Chocolate Macaroons

Just like the red velvet cupcake, macaroons is in the list of recipes that is hard to perfect. I’ve tried countless recipes and finally managed to bake a nice & smooth crust with a soft interior.

However due to copyright restrictions, the owner only allows a direct link to his website.

Click here for the perfect macaroons recipe!

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Scarlet…. Red Velvet Cupcake

I have always loved red velvet cupcakes. The bright red colour coupled with a tinge of chocolatey taste topped off with the tangy cream cheese frosting. Just that, I have never succeeded in making the perfect one. There is always the issue of runny frosting, if not that the cake does not turn out right.

Finally found the recipe that gives me a perfectly textured cupcake followed by a nice and smooth cream cheese frosting. Image

Red Velvet Cupcake ( makes 20-24 cup cakes)


2 1/2 cups cake flour (sifted)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt (can be omitted if you use salted butter)

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 oz liquid red food colouring (I used 2 whole 28gm bottle red food colouring bought from NTUC)

~ *114gm unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups caster cugar

2 eggs (room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk ** (substitution below)

1 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp baking soda

* the recipe I adapted used butter according to the US packing size. So I had to measure the butter in grams instead as each stick of butter in Singapore is 250gm.

** Instead of buttermilk, I added 1 tbsp vinegar into the “1 cup” measuring cup and topped up the rest with full cream milk. This has to be left sitting for 10-15minutes.

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven at 180 degree celcius. Line muffin tray with papercups (I used cups with bottom diameter of ~47mm and height of ~46mm)

2. Prepare the vinegar + milk mix

3. Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

4. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and red food colouring until there are no lumps.

5. In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.

6. Beat in the cocoa + food colouring mixture. Carefully scrape down as often as possible.

7. Pour in 1/3 of the sifted flour mixture and mix well. Followed by 1/2 buttermilk (or milk + vinegar mixture), beat again. Alternating with the flour and milk mixture. End with the last portion of flour mixture.

8. In a separate small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. And quickly stir. This will cause a small fizz. Add into the batter and mix well.

9. Fill the cups with the batter about 2/3 full. I used a “1/4 measuring cup” and it will perfectly fill the batter to the desired height.

10. Bake for about 20-30 minutes. Ensure that you rotate the tray in between. It should be ready when you insert the toothpick and it comes out clean. ( I would usually keep it in the over for another 2-3 minutes to let it really set, as I usually get the cups peeling after a while because the cupcakes did not properly set). Let it cool before you frost.

I think the secret to a nice textured red velvet cupcake is that the batter must not be left out for too long. Once you have scooped it onto the cups, bake them immediately!


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Cream Cheese Frosting

~450 gm cream cheese, soften (you will need 2 x 250gm of the Philadelphia cream cheese)

~114 gm unsalted butter, soften

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

pinch of salt (can be omitted if you use salted butter)

Method:

1. In a mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth

2. Switch to low speed (powder may cause a storm in high speed!), add vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Once the sugar is properly mixed, turn it to high speed.

3. Frosting can be used immediately or refrigerate until your next use.

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Churros, churros!

I had dessert at Max Brenner, Esplanade with a friend who had a craving for churros. 

We ordered Marshmallow Milk Chocolate, Italian Thick Dark Chocolate & Churros. I must say, both drinks we good! Unfortunately, we were very much disappointed with the Churros. It was very hard and chewy. Both of us had difficulty chewing it and our jaw felt sore. When we gave feedback to the staff, he came back to say, “the chef said, all over Singapore, Churros taste like that!” We found it ridiculous as we had perfectly good tasting churros in Europe & Japan!

Oh well! I decided to make some myself and see if my churros can be as good! This is a simple recipe and my sisters loved it! The ones I made were slightly chewy, with a nice crunch. It is small and thin as I do not have a big nozzle.

Churros

1 cup water

2 1/2 tbsp white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup flour

some oil for frying

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

(1) In medium heat, add water, sugar, salt and veg oil and mix until it boils

(2) Remove from heat and stir in flour. It will form a ball ( I used spoon to mix it)

(3) Place in piping bag, pipe into desired length and fry medium heat until it browns.

(4) Mix cinnamon and white sugar

(5) Roll fried churros onto the cinnamon + sugar mixture

Note: Use a big nozzle as a small nozzle will produce a thinner churros and may be crunchy after frying.

Recipe was adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/churros/

Bonjour, Croque Monsieur

I used to work at a quick dining French Restaurant. As the Assistant Manager, I was trained to bake. Though I do not have the recipes for the dishes, I was lucky enough to learn the techniques.

Today, I decided to bake Ham and Cheese Croissant. This is almost the same as Croque Monsieur but instead of using a normal bread, I used croissant. The main part of this recipe is to make the Bechamel Sauce. After that, all you need is to assemble them.

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Ham & Cheese Croissant (or Croque Monsieur) – Makes 6 – 8 

25 grams Butter

2 tbsp Flour

1.5 cups Low fat milk (less guilt)

pinch of Salt/Pepper (some recipe calls for nutmeg but I left it out)

200gm Gruyere Cheese (grated) – you’ll need 1/4 cups for the Bechamel sauce

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)

6-8 pcs Regular sized Croissant (bought mine at NTUC Extra)

6-8 slices Honey baked ham

Method:

Bechamel Sauce

(1) Melt butter in a small pan on medium heat until you see bubbles

(2) Add flour while stirring continuously until smooth (this is just a short while, 1-2mins)

(3) Slowly pour in milk & whisk continuously until it thickens

(4) Take off from the heat and add salt & pepper (I love it spicy, so you may be generous with the pepper!)

(5) Stir Parmesan & 1/4 cups of Gruyere cheese

Let it cool slightly and the sauce will thicken. At this moment, you may start to switch on your oven. 180 deg Celsius, middle rack.

Assembly (Ham & Cheese Croissant):

(1) Cut the croissant at a 45 degrees angle from end to end.

(2) Pipe (or scoop) bechamel sauce on the centre ham and sprinkle some gruyere cheese

(3) Roll the ham and insert it into the croissant

(4) Pipe (or spread) some bechamel sauce on the top of the croissant (near the opening) and sprinkle some more gruyere cheese

(5) Bake for 10-15mins

Assembly (Croque Monsieur)

You’ll need 2 slices of bread (you can use white/wholemeal).

(1) Place ham on one slice

(2) Spread Bechamel sauce on the ham and sprinkle Gruyere cheese. Put second slice on top.

(3) Spread sauce and sprinkle cheese on the bread.

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