2008 Chinese New Year Kitchen – Sugee Cookies Part II

Last weekend, I tried another version of Sugee Cookies. During the week, I was inspired to adapt the Peanut Cookie recipe: omit the peanuts and maybe add almonds and/or semolina. I searched the internet to check whether other adjustments were required. Lo and behold, I saw a recipe on the net (oops, forgot to check that website!) that posted a Sugee Cookie recipe that was close to the Peanut Cookie recipe. So, it can be done….hmmm….

For this batch of Sugee Cookies, I used sunflower oil, added salt and omitted the peanuts. Hubby and myself didn’t like the taste when the cookies fresh from the oven. However, after letting them rest for a day or two, the taste was much better. Hubby liked them so much that he ate at least 10 at a go! Well, I still have my reservations, but I will do a batch specially for my Hubby for cny….

Perhaps, I will try using a mixture of corn oil and butter the next time. Somehow, I feel that sunflower oil isn’t suitable….Maybe that’s a personal preference.

Update

Here’s the recipe I used – based on my memory as I didn’t exactly like the results and didn’t keep the recipe.  Feel free to play around 🙂

150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
56g icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
85ml (approx) cooking oil  – i used sunflower oil
1 egg yolk mixed with a little water

1. Sieve flour with baking powder & baking soda into a roomy mixing bowl.

2. Add icing sugar and salt.  Mix well.

3. Create a well in the centre.  Pour oil into the well – start with 50 ml.  Add more oil gradually till a soft and pliable dough forms.  You may need more than the stated amount of oil.

4. Divide dough into small balls.  I used a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon; alternatively, you could use a small cookie scoop.  Place balls on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Glaze the tops with the egg yolk mixture.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 deg C for about 10 – 15 min, or till golden brown.

Ideas to play around: use melted unsalted butter, especially browned butter….

2008 Chinese New Year Kitchen – Soft and Fluffy Mini Cupcakes


Recipe was taken from Cuen who posted in Imperial Kitchen. I used the one posted by Hugbear, who adapted it and posted it onto her website. The cupcakes were baked in a mini cupcake pan. These were light, soft, fluffy and not too sweet. As such, they are suitable for those who do not have a sweet tooth and those who like their cupcakes light and fluffy. I think I will bake this for hubby’s grandparents, as this is soft and fluffy and not-too-sweet.

Calla’s notes on the recipe

  • I added cocoa to get the chocolate flavour i liked: added 4 tsp cocoa, sifted into and fold into approximately 1/3 batter (i halved the recipe). Although the chocolate ones were still fluffy, not as fluffy as the vanilla ones. Vanilla one has better texture. But this could be because i didn’t reduce flour when i added the cocoa.
  • I reduced the sugar further. I personally don’t mind it a teeny weeny bit sweeter, but it could be alright for those who do not have a sweet tooth.
  • First batch baked at approximately 150 – 160 deg (based on oven thermometer), for 20 min; trays rotated mid-way and top heating element switched on. Think i baked too long, sides were crusty, but tops had no cracks.
  • Second batch baked at approximately 170 deg (based on oven thermometer), for 15 min; trays rotated mid-way. Top heating element switched on only for the last 2 – 3 min, as the temp was too hot and the tops had cracked. I forgot to switch off the heating element when i placed in the second batch.
  • Prefer the texture of the second batch. Will test to bake at 160 deg for 15 min, to achieve not-so-crusty sides, more fluffy texture and no-cracks top.
  • Also don’t fill the muffin trays to the brim. Batter spills over and becomes crusty. Fill to about 2/3 full. Cupcakes will rise.

Update: as in any cupcakes, these will turn dense after a day or two. Best eaten when fresh from the oven…

2008 Chinese New Year Test Kitchen – Melting Moments

Over the weekend, I baked melting moments. Recipe was taken from the Kitchen Capers Forum which was posted by Connie (Thanks, Connie!). The dough was really soft, so when i pressed the fork into the dough as a form of deco, I couldn’t lift the fork from the dough! As a result, the resulting cookie looked like sea-shell(??), rather than round, although i rolled into balls….Haha….

I found the cookie very light and buttery, while Hubby found it too powdery. I think Mum will like it as it’s buttery. Well, I guess I will not do this for cny unless Mum requests for it.

Calla’s notes on the recipe:

  • as the dough was soft, i chilled the dough prior to rolling into balls. Chill again prior to flattening it with a fork.

2008 Chinese New Year Test Kitchen – Sugee Cookies


The second cookie to make its appearance was Sugee Cookies. The recipe was posted by Gina in the Kitchen Capers Forum (thanks, Gina!). I baked them in 2 batches… The first one turned out too crunchy, while the second one was…well….a little chewy. I was kind of hoping for the melt-in-your-mouth texture again. But I think the cookies were too sweet for my liking – will reduce the sugar the next time i bake.

Calla’s notes:

  • To try reducing the sugar as I felt that the cookies were too sweet.
  • The mixture also spread quite a bit during baking – to leave ample space between balls. Perhaps, I should leave the dough in the fridge for a while, prior to shaping them.


Bogged Down with Cranberry Sauce….

During the festive season, I received a bottle of Crabtree and Evelyn Cranberry Sauce with Orange. Well, I’m not a “cooking” person, i.e. I don’t really like to fry, steam, poach, etc.; but I like to bake! Strange huh….

As the sauce approaches its use-by date, I’m hard-pressed to find ways to use it in baking. Hence, I trawled the internet to look for ideas and found the following ideas/had the following inspiration:

I’m inclined to try the Cranberry Upside-down Muffins, any of the cupcake ideas and the Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake. I may even mix in the cranberry sauce into my muffin/cupcake batter and correspondingly reduce other liquids. Once done, I will share with you the results.

If you wish to have ideas on using cranberry sauce other than in baking, you may check out this site: http://www.musicbizadvice.com/15_ways_to_use_leftover_homemade_cranberry_sauce.htm. You could also check out Ocean Spray’s recipe database for more ideas.

Do you have other ideas?? Please feel free to suggest….

Baking in Advance

I like to bake in advance or in bulk and store leftovers, so that I have cakes/cookies/pies to eat as and when I fancy. I know that cookie dough could be refrigerated or frozen and baked as and when one fancies. This also holds true for pastry. But what about cake batters? Very few recipes state that it is alright to refrigerate cake batters, then bake when fancy strikes.

I did a search on the internet. The general consensus is cake batters are not suitable for preparing in advance. This is because ingredients such as baking powder, baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda) start to react when they are in contact with liquid. If left standing around, the raising properties of baking powder and baking soda will diminish. I came across a suggestion to add baking soda/baking powder only prior to baking, i.e. leaving the baking powder/baking soda out entirely and only mix it in just before baking the cake.

The preferred alternative appears to be baking the cakes in advance and freeze them. To serve, bring them back to room temperature. Re-heating may not be advisable as the cake could dry up. In addition, although cakes with frosting/icing freeze well too, there are suggestions to frost/ice after the frozen cakes have thawed.

As a sidenote, if a cake calls for three pans when baking and only two are available, I came across a suggestion to store unused batter covered in the refrigerator while the other layers are baking. When the first two layers have cooled, remove the cake. Clean the pan, regrease and bake. The third layer may take an extra minute or two to bake.

In respect of pies, they can be frozen before or after cooking. If before cooking, it is advisable to keep the pastry and meat filling separate so that the pastry does not turn soggy. As for freezing baked pies, there is a possibility that the pastry turn soggy too.

Sources:

http://www.deliaonline.com/messageboard/7/34077/thread.html

http://www.deliaonline.com/messageboard/7/32892/thread.html

http://www.deliaonline.com/messageboard/7/39273/thread.html

http://www.deliaonline.com/messageboard/7/24987/thread.html

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Desserts-747/un-used-cake-mix.htm

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/ah_recipes_desserts_pastry/article/0,1801,HGTV_3175_3023656,00.html

http://www.deliaonline.com/messageboard/7/48495/thread.html

Purpose of this blog

Hi!

This is my first post. Well, my purpose of keeping this blog is mainly a means of keeping in touch with my dear brother who’s thousands of miles away. I wish to share with him my bakes and other interesting snippets of my life. This blog also will document my trials and tribulations (!) of baking.

If you are a first time visitor to my blog, thank you and may you have an enjoyable visit!