09 March 2009

Assorted Bakes: New & Old

I'm working my electric mixer and oven again! It feels good to be baking again, for friends and love ones =D, especially when I see them really enjoying the treats.

Apart from one new recipe, two are repeats because the ingredients are available in my fridge and kitchen and one is a special order from WH for his colleagues.

Choc-chip Cookies

This is a recipe taken from Chocolat by Stephan Lagorce - The chocolate lover's handbook, a special gift from SY, AD, WT and M from my just ended project. Really appreciate their thoughts and attempted this easy-to-bake cookie for a start to give them a treat. I guess more will come later on.

The recipe book looks seductive huh. When they gave it to me, for a moment I thought it was a giant slab of chocolate! LOL. Certainly looks good enough to eat.

Based on the book, this is an American recipe, adding chocolate buttons or small chips of chocolate to the dough without mixing, to make contrasting tastes, colours and textures. I tried two types of chocolate - the Valrhona Araguani 72% dark chocolate discs chopped into fine bits and Valrhona baking pearls. I guess the pearls look more presentable. Texture-wise, the cookies are quite crunchy fresh from oven, but lost the crunch due to humidity pretty quickly.

Overall, feels quite plain, could probably add some nuts like pecan to enhance the flavour. Can't wait to find time to attempt the other recipes.

Cupcakes for a bunch of very fun people whom I know for 2-3 years now.

Oreo Cream Cheese Cupcake

Have previously attempted the regular size which I thought a little too overwhelming on the palate. Decided to go for the petite size this time, and I think looks much cuter and just nice on taste, slightly creamy complemented well with grinded oreo and the zesty candied strawberries in syrup.
Actually I prefer petite size cupcakes and cookies, coz they look cute and easy on the tummy for the weight-watchers. Haha. I think this is quite well received by those who tried it.
Ok, I'm going to focus on petite size cupcakes from now. Need to top up on petite cupcake cases!

I'm gonna rave about these candied strawberries in strawberry syrup again! I love these coz they go so well with the cream cheese frosting. Good to eat as it is (a tad sweet though) or with cream and ice-cream.
Although kind of pricey at $33 (available at Culina or Shermay's Cooking School), a jar is like 600g nett weight and can really go a long way.

Thought long and hard before deciding to buy and was contemplating between blueberries and strawberries; decided to get the latter coz pinkish red fruit looks much better decor on cakes (ok, I prefer the taste and texture of the strawberries).

Valrhona Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Attempted this recipe several times, simply because it is so easy. Doesn't even need a mixer (for the cupcake itself. if using Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream as frosting, still requires a mixer).
I believe this is a good starter for baking newbies. Easy recipe and rather foolproof. And everyone (almost) loves chocolate. It is not too sweet either, even those who do not enjoy very sweet desserts should accept this.

One thing though, for ease of decoration I would trim off the domes, so always left with scraps. Initially I would still eat the scraps readily, now I just wish someone wants them so that the scraps don't go to waste. Probably I should come up with some recipes like cupcake pops (hot in US now) to make full use of the scraps.

Sticky Date & Toffee Bundt
This is a special order from WH for his colleagues. First baked it for our Christmas gathering last year and everyone loved it, even picky hubby. We totally love Sticky Date & Toffee Bundt cake!!! The cake is very tender and moist and not too sweet, love the tinge of chopped and baked medjool dates in the cake.
The top of the cake didn't break, unlike previous attempt. Yeah! The cake looks quite bare, but stunning once dusted with icing sugar, almost like magical.
Since the cake is meant for the next day, packed the icing sugar (icing sugar melts very easily in our humid weather once exposed to air) and extra home-made toffee sauce for WH and his colleagues to DIY.

Box label - paper stock from Prints and alphabet rub-ons from Made With Love (good for those without printer at home).
The packaging part is also an enjoyable process, puting my paper stock and crafts into good use and adding some personal touch :)
On a separate note, it's important to be well-stock in key ingredients like flour, unsalted butter, cream cheese, whipping cream, baking powder/soda/cream of tartar, caster sugar, eggs, Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract and Bean Paste and its range of other extracts like orange & lemon, Valrhona range of chocolate products and etc.
It is really irritating to run out of ingredients and having to drive 10 to 15 minutes for the nearest well-stock Cold Storage because regular supermarkets like Sheng Shiong and NTUC do not carry some of the products I need. Nothing is more frustrating than having to run a few places to gather all the ingredients (yes this happened to me so many times!). Wish I stay near Holland Village, where there is Cold Storage, Phoon Huat, Shermay's Cooking School, Bunalun... are all within walking distance from one another. But then, also don't like to overstock less the products expire and go to waste. What a dilemma.

I also swear by my Silpat mats, Microplanes, Cuisipro silicone spatulas and measuring spoons, candy thermometer now... I think I must have amassed all the essential bakeware and apparatus since taking up baking! But it seems never enough coz I could do with one more baking pan, just that my kitchen is now filled to the brim.
Wish I can have a tool (some smart real time programme) to help me keep track of ingredients; and more cabinet space to allow better segmenting of bakeware and apparatus.
Till then, look forward to more bakes!


  1. Meg, thks for the v lovely bundt! Had raving reviews from my colleagues. Enjoyed biting into those bits of medjool dates. Together with the warm toffee, its heaven!

  2. Hiya!
    So glad all of u enjoy it! It's my absolute fav. Even nicer if serve warm. First fell in love with it when I tried at Marmalade Pantry. Haven't been there for a while, trying to recall if mine tastes similar.