Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A productive day

Yesterday I was feeling so shitty but I can't explain why. I hardly can keep my eye lids open. I have to struggle to sit through with my kids while they give an hour of study time. Perhaps I am a bad mom who doesn't give my kids a break? Yes, for the second part of their holiday, I didn't want them totally to be out of touch with school so they devote an hour each day to do some writing or reading on school text.

Anyway, today I am feeling good. The weather is surprisingly cooler than yesterday. My kids also chipped in to help with the vacuuming, mopping and I was doing all the packing. The sunny weather also helps with the laundry. Boy don't I love the smell of good sunshine on my clothes.

I was happy despite me still can't unable to find that bloody ant nests and they are clever not to take up the ant pellets. The smell and feel of a clean neat house is such a blissful feeling. (I must remember to find out which brand of ant pellets is good).

My empty cookie jars also had enough of waiting. They are all eager for me to fill them up for this festive season. Luckily I got back energy to bake some cookies as giveaways.

My sister and I were just talking about how tough it is to buy someone a gift. Everyone seems to have everything they needed.

For me, I think my kitchen is well equipped but one can never get enough of books right? :) Anyway, I think giving away food is the best choice.

Which Singaporean doesn't like food. LOLz. So here I am, my first batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies, which I always believe is a hot favourite for chocolate lovers. I took this from a forum member, C.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie (Crunchy)
What you need:


125g Butter
70g Castor sugar
70g Brown sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla essence
1 Egg
260g Self-raising flour
130g Chocolate chips
60g chopped walnuts

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Sift the flour, set aside. (I didn't)

Cream butter, essence and sugars using mixer until smooth.

Add egg and beat until well combined.

Stir in sifted flour and the remaining ingredients.

Using a small teaspoon, scoop the batter and roll into balls. Place balls about 4cm apart on slightly greased oven trays or line with baking sheet.

Bake in pre heated oven for 15 minutes or until browned.

Cool in trays for short while and transfer to wire rack for cooling.

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Next is an item that I wanted for the longest time to try. Biscotti which believe me, I have never eaten one before and am really curious to know. You see, I am not a hard cookie lover, poor gum. I rather have chewy cookies but I read so much about biscotti lately that I know I just have to try it.

Sometime, we have to be a little adventurous to explore new stuff don't we?

This one is from Piggy's Journal, one of my favourite blogger.

This recipe, Lenox Almond Biscotti, I believe is from Dorie Greenspan. Yes, I am still eyeing on her book but I seriously doubt I will be like Piggy, diligently trying every recipe from this book.

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I had a hard time coping with the dough as it is really sticky and soft. Having cup measurement isn't easy for me as cup size is different from countries to countries.

So here is my closest conversion which seriously I hope I am right. This one has some bites to it because of the cornmeal.

Overall, it isn't that hard that I had imagined. I love the buttery smell to it as well.

Lenox Almond Biscotti adapted from Baking From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

What you need:

200g (1½ cups) of flour
1½ tsp of baking powder
1/ 4 tsp salt
80g (½ cup) of yellow cornmeal
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
200g (1 cup) of sugar
2 large eggs
1½ tsp of pure almond extract
100g (¾ cup) of sliced almonds, blanched or unblanched

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 ˚C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cornmeal together.

Cream butter and sugar together at medium speed for 3 minutes until very smooth.

Add the eggs and continue to beat, scraping down the bowl as needed, for another 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light, smooth and creamy.

Beat in the almond extract.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

You'll have a soft, stick-to-your-fingers dough that will ball up around the paddle or beaters. Scrape down the paddle and bowl, toss in the almonds and mix just to blend.

Scrape half the dough onto one side of the baking sheet. Using your fingers and a rubber spatula or scraper, work the dough into a log about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.

The log will be more rectangular than domed, and bumpy, rough and uneven. Form a second log with the remaining dough on the other side of the baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the logs are lightly golden but still soft and springy to the touch.

Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and cool the logs on the baking sheet for 30 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the logs to a cutting board and, with a long serrated knife, trim the ends and cut the logs into 3/4-inch-thick slices.

Return the slices to the baking sheet, setting them again on the same sides as before and slide the sheet back into the oven.

Bake the biscotti at 180 ˚C for another 25 minutes, or until they are golden and firm.

Transfer them to racks and cool to room temperature.

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Next is another recipe that I chosen from Joy of Baking.

I love this site as it has both cups and metric. I really hope one day, all recipes are like this. Definitely save some confusion and time.

I attempted Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti as JM gave me a bag of pistachio when she visited me from the States.

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This is such pretty looking dough and it is easier to handle as well. I should have make it flatter but hey this is my first time, so I think I didn't fare that badly except that I got distracted by a phone call and it turned out slightly browned.

Okay the rain had stopped and I am off to the mall to get my little gal a Christmas Present - a bicycle.

Don't I love a productive day like this?

What you need:

2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (75 grams) dried cranberries or cherries

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Beat the sugar and eggs on high speed until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.)

Add in vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined.

Fold in the chopped pistachios and cranberries.

Transfer the dough to your parchment lined baking sheet and form into a log, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) wide.

You may have to dampen your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) slices, on the diagonal.

Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 16 - 20 biscotti.
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3 comments:

  1. Mmmm...I must try your chocolate chip cookies, they look like Famous Amos' and I'm very cold. I need butter, sugar, chocolate and heat!

    ReplyDelete
  2. this cookies is awesome.

    i love it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i love the choco chip cookies! thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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