Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thick and chewy cranberry-pistachio cookies

Few days ago , I made one of the Christmas-themed cookies that I've seen online . I told myself how hard can it be to decorate the top of the cookies ?! I really suck at decorating and the ones that I made turned out to be a disaster , more scary than merry ugh ! I stared hard at the result and just sigh , so I scraped off the toppings and ate some of the cookies . Hey , the chocolate-peanut butter combination tastes really good ! Maybe I'll try again next week or better yet , next year .....

Or maybe I'll consider posting it and just change the name to " A nightmare before  Christmas cookies " lol   

So I baked another recipe , this time from America's Test Kitchen book , using the chocolate chip cookie recipe but omitted the chips and used some dried fruits and nuts instead . The color of the cranberries and pistachios make these cookies look festive . I like most of the recipe that I tried from that book though some didn't turn out as I expected it to be . Case in point , these cookies , it doesn't have a cracked top as the ones in the book , either because I over mixed the dough , which I usually do almost all the time or I just missed something else huh ?! That small anomaly heh ! aside , these cookies tastes great ! Thick and chewy ( melted butter in the dough helps make the cookies chewy ) with wonderful flavor and crispy texture - what more could you ask for ?!

Recipe adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book , page 153 . My notes in blue

Makes 24 ( 2 tablespoons of dough each ) 

 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons / 10 2/3 oz / 300 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 
12 tablespoons / 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter , melted and cooled
1 cup packed / 7 oz light brown sugar
1/2 cup / 3 1/2 oz / 65 grams granulated sugar
1 large egg 
1 large egg yolk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups / 9 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips 100 grams dried cranberries , 100 grams lightly salted pistachios , 55 grams dried tart cherries , divided

* Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C . Line baking sheets with parchment paper . 

* Whisk the flour , baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl . 

* In a large bowl , beat the melted butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth , 1 to 2 minutes . Beat in the egg , egg yolk and vanilla until combined , about 30 seconds , scraping the sides of the bowl as needed . 

* Reduce the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined  . Mix in about three-fourths of dried fruits and pistachios until incorporated . 

* Working 2 tablespoons at a time or depending on the size you prefer , roll dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets , spaced about 2 inches apart . Sprinkle top with some remaining dried fruits and pistachios . 

* Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are set and the centers are still soft and puffy . Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes , you can serve them warm or transfer to the wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container . 

This post is linked to Cook and Celebrate : Christmas 2014 organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids Yen of Eat Your Heart Out  and Diana of The Domestic Goddess Wannabe   

Also at Cook your Books organized by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours

                                                    cyb12 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Soft and chewy parmesan pretzels

Time flies so fast and in less than a month , it would be another year . 

So , how's life treating you so far ? 

Anyway , I've made these pretzels last week but don't have time to sort out the photos . I used Alton Brown's recipe and this is actually my second batch , the first attempt was so-so , the shape looks blah and I found the taste a bit salty . This time , I hit a jackpot for both taste and shape , well , except for the legs heh ! 

Before I tasted Auntie Annie's soft pretzels , I was hooked on Snyder's , the hard and crunchy version with lots of different flavors and are readily available in the supermarkets . Much as I love hard pretzels , I can eat only so much before the roof of my mouth starts hurting . I don't have a problem with soft pretzels except I have to make it myself since you can't buy it anywhere in our area . No more Auntie Annie's shop in the mall near us *sigh*

From what I've read at Alton Brown's Good Eats 3 book , soft pretzels are always made with yeast dough and are similar in both composition and construction to bagels . Pretzels are shaped then briefly dip in a boiling water bath before baking . There are 2 ways to make a water bath , using a lye solution which you need a bit care in handling and using a baking soda which is readily available and safe to use . The boiling method gives pretzels its unique chewy flavor and a nice golden brown color . Brown's recipe calls for a baking soda bath but I added 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar when I saw The Kitchn's pretzel recipe . The recipe listed below is half with some minor tweaks . 

The dough will be sticky for few minutes of kneading but still easy enough to handle . The boiling gelatinize the surface of the pretzel dough ( and the addition of brown sugar ) makes the boiled dough a bit sticky , so don't forget grease the parchment paper , if you have a silicone baking mat , use it instead , it'll make your pretzels easier to remove after baking .

In this recipe , I used parmesan cheese not only as a filling , though you couldn't tell when you look at the photo below , but also for the glaze and topping . The cheese snob will certainly love this parm pretzels lol  

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown's Good Eats 3 , page 52 .  Please check full recipe here

Makes 8 pretzels 

11 oz / 308 grams all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1 teaspoon instant yeast 
3/4 cup warm water
1 oz / 28 grams unsalted butter , melted 

* In a mixing bowl , combine the flour , sugar , salt and yeast , use a whisk and mix thoroughly . Make a well in the center and pour in water and melted butter . Mix everything until it forms a cohesive dough , tip dough in the work surface and knead until smooth and elastic . 

* Transfer dough in a lightly-oiled mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap , let rest until doubled in size , 1 hour or so , depending on the temperature . 

* Tip dough on the work surface , knead for few seconds then divide the dough into 8 pieces ( 65 grams each ) , let rest for 10 minutes . 

* Meanwhile preheat oven to 450°F / 230°C . Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil or use a silicon baking mat . 

* Working one dough at a time , shape dough into a square , about 4 1/2-inch , use your palm or fingertips to spread it , sprinkle top with some cheese and roll out dough into 18-20 inches . If the dough breaks while rolling , shape it again into a small ball and let it rest for a while . Make a U-shape with the rope , hold both ends and make a twist in the middle ; take the ends and press firmly into the top sides of the U ( or in the photo below , it's the other way around ) , place in the baking sheet and cover with tea towel . Continue with the rest of the dough . Let stand for 20 minutes until fluffy . 

* Bring 10 cups of water with baking soda and sugar into a boil in a wok or any straight-sided pan large enough to hold the water . One by one , place pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds . Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula , shake excess water and return them to the sheet pans , brush top with glaze and sprinkle some cheese on top . 

* Bake pretzels until dark golden brown in color , 12 to 14 minutes . Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving .  

For the water bath 

10 cup water 
2/3 cup baking soda
2 tablespoon light brown sugar

For the glaze : Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted with 1 tablespoon canola oil , let cool 
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese 
1 teaspoon grated garlic 
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

* In a small bowl , combine everything together and set aside . 

For filling and topping : 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Japanese milk bread with blueberry sauce filling

Condensed milk is a preferred sweetener when it comes to coffee or tea in some parts of Asia . This very thick and sweet product commonly packaged in tubes and tins ; it is also often used in making cakes , candies and other desserts . When I was young , I used to sweeten my cup of Milo or Ovaltine with it . I remember my Mother making Yema balls , a soft and gooey custard candy made from condensed milk and let us sell those at school . Yeah , I didn't know about Child Services at that time  lol 

This Japanese bread is popular among blogging friends and I first saw it at Sonia's blog . I called my tweaked version milk bread as there's not much condensed milk in this recipe . Condensed milk is the original filling but I have some leftover blueberry sauce from the cheesecake that I've made nearly 2 weeks ago . You can use any sweet filling like jam , peanut butter , Nutella , caramel to name a few . There's not much filling inside each " rose " of this tweaked Japanese bread , initially , I've added some whole blueberries in each layers but it kept popping out so I discarded the idea . I should have crushed the berries meh !    

I was aiming for a 3-inch high bread just like Sonia's but using some wholewheat flour and the lower temperature that day , 19°C , means more time for the second rise . I just let it rise for an hour since I had to go out . Mine came out not so tall , about 2 1/4-inch .

This bread is very easy to make but weighing 35 pieces of dough at 15 each grams each was a bit time-consuming . But it's very satisfying once you've finished doing it . Some of the roses though look weird since the small piece of dough that I put before rolling it weighs 15 grams , it should be smaller and 5 grams is just about right .  
According to my taste tester , my bread has no taste , the blueberry filling that I've made is bland , I admit . As I was typing this post , I told myself that I should have added more sugar to that effin' sauce ! Actually , I like it just fine or maybe because I'm the one who made it ha !  Oh well , you can't please everyone ! 

Recipe adapted from Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover 

250 grams bread flour
50 grams wholewheat flour
30 grams full cream condensed milk 
30 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast 
170 grams Hokkaido ( or any full cream ) milk , warm 
*** 5 teaspoons warm water , this should be added bit by bit if the dough is a bit dry
25 grams salted butter , cut into small cubes , softened 

Filling : Blueberry sauce

Glaze : 5 grams melted butter mixed with 5 grams condensed milk 

* In a mixing bowl , combine the first 5 ingredients , whisk until well combined . Make a well in the center of the flour mixture then pour in the milk , mix until it forms a shaggy dough . Tip dough onto the work surface and knead for a minute then add in the butter and knead . If you feel that the dough is a bit dry *** add water . Knead until dough is smooth and elastic , about 13 minutes . Transfer into a lightly oiled mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap . Let rise for an hour or so until doubled in size . 

* Weigh dough , 35 pieces of 15 grams  and 7 pieces of 5 grams ( depending on how much is your final dough , just adjust the amount ) , form into a small balls , cover and let rest for 10 minutes . 

* Lightly greased an 8-inch loose-bottom pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper . Set aside

Check out the step-by-step photo on how to shape this bread here 

*  Roll out 5 pieces of 15 grams dough , about 3 to 3 1/4-inch in diameter , brush each with blueberry sauce . Layer the rolled pieces , overlapping each , place a chopstick in the middle and gently press down over the layered circles of  dough to secure it . Form one 5 grams of dough into a log , smaller on both ends . Place the log at the end of the layered dough facing you . Roll up the pieces starting from the bottom and gently seal the ends . Cut into 2 and  place the dough , cut side down into the prepared pan . Repeat with the remaining dough . Brush top with the glaze . 

* Let rest in the warm place until doubled in size . 

* Meanwhile , preheat oven to 180°C . Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown . Inner temperature of the bread should be between 185°F to 190°F , if using a thermometer .  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Broken glass mini cupcakes and sugar paste pumpkin-topped minis

How's your Halloween prep coming along ? We don't actually celebrate it here , some people just go to Lan Kwai Fong to party , that place is known for its Halloween street party . But some estates here especially the ones with lots of expats do celebrate it by trick or treating . Back home in the Philippines ,we celebrate the next day after Halloween and it's called All Soul's Day . We don't do trick or treating or donning a Halloween costume on the night of October 31st but in the past few years some people do it the American way . The food we usually prepare at home is valenciana , sort of like paella and suman , a sticky rice cake made of glutinous rice , sugar and coconut milk . Visiting the cemetery is a must , bringing candles , flowers and food . Nowadays , All Soul's Day , Filipino-style is a more festive atmosphere , sort of like picnic , in the cemetery .

I decided to make a Halloween-themed cupcakes when I discovered the already expired orange and green sugar paste . The first chocolate cupcake recipe that I tried turned out bland and since I overfilled the liners , the cupcakes look like a mushroom . I tried another recipe and was quiet happy with the utterly chocolaty taste and it's fudgy , too . Though some didn't quiet reach the lip of the liner so , I cheated a bit and cut some smaller cupcake in half and transfer it to some not-so quiet high cupcakes hah ! I bought a new sugar paste , the orange though is more like a neon orange as you can see and the pumpkin looks like a bell pepper *sigh* I like the broken glass cupcakes the most but my broken glass looks spotty and not quiet clear . Oh well , they don't look half-bad , right ?! lol

Are you sure you have enough candies for the trick or treaters ?!

For the cupcakes : 

Please check original recipe @ Taste.com.au 

125 grams unsalted butter , cut into small dices

185 ml water
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
100 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips , chopped
75 grams all-purpose flour
75 grams self-raising flour
40 grams ( Valrhona ) dutch-processed cocoa powder
30 grams ground almonds
1 egg , lightly whisked

* Preheat oven to 160°C . Line mini muffin pans with liners . I used 18  2 1/4 x 1 1/4 x 1 1/2-inch mini muffin liners .

* Combine the butter , water , sugar , coffee powder and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat . Cook , stirring from time to time , until mixture is smooth . Take off from heat and let cool slightly for 10 minutes . 

* Combine the 2 flours and cocoa powder and sift over the chocolate mixture , use a wire whisk and mix until just combined . Add the egg and stir to combine . Divide mixture into the prepared pan , ideal amount in each liner is three-quarters ( 3/4 ) full . 

* Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with some moist crumbs . Cool completely on a wire rack . 

 For the cream cheese frosting :

Recipe adapted from Jamie's America , page 38 

170 grams cream cheese , at room temperature
57 grams butter , at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar , I used scant 1 cup 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest and juice of 1 lemon  , I used half zest and juice 

* In a medium bowl , combine cream cheese , butter , vanilla and zest and lemon juice ; sift in the icing sugar . Use a whisk or electric beater and mix until smooth . Spoon or pipe onto cupcakes . 

For the " fake blood "

3 tablespoons ( or more if prefer )  raspberry jam , strained 
1/4 teaspoon strawberry paste 

* In a small saucepan , combine jam and paste , stir over medium heat for about 20 seconds . Transfer to a small saucer and let cool before using .

For the "broken glass " aka  clear caramel 

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart 

3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons water 

* Prepare a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet , set aside .

* In a small saucepan , combine sugar and water , cook over medium heat , don't stir , for 6 to 7 minutes ( depending how thick the saucepan and the stove your using ) or until mixtures starts to turn light gold around the edges . Take pan off heat , pour over clear caramel into the prepared baking sheet , tilt pan to spread caramel over the edges to make a thin layer . Let cool to harden . Break clear caramel into pieces . 

For the sugar paste pumpkin : 

 orange and green sugar paste 

* Roll a small amount of orange sugar paste into a ball , use a pairing knife or a scraper to make a shallow cut around to resemble a pumpkin . Make a small indentation on top and insert in a very small amount of green sugar paste . You can make as many as you like . 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sonia's melt-in-your-mouth pineapple tarts

Hi guys , it's Anne ! Remember me ?! lol

No , I'm not spending my time at the #OccupyMongkok rally . Heh ! 

Anyway , here's one fool-proof recipe . Sonia was not exaggerating about her melt-in-the-mouth pineapple tart ! I've made several batches of these last Chinese New Year and everybody loved it . I've been hankering over these tarts for weeks and even made the filling 4 days ago but just too lazy to bake until now ugh !

What I love about this recipe is the dough , it's really easy to handle and no matter how you manhandle it , the tart will still be buttery .

Now , making the pineapple filling is another matter . Of course , you can still buy it , baking supplies shops here are selling pineapple filling all-year round . The taste though , in my opinion , of the store-bought one is plasticky . But once you tried making the filling yourself , the second or the 10th time will be a breeze , just be on the lookout once the mixture boils .

Don't worry if I fall off the grid , again , next time , the weather here is ideal for lazing around hee hee ! 

Recipe adapted from Sonia / Nasi Lemak Lover

Makes 34 , 1 2/3 x 2/3-inch tarts ( 15 grams dough and 10 grams filling each ) 

175 grams salted butter , softened 
70 grams condensed milk 
1 large egg yolk
255 grams all-purpose flour 

1 egg , beaten then strained . for glazing 

* Place butter and condensed milk into a large bowl , beat over medium speed until light and fluffy .  Add in the yolk and beat until just combined then add in the flour , mix until well combined . 

* Preheat oven to 175°C .

* Weigh dough and filling , 10 grams filling and 15 grams dough . Flatten dough into circle , about 2 inches in diameter , place filling and roll dough to seal , place into the baking sheet . You can form it into a small ball , square or rectangle , use a pairing knife or a scraper to make a shallow cut ( crisscross pattern ? ) on top . Brush top with egg wash .

* Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until top is golden brown . Let cool in the pan before removing .

* If using a counter top oven , place baking sheet on the second highest rack when baking the tarts .

Pineapple filling : 

Yield : 360 grams

1 pineapple / 985 grams peeled weight , puréed
150 grams granulated sugar , adjust accordingly

* Place puréed pineapple in a wok or a large pan and cook over medium-high heat , stirring from time to time ( mixture will splatter madly so put on the cover ) for 25 minutes . Once the mixture turns a bit dry , add in the sugar ( it will splatter again for few minutes ) and continue to cook for another 15 minutes , stirring from time to time or until mixture is thick .

* Transfer mixture into a bowl and let cool completely before using . 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Apple-pecan cheesecake

There is a nip in the air , a cool 25°C in the morning  but come noontime , it'll another hot day *sigh* I hope winter will come early here , I'm really fed up with you , summer ! 

I used the last of my cream cheese and one of the few times that it haven't got a chance to develop molds yet hee hee ! Planning on using it for another recipe of cream-cheese filled apple cake but don't have enough apples and eggs on hand . 

I've been wanting to make this cheesecake for quiet sometime but I always forget to buy pecans . This decadent treat appears during autumn/fall where apples are abundant . But don't worry , you can make this anytime , anywhere and whenever you have the urge . Definitely a nice change to the same old , same old blueberry/cherry/strawberry cheesecake ! 

Crust : 

90 grams gingersnaps , finely crushed 
20 grams unsalted butter , melted 

Filling :

235 grams cream cheese , at room temperature
90 grams caster sugar
150 ml soured cream , at room temperature 
1 large egg , at room temperature
1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping : 

1 Granny Smith , peeled , cored and roughly chopped 
50 grams toasted pecans , roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla sugar or raw/granulated sugar

* Grease a 6-inch square pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper , grease the parchment as well  . 

* Mix crushed gingersnaps and butter ; press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan , put pan in the freezer for 20 minutes . 

* Preheat oven to 160°C . 

* Place the cream cheese and sugar in a medium mixing bowl , beat over medium speed until light and smooth . Add in the cream and beat well until well combined ; add in the egg and vanilla , beat until just combined . Pour into the pan and gently drop the pan twice or thrice on the counter top to remove air bubbles . 

* Combine the ingredients for the topping , mix well  ; spoon mixture evenly on top of the cream cheese filling .

* Bake for 35-40 minutes . Let cheesecake cool inside the oven for 30 minutes , leaving door slightly ajar . Chill at least 4 hours or overnight before consuming .

This post is linked to the bloghop event , Little Thumbs Up , organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY . This month's APPLE theme is hosted by Kit of I Lost in Austen 


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Caramelized banana bread with browned butter glaze

Whenever I buy bananas , there are always some pieces left lurking on the table after few days and since nobody will touch it but me , either freeze the pathetic-looking pieces for smoothie or use them for baking . I already found my ideal banana bread , I like it cakey and sort of spongy , the Flour's Bakery recipe is the one I've been looking for a long time and I baked it 3 times last month alone . Because I can only eat so much banana bread using the same recipe I decided to try another one . I've seen this recipe from the Cooking Light magazine that I've borrowed few months ago and the caramelized bananas sounds very tempting  .

The recipe is pretty straight-forward , caramelizing the bananas is one easy step to have this very satisfying and moriesh treat . My only problem with the mixture is some small lumpy flour that just wont dissolve , I had to pinch several lumpy pieces before baking tsk tsk ! Note that the banana mixture will still be warm after you finished mixing everything and I think that's normal in this recipe or maybe our kitchen at that time was way too hot !  

When  making the glaze , make sure to keep an eagle-eye on it , my browned butter glaze nearly turned out black butter glaze ugh ! If your saucepan is not thick enough , use low heat and less time in browning the butter . 

This bread is very moist even straight from the fridge . If you don't like cakey and spongy kind of banana bread , you would love this recipe ! 

Please check original recipe @ Cooking Light

Makes one 8 x roughly 2-inch loaf and 2 mini-bundts

3 tablespoon / 42 grams unsalted butter , softened 
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
350 grams ( peeled weight ) very ripe banana , sliced plus extra for topping
1/2 cup soured cream 
3 tablespoon canola oil 
2 tablespoon dark rum 
2 large eggs ( 63 grams each ) 
9 oz / 252 grams / about 2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Glaze :

1 tablespoon / 14 grams unsalted butter , softened 
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon half and half 

* Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F . Grease a 9 x 3-inch loaf pan or an 8 x 3-inch loaf pan and 2 mini-bundt pans , set aside .  

* Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat , add brown sugar and bananas . Cook for 4 minutes , stirring occasionally . remove from heat ; let cool for 10 minutes . Place banana mixture into a large bowl and beat at medium speed until smooth . 

* Combine soured cream and the next 3 ingredients ( through eggs ) . Combine flour , baking soda and salt . Add flour mixture and soured cream mixture alternately to banana mixture , beginning and ending with flour mixture , beat a low speed just until combined . Pour mixture into the prepared pans and top with banana slices . 

* Bake 35-40 minutes for the mini-bundts and 50 minutes to 1 hour for the loaf pan or until skewer inserted in the middle of the bread comes out with a bit of moist crumbs . Transfer to the wire rack , cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan ; let cool . 

To make the glaze : 

* In a small saucepan , cook butter until it starts to turn brown , depending on how thick is the saucepan , it'll take less than a minute so keep an eye on it . take pan off heat , sift in icing sugar and add in the half and half , whisk until mixture is smooth . Drizzle immediately over the cooled bread . let glaze set before slicing the bread . 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spicy chicken karaage and Apple-cabbage salad with sesame dressing

I was thinking this the first time I've made chicken karaage , " Here goes another unhealthy treat that I would love to eat occasionally ha ! more like , I could eat this everyday ! "  Now , remember , moderation is the key ! I seldom deep-fried , for one ,  I hate to store used oil in the fridge for a long time and since I'm the only one here who dig this fantastic but unwholesome deliciousness , cooking it for one person seems superfluous . 

But because it's nearly the time of the month ....

Excuses , excuses ! 

If your compare this karaage to my previous one , you'll see that this version is much fluffier . At that time , I thought I also used potato starch as I bought it at one of my favorite baking supply store . By the time I finished cooking and photographing it , I compare it to Sonia's and No Recipes' sites . The coating of mine looks thinner and thinking maybe I did shake off too much excess flour or starch , for that matter . 

I've made it again for our New Year's dinner , I bought a pack of potato starch at one of the shops that sells Japanese products . If only you've seen my face while I was cooking the karaage , using the right potato starch , it looks like the authentic-looking version  lol

The potato starch is made from potato that has been peeled , the flesh is grind into a mushy slurry then dehydrated ,  the texture is similar to that of cornstarch , it's usually use as a thickening agent and of course , makes a great crispy coating . Potato flour on the other hand , is made from whole potato , including the skin and it gives baked goods such as loaf bread a nice soft and moist texture . It makes a nice , crispy coating as well though a bit thin and you still can use it in this kind of recipe if starch is not readily available . 

To offset the unwanted calories from the karaage , I've made this simple but wonderful salad as a side . Initially , it was supposed to be an apple-cabbage slaw but I've been wanting to make homemade sesame dressing . The bottled version tastes good but making it at home is easy , cheap and certainly delicious ! The tangy dressing goes really well the crunchy salad and the salad itself is a good foil for the greasy karaage .

Spicy chicken karaage , serves 4 

550 grams boneless whole chicken leg , cut into bite-size pieces
4 teaspoons sake 
4 teaspoon mirin
4 teaspoon light soy sauce
20 grams / 1-inch peeled ginger , finely chopped or grated
2 cloves garlic , finely minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon teaspoon chilli flakes
 pinch of salt 

2/3  cup potato starch
dash of ground black pepper

oil for frying
lime or lemon wedges , to serve 

*  In a bowl , combine the chicken and the rest of the ingredients , chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes , more ,  if time permits . 

* In a bowl or plate . combine the potato starch and the black pepper . 

* In a saucepan , heat oil , the oil is ready if you dip a bamboo chopstick and it sizzles or use a deep-fry thermometer , if available .

* Dip several pieces of chicken into the starch mixture until each piece is well covered up . Gently drop each piece into the hot oil and fry in batches until chicken pieces floats on top and lightly golden . transfer to the plate and repeat with the remaining pieces . 

* Once all the chicken is done , turn up the heat , gently drop chicken in batches until each piece is golden brown , transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and continue with the rest . Serve hot .

Apple and cabbage salad serves 4-6 

1 Gala apple , unpeeled , cored and thinly-sliced 
1 Granny Smith , unpeeled , cored and thinly-sliced
2 teaspoon lime juice
200 grams thinly-sliced red cabbage
50 grams thinly-sliced carrot
1/2 cup steamed fresh corn kernels

* In a large bowl , toss the 2 apples and lime juice , add in the rest of the ingredients , chill in the fridge for about an hour . To serve , divide into bowls and drizzle in the sesame dressing . 

Sesame dressing , makes 1 cup ( Recipe adapted from Just One Cookbook )

6 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 tablespoon mayonnaise
4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
3 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon mirin 
1 teaspoon sesame oil 

* In a wok or a large pan , toast sesame seeds over medium heat ; stirring from time to time , for 6 minutes or until lightly golden . Place seeds into mortar and pestle , grind into a paste . Transfer paste into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients , mix well to combine . Chill in the fridge before using .

This post is linked to the bloghop event Little Thumbs Up and is organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Favourite DIY . This month's theme is APPLE and hosted by Kit of I Lost in Austen 

                                                          photo littlethumbups1-1.jpg

Friday, September 12, 2014

Spiced apple two-bite tarts

Last week I bought a bag of Gala apples , probably 4 pounds ( I thought it was only a kilo ! ) and even bought 3 pieces of Granny Smith for this recipe alone . I seldom buy that much , more like 3 or 5 pieces whenever I have the urge to eat it . Most of the time , after eating it for 3 straight days , the last one or two will be in the fridge for days , sometimes nearly two weeks until I can't take it anymore and have to eat it or worst , throw it . At least I know one person who's having this weird habit lol

I baked an apple bundt cake using some of those apple , I was so pumped up from the smell alone ! Of course , my joy turned into horror meh ! when I removed the cake from the pan ! Nearly half of the top was stuck at the bottom , I still get misty-eyed thinking about it hee hee ! Next time , I won't be stingy with the butter when greasing the bundt pan .

Oh , that was a cream cheese-filled apple cake , by the way *sigh*

So , what to do with some of the remaining apples ?! I've been eyeing this recipe for quiet sometime and the crust , which is described as sort of pecan shortbread clinched it for me . It was delicious on its own and a breeze to make  ! You don't have to roll the dough , just divide it evenly among the tins . If you're using a mini-muffin pan , the tart shells will come off easily , not so if you're using a mini tart tins , patience and a bit help from the trusty pairing knife will do the trick . Just remember to remove it after 5 minutes of cooling , you may find it a bit hot to handle but better than uttering some French words while removing it if you let it stand for a long time .

The filling tastes great , too , I should have used 2 Gala instead of one since it barely cover all my 21 tartlets . The soured cream is a must ! The tanginess of it is a good foil for the buttery crust and the spiced filling . You can use yogurt or crème fraîche ( as recommended  in this recipe )

Need to find more recipes with apples in it ....

Please check original recipe @ Cooking Light /My Recipes 

Makes 21 tartlets ( 15 grams dough each )

Crust : ( makes 320 grams cookie dough ) 

57 grams sugar 
57 grams unsalted butter , softened 
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon milk 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 
4.5 oz / 126 grams / about 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Filling : ( makes 1 cup ) 

1 Granny Smith apple , peeled and diced 
1 Gala apple , peeled and diced
2 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly minced ginger 
1 tablespoon butter 
1/2 teaspoon tapioca starch
1 tablespoon water 

Homemade soured cream : Add 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice to 75 ml double cream , mix to combine , chill in the fridge before using .   

*  Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C . Lightly grease mini muffin and tart tins , put in the fridge to chill . 

* Crust : In a medium bowl , combine the first 6 ingredients , use a whisk and beat until mixture is light and fluffy . Add in the flour and nuts and mix until just combined . Divide dough into 21 mini tart tins or individual mini-muffin tins or 24 mini muffin pan  , 15 ( some are 16 grams )  grams of dough in each tin . If it is too hot in your kitchen or dining room , chill the dough for at least 30 minutes for easy handling . Press dough into bottom and up the sides of the tin . 

* Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown . Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes ; carefully remove from the tins ; if you're using the tart tins , gently poke some of the fluted edges with the tip of a pairing knife before removing and let cool completely on a wire rack . 

* Filling : Place apple and lime juice in a bowl , toss to coat , add the sugar and the next 4 ingredients ( through ginger ) , stir well to combine .  

* Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-heat ; add apple mixture . Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes , stirring occasionally . Combine tapioca starch and water in a small bowl ; add it to the apple mixture , cook for about 1 minute or until mixture thickens . Transfer mixture into a bowl and let cool at room temperature . 

* Spoon about 2 teaspoon of apple mixture into each tart shell and top with about 1/2 teaspoon of soured cream . Serve immediately .

This post is linked to the bloghop event Little Thumbs Up , this event is organized by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Favourite DIY . This month's theme is APPLE and hosted by Kit of I Lost in Austen