Monthly Archives: March 2011

Buckwheat Banana Scones

Some days I feel like breaking the rules. Like going for a morning walk, or calling Fred instead of him calling me or not baking banana bread when I have spotty ones lying around.

Truth is, I usually feel boring. I wake up, brush my teeth, can’t decide what to wear (or can’t remember what I decided on the night before), find something decent to throw on, try to make my hair look normal and then think about what I can look forward to next. It usually involves food, whether it’s a lush dinner I’m imagining or a thing I’m going to bake. But it never ends up the way I plan it to because I always go back to chocolate.

Today I had no urge for chocolate. I wanted to eat it (which I did!) but I didn’t want my hair to smell like it. So the polka-dotted bananas on the counter top found a new fate apart from banana bread; banana scones! They’re all baked now, slightly fluffy, nutty from the buckwheat flour and creamy and sweet from the chunks of slightly overripe bananas. And the smell is much more pleasant than chocolate, it’s more like velvety butter.

The scones border slightly on the dry side so I’d recommend adding another 2-3 tablespoons of milk, especially if you live in a drier climate. :) Or maybe I might’ve have over baked mine a little.

I want to glaze them in a salted caramel glaze. Is that too much?


Buckwheat Banana Scones (by Sweets by Vicky)

2 1/2 cups GF flour blend
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 stick butter, chopped into 1 inch chunks and placed in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
2 medium bananas, quartered lengthwise and chopped into 1/2inch chunks
1 egg yolk, for egg wash
2 tbsp raw sugar, for sprinkling

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2) In a bowl of a stand mixer, blend the flours, sugar, baking soda and baking powder together. Add in the chilled butter and beat on low until it resembled breadcrumbs; some larger pieces may remain, don’t worry.

3) In another bowl, mix the milk, sour cream and egg together. Slowly pour into the ‘breadcrumbs’ and mix until it comes together. Add in the banana chunks and beat for 5-10 seconds, careful not to mash the fruit. Turn out onto the baking sheet.

4) With well floured hands, smoothen and pat the dough out into a disc about 4-6cm thick, depending on how you like them.

5) Bake for 30-40 minutes (thinner scones) and 40-50 minutes (thicker scones). Once done, remove from oven and cut into individual wedges. Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter, Jelly and Chocolate Cupcakes

Easter’s coming, I think I should have a party. Then I have every reason to have rabbits, eggs and confetti all on one table; and no one can say anything.

And I’d bake, make a mess and have frosting on my elbows. And everyone knows you can’t lick your elbows no matter how much you twist yourself. Unless you have funny bones, then I suppose the rule doesn’t apple to you.

I think I’ll have an elbow licking competition. We’d all lose and no one could gloat about it. To comfort the sore prides that will be so badly wounded I’d feed my guests peanut butter and jelly cupcakes with chocolate drizzled over for good measure. The only problem is, my sister comes home this evening and jetlag is bound to kick in at around 4am. Don’t say I told you this but guess who likes a sweet snack at an ungodly hour?

I remember the first time she came home from boarding school. I heard a sound or two and roused from my deep slumber only to find her walking towards the door and closing it behind her. Odd. So I followed and found her rummaging through the fridge for something. So we sat at the table with ice cream, cookies, crackers and gummies and ate until she felt slightly sleepy. Giggled all the way upstairs at the crazy stunt we just pulled and fell back to sleep. And it’s been a tradition since then. My mom and my older sister know, but they don’t join in. Just us mad people here.

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 12)

Vanilla Cupcake (based on a traditional hot milk cake recipe)

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup and 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1  1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup and 2 tbsp milk
70g butter
1 tsp vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 12 muffin holes with paper liners.

2) In a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, fluffy and triple in volume.

3) Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.

4) In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and butter together until butter melts and milk starts to bubble slightly. Remove from heat. DO NOT ALLOW TO COOL.

5) Add the flour into the fluffy eggs and whisk until completely combined. Slow pour in the milk mixture with all the time with the whisk still on, but speed down to low.

6) Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. The cupcakes will shrink and sink slightly as they cool. Frost!

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used chunky)
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
40g butter, softened
2 tbsp heavy cream

1) In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix the peanut butter and butter together until smooth. Add in 3/4 cup of icing sugar and mix to combine. Blend in the heavy cream and beat on high until fluffy. If mixture if too soft, add in the remaining icing sugar. Use immediately or refrigerate.

To Assemble

1/3 cup jam (I used a sour cherry jam)
1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly

1) Spread each cupcakes  with about 2 tbsp of frosting, be sure to fill in the sunken cavity. Top each cupcake with 1/2 tsp of jam and drizzle the melted chocolate over. Easy peasy lemon squeasy!

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Homemade Oreos

There are some things that I get obsessed with…and never stop being obsessed until I’ve had so much of it, I feel my knees buckle and my heart ceases to feel the flutter anymore…that is until I get reminded of how great it is and the whole mad cycle starts again.

I first felt this way with Barbie. The clothes, the shoes, the house, the car…the ugly ken doll…and when I turned 14 I thought “meh, time to get over it…” But every year on Halloween after that, I wanted to dress up as Barbie. And I finally did, blonde wig and all. Wasn’t a good look.

Another time I felt it was with jeans. I never grew up wearing the stuff so when skinny jeans was all the rage and every IT girl had their butts squeezed into one, I was all about them too. Pair after pair after pair. Turns out, not only did the make me look short, they also deprived me of half the breathing I should’ve been doing whilst in them.

And lately, my obsession has been deep fried Oreos. It started when I saw an episode of America’s Next Top Model, and one of the models made the confection for everyone in the house. And then I went onto just about every site and started ogling at their Oreos. And then Flour arrived; the amazing book that Joanna Chang has penned. And in there lay the most perfect recipe for Oreos. So I made them, dunked them and boasted about them. I think I’ll be making another batch sooner than you can say deep fried Oreos and Oreo thickshake.

Gluten-free Oreos (adapted from Flour by Joanna Chang)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and semi cooled
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (200g) semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 egg
1 1/2 cups GF Flour blend + 2 tbsp
3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder (to achieve that black look)
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1) In a medium bowl, whisk the butter, sugar until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate. Add in the egg and mix well.

2) In another bowl, stir the flour, cocoa powder (sifted), salt and baking soda. Using a spatula, stir in the chocolate mixture. Joanna says the dough will seem floury- mine seemed a little wet so I added in 2 tbsp of flour. It should have the consistency of playdoh. Let dough sit at room temperature to firm up for an hour. (After this, I shaped them into 1-inch balls, flattened them and baked them. If not, follow the next step)

3) Transfer dopugh to a 15-inch square of parchment. Using your hands, shape dough into a rough log about 10 inches long and 2.5inches wide. Place the log at the end of the sheet of paper and roll it up around the log. With the log fully encased in the paper, smooth is out while keeping it at 2.5 inches wide. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Log may settle after awhile so re-roll it every 15 minutes or so to maintain it’s rounded shape.

4) Position rack in the middle of the oven. Heat oven to 175°C.

5) Cut log into 0.25inch thick slices and place them about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 20-25 minutes (start checking at 17 minutes). They should feel firm to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet until warm. Remove onto wire rack to cool completely. Fill one half with about 1 tablespoon of filling before sandwiching.

Filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk

1) In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat all the ingredients together until you get a smooth buttercream.

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Swirly Cake

5 things I’d like to do in 2011

1) I’ve decided that I want to visit Auckland. It started with a travel story I was working on for work and now I’m totally psyching myself to go.

2) Learn to take better photos for the blog

3) See Rachel Allen when she comes to Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit!!!

4) Finally stop cutting my hair when I have every intention of growing it out

5) Get the milia under my eyes lasered off

That is all folks. I know it’s a little late in the year to be listings the things I’d like done in 2011 but better late than never. I would also like to say that it is an awesome thing my little sister is coming home soon for Easter break. I see truckloads of laughter and food involved. Also, have I mentioned that I feel utterly glad to have amazing people surrounding me; especially those who indulge me when I feel the need to have dessert for lunch and cereal for dinner. It doesn’t get any better than that.

I think we should have a party. I feel like wearing a dress and sharing cake. And maybe you’d like to come join me? We’ll have a great time, being mad, wearing hats and picking at swirly cake.Actually, the taste of this cake reminds me so much of being a kid that I might want to show up in my pigtails instead. The crumb of the cake is slightly dense and is best consumed on the day of baking. But if you, like me, can’t stomach a whole cake in a mere 8 hours, try reheating it gently in the microwave to moisten it right up.

Swirly Cake (adapted from All-occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake from The Cake Bible)

6 large egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups GF flour blend
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
12 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp chocolate chips, melted

1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 9-inch round baking tin with parchment paper.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together.

3) In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.

4) Add the butter to the flour and beat with a paddle attachment on low until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add in the egg yolk mixture and beat on medium until fully incorporated. Add in the milk and beat to combine.

5) Remove half of the batter and mix with the melted chocolate until smooth. Alternate pouring the yellow batter and chocolate batter into the baking tin. Use a toothpick or knife to create swirly patterns. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean (I didn’t really check the timing of mine).

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Cotton Sponge Swiss Roll with Adzuki and Cream Chantilly

Two days ago, before I made this, all I could think of was how great it would be to go to Japan. I’m a huge fan of French pastry but an even bigger one of the Japanese take on the traditional French sweets. I find that there’s a certain elegance and the texture is always almost mesmerising.

The sad thing is that lately, when I think about Japan, I imagine hundreds and thousands fleeing their homes, abandoning the comforts and lives they know, scrambling for survival. The earthquake they were prepared for, but the tsunami? Horrendous. I hope they get a peaceful nights sleep soon!

I had baked this Swiss roll two days ago and declared Japan the best place ever (though I’ve never been)! It’s soft, magical, a melt-in-your-mouth quality that makes you think it can’t possibly be that extravagent so you take another slice…and another. Until you realise it’s probably in your best interest to pack up the rest and bring it to the office. Who knows what kind of dangers remain if you had it sitting in your home…with it being so unsuspectingly cute and all.

The mixture is made in a rather interesting way and has been described the the author as a means to prevent gluten from forming so the sponge retains all that angelic softness. Not sure if it really made a difference to the sponge in this case since we’re already baking gluten-FREE. But hey, no harm, worked like a charm. Whooopdeedoo! And will you succeed? Yes, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed! (as the amazingly funny Dr Seuss would say)

Cotton Sponge Roll (adapted from Okashi by Keiko Ishida)

1 egg
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
35g butter
scant 1/2 cup GF flour blend
60g fresh milk
3 egg whites
70g caster sugar

1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 28 x 28cm flat square tin with baking paper.

2) Combine egg, egg yolks and vanilla in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

3) Place butter in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted. Increase heat to medium and wait to butter to brown (beurre noisette). Add flour to browned butter and cook through. It will look like wet crumble topping. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Add egg yolk mixture in and whisk with a spatula. Add in the milk and whisk until homogenous. Strain into another mixing bowl.

4) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks and slowly add in the sugar, while whisking until stiff, firm peaks. Add one third of meringue to the batter and fold in gently. Add remaining meringue and fold in completely, careful not to deflate the batter too much. Pour into prepare cake tin and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or palette knife. Bake for 20-22 minutes.When you touch the cake it should spring back.

5) When done, remove from pan and place in a big plastic bag to cool. This prevents it from drying out.

To Assemble:

300ml whipping cream (very cold)
2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup Anko (sweetened red bean paste) or a selection of fresh fruit or jam

1) Whip the cream until soft peaks form, add in the icing sugar and continue whipping until stiff. Do not over-whip or the cream will seize and turn into butter (I’VE TRIED IT just for fun, it happens)

2) Spread the Anko onto the sponge using a palette knife or the back of a spoon. It’ll look like there isn’t enough but Anko is really sweet so too much may not be a good thing.

3) Spread the whipped cream over the Anko until it reaches the edges. Depends on whether you want a thick roll or a thin roll, gently start rolling up the sponge from the width for a shorter, thicker roll or the length for a longer, leaner roll. Dust with icing sugar or melt chocolate and butter together for a glaze.


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Pistachio Bundt

Dear mister rain, please understand that there is rarely a morning I would like to dive headfirst into a swimming pool so it would be greatly appreciated if you rained on someone else’s parade (just make sure they have an umbrella!)

Why the sudden urge to go wade in a pool and work off some extra calories? Two words… steak tartare. And maybe another three. Fried goat’s cheese. Is there anything more amazing than crispy goats cheese with a molten, viscous centre. It might actually be better than chocolate fondants. Ivan, what do you think? And well, after experiencing steak tartare, I almost feel like I’ve upped my ante and I’m suddenly all sorts of adventurous and cool. Like I’m totally down with this.

So my new found cool and I decided to bake with pistachio jell-o. A pistachio bundt.

And it’s really green.

I first laid my hungry eyes on it when I saw the pistachio cake on Pioneer Woman. It sounded easy, box mix, jell-o, club soda… yeah but how would I know if a gluten free box mix worked the same as a regular one? So scrap that idea. But I had already bought the pistachio pudding (which I suppose probably has traces of wheat…so be careful!) Anyway, google google google later, I found a recipe here!

Not sure what to expect really, but the batter was the consistency of frosting, I barely had enough sour cream so I made do with buttermilk…no ground pistachios either so almonds would just have to do. Turns out, baking isn’t as mean as people make it sound; it’s actually quite forgiving!

So break out the bundt and make this, eat it, and feel like you’re part of Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.

Pistachio Bundt

6 egg yolks

2/3 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 2/3 cup GF flour blend

1/3 cup ground almond meal

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 package Instant Pistachio Jell-O

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup), chopped into cubes

1 tsp almond extract

1) Preheat oven to 180. Grease a bundt tin very well.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until fluffy. Add in the butter and whisk until there are no chunks left. It will look COMPLETELY gross and curdled. Keep trooping on. Add in the sour cream and blend.

3) Quickly add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, almond extract and packet of pistachio pudding crystals. Whisk on high until it’s fluffy. It’ll look like frosting.

4) Pour into prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

5) Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting.

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Chocolate Loaf Cupcakes

WordPress has been giving me grief. It has been working intermittently… very frustrating. Good news is that if you see this blog post then we’re back in business!

I invited a dear friend over yesterday for a baking session. We’re been friends for 15 years, since we were 7. Not to brag or anything but we always did the best for English class. You know…just saying. So in any case, with our super proficient English and all those high standards, we both agreed that the afternoon could only be described in a particular word…MADNESS. Sheer raving mad-hatter type madness in a good way. And it involved a lot of stirring, measuring but mostly scrambling.


Basically, here’s my top 5 tips on what NOT to do when baking.

1)      Do not attempt to peel and grate beetroot without an apron unless you’re looking for a new dye job and are too cheap/ too eco-friendly to buy proper dye.

2)      Chocolate is messy. Do not even try to get too friendly with it without your apron on.

3)      Do not grab any container in the fridge you think MIGHT be the cream. It’s always going to be the sour cream and you’re lucky it worked out only because sour cream goes well in chocolate cake. Imagine if you were making caramel. Sour cream caramel? Gross….

4)      Do not laugh while pouring cake batter into muffin cups. It leads to messy overflowing chocolate bombs.

5)      Do not realise you forgot to add the water into the cake batter that you’ve ALREADY shoved it in the oven, then yank it out, frantically remove from tin, whisk in water and re-bake. Just saying though it worked…it might not always in future. Heh heh heh.

And if you don’t manage to follow my tips above…you’ll just end up with pink palms, chocolate stains on your tee shirt and some of the yummiest afternoon treats. I guess that’s alright. The beets are for a beetroot cake which I’ll share in a few. We’re going chocolate today.


Chocolate Loaf Cupcakes (adapted from Foodbeam)

1 ½ cup GF flour blend
½ tsp baking soda

50g cocoa powder (I used dutch-processed)

200g caster sugar

175g butter

2 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

175g 55% couverture chocolate, melted

80g sour cream

½ cup hot water

1)      Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 12-14 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2)      In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream, flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, vanilla and melted chocolate and combine. Then add in the water and mix well. Pour into prepared tins until ¾ full.

3)      Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness at the 20 minute mark or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

4)      Poke holes all over the cupcake and brush with soaking syrup (about 2 ‘brushfuls’ worth for each cupcakes). Spoon a little melted chocolate over the top and sprinkle chocolate chips and/or peanut butter chips on it.

Chocolate Bailey’s Soaking Syrup

1 tsp cocoa powder

½ cup water

100g sugar

1 tbsp Bailey’s

1)      Add sugar and water to a medium saucepan and boil until it reaches a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat, whisk in the cocoa powder. When cool, add in the Bailey’s and mix well.

To Finish:
50g chocolate, melted

Chocolate chips or peanut butter chips

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