Aug 29, 2007

Viennese Whirls

I wanted to make a small treat for my parents today. They don't like anything too sweet, and they don't like chocolate (shocking, i know!!!) When I'm making a dessert for them, I have to rely on food blogs from Asia because their desserts and snacks tend to be less sweet than American desserts. I came across a recipe for Viennese Whirls at Cafe of the East. Cafe of the East is one of my favorite blogs because the explanation on the blog is clear and concise. I have yet to make anything from that blog that I didn't like.

These cookies are so delicious. They're buttery but the texture is very light. They remind me of those butter cookies in the blue cans (I forgot what they're called), but not nearly as dense. They're very fragile, so too much handling and they will break really easily. They were pretty easy to make, the hardest part was piping them out into the swirls. I had a difficult time making them all the same (as you can see).

Viennese whirls
Café of the east


170g butter, softened
55g icing sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
120g plain flour, sifted
50g cornstarch, sifted

1. Preheat oven to 320 degrees.

2. Cream softened butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

3. Fold in both flours.

4. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 2cm star nozzle with the mixture (use 1cm star nozzle to make mini sized biscuits). Pipe out round whirls (or rosettes or stars) onto a baking sheet.

5. Chill the whirls/rosettes/stars in the refrigerator, uncovered, for about 20-30 minutes before baking.

6. Remove from the refrigerator and bake immediately for about 20 minutes, or until light golden brown in color (reduce baking time if you are making mini sized biscuits). If necessary, turn tray around halfway through baking to ensure even baking. After cooling, store in airtight containers.

  • Don't omit step 5, I did on my first batch because I was too impatient, and the pattern didn't come out as well because it all melted together.

Aug 27, 2007


My friends and I had a little shindig at the Bishop Museum tonight to view the lunar eclipse. In honor of this special event, I made my favorite brownies, by none other than the queen herself, Alice Medrich. To match the theme, I cut my brownies into little full moons! =P A friend of mine suggested that I should use powdered sugar to show what the eclipse would look like, I will have to try that next time. These brownies are by far my favorite brownies. They're so easy to make and it takes no time at all. They have a nice crisp top and a sturdy bottom, but the middle is wonderfully gooey!! mmmmmm..delish!!!

from Cookies and Brownies by Alice Medrich

8 tbsp unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line and 8-inch square metal baking pan with foil.

2. Melt the butter and the chocolate together, on top of a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring often until smooth. Stir in sugar, vanilla and salt. Add eggs one at a time, followed by flour. Stir until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add nuts, if using.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare a water bath. Fill a large roasting pan with water and ice about 1 inch deep.

5. When the brownies are done - and they will look a bit dry on top - take them immediately from the oven and place in the water bath. Add more ice to the water if necessary. Allow to cool completely in the bath before removing the pan and cutting the brownies.
  • I didn't have any unsweetened chocolate, so I used semisweet chocolate and reduced the sugar to 1 cup.

Aug 14, 2007

Bull's eye cheesecake

I made this bull's eye cheesecake after reading all the rave reviews from Dessert comes first. What I love most about this cheesecake is the crust. It had a nice crunchy texture which was a nice compliment to the creamy cheesecake, and the crunchy texture lasted until all the cheesecake was gone. I also love the way it looks!! =P

As for the cheesecake, I think I personally prefer the original New York cheesecake. However, this cheesecake is a lot easier to make than a New York cheesecake. The hardest part of making this cheesecake was creating the bull's eye effect. Here's the recipe:

Bull’s eye Cheesecake

from Dessert Comes First


2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted


2-8-oz.packages cream cheese, softened
1-15oz can sweetened condensed milk

3 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice

4 oz of semisweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 300ºF.

2. Combine crumbs, sugar and margarine; press firmly on bottom of 8-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.

3. With mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs and lemon juice. Mix well.

4. Divide batter in half between two bowls. Melt the chocolate using a double boiler method and mix it with one of the batters.

5. Pour the batter one cup at a time in the center of the pan, alternating between the plain batter and the chocolate batter. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until center is slightly jiggly but perimeter is set. Cool 1 hour. Chill at least 4 hours to let flavors develop.

  • To make the crust even, use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs into the pan.
  • Bake the cheesecake until the temperature of the cheesecake reaches 150 degrees. Any higher and the cheesecake will crack.
  • When the cheesecake is finished baking, run a paring knife around the edge of the pan. Then return the cheesecake to the oven to let it cool slowly.
  • If for some reason your cheesecake does have a crack, there's an easy fix!! Put your cheesecake in the fridge until it's set. Using a warm knife, carefully bind the cracks together.

Clam Linguine

Tonight we had clam linguine for dinner. This is my second time making clam linguine, but I'm still not able to make it like my sister's. The problem is she's a really good cook, and good cooks never have recipes...therefore, I'm not able to replicate. The linguine was still pretty tasty, it just wasn't my sister's. The original recipe is from Giada, but I changed a few things since I didn't have fresh clams. I will definitely try again though, since this is my favorite pasta. I think next time I will add more chili flakes and more salt...hmmmm

Spaghetti with Clams

Adapted from Giada De Laurentis

1 pound dried spaghetti
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large can of chopped clams (approx. 3 lbs)
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp chili flakes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested, for garnish

1. In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta, stirring constantly in the beginning to prevent it from sticking together. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. When almost smoking, add shallots and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the clams and wine.

3. Add 1/3 of the chopped parsley. Whisk in butter to thicken sauce slightly.

4. Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse pasta with water – this will remove the pasta's natural starches. Place pasta into the clam saute pan and mix thoroughly. Check seasoning.

5. Pour pasta into large serving bowl. Zest lemon over the dish, being carefull not to zest the white part of the lemon, which is bitter. Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve immediately.

Aug 13, 2007

Chocolate decadence Cookies

I wanted to make something to send to my chocoholic friend and came across a recipe I have been wanting to try. It's from the cookbook, Bittersweet, written by who I call the Queen of Chocolate, Alice Medrich. This is a great cookbook for chocolate lovers, it's fun just to look at the pictures of all the decadent desserts. She calls this cookie the Bittersweet decadence cookie. I personally don't like the word bitter in any of my desserts..heehee. This cookie took no time to make, the dough was really sticky and wet, not like a normal cookie dough. Here's the original recipe, I didn't make any changes to the recipe, can't mess with the queen.

Bittersweet decadence cookies

Bittersweet by Alice Medrich

¼ cup all purpose flour

¼ tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 large eggs

½ cup sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped into large pieces

6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks

1. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.

2. In a small bow, mix the four, baking powder, and salt together thoroughly; set aside.

3. Place the 8 oz of chocolate and the butter in a large heatproof bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently just until melted and smooth. Remove the chocolate from the skillet and set it aside. Leave the heat on under the skillet.

4. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together thoroughly. Set the bowl in the skillet and stir until the mixture is lukewarm to the touch. Stir the eggs into the warm (not hot) chocolate. Stir in the flour mixture, then the nuts and chocolate chunks.

5. Scoop slightly rounded tablespoons of batter 1 ½ inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Bake until the surface of the cookies look dry and set but the center is still gooey, 12 to 14 minutes. If you used parchment (or wax paper), carefully slide the cookies, still on the parchment, onto the racks, or set the pans on the racks. Otherwise, let the cookies firm up on the pans for a minute, then transfer them to the racks with a metal pancake turner. Let cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container.


  • Alice suggests that you shouldn't use a silpat to bake these cookies, because the texture will be too uniform. I was so tempted to use my silpat because I LOVE my silpat, but I listened to her and used parchment paper instead. The result was a nice crunchy crust with a moist center, like I said, don't mess with the queen.
  • Wait until the melted chocolate mixture is cooled before adding in the chunks of chocolate. I didn't really wait and my chocolate chunks melted right into the batter.
  • I toasted my walnuts for about 5 to 7 minutes in a 300 degree oven, just to give it more flavor.

Strawberry Mousse Cake

Went to the market the other day and there were strawberries on sale. I was looking through my recipe file to see what I can do with the strawberries. I didn't have too much time on hand, so I wanted to make something simple. I made a Strawberry Mousse Cake. The original recipe is from Eupho Cafe. The cake from Eupho cafe is a lot prettier, I only had about one pound of strawberries so I wasn't able to do the strawberry decorations that Eupho cafe did. I will try it next time though. This cake is really light and I love the texture of it. It's really refreshing for a hot summer day. I think I will try it with mango next time.

Strawberry Mousse Cake

adapted from Eupho Cafe

3 eggs
100g castor sugar
1/4 tbsp of vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
20g cake flour
50g corn starch

1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
400g fresh strawberries
90g castor sugar
1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
2 yolks
2 tbsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven at 300 F.

2. Separate egg whites and yolks. Beat yolks with sugar until fluffy and the color turns to a pale yellow. Add vanilla extract and mix well. Preheat oven at 300 F.

3. In a clean and grease-free mixing bowl, beat egg whites until it becomes frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat egg whites until soft peaks form. In a small bowl, sift together cake flour and cornstarch. Add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture until just incorporated. Add about 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and stir until batter is incorporated. Fold in the rest of the egg whites. Bake in an 8" round pan for about 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool, cut it to two slices.

1. Remove stems and rinse strawberries. Blend 400g of strawberries into puree.

2. Place the milk and gelatin in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Add sugar to the gelatin mixture, then add in two blended egg yolks, and lemon juice. Whip heavy cream till thick (still looks like liquid, but much thicker), and then pour the strawberry puree and gelatin mixture into the whipped cream. Mix well.

3. Remove the bottom of the spring form pan and put the ring on a plate or a cake circle. Line the bottom with a layer of cake, pour in the mousse, cover with another layer of cake, press the top a little bit to make sure there is no bubbles inside. Transfer to refrigerator to chill at least 3 hours.


  • To make your own castor sugar, put granulated sugar in a food processor for a few pulses.
  • When whipping cream, make sure your whisk and your bowl is cold, it will produce better results. I normally put some ice cubes and ice water in my mixing bowl with the whisk attachment. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and then dry the bowl and the whisk. In this recipe, the cream should not reach the soft peak stage.
  • For the egg whites, they should be at room temperature. If you don't have time to wait for the egg whites to reach room temperature, but the bowl of egg whites in another bowl of warm water.
  • When mixing the cake, make sure you don't over mix it, or gluten will form and your cake will be too sticky, instead of light and soft.

Cream de Parisienne

I haven't made bread in awhile and thought I would try this pastry. It's called Cream de Parisienne and the original recipe can be found at Do What I Like. The pastry came out really well. The bread's texture was really soft and the texture stayed soft until all the pastry finished. The filling is a custard filling, and it's just the right amount of sweetness. I love how pretty it looks, I kept looking at the oven when it was baking, because it looks so pretty!!! I definitely will make this again. I recommend anyone trying this recipe, it's pretty simple to make and the results are very rewarding. It does, however, take patience.

Cream de Parisienne

adapted from Do What I like

250g bread flour
3.5g instant yeast
50g castor sugar
2.5g salt
7.5g milk powder
25g unsalted butter (melted)
25g egg
130ml water

1. Mix the bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk powder together in a large bowl. Mix the butter, egg and water in a separate bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until a dough forms. knead the dough until it's no longer sticky. Return dough to a greased bowl and let the dough proof for approximately 60 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in a warm area.

2. Knead the dough to release the air in it and proof for another 30 minutes.

3. Divide dough into 60g pieces and shape it into round balls. Rest the dough for 25 minutes.

4. Roll the dough into a flat oval of approximately 10cm x 14cm in dimension. Add in 40g filling and shape (refer to illustrations on the e-pan site). Proof for 45 minutes.

5. Glaze the surface with an egg glaze.

6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 1o to 12 minutes or till golden brown.

Custard: (about 300g)

26g cake flour
60g Castor sugar
200ml milk
25g unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks (about 36g)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Sieve flour into a microwavable bowl. Stir in the sugar and mix well.

2. Heat milk in a saucepan till nearly boiling but not boiling. Add this hot milk into the flour mixture, stirring all the time.

3. Microwave for 1.5 minutes in a microwave oven. Remove from microwave, stir mixture. Return to microwave for another 1.5 minutes.

4. Add in the lightly beaten egg yolks and blend well.

5. Microwave mixture for 1 minute.

6. Add in the butter and vanilla essence and mix well.

  • I don't usually have castor sugar on hand, but what I do is put granulated sugar in the food processor for a few pulses to create my own castor sugar.
  • When making this pastry, be patient, the dough needs time to proof. Don't rush the process.

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