Sunday, 29 July 2012

Danish Butter Cookies

I love butter cookies. They are no-fuss cookies yet taste so good! My first encounter with butter cookies was when I was young when my father bought the Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies, the ones in the round, blue container. I think that was the only brand we knew as far as butter cookies were concerned. Of course, today, there are so many brands available but they can't beat the Royal Dansk. 

I made some butter cookies before the fasting month. I used a recipe that claims to be the world's best butter cookies. I also used Danish butter. The dough was quite soft & since I planned to shape my cookies using the cookie cutter, I added 8 tbsp more flour. I still couldn't keep the shape even after placing the rolled-out dough in the fridge. So in the end, I decided to follow the recipe, I wrapped the dough into a log & sliced it after putting it in the freezer for a while.

Although the shape of my cookies cake out uneven, the taste was perfect! It tasted just like the Royal Dansk cookies! I like!

Danish Butter Cookies

8 ounces unsalted butter (I used Danish butter.)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour (I added 8 tbsps more as my dough was so soft.)

  1. Beat the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Mix in the egg yolk until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.
  3. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.
  4. Scrape onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times, just until the dough smooths out.
  5. Turn onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, wrap up and refrigerate for several hours or freeze.
  6. Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F.
  7. Line your baking sheets with parchment.
  8. Slice the dough into slices about 1/8" thick and place them on the sheets about an inch apart (they won't be spreading very much, but they need air room around each cookie).

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Bingka Suji

First of all, I would like to wish all Muslim readers a blessed Ramadan. May this Ramadan bring joy, health, peace and prosperity to all of us. My family will be breaking our fast later at my mum's place. So I baked Bingka Suji this afternoon using the recipe shared by Mat Gebu.

It's quite easy to prepare & it's healthier too. Instead of using coconut milk like many traditional Malay cakes, this bingka uses evaporated & condensed milk. Smells good  but I'm not sure how it tastes. I'll update this post  to let you know the taste.

Update @ 11.40 pm:
I tasted this bingka during iftar this evening. This kuih is really very good. I like it. So does my family. I know because there were only a few pieces left. I heard my father commented that this tasted better than bingka ubi.
Although there was no coconut in it, it’s still rich & the sweetness is just nice. I highly recommend you to make this especially if you liked eating kuih. :))

Instead of baking the bingka in a 8x8 baking pan, I used a Nordic Ware bundt quartet pan & baked for 30 minutes. Even though I did not grease the pan or line it with aluminium foil, it was easy to release it from the pan. The kuih turned out very nice too. I really like using NW pans even when baking traditional cakes!

Bingka Suji
Source: Mat Gebu

3 whole eggs
140g fine sugar
1/4 tsp salt
150 g semolina
100g sweetened condensed milk
125g evaporated milk
575 ml water
80g plain flour
1 tsp yellow colour
1 tsp vanilla essence
125g butter
Sesame  seeds - for topping (optional)

  1. Heat oven up at 180 deg C. Grease 8x8-inch baking pan with butter. Line with aluminium foil & grease foil as well.
  2. Combine egg, salt & sugar in a mixing bowl & mix thoroughly using a hand whisk.
  3. Add condensed milk & semolina & mix until well blended. Then add evaporated milk, water & colouring & mix  well. Then add flour & mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour mixture into a saucepan & heat up on a stove, stirring continuously until mixture thickens slightly. Turn off fire. Finally, add butter & vanilla essence & mix until well blended.
  5. Pour into baking pan & sprinkle sesame seeds. Bake for about 1 hour. Then bake for 5-7 minutes using top fire only. Remove pan from oven. Leave to cool completely before cutting & serving.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bingka Ambon Durian

Since my successful attempt at making Bingka Ambon, I've bookmarked a couple of other versions which I planned to try out. One of them is the durian version. Since there was some durian left in the fridge, I decided to try it yesterday so I could share them with my family at my mum's place.

This time, the confident me decided to make some amendments to the recipe, even though it was my first time using the recipe. With hindsight, I shouldn't have.... now I'm not sure if the colour, texture & the problems I encountered while making them were because of the amendments.  Yes..... there were some challenges. Firstly, the bottom of my bingka came out quite dark. I think this could be the result of the additional  amount of sugar (I added 60% more!) since sugar affects the colour of the end product. Secondly, the bingka took a long time to fully cook.... the bottom was turning dark & yet the surface was still sticky. The good thing was, I only had the sticky-surface problem for the first few batches. Maybe I should have heated up the mould longer before I started baking the first batch.

As you can see below, the texture of this bingka is quite different from the regular ones that I made before. Personally, I like the texture of the regular ones better as they were spongy. My mum liked this better.... she said it's softer. Now I'm wondering if using richer coconut milk from one coconut instead of 1/2 had resulted in the soft texture.... I think it had a role. Tastewise,  I think it's delicious. The durian flavour was just enough. That's because  the durian was already sweet..... and rich, and delicious.... However, the bingka was quite sweet. That's expected since I added 60% more sugar! What was I thinking.....!
Overall, this is a good recipe. I would try again, without making any changes, of course. If you'd like to try this recipe, I would advise that you stick to the original recipe too, at least for a start!

Bingka Ambon Durian
Source: Sajiansedap.

75g plain flour
1 tsp instant yeast
10g granulated sugar
85 ml cold water

75g durian flesh
225 ml coconut milk from 1/2 coconut (I used freshly-squeezed milk from 1 coconut. I also warmed it until just before it started to boil, stirring continuously, to avoid overflowing & curdling. Then I left it aside to cool.)
1/2 tsp salt
12 drops yellow colouring
1/2 tsp durian essence (I didn't use.)
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolk
125g granulated sugar (I used 200g.)
100g tapioca starch

  1. Combine plain flour, instant yeast & sugar in a bowl. Pour cold water into the bowl, stirring thoroughly. Leave aside for 45 minutes.
  2. Combine durian flesh, coconut milk, salt, yellow colouring & durian essence & blend to form smooth paste.
  3. Beat eggs & sugar until fluffy. Add in durian mixture continue for about 20 minutes. (I used medium speed.)
  4. Add in yeast mixture & continue beating for 20 minutes more. Leave aside for 2 hours.
  5. Fill an apam balik mould with sand & place it on the stove. Place greased muffin moulds on the sand. Heat up the moulds for one hour. (I used a baulu mould & just heated it up directly on the stove for  a few minutes. I did not use the sand.)
  6. Stir mixture thoroughly & pour into the mould until almost full. Once little holes start to form on the surface of the bingka, cover the mould. Leave to cook for few minutes. Then remove bingka from moulds (I used a sate stick to lift up the bingka.) & repeat process.
    Makes about 60 pieces.

Strawberry Layered Cake

Two weeks ago, my friends & I gathered for a barbecue. Actually, we wanted to find an excuse to have one. And since 2 of us are June babies, we thought that was a good reason to organise a gathering. One of the birthday girls is me...hehe.  Yes, I turned 47 on June 17. 

Picture courtesy of Shahida, the other birthday girl.

Since I am the baker in the group, I had the privilege to bake the birthday cake! Coincidentally, I had been thinking  of baking a layered cake... a rainbow cake, actually. But because of time constraint, I baked a 3-layered cake instead of  a 6-layered rainbow cake. The cake turned out quite pretty... it was also moist & delicious. We all loved it! Thanks Ricke for sharing this recipe.

Picture taken with my phone.

Another picture courtesy of Shahida.

Strawberry Layered Cake
Recipe adapted from Ricke Indriani's Rainbow Cake.
8 egg yolk
7 large whole eggs
200g granulated sugar
15g cake emulsifier
1/4 tsp salt
*125g plain flour (I used cake flour.)
*25g cornflour
*15g milk powder
*combined & sifted.
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g butter (melted)
strawberry flavour
food colouring (I used red & pink.)
  1. Heat oven at 190deg C.
  2. Prepare three 22 inch round baking pan. Grease & line with grease paper. Set aside.
  3. Combine all ingredients except butter & food colouring. Mix on high speed until mixture is thick, about 8 minutes. 
  4. Pour in melted butter & mix, preferably with hand, until well blended.
  5. Divide mixture into 3 equal portions & add colouring. (I used red, dark pink & light pink.)
  6. Bake each pan for about 15-20 minutes until cooked.
  7. Remove cake from pan & leave aside to cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
250 cream cheese
100g unsalted butter, cold
500ml sweetened non-dairy whip cream (whipped.)
Combine cream cheese & butter in a mixing bowl & cream until light & pale. Add in whipped cream & mix gently until well blended. Set aside in the fridge.

Simple Syrup
100g sugar
300ml water
Combine & boil water & sugar. Set aside to cool.

fresh strawberries - sliced (I added.)

Assembling of cake:
Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Remove the skin of the cake & brush some sugar syrup on the cake. Then spread the frosting. Place some cut strawberries. Top with another cake layer, brush some sugar syrup, spread some frosting & place cut strawberries. Top with remaining cake layer; spread sides and top of cake with frosting. Decorate as desired. Refrigerate before serving.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The $250 Cookie Recipe.....

Are you willing to pay US$250 for a chocolate cookie recipe because you like the cookie so much? Of course I won't! That amount of money can buy me  a few good baking books with tens or hundreds of good recipes. An urban legend has it that when a woman from Dallas was  made to pay that amount for a recipe she requested from a Neiman Marcus cafe, she felt so horrified that she started a chain email, sharing her story & the recipe so that no one had to pay $250 for the recipe. I happen to receive the email more than a decade ago from my husband's colleague, back when he was working in Washington but didn't try baking the cookies. Apparently, this story has been going around for 50 years! I suppose, back then, the woman would just make lots of phone calls & mailed lots of letters. Hahaha....

Anyway, in an attempt to put to an end to the  myth, Neiman Marcus decided to  share its recipe.... I came across it recently & decided to give it a try. I must say this is a very good recipe. Try using it when you feel like having good chocolate chip cookies!

The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
Recipe by: Neiman Marcus.

½ cup (one stick) butter, softened (I used unsalted.)
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (I used 2 tbsp.)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mocha chips.)
1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder (I used Nescafe.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla for 30 seconds longer, until well combined.
  3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the mixer, while beating on slow speed., Beat for about 15 seconds, stir in the chocolate chips and espresso powder, and mix for 15 seconds longer.
  4. Prepare a cookie sheet with about 2 tablespoons of shortening (or use a non-stick spray). Using a 1-ounce scoop, or using a 2 tablespoon measure, drop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet in dollops about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into 2-inch circles; there should be room on the sheet of six or eight cookies at a time. Transfer to the oven in batches and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cookies are nicely browned around the edges. Bake for a little longer for crispier cookies.
What I did:
  • I lined my baking pan with baking paper. I didn't grease it.
  • The dough was very soft & sticky. I was tempted to add more flour but I didn't. Instead, I left the dough to rest for about 1 hour & it became more manageable. I weighed 10g of the dough for each cookie. I didn't press down the dough.
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