Apr 27, 2008

Cheesecake pops-Daring Bakers

I was so excited about this challenge that I actually made these in the beginning of the month. This recipe was so much fun to make, and I can't wait to see what my fellow daring bakers did with their pops. The challenging part about this recipe is dipping the pops into the chocolate. Because the pops were frozen when you dip it into the chocolate, the chocolate hardens very quickly. I had a hard time making the pops pretty!! Oh well..they were yummy anyway!! The recipe listed below is a half portion of the original. The original can be found at Deborah's Taste and Tell.

Cheesecake Pops
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor

Makes 15-20 Pops
2.5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ½ large eggs
1 egg yolks
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
15 to 20 8-inch lollipop sticks
1/2 pound chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

3. Grease a 10-inch cake pan, and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

4. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

5. When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

6. When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

7. Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

8. Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

  • I used a springform pan, which wasn't recommended in the original recipe. The only thing you have to be careful about when using a springform pan is to make sure you wrap the bottom of the pan with foil so the water won't seep into your pan.
  • It took about 3 hours for my pops to be frozen. I took them out in batches because they kept melting while I was dipping.
  • Instead of scooping the cheesecake into little balls, I used a flower cookie cutter.

Apr 19, 2008

Ultra soft custard buns

What a name that these little buns have to live up to! I saw this recipe while browsing through a food blog called the viewfinder of Mr. and Mrs. Kwok. She made it into a loaf, but when I finished with the dough, it didn't look like it would fill my loaf pan. so..I decided to make them into baby buns.

Now, you might ask, do these buns live up to their name?! YES!! a million times yes!! They're super soft and they're so flavorful. The procedure is similar to the water-roux method, only this includes an egg yolk in the mixture. The original recipe says to use a mixer for this, but I find that the dough was so small, the mixer couldn't really knead it properly. So I ended up kneading the dough by hand...which I really enjoy anyway! In the beginning, this dough is really sticky, but after you work with it a little while, it starts to come together. Here's the recipe:

Ultra soft custard buns

adapted from The Viewfinder of Mr. And Mrs. Kwok

For the bread dough:
200 g bread flour
30 g sugar
½ tsp salt
100g milk
1 tsp instant yeast
15 g milk powder
15 g butter

custard batter
1 egg yolk
10g sugar
15g bread flour
65g milk

1. In a pot, combine all the ingredients for the custard batter and cook over low heat. Constantly stir the mixture to make sure that it doesn't burn. Cook the mixture until it starts to thicken, this will happen very quickly. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.

2. Combine the bread flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, and yeast. Slowly add the milk into the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Add the cooled custard mixture and knead the mixture together. Once the dough starts to come together, knead in the butter. Knead dough until it's smooth and elastic.

3. Allow dough to rise until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Cut the dough into 9 equal portions, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Form the doughs into balls and place them on a greased baking sheet. Allow the rolls to proof for another 60 minutes.

6. Glaze the rolls with egg wash, and bake them in a 350 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

Apr 7, 2008

Cinnamon butterfly

These cinnamon rolls have been on my to do list ever since I saw it at Kitchen Unplugged. The way she made them, they look so pretty. As you can see, mine didn't come out as nice as hers...but that's okay, because they're DELICIOUS!!! There's a little bit of cardamom in the dough, which is a really nice complement with the cinnamon. I think I will put cardamom in all of my future cinnamon rolls! These rolls are really soft and they stayed soft for the next three days. The dough was really easy to make because it didn't require too much kneading. I did, however, have a hard time rolling the dough to a 12"x24" rectangle. I think I gave up at 12"x18"...maybe you'll have better luck. Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Butterfly
Kitchen unplugged

For the dough:
7 g active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 very small eggs
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

For the filling:
4 Tbsp soft butter
1/4 cup sugar mixed
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 small egg mixed with 1 Tbp milk

1. Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water for 5 minutes.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour with yeast liquid, melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt and cardamom until dough is smooth. Cover and refrigerate for half day (max. up to 2 days)

3. Do this in a cool place: flour the work table, roll out the dough to a 12" x 24" rectangle, spread the soft butter and then the cinnamon sugar. Roll up, starting from a 24" side. Cut roll diagonally (the first and second cut are in an opposite direction, so an individual roll with 1/2" width on one side and 3" on the other)

4. Now you should able to get 12 rolls, use either your thumbs or a wooden spoon's handle to press down in the middle of each roll, so the two cut edges will be forced upward.

5. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the rolls on, cover. Let rise (85F is ideal) until puffy, about 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven 400F. Glaze the roll with egg mixture. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden.

  • The original recipe says to sprinkle the rolls with sugar and almond flakes after you glaze it. I didn't do this part and I thought the rolls were sweet enough.

Apr 2, 2008

Thick and chewy Chocolate chip cookie

Isn't this adorable? I was browsing through Martha stewart's website and I found this great idea for wrapping up cookies. I thought I would try it out and give it away as favors. They look so pretty lined up in a row!! heehee. Inside the envelope is a yummy chocolate chip cookie.

Like probably every baker, I'm in search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. So far, I've only actually tried two recipes. This one and the one from martha stewart's baking handbook. They're very different in texture and it's very hard to compare the two. This one is as the title suggests, it's thick and chewy. The one from martha is much thinner and it has a slight crisp to it. I think I prefer the martha stewart one, because I tend to like thinner cookies. But I chose to make these cookies because I wanted a hefty cookie that would look nice in the cd sleeves.

Thick and Chewy chocolate chip cookies
from Baking illustrated

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 oz) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt together in medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

3. Roll a scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Each half will have a jagged surface where it was ripped from the other. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough's uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inch apart.

4. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a wide metal spatula.

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