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Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Saturday, 8 September 2012 | posted by Simply bakes



Yeap, and the September holidays just zoomed past before i could say "Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies" once again.. :'( This holiday was pretty unproductive considering how near my exams are. The first few days were fun though, because i attended a leadership symposium where many students from different schools in Singapore come together and are placed under different organisations to learn about Servant leadership. My group is planning a Dog therapy programme for the elderly at Kim Seng Community Center near November and i am really excited! For those who do not know what dog therapy is about, basically our main aim is to cure the loneliness of the elderly in our community and get them to interact more with neighbors and friends through the help of pets. Meaningful, no? :)


Getting back on track, i made these cookies the moment i saw them on Baking Bites, no kidding. I mean I understand peanut butter and oatmeal together, but mashed bananas?? I never thought that we could incorporate bananas into cookies because usually, the cookie dough would be too wet and produce a soft cookie. Then of course, I HAD to make them because right there, i could see a winning combination. Again, Knowing me, i just had to boost the recipe up i little so i went ahead and added raisins and cinnamon in to the cookie dough too.

These cookies look plain but they have many layers of flavors which complement each other very well. Like Baking Bites mentioned, they taste like a cross between a Peanut Butter cookie and banana bread. Freshly baked from the oven, these cookies had the perfect crunchy crust and are moist and cakey in the middle. The banana definitely takes a back seat in this cookie but still noticeable, though i wish it could be more pronounced. I love the nuttiness of the crunchy peanut butter i used because it added a lot of bite into the cookie along with the sweet raisins and spicy cinnamon. It is definitely a cookie to remember!

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies (I tweaked the recipe a little) 
Gotten from Baking Bites

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup mashed banana (from 1 sm/med)
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
1/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together sugars and butter. Beat in egg until smooth, then mix in the peanut butter and mashed banana. Working by hand or with a mixer on low speed, blend dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture. Stir in the oats.
Shape dough into tablespoons and place on baking sheet, flattening each slightly with your fingers.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies just begin to turn golden around the edges.
Cool on a wire rack.

With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(10) |23:41 | back to top

Open Apple Pie
Thursday, 16 August 2012 | posted by Simply bakes


You know the satisfaction of baking for someone and letting people taste your food then getting their praises in return? Well, I ADORE IT. I have never been confident enough to bring my bakes to school because i was afraid of how people may react to it. I absolutely cannot stand it when people give me a fake smile and tell me how good my bakes are then putting the spoon down, only take one small bite just to entertain me. I mean just tell me if you don't like it, i can handle it!

This time, i plucked up the courage to bake something special for one of my friend to celebrate her birthday. In the end, i got RAVE reviews from all my friends saying how good it was and how much they loved it. I could really feel their genuine appreciation for me and even though i appeared calm and collected, i was really madly cheering inside my heart going WHOOHOO~~! and running around in circles screaming victory like a mad woman haha. I dint expect it to be such a huge hit and thank goodness for that! So pat on the back yingxuan, you did it. :D

GO YINGXUAN!! YEAH MAN.

Moving on to the taste of this apple pie, it was simply gorgeous. I used an all butter pate brisee for the pie crust and it was soo crispy and good! This apple pie has caramel as a pie filling too, what else could go wrong?? Sprinkled with cinnamon sugar around the crust and oozing with the buttery-appley-caramel goodnness, it was just very indulgent and i enjoyed every minute eating it:D The only problem though is that it might be too sweet because of the sweet caramel filling so you could choose to use granny smith apples instead (I used fugi apples because i love how it is so soft) to balance out the sweetness.

As an added bonus, this pie is really easy to make too! It is almost like a galette and all i had to do was to fold in the extra pie dough without having to trim the edges and make it all perfect and neat. This pie looks kind of rustic i feel and i like it the way it is:) 

MARK MY WORDS AND TRY IT. 


All butter Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 to 8 Tbsp ice water (I used only 3tbsp but it varies cause it is very humid here in Singapore!)
egg wash for the pie crust
cinnamon sugar

Caramel Filling: (Below is the version where i halved the original recipe because there was no need for so much filling)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4-5 Red Fugi Apples peeled and cored and slicked thinly

Method: 
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer until it forms a thick paste when it cools.
  2. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough.
  3. Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. If you want an extra flaky crust, shmoosh the dough mixture into the table top with the heel of the palm of your hand a few times. This will help flatten the butter into layers between the flour which will help the resulting crust be flaky. You can easily skip this step if you want. Gently shape the dough mixture into two disks. Work the dough just enough to form the disks, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.
  4. Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place onto a 8-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Make sure there is a good amount of excess pie dough hanging down from the pie pan.
  5. Arrange the thinly sliced apples onto the pie.
  6. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  7. Fold the excess pie dough onto the filling and brush egg wash onto the pie crust. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar generously onto the pie crust.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated180 degreeC oven for 50 minutes-1 hour or until pie crust browns beautifully

With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(2) |22:03 | back to top

Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake with Peanut Brittle-A Breakthrough
Friday, 20 July 2012 | posted by Simply bakes


I have been trying to create a cake, something with different dimensions of flavours and layers of textures. I am not easily impressed by cakes with only one note of flavour or having similar textures throughout the whole cake. I get bored easily unless there is some kind of surprise in the cake:) 

From bottom: Tish Boyle's buttermilk chocolate cake layer, chopped peanut brittle, Julia Child's perfect chocolate mousse, cake layer, peanut brittle, chocolate mousse, snappy chocolate layer, garnish.
I went blog hopping around and drew inspirations from many different writers and pictures on the net.^^ In the end, i gathered recipes from all different websites and settled on a chocolate Mousse cake with crushed peanut brittle for texture:) 

Now Think about the smooth and rich chocolate mousse... the chocolaty cake...The crunchy caramely peanut brittle.. the snap of the top chocolate layer and the bits of dark chocolate in there.... 

Yes, this cake is truly the deal. 



This cake is seriously chocolaty and very RICH.  I could really taste the buttery flavour shining through in the Chocolate mousse and all the different components needed quite a fair bit of butter to make!:O Sigh... guilty pleasures:') I love the bold flavours, different textures and mouth after mouth of chocolate and peanutty goodness. 


 The downside for this cake was that the Julia Child's perfect chocolate mousse could not stay firm even for a few minutes out of the fridge! It would start melting all over and i was absolutely horrified because the cake could not hold if the mousse was flowing out! In the end, i had to resort to storing the cake overnight in the FREEZER and could only bring it out only when it is time to serve. Secondly, after storing the cake in the freezer overnight, the salty peanut brittle has really infused together with the cake, making the cake a tad bit salty. :( However after leaving the cake overnight for a second day, the flavours have really combined well enough and it was a whole new flavour to discover:D 

All in all, after the cake has had its TWO WHOLE DAYS or more resting in the freezer, all the flavours from the different components worked really well together and i must say, this cake is truly a milestone in my baking endeavour. Loving every minute of it<3

Oh yes, PLEASE use good quality chocolate TYVM! It will really make a whole world of a difference.

 1)Tish Boyle's buttermilk Chocolate Cake: (adapted and tweaked from The Little Teochew)
- 1 cup (4oz/114g) cake flour (plain flour is fine too)
- 1/2 cup (1.6oz/46g) Dutch-processed (alkalized) cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks/6oz/170g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups (8.8oz/250g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk (I made my own buttermilk with 1 cup of EVAPORATED MILK and 1 tbsp of lemon juice and let it sit for 15 minutes or until thickened before measuring out 3/4 cup.)
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) Kahlua (optional but i used rum)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 ounces (113g) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate or 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate morsels bittersweet ( I used 60% cocoa chocolate couverture droplets)

Method: 

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Generously grease the interior of a 24cm round springform cake pan. Dust the molds with flour and tap out the excess.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed for 2 minutes, until very creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes, until the mixture is well blended and light. At medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk, Kahlua (or rum), and vanilla extract. If your mixer has a splatter shield attachment, attach it now. At low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating it with the buttermilk cream mixture in two additions, and mixing just until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and stir in the finely chopped chocolate or miniature semisweet morsels. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake molds, dividing it evenly and smoothing the tops.

5. Bake the cake at 175°C for the first 30 minutes. After that,  lower the temperature to 160°C and bake for the next 40 minutes. Test with a skewer at round the 1 hour-mark.

Cool the cakes in the pan set on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

6. Invert the cakes onto the rack and cool completely.

7. Place the cake into the freezer to firm up so that you can slice the cake neatly into 2 layers to assemble. 


2)Julia Child's prefect Chocolate Mousse: (adapted from David Lebovitz)
-6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
-6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
-1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee + extra to brush and moisten the cake with
-4 large eggs, separated
-2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
-2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
-1 tablespoon (15ml) water
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Method: 

1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.
2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)
3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat with a hand held electric mixer until cool and thick. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.
5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.
6. Place the chocolate mousse into the fridge to cool while you make the peanut brittle. 
3)Best Peanut Brittle: 
Recipe and instructions can be found at my previous post here
(For this cake recipe, i suggest you use LESS salt and UNSALTED butter for the peanut brittle.)

4) Snappy Chocolate layer: 
-3/4 cup of chocolate candy melts
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Method: 
1. Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler and cool completely. (make the chocolate layer only after the chocolate mousse cake has completely set and firmed up.)

Assemble: 
1. Remove the thoroughly chilled cake from the freezer and slice the cake into 2 layers using a serrated knife. Trim the borders of the cake about 0.4 cm.
2.  line base of a 24cm springform tin and place one cake layer in tin. Brush the cake layer with cooled dark brewed coffee until moistened. Chop up a handful of peanut brittle and sprinkle all over the layer of cake. Pour half of the chocolate mousse into the cake tin. 
3. Repeat step 2 with another layer of chocolate cake, brush with coffee, sprinkle with crush peanut brittle and the rest of the chocolate mousse. 
4. Place the chocolate mousse cake into the freezer to set for one day (24 H) 
5. When the cake has completely set, remove the sides of the pan and pour the snappy chocolate layer over the top. Decorate with cherries on top and more peanut brittle at the sides of the cake. 

With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(8) |22:47 | back to top

Best Peanut Brittle
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 | posted by Simply bakes


See the word 'best' up there? 
Yeap, i am not kidding. 

I have always wanted to make peanut brittle, seeing how glossy, crisp and peanutty they look. I could imagine the crunch when you bite into it and the melt in your mouth buttery caramel and nuts blend together perfectly. I was scared though, that once wrong step could turn the peanut brittle into a disaster. I absolutely could not stand the thought of having the kind of peanut brittle that could chip off your tooth with a sharp pain, infused with burnt caramel flavour or those that are so sticky and soft, they stick to your teeth when you eat them. 

caramel at amber-hue

However, after making this perfect recipe, i have to say it is quite forgiving. I did not have a candy thermometer but still managed to eyeball it till the caramel was at the hard crack stage and then adding the peanut in. The trick of peanut brittle is to have ALL the ingredients ready at hand before you start melting the sugar. You have to work very fast so that the peanut brittle will not harden up before you can spread it out on the silicone sheet. 


The best thing about this recipe is definitely the sea salt. It just adds the saltiness to this sweet dessert and really compliments the ever so slightly burnt caramel. I was really shocked by how great this tasted because firstly, it was so crisp, it snaps in your mouth when you bite into it. Then, the buttery peanutty thing just melts in your mouth along with all those little bits of peanut and sea salt. This was really addictive, and i couldnt stop just after one. hehehe. TRY THEM.


Recipe adapted and modified from smitten kitchen:

  • Ingredients:
Vegetable-oil spray or 1 teaspoon butter, for lining the tray (I used silicone mat so there was no need to butter the tray Very useful!!!)
1 cups sugar
half stick (60g) salted or unsalted butter
1/6 cup honey ( I used Australian raw honey)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse or flaky sea salt (use less if you’re using salted butter)
1 cups of roasted, salted nuts. ( I used chopped peanuts)


  • Method:
Line a 12×16x1/2-inch sheet baking pan with parchment paper and 
lightly coat it with vegetable spray or butter.
Put the sugar, butter, honey, and 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons water to a large saucepan, and stir together until all the sugar is wet. Cook over high medium-high, but watch it carefully as it will foam up quite a bit and you might need to dial back the heat to medium until it begins to thicken.
Once the mixture turns a medium golden (takes at about 5-6 minutes) immediately remove from the heat, and carefully whisk in the baking soda followed by the salt (taking care, as the caramel will rise in the pan and bubble some more). Switch to a wooden or metal spoon, and fold in the nuts.
Quickly pour the mixture onto the sheet pan, and spread it out over the pan using the back of the spoon before it starts to harden. Alternately, you can slide the parchment paper out of the baking pan and onto a counter, cover it with another sheet, and use a rolling pin, pressing down hard, to roll it out as flat and thin as you would like.
At this point you can either let it cool completely (pulling off the top sheet of parchment, if you use the rolling pin technique) and break it into bite-size pieces with the back of a knife or other blunt object or, while it is still fairly hot and pliable, cut it into a shape of your choice (I went for long, thinnish strips) and let the pieces cool, separated on parchment paper.
The brittle can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to two weeks. I like to separate the pieces between layers of parchment or waxed paper, as a little humidity can cause them to stick together.

With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(4) |23:24 | back to top

Banana Whoopie Pies
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 | posted by Simply bakes



To be honest, i have never seen nor tasted a whoopie pie before till now. At first, i thought just how ridiculous the name is, i mean seriously. Whoopie pies?? More like whoopiehorrible tasting!
WELL, I WAS WRONG.



As good recipe is soo hard to come by, and it is so refreshing whenever you encounter one that is worth keeping forever. This banana whoopie pie is definitely something everyone should try. Two perfectly round, moist and cakey cookies sandwiched with  fluffy sweet buttercream frosting. It is an absolute dessert delight. I especially love the addition on chocolate chips in the buttercream because it gives it an extra crunch a midst all the sweet buttery banana flavour. Next time, i will throw in some chopped peanuts and it would be gorgeous i suppose!



The success of this recipe was really unexpected and i love how its so portable and handy. I created little pockets out of wax paper to fit these whoopie pies in so you can just eat it on the go without dirtying your hands with the oozing buttercream. You can just bring these to work or school and they will be gone in a flash:)

Recipe adapted from: My Baking Addiction ( i did make some adjustments)
Cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I used buttermilk)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Buttercream
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (226g)
  • enough powder sugar/icing sugar, sifted (I never follow the amount of sugar called for as most buttercream recipes are too sweet. Just add in cup after cup until you get the sweetness you like.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 2-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream or milk
  • small pinch of salt
  • Handful of chocolate chips

Directions
1. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into a medium bowl; set aside.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter with sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl and beater, and beat in egg on medium speed until combined. Beat in banana, sour cream, and vanilla until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add flour mixture in batches until completely combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
4. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag or a resealable plastic bag fitted with a Wilton Round Tip #2A pastry tip. Pipe six 2 1/2-inch round mounds onto each pan, placing them 3 inches apart. Bake until light golden, 12-15 minutes, rotating pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through.
5. Remove pans from oven and slide the parchment sheet of cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely. Line baking sheets with fresh paper and repeat process with remaining batter.
6. Meanwhile, make the filling. Cream the butter until smooth about 1 min. Cream in vanilla and salt. Add in SIFTED icing sugar cup by cup into the buttercream until desired sweetness is reached. Add in the heavy whipping cream 1 tbsp at a time until fluffy consistency is reached. Cream the buttercream at high speed for about 1 min until soft and fluffy.
7. Once the cookies are cool, pipe the filling (2 tbsp) onto the flat side of 1/2 of the cookies. Sprinkle generously with chocolate chips on top before Topping with the remaining cookies and arrange on a platter in a single layer. The whoopie pies can remain at room temperature up to 3 hours. To store, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(9) |21:51 | back to top

Apple Crumble Tart
Tuesday, 8 May 2012 | posted by Simply bakes


ZOOM in a blink of an eye, here i am in May already! Bet many of you feel that way too, how time passes real fast. I still remember reassuring myself to take things slow because i still have loads of time ahead. Sigh, guess i am far too behind now that i realized where i am at this point in time.


This year has been tough on me and i pray that i will be able to face each day with courage and zeal. Finally started baking again and everything feels so familiar yet so distant. hahah thank goodness i haven't lost my knack for baking even though i did made some mistakes along the way...:)

This tart is buttery, sweet and the apple and cinnamon combination is just gorgeous. Not to mention how the crispy crumble and tender apples really added on to the texture! I really like the shortbread tart crust recipe i found at Joy of baking's site because its really crispy and buttery with a hint of saltiness which i like:) I can't stand soft and tasteless tart crust so for those out there who care about the crust just as much as i do, this is the crust for you:)

The crumble on the top is my still favorite though. Face it, who doesn't like some crumbly on top of their desserts huh? hahah. When this tart was baking away in the oven and the sweet apple-ly aroma wafted out, i immediately thought, homemade desserts are still the best compared to commercial made ones. Most especially homemade apple crumble pie fresh and piping hot from the oven!


Remember that we only want the apples to be cooked such that a knife can cut through easily but still remains firm giving a slightly crunchy texture to the tart. Granny Smith apples would be the best for that:) Enjoy!

Shortbread Crust: 

1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (35 grams) confectioners sugar(powdered or icing sugar)
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

Method: 
Lightly butter an 8 or 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom. 
In your food processor, place flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Ass the cold butter and pulse until pastry starts to form clumps. Transfer the pastry to the prepared pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of the fork. Place the tart crust into the refrigerator to chill for 15 mins. 
Preheat the oven to 220 degree Celcius and bake for 15mins or until golden brown.



Apple Filling:
4-5 medium apples
1/2 cup crown sugar
2 tbsp AP flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Method:
Mix apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and vanilla together in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Crumble topping:
1/2 cup (65grams) all purpose four

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh or ground nutmeg(optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup (30 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup (40 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans (i omitted this)

Method: 
Place all the topping ingredients (flour, sugars, spices, butter, oats and nuts) in a food processor and process until the mixture is crumbly (looks like coarse meal) and there are no large pieces of butter visible.  (This can also be done with two knives or your fingertips.
Assemble: 
Place the filling onto the baked and cooled tart. Then, sprinkle the crumble topping on top of the apple filling. Bake in a preheated 180 degree Celsius oven for 15-20 mins or until golden brown. 


With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(0) |00:12 | back to top

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sunday, 8 April 2012 | posted by Simply bakes

The perfect one
Peanut Butter...Chocolate Chips...Slightly Cracked tops...Warm centre...crispy outside...
is exactly what describes this cookie. There are many nights when i scroll through baking posts and have a sudden impulse to try out the recipe. This is no different. I was looking for a recipe for a peanut butter blondie, just to admire its fudgy and gooey centre. Out of nowhere appears this recipe right before my very eyes and i decided that i had to try it. 
Whip the butter and the sugar till light and creamy
Have i told you how i started baking? Well i was home alone and really hungry, craving for something sweet.  As i surveyed my pantry and took a mental note of what little i had in the fridge, i began searching for recipes on youtube. It was then i came across peanut butter cookies which only needed peanut butter, eggs and sugar. After that 'success' (for a beginner), was when my baking endeavor began.
Cookie dough fit to feed the Queen
Of the many times i tried making peanut butter cookies, i always end up with flat, soft cookies. Bleah:( So when i saw this recipe, i mmediately saw the potential it has in tranforming into a satisfactory cookie i had i mind. Crispy on the outside and a bit cakey in the middle. Crunchy with the nuts, cracked on top, has a good height and loose such that it melts in your mouth. hahaha.
Amazing.
These cookies are fabulous and what could go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter? Go to your kitchen now and i swear you wont regret it:D

Peanut Butter Cookies
makes 40 regular sized cookiesAdapted from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook/smitten kitchen

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (I used smooth PB)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips(I substituted this with a handful of toasted chopped peanuts which really added to the texture!)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern (I used the back of a small offset spatula to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.
Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.



With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(0) |20:29 | back to top

Japanese Baked Cheesecake bars ベイクドチーズケーキ
Wednesday, 4 April 2012 | posted by Simply bakes

These photos are terrible! sorry D:
You know how everyone always says how fresh Hokkaido Milk is, which is why dairy products like Hokkaido ice cream is so darn good? I was so obsessed with that thought, thinking that if i use hokkaido cream as one of my baking ingredients, the end result would be amazing. That's why i got really excited when i finally got a chance to go to Japan last year. On the very first day in Hokkaido, i happily bought a small carton of milk from the convenience store and planned to bring it back home with me. (Oh, how naive i was.) Anyways, on the days when we were travelling from Hokkaido to Sapporo to Tokyo, you cannot imagine how frantic i was trying to keep that carton of milk safe and cool, rushing to the fridge the moment i reach the hotel. All because i wanted to make sure the milk doesn't turn bad before i reached Singapore. haha. My father kept reminding me how impractical i was and that that carton of milk wouldn't pass through Singapore's custom anyway. However i was very determined and stuck to my decisions. Through all that safeguarding and protecting looking at that carton of milk every two minutes or so, i managed to keep it till the very last day. 
 I was so excited and all i could think about was what i am going to do with that carton of milk once i got home. However in all that excitement and dread of leaving Japan, muddleheaded me left the milk in the hotel and left for Singapore. You are probably thinking how stupid i can get after all that drama of protecting that carton of milk only to end up with no milk from Hokkaido. I was truly upset and shocked though so don't judge me:( haha. Looking back, yeah the milk probably would have gone bad and it might not have gotten through customs anyway. sigh..

Okay nuff said. This cheesecake is creamy and delicious, although i couldn't get a beautiful browned top like how the original recipe looked. I have no idea why but mine din't look like the original at all! I would use plain vanilla wafers or graham crackers for the base in future cause oreos could overpower the taste of the cheesecake. This cheesecake really tastes much better stored in the fridge overnight before serving. If you choose to eat it the moment it's baked, the flavours would be very sharp and texture wise sort of bouncy? After resting in the fridge overnight, it became really smooth, dense and creamy so you got to be patient:D

Recipe:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eUYa4fz3h4
With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(0) |23:11 | back to top

Japanese Souffle Cheescake
Tuesday, 13 March 2012 | posted by Simply bakes


Finally the March Holidays are here! I've got so many things going on now my head's gonna explode! haha. I hope to spend my short week wisely and maybe bake some more! Anyways, i was really hoping to keep this post short and sweet cause life right now is really so hectic and i can't find the time and energy to blog anymore! :'(


I really don't know whats with me and Japanese desserts these days but i always seem to be drawn to them whenever my baking itch comes. Japanese souffle cheesecake is different from the usual dense, rich and creamy cheesecakes that we are used to. It is very soft, light and moist at the same time and it includes the incorporation of egg whites before being baked in a water bath. It uses a small amount of cream cheese as compared to other types of cheesecakes and relies mostly on eggs to aerate and get its volume. This cake uses corn flour because corn flour has a lower gluten thus making the cake softer.


This bake was really successful and i received many compliments from my family:D Indeed, the cake turned out really delicious because even though it is light in texture, it is creamy, rich and moist at the same time. So you can have a rich and satisfying cheesecake without having to pay a big price for it:) I really like how this cake is more firm on the outside, and really soft and melt-in-your-mouth in the center. The whole cake is firm enough to stand beautifully but it is really soft, moist and fluffy in texture.

Sme tips i have to making this cheesecake the best cheesecake ever:
1) Use fresh ingredients. Use good cream cheese and fresh eggs and milk because they can determine the quality of your product.
2) make sure your eggs are at room temperature because thy whip better and you can get a good volume of the cake
3) Make sure you store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge overnight before serving. Like any other cheesecake, the cream cheese flavour would be more pronounced overnight as you let all the flavours fuse and mature.
4) Do not over bake the cheesecake or you won't get the soft and moist center! :)

Recipe adapted from: Alex Goh's "Fantastic Cheesecake".
I scaled the portions accordingly to using 250g of cream cheese. It is enough to make an 8-inch pan cake with a nice height:)

Ingredients:
(A) 160g Cream Cheese, 25g Butter, 120g Milk
(B) 40g Flour, 30g Cornflour
(C) 4 Egg yolks
(D) 4 Egg whites, 1/8tsp Cream of Tartar, 100g Sugar, pinch of Salt

Method:
1. Grease and line the bottom of two 20-cm oval pans. Wrap outside of the pans in foil.
2. Place (A) in mixing bowl and stir over double-boiler until thick. Remove it from double-boiler.
3. Add (B) and mix until well combined. Add (C) and mix until well blended.
4. Whip the egg whites in (D) until foamy. Then add the remaining (D). Continue whipping until soft peaks. Add it into the cheese mixture from step (3).
5. Pour the cheese filling onto the prepared oval pans. Bake in water bath at 160C for 40-45 minutes or until well incorporated.
6. Remove cake from the oven. Remove the cake from the mould immediately. Set aside to cool.


Try it!
With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(7) |01:17 | back to top

Matcha Madeleine
Thursday, 1 March 2012 | posted by Simply bakes


There is something about matcha that is really intriguing. It can be bitter, yet so rich and subtle at the same time. Ever since my first matcha latte at Starbucks, i couldn't stop thinking about it! Every donut, drink or dessert i order, it would definitely be matcha.:)
If you have noticed, i have been baking alot of simple and plain cakes recently. Most people would prefer layered cakes with cream filling and cake etc. I love them too, but sometimes just a simple soft banana muffin or madeleine with a cup of warm milk in the morning can make me happy for the rest of the day. 


This madeleine is really fragant, soft, moist, and rich. The matcha flavour is also noticeable. I find that when they are freshly baked, they are incredibly soft and fluffy but the vanilla flavour was more pronounced than matcha. After storing in an airtight container overnight, they became more moist and the matcha flavour really comes out:) 


These madeleines posses more of a big general hump rather than a distinct little hump at the back of cake. Overall, my sisters really liked this Madeleine recipe and i am very pleased with what i have done:) Madeleines are best eaten on the day itself but i would prefer them one day after cause of the stronger matcha flavour. However, homebaked goods do not keep for long so i would store them in the refrigerator. The madeleines will harden in the fridge due to the butter content in them. When you want to eat it, bring it out to thaw for a little at room temperature and it will be soft and fluffy again:D



Madeleines
(makes 30 petite madeleines)
2/3 cup sugar 
3 eggs - room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter (1/4 pound) 
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tbsp matcha powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
confectioners' sugar for dusting
madeleine pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour the madeleine pans.  In a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar, eggs and vanilla for about 4 minutes. Meanwhile melt the butter and let it cool a bit so that it doesn't scramble your eggs when added to the bowl. Add the melted butter and mix well in the mixer.  In a separate bowl mix together by hand the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix well with a rubber spatula.
Spoon the batter into the pans with a large soup spoon.  Don't fill them up to the top only about 3/4 the way full.  Bake for about 8 minutes (especially if you have nonstick madeleine pans) and up to 10 minutes.  You want them to be lightly golden.  Turn them out to a parchment lined lined cookie sheet to cool.  You may dust them with powdered sugar if desired.


With Love, Simply Bakes

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Add comment(3) |01:10 | back to top


IAmABaker
I am a 16 year old living in Singapore. This blog is to document my entire baking endeavor and to share with you guys out there recipes and my baking experience. Feel free to ask me any questions, just click 'comment' below each post. Looking forward to the holidays!

Love, SimplyBakes

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