30.11.10

white chocolate marble brownies.


Writing inspiration has escaped me for almost a week now.

But that doesn't mean that the baking project has stopped, too.

In the past few days I have perfected the cheese cupcake, (suuuper) chocolate chip cookie, banana cupcake, and my favorite so far - white chocolate marble brownies.

I'm not fond of eating whatever food or pastry that comes out of my own kitchen, but for once I couldn't stop munching on these white chocolate goodness.

I got the recipe from Yummy's Bake, Give, Sell! cookbook - I just halved the ingredients for the test run. It turned out well, though. So well that one of my officemates ordered a box. :)

Here's the recipe - with my "revisions":


1/4 of a 500g block bittersweet chocolate block
1/2c butter
8 eggs
2c sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2c bread flour or all-purpose flour
1/2 of a 500g  white chocolate block, chopped into small chunks


Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler.


Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Cool to room temperature.


Slightly beat eggs then mix into the melted butter and chocolate mixture.


Add in the sugar and vanilla. Fold in the flour. Set aside.


Grease and flour a rectangular baking pan (I used a 10x6 pan). Line pan with parchment paper.


Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan. Spread evenly.


Top the brownie batter with half of the white chocolate chunks.


Spread the remaining brownie batter over the white chocolate chunks.  


Top the brownie batter with the rest of the white chocolate chunks.


Bake at 325ºF for about 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in oven for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.


It's best to chill the brownie before cutting into squares.


It yielded 40-48 1-inch squares.


*** Its original name is Black and White Rich Brownies; but I decided to rename it to White Chocolate Marble Brownies. Wala lang, feel ko lang. :D

-----



The verdict? Yummmmmy. :)



* Updated photos: 26 March 2011






26.11.10

a bargain find.


I can't believe I was able to buy organic lemons for only Php 10.00 apiece.

Amazing, eh?

Too bad they only had a few pieces left.

25.11.10

wish list item # 3 and # 4

All I want for my birthday and Christmas are...

electric hand or stand mixer

I found an affordable mixer from Abenson for only Php 798.00. Hmm, not bad eh? 

I want to get one cos I know that the consistency of the batter greatly depends on how well the ingredients have been mixed and blended. I am debating on whether to get an electric hand mixer or to just settle with a manual egg beater which I saw at the grocery. A manual egg beater is so much like an electric mixer except that you need a lot of strength, hahaha.

and...

food processor
I saw a 4-in1 Wimpex Food Processor in Shopwise last week. It was on sale for just Php 1,499.00. It's like the one in the picture, but more boxy. Hmmm..

Can a kind soul give me one of these babies? :)

24.11.10

want some of these sweets?

It's simple!

I can make these goodies for you!

How?

  • Email me at cieldedessert [at] gmail [dot] com.
  • Fill out the order form here

Thank you!

23.11.10

for more sweet stuff

Just a preview of my baking projects for the past three days:

macaroons. perfect, this time. :)

wrapping up fudge brownies.

preview: black and white rich brownies.


better looking and better tasting super chocolate chip cookies.

dessert platter: cheese cupcake, fudge brownies and oatmeal raisin cookies.

19.11.10

the baking project continues.

After making chocolate chip cookies yesterday, I knew I just had to make some oatmeal raisin cookies, too. Yes, I am that determined. Hahaha.

Unlike yesterday, I was able to get a full 7-hour sleep except for the fact that my neck's too painful. I dunno if that's cos of stiff neck or muscle pain. All I know is that it just freakin' hurts every time I move.

But pain didn't stop me from making some oatmeal cookies. Here's the proof:



I can't say they were perfect - there's always room for improvement and I know that soon enough, I'll find myself tweaking the recipe to fit my liking. It's a bit biscuit-y, I want them to be chewy. They were delish, of course, just like any other oatmeal cookie. I still have batter left in my fridge and I'll prolly do something later. :)

I got the recipe from Yummy Magazine's Bake, Give, Sell! cookbook which features 55 different recipes that you can well, bake, give, and sell. :)

Here's the recipe:

1 1/3c whole-wheat flour*
2/3c old-fashioned oatmeal
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1tsp cinnamon powder
1/2tsp salt
1/2c butter
1/2c white sugar**
1/2c brown sugar**
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
2/3c raisins

*   I didn't have whole wheat flour, so I substituted it with all-purpose flour.
** As always, I didn't have white sugar, so I used a total of 2/3c brown sugar -- I tend to lessen the sugar in any recipe, just trying to be healthy. :)

In a bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder, and salt. Set aside. 

Beat butter with white and brown sugar until well combined. Add egg and vanilla extract.

Stir in flour mixture. When combined, fold in raisins. 

Shape cookies and place on a greased baking sheet, leaving enough space in between each cookie.
The cookie dough isn't as fluid and consistent as that of the chocolate chip cookie because of the oats. I used an ice cream scoop to shape and drop the cookies, and flattened them using a spatula.

Bake at 350°F for 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove cookies from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.


There you have it. Very easy oatmeal raisin (or chocolate chip) cookies. :)

18.11.10

on more kitchen discoveries and chocolate chip cookies.

After [almost] perfecting the art of making cupcakes, I wanted to perfect the art of making chocolate crinkles since I failed the last time I tried.

But wait, before I get to that, let me share some of the tricks I've discovered. All because of wanting to bake perfectly, if there's such a thing.

I don't have a mixer... yet. But I will get one when I'm already a little more adept in baking. And because a lot of recipes need to have butter and sugar creamed, I consulted Mr. Google on how to cream without a mixer. The result? Click here. I tried this technique earlier, and what can I say, I was able to come up with creamed butter and sugar. It's not as perfect as the "mechanical" one, but it's better than just melting the butter and adding the sugar.

Next is practicing the art of beating using a wooden spatula. It's hard, but hell, it's worth it. Plus, it's an instant arm exercise! Haha.

My new found best friend is the ice cream scoop - makes life easier when baking cookies, cupcakes, etc.

And lastly, since I'm using a convection oven, aside from adjusting the temperature, I learned that it's very important to cover baking pans with aluminum foil to prevent getting a burnt cookie/cupcake/brownie/cake top -- since heat comes directly from above. The cooking time may take longer, but it's definitely better than tasting bitter burns.

On to my next kitchen experiment - chocolate chip cookies. I wanted to try my "foil discovery" with baking cookies. It worked when I baked the second batch of cupcakes and butterscotch brownies, but I didn't know if it will be the same with cookies. So, let's see.

I originally wanted to give chocolate crinkles a second try, but when I checked the recipes I noticed that the ingredients for the crinkles and cookies are kind of similar. So I decided to make chocolate chip cookies instead.

I got the recipe from Rachael Ray's A Cookie a Day.  Easier than making chocolate crinkles! :)

Here's the recipe:

2c all purpose flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1c butter, softened
1c brown sugar (the original recipe called for 1c brown and 1/2c white, I didn't have white and I don't like it to be too sweet)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2c chocolate chips (I also added 1/4c cocoa powder)


Pre-heat the oven to 375°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. (The original recipe suggests two cookie sheets, I didn't have one so I used the normal baking pan. And I didn't bake the whole batter, I just tried a few. Hehe.)


Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat the butter, sugars and vanilla in mixing bowl until creamy and light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the flour mixture and stir in the chocolate chips.


Drop by rounded tablespoons (12 per pan, evenly spaced) and bake for 12 minutes, switching and turning the pans around halfway through the cooking time. DO NOT OVERBAKE – the cookies continue to cook after they come out of the oven. Cool on the sheets for 1-2 minutes, then move the cookies to a rack to finish cooling. Store tightly sealed with a slice of bread to keep them soft.

I also topped the cookies with more chocolate chips and dusted them with sifted confectioner's sugar before popping them in the oven.

success!

There you have it, very easy but definitely delicious and chewy chocolate chip cookies.

what's cooking, uh, baking?

I am on an adrenaline high..

Since I'm from the night shift I sleep in the morning until around 7pm.

Today was different, though. I slept at around 11am and was already awake by 2pm. I was supposed to sleep again but I thought of baking the choco-banana cupcake batter that's been sitting in my fridge for 24hrs.

Okay, let me backtrack a bit.

I thought of baking choco-banana cupcakes the other day, after getting my daily dose of Miss Connie's site. Hehe. I have been scouring the internet for baking supply stores lately, and while I have checked out Ingrid's Sweet Haven last Saturday, I wasn't very satisfied with what I've seen. Hehe.

Since I'm just using a convection oven, the usual size of the different kinds of bakeware available in the market don't fit my oven - it's just around 12in in diameter. Anyway, since I'm just starting out, I really don't have all the tools I need, and I can't afford splurging on baking tools just yet.

But I've been itching to bake some cupcakes and I don't want to wait til I get myself a decent muffin pan.. Guess what I did? I bought those aluminum mamon molds and decided to use them as muffin pans instead. It's not entirely different, right?

So yeah, I decided to bake some cupcakes. My first batch didn't turn out perfect, the tops broke and it looked a bit toasted. But it tasted good. Yes, self-preservation is the key. :)

Going back to what happened today... I really intended to leave some cupcake batter, just in case my first try was a fail.

Before baking, I added a little milk to the batter and folded the mixture. I prepped my makeshift muffin pans and lined them with muffin paper which I just bought from The Cocoa Pantry.

Without further ado, here's the recipe. (Dami kasing daldal!)

I adapted Miss Connie's Choco-Banana Cupcake recipe and Joy of Baking's Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe. Hehe. I don't care if it's cupcake or muffin, if it tastes good, eat it! :)


1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 eggs (the original recipe called for 2 large eggs, but the eggs I used looked pretty small)
1c milk or cream (I used 1 cup evaporated milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2c all-purpose flour
2/3c brown sugar (should be white, but I never got the hang of buying white sugar, so...)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed (it should've been more, but again, I didn't have enough)
1c semisweet chocolate chips


I mostly followed the Joy of Baking's procedure...


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter, or line with paper liners, 12 - 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups.


In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. 


In another large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips and mashed bananas. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result. 


Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. In a small bowl combine the topping ingredients and then sprinkle a little topping on each muffin. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18 - 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan. 

The second batch of cupcakes-slash-muffins turned out good. Yummy. :)

almost perfect choco-banana cupcakes.


Now that I think about it, if I'll do this recipe again, I think I'd use half cup of milk and half cup of cream and cream the butter with the sugar instead of melting it. I'd probably mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together and alternately mix the flour mixture with the eggs . And I'd add the chocolate chips and bananas last. Just like how Miss Connie did it.

That's a note to myself and I better remember it next time. We'll see. :)



---

Up next: Chocolate Chip Cookies!

16.11.10

Choco-Butterscotch Brownies

Hooray for me!

I have successfully, for me at least, baked chocolate butterscotch brownies. As usual, I got the recipe from Miss Connie's site. And I am so happy that for the first time, I was able to finish it without having to do a double-take. Hehehe. My only mistake was forcing all the batter in one 8x8in pan. I never learn. It could've been better if I used two pans.

Anyway, here's the recipe:

1 stick butter
(If you're using one block, just use half of it.)
1 3/4c dark brown sugar
1 1/2c all-purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
2tsp vanilla extract
1/3 of a 500g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

The original recipe calls for 170g of dark chocolate, but since I didn't have a weighing scale and dark chocolate, I just used what I had on hand. But it worked, so no sweat. :)


Grease two 8x8in pans. If you have a larger pan, 9x5in or 10x6in would be better. Preheat oven at 170C.


Melt butter in a saucepan and let cool. Stir the brown sugar after around 10 minutes.


In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.


Melt chocolate in a bowl placed over simmering water. Once all the chocolate has melted, let cool for about 10 minutes.


Add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture, one at a time. Beat the mixture after each addition.


Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar-egg mixture and stir until completely blended. The mixture would be thick (and yes, very challenging to mix if you don't have a mixer!). Add vanilla and mix until blended.


Transfer half of the batter to another bowl. Add the chocolate in one of the bowls, and mix well.


Spoon mixture alternately in baking pans. To create a "marbled" effect, dip a pointed knife into one corner of the pan, drag to the opposite end, make a U-turn to return to the opposite direction. Do this until the whole pan is covered.


Just fill up to 1/2 to 2/3 of pan. Don't fill it to the edge, promise, you wouldn't want the cake/brownie to puff and break at the top just like what happened to mine.


Bake for about 20-25 mins or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave pan in the oven for about 5-10 mins. Cool on wire rack before cutting into squares. I chilled it in the fridge for about 4 hrs before cutting. And after they were cut, I chilled it again to make sure the chocolate doesn't melt.




The verdict? Awesome gooey goodness! The people at work loved it.






Now I have a reason NOT to buy butterscotch in Bacolod - I can make my own! :))

15.11.10

new kitchen discovery.

I tried making some chocolate crinkles, but as usual, I failed. Haha. I got the recipe from the Joy of Baking and one of my fave sites, home cooking rocks. But because it didn't turn out well even if I followed everything to the letter. It turned out to be chocolate crinkle cookies instead of the chewy chocolate crinkles it should've been. But hell, they were still yummy. :)

So, to save the batter and stop myself from throwing everything, I tried to put the batter in tart molds and made chocolate crinkle cupcakes instead:

my chocolate crinkle cupcakes :)

Oh well, you can call it a kitchen disaster but for me, it's more of a discovery. It's yummy nonetheless. Hehe.

Next project - Lechon Kawali for lunch at work and choco butterscotch brownies. :)

11.11.10

food overload.

Just a quick update on my so-called culinary journey.

I have been busy cooking food for my workmates since Monday. And I can't even begin to describe the joy I'm feeling. :)

It's just so fulfilling to see them enjoy the food I've cooked and it drives me to become better at what I'm doing.

Here are some of the pictures. I apologize for the quality, I'm just using my phone. And sorry for the low-key utensils, I'm just starting out. Hehe.

I tried to bake this yesterday:


It's called Rich and Gooey Fudge Brownies, and I got it from Yummy Magazine's website. I wasn't very successful with it, but unlike my first attempt, it was edible. I didn't achieve the right appearance, but I'd like to think that it tasted good. It was a bit moist, but it lacks the gooey goodness. I'll try it again sometime.

Since I'm just using a turbo broiler, it takes a lot of trial and error before I can achieve the desired effect of what I'm baking. Thank God for the WorldWideWeb, I was able to find some help when it comes to baking using a convection oven. See here and here and here.

macaroon mayhem

The macaroons I baked on Sunday. Yes, it got a little too toasted and it wasn't very moist -- again! But I have to give myself some credit, it tasted like a macaroon and this was before I researched on how to correctly use my convection oven -- haha, I don't wanna call it a turbo broiler. :p

tuna teriyaki

My take on the tuna teriyaki. I tweaked it a bit by making a bed of buttered veggies. Sorry, it doesn't look the same as the picture on the original recipe, but it tasted like teriyaki. Hehe.

packed lunch -- yes, I'm selling 'em!

crispy pork spare ribs with kung pao sauce

Crispy Pork Spareribs with Kung Pao OK Sauce. I omitted the gin, though - I replaced it with extra oyster sauce and a bit of water. And I just couldn't find OK Sauce in any supermarket, so I made my own "Chinese Sauce" which I got from some website. 

Here's the recipe for the sauce:
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Just mix everything and bring to a boil until sauce becomes thicker. There are a lot of variations for this recipe, though, some omit the oyster sauce while some add ginger, coriander, and chili.

I also didn't put black fungus cos I wasn't sure if it was tenga ng daga or something else. Haha. I also couldn't find snap peas in the supermarket, so I used Baguio beans instead. 




Today, we had Creamy Stir Fried Pork with Bell Peppers. I forgot to take a picture of it though. So far, it's the easiest among the recipes I've cooked this week. Haha.

So there you have it, my culinary journey finally unfolding. :)

10.11.10

running out of things to do.

I don't get it why people have the tendency to complain a lot. I am not excluding myself in the list cos I know very well that I complain and yes, whine a lot.

Take our current situation at the office, for example. Since we're mostly handling HR inquiries via phone, we are required to be logged in and with the headset on. It's been a month since we went "live" and the average number of calls we get in a day would be anywhere between six to thirteen. That's for a normal day. There would be days when we get more than the average, especially during payday, but that wouldn't exceed to 20.

When November kicked in, we prepared ourselves for the barrage of calls that would be coming in since it's Annual Enrollment season. We thought calls would be pouring in, but lo and behold, we're not getting any calls cos of some crazy directive from the client.

Which brings me back to the first paragraph, we complain if there are a lot of calls and we still complain when there are none. We're being paid to wait for calls which are sometimes non-existent. It's like we're being paid to browse and make tambay. Haha.

Thus the title of this post.. I'm literally running out of things to do, stuff to look for on the web, and thoughts to write on my blog.

All I've been doing is look for recipes that interest me and write them on paper. That's how bored I am. If not that, I ogle at paparazzi shots of Hollywood stars, or Google random stuff that come to mind. Haha.

Maybe tomorrow I'll post some of the new information I learn about all because of browsing.

Yes, there's a well and wealth of information on the WorldWideWeb! And I'm loving it. I found out just today that Google houses an online library with snippets or page scans of books.

Take a peek:


The catch, though, is that the books are not complete. These are just page scans, some pages may be omitted due to copyright issues or what not. But it's great, isn't it?

Now I wonder what I'm going to do tomorrow...

9.11.10

wish list item # 2

Here's another installment for my month-long birthday-slash-Christmas countdown...

I want a new phone. I am not one who follows the fad, although for some time I did. I've had my Nokia N82 for more than a year now and it wasn't even the "in" phone when I bought it last year. I'm glad to say that I've been able to keep the phone for that long since last year, I changed phones four times or was it more?

Anyway, to say that I am very satisfied with my phone is an understatement. In all the years that I've been a mobile phone user, I've always been fickle-minded about the phones I like and use. But with the phone that I have now, I've been mellow about wanting the newest spanky model out in the market.

For one thing, I love the fact that it takes good photos. Well, maybe next to Sony Ericsson K800 and K810i. But all three models have similar camera lens - Carl Zeiss. So yeah, it's a bit like the regular digital camera. If it only has faster image capture and processing... Oh well, we can never really have everything served in one plate, can we?

So for next year, I want a new phone. And I want something like this or better:

LG Optimus One

And guess what? It'll be on sale on Saturday! From Php 12,990 it's going down to a whopping Php 6,450!

Can someone give me an early birthday present? *wink*

yummy macaroons.

This morning, I wanted to give the failed chocolate fudge brownie recipe another try, but decided to go against it.

I thought of baking macaroons instead. It was easier than that darned brownie. And cheaper, too!

I got the recipe from Miss Connie's site. I've been hooked on her site ever since I stumbled upon it some three weeks ago.

No pictures, though, sorry. :(

The verdict? It was yummy. It just needs a little more, uhm,  practice. And maybe next time I'll use fresh coconut flakes to make it more delicious. :)

8.11.10

lesson learned.

before being baked.

My first try at baking was a fail.

I made sure I had all the ingredients. It was all fine until I placed the pan in the turbo.

I knew I was doing something wrong but I still gave it a go.

second attempt. with chocolate frosting.
I placed the pan too near the halogen that it burned the chocolate morsel topping. I thought it was just the topping, so I tried to save the brownie by putting chocolate frosting.

After it has chilled, I tried eating one bite. HARD. It wasn't as hard as a rock but it was still hard. And bitter.

The middle part tasted fine, but it wasn't too fudge-y.

Lesson learned: Don't bake too near the, uhm, what do you call them, the cover?

And cut the baking time. According to the stuff I've read online, just now, when I should've done it before I started everything.. Using a turbo broiler for cooking or baking reduces the cooking time to 50%.

According to this site:

... if you're adapting a regular oven recipe, remember to cut cooking time in half and lower the temperature of the turbo by about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Haaaah, I should've checked that instead of obsessing on recipes!

Sayang tuloy yung one batch. :(

Heck, it's better to fail and learn than not to try at all, he said.

Like what I said, lesson learned.

True.

And it's always best to do a knowledge check before starting anything.

7.11.10

adrenaline rush.

I was finally able to use my running shoes again, after being stocked up for almost three months.

I kinda forgot how it feels - the adrenaline rushing, catching your breath, sweat running down your skin, all while trying to give myself a pep talk, "If you can't run, just walk, walk until it hurts. Walk until you can't take it anymore."

I did that just an hour ago. While I wanted to walk longer, I had to cut it short and take a detour cos the rainclouds are threatening again and I have laundry hanging out to dry.

But I can still feel the rush, I did not turn on the fan just yet and for cool down, I'm going to start cleaning my place and prolly end this workout with a set of plates.

wish list item # 1

Because Christmas is just around the corner, and so is my birthday... I am posting my wish list this early. :)

And I am posting it one day at a time. Haha.

I gave up my camera almost two years ago, and while I think my N82's camera's doing a very good job, I think it's time to get myself a new camera. I don't have a specific model in mind, I just want one that works in all weather conditions.

On second thought, this Lumix ZS5 TZ8 camera would do, too. :)






3.11.10

prayer for today - patience.


God, teach me to be patient, teach me to go slow,
Teach me how to wait on You when my way I do not know.

Teach me sweet forbearance when things do not go right
So I remain unruffled when others grow uptight.

Teach me how to quiet my racing, rising heart
So I might hear the answer You are trying to impart.

Teach me to let go, dear God, and pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled with inner peace and I learn to know your will.
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