Season’s Greeting!

Blowing Raspberries

I tried making this non-bake cheesecake slightly more than a couple of years ago for E, a very dear friend. Searching for a simple cake recipe suitable as E’s birthday cake proved to be quite a challenge because 1) I am really bad with cakes so I really require an easy no-fuss recipe and 2) the birthday girl to-be doesn’t fancy chocolate or creamy cakes. Knowing how much she likes tea, I scoured my books and trawled the internet for cakes that use tea leaves as alternative flavours, something along the line of Earl Grey Tea and the likes, but to no avail. Out of desperation, I abandoned the thought of a tea-flavoured cake and went for the final selection of a Raspberry Cheesecake. In my defence, this cake is really neither chocolatey nor creamy so it still fits the requirements. Kind of.

Recipe: Chilled Raspberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

Chilled Raspberry Cheesecake

  • 13 (200g) digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish gelatin
  • 300g cream cheese, softened
  • 125g sugar
  • 200-350g raspberry pureé
  • 125ml whipping cream

Jelly Top Layer

  • 1 packet of Tortally Raspberry jelly crystals
  • 1 tbsp fish gelatin
  • 200ml hot water
  • 200ml cold water

Instructions

  1. Prepare an 8-inch springform pan.
  2. Mix the melted butter and digestive biscuits in a mixing bowl till bonded.
  3. Lay the mixture onto the pan until it covers the entire tray, using the back of a spoon to press the mixture down, till about 2 cm thick. Chill in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
  4. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a bowl and set aside until it turns spongy. Place bowl over hot water until the gelatin mixture turns clear.
  5. In another large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese till smooth.
  6. Add in the sugar and beat the batter till light and fluffy. Set aside.
  7. Add the dissolved gelatin mixture to the raspberry pureé in a separate bowl and mix well.
  8. Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the raspberry pureé mix to the whipping cream.
  9. Combine the raspberry mix with the cream cheese mix.
  10. Pour the batter onto the prepared crust and let it set for at least one hour in the refrigerator before pouring the jelly layer.
  11. Melt the jelly crystals and gelatin in hot water till dissolved. Add in the cold water. Let cool before pouring onto the chilled batter.
  12. Chill overnight until firm before serving.

Yield : 8-inch cake

The cake was quite a hit at the gathering for several reasons – it was delicious without being too rich, and it helped that the cake looked decently attractive enough to entice many non-cake lovers to give it a try. There was no leftovers to be handled at the end of the gathering. If anything, I take that as a sign of the cake’s popularity.

I plan to revisit this recipe soon, and I would probably make some improvements to the recipe, for example increasing the layer of raspberry layer to 1.5 times the current height and replacing the heart sprinkles in between the layers with strawberries or other fruits.

Ho Ho Ho Horlicks!

A few years back, these whimsical Horlicks Doggie Cookies were all the rage on the internet. Every other respectable baker I knew was trying it out and giving their verdict on the recipe on their own sites. Seeing how cute the cookies looked, I wasted no time in joining the bandwagon as well. I just had to satisfy my insatiable curiosity – how would Horlicks, my favourite drink from my childhood, taste like in a cookie?

Recipe: Horlicks Doggie Cookies

Ingredients

  • 200g top flour
  • 25g corn flour
  • 25g milk powder
  • 180g butter (Golden Churn recommended)
  • 80g horlicks
  • 100g large chocolate chips
  • some mini chocolate chips
  • a pack of Koko Krunch

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 140°C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking paper or silpat and set aside.
  3. Sift together the top flour, corn flour and milk powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cream together the butter and Horlicks in a large mixing bowl for about 3 minutes at low speed. Take care not to over-beat.
  5. Add in the sifted dry ingredients and beat for about 1 minute to form dough.
  6. Divide dough into 11-12g each.
  7. Add 3-4 large chocolate chips into the divided dough and roll into balls. Place them neatly onto the baking sheet.
  8. Use the mini chocolate chips as the ‘nose’ and add 2 Koko Krunch for the ‘ears’.
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cookie is golden brown in colour.
  10. Remove baking sheet from oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Yield : 25 cookies

My verdict? These cookies are as good as they could get! Just steer clear if you’re not a big Horlicks fan.

These cookies are simply super-duper c.u.t.e., and I’m positively sure they will be such a hit with young children. I’m most certainly too late to get into my nephews and nieces’ good books for Christmas this year, not to mention that we would also be out of town. However, I am absolutely determined to become their most favourite auntie again during Lunar New Year next year!

If you are, like me, in a situation where you have several young children to please, then this recipe is a keeper for sure!

Melting Moments

This Melting Moments recipe is my personal favourite because as the name suggests, it simply melts in the mouth. I tend to like pastries and the likes that are not saccharine sweet, and this is one of the few savoury recipes I treasure. Once you’ve started popping one into your mouth, you won’t be able to stop until you’ve finished the last of the lot. This, you can be rest assured.

Recipe: Melting Moments

Ingredients

  • 225g all-purpose flour
  • 75g corn flour
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 55g icing sugar
  • pinch of fine salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Prepare a baking tray lined with Silpat or non-stick baking paper.
  3. Sift together the flours.
  4. Sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add in the butter and salt to the sugar and beat the mixture till light and fluffy.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract.
  7. Gradually add in the sifted flours until combined.
  8. Place the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle and pipe 1-inch rounds onto the prepared baking tray.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are golden.
  10. Cool the cookies on the baking tray.

Yield: 45 cookies

I like baking these cookies as a simple treat for family and friends because preparing and baking them are rather hassle-free. It helps that the requisite ingredients are easily always available in any baking enthusiast’s refrigerator, including mine. With such a simple recipe, you won’t need much elbow grease too.

If you like having your cookies turn out looking like roses, use Wilton’s 2D tip like I did. I must caution though, that this recipe churns out batter of rather stiff consistency, so expect the ‘roses’ you pipe to have jagged edges.

These cookies keep well, for a couple of weeks in an air-tight container. Since Christmas is around the corner, this recipe is a good start if you want to please family and friends alike.

Happy baking!

Swirling in Nutella

This simple tried-and-tested recipe is always a crowd pleaser. I’ve noticed that adults and children alike simply cannot get enough of the nutella swirled into the cupcakes. It is galling for a non-nutella fan to fathom the fervent devotion we fans have for this chocolaty hazelnut spread. While I can’t speak for other nutella fans, I do know why I love it thus much – it brings back fond memories of my happy childhood.

Recipe: Nutella Swirl Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 550g all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 280g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g white caster sugar
  • 6 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g nutella, approx.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Prepare 25 cupcake liners on 2 baking sheets.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking power and fine salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl till texture is light and fluffy.
  5. Add in the eggs, one at at time till fully incorporated.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract.
  7. Gradually add in the dry ingredients into the wet mix in 3 portions, till well-mixed.
  8. Fill each cupcake liner with batter till about 3/4 full. Top up with a dollop of nutella each, then use a toothpick to swirl the nutella into the batter.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before storing.

Yield: 25 regular cupcakes

Honestly, I found the sugar content in this recipe a tad too high for my liking. Indeed, the cupcakes turned out somewhat sweeter than my tastebuds would allow. Feel free to reduce the amount of sugar to 280g. Reducing it any further could affect the consistency of the batter, and in turn, how the cupcakes turn out.

If you’re not much of a nutella fan, you could belong to the other camp – the peanut butter lover – and never the twain shall meet. Or perchance, you belong to the rare minority who loves both nutella and peanut butter, just like the hubby. Whichever the case, no one goes away disappointed, for peanut butter works just as well as nutella in this recipe.

Have fun, and drop me a note to let me know how much you love this recipe!

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