Friday, December 23, 2005

Gingerbread Cookies for the season

Tis the season to be merry. Usually, I'm not a fan of gingerbread, but these are quite palatable. Recipe is more or less from Donna Hay's Classics II.

125gm softened butter
2/5th cups brown sugar (slightly less than 1/2 cup)
2/5th cups golden syrup
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger, sifted into the flour
1 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate, aka baking soda, aka bicarbonate of soda, sifted into the flour

Icing - 1½ cups sifted icing sugar, 2 tablespoons clean water.

1. Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. That means, use a cake mixer to beat it together la. Preheat oven to about 190C. That's mark 5½ on an electrolux oven.

2. Chuck in rest of ingredients. ie, flour and other dried stuff. Pour in golden syrup. Use a spatula to combine the ingredients until it forms a cohesive dough. Can also use hands, but make sure they're washed, and haven't been in unsavoury places, like your nose.

3. Wrap in gladwrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

4. Roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thickness, on a sheet of non stick baking paper. Can either roll it in BETWEEN two sheets, or just roll on one sheet. Ie, the top is exposed. Use cutters to cut.

5. Place on baking tray, and bake.

6. Mix the icing ingredients. Have faith, two tbspoons of water and that amount of icing sugar WILL actually yield a flowy icing paste, that you can use to pipe your decorations.

7. Add food coloring, preferably non carcinogenic type, and decorate at will.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

My Green Ondeh Ondeh Balls

These are great fun to make, although I've always wondered prior to making them, how they ever got the gula melaka into the centres. I assumed it was injected in, or something. Anyway, upon the insistence of my precocious son, we one day tried it out, using the recipe from COOK MALAYSIAN by Lee Sook Ching.

Problem with this recipe is, it did not specify makes how many. Anyway, using my intuition, it looked like it DIDNT make very much, so I adjusted the quantities in proportion:

12-15 pandan leaves, pureed and juice extracted. (probably need to add a little water if using blender)
Gula Melaka - 4-6 tablespoons. Use best quality if you can find it. Chop finely and mix with
Caster Sugar - 3 teaspoons

Glutinous rice flour 1 cup
Coconut - 2/3rd grated

1. Believe it or not, just mix the glutinous rice flour with the pandan "juice" until it forms a cohesive dryish dough, adding a little water here and there along the way. Initially it might just form clumps of green flour stuck together.

2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. ( I usually pre boil water in a kettle first, then let it boil on gas stove. Somehow, I think wasting electricity is not as bad as wasting gas).

3. Roll the dough into a long sausage, 1 inch diameter. Cut into small pieces, about 1 inch apart as well. Like playdough, shape it into a disc, and place the gula melaka & sugar mixture into the centre. Close the disc to shape a ball.

4. Chuck the balls into the boiling water, and wait till they float. There's really quite a sense of euphoria when they do. Fish them out, toss until dry, do not try to juggle with bare hands. Toss in grated coconut. All flaws will be covered once its coated in the snow white coconut.

Might not be exactly commercial standard, but tastes quite good, and the kids LOVE making this. OH, YA, it makes only about 13-15. Hardly worth the effort, so I suggest doubling everything. (The flour, mainly)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Orange Mocha Brownies, Dedicated to Rachel Tsan

Line a square cake pan, simply, with baking paper overhanging from both sides. ie, north and south. OR east and west.
Preheat oven to moderate. Dunno what it is on your oven, but that's about 170C.

1½ cups plain flour, sifted
2/3 cups cocoa (that's two thirds, not two OR three)
1 tablespoon coffee powder (don't bother putting in expensive stuff)
1½ cups caster sugar (or less)
250 gms butter, softened (leave at room temperature for abt 15 minutes)
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla essence/extract if you're feeling generous
rind and juice of one orange (ie, grate the orange skin, and juice the orange)

1 cup of chopped dark and milk chocolate mixed.
(Alternatively, use chocolate buttons, or chocolate chip, but make sure its of good quality)

200 gms good quality dark chocolate, chopped for melting
1/4 cup cream
2 tablespoons or more, of brandy, or kahlua, or whatever alcohol tickles your fancy. or without.
1 tablespoon coffee powder. (Might want to step it up a notch and use gold instead of classic)

1. Believe it or not, mix together all the ingredients above (minus frosting stuff), except for the orange juice, and chocolate bits. As in mix with a cake mixer. You should get a lovely batter, of frosting consistency. Do not panic.

2. Chuck in the orange juice (should be about 1/2 to 3/4 cup), and rind, if you haven't already. Mix again, and the batter should be a bit more flowy.

3. Stir in the chopped chocolate bits. They shouldn't be too large a chunk, but not too fine either. The size of half a malteser would be about right.

4. Pour into pan, scrape off batter with spatula. Lick bowl with dignity.

5. Bake for about 25 minutes. Bear in mind when you put a skewer through to test for doneness, you may have penetrated some melted choc bits. This doesn't mean the brownie is not completed. Poke a few more spots at random to see if cooked. Or touch the surface, if springy, probably done.

6. While waiting for it to bake, chuck the frosting stuff (minus booze) into a glass bowl. Zap all ingredients in microwave for about a minute, on high. The chocolate should be melting, and the cream, warm. Just continue stirring (outside the microwave, of course) until you get a lovely chocolate sauce. Chuck in the booze for the buzz.

7. After cooling the brownie slightly, pour over the frosting and let it sit until you want to serve it. Serve with fresh cream, or vanilla ice cream, or whatever you like. Satay sauce, perhaps, or sambal. Your call.