Friday, October 31, 2008

Chocolate Orange Ice-Cream

I recently purchased a Kenwood ice-cream maker through a local auction site. It was certainly at a bargain, close to 35% discount from retail price. The appliance was new as the seller got it as a present and she had no intention of making ice-cream at all. So I guess her loss was my gain!

Thus the next day, I browsed for ice-cream recipes to test out my new acquisition and came across a chocolate orange ice-cream. Both these combinations have always worked out well in cakes and cookies. So why not with ice-cream. This ice-cream turned out very rich, so if you are a chocolate lover you may want to give this recipe a try.

Chocolate Orange Ice-Cream


150g dark chocolate (I used Valhora chocolate 70% cocoa)
6 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
200ml whole milk
300ml double or thickened cream
Finely grated zest of 1 orange


1) Finely chop the chocolate and set to one side.

2) In a mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and mousse-like.

3) Gently heat the milk and cream in a saucepan until almost boiling. Then pour in a steady stream over the sugar and yolks, whisking as you do so.

4) Return the mixture to the pan and cook, stirring all the time, until the mixture thickens. You can check the consistency by dipping a wooden spoon into the mixture then running your finger over the back of the spoon. If your finger leaves a clean trail then the mixture is ready.

5) Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate and stir until fully melted. Leave until cool.

6) Stir in the orange zest and then use the mixture to make the ice-cream according to the instructions of your ice-cream maker.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mama Mia ... it's Pizza Day! Another Daring Baker's Challenge

It seems that this month's challenge is going to involve yeast as well. And strangely enough a pizza recipe has yet to surface in the Daring Baker's challenge list. So it would seem quite appropriate that our October host, Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums decided that we should all play pizzaiolos.

This month's challenge required us to learn how to make a pizza dough from scratch and then complete the challenge by coming up with 2 pizzas with a sauce and topping of our own choosing. This month's recipe is from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice” which yields a beautifully tasty, thin, crispy, yet chewy pizza crust. In addition, we were to include a picture of ourselves tossing the pizza ..... now this should be a blast - if not a disaster!

BubbleShare: Share photos - Craft Ideas

Originally, this month's challenge was to be hosted by Rosa together Sher at What Did You Eat? and Glenna at A Fridge Full of Food. Unfortunately circumstances unfolded which forced Rosa to host this month's challenge on her own. Sherry passed away tragically on the 20th of July 2008 after having been struck by a massive heart-attack. Glenna on the other hand has decided to quit The Daring Baker’s and to stop her baking adventure for personal reasons.

Although I didn't know Sher personally, I feel somewhat sad that a talented baker and a good person at heart has left this world. As such I would like to dedicate my October challenge to Sherry Cermak (1948-2008) and to all Daring Bakers out there.

I made three different types of pizzas: classic margherita pizza, salami with three types of cheeses (mozarella, white cheddar and yellow cheddar) pizza and the final one is a satay chicken pizza with a spicy peanut sauce. This pizza is so good that we had it over two consecutive week-ends!

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter)


4 1/2 cups unbleached high-gluten (14%) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 Tbsp Salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup (60g) olive oil or vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups ice cold water (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tbsp sugar
Semolina or cornmeal for dusting the pizza pan



1) Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer)

2) Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.

3) On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.

4) The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

5) Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

6) With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

7) Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

8) Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

9) Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to three days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.



1) On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

2)At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

3) Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.

4)During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.

5) In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.

6) You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

7) When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

8)Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

9) Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

10) If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

11) Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Strawberry Yogurt Cupcakes

What is it with this cupcake craze?

And why are cupcakes so popular?

Let me try and prepare a list, and please do feel free to add on in the "Comments" section:

1) They are nifty little cakes that comes in no more than three bite-size ... okey two if you have a big enough mouth!

2) You can have more than two without feeling guilty!

3) They are oh so cute with their different decorations and pretty cases!

4) They are easily portable!

5) If one gets damaged, you can chuck that away and still have spares (unlike a whole cake)!

6) You don't need to be a maths genius when it comes to dividing out cupcakes (unlike a cake where you'll have to slice it into proportionate pieces so as not to seem to be showing any favouritism)!

7) You can colour your buttercream into various colours for piping onto the cupcakes and they'll look great!


And you guessed it ... here's another cupcake recipe!

Strawberry Yogurt Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)


1/2 cup sugar
113g unsalted butter
1 large egg
6 ounces strawberry yogurt (or any other fruit flavor of yogurt)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

Buttercream Icing:

115g unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest


1) Preheat oven to 180C. Line a muffin or cupcake tin with cupcake paper liners.

2) Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until blended. Pour in the carton of yogurt and vanilla extract and beat for another minute.

3) Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a dry bowl.

4) Add the dry ingredients in 2 portions into the cake batter and mix until incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix!

5) Divide the mixture equally between the 12 paper-lined cupcake cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

6) For the buttercream icing, beat on high the unsalted butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest until smooth and fluffy. Place buttercream in the fridge for about 20 minutes before piping your cupcakes.

7) Used a large star tip (1M) and pipe swirls on top of each cupcake and decorate with sugared roses. (I used gummy care bears as well for an added "fun" piece).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Capuccino Chiffon Cake - Introducing the Cake Slice Bakers

I guess after having joined Daring Bakers and having successfully completed 5 challenges todate, it has given me some courage to join other baking groups. So when Gigi of Gigi Cakes and Katie of Apple and Spice decided to create The Cake Slice Bakers, I immediately wanted to be part of this group. What's so special about The Cake Slice Bakers is their goal of baking one recipe each month from a single book and all members get to vote on a recipe of choice for each month.

It may be coincidence but prior to even knowing of The Cake Slice Bakers existence I had borrowed the book which we would be baking from, "Sky High - Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes" by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne from the library. I was particularly inspired by the recipes showcased in this book due to some slight variations in baking style as well as the ingredients used. It also had unusual cake names such as Ginger Beer Cake, Fabulous Lady B Cake and Chocolate Cola Cake, don't you think so!

I am delighted to announce that today is our very first posting ... with many more to come! And the cake chosen to welcome this inspired group of bakers is a triple-layer Capuccinno Chiffon Cake.

I was extremely pleased that my cake came out exactly as it should have! Firstly I've never attempted a chiffon cake and secondly not attempted an actual triple layer cake before! The instructions to this recipe was simple enough and I finished whipping the batter in less than no time. Luckily I happened to have three 8" cake pans, although higher than I would have liked it to be - mine is about 3" high. I weighed the batter out equally into the pans to ensure that the layers were pretty much of the same height, then popped 2 pans into my oven and the other into the fridge to wait for it's baking turn. I had to bake the cake for about 20 minutes as the underside of the cake was still slightly moist. Once cooled, the chiffon automatically separated from the sides of the pan and it was just a matter of peeling the parchment away. I did notice that one of the chiffon was slightly deflated in the centre whilst the other 2 held up. This was good and I kept calling out to my husband to take a look at the cakes (I had an enormous grin on my face at that time).

The assembling part was somewhat tricky due to the weather here in Singapore. We were having an extremely hot Saturday afternoon with temperatures of about 33C. So you can guess what this does to whipped cream ... a near complete melt-down. I had to put the cake into the fridge at least 3 times and even then, the cream around the cake didn't turn out as smooth as I would have wanted it to. To decorate the cake, I had wanted to use a dolly and dust it with cocoa powder. Unfortunately my doily was meant for a 10" cake so what my husband did was design a doily for me by cutting out patterns using a parchment paper. And guess what .... it worked!

All I can say is this cake tasted oh so yummy and I personally felt that it was even better the next day. Especially when the syrup and the cream had seeped into the chiffon layers.

To view more beatiful creations, go to The Cake Slice Bakers

Cappuccino Chiffon Cake
(Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake)


1/4 cup of neutral oil (vegetable, canola, or soybean)
6 eggs separated
6 Tbsp of freshly brewed espresso cooled to room temperature
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 and 1/3 cups of cake flour*
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
Cocoa powder for dusting

(*The recipe calls for cake flour and if you only have all-purpose flour on hand, you can substitute 3/4 cup (105 grams) all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch.)

Espresso Syrup

1/3 cup hot freshly brewed strong espresso coffee
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup dark rum, such as Meyers* (I used 2 tsp of coffee emalco flavouring instead of rum)

(*if you want to leave out the rum you can use molasses thinned with pineapple juice and flavored with almond extract to equal 1/3 cup. Or use 1 to 2 teaspoons of rum extract flavoring but you'll have less syrup.)

Vanilla Whipped Cream

3 cups of heavy cream (or thickened cream)
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tsp of vanilla


1) Preheat the oven to 180C degrees. Line the bottom s of three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper but do not grease.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, espresso, and vanilla; whisk lightly to blend. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 1 cup of sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

3) In the large bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Raise the mixer to medium high and gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Do not whip to stiff peaks or the cake will shrink upon cooling.

4) Add the espresso-egg mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together just until combined. Add one fourth of the egg whites and fold them gently into the batter. Fold in the remaining egg whites just until no streaks remain. Divide the batter among the pans.

5) Bake the cakes for 18 - 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans. Once cooled run a knife around the edge of the pans to release the cakes. Invert onto a wire rack and remove the parchment papers.

6) To assemble the cake, place one cake layer flat side up on a cake stand or platter. Soak the cake with 1/3 cup of the espresso syrup. Spread 1 and 1/3 cups of whipped cream evenly over the top of the cake. Repeat with the next layer the same steps. Finally top with the third layer. Soak with syrup and frost the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream.

7) To decorate the cake smooth out the whipped cream as much as possible on top. Lay a paper doily on top and sift cocoa powder or cinnamon over the doily to reveal a lacy detail.

Espresso Syrup
(makes 1 cup)

In a bowl, stir together the espresso and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the rum and let cool to room temperature.

Vanilla Whipped Cream
(makes 6 cups)

Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in large chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters. With the whip attachment, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Movie Nite with Hot Dogs & Coleslaw

Heh it's movie night and to get into the mood of things, I decided we'll have hot dogs and coleslaw for dinner. Ok just as a point of clarification, we're not actually going to the movies .. we're watching movies on the telly!

Watching a movie over the week-end in Singapore is pretty expensive nowadays! The price of a week-end ticket is now S$10 per person (or US$6.80). And surely if you'll at the movies you'd want your coke and some pop-corn. So that'll easily add up to S$17 per person. Now that's expensive! I remembered a time not so long ago that a ticket would cost only S$7! Now with inflation, our dollar really doesn't go very far.

Something about hot dogs reminds me of my school days (ever so, so long ago in a far away land) when I would look forward to every Tuesday. Why ... because Tuesday was A&W's coney dog day! And the hot dog would only cost US$0.40 cts. It was a simple beef sausage wrapped in an untoasted bun and topped with chilli beans, with a sprinkling of chopped onions. Boy did it taste good!

The chilli beans which I prepared for the hot dogs is made from kidney beans and tomatoes. This is a fantastic recipe, quick and easy to make, low in fat and it tastes delicious! If you have extras, you can store in the fridge or the freezer. Chuck the left overs in the microwave whenever you feel hungry and use it as topping for a baked potato or nachos, add some cheese or sour cream for variation.

Chilli Beans
Serves 4 -6


1/2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans red kidney beans, drained
1 can chopped tomato
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (optional)
1 Tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp oregano
A pinch paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp chili flakes


1) Heat oil in pan.
2) Add onion and cook on medium heat until softened.
3) Add the kidney beans and tomatoes, then stir in the rest of the ingredients.
4) Bring to a slight boil and simmer for approx 20 minutes (longer if you like), stirring occasionally.

Dead Easy Coleslaw
Recipe modified from SmittenKitchen


1 medium sized green cabbage (about 2 lbs), cored and cut into 3" chunks, then finely shredded
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 small purple cabbage, cored and cut into 3" chunks, then finely shredded
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 tsp sugar


1) Toss all vegetables in a large bowl with 1 tsp each of salt and pepper.
2) Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, and sugar, then toss with slaw.
3) Chill, covered, stirring occasionally, at least 1 hour (for vegetables to wilt and flavors to blend).
4) Slaw can be chilled up to 1 day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Moist Chocolate Cake

I wanted to do some baking during the week and decided that I'd bake a simple chocolate cake. So this means browsing through my limited recipe books and thus I came across a simple enough chocolate cake recipe which included a ganache topping.

I guess when it comes to cakes, chocolate cakes are probably the most universally recognized and appreciated cakes by both adults and children, unless of course you are chocolate intolerent! Hmm ... is there such a thing as this - I've heard of lactose intoleret but chocolate??

Moist Chocolate Cake
(serves 10)
Recipe: Cake Temptations & Other Desserts by Su Chan


3 eggs
350g superfine castor sugar
150g unsalted butter
175ml water (room temperature)
225g plain flour
65g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Ingredients for the chocolate ganache:

150ml whipping cream
150ml bittersweet chocolate (preferably 60% or more cocoa)


1) Grease a 9" round cake tin, line the bottom with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 180C.

2) Whisk eggs and half of the sugar until thick and set aside.

3) Cream butter and remaining sugar in a separate bowl till light and slowly stir in the egg mixture. Beat till well combined.

4) Sieve together the flour,cocoa powder, salt, baking power and baking soda in a separate bowl.

5) Fold the sieved ingredients into the batter in three batches, alternating with the water (3 batches of flour and 2 batch of water). You should start and end with the dry ingredient. Be careful not to over-mix your batter.

6) Pour batter into prepared tin and using a spatula, smoothen the surface of the batter. Tap the bottom of the pan a couple of times to expel any air bubbles in the batter.

7) Bake in preheated overn for 30 - 45 minutes or till inserted skewer comes out clean.

8) Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 15 minutes. Remove from pan onto a cake wire rack and allow to cool completely before assemblying.

To Assemble the cake:

1) Slice the cake into 2 layers.

2) To make the ganache, place whipping cream into a saucepan and bring to boil over medium flame. Remove and pour over chocolate. Stir mixture until chocolate is completely melted.

3) Leave to cool and then place ganache into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Remove and beat the ganache until light.

4) Place one layer of the cake onto a serving dish. Spread a thin layer of ganache over the top of the 1st layer. Place 2nd layer of cake on top and cover the entire cake with the remaining ganache.

5) Decorate as desired (I used wafer roses for decoration). Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6) To serve remove from refrigerator, slice into individual portions and place a slice onto serving dish. Serve cake chilled.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Vietnamese Spring Roll (Goi Guon)

If everything goes according to plans I will be visiting Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam later this year .. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed. I've never been there before and a few of my friends who have recently returned from Vietnam have such raving reviews. I can only imagine what they have experienced from watching travel and food documentaries featuring the exotic beauty and vibrancy of this country and it's people. Vietnamese food is also so, so good ... and I'm a sucker for scrumptious meals.

Thus with Vietnam in mind, I decided to make some fresh Vietnamese spring rolls. The beauty of these spring rolls is that you can add just about any ingredients you like. Substitute the shrimp, with sliced chicken or pork, or how about omitting meat or seafood altogether and use fried tofu for a vegetarian version.

Vietnamese Spring Roll (Goi Guon)
(makes 12 rolls)


12 rice paper rounds (banh trang)
3 oz. rice vermicelli, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, till soft
24 medium shrimp, unpeeled
1/2 small head green leaf lettuce(about 10-12 leaves)
2 carrots
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup of Thai sweet basil leaves
1/4 cup of mint leaves
1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped into 2" length
3 stalks scallions, cut int 2" length


1) Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the unshelled shrimp till pink and opaque, around two to three minutes or so. Fish out the shrimp but keep the water boiling; add the rice noodles and cook for a minute or so. Drain and rinse in cool water.

2) Peel and slice the shrimp in half lengthwise. Remove the black veins.

3) Peel apart the lettuce leaves and tear it roughly. Peel and julienne the carrots.

4) You’ll need a large bowl or pan, big enough to accommodate the rice paper round. Fill with warm water, and soak one wrapper for around a minute or so, until it’s soft and pliable.

5) Lay the wrapper on a plate or other flat surface. You’ll be placing your ingredients in the bottom half of the wrapper – if this is your first time making spring rolls, it’s a good idea to start with smaller quantities of the filing.

6) Begin with a small handful of lettuce in the bottom third of the wrapper, and add an approximately equal amount of rice noodle on top of the lettuce. Top with a neat row of carrots and bean sprout. Next add some of the herb mixture and top off with the sliced scallions.

6) Fold up the bottom, then the two sides; continue rolling up, keeping the wrapper firmly around the ingredients to get a good roll, but be careful not to tug too tightly so as not to tear the wrapper. Just before the last 2 rolls, lay a row of sliced shrimp on the top of the roll, pink side up. Continue to finish rolling the wrapper.

7) Finish off with the rest of the wrappers. Unfortunately, the rolls don’t keep well, so serve them straight away*, with plenty of dipping sauce. If you’re serving them as an appetizer, you can cut the rolls in half using a sharp knife.

*If you absolutely must make them ahead of time, place them in an airtight container lined with damp towel and store at cool room temperature, not in the fridge. These will keep for an hour or two.

Hoisin-Chili Dipping Sauce

Like any salad, Vietnamese spring rolls need a dressing to bring out the fresh flavors of the ingredients. This spicy-sweet sauce makes the perfect dipping sauce to accompany fresh spring rolls.


1 shallot or 1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tsp Asian red chili paste (such as sambal oelek, but any chili paste will do)
2 Tbsp chopped peanuts for garnish


Stir-fry the minced garlic or shallot for a minute or two, until the garlic is softened. Add the hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and water, and bring to a boil. Add chili paste to taste. Remove from heat, pour in a dipping bowl, and garnish with chopped peanut.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

We all know that fibre is good for us and oats is generally considered "healthy", or a health food, being touted commercially as nutritious. The discovery of the healthy cholesterol-lowering properties has led to wider appreciation of oats as part of our daily diet. Some of us may not like it eaten straight but if you were to put it into a cookie, no adult or kid could possibly resist such a delicious treat!

There are so, so many oatmeal cookie recipes out there that it's confusing which recipe is good. As my very first attempt in baking oatmeal cookies, I finally decided to try out this recipe from Joy of Baking. I've tried a few recipes from this site and so far they have not failed me yet.

This particular recipe produces a chewy cookie which you can also fill with chocolate chips (white or dark chocolate), dried fruits, and/or chopped nuts of any kind. The other best tip with this recipe is that you can make the batter ahead of time and leave it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This means that that you can have freshly baked cookies whenever you feel like having one. You can also freeze it for up to one month and then thaw it before baking.

Most oatmeal recipes will call for rolled oats to be used in the baking process, either old fashion or quick-cooking, instant oats is a no-no! Old-fashioned rolled oats are thicker because to make quick-cooking rolled oats the oat groats are first cut into pieces before being steamed and flattened. It is used in this recipe to give you a thicker texture and better flavored cookie.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Recipe from Joy of Baking
(makes about 20 - 24 large cookies)


3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (215 grams) light brown sugar (if you don't have a sweet tooth like I do, I would recommend reducing the sugar as I found the original recipe of 1 cup somewhat sweet especially if raisins are added)
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (105 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups (260 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried raisins (you can use dried cranberries and add some chopped walnuts, pecans as well)


1) Preheat oven to 177 C or 350 F.

2) If you are adding nuts (which I did not) you should toast the nuts for about 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Leave to cool and then chop into pieces. Set aside.

3) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. (I've now discovered silicon paper which I find is so much easier to use as compared with parchment paper).

4) Cream the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. In a separate bowl, shift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until incorporated. Stir in the oats and raisins (and nuts if you are including this into your recipe) .

5) I used an ice-cream scoop, about 3/4 full to scoop the batter onto the baking sheet (this will produce large cookies). Place each scoop about 2" apart on the baking sheet. Then wet your hand and flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers so they are about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. If you prefer smaller cookies, you can roll the batter into balls and then flatten each.

6) Bake the cookies for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until light golden brown around the edges but still soft and a little wet in the centers. (I baked mine slightly longer about 17 minutes as they were still soft around the edges. Don't worry if the cookies seem uncooked to you as they will harden once cooled. Note that this will produce a soft chewy cookie .... which is exactly what I like)

7) Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Store in air-tight container once cooled. Best consumed within 2 - 3 days.

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