The handmade, homemade, without preservatives ones went first. These love letters were next. Luckily, (and strangely) the urge for these stuffs come once a year, i.e. during the Chinese New Year. Just like Bak Kwa, Kueh Lapis (an ultimate fattening 45 egg yolks recipe here) and White Rabbit milk candies, though they are available whole year round, we only eat them in the beginning of the year. Which is a good thing, I guess.
Make a Nutella Lava Mug Cake, the easiest way to enjoy Nutella other than licking a spoonful of it direct from the bottle.
Chocolate chips are added into the batter before baking for the a gooey, molten chocolate center effect.
NUTELLA LAVA MUG CAKE
Adapted from Plateful
Makes 4 cakes with small ramkins, or 2 cakes with jam jars
- 4 tablespoons self rising flour, sifted - 3 tablespoons caster sugar - 1 medium egg - 3 tablespoons Nutella - 3 tablespoons milk - 3 tablespoon olive oil - Chocolate chips, for the 'lava'
01. Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a bowl.
02. Whisk with a fork until mixture is smooth.
03. Divide the batter evenly between 4 small ramkins. Fill up only 3/4 or less, otherwise it will overflow while cooking in the microwave oven.
04. Then tip in 4-6 chocolate chips into each cup and push them into the batter with the fork until completely submerge.
05. Microwave on high power for anywhere between 30 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on the microwave wattage. My 1000W microwave took 30 seconds for small ramkins, and about 50 seconds for the jam glass jars/mug. The size of the cake/container will affect the cooking time too.
++ Notes To Self ++
To know how long it takes for your microwave oven to cook the mug cake, watch the cake while it is cooking in the oven. The cake will reach a “dramatic rise” stage when it is about to be done. Once that happens, give it another 5 seconds, the texture should be just nice; moist and not too dried out.
I used Nestle Toll House Semi-sweet chocolate morsels
CRUNCHY SUGI COOKIES
Adapted from “Delicious Asian Sweet Treats”
Yields 70 bite size cookies, 5g each
- 100g ghee - 120g caster sugar - 1 egg yolk - 1/2 tsp vanilla extract - 150g plain flour - 1/4 tsp baking soda - 1/4 tsp salt - Egg yolk, for glaze
01. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
02. Combine ghee, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract in a bowl, mix well.
03. Sift flour, baking soda and salt.
04. Fold flour mixture into ghee mixture with a metal spoon to form a dough.
05. Pinch 5g of dough and roll it into a ball, place it on a lined baking tray.
06. Arrange shaped cookie doughs 2 cm apart on the tray as they will spread during baking.
07. Brush egg glaze on top of cookies.
08. Bake in preheated oven for 14minutes, till golden brown.
09. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing them in air tight container.
Another small batch baking recipe from <<每天都是饼干日>>.
++Notes001 // This cookie cutter will make the cookies look even nicer.
++Notes002 // I use Van Houten cocoa powder. Recipe originally stated 4g, but I found it too much and dry out the dough.
++Notes003 // After cutting out first batch of star-shaped cookies, I still had a lot of dough left. As I did not want to spoil the distinct marbled effect by gathering and kneading the remaining dough too much , I simply rolled and shape the remaining into a log. Wrap it with a plastic bag, and after chilling for 30minutes, the dough is ready to be sliced into 1cm thick round cookies. I then baked them the same way as per the recipe instructions. (Last photo)
CONDENSED MILK MARBLE COOKIES
// Adapted from <<每天都是饼干日>>
// Yields 20 cookies, depending on the size of cookie cutter
- 60g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 100g condensed milk, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 170g plain flour, sifted
- 1 tbsp Cocoa powder
01. In the small mixing bowl, whisk to cream softened butter.
02. Add condensed milk and salt. Whisk to combine.
03. Add vanilla extract.
04. Pour sifted flour into the mixture, stir with metal teaspoon to form dough ball.
05. Pinch out 50g of the dough, add cocoa powder slowly to it to form a cocoa dough. Stop adding when the dough starts to feel dry
06. Roll out the plain dough on a floured surface or baking paper. tear up cocoa dough into pieces randomly place them on top of the flatten plain dough.
07. Roll out with pin again to flatten (to 0.4cm) and combine them.
08. Cut into desire shapes and arrange on a baking tray.
09. Bake in a preheated oven at 170C/325F for 10minutes till cookies are done, but not brown.
10. Cool completely on rack before storing in air tight container.
I realize that I have been breaking my eggs the wrong way. You know, the side-of-a bowl method that randomly ends up with the tiniest shell bits in the bowl, and takes like forever to be pinched out?
I usually leave these stubborn ones alone and leave them to fate *smile*, hoping that they will go undetected by the diner. Of course I have come across tips like: “break your egg in a separate bowl”, “crack the egg on a thin rim bowl like fine china” or “crack egg on a flat surface”, to prevent shell bits in the dish. But I never understood the reasons behind them, and I still get shell bits when I break the eggs in a separate bowl.
An article in this month’s Real Simple magazine (with illustration!) explains the “cracking-the-egg-on-a-flat-surface” method, it was an Eureka! moment for me:“When you tap an egg on the edge of a bowl, you don’t break just the shell. The thin membrane surrounding the white and the yolk also ruptures, so tiny shell shards can mix with the liquid and end up in your finished dish. (Worst omelet ingredient ever.) Instead, crack the egg on a flat surface, like a counter, to create one clean break. That way, the membrane stays intact, meaning no shell in your scramble.” Link
And here’s how to do it:
-Hold egg with one hand and make a firm tap on the table/hard surface.
-If this is done correctly, you should see “an indentation, and a side to side crack, like an equator”.
-The key here is to create “one clean break”, so keep working on perfecting that “firm tap”.
-This method works because “any shards will stick to the membrane, not fall into the bowl”.
++Notes001 // If a less spicy dish is preferred, use normal red chili, instead of bird’s eye chili/chili padi
++Notes002 // Hei Bee Hiam can be kept in the fridge, up to 1 week.
SAMBAL DRIED SHRIMP
// Adapted from Indochine Kitchen
- 150 g dried shrimp
- 50 g red chilies
- 8 shallots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 tbsp sugar
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
01. Wash dried shrimps under running tap briefly, pat dry with clean cloth.
02. Finely ground the dried shrimps. I had no mortar and pestle, so I chopped up the 150g dried shrimps (in 3 batches) in a food processor.
03. Next, the 50g chili + 8 shallots + 5 garlic cloves + 1/2 of a lime juice + 4 tbsp sugar goes into the blender.
04. I added about 1 tablespoon of water to make the blending easier.
05. Next, heat the 1/2 cup of oil in a wok.
06. Add the blended spice mix in and fry it till it turns darker and thicker in consistency.
07. Add grounded dried shrimps, and continue frying, till the shrimp absorbs the spice sauce mix, around 5 minutes.
08. Remove from heat and serve immediately.