The Opinionated Baker

Not all of us are made of sugar and spice

Archive for June 2010

Give me a break! -Coffee Break muffins

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It’s been a long while since I’ve blogged. Sigh. Renovating the house next week so the past few weeks have been about packing and finding good furniture to install… But I decided that today was break day, a good break from the tons of lighting fixtures and cupboards… and beds and ughhhhhh….

I managed to find Dorie Greenspan’s baking bible in the library the other day, so it seemed like a good idea to bake something from it. =) I would love to purchase the book, but due to space constrains (it’s REALLY big), the library is always the best alternative. Sigh. Someday someday… Anyone reading this post is highly encouraged to buy the book mostly because it contains an amazing lot of yummilicious looking recipes and… I’m scared to get sued for some copyright thing. Ahem. So yes, recipe below is taken from this book. Yay!

The muffin is a bit plain, so don’t bake it if you’re looking for a rich heavy muffin. I like it this way better because it isn’t quite so sinful and it is still delicious. If you prefer your desserts sweeter, you could probably add chocolate chips in or something to deepen the taste, but if you’re like me, just leave it as it is. πŸ™‚

Coffee Break Muffins

Adapted from [Baking from my home to yours]

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder (I’m a coffee snob so I used ground espresso beans. πŸ™‚ )
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup strong coffee, cooled (For some strange reason, after brewing the coffee I ended up with less than 1 cup worth! So i topped up with about 1 Tbsp milk)
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I used half a cup of melted butter and half a cup of olive oil)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (I will up this to 1tsp in the future because it didn’t seem like enough)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Fit 12 molds in a regular size muffin tin with paper cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, making sure there are no lumps.
In another bowl, stir together the coffee, butter, egg and vanilla until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Do not over mix.
Divide the batter among the 12 cups and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack.


Written by Musingsat

June 19, 2010 at 7:51 am

Posted in Breakfast, Muffins

A first attempt at Macarons- Thanks to notsohumblepie!! =)

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Before i start this post, i simply must acknowledge the amazing posts done by Ms. Humble on macarons. Her amazing scientific approach to macaron making really helped a lot as I attempted this notorious baked sweet. Maybe i’m a nerd at heart but her scatter plots and scientific labeling were happily familiar. =)

With the boyfriend in France, I simply had to attempt macarons to entice him back home. =) But if not for the posts that i found on Ms. Humble’s website, I never would have the courage to attempt them! If you’re thinking of making macarons, I strongly advise popping over to her website and studying her posts very very carefully. I memorized them and planned out each step, and it wasn’t a total failure! Eternal love and gratitude to her.

Ms. Humble’s Scatter Plot Macarons

yields 50 (100 shells) macaronsΒ (feel free to divide it for fewer cookies)
120g almond meal
200g powdered sugar
100g egg whites
30-35g granulated sugar
food coloring gel

I’m not going to include her instructions in here because you really need to head over to her page to read all the details carefully. =) But I have photos! Not bad for a first timer! Yay!

I was so excited when I saw the feet (not very pretty ones unfortunately 😦 ) forming in the oven. I must have scared some neighbours with my elated screaming. Oops. As you can see, my macarons are not very smooth… 😦 I spent AGES trying to sift the almond meal (to no avail) and i had no food processor (sob)… bake king almond meal is not very good for macaron making. Sigh. Prayed pretty hard too….Thank God!! =)

I think that my macarons were a tad over-mixed because I had a bit of trouble at the meringue stage (they got a bit clumpy)…. but i’m really really glad that some succeeded even if the rest (oops) failed.

I’ve never been so happy to see feet in my life. =P

Written by Musingsat

June 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Macarons

Chocolate chip cookies- Staple of a chocolate addict.

with 7 comments

The past week has been insane, what with sundown marathon over the weekend and results released on Monday. Thank God that it all went as well as it could and…

I’m just really glad it’s over. (phew)

So on monday night, to kind of celebrate the release of uni results (yay!) and to use up my excess butter, I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies! The Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies are the stuff of myths and legends. There is a story, that there was once a poor sucker who paid $250 for the neiman marcus cookie recipe… apparently this is untrue but the company did come up with a cookie recipe which it shared foc with the world… This is the cookie recipe on the website! πŸ™‚

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies!


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (I cut this out because my chocolate was fully-sweet and not just semi, it turned out good. πŸ™‚ )
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder (I only had 3 in 1 coffee so I substituted with cocoa powder)
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Directions


    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)

    2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
    3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.

    4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie. (I made my cookies too big, they were terribly potent and we all ended up with a sore throat after 1 cookie. =( Try and make them smaller!)

    Yield: 2 dozen cookies

    Tip: I cut little rounds out of my used baking parchment to lay the cookies on to prevent them from sticking to each other. For some reason, my baking chocolate tends to remind liquid even after the cookie has cooled down. It tastes awesome but it tends to get messy, the little placemats help alot with this problem. =)

    Written by Musingsat

    June 2, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Posted in Chocolate, Cookies