Saturday 18 January 2014

Almond Cookies ( Simple Version)

Read about a  recipe for peanut cookies using 2:2:1:1 ratio from this blog: I bake I cook I eat. Find it is simple and easy. So, I tried on the almond cookie. However, I also read about almond is not as oily as peanut so 2:2:1:1 ratio may not so suitable. I made some changes on the flour. And the ratio become 3:2:1:1 using a measuring cup .The cookie turn out great! And find this cookie is more healthier than the rich almond cookie that I have posted earlier.

What do we need?

1.5 cup (approx. 150g) plain flour
1 cup (approx. 140g ) raw almonds
1/2 cup (approx. 50g) icing sugar
1/2 cup  (approx. 90g) canola & sunflower cooking oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg for eggwash

Preheat oven : 180 deg C

Methond :
1. Rinse the almond with water. Dry fry in a non-stick wok/pan until it is completely dry and fragrant.  Remove from wok and leave it to cool, then, use a blender with grinding function and grind into powder . Alternatively, you can buy ready roasted almond to grind into powder so that you can omit the frying step.

2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except egg and form into dough. It should not be crumbly and can easily form a ball. Add a little more oil if it is crumbly.

3. Use a teaspoon to scoop about 1/2 spoon of dough and roll into 1.5cm balls and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press down lightly with a chopstick or alteratively, use a straw or toothpick.

4. Glaze with eggwash.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12min.  Or when it is golden brown. Remove from oven. Leave them to cool in the cooling rack then pack into airtight bottle.

P.S : You may replace the oil with pure groundnut oil/peanut oil.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Ondeh Ondeh

1 cup mashed sweet potato
2 cups glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup water
6 stalk pandan leave
Gula Melaka
Fresh grated coconut (without skin) 1packet Or 1whole coconut
1/4 tsp salt
1 big pot of boiling water

1.Add salt onto grated coconut and steam for about 4-5min. Then set aside.
2.Slice gula melaka into thin & small pieces. Set aside.
3.Cut pandan leave and add a cup of water. Put into blender and blend it. Squeeze out the juice. Filter and remove any fibre.
4. Combine glutinous rice flour , mashed sweet potato, Pandan juice and knead into a smooth dough. Note: If the sweet potato is wet, add lesser pandan juice. Dough should be smooth and soft, but will remain in shape. 
5. Roll dough into 2cm dia  n cut into 4cm length. Make them into small balls. Flatten the ball, wrap with 1 tsp of Gula in center of dough and make into a ball. Repeat until all dough is done.
6. Boil water in big pot. When water id boiled, drop in uncooked oneh oneh one at time. Let continue boil until the ondeh ondeh float on top of water.
7. Remove those ondeh ondeh that are floating and drop them into the pre-steam grated Coconut. Make sure all coated with coconut.
8. Serve the oneh oneh.

Note: the ondeh ondeh skin taste more QQ when it is completely cool. Store in fridge make it taste nicer. Consume within 24hours.

Almond Cookies (Rich Almond Cookies)

I have a packet of 100g ground almond which I bought few months ago.. don't worry it is not expired...I always buy flour and baking ingredients to stock up. I think it is a homemaker's problem! Always worry want to cook can't find ingredients so stock up.

Come back to the cookies. To prevent waste of the packet of ground almond , the only way is to consume it. So I asked someone from a cooking group and this recipe was given by her from this cooking group. She snap a picture of her cooking book and shared  that is it from the book from Oi Lin. Thanks for her kindness to share. Honestly I have not read that book. But I do see a few bloggers quoted in their blog this author's name. As I think she had snap only one page of the recipe and a missing page ...because it seems  incomplete flow as I read further. The recipe end at rolling the dough flat 5mm thickness...haha. So I have the ingredients but not the complete method flow and baking time. In order to bake this cookies, I looked into other blogs and add in baking powder which was not in the origin recipe. And I replaced cake flour with plain flour as I do not have cake flour at home. By the way, the origin name for this cookies  written in the recipe is called Rich Almond Cookies. Though there was incomplete of method, but overall, the cookies is really nice. My daughter said "mummy, this cookies is addictive!" . Indeed within few days, the cookies is gone! So, yesterday, I went to get more almond powder and this time I baked in bigger quantity so that I can also share with my relatives , neighbours and friends.  And I modified the recipe a little to suit to my taste. Find the origin recipe is a little too sweet.

165g unsalted butter (melted)
440g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
160g icing sugar
3/4 tsp salt
220g ground almond (almond powder)
125g peanut oil/groundnut cooking oil
2 eggyolks

Glaze : 1 eggyolk + 1 tbsp water
Some white sesame seed to sprinkle on top of cookies

Preheat oven : 180 deg C

Method :
1.Melt butter in a double boil or just in a small sauce pan. Set aside.
2.Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, icing sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add ground almonds and mix them well.
3.Mix the peanut oil with the melted butter , then add to the flour mixture.  Add eggyolk and knead into a dough. If the dough is too crumbly, add a little more peanut oil.
4.Shape into the desire shape or use a cookies cutter to cut into shape.
5.Arrange on baking tray lined with parchment paper/baking paper. Apply eggwash with a brush and sprinkle the sesame seed at the top of cookie.
6.Bake in the preheated oven 180 deg C for 12-15min depend on your oven temperature or till it get golden brown color

Updates of Picture 22Jan2017:

Saturday 11 January 2014

Pineapple Tarts

Back track 20 years ago or more...
What inspired me to bake ?
It all started with 'this story'..I passed by a bakery shop near my place after work.. I was living in central SG..
I saw the many tubs of pineapple tarts displayed at the shop. So I walked into the shop and wanted to buy. The shopkeeper said"did u place order?' I replied "no". Then he said rudely "then we can't sell to u"..and he walked away.
I was a little angry by his attitude..but no choice since I didn't pre-order. After that I went to the nearby hawker centre fruit stall and bought 2 whole pineapples and went home to make jam and then make pineapple tarts. Back then I have not baked any cookies before. I have not attended any course before. Not even in secondary school I didn't take home baking is alien to me.
I do not have any recipe. But i know my aunt 婶婶is very good at it.. I phoned her and she taught me over the phone. Back then no google recipe unlike now everything and recipe is easily found in google. Back then difficult to get recipe. With my aunt's(婶婶) verbal recipe and my mum-in-laws' help.. I started my first pineapple tarts..

God is humorous by sending such people to inspire me to start baking. Just as the bible is written...

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return without watering the ground. They cause the plants to sprout and grow, making seeds for the farmer and bread for the people. The same thing is true of the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do. (Isaiah 55:8-11)

All thanks be to God. :)

You may visit also my facebook page Catherine's Cooking Journal

Ingredients (Pastry- yield about 75pcs):
360g plain flour
50g milk powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
250g soft cold butter( I use salted)
1 eggyolk + 1 whole egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg for eggwash

Put all the ingredients ( except egg and vanilla ) into a big bowl. Rub the dry ingredients with butter using your fingertips till it resemble breadcrumb. Add egg and vanilla. Continue to work into a soft dough.  Do not over work.

Place dough on a working board, with a rolling pin. roll it flat. Use a pineapple tart cutter, cut into shape. Place the cookie in a tray with baking paper. Place the jam on top of the pastry. Eggwash - beat the egg with a fork then use a brush to eggwash on the tart.

Bake in pre-heat oven 180 degree Celsius for 15 - 20min.

Pineapple Jam:
Please see my pineapple-tarts-enclosed-version on how to make pineapple jam in the traditional way.

Updates on 4/Jan/2016:
Rice Cooker Pineapple Jam

I have done pineapples jam in different ways over years. I have tried slow cooker, black claypot, chinese wok and the latest rice cooker. Always looking for better way to cook the jam. And of the whole pineapple tart, making homecooked jam the most time consuming process. However, it is also the jam that makes the different in the pineapple tarts. Different family has their unique taste of homecooked jam. Some like very sweet so added alot of sugar. For my personal taste, I prefer less sweet version. However, for the sake of majority in the family, I will compromise with the family..that is I will add a little more sugar than my usual standard of sweetness. So that family members will not find the tarts too not sweet.

Back to method of cooking the jam. Of all the different methods, using slow cooker is easy but rice cooker is the easiest. Save time standing at the stove stiring the jam. I used to stand at the stove stiring in the hot kitchen. But now no more sweaty and smelly. After putting grated pineapple into rice cooker to cook. You can go sit at the sofa enjoying a cup coffee or tea and watch your favorite korean drama or do housework or read a book while waiting for the juice to dry up. This rice cooker method dry up faster, could be I was doing other things so feel faster. And it doesn't burnt until when it is almost drying due to the natural sugar in the pineapple. As I used stainless steel pot, it turns brown at the bottom for the first time when I was cooking it. Because I thought the jam will be like rice when liquid dried up, the ricer cooker will jump to keep warm mode. So as I was waiting, I smell something burnt. That was how I had realised, approaching liquid drying up, you will need to stir a bit. That is, about 2 hours after putting to cook. And the jam will start drying after 2 hours of cooking. Always add sugar after the liquid dry up. Or else you will end up having very dark pineapple jam. To achieve nice golden colour, add sugar after all the pineapple juice about to dry up. DO NOT drain any juice in the process. Jam without draining juice though take longer to cook, but it will taste nicer too.  Being patience, faithfully cooking the jam with the juice will give you very nice jam. The longer you cook the jam, will also help to preserve the jam longer. That is, you can keep up to a year in fridge also no issue. Because this jam has added quite a fair amount of sugar. Sugar isca natural preservative agent. But, i will not suggest you keep it for that longer.

2 big honey pineapple (green) after removed skin and "eyes" weigh appro. 750g per pineapple
150-200g appro. Or 10 tablespoons white sugar or your taste desire
3-4 clove
1/2 stick cinnamon

1. Remove pineapple skin and "eyes"

2. Using food processor to blend the whole pineapple including core until mushy. Or use knife to chop until mushy.

3. Place pineapple(do not drain juice) into rice cooker, add clove and cinnamon stick. Set rice cooker to "cook"  mode like you are cooking rice. Let it cook until almost dry. It is approximately 2 hours.  It also depend on your rice cooker and also pineapple. If very ripe, it will be more juicy so take longer. My rice cooker is using stainless steel pot, so approaching to dry, the base started to brown. So do check once in a while using a wooden spoon to stir and check. Btw, it will not pop to warm mode as the liquid in the pineapple will not be as dry as rice. So check in between.
The good thing about using rice cooker is save time standing at the stove stiring. You put it into rice cooker to cook(covered) and go doing housework or watch drama and let the rice cooker do the work. Just like when you cook rice at the stove, you need to stir non-stop to prevent burnt. But using rice cooker you do not worry about that...just that approaching dry or after 2 hours check on the jam.

4. When the pineapple is about to dry. Add sugar and stir and continue to cook. Stir once in a while to avoid burnt at the base until the jam is dry.

5. When it is cooled, roll it into 9-10g balls to use on tarts or store in container and keep in refrigerator. I usually make the jam 1 month ahead. Making jam is the most time consuming process for the tarts. So always make it earlier. This recipe yield over 80pcs of 9-10g pineapples jam balls.

As I used honey pineapple for this recipe instead of morris pineapple. Therefore, this pineapple is sweeter than the morris pineapple which are normal use for pineapple tart. Because the pineapple is sweeter, I have added lesser sugar. The amount of sugar to add depend on the type of pineapple is used and whether it is ripe or unripe or semi-ripe. So, asjust the sweeten according to your desire.

These few days, few friends asked me these questions after viewing this link.

1. Do you cover the rice cooker when it is cooking?
Answer : Yes. Like cooking rice.

2. Do you stir when put to cook?
Answer:  Please refer to above item 3 and 4.

Notes dated 15Jan2016:
My sister did the rice cooker pineapple jam on last sunday. Apparently different kind of rice cooker does make a different. My sister owns a rice cooker that on normal rice cooking takes an hour and quick cook half hour. As compare to my rice cooker, cooking rice takes only 20mins. My rice cooker only have 3 functions - porridge, warm & rice.
My sister told me her pineapple jam sit in rice cooker for an hour and it still didn't start cooking. Her jam took longer time to cook than mine. And it didn't able to cook jam until very dry as her rice cooker keep jumping to "keep warm". So, she poured out the jam and continue cook over stove and got it done in very short time. In gengeral, she still prefer the rice cooker way. As she said no need to keep standing at the stove stiring the jam and it shorten the cooking time.

27Dec2016 Updates:
Yields : approx 1.4kg-1.5kg(220pcs 2cm balls)
2 big + 3 medium  honey pineapples
150g rock sugar
350g white sugar
9 cloves
1 stick cinnamon

It is double the quantity. So today it took  total 4hours to cook the jam. The rest of the method is the same.

Updates on 21Jan2017:
Made another batch of jam added only rock sugar. The colour tone is lighter. This is the ingredients :

2 big honey pineapples
Half stick cinnamon
5 cloves
160g  rock sugar

Method refer to the above ricer cooker recipe.
Cooking time : 2hours

This is the results :

If you have also tried this rice cooker way of cooking jam, would welcome your comments.

Happy cooking and baking.

You may like to also view my other posts:
1. almond-cookies
2. almond-cookies-simple-version

As some friends are interested in the mould that I am using. Attached picture here for your reference.