One, Two, Three…….Let’s Start Making Traditional Short Bread Biscuits (英式传统牛油饼干)

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INTRODUCTION

I have mentioned before that my family members like buttery biscuits or cakes. Butter cake without any flavour will definitely top my list of cakes whereas short bread will be my preferred choice of biscuits. Short bread is crumbly in textures and full of buttery aroma and it is addictive as long as I started the first bite.

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When I was searching for short crust pastry for my “short crust pastry moon cake” post, I remember wrongly and instead I searched for short bread. When I read the definition of Wikipedia, it immediately caught my attention.

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Per Wikipedia, it was written that

Shortbread is a type of biscuit (“cookie” in American English) which is traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour (by weight). The use of plain white (wheat) flour is common today, and other ingredients like ground rice or corn flour are sometimes added to alter the texture. Also, modern recipes often deviate from the pure three ingredients by splitting the sugar portion into equal parts granulated sugar and powdered sugar and many further add a portion of salt. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortbread)

I was amazed by the simple ratio of one part white sugar, two parts butter and three parts of flour. I did not look around for any further recipe and based on these three figures, I prepared my traditional style short bread.

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This is my first attempt and I am generally happy with the results though the shaping still needs improvement. I may try out other recipes in the net and compared the actual differences and what other special ingredients that were added to alter the texture.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 50 g of icing sugar

  • 100 g of butter

  • 150 g of plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

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STEPS OF PREAPRATION

Preparation

  • Preheat your oven to 180  165 degree Celsius.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, place cut butters, vanilla essence, icing sugar, plain flours. Mix and knead until it form a dough.

  • Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a flat sheet of about 1 cm thick.

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  • Shape it into a rectangular shape and use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1 cm x 4 cm sizes

  • Transfer to the baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. Place the short breads with adequate space to expand.

  • Use a fork or something sharp to make some holes on top of the short breads.

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  • Baked in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the colour start to turn golden yellow.

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Additional notes

You can chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes before your baking starts. This will help to fix the shape of short bread! This illustration did not include the chilling. Due to the hot temperature in Singapore, The butter melts rather easily therefore chilling will hep to keep the biscuit in shape when you send for baking.

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CONCLUSION

A very short and straight forward post. I like this for its simple easy to remember recipe. This recipe is simply based on the traditional ratio of 1 sugar, 2 butter and 3 flour without additions of texture altering ingredients. The taste and texture is awesome except the shape is not as regular as what we bought from the stores.  It will be an ideal gift for your friends during festive occasions such as Christmas.

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Overall, I am still very pleased with this adventure. It is so simple yet we pay so much for these biscuits in the supermarkets.

Try and you will know how easy it is. Hope you like the post today and have a nice day ahead. Cheers.


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Second batch of short bread made for the celebration of Teacher’s day 2013.

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Updated on 8 – January 2014

Baking this special batch of rose decorated shortbread biscuits. Recipe is the same except I cut it in difference shape and dust it with dried rose petals.

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This recipe was included in Page 18 and Page 19 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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My Steamed Sponge Cake (Kuey Neng Ko) Is Full Of Gas。。。。 (汽水鸡蛋糕)

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It was 5 am in the morning. I told myself that I must wake up early to write this post and share with readers about this extremely simple recipe. This is rather a  special post to me because it is my 200th post since I started my blog 3.5 months ago in late April 2013.

Yesterday evening, I made a traditional Chinese steamed sponge cake (鸡蛋糕)and posted in certain Facebook Group and surprisingly these 2 eggs sponge cake caught a lot of readers’ attention requesting for the recipe. In fact, I am rather happy that this Chinese steamed sponge cake turned out so well.

Those who come from a traditional Chinese family will know that this cake is a delicate cake to make. As contrast to Western cakes, this cake should have “cracks” or “smiley face”  in its top, the bigger the better. In Chinese, such cracks will signify prosperity and brings good fortunes when the cake was offered to the ancestors, 

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Traditionally, while making this cake, there were lots of “taboos” or “pantang larang”. Only the person who are making the cakes were allowed to enter the kitchen freely. Those who entered should not be talking anything that could possibly “resulted” in a crack less cake or  a “bald” head! And housewives are trying all sorts of ways to make the cake “laugh” as “happily” as possible. She will generally be respected, admired and pampered for her ability to make a “laughing” steamed sponge cake for offering to the ancestors.


WHY THIS CAKE?

Tracking my readership statistics, I found that during the last two weeks, quite a lot of readers were visiting one of my post The Plights of Kuey Neng KoThe Traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake…. This is a post whereby I  analysed why younger Chinese generations are not fond of having this traditional Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake and  tweaked it into a cute party snack.

I also knew that as one of the big Chinese religious festivals – Hungry Ghost Festivals is approaching, a lot of people are looking for recipes to prepare this cake for religious offerings. Another possible reason is because bloggers in certain hop in group is having an “egg” events whereby bloggers are searching for eggs related recipes.

Knowing those who visited my earlier post of party snack Chinese steamed sponge cake may get disappointed as that cannot be used for ancestor offerings, therefore, I feel obliged to share a recipe that can prepare a cake for praying purposes.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED?

Recipe adapted from : Xinshipu.

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  • 2 large eggs (preferably at room temperature) (鸡蛋)

  • 300 grams of self raising flours – sifted (自发面粉)

  • 150 gram of fine sugar (细砂糖)

  • Sprite or 7-up or ice cream soda about 200ml (汽水)

  • 2 tablespoons of condensed milk (炼奶) or 2 teaspoons or ovallete

  • One 6” bamboo basket (竹篮) that are 4” deep or round baking tin (烤盘)

Note:

It is rather common in Malaysia and Singapore or even the original recipe uses ovallete. As I do not have ovallete with me, I have searched for ovallete substitute and I came across this blog http://www.thelittleteochew.com/2009/09/what-is-ovalette.html which have list out his/her preference of not using ovalette. I tends to concur with her that as long as the egg is adequately beaten, there is no need to have ovallete or condensed milk. My mother in law also disclosed to me that they have never used any ovallete in her many years of making this cake.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre-preparation

  • Get ready a 6 inches diameter baking tin and lined it with baking paper. Ideally, use a bamboo basket and lined with cellophane plastic sheet (竹篮玻璃纸). As I do not have the bamboo basket, I used a baking tin instead. Baking tin are more difficult to steam.

  • Get ready a big pot or wok for steaming and make sure that the cover is tall enough for your cake rise. One of the reasons that this cake as in the illustration did not rise as high as desired because it was constrained by the height of my steamer.

  • Boiled the water under high heat and put the empty baking tin in the steamer to warm the baking tin.

Making the cakes

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  • Crack two eggs in a big mixing bowl. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of condensed milks or 2 teaspoons of ovalette.

  • Beat at high speed until the eggs turns light and fluffy. (Note that as a result of adding condensed milks, you may not be able to obtain the soft peak form from egg beating).

  • Fold in the sifted flour as quickly as possible.

  • Add in the gassy drinks and, stir lightly and quickly until well mixed.

  • Transfer the batter quickly to the heated baking tin/wooden basket. Put some some sugar on top of the batter in a cross shape (this is an important step to make it crack). 在鸡蛋面糊上面上,跟着十字的形状,撒下2条直线的白糖。

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  • Steamed under high heat for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in and comes out clean. Put in additional hot water if the water dries up. Do not open the steamer cover for the first 15 minutes.

  • Once your remove the cake from the steamer, immediately remove it from the baking tin or bamboo basket. Place in a wiring rack and let it cool completely. It is important that you took out the baking tin or bamboo basket immediately to prevent water condensation around the side of the baking tin that will make the cake become soggy.

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  • Cut into pieces before serving. Re-steamed the cake before serving if you find the cake hardens after two to three days.

I have purposely to decorate this cake with a red ribbon and some red colouring on top of the cake. This is the traditional way of decorating the cake before offering sessions.

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Analysis On Textures of The Cake

The texture of the cake is slightly different from the traditional cake due to the addition of gassy drinks and condensed milk. It is moister and I do not even need to have some drinks after taking three to four pieces. Traditionally, as it is very light and fluffy, I tend to get choke as the cake debris will irritate my throats. Therefore, do not compare with the traditional cake texture. So far, family members preferred this newer texture than the traditional types as it is easy to eat!

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CONCLUSIONS

This is a simple cake. This is a traditional cake that not many blog writers would want to write about. However, to make it to “laugh” or crack to the way that you desired, it needs delicate handlings. As a traditional old man, I respect the cake and give the cake full attention and the cake is happy to give me back a big smile… Haha.

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Have a nice day and hope that this post will help those readers who are seeking for Chinese steamed sponge cake recipe.

Hope you like the post. Cheers

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I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up “Eggs” event organized by organized by Bake for Happy Kids, my little favourite DIY and hosted by (Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out). You can link your egg recipes here.

Devilled Egg- Simplicity Rules…

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INTRODUCTION

I loved eggs. Be it poached, fried, boiled, braised I liked it. My kids loved eggs, be it poached, fried or boiled, they loved it any forms. My whole family loved eggs, we fight for eggs, fried rice will definitely come with eggs. eggs cooked in any form will be appreciated. If I am not baking, on the average, we will need about 40 eggs for a month. If I am baking. we will need about 20 eggs per week.

We cooked eggs in omelette form, like salted turnip omelette, braised tofu and eggs, minced taukwa omelette, steamed tofu and eggs and etc. We use eggs in almost all the noodles dishes like Singapore fried prawn noodles, Sarawak Laksa and etc. We used eggs to cook our vegetable dishes such as braised luffa with eggs, and etc. We also used them for soup dishes such as shark fin melon soup and etc. Therefore, you can see that we used eggs almost daily in the foods I cooked.  However, I never cooked any egg dishes from Western cuisines besides the normal hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs.

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While I am searching of some eggs recipe, I came across this term devilled eggs! It caught my attention! What is this cuisine? I goggled and managed to get some definition from Wikipedia.

Devilled eggs (US) or devilled eggs or ‘eggs mimosa’ are hard-boiled eggs, shelled, cut in half and filled with the hard-boiled egg’s yolk mixed with other ingredients such as mayonnaise and mustard,but many other variants exist internationally. Devilled eggs are usually served cold. They are served as a side dish, appetizer or a main course, and are a common holiday or party food. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deviled_egg)

There are many many recipes in the internet and most of which I can’t followed as it utilizes ingredients that I do not have. Therefore, I have decided to prepare my own devilled eggs based on the ingredients that I have.

This is a simple recipe and easily tailored to meet your families taste buds. If you love eggs, you will not be able to reject this simple dish!



WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 6 eggs
  • 1 big tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian dried herbs

  • 2 tablespoon of mayonnaise


STEP OF PREPARATION

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  • Hard boiled the eggs and shelled the eggs.

  • Cut off 1/3 top part of the eggs and take out the egg yolks.

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  • Chopped the tomatoes and top part of the egg whites (1/3 portion). Add in the herbs, few drops of olive oil or cooking oil, pinches of salt and mixed well;

  • Scope one table spoon into  your choice of egg holder.

Note, depending on how you want to present your dish, this step is optional if you preferred not to use an egg holder.

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  • Mash the egg yolks with a big spoon and add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Mash until as finely as possible.

  • Add in herbs and mixed well. Spooned the egg yolk into the egg whites portion. Sprinkled with more Italian herbs if desired.

  • Can be served as a party snack

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Notes

You can cut the eggs into half and make 12. However, because my eggs are rather small, therefore I have decided to cut out 1/2 and retained the remaining two third. Otherwise, if you cut into half, you can cut it symmetrically and cut of the bottom to let it “sit” stably in the plate.

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CONCLUSION

It is rather easy to make this dish and have full flexibility of tailoring to meet your family’s taste buds. It is definitely a good choice of party foods due to its simplicity of preparation but elegant presentation!

Hope you like this short post! Have a nice day!

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I am submitting this post to Little Thumbs Up “Eggs” event organized by organized by Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY and hosted by (Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out). You can link your egg recipes here.

Link up your recipe of the week

Grapefruit Chiffon with Grapefruit Citrus Glaze,… Ever Try This?

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First of all, the format of this post will be slightly different as I did not take images for all the steps and procedures and I will share with readers what ever images I have taken. However, the taste of the grapefruit chiffon cake with grapefruit glaze is superb. 


WHY THIS CAKE

Since I come to Singapore almost 15 years ago, this is the cheapest grapefruit that I have ever bought in Singapore. Five sweet juicy medium sized grape fruits only cost about SGD2.50. When I saw the bargain, I immediately bought it and have been in my fridge for almost one month. While I can just cut and have it as fresh fruits, I thought I might as well to use it for baking. I thought of tarts, pies, poached grapefruits and many others recipes. However, this grapefruit chiffon cake caught my attention. The recipe is from Red Grape Fruit Chiffon Cake from www.canadianliving.com.



Recipe adapted from: Red Grape Fruit Chiffon Cake 



WHAT IS NEEDED

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Cake tin:     10 inches chiffon cake tin

Ingredient A – For egg yolk batter portion

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 0.5cup of granulated sugar 
  • 2.25  cups of sifted self raising flour
  • 0.5 cup of cooking oil
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 0.75 of grapefruit juice
  • 2 tbsp of grapefruit rind

Ingredients B – For egg white beating

  • 8 egg whites
  • 1cup of granulated sugar 
  • 1 tbsp of cream of tartar

Ingredient C – For Grapefruit Glaze 

  • 100 g of melted butter
  • 25 cups of icing sugar
  • 0.5 cups of grapefruit juice
  • 2 tbsp of cream

Ingredient D – For Decoration

  • 0.5 whole fresh grapefruit cut in slices.


STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
  • Get ready the 10” chiffon cake tin but do not grease the cake tin as greasing will make the cake sink when taken out from the oven.

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  • In a mixing bowl, put all ingredients A together and use a mixer to beat at medium to low speed until thick and smooth which will need about 1-2 minutes only.

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  • In a new mixing bowl that are clean and greaseless, put in the egg white, whisk until the soft peak form.
  • Add in cream of tartar and gradually add in the sugar (in 3 stages). Beat until firm peak form. Set aside for later use.

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  • Gently fold in 1/3 of egg whites into the batter using a spatula. Mixed well and poured the remaining 2/3 of the egg whites (meringues) and mixed well. The actions have to be light and swift.
  • Poured into a 10” chiffon cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until when a skewer inserted comes out clean. In the event that the top starts to turn brown, you can lower the temperature to 165 degree Celsius and continue the baking.

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  • Take out from the oven, invert upside down over a wire rack and let it cool completely. Use a plastic knife to scrap the sides.

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  • In  a mixing bowl, beat all ingredients until smooth . Pour on top of the chiffon cake and let it drip naturally.

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  • Top it with cut slices of grapefruit or grapefruit pulp. Serve with additional cream or butter icing if desired.

CONCLUSION

This recipe yields a rather unique chiffon cake by utilizing grapefruits. One will never expect the grapefruit pulp with butter icing in an excellent glaze. Grapefruit is refreshing when served with the soft, spongy and soft chiffon. It is ideal for an afternoon tea… Try and let me know.

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

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