Puffy Cloudy Marshmallows

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Finally, it rained.

After a rare 6 weeks of  dry spell since mid-January.

After I coincidentally made some puff marshmallow clouds.

Showers of blessing.

Coating

170 g powdered sugar
60  g corn starch or potato starch

Method
Sift the powdered sugar and cornstarch or potato starch together into a large bowl. Set aside.

Homemade Marshmallow

Ingredients

Cooking Spary, for coating  the baking pan       ( I used unsalted butter)
4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
180 ml cold water
120 ml light corn syrup
170 g granulated suagr 2
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Variation: Increase the vanilla flavor by adding a scraped vanilla bean or a dab of pure vanilla bean paste along with the vanilla extract.

Method :

  1. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Whisk together the gelatin and 120ml of cold water in a small microwave-safe bowl and let soften at room temperature for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir together the sugar, 60 ml of the corn syrup and remaining water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 115°C on a candy thermometer.
  4. Meanwhile, pour the remaining corn syrup into the mxier bowl. Add the softened gelatin. Pour it into the mixer bowl. Whisk the mixture with the mixer on low speed.
  5. When the syrup reaches 115°C, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl (the mixer should still be running). Increase the speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium high and whip 5 minutes more.
  6. Add the vanilla, increase the speed to the maximum, and whip until opaque white, fluffy, and tripled in volume, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
  7. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners.
  8. Sift 1/2 cup of the coating evenly and generously over top; set the remaining coating aside. Let the marshmallow set uncovered for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.

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9. Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow slab from the edges of the pan. Dust a work surface with a thin layer of the reserved coating. Invert the marshmallow slab onto the work surface and dust it with more coating.

10. Cut into whatever size pieces you wish (a pizza cutter works great for squares). Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in the remaining coating, patting off the excess. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

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And I decided on making some puffty, fluffy, marshmallow clouds for my little ones.

After my little one gobbled one ‘fluffy cloud’, it actually rained. She exclaimed happily  “The trees have hope ! They have water to drink now!”

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Lapis Legit

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Finally, time to update my blog on the bakes for CNY.

The first is Lapis Legit, or the Kueh Lapis, as we know fondly.

Lapis Legit is a popular Dutch-Indonesian layered cake. It was developed during colonial times in the Dutch East Indies and may have been based on Dutch cake, Baumkuchen recipe using local mix of spices of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

This cake commonly known as Kueh Lapis in Singapore, is a popular gift especially during Chinese New Year. Not sure about the reason but I guess the richness of the multi-layered cake means layers of goodness.

Ingredientsfor a 20cm x 20cm square pan
500g butter
300ml condensed milk
22 pieces of egg yolk
200g caster sugar
8  pieces of egg white
1/2   tsp cream of tartar
220g cake flour or Hong Kong flour
1 1/2 tsp lapis spices (I used : 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon powder)
3 tbsp rum

*Note : I used Golden Churn tinned butter spread – freeze the butter overnight then cut into pieces before using.

Method
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

2. Sift the flour and the spices. Set aside.

3. Cream butter, condensed milk and rum liquor at medium speed for abt 5-10 mins until fluffy and creamy. Add in sugar and contain to beat for 5 minutes. Mix well and set aside.

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4. Add in egg yolks and beat at max speed until thick. Set aside.

5. Whisk egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a clean mixing bowl at max speed until stiff.

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6. With a handwhisk/spatula fold 1/3 of the egg whites into butter-egg yolk mixture continue the process of folding the rest till two mixtures are well incorporated.

7. Mix the flour well into the mixture above.

8. Place the baking paper on the preheated tin, grease the paper well.

9. Spread a small amount of batter, 120g, weigh the batter to ensure even layer) on the warm tin and bake till golden at the center rack. Take about 5-7mins for the 1st layer.

10. Turn the oven to grill mode.  Place a second layer of 80g and grill this second layer till brown. Repeat the grilling process for all the subsequent layers of 80g each.

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11. Use a metal presser to lightly press each baked layer before adding new batter. Spread the batter evenly till it melted. Before going into the oven, give it a bang to let out the air bubbles. This will help to even out the layers too. Continue baking the cake by the layers until the batter uses up.

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12. For the last layer, turn the oven to the normal baking mode. And bake for around 10 minutes or till toothpick came out clean.

I took around 3 hours to complete this baking project. And the most important thing is not to leave eyes off the window of the oven.

Well, the effort was worth it. The happiness on my family’s faces when they tasted my maiden lapis legit.

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Wishing everyone receives layers of goodness in all aspects of his and her lives in this year.

Enjoy

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge : Treasure

Tiger fondant cake

This was the first birthday cake I baked for my Dad. Since he was borned in the year of tiger, I thought nothing would be more appropriate than to make him a tiger fondant figurine.

My Dad, who is retiring soon, has always been the pillar in the family.

When we were young, he was always engaged in his work and thus we have this constant fear of him. I remembered the times when my brother and I hid under the blanket pretending we were asleep, just to escape from his interrogations about our school work.

I was so glad that he liked the little cake made specially for him.

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And he kept the tiger figurine in the fridge even months after the celebration.

He said, “It is a treasure worth keeping.”

And for us, the happiness he showed is what we treasured.

Tiger Fondant

Do check out the weekly photo challenge for more impressive posts shared by other bloggers.

Enjoy.

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Guiness Chocolate Cake

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Happy New Year !

Nothing beats a rich, chocolaty liqueur cake to welcome a new year.

Guinness Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

250 g of unsalted butter
300 ml of Guinness
75 g cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
275 g  all purpose flour
2 teaspoon of ground baking soda
2 medium eggs
150 ml sour cream (I used yogurt)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Frosting

Ingredients

300 g of whipping cream
150 g of powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon rum or other preferred liqueur

Method

  1. Add butter and Guinness to a saucepan. Warm over a  medium heat and stir until melted. Then add in cocoa powder and whisk till well incorporated. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to cool  slightly.
  2. Add flour, baking soda and sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix  together well.
  3. Pour in the Guinness/cocoa/butter mixture, lightly  combine, add the vanilla, eggs and sour cream and beat everything together until  well combined. The batter should be thick and dark chocolate in color.
  4. Pour into a greased and lined 15 cm cake pan and bake in the oven for 1  hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of  the cake.
  5. This cake is very moist inside, so use your judgment  regarding the skewer test. Do not leave in the oven until the cake has  totally dried out.
  6. Leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the cake tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

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The top cracked and I thought the interior will be dry

Frosting Instructions

1.  Place the whipping cream into the bowl of a mixer and beat on a  low-medium speed using a whisk attachment

2.  Gradually, using a large spoon, add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat  gently to combine. After 2 to 3 minutes, add in liqueur as you desire.

3.  Place cooled cake on a cake stand and add the frosting, spreading out  just to the edge without going over the side.

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So surprised that the inside is super dense and moist.

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Cheers to a great 2014 ahead!

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Weekly Photo Challenge : One

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Yes. I have chosen the Mt Fuji as the subject for this theme. These photos were taken during our trip to Yamanashi Prefecture for a lunch stop at the beautiful restaurant, Hoto Futo.

It was a pleasant experience as the restaurant was located at the foot of the highest moutain in Japan. This landmark holds a special place in the hearts of the Japanese.

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We are so glad to have lunch at this special place.

A closer look at the majestic Mt Fuji simply left us speechless but to snap photos. It was a chilly winter noon with strong gust of wind.

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Do check out the weekly photo challenge for more impressive posts shared by other bloggers.

Enjoy.

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Gingerbread House

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“And I had but one penny in the world. Thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread.”                                                                      —– William Shakespeare

Gingerbread houses alway fascinate us. Yes, all of us in the family.

My little one wanted to have a hand in decorating her gingerbread house. So we proceeded to making one.

Gingerbread dough

Ingredients – makes approximately 800g dough

1/2 cup (100g) of brown sugar
1/2 cup (170g) of molasses
120g unsalted butter
1/2  teaspoon of salt
1      tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1      teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2  teaspoon of ground clove
1      egg
1      tablespoon of pure vanilla extract

3 cups (750g)  of flour (all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon baking power
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Method

  1. Stir together, brown, molasses, salt and all the spices in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly and slowly bring to a boil, until the brown sugar has totally melted.
  2. Remove the pan from heat and add in the baking powder and baking soda. Add butter and mix till well-blended. Whisk in the egg slowly to avoid scrambled egg. Add in the vanilla extract.
  3. Add in the flour in batches and combine well. Divide the dough into two and pet down into disks, wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hout until chilled.
  4. Pre-heat oven at 140°C. Line two cookie trays with parchment paper.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly-floured surface to about 0.8 cm thickness. Using your preferred cookie cutters, stamp out the cookies and place on the lined tray.
  6. Baked for around 12 minutes.
  7. Transfer to wire rack to cool before frosting or decorating.

I made three batches of this dough, made changes until I got the consistency right. The previous batches were too sticky to work with. Especially for cutting into the various parts of the house.

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Walls of the gingerbread house with its resident guarding

The next component is the royal icing, essential for holding the house together.

Royal Icing

Ingredients

1kg of icing sugar
5 tablespoons of meringue powder.
1/2 cup (125 ml) of warm water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method

  1. Whisk together the meringue powder and the warm water.
  2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, incoorporate the icing sugar (in 3 batches) into the mixture. Continual mixing for 10 minutes till the mixture forms glossy stiff peaks
  3. For immediate use, transfer to piping bags.If not, transfer to storage bags and keep in airtight containers in the refridgerator for up to 3 days.

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We had a great time working on the icicles and someone insisted on the 100s and 1000s sprinkles

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My little one decided on a purple door knob on her piped door

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So we placed a christmas tree next to gingerbread house

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From the quality inspector – Mummy we forgotten the chimney

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Our first gingerbread house

Feel free to get creative!  Add your favorite candies, colored icing, and more.

And the best part for me is to see my little one enjoying herself building her house with the sprinkles.

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Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie 03 Since December, the weather has been rather cool and rainy. Having a warm chicken pot pie seems like the ideal way to fill up an empty tummy on a cold day.

Chicken Pot Pie – makes 10 ramekins

Filling

1200g  chicken (a whole chicken or chicken thighs)
3 tbsps olive oil
pinch of salt (to taste)
ground pepper (to taste)
500g potatoes, dice
500g carrots, dice
10 crimini mushrooms (cut into eighths)
1 medium onion diced mango
pinch of salt (to taste)

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Beautiful vegetables all diced and ready

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Love how simple herbs added flavours to the chicken thighs

Method – Roast the chicken and vegetables

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Rub the chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Season under the skin with salt and pepper.  If using a whole chicken, set it upside down in a large flameproof roasting pan.  If using chicken thighs, arrange them in a single layer in a large flameproof roasting pan.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms, herbs, and a dash of salt and pepper together.
  5. Spread the vegetables around the chicken in the roasting pan.  Roast the chicken and vegetables for 1 hour 30 mins, giving the vegetables a stir every 15 minutes or so.  Remove the chicken and  the vegetables from the pan.
  6. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, strip the meat from the bones.  Save the skin and bones if you are making your own chicken stock . Chop the meat into chunks.

Sauce

1 litre  chicken stock (homemade or low-salt packet)
6 tbsps unsalted butter
6 tbsps flour 0g whipping cream
4 tbsps cooking cream
pinch of salt (to taste)
ground pepper (to taste)

Method  - the sauce

  1. If you have grease and juices in your roasting pan, separate the fat from the juices.  Add enough butter to total 6 tablespoons.
  2. Place the roasting pan (with all of the browned bits and goodies) on the stove over medium heat.
  3. Melt the fats until bubbling.  Add the cooking cream and flour at once and stir constantly to make a smooth roux.
  4. Keep stirring until the roux turns a golden brown (~ 5 minutes).
  5. Pour in the chicken stock and juices.  Let it come to a boil, all the while stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to release the flavourful fond (the browned bits).
  6. Cook until the sauce has reduced to a gravy consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add more herbs to taste.

Puff Pastry

1200g puff pastry  (homemade or from the store, I made mine)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (for greasing the ramekins)

Egg Wash

1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tbsp cooking cream

Method – The pot pies

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Butter ten 8-pounce ramekins. Roll the puff pastry out to 1/8-inch thickness.  Line each ramekin with a single layer of puff pastry dough, up to the rim.
  3. Gently press the pastry dough together to seal seams or cover holes so that the entire ramekin is completely lined. Cut out 10 circles of puff pastry dough (to be used as covers) just slightly larger than the diameter of the top of the ramekin.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, vegetables, and sauce well together.
  5. Spoon the filling into each ramekin until even with the lip.Set one circle of dough on each ramekin and press the edges of the dough circle together with the lining pastry to form a tight seal.
  6. Pinch the edges, fold over and pinch again (just to prevent leakage).  Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the tops of each pie to release steam during baking.
  7. Mix the egg yolk and cream together, then brush the egg wash over each pie.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes at 180°C or until the tops are deep golden in colour and puffed up.
  9. Remove from heat and let cool.  Carefully run a sharp knife along the edge of each pie to ensure proper release from the ramekins.  They should come out easily.  Makes 10.

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Discovered that this is the best way to get my little one to take in more meat

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The flaky layered crust just complete this pastry

With the flaky, buttery puff pastry and the creamy filling, the chicken pot pies made our days.

A great lunch we had to curb the gloomy mood.

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