Category Archives: Recipes – Sweet Treats

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Brown sugar chocolate chunks cookies

Brown sugar chocolate chunks cookies

Brown sugar chocolate chunks cookies

Brown sugar chocolate chunks cookies

Brown sugar chocolate chunks cookies

Brown sugar chocolate chunks cookies

What’s the definition of a good chocolate chip cookie?

For us, it has to be crunchy on the edges and chewy in the middle. It has to be flavourful, with a molasses aroma and of course, lots of good CHOCOLATE. In fact, puddles of it will be excellent.

Dark brown sugar provides for a stronger molasses aroma, resulting in a deep complex, toffee-like flavour. It also makes for a chewier cookie. If you want even chewier cookies, try swapping the plain flour for bread flour (i. e. High gluten). We tested this so trust us.

Use the best chocolate you can afford, high in cocoa mass (70% minimum) and use ones you like to eat, perhaps with interesting flavour profiles? Here I’ve used bars of Valrhona my Dad got for me when he was on a trip. It had notes of berry and it will come through to the end when you are biting into the cookie, especially if they are semi melted. I would also use my favourite Foundry Chocolate bar made with single origin beans from Masidu Farms, Vanuatu or their top-of-the-class new bar from Anamalai Estate, India.

To achieve the ultimate unctuousness, you’ll need to add the chocolates in two timings: when mixing the cookie dough, and then half way through baking.

Then right at the end, when you pull the cookies out of the oven, add flakey sea salt for another dimension to the cookie. This salt + sweet combo tickles your palate, making this an even more amazing tasting.

Ingredients

Makes 35 medium sized cookies

  • 230g butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, size 7
  • 4g vanilla extract
  • 360g plain flour
  • 10g baking soda
  • 5g baking powder
  • 3g salt
  • 230g 60-70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g 70% dark chocolate, broken into 2cm pieces
  • Flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugars in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed, for about 3 minutes. The mixture should be pale in colour and fluffy.
  2. Add egg and vanilla, mix on low to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add to the cream mixture and mix on low till just combined. Add chopped chocolate in, mix until evenly combined.
  5. Using a small ice cream scoop, place small scoops of dough onto a baking tray. You can keep them placed close together, as this needs to firm up in the freezer for 1 hour. This ensures a chewy and nicely flavoured cookie. (You can freeze the dough for baking later. Just keep them in a sealed container for up to a month. Bake the cookies straight from frozen, for 2 mins longer.)
  6. Preheat oven at 175C and line 3 baking trays with baking paper. Place dough balls on the baking sheet, well spaced.
  7. Bake for 8 minutes and remove from the oven. The cookies will be rather puffed at this point and I like to bang it a few times against the bench to flatten it slightly. This is also when you add a few pieces of broken chocolate on top of each cookie. Rotate trays 180 degrees and return the trays to the oven and bake for another 7 minutes.
  8. Once they are golden brown, remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking trays. To make the cookies look rounder, you can use a large glass or metal cookie or tart ring to spin each cookie inside the ring for a few seconds. Learnt this from Erin from @cloudykitchen!
  9. Sprinkle sea salt flakes on the warm cookies and serve! Once cooled, you can store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Brown sugar chocolate chunks cookies

Anytime Vanilla Cake


Vanilla cake

Vanilla cake

Vanilla cake

Simple is the best. We are in love with the Nordicware Heritage bundt spiral – hypnotising isn’t it? Where does it begin? Where does it end?

This is a simple vanilla cake, with no chocolate (what? Michelle didn’t put any chocolate in her desserts?!) Moist, fluffy and all Vanilla. So good. I especially love the crunchy edges. The secret to this cake is in the combination of butter, neutral oil and buttermilk. It won’t fail on you, and is the best vanilla cake we’ve ever had.

I have been perfecting this Vanilla cake recipe and finally have a good understanding of potential variations. First I started with a naked version which was beautiful on its own but then the next one takes it to a whole new level: a simple, easy raspberry icing made with crumbled Fresh As freeze dried whole raspberry pieces, icing sugar and water. The tasters said it was very delicious with the berry notes coming through.

I’ve also hid freeze dried blackberries inside the large cake and the little surprises of fat berries when slicing through the cake was a lot of fun. Almond flakes are nice sprinkled over too.

J also likes to add lots of colourful sprinkles to the batter to make it a cute subtly colourful cake.

This isn’t a recipe particular to a bundt pan. You can bake this with equal success in a sheet pan – cutting out with cake rings to make stacked cakes (which is in fact, its original design!); or in regular cake pans for an effortless anytime cake.

Cake recipe adapted from All About Cake, Christina Tosi.

Ingredients

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 60g soft brown sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs (size 8)
  • 110g buttermilk (or sour cream)
  • 80g neutral oil (rice bran or rapeseed oil)
  • 10g vanilla baking extract (I used Heilala vanilla baking extract)
  • 180g plain flour
  • 25g corn flour
  • 4g baking powder
  • 4g salt

Raspberry icing glaze

  • 10g Fresh As freeze dried raspberry pieces, crushed up
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C on fan bake. Grease a bundt pan well (or line your cake pan with baking paper, if you are not baking in a bundt pan).
  2. Cream the sugars and butter together in a stand mixer, on medium-high for 3 minutes or till light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add eggs in one by one, making sure each has been incorporated before adding the next. Beat on high for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl at the end.
  4. In a jug, mix together buttermilk, oil and vanilla. With the mixer on low-medium, very slowly pour this fatty mixture in. This should take 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed for 3 minutes. The mixture should have doubled in volume, is quite white and homogenous, with no streaks of fat. This is an essential step. Take your time to do this right.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (flours, baking powder and salt), taking just a minute. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low for a further minute.
  6. Check that the oil in the greased pan has not pooled in the grooves. (if so, brush again). Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes (25 – 30 minutes for sheet pans and smaller cake pans, especially if you are diving the batter up and baking the cakes into smaller cakes). The cake is done when it has pulled away from the sides, and is bouncy to touch.
  8. Leave in the pan for 15 minutes before up ending it onto a wire rack for cooling.
  9. To make Raspberry glaze, mix all the ingredients to form a thick glaze. Drizzle over cake.

Vanilla Cheesecake, Chocolate Ganache, Raspberry Jelly


No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

Everyone needs a trusty ‘bring-a-plate dessert’ that will wow people with its flavours, texture and look. This cheesecake in my humble opinion, does just that.

A buttery crumb base; soft chocolate ganache; creamy and tangy cream cheese, all contrasted with a tart raspberry jelly disc.

These can be prepared quickly and you can even purchase premade crust trays which will save you one step of this dessert. If you can’t find Graham Crackers, look for digestive biscuits and it will achieve the same flavours. (watch this space for a Graham Cracker recipe!)

For the cream cheese filling, I tested with a mixture of cream cheese, Mascarpone and cream. This is because the traditional recipe calls for either condensed milk or lots of cream cheese. I find those tend to be really dense and rich and I prefer something lighter. Mascarpone cheese gives me this effect. The liquid double cream is whipped in after the cream cheese, mascarpone and icing sugar has been whipped smooth and soft; the cream loosens it up slightly, allowing it to set perfectly.

You can probably add the chocolate ganache to the cream cheese mixture – we did toy with the thought of swirling it in (a recipe for another day! ). Today we will leave it clean, with a layered look – it turned out really well.

Lastly it was time to bring out my trusty Silikomart silicone tourbillon
mould, to create the spiral jelly discs. I used Fresh As freeze dried raspberry powder and gelatine leaves to make the jelly, you can always use a different flavour to change things up.

What flavour should I make next? I will think about that while tucking into a piece of this cheesecake 😉

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

Ingredients

8 servings

Graham Crackers crust

  • 250g Graham Crackers or digestive biscuits
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • Or a premade crust

Cheesecake

  • 250g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 92g (3/4 cup) icing sugar
  • 100g double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Fresh As Jellies

  • 35g Fresh As Raspberry Powder
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 4 leaves gelatine (silver grade), soaked in ice cold water

Chocolate soft ganache

  • 175g dark chocolate (70% or above cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
  • 200g double cream (35% fat)

Method

Graham cracker crust

  1. If using a ready made crust shell, you can skip this and move to making the ganache.
  2. Otherwise, crush crackers or biscuits to fine crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, or in a sealed zip lock bag, and crushing them with a heavy rolling pin.
  3. Add melted butter and mix till mixture binds together.
  4. Pour crumbs into a 9″ lined springfoam baking pan or tart pan with a removable base, pressing the mix down with a tall straight glass. Make sure the layer is even, and press crumbs up against the sides as well with your hands.
  5. Chill in the fridge to firm up.

Chocolate soft ganache

  1. Place chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
  2. Bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stiring; stir till homogenize and thick.
  3. Pour a 1cm-thick layer into the chilled cake base. You can test by vertically inserting a clean flat tipped spatula into the base – lift up and you can see how deep the chocolate went with the mark on the spatula.
  4. Return to the fridge to chill.

Cheesecake layer

  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and mascarpone cream together, until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Beat in icing sugar, double cream and vanilla till smooth and no lumps.
  3. Scoop into crust base.
  4. Smooth with an offset spatula.
  5. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Fresh As Jellies

  1. Place water into a pot and add the sugar and Fresh As freeze dried Raspberry powder in, whisking to dissolve completely.
  2. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
  3. Remove from the heat and add drained gelatine leaves.
  4. Pour into moulds and refrigerate for 3 hours till set.

Assembly

  1. Add raspberry jelly disc on top of cheesecake as garnish.
  2. Cut with a warm but dry knife.

No bake Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate ganache and Raspberry Jelly disc

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped mini sponge cakes 紙包蛋糕


Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

After having regular checkups at the Orthodontist in the past 2 years, J’s finally ready to be fitted with braces. With that, we need to have a think about our meals with her new requirements in mind.

Soft foods, easy to eat. No super crunchy or hard to chew things that will risk breaking the brackets glued to her teeth. This is especially for the few days straight after each 6-8 weekly checkup where they adjust the individual brackets, and when her gums will be a bit swollen.

We talked about the different things we can have in her lunch box, and this easy sponge cake came up in the conversation. Soft and pillowy, this is perfect for her.

This one is a nod to my childhood, where fancy buttercream or fondant cakes weren’t prevalent, with a good sponge cake being the absolute gold standard for all occasions. Specifically, layered sponge cakes dressed up with whipped cream and seasonal fruits (think about all the mango cream sponges and berries and cream cakes!) They are still popular in Hong Kong, and very much part of the food cultural fabric.

To make those cakes you can easily use this recipe and bake it in a normal cake pan, add whipped cream along with seasonal fruits. Easy. We’ve made after-school-snack-portions here with tall moulds, just like the ones in my childhood days, and you can also use other baking tins, just find something that is quite tall and deep. Perfect lunch box item – sans cream of course!

Ingredients:

Makes 8

  • 55g unsalted butter, melted (Lewis Road Creamery)
  • 60ml milk
  • 100g low gluten flour
  • 5 eggs (size 7)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 80g caster sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Separate egg yolks and whites into 2 separate bowls.
  3. In a large bowl, place melted butter and milk together, whisk lightly.
  4. Add sifted flour, vanilla extract and egg yolks to the butter mixture. Mix well, ensuring there are no lumps.
  5. Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, whisk egg whites till foamy and add in cream of tartar. Continue whisking, then slowly rain in the sugar. Whisk until the whites form stiff peaks.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg whites into the flour batter to loosen up the mixture. Fold in 1/3 of the beaten whites into the batter, then the second third and then the last of the whites.
  7. Pour into lined cake tins, only filling 2/3s of the pan (it will rise quite a lot) and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and keep in an air tight container.

Hong Kong Paper Wrapped Sponge Cake

No Bake Silky Chocolate Cheesecake


No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone

No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone

No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone

What happens when you mix chocolate ganache into cream cheese?

That’s the question I asked J and she said “let’s pour and find out!” That’s how we roll, forever in search of the (next) perfect dessert.

The result: A buttery crumb base; super silky chocolate cream cheese filling, further topped with more chocolate ganache.

This is made in the same way as my Vanilla cheesecake and can be prepared quickly with some shortcuts – you can use premade crust trays which will save you one step of this dessert.

For the cream cheese filling, I added a third of the prepared chocolate ganache to the cream cheese mixture. This helps set the cream cheese without the need of gelatine.

The result is a silky smooth cheesecake with a deep cocoa flavour. The tanginess is still there but with the addition of chocolate and use of mascarpone, this is more mousse like.

I really like this experimental version – lighter and quite suitable for the summer season we are heading into. Just imagine further adorning the cheesecake with Tatua Chocolate Mousse straight from the can.

Ps J reminded me to pair the cheesecakes with a chocolate glaze aka mirror glaze! I’ve made them in my Chocolate Mousse Dome Entremet recipe but can totally be used on cheesecakes too!

Ingredients

10 servings

Graham Crackers crust

  • 250g Graham Crackers or digestive biscuits
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • Or a premade crust

Cheesecake

  • 250g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 120g (1 cup) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate soft ganache

  • 175g dark chocolate (70% or above cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
  • 200g cream (35% fat)

Method

Graham cracker crust

  1. If using a ready made crust shell, you can skip this crust step and move to making the ganache.
  2. Otherwise, crush crackers or biscuits to fine crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, or in a sealed zip lock bag, and crushing them with a heavy rolling pin.
  3. Add melted butter and mix till mixture binds together.
  4. Pour crumbs into a lined springfoam baking pan, pressing the mix down with a tall straight glass. Make sure the layer is even, and press crumbs up against the sides as well.
  5. Chill in the fridge to firm up.

Chocolate soft ganache

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Bring cream to a boil in a pan and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stiring; stir till homogenize and slightly thick.
  3. Place in the fridge to chill.

Cheesecake layer

  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and mascarpone cream together, until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Beat in icing sugar and vanilla till smooth and no lumps.
  3. Using two teaspoons, Place small dollops of cream cheese in crust base. This creates some patches of white in amongst the dark brown cheesecake.
  4. Pour a third of the chocolate ganache into the bowl with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Mix to incorporate.
  5. Pour into crumb base and smooth with an offset spatula. It’s really easy to smooth if you pop the base on a spinning cake stand/wheel. Just hold the spatula with one hand, steadily on top of the cream cheese mixture and spin with your other hand.
  6. Pour remaining chocolate ganache over the chocolate cream cheese mix. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  7. Cut with a warm but dry knife.

No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone

No bake chocolate cheesecake with cream cheese and mascarpone