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Blueberry Ice Cream


Don’t expect an extremely creamy texture of this ice cream.  Because blueberries contains lots of water itself, I don’t know how to reduce the icy texture when using blueberry as the main ingredient, except wiping the washed blueberry drier.

Re-challenged: Sept 4, 2016.   The texture of the ice cream was improved A LOT, less slushy because I tried to reduce liquid contents.  Still, may be I should replace maple syrup with just sugar to make it even better.  Recipe below has been updated to reflect improvement.

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My cookie recipe searching has finally come to an end.  I have been trying different sugar / rolled cookie recipes so I can have a dough that I can roll out easily, and can press my alphabets onto the dough and produce reliable results without my words smear (no baking powder / baking soda allowed) / produce uneven surface after baking.  Then I came across this recipe (from a baking forum) and I realized all I needed is a simple butter cookie recipe and this is it.  Four ingredients only, nothing fancy but the dough is smooth and don’t need any extra flour to help roll out the dough.  To make these cookies more exciting, I combined the glass cookie idea and added in colored hard candies for colored glass effect in these beautiful Easter cookies.

My 2015 Easter cookies

My 2015 Easter cookies

The hardest part to make these cookies is BUYING hard candies.  Why is the two grocery stores I visited filled with only gummies / soft candies?  I just want a simple pack of lifesavers, but seems like these traditional candies are no where to be found.  I can only find a pack of Easter lollipops (green, light blue, peach, and light pink colors).  I went home and while my kids are watching TV, I grabbed one of the hardest toy (a wodden dinosaur) and started to hammer the lollipops into smaller pieces (in a ziplock.  But the dinosaur now has dents all over and I’m glad it has never been my son’s favorite toy, so probably he won’t notice the damage).  The first batch I baked was all ruined:  all green / blue / pink became the same color of dark brown glass center.  I followed one recipe and filled the hole with crushed candies before baking cookies.  15 mins to bake cookies would turn candies all over-caramelized, making the baked candies so bitter that I cannot give them out.  The nicer cookies were all distributed to my colleagues, but I have to warn them not to eat the glass center anyways because the stupid Easter flavors of green apple and blueberries are so sour it’s a horrible match with the delicious cookies.  So, I urge you to choose your candies wisely if you want your friends eat the whole thing!   For me, I don’t care and still gave them away because they are so adorable to just look at!   Here are the simplest yet the best butter cookies:

Preparing cookies with cookie cutters and alphabet stamps, then add crushed hard candies after

Preparing cookies with cookie cutters and alphabet stamps, then add crushed hard candies after

INGREDIENTS:

  • butter 226 gm (softened at room temperature)
  • icing sugar 136 gm
  • 1 extra large egg (57 gm)
  • cake/pastry flour 456 gm
  • optional: crushed hard-boiled candies

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Beat softened butter and icing sugar til pale white (using electric mixer with the paddle attachment)
  2. Add one egg and beat until mixed.
  3. Stir in flour with a spatula and mix into a dough using hands. Flatten slightly into two discs and wrap each with a plastic wrap to chill for 30-60 mins till hard. Roll out the dough to about 4-5mm thick and cut into desired shapes.
  4. Bake at 330 degrees for 11 mins. (every oven is different, I baked mine at 350 degrees F and needed 15 mins total time).  Then add crushed candies into the center and put back to bake for 4 to 5 minutes and remove from oven once you see all candies melted but before changing colors.  If skip the candies, total baking time should be 13-16 depending how golden you like the cookies be.
  5. Remove from baking pan once the candy hardens and cool completely on a wire rack.

Tips:  May chill the cookies after shaping / pressing molds for 15-20 minutes before baking.  I did both with chilling and without chilling and both yield similar results.  It’s important to use parchment paper to line the baking sheets to avoid candy / cookies sticking to the sheets.

The dough is excellent for any molds / stamps.  Most importantly it tastes good too!

The dough is excellent for any molds / stamps. Most importantly it tastes good too!

Rose Pistachio Cookies


This combination of pistachio and rose is common in Middle East. First bite to it reminds me of Turkish Delight, but definitely I like shortbread cookies better than the sticky super sweet Turkish Delight chews.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Yau’s Seasons at Rachel’s Kitchen.

pistachio rose 2

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I always hope to get a smooth cake top like the sponge cake guru Jeannie Tay’s cake.  My cakes usually cracked at the top no matter how careful I prepared the meringue / adjusted temperature according to my naughty oven.  The latest failure is a super funny one… and I baked this cake in the same week of Halloween too, make it super spooky.

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Recipe Source: Chocolate Sponge cake (cooked dough method) | Jeannietay’s Blog

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I lost count of how many waffle makers I own:  once own a basic 2 pieces square waffle maker, then a 5-in-1 George Foreman grill/waffle maker, then a heart shape 5 pieces waffle maker, then making homemade ice cream led to purchase of a ice cream waffle cone machine.  My latest addition was Breville 4 slices Smart Waffle Maker.  Not to mention my crepe machine and a 3-in-1 Cuisinart crepe/tortilla/pizzelle maker.  However, the waffle maker out of all that I used the most frequent is my beloved bubble waffle maker (the metal mould with a long wooden handle that requires stovetop fire). Here is the recipe I love the most, courtesy of “I Love Cake” bake shop which prints its recipe at Ming Pao weekly food magazine (p. 31, May 20, 2011)

bubble waffle

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I made this Pokeball Log cookies last year for my son’s birthday.  Then I continued to try a couple more other simple designs of log cookies using this beloved wooden box.

After 1 year, my son’s favorite is still Pokemon, which means another chance for me to improve on the cookies.  Last year cookies were more pink and brown, so I need color to be more bold.  This year I’m adding more food coloring (sorry kids) and it’s the right color I wanted finally !!    I used Dorie Greenspan’s cookie recipe this time instead.. and man.. it spreads after baking.  My cookies top and bottoms all stick to each other.  I won’t compensate next time by increasing baking temperature as I want 300 degrees only to maintain the color of the cookies rather than golden brown if baked at higher temperature.  So next time if I’m using this same recipe, I would definitely space the cookies at least 3 cm apart !!   Nevertheless, the cookies taste great and most importantly, the 6 yo kids probably didn’t notice those wrong color cookie crumbs at the border before they popped them in mouth.

Here I present, the cute PokeSquare cookies (again) :     COOL is the first word when my kids saw them in the kitchen.

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Panda Bread


“My Name is Panda, how do you do?

I live in China, I eat bamboo

I love to eat honey, up in the tree.

I have no color, just black and white. ”

This is my daughter’s favorite song.  Even though she doesn’t like to eat my bread normally, I know she cannot resist my attempted panda loaf.

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First two slices quite successful

 

I failed badly the first attempt. Second attempt better because I calculated more carefully (but still cannot trust the portion size of each dough in original recipe because simply multiplication from her pan size to my longer pan size had last time yield a very dense bread which doesn’t make sense), but I used the wrong recipe. It’s super soft, which means it doesn’t stay the defined straight sides after baking and ends up the top collapsed in the middle and I got a green pikachu 😦

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to my third attempt in near future with using a more stable loaf recipe and hopefully I get more slices of good looking panda.

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And the rest of them so evil looking

 

 

Rooster German Cookies


Two years ago I made Sheep German Cookies to celebrate year of Ram.  So this year seeing people posting the cute chicken pictures, I have to join the fun.  The recipe I saw people sharing is the same one that I used 2 years ago.  So I guess base is the same, just people’s creativity gets better.

I had to bake these at my friend’s house as I had a dinner party to attend and my dough is getting so dry that I find it’s harder and harder to stick embellishments on when time passes.  So I don’t want to leave dough for another 4 extra hrs.  It’s a small intimate party so I was still busy rolling and sticking stuff onto the dough while my ears are still listening to my friends’ chatting.  After the car ride back home, the baked roosters were like out of the coop and flying everywhere.  I love this picture the most:

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adapted from:  http://rasamalaysia.com/melting-moments-cookies/2/

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I got a big slice of turkey breast to take home from the new year’s eve party.  I was going to just make turkey pot pie, which is simpler with only a top crust to put over the turkey meat mixture.

I always wanted to try making Hong Kong style chicken pie at home.  The crust is melt-in-your-mouth type of texture and sweeter than just a traditional pie.  I like it better than the western flaky pie as it’s is crunchy and crispy yet melt in the mouth.  Buying it from bakery has been my only option, but I think the filling is always quite little with relatively thick crust.  Making my own can control the thickness of the crust and the contents of the meat mixture (I use mushroom / edamame / corn, which is nicer than just frozen vegetable mix).

My first trial is quite a success (I think, haha).  Taste is comparable to those bought from bakery, thanks to this good recipe by Chef Chu’s Kitchen (a PDF in chinese).  I modified the recipe by reducing sugar by 25% and change from just white sugar to icing sugar to make it more melt-in-your-mouth, and cut some cream / salt and then add more vegetables to make it tiny bit more nutritious.  I elaborated more on the procedures too, since I know my friends W and M from the new year’s eve party were drooling when I showed them how I made used of the leftover turkey =)

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More filling with thinner crust than bakery, yet there are still a good portion of crunchy, melt in your mouth crust for each pie.

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