Thursday, March 31, 2011

Custard Powder Cookies

The other day, in between dinner preparations,  I had a sudden crazy urge to bake. I was in the mood and needed to bake something. Something simple would do. I pulled out my tattered little recipe notebook and found this Custard Powder Cookies recipe. Easy and quick, these golden yellow cookies were churned out  in no time at all. Of course I cheated a little, I  had free child labor to help me. My Daughter G enjoyed doing all the rolling and shaping of the cookies. Good for her and good for me. Haha!

My dear Hubby liked the cookies a lot and thought they were butter cookies. Again and again I've repeated to him, "No, they're custard cookies!" Yet he still calls them butter cookies. Well, they were indeed buttery. And with a sandy texture that melts into a paste in the mouth, they remind me of a lighter version of shortbread.

Do give this recipe a go when you find yourself wondering what to do with your stash of custard powder. Let me know whether  this makes custard cookies OR butter cookies. You be the judge. Let's see who wins.

Press down criss cross.

Custard Powder Cookies
(Recipe taken from 'Food, Fun & Farm Life' here)

Makes 90 cookies.


100 gm Icing Sugar
100 gm Custard Powder
300 gm Plain Flour
300 gm Butter


Don't they look like mini corn hobs? :)
Beat butter and icing sugar together till pale & fluffy. In another bowl, sift custard powder and plain flour together, then mix  into the butter mixture until just combined. Shape dough into small walnut sized balls. Place on a greased or lined baking tray. Dip fork in water, press down to flatten slightly. Bake at 200 °C for 10 to 15 minutes. Once cooled, dust with icing sugar if you like.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Angel Biscuits

"YUM, VERY YUM!" was what my 11 year old G said. As soon as she devoured the last piece of the batch, she ordered, "U should make another batch of these!". I am with her 101%! These have got to be the lightest and scrummiest biscuits ever. Just heavenly. These are in a league of their own and befit the name Angel Biscuits indeed.  Unlike any regular biscuits, yeast is used and overnight resting in the fridge is required. So if you ever want to taste a piece of bread heaven, you gotta be patient and prepare the dough a day ahead. Patient pays - in this case, divinely!

Thanks to Happy Flour who tried out the recipe and shared the wonderful result in her blog. Original recipe from Fresh with Anna Olson- Retro 50's Meal (season 2).

I've made 2 batches of these Angel Biscuits in one week. The first batch I used Golden Churn Butter and  the second batch with Anchor Butter.  I must stress that the quality of butter you use will make a mile of difference in the taste of these biscuits.  In this case the Golden Churn Butter wins hands down! I think from now on, I will use only Golden Churn Butter for my bakes.

Angel Biscuits Recipe
(yield about 8 biscuits)

  • 2g instant dry yeast (about 3/4tsp)
  • 30g sugar
  • 1tbsp warm water (body temperature) (Omitted this)
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1/4tsp baking soda
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt  (reduced to 1/8 tsp)
  • 60g cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (I used salted butter)
  • 120g buttermilk (I used 120g water + 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder)

1. Stir yeast, a pinch of the sugar and 1 tbsp water (I used 1 tbsp water from the 120g water) together and set aside while preparing other ingredients. 
2. Sift flour, remaining sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. (I've added buttermilk powder in this step)
3. Cut the butter into the flour until it’s a rough crumbly texture.
4. Stir the yeast mixture into the buttermilk (120g water minus 1 tbs) and add it all to the flour.
5. Mix until a sticky dough comes, wrap and chill overnight.
6. The next day, preheat oven to 220 deg C.
7. On a generously floured surface (dough will be sticky), roll out dough to 1cm thick and fold dough over in half, pressing down gently.
8. Using a 5 cm round cutter, cut out biscuits and place on a greased tray (I didn't grease. Instead, lined my tray with non-stick baking paper).
9. Bake 10-12 mins, until just lightly browned.
10.Remove from tray and cool on a wire rack.
11.Serve biscuits warm or freeze and re-heat to serve later.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


There are Macarons and then there are MacaWRONGS. I had envisioned pretty dainty sandwich shells with perfect smooth pearlescent tops and fancy frilly feet - perhaps a tad ambitious on my part. Actually, I was way too arrogantly ambitious! To think I would get it right the first time round! Hah. Even professional patissier like David Lebovitz had to endure seven times of failure to produce a good batch of  macarons.

Ah well, all was not lost with these  limbless deformed babies of mine. They may not have the looks but surprisingly they do taste good when dunked in my coffee. Fragile crusts that break with the lightest of touch and soft marshmallowy chewy centres were delightful and addictive to eat. These qualities have redeemed and saved them from the fate of ending up in the dreaded bin. Well most failed bakes of mine rarely do end up in the bin anyway. They mostly reincarnate as 'treats' for my fur-kids. Lucky them. Haha!

My cutie pie Jessie (she's actually a pig disquised as a dog)  and darling Sandy would gladly and eagerly gobble up any 'treats' that I occasionally present to them.

Except for this fat boy. He'll have none of the sweet 'treats'. This jelly belly carnivore only goes gaga for meat especially raw chicken.

Now back to my macawrongs. I confess I do feel humbled and at the same time somewhat intimidated by these macawrongs. But I will not give up, I'll try again.  Until I manage to perfect my skills & technique and tame these fussy & temperamental little divas, there'll be no more macaron posts from me. Till then. Fingers crossed.

Now, please excuse my ramblings.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cream of Mushroom Soup


Simple homemade creamy mushroom soup made from scratch. Taste better than canned ones if I may say so myself. Dear Hubby exclaimed. "GOOD!" after slurping in a mouthful. My Daughter G agreed but complained  there were too much mushroom pieces getting in the way. But that's how I like it, mushroom soup with lots of chunky goodness.  As long as I have all the ingredients in  my pantry to make this soup I will not be opening that can of mushroom soup in a long while, unless of course laziness calls for it. Haha!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

(serves 2-3 persons)
  • 6 larges pieces of fresh shitake mushrooms (add more or less if preferred)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs cooking oil 
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaped tablespoons all-purpose flour (add more if a thicker consistency is preferred)
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth (or just use water and add chicken stock cube)
  • 1/2  cup light cream (add more if you like richer soup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley / dried parsley or chives to garnish


  1. Slice the mushroom caps and the stalks,  discarding the tough ends.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and cook the leek and garlic stirring, for 1 minute, or until the leek is soft. Add the mushroom. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mushroom just softens. Add flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the stock, stirring continuously. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Whisk the cream into the soup, then reheat gently, stirring. Do not allow the soup to boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with the chopped parsley or chives.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Calamansi Yoghurt Cake

Satisfyingly moist & tender!

This was originally a lemon yoghurt cake recipe but as I didn't have any lemons on hand I used calamansi limes instead. Lo and behold, a Clamansi Yoghurt Cake is born!  A very delicious moist one too!

Calamansi Yoghurt Cake


110g butter
100g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp grated clamansi rind
30 ml calamansi juice
125 g plain yoghurt
140 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
40 g caster sugar

55 g icing sugar
1 tbs water


1) Preheat oven to 170 deg Centigrade. Prepare a greased and floured ring pan. Sift together plain flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda. Set aside.
2)  Beat butter and 100g caster sugar until light and fluffy.Slowly beat in yolks. Blend well. Add  calamansi rind and juice.
3) Fold in yoghurt and plain flour itermittently in batches. Combine well.
4) In another bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Still whsiking, gradually add the 40g sugar and salt. Whisk until soft peak forms.
5) Gently combine egg whites with the flour mixture.
6) Pour batter into prepared pan, bake 30-35 minutes or till cooked.
7) Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.
8) Icing: Beat icing sugar and water till creamy. Put into piping bag and pipe on top of cooled cake.

Note: I baked mine in a 4x8 inch loaf pan and a few cupcakes. Adjust baking time accordingly. 

Calamansi Yoghurt Cupcakes, anyone? 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mandarin Orange Chiffon Cake

 So moist & soft!

The Chinese New Year celebration has come and gone over a month ago, and believe it or not, I still have a basketful of Mandarin oranges left sitting in my fridge! When I found out this month's Aspiring Bakers' Challenge hosted by Jess of Bakericious is themed Fruity March  (details here), I quickly took up the challenge. What better way of disposing those oranges than to bake a delicious citrusy cake with them. Talk about killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Heh.

Mandarin Orange Chiffon Cake
(Recipe from "My Kitchen Snippet" here.)

Ingredients :
1 3/4 cup Self Rising Flour
1/8 tsp of salt

6 egg yolks
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup Mandarin orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

3/4 cup of sugar
6 egg white
1 tsp of cream of tartar


1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degree F / 165 deg Centigrade. Sieve all the (A) ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined.
2. Mix (B) ingredients  until well blended and then add in ingredient (A) and mix until smooth. Set aside.
3. Beat (C) ingredients using a mixer on high speed until stiff peak. It should not fall out when you turn the mixing bowl over. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture to loosen the mixture, then fold in the rest of the egg whites. Remember to fold in gently until well mixed.
4. Pour batter into ungreased 10" tube pan and bake for an hour. Use a bamboo skewer to test the cake for doneness.
5. Remove from oven and invert cake (in pan still) and leave to cool completely. When completely cooled, loosen the edge of the pan and remove cake from pan.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Butter Cake AGAIN!

Yup Vanilla Butter Cake again (recipe from here)!  Made just to satisfy my Daughter G's incessant request for this cake.

This time I used premium (read pricey)  ingredients. Instead of the usual block of  Anchor New Zealand Butter, I used the tinned Golden Churn Butter. Instead of the common vanilla essence, I used vanilla seeds from 1 whole vanilla bean. Instead of the usual round cake, I made dainty square cupcakes.

I've got to say, it PAYS to use quality ingredients! Yup, pun intended. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vanilla Butter Cake


Vanilla Butter Cake from the Australian Women's Weekly Cake & Slices Cookbook. This is one good ol' recipe that my family like and praise everytime. Tender and moist this butter cake uses a different method of mixing unlike the usual creaming method where the butter is beaten with sugar till fluffy. Instead, in this recipe, the eggs are beaten with sugar and the butter is melted before incorporating into the batter.

My Daughter G's favourite kinda cake! 

Vanilla Butter Cake Recipe
(Australian Women's Weekly Cake & Slices Cookbook)


125g Butter
3 Eggs
1 Cup Castor Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Essence
3/4 Cup Milk
1 1/2 Cup Self- Raising Flour


1) Grease a deep 19cm square cake pan, line base with paper, grease paper.  (I used 8" round pan)
2) Combine butter and milk in saucepan, stir constantly over heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.
3) Beat eggs and vanilla essence using electric mixer until thick and creamy; gradually add sugar, beat until dissolved between addition. (I beat until very thick & fluffy ribbon stage)
4) Transfer mixture to a large bowl, stir in half the sifted flour and half the butter mixture, then remaining flour and butter mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Bake in 190° C oven for about 45 mins. Stand 2 minutes before turning on to wire rack to cool.


1 Cup = 250 ml
1 Tablespoon = 20 ml

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blueberry Hearts

A quick bake using a batch of cream cheese dough leftover from the Pineapple Tarts here. Topped with blueberry jam, these delicious little hearts were very addictive. It was impossible to restrain myself to just one piece. I had another and another and another ... until the guilt sank in! By then I had probably eaten 10 pieces. To heck with calorie counting! Haha!

Just as good plain!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Self imposed challenge - Pineapple Tarts!

This post was originally planned to be published during the Chinese New Year season. Ah well, better late than never. Haha!

Here's my crazy self- imposed challenge in making pineapple tarts from scratch. All in all I've made 3 batches of pineapple jam and tried 4 pastry recipes for the tarts! Talk about madness!

Cooking my first ever batch of pineapple jam, it wasn't as hard as I imagined it to be and I enjoyed inhaling the heady aroma of spices (cloves & cinnamon) and sweet pineapple lingering throughout the house. I've got to say, the hardest part in making homemade pineapple jam was peeling the thick skin and digging out the eyes from the pineapples, more laborious than grating and cooking itself! 

I'm very pleased with the final outcome of my pineapple jam. Not too bad for a first timer eh? Dry and sticky enough for rolling into balls and fibrous enough like how traditional pineapple jams should be.  It was also not too sweet with some pineapple tang just the way I like it. This pineapple jam recipe adapted from 'Food-4-Tots' is a keeper! 

Pineapple Jam


2 half-ripe pineapples, grated
200g granulated sugar (adjust according to your preference)
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick (5 cm long)
1 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Skin pineapples and remove the “eyes”. Cut each pineapple into quarters lengthwise.
  2. Grate the pineapples until the core (the tough centre). Discard the core.
  3. Cook the grated pineapples, half portion only of the sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks and lemon juice in a large heavy bottom pot under moderate heat until it begins to boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally.
  5. When the mixture start to look almost dry, reduce the heat to low. Add the remaining sugar bit by bit until the desired sweetness is achieved. Keep stirring until the mixture is sticky and caramelized with a golden-hue. This will take about 1 hour or more (or less if you use a very wide pot).
  6. Remove cloves and cinnamon stick. Set aside to cool. Store in an air-tight container.

Here's my stash of baking tools all ready for making the pineapple tart pastry. I couldn't decide which type of pineapple tarts to make - the open faced ones or the rolled ones or the enclosed covered ones. In the end, I made all 3 types! Haha!

The rolled type also known as Nastar. I used Agnes Chang's recipe. The pineapple rolls somehow deformed after baking (though they looked pretty fine because I took pictures of the better looking side!). Tastewise the pastry was very short and melt-in-the-mouth but was bland eventhough I used salted butter and it has a slight floury taste which bugged me. 

Agnes Chang's Pineapple Tart Pastry Recipe
(Taken from her book, "Baking Made Easy")


250 g unsalted butter (i used salted butter)
50 g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
360 g plain flour
2 tbs custard powder
1/4 tsp salt (omitted this)

  1. Preheat oven at 160°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cream butter and icing sugar until light.
  3. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time.
  4. Add in salt and beat until fluffy.
  5. Fold in sifted ingredients in bathches and mix into a firm dough.
  6. Leave aside for 30 minutes.
  7. Put the dough into a pineapple roll pastry press/mould, and then press out into a strip of 5cm length.
  8. Place pineapple filing at one end and roll up the pastry, as in a Swiss roll, enough to enclose the jam. Do not overlap the pastry. Cut off the excess pastry.
  9. Put the rolls on the baking tray. Brush with egg wash.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes and turn the baking tray 180 ° and continue to bake for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Leave to cool before storing.

I made the enclosed type using this rich pastry recipe which calls for cream AND cream cheese from 'Table for 2 or More' here.   The inclusion of cream indeed gave a very fragrant dairy aroma and the cream cheese though not so prominent gave the pastry some edge which was really delicious and the pastry was very very tender. I couldn't stop myself from eating the remnants of raw dough stuck to my mixer paddle. It was so good. Handling the dough was a nightmare though. It was really really soft and took a lot of time, and if handled too much it oozes oil; this knocks off some brownie points for this recipe.  I've also added 1/4 teaspoon salt for more flavour. I'd suggest chilling the pastry dough in the fridge and only take out a portion at a time when shaping the tarts.

The open faced tarts. Recipe taken from 'Greg & Nee' here. This is the simplest pastry recipe amongst all. The result was very short & melt in the mouth fresh out of the oven but once cooled down and kept overnight it wasn't so.

These are made from using Amy Beh's recipe copied from 'My Culinary Journal' here. This recipe is meant for the rolled type (Nastar) but I wanted to experiment to see whether it can be used for open-faced tarts. The dough was very soft and it must be chilled to firm up before rolling between 2 sheets of clingfilm or wax paper. Quick hands were indeed required as the dough softens quickly once rolled out!

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