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Sep 26, 2011

4 C's Bars

4 C's ...
As in " Cheesecake Chocolate Chips Cookie" Bars. I was trying to make one word out of all of that but what I came up with didn't sound too appetizing. And this was too good a thing to spoil with a bad name. Besides, Kita would kill me if I didn't do this any justice. Yup, her recipe. Where she'd got it from, I'm not bothered, I got it from her. Go check hers out @ Pass the Sushi. (And while you're there, check out all the gorgeous pix she has and leave a comment or two to say hi. I sort of remember her mentioning that comments are like crack to a blogger. It's true, you know). I love this, Kita. Such a sinfully, yummy treat. And they keep so well in the fridge. Thank you.

This also got rid of my cravings for a brownie the other day and also a cheesecake crave. Killing 2 craves with one bite ... best saying evah!

I converted the measurements into ounces ... I can't seem to measure butter in cups properly.

(Cookie Dough)

4 ozs unsalted butter
4 ozs shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbs cider vinegar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


8 ozs cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 180˚C. Spray a 13" X 9" pan with cooking spray or line with baking parchment.
Cream butter, shortening, both sugars, vanilla, salt and vinegar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined. Stir in baking soda and flour and beat lightly until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Press half the dough mixture onto prepared pan. Set aside the other half of the dough while you prepare the cheesecake mixture.

Beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add in sugar, egg and vanilla. Beat well.
Pour cream cheese mixture over the cookie dough layer and spread evenly to all sides and corners. Top with the other half of the cookie dough.
*You can cover the cream cheese completely by shaping the dough into a flat rectangle about the size of your pan and place it on top or just do some crazy paving and top with haphazard pieces as what Kita and I both did here.

Bake for 35 - 40 mins or until browned and golden. Cool in pan before storing or eating ... if you can wait.
Keeps well in the refrigerator.
I like eating it straight from the fridge when it's chewy but if you like a softer texture, thaw it out for a couple of minutes. This is so good!

*Update #1: I also tried this with purely butter (as in minus the shortening and using 8 ozs butter) and found that it's less crumbly and holds together nicely.
#2: In the 2nd batch, I added 1 tbs (or was it 2 tbs? Obviously it didn't keep me awake enough to remember) instant coffee granules while adding in the chocolate chips and found it to be just as good ... anyone for mocha?

Sep 20, 2011

Pesto Bread with a Twist

And I do mean twist. More swirls.
I'm in a twirly, whirly, you-are-under-my-power hypnotic swirl mood. Bear with me and my moods. I'm a woman, I'm allowed the mood swings.

This is a post using the recipes of 2 of my closest blogging buddies, Elisabeth @ Food and Thrift Finds and Arthur @ Art is in the Kitchen.
Elisabeth's food from the heart and Arthur's food as an art (hey, it rhymes) churned out these little "sculptures" that's a feast for the eyes as well as for the tummy.
Pesto bread. It's been done, but this is a good presentation for dinner parties, me thinks.

You can find their individual recipes here and here.
I've replaced the poppy seeds for the pesto. Be careful not to use too much oil for it otherwise you'll get it seeping out from the sides and you'll get uneven browning of the crust.

(You can always use your favorite bread recipe and whatever else besides the pesto or just leave them plain.)


Sep 16, 2011

Pseudo Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival Pastry

Good grief!
Time flies!
Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake festival fell on the 12th of September this year. I am a little late to celebrate but I believe the mood is still in the air ... but then, eating is always in and it doesn't really matter whether we eat the festival goodies on the actual day or after, as long as someone keeps making them.
For some interesting facts about the festival and the Chinese legends behind the mooncakes, click here.
I've been reading so many posts about mooncakes and many other mid-autumn festival goodies, I realized I should bring out whatever's left of the traditional chinese in me. Hence this post of Chinese flaky pastry.
Of course, the little creature with the horns in me had to turn it topsy turvy (again) and make it into something that's probably making my ancestors itch wherever their good souls are. Coming across Cemplang Cemplung's guest post in Xiaolu's blog gave me the idea to make this somewhat Chinese-y sweet pastry with a different filling instead of the usual lotus seed/sweet bean pastes. Actually, there are so many weird concoctions out there for the mooncake fillings these days (tiramisu, durian *ew*, cheese, tofu and what else I can't think of), mine seems pretty tame in comparison.

I'm using the pastry recipe from Cemplang Cemplung. (Check out the pics over there ... gorgeous!!)
The filling is just something I threw together altho I'm sure it's already been done. I'm using one of my favorite vegetables for it ... pumpkin!! I'm sort of getting into the pumpkin mood again. Be warned. (Other pumpkin posts: click here and here)

A short note on the pastry: I've used 2 different techniques here. You can see some of the pastries have spirals and some, horizontal layers. The spiral layering is called, well, Spiral (Escargot) Shaping and the horizontal ones are called Parallel Shaping. To get the Spiral/Escargot layering, you'll need to slice the dough crosswise as per the instructions below. For the Parallel layering, slice it lengthwise. Then roll out, fill, pinch, bake, eat ... simple.


Water dough (outer layer)

50 g plain flour
50 g cake flour
13 g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
40 ml water
38 g unsalted butter, room temperature

Chocolate dough (inner layer)
*I thought the chocolate would go really well with the pumpkin but there's not much of the taste altho the color makes the swirls stand out a little better

105 g plain flour
70 g unsalted butter, room temperature
5 g cocoa powder (I'm planning to use double the amount next time)


about 1 cup pumpkin puree
50 g sugar
1 tsp cornflour


Combine all filling ingredients into a pan. Stir to mix until well combined. Cook over medium heat until you get a very thick paste.
Form into little balls of about 1 heaped teaspoon each. (They don't have to be perfectly round). Place on cookie sheet and chill in refrigerator.

Making the water dough:
Place both flours, sugar and salt into a food processor. Buzz to mix them up. Add in the water and buzz until you get a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs. Add the butter and buzz until it forms a very soft but not too sticky dough. Wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge while you make the chocolate dough.

Making the chocolate dough:
(I got lazy here and didn't bother to rinse out the food processor.)
Plonk all chocolate dough ingredients into food processor and buzz to get a nice soft non-sticky dough.
Pinch out small amounts of the dough weighing about 15 g each and roll into balls using the palms of your hands. Set aside.

Now do the same for the water dough. 15 g each ball of dough.
You should get the same number of balls for each dough. I managed to get 24.

Take a water dough ball, flatten it into a small circle and place a chocolate ball in it. Gather the outer edges of the water dough and wrap up the chocolate ball. Pinch to seal. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough upwards to make an oval shape, dusting lightly with flour if you need to.
Starting from the short end closest to you, roll it up as you would a swiss roll.
Turn the roll 90˚ and roll out upwards again with the rolling pin. Now roll it up again into a swiss roll. Cut crosswise, making 2 pieces, using a sharp knife.
Place cut side down and roll out into circles of about 2" in diameter.
Place pumpkin filling into the center of the circle, gather up the edges and pinch to seal.
Place on greased or lined baking tray pinched side down and bake at 180˚C for 25 - 30 mins. (I think I overbaked mine coz I was somehow waiting for it to brown and it didn't. I did some research later and learnt that it doesn't actually brown very much ... duh. I baked mine for 35 mins.... don't do that.)

*Note: DO NOT egg wash pastry or you'll lose the layerings.

For a step by step tutorial, please visit 6 Bittersweets. Feast your eyes there!

I've put up a larger pic here so you can see the 2 different textures.

Sep 11, 2011

Passionfruit Jam Ice Cream

(Thank you everyone for helping get this to FoodBuzz Top 9)
* I also realized that this was posted on 9/11. So I dedicate this post to those who had lost their lives or was hurt in the tragedy, to those who were involved in the rescue in some way or another and to those who have lost loved ones in the event. You are all thought of and remembered even at this end of the world.

Scorching and humid. For the last couple of weeks it's been this way. You perspire just sitting down doing nothing. It's not a nice feeling. The ACs are on 24 hours a day, sometimes 2 - 3 units are going at the same time. Our utilities company is smiling all the way to the bank.

Well, they're not getting any of this.

This was good for this weather. Light, refreshing, tangy, not too creamy ... somewhere between a sorbet and an ice cream.

I used up the last bottle of passionfruit jam for this.

Sigh ... hope the ice cream outlasts this weather .. I doubt it. This is a very small portion. It nicely filled a 480ml container.

For this recipe and instructions, please refer to the Strawberry Jam Ice Cream post. Just substitute the strawberry jam for the passionfruit jam and you're good to go. I used the 2nd recipe with the milk option so that it's not so cloyingly rich. But if you'd prefer a creamier version, feel free to use the 1st option using just cream.

Also, if you want a smoother texture, take the ice cream out of the freezer before it freezes solid and give it a quick whirr with an electric beater to break up the ice crystals. Put it back in the freezer. Do this a couple of times. This is if you're not using an ice cream maker (I don't have one and at the moment, I don't feel a need to have one). Leave to freeze overnight.

If you find it a little hard to scoop, allow to thaw a few minutes and enjoy!

Note: I saved some jam for the topping. Good stuff!