Walnut Mooncakes (Improved)

Walnut mooncakes

Walnut mooncakes are one of our family’s favourites and I bake them every year. This year, I modified my usual recipe as I found it a little too crumbly. The pastry of the previous recipe doesn’t quite hold up when it’s cut. Besides some slight tweaks to the amount of butter and flour, I’ve also replaced baking soda with baking powder as baking powder yields a more neutral tasting product (since there aren’t any acidic ingredients). I’m very satisfied with the results and my hubby, little one and mum loves it.

Walnut mooncakes

I’ve added melon seeds and salted egg yolks (my favouite) to the mooncake but you can choose to omit these if you like. As for the amount of walnuts to use, it really depends on your preference. I like walnuts so I use large fresh walnuts. Make sure that the walnuts you use are raw ones and not salted/toasted ones though.

walnut dinosaur mooncakes

My hubby decided to join in the fun and made these dinosaur walnut mooncakes. I think he calls them dino-wal-saurus. I think they are totally adorable, though they are very time-consuming to make. He used black beans for the eyes, melon seeds for their teeth and walnuts for their scales. Check out their side profile below. He thinks that there’s a market for these lovely dino-wal-saurus and all dino loving boys would love to have one. I would love to hear your thoughts on his creation!

walnut dinosaur mooncakes

Walnut Mooncakes (Improved)
 
Serves: 30 - 32
Ingredients
Pastry
  • 350g Plain flour
  • 30g Custard Powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g Icing sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
Filling
  • 30g toasted melon seeds
  • 750g White Lotus Paste
  • 6-7 salted egg yolks (each cut into 6 pieces)
Before baking
  • 1 Egg yolk + 1 tbsp water (for glazing)
  • Walnut for decoration
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, sift flour, custard powder, salt and baking powder together. Whisk ingredients together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer set to medium high speed, cream sugar and butter together until slightly pale and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add in egg and vanilla and beat on medium high speed till fluffy and light.
  4. Fold in flour mixture in two parts. Refrigerate dough overnight.
  5. Bake salted egg yolks for 5 minutes at 160ºC. Set aside to cool. Cut each yolk into 6 pieces.
  6. Mix melon seeds with lotus paste. Divide fillings into about 25g each.
  7. Wrap a piece of salted egg yolk in each ball of filling.
  8. Take out dough from fridge and divide into portions of 20g each.
  9. Wrap fillings into dough and decorate with walnut.
  10. Apply egg wash on mooncakes and bake at 160ºC for 10 mins.
  11. Remove from oven and allow mooncakes to rest for 10 mins. Re-apply egg wash and return to oven and bake for another 20 mins or till golden.

 

Pandan Snow Skin Mooncakes

Pandan snow skin mooncakes

Mid-autumn festival is approaching and I’m back on the blog after a 2 months hiatus. I gave birth to my 2nd baby girl two months ago (she’s such a cutie) and have had my hands rather full. Now that she is slightly older, hopefully I’d have more time to blog (fingers very crossed). But I digress. Let’s go back to mooncakes.

I have fond memories of mini pandan snow skin mooncakes that my mom would buy from this old fashioned bakery near Alexandra during Mid-autumn festival. I was probably in my teens then and to me, those were really delicious snow skin mooncakes. They were freshly made, had a strong pandan flavour and the snow skin was very soft. Unfortunately, the bakery closed down a couple of years later and I couldn’t find similar mooncakes. So a couple of years ago, I decided to start making my own. One of the more popular mooncakes I’ve made are these Red Wine Berry Snow Skin Mooncakes.

Pandan Snow Skin Mooncakes

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Very Chocolatey Salted Brownies

Very Chocolatey Salted Brownies

Home renovation is depressing. Even when it’s just renovation of the toilets, the whole house gets messed up. One of the worse parts of renovation? I am deprived of my kitchen and my oven. I wish I could start baking with a vengeance once my renovation is over but with the baby due to arrive just a few weeks, that does not seem very likely either.

Anyway, while browsing through my food photos, I realised that I have not shared my favourite brownie recipe on the blog! These recipes are rich and fudgey and the salt on the top gives it extra crunch. I like to add some chocolate chips to the batter to give it a little extra bite but you can omit these if you prefer.

Very Chocolatey Salted Brownies
 
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 60g dark chocolate chips/chunks (I use 70% dark chocolate)
  • 45g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 110g plain flour
  • 220g granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use 55% dark chocolate) - optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 175°C.
  2. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with alumnium foil and coat lightly with non-stick baking spray.
  3. Melt butter and chocolate chips over a water bath or using a microwave, stirring occasionally.
  4. Allow butter and chocolate mixture to cool slightly.
  5. Sift flour and cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and whisk in till combined.
  6. Whisk in the sugar till combined, followed by the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Lastly, whisk in the vanilla extract and salt.
  8. Fold in the extra chocolate chips if desired.
  9. Pour batter into the baking pan and smooth out the top using a spatula.
  10. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the centre is just slightly soft.
  11. Allow to cool in the pan for an hour. Refrigerate the brownies for 1 - 1.5 hours to allow them to set completely.
  12. Remove brownies from pan and peel off the aluminium foil.
  13. Cut brownies into squares and sprinkle a little extra sea salt on top.
  14. Serve at room temperature.

Breakfast series – Japanese Hot Cakes

japanese hot cakes

What’s the difference between japanese Hot Cakes and our usual pancakes? Well, japanese hot cakes are thicker and sweeter. They are very popular, and many use the Morinaga hot cake mix. Delicious though they are, they can be a little hard on the pocket, especially if you have many mouths to feed. Some time back, I came across a recipe on a japanese sweets website. As the instructions were all in japanese (and google translate was not very accurate), I had to fiddle around with it before getting it right. I also changed the ingredients slightly. The method for preparing the hot cakes is also slightly different from preparing pancakes. If you follow the instructions though, you should be able to get thick delicious hot cakes! It’s definitely cheaper than using the Morinaga hot cake mix too!

Breakfast series - Japanese Hot Cakes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 egg
  • 40g caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 110g milk
  • 40g sour cream
  • 20g unsalted butter, softened
  • 140g cake flour, sifted
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Whisk egg with sugar and salt till pale and thick.
  2. In a separate bowl or measuring jug, combine the milk, sour cream and butter.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients in three parts. Fold in gently with the whisk. The mixture will be thick.
  5. Set mixture aside for about 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, set aside a damp cloth and heat a griddle pan or cast iron pan over medium heat.
  7. Add a little oil (not too much) and spread evenly over the surface of the pan.
  8. Before cooking the hot cakes, place the pan on the damp cloth to cool the pan down slightly.
  9. Scoop ¼ cup of hot cake batter and pour it onto the pan from a height of about 25 cm.
  10. When bubbles form, flip the hot cake over and cover the pan for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove hot cake and repeat with the remaining batter.
  11. Serve hot, with butter and maple syrup.

Cookie Top Brownies

Cookie Top Brownies

In my humble opinion, there are few desserts that are as charming in their simplicity as brownies. Moist chocolate goodness, in a bar, or a slab, or in a cup, whatever your preference. I used to think that the best brownies were the ones that were oozing chocolate goodness, with bits of nuts in them, the crunch of the nuts contrasting with the soft texture of the brownie. I have since changed my mind about what the best brownies are. The best brownies are the ones I’m about to introduce to you – Brownies topped with Cookie dough, baked to a golden brown perfection. Crisp chocolate chip cookie atop a moist dark chocolate brownie. NOW THAT IS PERFECTION.

Cookie Top Brownies

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Apple Crumble Bars and a Charity Bake Sale

Apple Crumble Bars | Delicacious Just last week, I participated in my very first Charity Bake Sale. My office was raising funds for the President’s Star Charity through an annual charity bazaar and my branch decided to sell homemade goodies. I have never participated in such bazaars and had no idea what to bake or sell. I figured that the goodies needed to 1) be able to withstand the heat (there was no air-condition at the bazaar) 2) be able to be packaged individually and 3) simple to make. Cupcakes with delicious frosting would probably wither in the heat so those were out.

Three days before the bake sale, I decided on bars. But what bars? Apples were relatively cheap and easy to obtain, so I thought, why not make apple crumble bars? And that night, I saw a post on G+ on Apple Pie Crumble Bars. Definitely an answered prayer.

Apple Crumble Bars

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Honey Muffins

chocolate chip zucchini muffins

I recently discovered that zucchini can be used in sweet baked goods.  Even though many have been doing that for ages, I never knew that zucchini could be used in breads, muffins, cakes or cookies! When I saw a couple of blog posts on such recipes, I did a little research and found that zucchini, when used in sweet baked goods, increases the moistness of the product while its taste remains pretty concealed. Sounds great isn’t it?

So I bought a couple of zucchini and decided to try baking something. My husband was less than thrilled at the thought of a zucchini muffin. “Zucchini muffin?! That’s so weird!!” was his reaction. Maybe yours too…. but hang on there. He changed his mind after tasting the muffin and I believe you would too.

chocolate chip zucchini muffins

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