
  • 250g cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips 
  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF and line 1 sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant espresso powder with 1 tablespoon hot water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar, using an electric mixer, until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the espresso flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips just until incorporated.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions and form each portion into a log (2 inches thick). Do not flatten the logs (the dough will be sticky). Place the logs onto the sheet pan, a few inches apart from each other. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Turn the oven down to 275ºF. Transfer logs to a clean cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice the logs diagonally, 1/2 inch thick. Discard the end pieces (or munch on them). Place the cookies cut side down on the sheet pan and bake for another 40 minutes, until toasted and dry.

Japanese Matcha Munavalgekook

this is something that Dear saw on Foodgawker (my favorite iPhone app!) and requested for. it was a very simple cake but required quite alot of eggs whites. I had problems using up the egg yolks after that and ended throwing some away - yes, it was wasteful. I should have been more curious to find out what "Munavalgekook" means before baking this. that's me, i usually "skip" the words that i cannot pronounce, when reading in silence. it's subconscious. I wonder if anyone of you is like me. ...The awkward moment when you wrongly pronounce the name of a lead character in a popular book when excitedly discussing about the character with another fan of the book...

anyway, the word "Munavalgekook" is Estonian for "egg white cake". unlike angel cakes  which also use only egg whites and contain little/no fat, munavalgekook has added fat and is taste buttery and moist. coupled with the aroma of matcha powder, i think it is wonderful as as a tea-time snack with any brewed tea!

I chose to bake this cake in a bundt pan. I love making bundt cakes as they already look pretty on its own. 

Japanese Matcha Munavalgekook
(adapted from closetdomesticbunny)


  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 100g butter, melted and let cool
  • 150g caster sugar (original recipe called for 200g)
  • 160g self-raising flour
  • 2tbsp of cornflour
  • 1tsp of baking powder
  • 1tbsp matcha green tea powder (could add 1/2tsp if desired)

  1. Line your baking tin and pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together and sift a few times until ingredients are all mixed thoroughly.
  3. Beat the egg whites and 2 tbsp of sugar with a hand mixer until pale and foamy, or if you'd like the cake fluffier until soft peaks form.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites. Fold with a spatula gently.
  5. Add the melted (but cool) butter and mix gently.
  6. Pour into the baking tin and bake for 30-40 minutes. Mine baked for about 45 min.
  7. let cook in the bundt for 5min and transfer to cool on a cooling rack