Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Handmade cookies

Christmas is over. I did not even wish anyone Merry Christmas here through my hobby blog .. Sorry my friends.

I was planning to make Christmas cookies, those frosted one with my kids, but then again, 泡湯啦!I always wanted to bake birthday cakes for my family members during their birthdays, or cookies for CNY and Christmas, but never once, done it. What a shame!

I have been tidying up the study to create more space since my girl is stepping into Primary One next year. So one thing lead to another (clearing of storeroom space) then .. now the school holiday is over and I have yet to write names on their textbooks. Luckily I have scheduled tomorrow for ironing their uniforms and that school starts a day late next year. Time just passed like that!

After Christmas, the kids are still asking about making cookies, so I quickly googled for a recipe online and get the dough out to chill. I got it chilled overnight but I still have problem getting it done in one go as the dough soften rather fast (ok, I am slow). The kids love the cookies, and no, I did not do any icing again cos I am rushing to bring the kids out. Am happy to at least attempt the cookies, not totally 遺憾 lor.

My oven, as usual took a little long and since rushing for time, did not have much patience, so first batch came out not brown enough. However, can see little specks of darker brown .. not sure are those the sugar crystal again. This is really handmade - I used my hand to cream the butter and sugar manually, so maybe not done enough.

Cooling on a rack
After baking these, I fell ill and I dare not try out another recipe that my friend, Pris Goh has shared with me (Thanks Pris). Must wait liao, cos school re opening, stuffs not done and I am going away - back to my dh's hometown till school reopens.

Sigh, just this holiday, I have gained a few kgs.

This aside, I must share with my friends too, that I am happy to have won a giveaway by Sugar Inc, Singapore. It is a cookbook. I would like to thank Anna for passing it to me personally.

Then, the happiest thing that happened to me this month is to receive a mail addressed to me shortly after I came back from a four day trip to Sabah. It's from a friend I knew through blogging. 我很感動. However, due to the backlog of housework and "don't know what others", I received her email before I even sent her one to thank her for the present. I am quite ashamed of myself.

Let me share the pictures of the lovely present.


My dear friend, 希望我不會辜負你的這份心意。I hope you are having a very good time bonding with your closest family members there.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Brioche, my "half handmade" bread

Like I said in the previous post, I held on to this bread book for 6 weeks and more... manage to encourage myself to try out the bread recipe by using the maker to make the dough and my hands to shape it.

Nothing is too difficult with the intervene of machines. Follow instructions, put in the ingredients in the correct order, switch on the machine and wait for the beep beep sound. The challenging part is to me trying to complete my swiss roll before the machine beeps. Anyway I made it. I have still time after swiss roll is completed.

This is the first time I am handling bread dough with my hand. I am really afraid of deflating the dough (like that of a cake) but I still have to follow instructions and have the dough split into 8 buns. I am trying to do buns with chocolate filling but in case I fail, I decide to leave the filling to the next round.

Kind of fun handling the dough by hand. Sticky yet not so sticky, and not too easy to pull it apart. I finally managed to have 8 buns into 2 trays, wraped both with cling wrap then put aside. I am worried they will not rise at first since they doesn't look much difference after 10 minutes. Slowly I see them grow, and by 80 plus minute (I purposely put a longer time) they are ready for "make up" (ie apply egg yolk wash). I have to tent the bread as the top gets brown easily and finally times up for the bread to come out.

They looked perfect and taste perfect when they are just out from the oven. I am so so so happy with the outcome. The bread is so soft and fluffy that I dare to sell this bread that I made. The kids also gave the bread thumbsup. However the happiness is shortlived. The bread taste a little dry after 3 hours despite me putting into air tight container (not suppose to?), but still tasty lah. I am going to make this bread again, this time with filling and into smaller buns.

Lovely soft warm breads

Try it with this recipe from "Hamlyn - 200 bread recipes"

Ingredients (Makes 1 loaf)

3 eggs, beaten
75g (3 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
250g (8oz) strong white bread flour
25g (1 oz) caster sugar
1 teaspoon fast action dried yeast
egg yolk, to glaze


  1. Lift the bread pan out of the machine and fit the blade. Put the ingredients in the pan, following the order specified in the manual.
  2. Fit the pan into the machine and close the lid. Set to the dough programme. Thoroughly butter a 750ml (1 1/4 pint) brioche mould or a 1kg (2 lb) loaf tin.
  3. At the end of the programme turn the dough out on to a floured surface and cut off one quarter. Shape the larger piece into a ball and drop it into the brioche tin. Push a deep, wide hole into the dough with your fingers. Shape the remaining dough into a ball and press it gently into the indented top. (If you are using a loaf tin shape the dough into an oval and drop it into the tin.)
  4. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 50 - 60 minutes or until almost doubled in size. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and gently brush over the dough. Bake in a preheated oven, 220 degree Celsius (425 Fahrenheit), Gas Mark 7, for 20 - 25 minutes or until deep golden and firm. (Cover the loaf with foil if the crust starts to over brown.)
  5. After baking leave the bread in the tin for a few minutes, then shake out on to a wire rack to cool. 
  7.  For baby chocolate brioche buns, make the dough as above and divide it into 8 pieces. Push 15g (1/2 oz) plain dark chocolate into the centre of each piece and seal the dough around the chocolate. Space the buns well apart on a greased baking sheet. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size. Glaze and bake as above, reducing the cooking time to about 15 minutes.

  1. Now I have finish up my posts, all thanks to the 4 cups of coffee.

    Swiss roll

    Two days ago, I attempted two baked items in an afternoon. I made brioche and swiss roll. My friend June made cute little brioche for her kids and they love it. I asked the recipe from her but now it is lost. Sorry June. So one day I went looking for bread making book in the library and found this book and it has a brioche recipe.

    Not sure where did the courage came from, but part of the reason is to use up some whip cream so I want to make a swiss roll. Of course, I did that when the bread machine is mixing the brioche dough for me. While bread machine is busy, I googled for Rachel Allen's swiss roll recipe. No butter swiss roll, so no need to wait for butter to soften. The eggs are whipped together with the sugar into a very light mixture, then I use the scrapper to mix in the flour. I think the mixture got deflated a little but after trying my best to remove traces of flour, I pour the mix into baking tray and sent it into the oven.

    While waiting for the cake to be done, I had a taste of the batter. It is taste very foamy and light, very tasty. I did not do skewer test this time, as Rachel says the cake will be done when the sides pull away a little and we should not over bake swiss roll. However, after I took it out, it doesn't look pretty at all. It is rough looking with all the holes. I had trouble peeling the baking paper away as it sticks onto the baking paper. My fault for not following Rachel's instruction of greasing the paper and flouring the sides. I also have trouble rolling it and unrolling it to put the cream because the sugar coating melts and my roll sticks together! Ok, lesson learnt. Follow instructions. I am suppose to put the cream before rolling! This is the first time I attempt a sugar coated roll.

    Anyway here is part of the ugly looking roll with whipped cream (too lazy to add mango puree) which my kids love more than the cake itself. Infact, I don't like the cake too, and I think I still prefer swiss roll made with normal sponge cake recipe or one with butter.

    In which way do they resemble swiss roll, ya? Haiz.

    Brioche comes next. ;-)

    Cream puff (with cream this time!)

    The last time I did choux pastry is in 2008 ( this post ). I did custard one. Back then, it was a 2nd try already but the base still stuck to the foil I used unless I grease it. This time I use the baking paper from Glad, and no more stuck bottom! Yay.

    I went to a demo in Mayer, who has teacher Ms Crystal Kuek demo-ing the choux pastry in a form of fruit basket. I am not so hardworking, so I just followed her recipe but just spooned the mixture onto the baking sheet instead of piping it.

    It has been so long since I last did choux pastry, I cannot really remember how the batter should be like, and I am not paying much attention to the texture during the demo, but I am sure the batter should be a little semi liquid (sigh, not sure how to describe it). However, after adding the eggs and beating all into the mix, I got quite a firm ball of batter. I remember my friend describing one stage of the batter like chewing gum .. but mine is not. Anyway, I just spoon it into "puff" and bake them. However, Ms Kuek told us to sprinkle water around onto the tray before sending into the oven. This is to increase the moisture while baking. The end result looks similar to what I have done before.

    I manually whipped a 100gm of non diary cream and mixed with mango puree to make the mango cream filling (according to the recipe) and it is a hit with the kids. They keep asking for the cream and a few days later, I made swiss roll with mango cream.

    Here are my puffs. This recipe is different from what I used to follow. This one has no milk. Wonder what is the difference. Milk and no milk.....

    Quite happy with them and guess will try to make them more often since the baked puffs can be freezed.

    There, the mango cream filled puffs.

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