Tag Archives: food blog

Classic Madeleines 

Madeleines are something that have been in my mind for a long time. These elegant looking mini cakes are so buttery and tasty. They are not difficult to make, you just need a little patience as both the batter and the molds have to be chilled before baking. And yes, you do have to buy the Madeleine pan to get that shell-liked shape, but for about $20-$30, it’s worth it. Well, I guess that’s from a baker’s point of view ! My kids often tell me I spend too much on my baking stuff, but hey, these are my toys, plus I don’t buy expensive clothes, handbags or jewellery like other people do ! Most importantly, I am doing something that makes me happy ! And when mom is happy, everyone’s happy ! 

Makes about 22-24 

  • 120 g unsalted butter + 30 g for greasing tray, melted 
  • 90 g all-purpose flour 
  • 90 g cake and pastry flour 
  • 3 g baking powder 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 g vanilla sugar or granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • Zest of one lemon 
  • 15 mL lemon juice 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • Icing sugar for dusting 
  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan or microwave, cool slightly 
  2. Brush madeleine moulds with about 30 g of melted butter, coat with flour, tapping off excess
  3. Place coated pan in freezer for at least one hour 
  4. Sift together flours, baking powder and salt, mix in sugar, set aside 
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla until frothy, about 5 minutes 
  6. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture 
  7. Gently stir in 120 g of melted (and cooled) butter, 2-3 tablespoons at a time until just blended 
  8. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight 
  9. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F
  10. Drop about 1 tablespoon of batter into each mould without spreading it out
  11. Place madeleine pan on another large baking tray and bake for about 12 minutes until edges are golden 
  12. Cool in moulds for a few minutes then completely on rack 
  13. Dust with icing sugar, best to eat within 2 days 

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman, “How to Bake Everything” 

Tools and Books 


  
Chicago Metallic 26631 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan

How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking

You can get the Madeleine pan and the cookbook through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

Strawberry Hand Pies

I am a home baker, so besides the couple of pastry classes that I have attended, I have never really had any formal training. When I just started baking as a teenager, pie is something that I felt very tricky and difficult to make and I would never be able to do it. To me, making pie was not “as easy as pie” ! But, as I became more experienced, I realized it is actually not that hard. I had a few failures, but it wasn’t a “mission impossible”.  So, gathering my failures and tips from my classes, I have learned a few things: 

  1. Making hand pies or mini pies to start if you haven’t made pies before. The dough is the same, but it’s easier to roll and to control the baking time. And I think it’s more fun ! 
  2. Use very cold butter. I put the cut butter and in the freezer for about 15 minutes before using.
  3. There should be small lumps of cold butter in the dough. So rubbing in the butter by hands would be better than pulsing with a food processor as you will have larger lumps. In the oven, the butter melts creating pockets, the moisture in the butter evaporates, expanding those pockets, hence flaky crust. 
  4. Do not knead the dough, just press it together. The lumps of butter that you want for flakiness will melt if you handle the dough too much.
  5. Let the dough rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight before baking.  This allows the butter to firm up and the gluten to relax, which makes rolling easier. 

I hope these tips will help if making pies is on your list ! Once you manage the crust, there are so many possibilities….all the berries, apples, peaches, pears….Mmmmmm, yummy ! 

Makes about 8-10 hand pies

For the pie dough

  • 180 g unsalted butter (cut into small pieces and chilled)
  • 200 mL ice-cold water
  • 400 g cake and pastry flour, sifted
  • 30 g granulated sugar
  • 5 g salt

You will also need 1 egg for brushing top of pies and more sugar for sprinkling 

  1. Combine flour,sugar and salt
  2. Rub in chilled butter with hands until resemble coarse crumbs, there should be pea-sized lumps of butter
  3. Add cold water and mix until dough just starting to form
  4. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, and press dough together (Do not knead)
  5. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight

For the strawberry filling

  • 500 g fresh strawberries (wash, hull and cut into halves or quarters)
  • 60 g granulated sugar
  • 15 g cornstarch
  1. Coat strawberries with sugar and cornstarch
  2. Cook over medium heat until soft and jam-like
  3. Cool to room temperature 

To assemble the pie

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to about 0.5 cm thickness (If the dough is too hard, let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes)
  3. Cut into 8 cm x 8 cm squares (dough scraps can be reused, but try to press them back together instead of kneading, and reuse as little times as possible)
  4. Place bottom squares on a baking tray lined with parchment paper
  5. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of strawberry filling in the middle
  6. Brush egg wash around edges of top squares, and place over bottom squares (egg wash sides down)
  7. Press edges to seal then press down with fork
  8. Cut a small opening on top of pies to let air out during baking
  9. Brush top with egg wash and sprinkle with vanilla sugar or granulated sugar
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes, then cover top with a foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes
  11. Serve warm

 

 

Baked Double Chocolate Doughnuts 

My daughter has been asking me to make doughnuts for a while. I love doughnuts,  just not too crazy about frying. I tried frying doughnut holes a couple of times, but they came out like burnt fritters. The only doughnuts I had successfully done were my Baked Honey Crullers. So this time, I decided to bake them again. I figured I would have a better chance of success. And voilà! I made it in one try ! The more exciting part is my son loves them ! He doesn’t have a sweet tooth and it’s not often that he likes my goodies (at least me and my daughter think they are !) He even asked me to make it again and I did ! It’s so easy when you have a doughnut pan. You can actually transform any of your muffin or quick bread recipes into doughnuts !  Just dress them up with a glaze or some sprinkles ! 

Makes 12 -14 doughnuts

For the doughnuts 

  • 270 g all-purpose flour
  • 40 g unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 120 g granulated sugar 
  • 60 g demerara or brown sugar 
  • 3 g baking powder 
  • 3 g baking soda 
  • 2 g salt 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 60 mL vegetable oil 
  • 250 mL buttermilk (adjust if needed)
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Sift together flour,cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Add in both sugars 
  4. In another bowl, mix together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla 
  5. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients 
  6. Mix until just blended 
  7. Spoon/pour batter into lightly greased doughnut trays 
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes 
  9. Cool completely on rack 

For the chocolate glaze 

  • 120 g semi-sweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped 
  • 120 mL whipping cream
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  1. Heat whipping cream over medium heat until just starting to boil 
  2. Pour it over chopped chocolate 
  3. Wait 30 seconds, add vanilla and stir until smooth 

When doughnuts are cooled, dip one side into chocolate glaze, place on rack to dry 

Tools that I used

Wilton Nonstick 6-Cavity Donut Pan

You can get this doughnut pan through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 


Chocolate Souffle 

I think Valentine’s day is a perfect time to make chocolate souffle. It brings a sweet ending to your romantic dinner. I first learned it at a pastry course and it’s actually pretty easy. All souffles will rise in the oven and fall shortly after they are taken out. That doesn’t mean that you fail, it’s just the way they are. Some recipes have a higher ratio of egg whites, some add cornstarch and milk or cream. These methods may make the souffles higher and stay in shape a little longer. After trying a few recipes, I found this one, adapted from the book “How To Bake Everything” by Mark Bittman is the simplest. It uses equal parts of egg yolks and whites, so you won’t need to worry about what to do with the extra yolks and the souffles came out both rich and airy. Have a sweet Valentine’s Day!

Makes about 4-6 servings

  • Butter for greasing ramekins 
  • 80 g granulated sugar, plus more for coating
  • 90 g dark chocolate (70%), chopped 
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease ramekins with butter, then sprinkle sugar over to coat, tap off excess 
  3. Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, let cool slightly 
  4. Whisk together egg yolks and 30 g of granulated sugar using an electric mixer until light yellow and mixture falls in a ribbon over surface 
  5. Mix in melted chocolate until combined 
  6. Clean and dry the whisk
  7. In another mixing bowl using the electric mixer, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until frothy
  8. Increase speed to high and slowly add in 50 g of granulated sugar
  9. Whisk until a stiff peak is formed
  10. Gently fold egg whites, in 3 batches, into egg yolk mixture
  11. Pour into ramekins and place on a rimmed baking tray 
  12. Put tray into oven, pour about one inch of hot water into baking tray
  13. Bake in hot water bath for about 20 minutes (Do not open oven door during baking)
  14. Dust with icing sugar, serve immediatelyChocolate Souffle

Tools and Books 

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KitchenAid K45SSWH Classic 4.5-Quart Bowl Stand Mixer, White

How to Bake Everything

How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking

You can get these items through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase them.

Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake for Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year was my favourite celebration when I was a kid in Hong Kong. I could visit and play with my cousins, get red envelopes and of course, eat lots and lots of good food ! My mom used to make all kinds of dishes and rice cakes, sweet and savoury. To be honest, I have never made them, because hers are always the best! But this year I thought…..hey, I am a baker, I should at least bake something to celebrate. Then, I remembered a recipe from my mom’s friend….Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake! I have modified her recipe to make it less greasy and added some shredded coconut on top. The glutinous rice flour and coconut milk should be available in any Asian market. Use the brands in the picture if you can find them, as according to the expert, aka my mom, they are better. (I am not sponsored by them, just personal preference) The cake will rise inside the oven, but then concave in a little when cooled and that’s ok. It doesn’t change the taste nor the texture of the cake. I used a round cake pan because but in Chinese, the word “round” has a meaning of being together. You can use a square pan, which probably will be easier to cut. 

Wishing everyone good health and a prosperous Year of the Rooster! Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake


Makes one 8 inch round cake 

  • 400 g glutinous rice flour, sifted  (1 package)
  • 200 g granulated sugar 
  • 5 eggs (lightly beaten) 
  • 400 mL canned coconut milk (1 can)
  • 60 mL coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 45 g unsweetened shredded coconut Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F 
  2. Line bottom of baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease bottom and sides 
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour and sugar
  4. Stir in eggs, coconut milk, oil and vanilla until smooth using a hand whisk 
  5. Strain batter through a mesh and pour into baking pan 
  6. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325ºF and bake for another 30 minutes (toothpick should come out clean when inserted into middle)
  8. Turn heat off, leave cake in oven with door ajar for about 20 minutes 
  9. Take it out, cool slightly and serve warm 
  10. You can store the cake in the fridge for up to 1 week. Reheat in oven before serving. Baked Coconut Sticky Rice Cake

White Chocolate and Lime Cookies 

I love citrus fruits ! The colours, the smell, the tanginess, they just brighten me up. I mostly bake with lemons or oranges and this is the first time I use lime. Normally I just use lime juice to make guacamole. The flavour of lime balances nicely with butter and white chocolate. This cookie dough is also very “unique” ! There are two kinds of flour, all-purpose and self-rising.  About 4 years ago, I tried to bake some shortbread cookies. The recipe called for cornstarch, but I accidentally put in self-rising flour ! To my surprise, they turned out really good ! Since then, I have used this combination many times with different variations and everyone likes it. Well, I guess I really have learned from my “mistake” …..but I don’t plan to correct it ! 🙂 Limes

Makes about 24 cookies 

  • 200 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 90 g icing sugar + more for dusting
  • 225 g all-purpose flour 
  • 45 g self-rising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Zest of a small lime
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 50 g white chocolate chips 
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Sift together both flours and salt, set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy
  4. Add lime juice, zest and vanilla extract 
  5. Add flour mixture in 2 parts, mix until just blended
  6. Stir in white chocolate chips
  7. Refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours to prevent cookies from spreading too much
  8. Shape dough into one inch balls and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges just golden
  10. Cool on baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then completely on rack
  11. Dust with icing sugarWhite Chocolate and Lime Cookies

 

Tools I used and you may like

41rqjlmpovl._sy400_.jpg

KitchenAid K45SSWH Classic 4.5-Quart Bowl Stand Mixer, White

 

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Microplane #40020 Classic Grater/Zester, Black

You can get these tools through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item.

Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds

After indulging myself over Christmas and New Year, I guess it’s time to make something a little healthier! Chia seed pudding has been on my “to make” list for quite a while, but I’ve been pushing it back. Somehow I associate the word “pudding” with something soft and creamy, not seedy and chewy.  So I ended up making this overnight oats.  It was really yummy, and to my surprise, my daughter loved it ! This is another recipe that can have so many variations. My ratio is roughly, 1 part oats, 2 parts milk and 1/4 part chia seeds, then add sweetener, and toppings.  It makes a great breakfast, or for me, a snack after my morning run !  

Makes 1 serving

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened milk of choice (I used almond and coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • toppings of choice, e.g. banana, berries, shredded coconut, almond slices, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc
  1. Combine milk, oats, chia seeds and sweetener in a bowl or a mason jar  
  2. Stir well, cover and refrigerate overnight
  3. Add toppings when ready to serveOvernight Oats with Chia Seeds