Friday, November 27, 2009

Minding my Ps

I have a dangerous obsession with things that start with the letter P today.

Pound cake
Pumpkin salad
Pecan pie
Pies in general
Pistachio macarons


The first item was out of the oven long before this post. As always with Ina's recipe, it was absolute perfection and half devoured by the 3 of us within minutes. And the best part is, it managed to satisfy the bf's mom's craving for something lemony.

A big boo to Bobo who could've had a slice of her favorite cake but decided not to visit. Boooooo! Wish you were here. It's Friday night, and I'm BLOGGING! We could be drinking Macallans on a rooftop bar. Ok. It's not your fault. But we really should do that when I'm home next weekend k? P for promise pleeease!

Tomorrow will be pie day after TedX. You won't believe it but this will be my very first experience with homemade pie dough! Is it weird if I'm more excited about that than being at TedX?

If I'm not careful, I may just turn into the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's no joke

The clock strikes 11:00 and I just had my first meal of the day. My hollow eyes indicate utter exhaustion and I can't help but feel all the joy and life sucked out of me. Perhaps it's time to reflect and

Singapore's Gross National Happiness seems to be perpetually and unwaveringly low. I hope this is just a phase.

Pleeeease let it be just a phase.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coffee for one

...can be pretty fun actually!

Especially on a quiet Saturday afternoon. With a Nespresso machine at home, a good latte's only a minute away.

The bf's mom has been craving lemon pound cake for days now. But because we didn't have lemons in our pantry, I went for the less conventional cardamom crumb option which, incidentally goes perfectly well with leftover chocolate cardamom macarons!

Adapted (yet again) from Dorie's Baking from my Home to Yours. You can find the recipe here. This is a simple close-crumb cake with crisp streusel topping (my favorite part!), which I don't recommend if you're not a fan of the spice

From the Decaffeinato range because I'm extremely sensitive to caffeine

For most of us, it's not too late to have Sunday afternoon tea/coffee. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The evolution of Macarune's chocolate macaron

Everyone says chocolate macarons are the hardest to achieve. Well, everyone also thinks Megan Fox is hot, and she's just so-so. Lol. I kid about this with trepidation because I know there are a ton of Fox-lovers out there who swear by their pet puppies she has never had a nose job.


Anyway back to the macarons, which is the real story I'm about to tell. They've come a long way from the first batch I made, back in the day when I starting toying with the idea of baking macarons, to the ones I make today. I still think they need a bit of work as with everything else, but they are very pretty to look at and I can't help but be proud of them *beam

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz, pastry extraordinaire. Try it here> Don't forget the usual tips and tricks i.e. sift the almond flour and confectioner's sugar, don't overmix, leave freshly piped batter out in room temperature to form skins and watch them in the oven as they bake pretty quickly. Veron's blog post is a great resource for tips.

Just chillin'

Shot of the back

I got some Valrhona cocoa nibs from a baking store. Yes, I found one that carries Valrhona! :) It's called Sun Lik trading at Seah St. No more carrying truckloads of chocolate all the way from Surfas at Culver City LA :)

I don't kid when I say I use slabs of these babies for everything. Love the Manjari 64%

Piping's always fun. I had to resist eating these immediately, shiny dollops of chocolate and all

Done and ready. Any takers?

I made my own passion fruit and chocolate cardamom ganache to go with these. They were 2 different flavors, in case you're wondering :)

The cardamom was slightly overpowered by the dark chocolate. Next time, I'll try popping in a few more cardamom seeds in the cream. The passion fruit ones required a bit more work, and could use with a little more puree. Ooo, this reminds me of the other thing I love about Singapore. Passion fruits are about as easy to find as mangoes. Can you believe that?

Am ordering Pierre Hermé's book, Macaron. Guess it's time to brush up on my French.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Petit fours for dear friends

Raspberry macaron

The little sis and I watched Julie & Julia at the theaters during her visit. Halfway through Meryl Streep's overacting and Amy Adam's lack of, she asked me, "Why do they eat like that? It's so cho lo (which means uncouth in Cantonese)." What a charming observation, I thought. You're right.

While the movie didn't do it for us, the one scene that stays on my mind is when Julie said, "I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. You can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That's such a comfort."

I couldn't agree with her more and find myself thinking about that moment all the time.

There are days when my body's aching from sitting at a computer for hours at an end. When nothing goes right from day light to sun down. When the simple ringing of a phone causes startles and I want nothing more than to break free from my PC, TV and mobile screens, I just know that I can walk into a grocery store, pick up some lemons and make something special.

So last Saturday, even though I had to wake up at the crack of dawn having slept 4 hours, I decided to spend the rest of my afternoon baking. Bobo was in town and Serene had requested for macarons. How could I resist?

All packed and ready to go. From left: passion fruit and vanilla bean mini cupcakes with a sprinkling of white chocolate chips, Valrhona chocolate chunkers and raspberry macarons. Hidden beneath is a layer of Amaretto macarons

Amaretto macarons

Little macaron. Little feet

How the back of a macaron shell should look like

I'm trying to decide whether I should try a new flavor this weekend or stick with the classics. What do you think?

When you get the chance, vote for your favorite classic macaron flavor here on FB.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dorie's chocolate chunkers

It's possible that these don't look it, but they're simply the most indulgent cookies I've ever made.

13 whole ounces of Valrhona chocolate, chunks of Ghiradelli white chocolate, cups full of imported pecans and raisins followed by dashes of Spanish sea salt, I reckon they cost at least $3 a piece. Good thing they're scrumptious. Slight crisp on the outside with a fudgy brownie-like center and surprises with every bite.

Recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking From My Home to Yours." Gotta love Dorie's recipes.

This past week, while researching Facebook fan pages at work, I stopped by the Macarune fan page and saw the saddest notification ever. There were no interactions on the page (not surprising considering how the last update was in June!) and worse, my Macarune post quality was a big fat zero with 1 of 5 stars grayed out! So as respect to Macarune's fans and supporters, I shall be updating the page with news and photos soon.

If you're not already a fan, be one now!

Twinkle twinkle...

This one didn't even make it to the wish list. Isn't it just cute? Successful day in the kitchen today. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Not lazy

I've been baking every weekend. Really. I just haven't taken any photos. Working with lighting where we live has been super frustrating. There are shadows everywhere and I can't seem to get the soft natural sunlight we used to have in our SF kitchen.

Not to worry though :) The bf's gotten himself a new toy and I'll definitely "borrow" it for a few upcoming Macarune experiments. Today I made uber chocolate chunk cookies and they were addictive! Last week it was tangy lemon macarons, oatmeal chip cookies and Tartine Bakery almond rochers.

Here are some photos taken with the old cam:

The process

Mini vanilla bean cupcake with white chocolate cream frosting


I tried to take advantage of Sephora's Friends & Family online sale today but they only take American credit cards. There goes my discounted O.P.I. nail polish and CLEAN eau de toilette.

Definitely time to move on.