Sunday, December 27, 2009

December 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge #35: Home for the Holidays, Gingerbread House

This month in the holiday season, so we bake what will make our heart glow: The Gingerbread House!
Even I have to admit that it's not what I usually make (well, the tradition is different) but it's a great fun to do it.
As I never made it before, my first gingerbread house is very hard for me. I had a problem with the dough, actually because I still got a cold, so I don't have enough strength to roll the dough (and the dough for the gingerbread is quite stiff). You can see that my gingerbread is a bit too thick, and because of this the roof is too heavy. Even I held the roof for half an hour until the icing harden and the roof stick to the house, haha, and when I took my hand out the roof just slid down, well luckily that I saw it before it came all the way down >*<. So, my mom she's clever enough to cut the cardboard for me to prevent the roof from sliding down, and I had to say that I almost gave up if she didn't help me. I use the house template from the book: The Good Cookie: Over 250 Delicious Recipes from Simple to Sublime by Tish Boyle, it's beautiful, and the size of the house is just right.
Well, I think it's a great challenge for me, and I'm happy with the results, do you agree with me.

"The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes."

-The snow is falling-

Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water (I use 3/4cup)
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves to the flour. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour.

Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet.

4. Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing: (I made about 5 batch of this)

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren't using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.

December 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge #35:
Home for the Holidays, Gingerbread House

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fruity Drunkie: Let's have PARTY!!! : Pink Banana Mousse!

When the party times come, the recipe that use liquor is needed. For me there are many time that I love to have a bit of it in the dessert, because when use in moderation the liquor will bring a hidden charm without overwhelming.

This mousse is the combination of two things, banana and raspberry. The raspberry turn the mousse into sweet pink color, and the creme de cassis is the hidden treasure that make the mousse more delicious and addicted (well, if you serve this mousse to your friend, you can use 2tbsp of the creme de cassis, but you serve the children this mousse you can omit the liquor).
The recipe come from .............., I have many of her books, even they turns out to be almost the same, haha). The recipe is very easy and simple, just mix all the ingredients together and you get the delicious mousse.
I make this dessert to join my friend who created the theme "Fruity Drunkie: Let's have PARTY!!!" That we will make the dessert that use liquor in it. Well, I think that a bit of liquor will make the party more fun (but not too many of it, Ok!)

Pink Banana Mousse
Makes 8 glasses (70ml/glasses)

Granulated sugar.......60g
Gelatin powder.............3g
Whipping cream.....150ml
Creme de cassis.......1tbsp

Put the raspberry in the food processor, and process to puree it. Strain to remove the pit.
Put the banana, sugar and raspberry puree into the food processor and process to combine.

Put the water into the microwavable bowl, sprinkle the gelatin into it, and let it soften.
Put the bowl in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds, and stir until melt.
Pour the gelatin into the mixture and stir to combine.

Pour the whipping cream and creme de cassis into the mixture and whisk to combine.
Pour the mousse into the glasses.
Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Fruity Drunkie: Let's have PARTY!!! : Pink Banana Mousse!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Double delicious, Rich but light with Italian style cake

How can this cake is so delicious? This is the question that my friend asked me, well, how could I know because she told me after she baking it but I still don't have a chance to bake it!

When I told her that I never made this before, she just ordered me "Bake it now!, and you will understand what I say". So, I baked it (well, I was curious, ^ ^), and I found it's very delicious too.
The cake consists of the delicious ingredients, chocolate and hazelnut and this cake is good for the people who can't eat the gluten too, because there is no flour in the cake.
You might think that the cake will be heavy because there are a lot of nut and butter in the cake but the result is astonishing, it's light and you can finish one piece without feeling heavy at all. It's very easy to make too, start by grinding the hazelnut with the chocolate and butter and mix with the egg yolks, then the whipped egg white will lighten the texture of the cake.
The skin of the hazelnut can be the secret, because the little bitterness of it make the flavor of the cake more balance.
The recipe comes from one of my favorite book this book is very good for anyone who love to bake (haha, the name already said it all). Most of the recipe are reliable, and easy to follow too.
After reading this you might feel a bit curious about the deliciousness of this cake too, so I think it will be good if you just feed your curiosity by baking it! You will love it too.

Italian Hazelnut Cake
Serve 6-8

200g (7oz) hazelnuts(with skins on)
1 tsp baking powder
50g dark chocolate
100g (3½ oz) butter,softened
5 eggs, separated
175g (6oz) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

20cm (8 inch) diameter spring-form/loose-bottomed tin or 16 heart pan(6x5cm / pieces)
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F), Gas mark 3. Butter and line the sides and base of the cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Grind the hazelnuts with the baking powder and dark chocolate in a food processor until fine. Add the butter and combine.

Place the egg yolks in the bowl of an electric food mixer or use a hand-held electric beater. Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture become slightly ‘moussey’ and the mix holds a trail when you lift the beater. Add the hazelnut mixture and the vanilla extract and whisk until combined.

Whisk the egg whites and salt together in a large, spotlessly clean bowl until stiff peaks form, then gently fold into the nut mixture in three stages so as not to deflate the whites. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the surface and bake in the oven for 55-70 minutes (if using small pan baking for 35-40 minutes)or until the cake feels firm and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.The mixture is quite delicate so don’t be tempted to open the oven until close to the end of the cooking time. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then very gently ease the sides of the cake out of the tin using a palette knife. Remove the base after another 15 minutes and leave to cool before cutting into slices.

Double delicious, Rich but light with Italian style cake

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oreo-Crusted White Chocolate Mousse Torte: Lovely to see and delicious to eat!-

Most of the people love Oreo, and I'm the big fan of it too. It's a childhood favorite until the day that I can't call myself child anymore ^ ^. But it's still the same, the dark cookies with the white filling, it's the contrast of two flavor, bitter and sweet that everyone love.

So, when I read about this recipe I believe that the torte should be delicious, the combination of the lovely delicious food, the Oreo cookies and the white chocolate.
It likes the idea of having a large Oreo cookie with an extra creamy filling, because the white chocolate is more sophisticated than sugar filling. I made only half of the original recipe so if you think 18 cm is too small (this is what my sister said after she had 3 pieces of it, she asked me why I made this so small, she want to have more so she can take it home haha). You can double the recipe easily and use 23cm pan instead.

I like the bite size Oreo cookie too, they are great for both eating and decorating (or you will end up eating it while decorating the cake ^ ^). For the cookie crumb, if you like it to be crunchy, sprinkle it over the cake just before serving.
The book said that it's like the giant Oreo cookie but for me it like giant Oreo cookie and more delicious!

-Lovely to see and delicious to eat!-

Oreo-Crusted White Chocolate Mousse Torte

Makes 18 cm

12 Oreo cookies
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream

For the filling

5 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

Coat the interior of 18cm springform pan with butter. Place a circle of parchment in the bottom and butter it as well.
Place the bowl of an electric mixer and wire whip attachment or the beaters in the freezer to chill.

To make the crust, place the cookies in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until medium-size crumbs are formed. They won’t be uniform. Don’t process long enough to make mush-just to grind the cookies into uneven crumbs. Leave the crumbs in the food processor.

Place the bittersweet chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan; set over medium heat and bring the cream to a very gentle simmer. Pour it over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is smooth.

Add two-thirds of the cookie crumbs; reserve the remaining crumbs. Stir the crumbs to coat them with the chocolate. Spoon and scrape the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press the chocolate-coated crumbs evenly over the bottom all the way to the edge of the pan, but not up the sides. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, place the white chocolate and ¼ cup of the heavy cream in a metal bowl placed over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally as the chocolate melts. When the mixture is smooth, remove it from over the water and set aside to cool.

In a chilled bowl using the chilled beaters, whip the remaining ¾ cup of heavy cream and the vanilla until soft peaks form.

Pour 1½ tablespoons of water into a small microwavable bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. When the gelatin has softened, place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds, and stir the mixture just until the gelatin has dissolved and liquefied.

Immediately scrape the gelatin mixture into the white chocolate mixture, and fold gently until well combined.

Put 1/3 of the whipped cream into the white chocolate-gelatin mixture fold to combine, then ,fold the white chocolate-gelatin mixture back into the whipped cream until the mixture is uniform.

Scrape the filling into the prepared crust, and tap lightly to make the surface smooth.
Refrigerate the torte until the gelatin has set, at least 4 hours or overnight. To serve, loosen the edges of the torte from the sides of the pan with a small knife. Remove the sides of the pan and run a wide metal spatula between the bottom of the torte and the parchment liner, then lift the torte onto a flat serving plate. Just before serving, sprinkle the torte with the reserved cookie crumbs. (If the crumbs are sprinkled on ahead of time, they will soften. They will still be delicious.)
The torte can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 4 days.

Oreo-Crusted White Chocolate Mousse Torte:
Lovely to see and delicious to eat!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chicken Farm Bakers' Project # 17:Bake for someone special for his or her's special day: Maria Buns

It's time for Chicken Farm Bakers' Project again, for this month my friend Aummy, want us to bake for some one special "Chicken Farm Bakers' Project # 17:Bake for someone special for his or her's special day".
There are so many special day in one's life, birthday, wedding day or etc., but for me only thinking about the chance that we have to know people and have friends is making everyday in life special. So, I want this chance to cerebrate the day that we know each other and this buns is for all of my friends.

I got the recipe of the choux pastry from someone who live so far away from me, and we'll never know each other if I didn't start writing blog. I really like the idea of using microwave for making the pastry (it's very easy to use this method).
Actually it's like boiling the ingredients but you just pour the ingredients into the cup (or bowl), it's quicker and it's really good in a hot day, ^ ^.

This Maria Buns is an adaptation from the book:(if you remember that there was the project: Bread baking around the world that I had to make Scandinavian bread, so I bought some books on Scandinavian baking, this book is from that time, too).
The Maria bun is a mix of the choux pastry with a cookie dough and fill with cream, when sprinkle with an icing sugar, it looks like a snow ball.
So, let me give this lovely bun as a gift for all my friends, because you are special and hope everyday of your life is a special day.

Maria Buns
Makes 15

Cookie dough
100gAll-purpose flour

Choux pastry

A pinch of salt
85gPastry flour (or cake flour), sifted
120-140gEggs (3 Medium egg)

icing sugar for dusting
First make the cookie dough:

Combine the flour and sugar, add the butter and cut it into the dry ingredients, kneading lightly. Warp in the plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Make the choux pastry:

Preheat the oven to 200 °C Line baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.
Pour the water, butter salt and sugar in the microwavable bowl.
Heat the mixture for 2 minutes, or until boil, then pour the flour over the water mixture and stir to combine.
Put the mixture bake into the microwave and heat for another 1 minute.
Take the bowl out and stir until there is no steam coming out of the mixture, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
Pipe the pastry on the prepared sheet pan.

Roll the cookie dough to a 3 mm thick sheet, and cut out 6 cm circle.
Place one cookie on each choux pastry.
Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and hollow.
Reduce the temperature to 150°C and bake for another 5 minutes.

Make the cream filling:


whole milk

egg yolks

corn flour, sifted


Vanilla bean paste


Whipping cream

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar, vanilla bean, and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavybottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

Pour the cream into a bowl. Using a balloon whisk or electric beaters, whip until soft peak form.
Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream.
Pipe the filling into the pastry, and dust with icing sugar.

Chicken Farm Bakers' Project # 17:Bake for someone special for his or her's special day: Maria Buns

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffin

It's time for the old magazine's recipe again, I love to keep the old food magazines and find most of them are great (well, not for the food trend, that's out of fashion), but they still give me the good recipe and some inspiration.

The magazine that I use for this time is ................... well it's almost 6 year by now, but I find the recipes are good enough to try. I really want to try this recipe because I always love the taste of the cream cheese, haha, but making cheese cake and eating it seen too much for sometimes. So, the little muffin with the cheesecake flavor is much more better.

I made some adaptation from the original recipe mostly because the original is a jumbo size muffin (you know that I always like small size than big one, haha). And for the cheese cream, I use whipping cream than thickened cream so the texture of it is quite runny.
When fill the paper case with the batter, just fill it to 3/4 of it because after baking, there will be enough space for the cheesecake cream to cover the top.
This muffin is soft and fragrance, the sweetness of the cheesecake cream is going very well with the muffin, well, I feel great that I really have a chance to try this recipe at last!

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffin
Makes 15 (standard muffin)


Cream cheese
½ tsp
Vanilla extract
Cake flour
1 tsp
Baking powder
Strawberry (cut into small size)

Cheesecake cream

Cream cheese
Icing sugar
Whipping cream
½ tsp
Vanilla extract

For decoration


Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 15 standard muffin pans with paper cases.
Sift the flour and baking powder together.
To make the cheesecake cream, place all ingredients in a bowl and beat with electric beaters until thick and combined. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Place the butter, cream cheese and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Add the vanilla and fold in the flour and a pinch of salt. Dust the sliced strawberries with a little extra flour then stir through the mixture. Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Pour the cheesecake cream on top and serve with extra strawberries.

From ABC delicious April 2004

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffin


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