Time To Bake Chinese New Year Cookies–Macadamia Russian Tea Cakes

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INTRODUCTION

Today is Winter solstice or Dong Zhi and Chinese throughout the world is celebrating this important festival by having a bowl of glutinous rice ball soup called Tangyuan, It is usually 3 days before Christmas and after today, Chinese can start prepare for the arrival of Spring Festival or Chinese New Year.

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Today, I am sharing a recipe of a tangyuan look alike cookie, not originated from China but from Scandinavian countries. It is called Russian Tea Cake. Scandinavians served this cookie during Christmas and the same cookie will definitely a hit in the Chinese New Year as it resemble one of the cookies commonly served during the Chinese New Year in Malaysia– Ghee cookies or Kueh Arab. It had another more common name, snowball cookies because of the dusting of icing sugar on the cookies.

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As per Wikipedia:

“Russian tea cake is a kind of pastry, commonly eaten around Christmas in the United States. It is a form of jumble, a pastry common in England during the Middle Ages. They are also known as Mexican wedding cakes (or cookies) and butterballs; however, they are perhaps most commonly called snowball cookies for their powdery white spherical appearance and for appearing around the winter holidays. Russian tea cakes have a relatively simple recipe, generally consisting entirely of ground nuts, flour and water or, more commonly, butter. After baking, they are coated in powdered sugar while still hot, then again once the cookie has cooled. However, a reason for the common name “Russian Tea Cake” or any connection to Russian cuisine is unknown. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_tea_cake)

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While I am visiting Ms. Danita Shipp Carr ‘s blog O TASTE AND SEE”, I saw her Russian Tea Cakes. It immediately reminded me of the ghee cookies  that I used to have when I was young. I missed the cookies as it is not that common in Singapore. Since the ingredients are simple, I have decided to try preparing the cookies with the leftover macadamia nuts that  I have. (The original recipes uses pecan nut and other recipes called for walnuts or almonds).

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It was in the morning and I asked my kid to wake up earlier to help me to shape the cookie. Though they are 7 and 9 years old, their shaping is definitely better than mine. After the baking, when I took my first bite, I knew very sure that this will be a hit among the Chinese New Year.  My initial intention is to prepare these cookies for a family gathering two days later, somehow, after one day, half of the cookies were gone….My family members keep popping into their mouth these delicious cookies.

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For my international readers, during Chinese New Years, most Chinese families will have open house inviting guest to visit their families. Possibly influenced by the British Colonization prior to the countries’ independence in the 1960’s, most Chinese families will serve Western butter pastries to their house guest. However, most cookies have been adapted to the local taste. One of the important localization is the size of the cookies. Chinese liked their cookies to be one bite size bearing in mind, there may be many types of cookies in a serving tray… Therefore, I have decided to make it into a common Chinese New Year cookie size – a 1.5 cm ball.


 

WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Russian Tea Cakes

Servings : About 80 1.5cm balls

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  • 225 grams (1 cup) of butter
  • 250 grams (2 cups) of plain flour
  • 100 grams of chopped macadamia nuts
  • 50 grams of icing sugar for pastry
  • About 40 grams of icing sugar for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (not in picture)
  • Pinches of salt (not in picture)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Preheat the oven to 170 degree Celsius.

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  • Cream the butter and 50 grams of icing sugar until light and pale. Sift in plain flour, use a spatula to stir until well mixed. Add chopped macadamia nuts,  vanilla essences and salt, stir again until well mixed.

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  • If you are able to handle soft dough, you can by pass this step. Otherwise, let it chill in the fridge until slightly harden which took about 10-15 minutes.

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  • This step is optional. Depending on your ability to divide the dough equally, you can either follow this step or use your own step. You can consider using a teaspoon to drop the dough to your desired size. In a flat surface, lightly flatten your dough. Put  a piece of clingy wrap on top of the dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 0.5 cm thick flat sheet. Use a knife to cut into an even square shape. Take out one portion of the square doll and shape it into a ball using your palm.

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  • Due to Singapore’s hot weather, by the time your balls were shaped, it will be rather soft. Put the balls to the fridge again and chilled for 10-15 minutes. After 10-15 minutes, shape the ball again. Your balls should have a better shape now. Baked in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

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  • Immediately when the cookies are out of oven, get ready a bowl of icing sugar, transfer the cookies to the bowl and roll against the sugar powder. Take out and put in a wire rack and cool completely. In this process, care have to be taken to handle these balls as it is still hot and fragile. Once the balls are completely cooled, roll against the icing sugar again. Keep the cooled cookies in an air tight container.

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CONCLUSION

It is rather seldom that the cookies that I prepared were well liked by all the family members. This is one of the exceptional  The inclusion of macadamia nuts not only enhanced the taste but also make it a presentable New Year or Christmas gift.

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This recipe was included in Page 24 and Page 25 of the following E-book. 

For more Chinese New Year related cookies, snack and steamed cake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy Chinese New Year Recipes – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD3.50. The recipes covered various recipes from auspicious radish cake to nian gao to traditional kuih bangkit to trendy London almond cookies. Of course not forgetting both type of pineapple tarts. You can purchase by clicking the link above. You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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A Token Of Appreciation To My Dearest Readers and Supporters

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All my dearest readers and supporters;

Without all your support, I will not be writing this blog;

I hope you like my blog;

And this post is written “straight” from my mind without manipulating my thoughts and the use of jargons;

By now, you should know that Guai Shu Shu (An Uncle Who Behave In An Abnormal Way) is a Chinese educated student;

Bear with me, if I lack beautiful descriptive words in my blog;

Pardon me,   if I made lots of grammatical mistakes in my posts; and

Forgive me, if I do not have beautiful images to entice you.

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Guaishushu is very frank and tell you what he thought…

Guaishushu is a computer illiterate…

Guaishushu don’t know anything about plug-ins, giveaways gadgets and etc., self hosting that are technical jargons that most bloggers are familiar with…

Guaishushu currently do not engage any computer consultant for the blog….

He had to to solve all these technical issues by himself….

He don’t know how to go about “presenting” his blog…

Such that it is best for him and for the readers….

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He had work hard for the last few weeks….

Rushing out this humble hardcopy booklet for his readers……

It may be a bit late and he felt guilty of issuing it late……

He still has one persistent technical issue that he cannot tackle….

In his “INDEX” page, there is a big watermark that he can’t erase off…..

He is still puzzled…..and he felt bad….

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But he know he cannot wait anymore…..

Christmas is approaching, in another 4 more days…

He adopt the Chinese saying: 丑媳妇见爹娘……

Meaning no matter how ugly is the daughter in law……

She will eventually have to “face meet” her parent’s in law……

He took the courage to issue this less than desirable hardcopy compilation……..

He honestly hope that reader’s wouldn’t mind……

Forgive him for such a “crude gift”…….

But it is sincere and tactful…..

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There is no condition attached to the gift…..

Not even an e-mail address required, Facebook Page Like required…

Since Christmas is love sharing…..

Whoever read this post are entitled to download the hardcopy of this 10 simple recipes………

More recipes will come in due course if the proper technical issues can be resolved…………

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Hope readers like it and feel free to download the number of copies you like…….

Again, bear with me any grammatical mistakes that may be found in the booklet….

I apologize for that if there is …

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If you appreciate this humble Christmas gift……….

Please leave me some simple constructive comment on what do you think of this e-book….

Either in this blog’s comment section below, my Facebook Page or the place you see this post.

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Not forgetting to have a simple request to follow me at PINTEREST or visit Guaishushu’s FACEBOOK PAGE

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014…..
MAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BE BLESSED WITH HAPPINESS ALWAYS….

Please download here

CHRISTMAS EASY RECIPES

 

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Out Of Gift Ideas This Christmas? Try Some Homemade Marshmallows

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INTRODUCTION

Home made marshmallows is not in the agenda of my baking/cooking adventures. Somehow, when Ms.  Mary Ellen Seavey posted her beautiful Marshmallows in my Facebook Group (Food Bloggers and Foodies United), it immediately caught my attention. Her marshmallows looked so attractive and I told her I wanted to prepare these marshmallows. She assured me that this is a tested recipe and encouraged me to try. One hour after I “digested” her post here, I started my trial on making the marshmallow. I am happy that on my first attempt, I managed to make my marshmallows.

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I have slightly modify her recipe by the usage of Pandanus or Screw pine paste. I like the colour and the flavour. For red and white, I have added vanilla flavour to it.  It turn out to be a rather nice design. 

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Wouldn’t it be nice while learning how to make this childhood candy, lets learn together something about this candy. Per Wikipedia:

“Marshmallow is a confection that, in its modern form, typically consists of sugar and/or corn syrup, water, and gelatine, whipped to a spongy consistency, moulded into small cylindrical pieces, and coated with corn starch. Some marshmallow recipes call for eggs. This confection is the modern version of a medicinal confection made from Althaea officinalis, the marshmallow plant.Marshmallow probably came first into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts come from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which were used as a remedy for sore throats. Concoctions of other parts of the marshmallow plant had medical purposes as well. The root has been used since Egyptian antiquity in a honey-sweetened confection useful in the treatment of sore throat.The later French version of the recipe, called pâte de guimauve (or “guimauve” for short), included an egg white meringue and was often flavoured with rose water. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshmallow)”

From the above definition, it is rather clear that ingredients of marshmallow preparation are rather simple comprising syrup and gelatine.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from : Marshmallows 

Servings: a    9” x 13” x 1”   tray of marshmallows – no. of pieces will depend on how big you cut it.

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  • 3 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups of golden syrup or light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 16 gelatine sheets (or 3 tablespoons plus 1.5 teaspoons of gelatine powder or 4 gelatine packets)
  • Adequate sugar powder or cocoa powder for dusting
  • 1 1/2  cups of water divide equally into 2 portion (1 portion equal to 3/4 cups)
  • Permitted food flavourings and/or colourings

Others

  • Oven thermometer/candy thermometer
  • 9”x 13” container (baking tin or casserole dish)
  • Parchment/baking paper
  • A stand mixer

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Use one portion of cold water (3/4 cups) and put it in a whisking bowl. Cut the gelatine sheets into smaller pieces and soaked the sheets/gelatine powder in the cold water.  It will gradually soften and slightly expands.

  • Get ready a 9” x 13” baking tray or casserole dish. Place a piece of baking paper with about 2” extra from each side as collar. Lightly grease the baking paper with cooking oil or cooking spray.

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  • In a sauce pan, put the other 3/4 cups of water. Add golden or light corn syrup, salt and castor sugar. Bring the syrup to boil under medium heat. In between, stir until all the sugar dissolved.

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  • Let it simmer without stirring until when an oven thermometer or candy thermometer inserted, it registers a temperature of 115 degree Celsius. Take the hot syrup from the stove and gradually pour the syrup into the whisking bowl. Start with low speed until all the syrup are added. Once added, gradually increase the speed to high.

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  • Beat using maximum speed until the syrup is at firm peak. It will take at least about 10 minutes. Divide the marshmallows into 3 portion. For one portion, add in the Pandanus or screw pine flavouring and for the other 2 portions, add in vanilla essence. For the 2 portions that have vanilla, add red permitted food colouring to one of the portion. (note that this step is optional if you want it to be original marshmallows).

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  • Fill the greased baking tin or casserole in your desired pattern. For me, i have my first layer as white, second layer green and third layer pink. Let the marshmallows rest for at least 3 hours before cutting with a sharp knife. For my case, I noted that overnight resting is easier for cutting. Dust your marshmallow using your prefer ingredients such as icing sugar or cocoa powder or sugar sprinkles.

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CONCLUSION

I concurred with Mary that it is almost not possible to use hand whisking as it will require at 10 minutes of continuous whisking. Therefore, to make this, a stand mixer is deemed absolutely. After preparing this, I would think there are a lot of variations. If you have strawberry essence, you can prepare strawberry marshmallows; if you like chocolate marshmallows, may be addition of cocoa emulco is a good alternative.

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All this while, I seldom eat marshmallow on its own. I like to put it in my breakfast drinks… The sweetness of two pieces of marshmallows is just nice for a cup of breakfast drink. However, if you want to eat it as a sweet, for Asian taste, you can consider reducing 10%-20% of the sugar used and that very much depends on your sugar tolerance level.

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This is a good and recommendable recipe. It is nice to have some homemade marshmallows to entertain your guest. Try making this marshmallow and surprise your guest this coming Christmas or Chinese New Year. Not forgetting to support the original recipe provider, Ms. Mary Ellen Seavay by supporting her Facebook Page or her blog here. Thanks to her generosity in sharing this recipe.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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I am submitting this to the Baby Sumo’s Christmas Recipes Collection 2013 event which is hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 400 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD

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Four Seasons Blog Hop #31 (Dec 18 2013)

Four Seasons Blog Hop - Easy Life Meal & Party PlanningWelcome to the Four Seasons Blog Hop

A party where we can celebrate the greatness that each season brings to our lives.

Note: Next week’s party will go live Monday at 5:30 PM instead of Wednesday night (due to the timing of Christmas) and will close on Sunday @ 1:00 PM.

So Let’s Get This Party Started!!Let's Get this Party Started Share your  food creations, gardening, clever projects, tablescapes, decorations, party themes, and inspirational knowledge … Ok, you get the point.  Join us every Thursday (opens Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm). Please stay for awhile and show some love to the guests, join us in the fun and grab a button.

Four Seasons Blog Button

We will share your posts in a variety of ways on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.  We will also have features of the week! Be sure to follow our Four Seasons Board on Pinterest!
 

By participating in this linky party, you agree to have your posts shared on social media and Pinterest and to receive email and Google notifications for reminders about the party. If you don’t want to receive notifications, please let us know.

 

If you are sharing on this party and have a linky party that you host or co-host, we would love to have you link it at the end of this post (after the Four Seasons Blog Hop)!  Your linky party will show up on the Four Seasons Blog Hop for the next month – just a small way in which we can show our appreciation and support to you!

FEATURED

 
 

The next two weeks are going to be really hectic and of course then 2014 arrives and we are all thinking about eating healthier, exercising more or losing weight so this week we have a special “Featured” section just to address these issues. Special Features

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

MORE LINKY PARTIES YOU MIGHT ENJOY (LINK UP YOUR PARTY IF YOU ARE A HOST OR CO-HOST)

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Healthy Fruit Loaf For This Christmas

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INTRODUCTION

I have a confession to make.. I was lazy and rushing for time, therefore, I did not do second proofing for this bread….. I did not regret either… I like the bread… It is soft, full of fruity aroma and with a crusty top.

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I am having a few pieces of my bread already. You may be wondering what is my bread spread? My bread spread is yoghurt.. Yes, it is yoghurt, the type of combination when I am doing some serious weight reduction years ago… In fact I like this combination. This is a healthy combination.. A non fat yoghurt spread on a piece of healthy fruit bread..

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I am rushing out from my house to get my car from the workshop. I usually lack patience of preparing bread when I am at home, for the kneading, 1st proofing and second proofing. Just before we went out, I told my kids that I wanted to prepare some bread.. I usually used this slot of time when i am out of the house to do bread proofing…

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Seriously, I do not have time to search for a recipe and I like to do my pastry based on what I have in my kitchen. As I still have a lot of dry fruits in my shelf; and some wholemeal flour and wholemeal bran that I bought months ago, so I am using this to prepare the wholemeal fruit loaf. Since it is going to be healthy, instead of using butter or cream, I have used olive oil instead..

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After the kneading, since I am unsure when I will be back, I have therefore decided just to proof my bread once. I let it directly proof in the loaf tin and went out. One hour later when I am back, the bread is just nicely proof and I immediately on my oven and bake it.

The verdict is it is a nice bread. It is soft and moist. The softness is different from from than the type you found in buns or white loaf. Being a wholemeal bread, it is less springy but that is perfectly ok for me. One of the reasons for second proofing is to get rid of the airy holes resulted from yeast fermentation and have a finer gluten structure. That essentially is not required for a wholemeal bread. 

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Serving size: 1 normal loaf

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  • 1 packet of instant yeast (about 10-11 grams)
  • 1 egg
  • 400 grams of wholemeal flour
  • 100 grams of wholemeal bran
  • 240 grams of fresh milk
  • 60 grams of olive oil
  • 50 grams of castor sugar (not in picture)
  • Pinches of salt (not in picture)
  • 200 grams of mixed dry fruits (not in picture)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre heat the oven to 200 degree Celsius (just before the proofing was done) and lightly grease a loaf tin.

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  • Put all dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Make a well, add all wet ingredients except olive oil , use a tablespoon to slightly stir until it is crumby. Transfer the mixing bowl to a stand mixer and beat at low speed for 2-3 minutes until a dough is form.

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  • Add the olive oil and continue kneading at medium high-speed for about 20-30 minutes or when the dough did not stick to the wall of your mixing bowl. Transfer the dough to a flat surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a square, add some dry fruits, fold and roll again. Continue doing this until all the dry fruits were added. Shape the dough follow the shape of the loaf tin.

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  • Let it proof in the loaf tin for 45 minutes -1 hour or when the loaf have double in size. Baked in the preheated oven of 200 degree Celsius for at least 45 minutes. 

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  • At about 35 minutes or when you start to smell the aroma of the bread, use an oven thermometer and insert into the bread and see if the temperature inside the loaf is more than 90 degrees Celsius. If it is less than 90 degrees Celsius, your bread will not be cooked and it is likely that when you take out the thermometer, there will be some wet dough stick to your thermometer. In this case, continue baking until when you inserted again the oven thermometer, the thermometer shows at least 90 degrees Celsius. If you find that the top starts to turn brownish, you can lower the temperature by 10 degree Celsius. General rule of thumb is that if you are unsure, rather bake slightly longer than under cooked.

    If you don’t have an oven thermometer, one way of testing is after about 45 minutes (which is a reasonable timing for this size of loaf), take out the loaf from the loaf tin and try to use your finger to knock the bottom of the loaf. If it is a hollow sound, your loaf is cooked, otherwise, the loaf is uncooked. Put it back into the loaf tin and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes until you are certain that the dough is cooked. Again, if the top layer has signs of getting burnt, lower the temperature slightly.

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CONCLUSION

This is a nice loaf. Simpler and healthier than other loaf. It is full of fibre and in fact two pieces of the bread can “satisfy” my hunger for quite a while. It is not unusual to have single proofing bread in the internet and for me I don’t mind this faster version of bread making. What surprises me it my girl love it saying that it is full of nutty flavour, soft but chewy. For a change, why not make this healthy fruit loaf for your Christmas breakfast?

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

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I am submitting this to the Baby Sumo’s Christmas Recipes Collection 2013 event which is hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out.


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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 500 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD

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Time To Celebrate Winter Solstice–Chinese Tangyuan or Glutinous Rice Balls

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INTRODUCTION

Winter Solstice Festival is a few days away and will fall on 22nd December 2013. On the day, most Chinese will have the habit of eating Tangyuan or glutinous rice flour balls. In my clan, it basically mean that winter had arrive, time to get ready for the arrival of a new year in the next spring. Of course, Tangyuan were also served in a number of occasions and festivals such as wedding ceremony and 15th day of the first month of Chinese New Year.

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For my international readers, I would like to quote the Wikipedia’s definition of Tangyuan:

“Tāngyuán (simplified Chinese: 汤圆; traditional Chinese: 湯圓; pinyin: tāngyuán), a homophone of and frequent metaphor for family-union (simplified Chinese: 团圆; traditional Chinese: 團圓; pinyin: tuányuán) is a Chinese food made from glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour is mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked and served in boiling water. Tangyuan can be either small or large, and filled or unfilled. They are traditionally eaten during Yuanxiao, or the Lantern Festival.[1] They are also traditionally served during the Chinese Winter Solstice Festival(Chinese and Japanese: 冬至; Korean: 동지; Vietnamese: Đông chí) (Pinyin: Dōng zhì), (Rōmaji: Tōji), (Romaja:Dongji), or, any occasions of family/relatives re-union such as wedding ceremony with both the paternal and maternal family.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangyuan_(food))

Very frankly, I do not know exactly what to write for this post. It is not actually a recipe as most households will know how to prepare Tangyuan. In addition, there are more and more Tangyuan sold over the counter with all types of fillings. I have decided to prepare these Tangyuan as a respect to the Chinese Traditions and as a blogger, I must at least have a post on this special Chinese cuisine.

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I have resorted to the preparation of the most basic traditional Tangyuan that my mum used to prepare. Basic in the sense that there is no filling and prepare for the purposes of praying ceremony. When I was young, my mother will grind the glutinous rice grains and prepared these simple Tangyuan early in the day of the Festival for praying to the Gods in the temples. There were usually only two colours, white and red.  80% were prepared in white bigger balls whereas the remaining 20% were prepare in red smaller balls.  During praying, the bowl was full of white Tangyuan and topped with a few red smaller Tangyuan.

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After the praying in the temple, my mum will prepare some sweet soup for the Tangyuan and everyone in the family were compulsory to have at least one bowl to signify you have aged for another year and time to get ready for the next year. If these Tangyuans could not be finished within one to two days, my father then cooked the savoury Tangyuan. And in this post, I will share these simple preparations of Tangyuan and you can always modify to suit  your taste buds. If you like, you can have some sweet potato Tangyuan, screw pine Tangyuan or Yam Tangyuan….If  you do not like to have sweet soup, use the dry Tangyuan and dip in Peanut powder, it will become another dessert resembling the Japanese Dessert of Mochi。

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 20-30 balls of Tangyuans

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  • 1 cup of glutinous rice flour
  • 1/8 cup of tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup of lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoon of boiling hot water
  • Permitted food colouring (optional)

Sweet soup

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  • 2 cm of ginger cut into slices
  • Some rock sugar
  • 4-5 screw pine leaves

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big bowl, place the glutinous flour and tapioca starch. . Add 3 tablespoons of boiling hot water, use a spoon to gradually mix until it form some crumble. Gradually add in the lukewarm water and use your hand to knead until smooth. Remember, if it is too dry, add one teaspoon of additional water and if too wet, add one tablespoon of glutinous rice flour until the dough is consistent, soft and will not stick to your hand.

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  • Divide the dough into 2 portion. Put some red permitted food colouring in one portion and knead it until even. For each portion, roll your dough into a long shape and use a knife to cut as evenly as possible at your desired size. Roll into a ball using your palm. For my case, my white balls were approximately 1.5 cm in diameter and my red ball is about 7cm in diameter.

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  • In a big pot, bring some water to boil under high heat. Place your glutinous rice balls in the hot boiling water. Continue boiling until the balls floated in the water. Drain the balls and put it in some cold water. Drain and put in a dry bowl.

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  • . Perform the same for the red Tangyuan.

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Preparing the Sweet Tangyuan

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  • Bring a pot of water to boil. Add screw pine leaves, ginger and rock sugar. Once boiled, let it simmer for at least 15 minutes until the ginger and screw pine aroma permeates the kitchen. Add in some of the Tangyuan and let it boiled for 2-3 minutes. Best served hot as a snack or dessert after the meals when the Tangyuan is hot.

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Preparing the Savoury Tangyuan

There will no picture for this savoury Tangyuan. The preparation is exactly the same as the preparation of Napa Cabbage soup. You can refer here for the recipes – Chinese Cabbage (Napa) Soup ( 大白菜汤). Put some Tangyuan in the hot boiling Chinese (Napa) Soup, boiled for 2-3 minutes and can be served as a meal replacing rice or porridges.

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CONCLUSION

I was rather surprise that my kids love the savoury Tangyuan than the sweet Tangyuan. This post is a simple post and most family may know how to prepare these Tangyuan. Nothing to shout about but the intention of preparing these no filling Tangyuan in my prescribe size and colour serves as a respect to my late mum and our clan’s traditions. Hope you like the post today and have a nice day.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

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If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 400 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD

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A Light and Fruity Dessert For Christmas – Simple Fruit Tart (水果挞)

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UPDATED POST ON 27-11-2014

Have prepare some simple fruit tarts for kids. In view that Christmas seasons is near, I thought it might be a good idea to transform it into a simple Christmas hats to “entertain” the kids. Scroll down for the updated posts.

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INTRODUCTION

When I was assembling this fruit tart, I almost gave up. I have never like to do cake or pastry decorations. My hand will shiver when I am decorating cakes or pastry that need full attentions and creativities. It is a piece of hard work and if I am not careful enough, the whole cake may have to be thrown away. That is stressful and pressurized. At the end, I asked my wife to lay the fruits and we worked out this rather ugly and un-neat fruit tart.

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Fruit tart generally comprises three layers:

1) Layer 1 – pastry to hold the tart. This can be baked or non baked. Baked pastry are generally short crust pastry whereas non baked pastry are pastry that are used for chilled cheesecakes done by pressing biscuits crumbles. You can refer Chilled Ferrero Rocher Oreo Ice Cream Cheesecake for the making of pastry base for chilled cheesecakes.

2) Layer 2 – The fillings can be cream cheese fillings or whipped cream, custard or the more jargon term: Crème Pâtissière or pastry cream.

3) Layer 3 – Fresh fruits of any sort but preferably those will not easily get oxidized or turning brownish black like apples. Though not advisable, but it can still be used with properly jam glaze to prevent the fruits from oxidation.

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Making and assembly a fruit tart is definitely not difficult. Once you have a reliable short crust recipe, you can use it for most tarts, pies, quiche and etc. I only have one short crust recipe and I have used it for my Japanese curry pies, coconut tarts and apple pie. It never fail me. It can be prepared in a rather fast manner if you are able to handle soft cookie liked dough; otherwise, just chill in a fridge before proceeding for moulding.  For this recipe, I used my one and only short crust recipe  that I used for any tarts, tartlets, quiche or pies. As for the fillings, since I have one package of custard flour sitting in my kitchen self, I have used this ready made custard flour instead of start preparing it from raw eggs.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare an 8” fruit tart

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Short Crust Pastry

  • 35 grams egg yolks (lightly beaten)
  • 150 grams plain flour (sifted)
  • 30 grams of icing sugar (sifted)
  • 75 grams of chilled butter cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

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Custard fillings

  • 2 tablespoons of ready made custard powder
  • 2 tablespoons of castor sugar 
  • 600 ml of fresh milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Custard fillings (Recipe 2) – From fresh egg yolk

  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of fresh milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Others (not in picture)

  • Adequate mixed fruits of your choice. In this illustration, I have used cherries, grapes, kiwi fruits, strawberries and mango.
  • Some apricot jam (for glazing and optional)
  • One 8” tart tin

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing the short crust pastry

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put butter cubes and sifted plain flour together. Use the finger tips to rub the butter cubes and flours together until it become crumby. Add in sifted icing sugars and continue to rub until well mix. Add in eggs and vanilla essence, mix slowly until it become a dough. Put it in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes. Note that if you are able to handle soft dough, you can by pass this step. In fact I have bypassed the step due to time constraints.

  • Have a clinging wrap on the table, take the dough from the fridge and place on top of it. Put another clinging wrap on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat sheet with about 0.5 cm thickness. Transfer the dough to the pie tin and use you hand to press the dough against the sides and make it as even as possible. Use a fork to make some holes in the dough (optional).  Please refer here if you want more detail pictorial illustrations.

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  • Baked in the preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry shrinks from the sides of the pastry tin. If you want, you can egg wash your crust (1 egg yolk with 3 tablespoons of water, stir until well mix) to ensure that the crust will not be soggy when the fruit juices sip into the crust. However, in my humble opinion, there is no such a need if the custard is not overly wet and tarts are best eaten fresh.

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Preparing the fillings

This is purely for references on how I cook my custards.  PLEASE COOK YOUR CUSTARDS IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR CUSTARD POWDER PACKAGE INSTRUCTIONS. Every brand may be different so it is best that you follow the detail instructions.

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  • In a pot, put 2 tablespoons of custard powder and 2 tablespoons of castor sugar, add 600 ml of fresh milk and vanilla essence. Stir until well mixed. Heat the custard mixture under low heat and stir using a wooden spatula or a balloon whisk until it boils. Stir constantly until the boiling custard solution starts to slightly solidify and become custard. Set aside and let it cool. Keep a close eye in this process and the final few minutes can be rather fast. If it is too sticky, add some more fresh milk. Avoid using capsule based pan because it will continue to heat your custard even after you off the heat.

  • If you are not using custard powder but prepare from fresh egg yolks as in recipe 2. Put all the ingredients (egg yolks, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla essence) in a pot. Stir until well mix. Heat it over stove using low heat until it starts to thicken.

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Assembly the tart

The illustration below is for reference only. It is full of flexibility and you can use your creativities to design your own tarts. Google “fruit tarts” will give you many ideas of how a fruit tart look like. I am not good at food decoration and I am just sharing here the method of preparing the fruit tart. Bear with me the ugly fruit tart that I have prepared.

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  • Before assembly, ensure that crust and the custard are completely cool. Spoon the custard into pie crust and level it. Add in your preferred fruits in your desired patterns. When designing pattern, one thing that you should consider is whether it is easier to cut into slices. You would not want to have an extremely beautiful pattern and eventually it is difficult to slice for serving.

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  • If you prefer, you can glaze the fruits. Glazing basically have two reasons. To protect the fruit from drying out and to let it had a shining adorable look. I did not do this as I think it is not necessary at all for home consumption. To glaze, heat up 1 tablespoon of apricot jam with 1 tablespoon of water. Stir until well mix and brush on top of the fruits (not pastry crust).

  • Best served  immediately after it is prepared as a dessert.

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For Christmas Hat Decoration

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  • Beat one cup of fresh whipping cream with 2 tablespoon of icing sugar until firm peak. Set aside for later use.

  • Pump the the cool custard on top the tart shell. Pump the whipped cream on top of custard. Place a strawberry on top of the whipped cream. Pump a little dot of cream on top of the strawberry.  Best served when it is cold.

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CONCLUSION

Fruit tarts are not difficult to prepare. The taste of the entire tart will depend very much on the type of fruits that you selected, the pie crust pastry and the custard. The family were pleased with the tart especially the short crust pastry which is buttery aromatic and crispy. it is definitely a presentable dessert during your Christmas Feast. Why not make this for your Christmas dinner.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheer and have a nice day.

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I am submitting this to the Baby Sumo’s Christmas Recipes Collection 2013 event which is hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 26 November 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  


 

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