Archive | October, 2012

The season for cookies baking…

21 Oct Cookies with coffee in my rose cup

I have being thinking… for this Christmas, I would really like to handmake something for my friends this year. I thought perhaps giving away handmade cookies as gift will be nice? I have also contemplated about jam or sauces but I’m not very sure what is the shelf life of those. Perhaps I can do a combination – some cookies, some jam, some sauces? I’m not sure. For now, I will stick to cookies and I will let the world know if I come across any good sauces or jam recipes I can try.

This will be quite a project for me as I also need to think about the wrapping and packaging. I’m not quite good with handicraft after I have left primary school. So this is my culinary challenge for the days leading up to Christmas- finding the right Christmas gift I can bake/cook, that are presentable and enjoyable. I am planning on trying as much cookies recipes as possible. Finger cross, I can decide on a cookie recipe that I can perfect by the end of November.

The first cookies recipes I tried is the Becon Hill Cookies recipe from the 500 cookies (AUD$16.63)

500 cookies

Just to digress, I really enjoy this 500 series. I also own the 500 cakes (AUD $15.67 ), 500 cupcakes (AUD $15.67) and 500 breakfast and brunches (AUD $15.53).The recipes are easy to follow, contains variations for each recipes and is budget friendly. The recipes usually come with a short list of ingredients. One fall back with this series is that, it lacks technique specific instructions, so it can be tricky for a beginner cook or baker like myself. What I always do is that, I will first gain inspiration from the book and then research the technique online by googling for similar recipes.

So here goes… This is what the recipes calls for:

Chocolate Meringue Cookies with Pecan nuts

As I already had almond in my pantry, I decided to use that instead of pecan nuts.

Ingredients

I melted the chocolate with a double boiler. I learnt that it is important to make sure that the bottom of the bowl do not have contact with the water and stir it occasionally.

I also just learnt from baking911.com that the temperature cannot go beyond 49 degrees celsius for dark chocolate. Really, when I was melting, I didn’t measure the heat. I think that’s why my chocolate is slightly thicker than it needs to be. However, it as still usable for me.

Melting chocolate with double boiler

I also made the mistake of adding the first batch of sugar first before adding the cream of tar tar and whisked it. Lucky for me, the mixture seems to turn out decent.

Becon hill mixture

The recipe has instructed to drop teaspoon size but as it was already 10.30pm at night and I was tired, my patience is lacking so I dropped almost a tablespoon size. I regret doing that as the cookie is too rich to eat in tablespoon size. Is best enjoy in smaller bite size.

Cookie drop

While waiting for the cookies to be baked, I used the egg yolk for noodle! So… I also learn that, I should ready myself for a bowl of noodle whenever any recipe requires egg white only.

Egg yolk in noodle while waiting...

Here comes the cookies…. ta – daaaa!

Zinnamon Becon Hill Cookies with Almond

The cookies came out too big… as expected. The cookies is best eaten half the size, due to the richness. So I broke the cookies up after it cools down a little.

I was really happy with the end result. It was crispy and hard on the outside, chewy on the inside. I store them in airtight containers. The next morning when I tried the cookies, it became soft.  😦

I’m not sure what went wrong… and I’m not sure if that is how it suppose to be.

Thankfully the roasted almond and the chewy chocolate is keeping the cookies interesting. I am probably bias about it as I baked the cookies. Let me gauge the reaction from my friends and I will know if these cookies are acceptable.

I also found an interesting article on making meringue cookies at Joy of cooking

Cookies in the jar

Enjoy these cookies with a cup of tea or coffee… Happy Sunday.

Cookies with coffee in my rose cup

All the books mention are available at trusty book depository for free delivery 🙂

 

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Tapas meatballs turn into main meal

18 Oct Zinnamon meatballs

I got this really cute tapas recipe book for birthday. I love it! The imagery and the layout are really pretty. I can also see myself using some of the recipes for party. Most importantly, the ingredients are easily available or those that are commonly used. I have always want to try something from this pretty book and,finally… I did it!

The little Tapas Book - more than 60 tempting little snacks

The little Tapas Book – more than 60 tempting little snacks

Mind you, I have this book with me since April.

The first recipe I tried was the meatball recipe. This is the original recipe.

Meatball Recipe

Mr T suggest making meatball spaghetti instead! That is a great idea.

Here’s what I did:

–  Follow the meatball recipe

Meatballs

– Pan fry the meatball until is cook outside. Is ok to be a little raw inside as we are going to continue cooking it

– Cheat my way with  spicy tomato sauce

– Pour in my favourite Bertolli Five Brothers Pasta Sauce Tomato & Basil pasta sauce instead

Bertolli Five Brothers Pasta Sauce Tomato & Basil

-Add cayenne peppers to liking and stir in parsley

Zinnamon meatball

– oh.. Remember to cook your pasta while all this is happening

I also used lamb and beef instead of pork and veal. It works out well. I have also tried pork and lamb mix for people with dietary restriction. Is also yum. So I think any combination should be good.

Have fun!!

Zinnamon meatballs

Zinnamon Meatball with Yearling Wine

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