Sunday, August 31, 2014

Peanut Pancake 面煎粿

This is a very local pancake called 面煎粿. It is one of my favourite snack since young. I made the peanut version yesterday morning for our breakfast. Found this easy recipe, many thanks to My Kitchen for sharing this yummy recipe :)

For some reason, I grew up calling this "ban jian kueh", but all my other friends call it "meen jian kueh" :p

Here's the recipe. Please visit My Kitchen for the original recipe and method. I think it is good advice to cool the pancakes on the wire rack if not serving immediately, as the bottom of my pancake was a little soggy after sitting on the plate for 5 to 10 mins.

Ingredients (I made minor changes according to the ingredients I have on hand)

- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
-  a drop of  vanilla paste
- 1 cup low-fat fresh milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- pinch of double acting baking powder

- some butter
- diced or ground peanuts
- sugar (adjust to your preference)

Method (makes 2-3 servings)

1. Whisk egg and sugar together.
2. Add vanilla paste and half the milk. Continue mixing.
3. Add sifted flour in batches and mix.
4. Add oil and remaining milk and mix. The batter will be watery.
5. Heat a non-stick frying pan (I used the HappyCall frying pan so no oil was necessary). Pour half the batter (my pan size is 20") into the pan. Turn heat to low. When tiny air pockets appear on top of the batter, add some butter on top of the batter. Sprinkle peanuts & sugar mixture on top. Fold 1 side of pancake over to form a semi circle. Once the pancake is browned, remove from pan. Cool on a wire rack. It tastes best when hot.

Hope you enjoy this simple yet yummy breakfast like I do :)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Traditional Mooncakes

Time flies? Mid-Autumn festival is almost here. After last year's first attempt at making mooncakes, I simplified my "process" a little, as I already have the mooncake mould, and I know where to get the fried glutinous flour and ready-made lotus seeds paste, or which trusted recipe to go to :D

Amidst my minor renovation at home, I managed to make the snow skin mooncakes following the same recipe I used last year (but this time using strawberries), which I did not manage to take any photo :p

Found this recipe on Teacher Carol's blog, which looks similar to the recipe I attempted last year. I do not have parmesan cheese powder, thus I replaced with more milk powder. The mooncake skin is crunchy on the first day, and subsequently on the 2nd day, turns soft. As traditional mooncakes always taste better after 1-2 days. Although this recipe is titled Cantonese Style Red Bean mooncake, the ingredients look similar to the Taiwanese Style Mooncake I baked last year. I really like these 2 versions :)

The first picture is my attempt to make some piglets, which look quite strange :D Making figurines is tough, I knew that when I did the fondant cake for my gal. This time, my daughter requested for some "kosong" (she learns a few Malay words in school :D) mooncakes, as she prefers the mooncake skin over the lotus seeds fillings. "Kosong" means "empty", i.e., no filling in this case :)

Ingredients (makes 10, 5-cm diameter mooncakes)

- 65g cake flour
- 16g skimmed milk powder (from baking store)
- pinch of salt
- 15g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
- 20g icing sugar
- 15g golden syrup
- 20g beaten whole egg

- store-bought lotus seeds paste (make into 30g balls)
- some beaten egg for brushing


1. Mix butter, salt and icing sugar using a whisk.
2. Add golden syrup and continue mixing.
3. Add egg and continue mixing until ingredients mix evenly.
4. Add milk powder and fold in using a spatula.
5. Add sifted cake flour and fold using a spatula. Do not over mix. Mixture may look sticky, but as long as the dough comes together, stop and cover with plastic wrap. Leave for 30mins.
6. Put some flour on worktop to prevent dough from sticking onto it. Knead dough briefly. Distribute dough into 10 equal parts. Flatten each dough and wrap lotus seeds paste inside. The skin will look very thin. It will be helpful if you watch some mooncake making videos to learn the technique.
7. Stamp out the mooncake using a mooncake mould/plunger. I am using the plunger type. Remember to flour the plunger so that the dough will not stick to it.
8. Bake at 210 degC preheated oven for 7 mins. Remove from oven, brush a thin layer of egg on the mooncakes, then return to oven and bake at 200 degC for 12-15 mins. Please adjust temperature according to your oven. When the top appears golden brown, it is done.

The mooncakes in the second photo are made by my daughter. Not bad right? :) The first time I made it I did not put flour in the mould, thus my mooncakes looked very funny :D I told her and she put lots of flour :p you can see traces of flour on her mooncakes. But the patterns are nicely imprinted on the mooncake. She did a good job :)

Please find the detailed recipe and method on teacher Carol's blog.

Happy baking! :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chocolate Chips Muffins

This is another straight forward and simple recipe I tried the other day. This can be prepared with minimal fuss.

Found this recipe on Cookpad. I am not sure if it is similar to Starbucks muffins like the recipe owner mentioned, but the muffin is certainly soft and buttery.

I often find that muffins are so easy to put together that there is really no reason to buy from shops :p of course unless you are really not into baking.

- 210g cake flour
- 90g unsalted butter
- 60g sugar (I used dry demerara sugar)
- 2 eggs
- 160g fresh milk
- chocolate chips, as much as you want :p (original recipe uses Dars chocolate)
- 2 tsp of double acting baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (original recipe uses 3 drops of vanilla extract)

I modified the method slightly as I do not own a microwave oven.

1. Melt butter (This is what I did: Place butter in a small bowl, then, add some hot water in a bigger bowl.  place the small bowl into the bigger bowl). 
2. In another bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until foamy.
3. Add sugar and beat for about 3 mins.
4. Pour melted butter into eggs and sugar mixture. Mix well.
5. Add milk and stir.
6. Add vanilla paste and stir.
7. Sift cake flour and baking powder into mixture.
8. Using a spatula, fold the flour in using a cutting motion until there is  no trace of flour. As of all muffin recipes, do not overmix.
9. Fill muffin cups, add chocolate chips when half-filled, and more when it is 70% full.
10. Bake in preheated oven at 180 degC for 30 mins. Please adjust timing according to your oven as each is different.

Happy baking! :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Flapjack / Rolled Oats Bars / Granola Bars

These days I have been spending more time reading up on lunch box recipes and cooking. Thus, had neglected baking. I was not inspired to bake when I think of the amount of washing up I have to do after that. Found this recipe which looks easy and minimal washing so I went ahead to make a batch.

After researching on the web, it seems like flapjacks, rolled oats bar and granola bars are the same thing. They are perhaps called differently depending fron which country you are from.

Here's the recipe, thanks to  My Wok's Life for sharing. I also referred to Jamie's step-by-step recipe when I made them. A picture speaks a thousand words, the photos are very helpful.

- 70g butter
- 60g brown sugar (I used unrefined dark brown soft sugar)
- 60g golden syrup
- 170g rolled oats (I used organic rolled oats)
- about 1 tbs of ground peanuts

1. Line a 8" x 8" square pan with baking paper.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degC.

1. Put butter, sugar and golden syrup in a heavy bottom saucepan. Melt them in low heat.
2. Stir with a wooden or silicone spatula to combine the ingredients when the butter starts to melt.
3. Once the butter has melted, turn off the heat and add rolled oats and peanuts  into pan.
4. Mix them well.
5. Transfer the mixture to the square pan and press down with a spatula or metal spoon.
6. Bake for 25 mins. Please adjust baking time according to your oven, original recipe stated 20 mins.
7. Once baking is done, leave flapjack to cool in pan for 10 mins before cutting into squares with a knife. Leave flapjack to cool completely in pan. Store in air-tight container.

The texture of these flapjacks is chewy. I would prefer a crunchy texture, will try again next time to see how that can be achieved. Nevertheless, the taste of these flapjacks is very good, it does remind me of caramel popcorn. It is easy to put together so don't hesitate to try this recipe if you have some rolled oats onhand.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Kabocha Squash Chocolate Chips Muffins

Under the muffins is a cute glass table top from my friend - it's a nice background for photos too! :)

These lovely Kabocha Squash Muffins are made using the same Organic Japanese Pumpkin bought from NTUC the other day. The small and cute pumpkin actually yielded a lot of mashed pumpkin. After giving some to my mom, I could still manage to pack 3 packets of 100g each, and kept them in the freezer for later use.

Last Saturday, I met two ex-colleagues for dim sum. I wanted to bake them something and the mashed pumpkin came in handy for me to prepare some pumpkin muffins quickly. Thanks to the Halloween Pumpkin Muffin recipe from Cooking with Dog. To me, muffins is easier to prepare as compared to other bakes, as it needs no special equipment. You just need a whisk (or fork) and a big mixing bowl.

(makes 6-7 5cm diameter muffins cups)

50g Unsalted Butter 无盐牛油, soften
80g Sugar 糖 *I used light muscovador sugar  unrefined dry demerara sugar

A pinch of Salt 少许盐 *Omitted as I used salted butter
1 Beaten Egg 蛋, lightly beaten
100g Kabocha Squash - Japanese pumpkin 南瓜
40g Roasted Walnuts (1.4 oz) 核桃  *I replaced with chocolate chips instead

120g Cake Flour or All Purpose Flour 抵筋面粉, sifted
1 tsp Baking Powder 发粉 
50ml Milk 牛奶

Please refer to the video from Cooking with Dog. The instruction is very clear, and I always enjoy watching the chef cook/bake, she is so neat! So unlike me when I bake :p and my kitchen is always messy right after I baked :p

My friends said the muffin is nice and soft. I am glad they enjoyed them :)