Tag Archives: Recipes

So, You Want to Touch My Ganache?

I’ve been having a disappointing run with the shops. It’s almost as if the universe is conspiring with my wallet to stop me from buying things. I mean, what’s up with 4 hours of shopping and not buying anything?

I know…failure.

But maybe it’s the universe’s way of saying “don’t give up”.

The late nights, frustrated phone calls, missed gym sessions have clearly taken a toll; as my shopping craving rightfully points out. Let’s throw in the seasonal insomnia,uninspired outfits and constant migraines, and I’m a whine bomb.

Still I persevere, whether it’s for that dress, or maybe just to make my way to December. In this case, even after ‘knowing’ the right way of making ganache, trying this new version has just made it all worth it. Worth the extra steps, worth the unsettled feelings I’ve had towards other ganache recipes and worth taking that chance.

The things worth doing are never easy.

Silky  Chocolate Ganache (adapted from Miette)

10 ounces chocolate, 60% or darker, chopped
2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

1) Combine chocolate and powdered sugar in a heatproof bowl

2) In  a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a gentle simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Nest the bowl over a pain of simmering water to create a bain marie. Heat, stirring, until all of the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from heat.

3) Whisk the egg yolks in a small heatproof bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of the melted chocolate mixture into the yolks while whisking, to temper them. Pour the tempered mixture back into the pan of chocolate and whisk to combine. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Pour the hot ganache through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean heatproof bowl.

4) Use the ganache immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Ganache does not freeze well.

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Earl Grey & Strawberry Cupcakes

I just realised that Narwhals are real. I can almost hear Homer going ‘D’OH!’ in my head. Since I’ve long associated these one-horned creatures with unicorns, it was pretty much a natural assumption to make.

Again, D’OH!

Now I can’t decide if they’re as magical.

Today was catch up with mom and little sister day. So we tried our best to eat enjoy a leisurely lunch. Sounds like a chore; but it really is especially when we’re a family of gobble-gobble eaters. Blame it on not wanting to eat cold food, or rushing to catch the next next cartoon on tele, we just don’t do slow very well. In fact, I’d say you were silly if you tried. But then someone caught our eye and our conversation slowed, the chopsticks didn’t snap the food as quickly and the tea started to get cold. He walked in, big smile, the waitresses greeted him warmly like they knew who he was. So, who was he? Soon he was joined by a younger lady and another gentleman of a similar age. And it felt slightly rude to stare but he reminded us so much of our grandfather.

My grandfather was a force to be reckoned with; he clean out an entire fish in the amount of time it took to for us to reach the dinner table. His jokes were so funny we still make reference to them now. He could clear out a whole room full of people with his…farts.

That’s my grandfather.

Needless to say, my little sister and I thought of all sorts of lines to get us a hug from that cute old man, but decided we didn’t want to interrupt his lunch. Considerate much.

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (cupcake adapted from Primrose Bakery’s book)

Cake
125ml milk
4 earl grey teabags
2 eggs
120g butter
120g sugar
250g GF flour blend
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

1) In a small saucepan, heat the milk until almost boiling. Remove from heat and steep the teabags for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170°C, fanforced. Line mini cupcake tins with paper liners or if not using liner, grease well.

2) In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until lightened in colour. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition.

4) Add in the vanilla. beat well.

5) Add the flour and milk alternately to the egg mixture and beat until just combined. Divide equally between prepare cupcake tins. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

6) Allow to cool completely before removing from tins. Frost with strawberry cream cheese.

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Walnut & Dark Chocolate Scones

One day I might get sick of Foster the People.

One day I will find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

One day I’ll definitely have cereal for dinner.

One day I could get to see Orcas in real life.

One day I’m going to go shopping with wild abandonment.

One day I shall make my way to Vienna and Germany.

One day I hope to take my mom on a holiday.

Today though, I shall smell like walnut and dark chocolate scones, have lunch with some of my favourite people, then dinner with more favourite people, talk about everything over brownies, listen to more Foster the People, figure out how to do my hair and then change my mind all over again.

It’s really a lot easier focusing on all the things that keep you happy. Some days, the annoyingly optimistic kid in me reminds me that the best things about a crummy day is that it’ll eventually end. And when it does, you better be prepared to embrace the good stuff. There’s no waiting around for it to come back again; think about it…would you sit around while some random stranger comes and takes away the perfect dress?! Thought so.

Wait, is this me being smarter than usual?

I kid. The truth of the matter is, my dad came home for a surprise visit yesterday. My man bought me a cookbook just because. The cutest little boy loved the cake I baked so much that he gave me two thumbs up; twice, and wouldn’t share it with anyone else. My mom did a massive grocery shop up for me. My sister’s coming to dinner tonight. The other one’s thinking about us all the way in London.

It’s all love here!

Walnut and Dark Chocolate Scones [adapted from Gluten-free Gourmand]

1 3/4 cups GF flour blend
1/4 cup oat/sorghum flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
80g dark chocolate, chopped
50g walnuts, roughly chopped

1) Preheat oven to 210°C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or Silpat mat.

2) Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

3) Whisk the cream, vanilla and egg together.

4) Cut the butter into the flour mix, either by hand, food processor or stand mixer until it resembles breadcrumbs.

5) Mix in the liquids until combined. Stir in the chocolate and walnuts.

6) Tip the scone batter onto the prepared tray and shape into a large rectangle, about 1.5 inches tall. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently cut into 9 pieces. Bake for a further 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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Filed under Breakfast, Chocolate, Nuts, Recipes

[Heart Throb] Dark Cocoa Brownies

A few things have turned dark recently. For one, I look in the mirror now and see the darkest hair I’ve ever had. I haven’t decided if it’s because of my recent quest to complete the entire Underworld series or if it’s me deciding that I would much rather spend more time doing other things as opposed to sitting in a chair at the salon, waiting. [natural hair colour = black hence, no more having to re-colour it]. Don’t you just love it when your hairdresser does exactly as you want and not suggest you have flaming red hair instead.

Then there’s also my new favourite dark cocoa brownie recipe. Well, technically it isn’t new; it’s just a renewed love for it. Challenging my idea that brownies made with melted chocolate are richer (therefore, better, duh!), a damn fine cocoa makes for a wicked brownie. I think I’ve met my soul mate equivalent. Now, only to find the perfect excuse to bake it all the time.

On a completely random note, try saying dark 10 times in a row, stressing on the ‘arrrkk’ part. Bet you’ll start finding it a rather bizarre word.

In other non-related news, I chanced upon a book yesterday ‘Perfect Kids Names’. Don’t give me that look, it was right next to the cookbook section. But my point is…what in the world is a perfect child’s name?! Are we not seeking perfection in pretty much everything already? Now we’re even trying to control what other people name their kids? Will people be telling me when’s the best time to eat chicken soon? Actually, they’ll probably tell me how much carbon eating meat causes and make me feel guilty. And I can repent for my sins by hugging trees.

I love vegetarians, just not the hemp wearing, yoga posing, meat-is-the-spawn-of-the-devil ones.

Brownies are vegetarian. So I guess we can all just get along now?

Dark Cocoa Brownies

2 sticks butter, melted
3/4 cup GF flour blend
1 cup natural cocoa powder (it’s worth seeking out the best; I use Varlhona)
pinch of salt
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp hot water
2 large eggs
2 tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with greaseproof paper.

2) Sift the cocoa powder, flour and salt together. Add in the caster and brown sugar. Toss to mix.

3) Add in the melted butter and stir well.

4) In another bowl, mix the eggs, water, vanilla and cream together. Add this to the cocoa mixture. Stir to combine.

5) Fold in the walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 27 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few crumbs/is moist.

6) Allow to cool before slicing! :)

 

 

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[Kawaii] Love & Creme Chantilly Swiss Roll

I spent the last part of my work day meeting a Japanese magazine editor who’s here on a visit. With the help of the tour guide, I tried my hardest to speak to her. But it wasn’t the same as conversing with her directly, sans third party. So through my widest smile, hand gestures and head nods, we became friends, language barriers aside, I knew she liked Singapore, she knew I was excited to show her around. We had ice cream, with gula melaka (palm sugar) and adzuki beans. Talk about an appropriate coincidence.

I then really wished I could upload an intersect into my brain and be multilingual. Lost? You need to watch an episode of Chuck pronto.

Seriously though, is there a brain capacity on the number of languages one can learn without scrambling your brain? It’s hard enough for me to wrap my tongue around the different Chinese dialects, let alone a whole new foreign language. I spent a long time referring to a head as coconut and vice versa in Malay. Suppose they are the same shape… And they’re both gooey inside.

I’m in the midst of confirming a trip to Japan this Summer. Perhaps it shall present itself as a golden opportunity to pick up some touristy Japanese. My new Japanese friend has kindly offered to show me around, so maybe I’ll astound her with how adept I’ve become with the language…or just be really, really, really good at smiling and reading hand gestures.

Creme Chantilly Swiss Roll

1 x Sponge Roll
1 x Creme Chantilly

To Assemble

1) Trim off 2cm of the the sponge from each of the four sides. Eat.Mix3 tbsp warm water and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Brush over the sponge.

2) Spread all the creme chantilly on the remaining sponge until it’s 1cm from the edge.

3) Pick up the side of the baking paper closest to you and roll it in, towards you. Using the paper as a guide, keep rolling the sponge until you reach the end. Put it straight into the fridge to set. Enjoy!

Sponge Roll

For a 25cm x 25cm tray…

4.5 egg yolks
4.5 egg whites + 1.5 egg whites (separate bowls)
120g GF flour blend, rice-flour based
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (separate)
90g icing sugar
90ml water
60ml oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Line a 25cm x 25cm baking tray with parchment. Preheat oven to 170°C.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg yolks and 50g of the icing sugar until thick and lightened in colour. Add in the vanilla and water. Beat until well mixed.

3) Add in the oil and mix well until emulsified. Add in the flour and whisk until fully incorporated.

4) Spoon 3 tsp of the egg yolk mixture into the a separate bowl. Repeat so you have 2 bowls of egg yolk mixture. Add in 1/2 tsp of GF flour blend and 1 drop of desired food colouring (I used pink and red) into each bowl and mix well.

5) In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the 1.5 egg whites with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Divide the egg whites evenly between the two bowls of egg yolk mixture. Gently fold to incorporate. Using two teaspoons, create heart shapes on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 1 minute. Remove from oven while you prepared rest of sponge roll.

6) In the same clean, grease-free bowl, beat the remaining 4.5 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in the remaining 40g icing sugar and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and beat until stiff and opaque. Fold gently into remaining egg yolk mixture. Pour over the heart shapes and level the batter to ensure it bakes evenly. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before filling with creme chantilly.

Creme Chantilly

1 3/4 cup whipping cream, very well chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds until thickened and holds it’s peak. Do not overwhip of the cream will split. Either use immediately or chill in fridge to firm up before using.

 

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Vanilla Bean & Nutella Cupcakes


There’s a photo of my parents on the magnetic board that’s propped on my desk. My dad’s got his hands in the air, mid clap, his mouth wide open, cheering. Mom’s got the biggest smile on, the kind that gives mega-watt a run for her money. This was taken at my sister’s wedding. I must’ve done something right, because that photo was taken right after I gave my bridesmaid speech.

Sitting right above that photo is a gingerbread plushie magnet, you know, the slightly loopy one from Shrek. It was a gift from a very proud boy who congratulated me on riding the roller coaster twice, and even managed to put my hands up in the air. I whined, and begged to turn around, but we all knew I wanted to ride on it. And conquer it twice I did!

Right at the bottom of the board is a piece of paper I’ve been diligently checking off the boxes on. See, I’m on a shopping ban (no shoes, bags, clothes & accessories) and every day I come home without a shopping bag, I get to tick off a box. I’ve got 2 more months on it and I’m still going strong. Let me tell you though, I’m not sure how creative I can get with my wardrobe much longer.

I feel like I need to add a photo of these cupcakes on the board. I’m rather proud of them, especially since vanilla cupcakes haven’t always been particularly cooperative. Sure I’ve had some luck with them, but it’s the one things I bake with trepidation each time. Will they leave the cake liners? Will they be soggy on the bottom? Will they taste like flour?

Buttery, dense but still tender, perfumed with vanilla with a dash of chocolate from the Nutella; they’re actually less scary than I thought they’d be!

And the frosting reminds me of the smoothest vanilla bean ice cream.

Eat and be happy that the weekend is upon us!

Vanilla & Nutella Cupcakes (adapted from the Butch Bakery Cookbook)

2 cups GF flour blend
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temp
12 tbsp Nutella, room temp

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper liners.

2) Mix flour, baking power, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately in 3 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Beat on high for 30 seconds.

4) Divide evenly between prepared cupcake tin and dollop one tablespoon of Nutella into each cupcake.Bake for 22 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

5) To frost, fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the vanilla bean buttercream, and pipe rosettes on top of each cupcake!

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

1 x Swiss Meringue Buttercream, without the white chocolate
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped. Use the pods for vanilla sugar

1) Beat the buttercream together with the vanilla seeds until mixed through. Use immediately.

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[Do it like a Dude] Chocolate Beer Cupcakes, Ganache & Beer Frosting

Sometimes you forget that it’s important to make a cupcake that involves three procedures. You don’t realise that it’s probably what you needed to get your head screwed on right. To know that whatever happens, stirring warm cream and dark chocolate will work better than any other form of therapy.

There are cupcakes, the sort that lay it all out for you; cake and frosting. Then there are cupcakes; the ones that hold dark secrets. Maybe they’re more like people; we all have secrets, stories we haven’t told, things we can’t share, the very ones that make us who we are. They don’t define us, they merely shape the way we operate. Much like us, these cupcakes aren’t about to bare all. It’s a dark chocolate cake, filled with ganache and topped with beer frosting. Yeah, it looks like chocolate and vanilla; but the beer gives the cake such an edge, it’s worth trekking to your local store for a gluten-free beer just so you can experience this all for yourself.

Things have happened since I last wrote, and with all that’s said and done, I’m glad I’m returning with these cupcakes; familiar, yet different.

Am I starting to trail off? Are we even talking about cake anymore?

Probably. Most definitely.

Cake makes my heart sing. I hope it does the same to yours too.

Happy New Year, a little late, but better than never! :)

I used Guinness for my cupcakes since the lucky guy who’s receiving them isn’t gluten intolerant. Please, PLEASE find a gluten-free version if you’re allergic to it. I’ve seen sorghum beers around and I’d like to suggest that beer/root beer may work as well!

Chocolate Beer Cupcakes (Adapted from The Butch Bakery Cookbook, makes 12 standard)

1 1/2 sticks butter (180g)
1/2 cup Valrhona cocoa powder (or any natural cocoa)
3/4 cup dark stout (Guiness or try a cola or root beer; poured and settled before you measure)
2 large eggs, broken
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup + 1 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder and stout. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

3) Whisk the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a separate bowl.

4) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sour cream together. Add in the chocolate-stout mixer and mix well. Add in the flour mixture and mix until no white streaks remain. Divide evenly between the cupcake liners. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

5) Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from tin to cool completely.

6) To fill, use a small sharp knife to cut a ‘cone’ out of the tops of the cupcakes. Using a melon baller or a small teaspoon, hollow out the hole a little more so it can hold more ganache. Using another teaspoon, fill each cavity with ganache. Top the cupcakes with the cone you just cut out. Press gently so it’s almost flat.

7) Using a palette knife, spread two tablespoons of frosting over the cupcake. Dust with cocoa powder. ENJOY!

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup 55% chocolate chips

1) Place the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.

2) Heat the cream in a microwave-proof bowl in 30 second bursts until it starts to bubble. Pour over the chocolate.

3) Using a spatula, slowly stir until all chocolate has melted and combined happily with the cream. Allow to stand until it’s of a spreadable consistency.

Beer Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, softened (120g)
2 2/3 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp stout
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2 cups of icing sugar together until well combined.

2) Add in the stout, vanilla and salt. Mix well.

3) If icing isn’t stiff enough, add in the icing sugar, 1/3 cup at a time until you get your desired consistency.

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Filed under Chocolate, Cupcakes, Frostings, Inspired, Recipes