The Opinionated Baker

Not all of us are made of sugar and spice

Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

Easter Apple Cupcakes

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Today I was lying on my bedroom floor, staring at the ceiling (procrastinating) and thinking, “Why do things in life have to be so difficult?”

Conventional wisdom has it that if everything in life was easy and happy, we would never know satisfaction because we never had to work for our success. But is that really true? I don’t see many billionaire offsprings declaring that their wealth is not bringing them satisfaction and giving it all away so that they can enjoy the “process”… In fact, they seem pretty darn happy to me.

If I could achieve success without much work, I will be equally satisfied than if I had worked my ass off. Maybe even more because it cost me less heartbreak and effort. (i’d be like, “In yo face! A+ from studying the night before!” ) I am a firm subscriber to the belief: Work smart, not hard.

Saving time gives you more time to spend on those important to you. 🙂
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Written by Musingsat

April 3, 2012 at 6:24 am

Chocolate and Butterscotch Chip Cookies

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It’s been a long time ol’ baking blog of mine. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you baby. It’s just been a tough few months.

Okay, maybe not ‘few’. It’s been a long 7 months.

Quick summary: Did an internship with Coke, went through a bad breakup, left Singapore to study for half a year Hawaii, mended my broken heart in Hawaii and fell in love with the place.

I’m currently in Hawaii, definitely the most beautiful place I have ever been. It’s like living in a dream. A beautiful dream that I never want to end.

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Written by Musingsat

November 11, 2011 at 3:10 am

Yuzu Chocolate Cupcakes

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The next few weeks are going to be very exciting. Singapore is holding its next general elections and my generation is going to be voting for the very first time.

Maybe it’s a self-centered point of view but it feels like we are living in a time of change. The rise of social media and the internet have helped to level the political arena. It helps too that Singaporeans are generally well educated and (hopefully) able to make logical macro type decisions that will benefit the country. (or am i just deluding myself?)

Yet, there are still my peers living around me who remain steadfastly apathetic and live with their eyes closed. They are too content with the world that surrounds them. When everything is going well in your life, it becomes easy to forget about the less fortunate who are working harder than ever just to put food on the table, or the ones who fall through the gaps and are forgotten by society.

Be it for the ruling party or the opposition, I hope everyone will vote very carefully because this is a responsibility that should not be undertaken frivolously.

In this climate of severity, the cupcakes that I made this time round feel somewhat more mature than usual. It might be the bitter tang of the yuzu fruit, or the heavy texture of the chocolate cake, but everything about it screams “adult”.

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Written by Musingsat

April 24, 2011 at 9:42 am

The (not so secret) secret to chocolate chip cookies

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I cannot believe that the secret to good chocolate chip cookies is something so ridiculously easy. It seems unfair that after everybody’s frantic tweaking of ingredients, the addition of strange things like mayonnaise and such… in hopes that they would be the ones to stumble on the holy grail of perfect cookies… the trick was so simple. And why did it take us so long to figure out anyway? Tsk. I lose hope in modern science. It took a newspaper named The New York Times to famous-nise the technique..

Just chill the dough for 36 hours before baking it. Like that. The end. oh yeah, and eat immediately out of the oven… (like we ever could wait)

It seems that cookies just like people need time to mature. Thank goodness these cookies only take 36 hours. Although, i can think of many people who behave like they’d need to spend 36 years in my fridge before they should come out and interact with society. It seems that the time they have to reflect on their actions in the fridge helps the flavors to better permeate the cookie and yada yada, I wouldn’t worry too much about the “how” if I were you, but more of the “yum”.

I found these Mature Cookies to have an interesting layer of “skin”, it’s a little hard, like caramel and really quite fun to eat. It’s difficult to describe… you should probably try baking them yourself.

Another good trick to awesome cookies is to make them big. Use an ice-cream scoop to measure out your cookie dough and you should be safe… Unless you’re like me, surrounded by people worried about their weight. Then you just have to compromise on the texture and make them small, like those in the picture *sad face*. Making them big will help them to maintain the mix of texture within the cookie, from the crisp edges to the chewy middles.

I didn’t actually use the official Jacque Torres recipe, because who has bread flour lying around at home?  Or expensive high end chocolate for that matter. I did use the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe that I baked a while back (complete with ugly photos. =( ) just to prove that the technique works with all cookie dough recipes! No need to run out and buy bread flour and expensive chocolate! Oh joy oh rapture!

Thanks mel for spreading the good news and convincing the patience-challenged. =)

Written by Musingsat

December 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies

Multifunctional muffins!-Wholemeal Mocha Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins!

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I am a child from the generation of multifunctions… where phones can’t just be phones anymore but have to be able to take photos, film videos, host games and access the internet… Where cameras can connect directly to the printer or to the internet or anywhere…. and where muffins can’t just be one single flavour anymore…

I love my generation! Whee~!

I think that if you’ve read other posts in my blog, you’d have realized that i’m quite health conscious. (I need to fit into my jeans! Help!) But i also have a crippling weakness for sweet stuff and yummy food… It’s the balance that makes things fun!

Presenting the perfect yummy breakfast! Tastes unhealthy, but is actually pretty low fat and good for you! Awesome stuff.

Wholemeal Mocha Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins!

adapted from allrecipes.com (i made a few changes…)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup wholemeal flour
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup extra light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk with expresso dissolved into it (how much you put is really up to you! If you need a big kick at breakfast or a little kick)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well!
  2. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, milk and vanilla.
  3. Dry ingredients into wet until just moistened. Don’t overmix or your muffins will be dry.
  4. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips.
  5. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
  7. Enjoy for breakfast!

(i gave in to the temptation and started eating even before i finished taking my photographs… oop)

Written by Musingsat

October 17, 2010 at 8:53 am

Unpretentious cookies- The Chewy

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There’s something special about chocolate chip cookies. It’s a crowd favourite and nobody can say no to a chocolate chip cookie… at least not honestly. It’s unhealthy, and yet oh so irresistible. You can dress it up with expensive dark chocolate, or dress it down with normal baking milk chocolate… and yet no matter what, it remains so unpretentious and true to itself.

I was chilling with a girlfriend the other day, and she was telling me how there were people who automatically judged her as a pretentious bitch based on her accent. Although she’s indian, the words that flow from her mouth naturally take on an American accent. And yet, that’s just the way she is. Born and bred in India and Singapore, she probably watched one to many American sitcoms as a child…

But the point is, none of those people know who she really is as a person. If they don’t even know who she really is, how can they judge her to be pretending?

Thank goodness chocolate chip cookies are naturally unpretentious… thus saving themselves from the heartache of being harshly judged by the uninformed world. These are cookies that you can safely bring for a gathering or to give away, without people deeming you as a show-off or something mean. Because as much as we wished that the world was made of puppies and sunshine… it’s not.

But no fear, ugly as the world may be… at least you still have chocolate chip cookies to eat. And they’re really good too. Although not as good as the Neiman Marcus cookies that I did the other round…but then again…I didn’t strictly follow the recipe, maybe if you do, they’ll turn out superb!

Alton Brown’s The Chewy

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour (I had no bread flour! So I subst with all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. (The butter must be REALLY hot at this step so that it can help in melting the sugar, don’t burn yourself!) Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough (this step is VERY IMPT. Don’t skip it! Chill for min. of 5 hours) then (scoop with an ice-cream scoop) onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Written by Musingsat

September 5, 2010 at 10:02 am

Posted in Chocolate, Cookies

Overcoming my fears- The Chocolate Domingo Cake

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The first time in my life that i baked a cake, it was a HUGE FAILURE. It looked beautiful, smelled beautiful and tasted like bitter cardboard.

That was the last time that i ever attempted cake baking…. until the other day, when my friends turned 21…

In junior college, we were a tight bunch and it seemed so cold to just purchase a cake from the bakery for them. So i swallowed my pride, and choked down my fear, and set about conquering The Cake.

To make matters worse, the place where we were meeting for their birthday was far from home and a normal cake with frosting/a cheesecake would never keep over the long distance. Travelling via public transport would also entail jostling and outright violence. Not a good cake carrying environment at all.

So i decided to bake The Chocolate Domingo Cake. Hailed as THE ONE by certain websites… i was banking all my hope on its amazingness…

Interestingly, this cake uses the reverse creaming method, and instead of just mixing it barely enough to moisten the dry ingredients, you have to beat it hard and beat it long. Much better in my opinion.

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Chocolate Domingo Cake

Ingredients:

42g Dutch cocoa powder
160g sour cream
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
156g sifted cake flour
200g castor sugar
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g unsalted butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 180′C.

In a medium bowl whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, eggs and vanilla until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining cocoa mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared tin (23cm diameter greased and lined springform tin) and smooth the surface with a spatula. The tin will be about half full.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted near the centre comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre.

Let the cake cool in the tin on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto a greased wire rack. Reinvert so that the top is up and cool completely before wrapping airtight.

Decorate with icing sugar, no frosting needed!

And it was well worth the effort. =)

Written by Musingsat

August 2, 2010 at 10:19 am

Posted in Cakes, Chocolate