Monday, 16 February 2015

[with recipes] Homemade Chinese New Year Bakes

Are you ready for the Chinese New Year feast! Here we are counting down 3 days to the year of Sheep (Goat/Ram) which falls on this Thursday, 19 February 2015. I am sure by now most of you have already done your new year shopping; completed your bakes and left with last minutes grocery or fresh food pick-up before reunion dinner on Wednesday.

Likewise for the past few days we had being busy churning up new year goodies as gifts for relatives to show our appreciations and blessings to them. Below are recipes on some of our favourite bakes for this year including 2 recipes using air-fryer to "air-fried" crab sticks and arrowhead chips.



MELT-IN MOUTH PINEAPPLE TARTS


[Chinese New Year Bakes] Melt-in mouth pineapple tarts (enclosed version)
As usual, Pineapple Tart is a must have for almost every households during Chinese New Year because its buttery golden tarts are a symbol of prosperity due to its auspicious meaning of pineapple which is also known as "Ong Lai (旺来)" in Chinese dialect. You can either shape them into round balls (shown above) with pineapple paste fillings in it or open-faced tart with fillings on top.

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Melt-in mouth pineapple tarts (enclosed version)
This year after reading good reviews from friends who work on this melt-in mouth pineapple tarts recipes from Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) I decided to join in the baking craze too. The recipe was quite similar to the cheesy pineapple rolls but with a twist of swapping icing sugar with condensed milk for a more fragrant and buttery pastry.

Furthermore I also try using another brand of butter (golden churn) which recommended by most bakers which yield better end result for pineapple tart.

Ingredients for melt in mouth pineapple tarts (enclosed version)

Adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover recipe here.

(Yield: 56 tarts | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 20 minutes)

Ingredients:
  • 175g Unsalted Butter
  • *255g Plain Flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 50g Condensed Milk/Icing Sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 440g Pineapple Paste
* 225g plain flour + 15g cornflour + 15g milk powder

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Weighing the pastry and pineapple fillings
Method:
1. Cream butter and condensed milk (icing sugar) together well mixed.

2. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla extract.

3. Fold in sifted flours mixture in few batches till it form a soft dough.

4. Divide dough into small rounds of 8g each and then wrap it with prepared pineapple fillings (weigh and shape pineapple fillings into 8g round balls) to form a round shape.

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Melt-in mouth pineapple tarts
5. Brush the enclosed pineapple balls with egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon milk/water) before baking them in preheated 170°C / 338°F oven for 20 minutes or golden brown.

Demo clip on how to prepare melt-in mouth pineapple tarts (enclosed version).


[Chinese New Year Bakes] Cheesy Pineapple Rolls with added grated Parmesan cheese
Another pretty straight forward Cheesy Pineapple Roll recipe which is similar to the above melt-in mouth pineapple balls but with hint of savoury cheesy taste from the added Parmesan cheese. Step-by-step recipe is available on a separate post here.

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Another batch of assorted shape pineapple tarts.


ASSORTED BUTTER COOKIES


[Chinese New Year Bakes] Assorted Butter Cookies

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Assorted Butter Cookies
Made these Assorted Butter Cookies upon my boy's request because he loves pairing the basic butter cookie dough with his favourite toppings such as chocolate chips and nuts. With the basic dough you can mix and match different flavour by adding in dried fruits, nuts and even cocoa or matcha powder.

Ingredients:
  • 350g All-Purpose Plain Flour
  • 250g Unsalted Cold Butter, cut into small cubes
  • 120g Icing Sugar
  • 1 Medium Egg, lightly beaten

  • Toppings:
  • 50g of dried fruits, nuts or mixture

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Assorted Butter Cookies
Method:
1. Using a food process, fork or fingers to combine the above ingredients together to form a dough.

- you can divide the dough into 3 portions like what I did above to make different flavor or just left it as one.

- matcha (green tea) flavour: mix 1 teaspoon matcha powder + dried cranberry and pistachio nuts into one portion of the dough according to your preference.

- mocha flavour: mix 1 tablespoon of Dutch-processed cocoa powder + 1 teaspoon granulate espresso coffee into one portion of the dough.

2. Roll dough into an oblong shape in baking paper then shape it into either square or rounds then refrigerate it for about 2 hours.

3. Upon baking cut prepared dough into 5mm slices, place them on parchment paper lined on tray.

4. Bake in preheated 200°C / 392°F oven for 10 minutes, low heat to 180°C / 356°F and continue to bake for another 5 minutes or until golden in color.

5. Cool cookies completely on cooling rack before storing them in air-tight container.



HONEY CORNFLAKES CUPS


[Chinese New Year Bakes] Honey Cornflakes Cups
Honey Cornflakes Cups aka known as Honey Joys is one of the easiest festive snacks to prepare without involving much preparations or baking skills. These addictive snack is made with cornflakes which are being coated with melted butter and honey together with your desire choice of toppings.

For a non-baked version, please refer to our recipe on Chocolate Cornflake Cups which used melt chocolate instead of butter and honey to bind the cornflakes.

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Ingredients for Honey Cornflakes Cups

(Yield: 80 cups  | Preparation: 10 minutesBaking: 15 minutes)

Ingredients:
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Box (275g) Kellogg's® Corn Flakes

  • Toppings:
  • Colored sprinkles
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Almond flakes
  • Shredded coconut

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 150°C / 302°F; arrange paper liners on tray.

2. Melt butter and honey in a small saucepan over gentle heat till frothy.

3. Slowly drizzle butter syrup onto Kellogg's® Corn Flakes (lightly crashed) and mix well.

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Honey Cornflakes Cups
4. Spoon mixture into prepared paper cases, scatter with desire toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until cornflakes turns browned in colour.

5. Cool cornflakes cups on cooling rack before storing them in air-tight containers.

Demo clip on how to prepare Honey Cornflakes Cups.



OVEN BAKED CANDIED WALNUTS


[Chinese New Year Bakes] Baked Candied Walnuts
Walnut is one of my favourite nuts other than almond and macadamia which I often add them in my bakes or eat it on its own. And since I have a big pack of walnuts sitting in the cupboard, I decided to bake some Candied Walnut which is perfect for this festive season. Just be warned, these crunchy snack are super addictive with hint of sweetness plus touch of savoury taste from the sea salt flakes which makes you can't stop at just one.

(Yield: 500g | Preparation: 5 minutes | Baking: 20 minutes)

Ingredients:
500g of Walnuts
1/4 Cup Sugar
5 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt Flakes

Method:
1. Toast the walnut in 180°C / 356°F oven for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile melt sugar over low heat until slightly brown, remove from heat and stir in honey till combine.

3. Drizzle sugar syrup evenly over the prepared walnuts, toss well to coat.

4. Sprinkle sesame seeds over it, mix well then pop walnuts back into the oven and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.

5. Remove, sprinkle some sea salt flakes over the walnuts then them set aside to cool completely before storing them in air-tight container.



AIR-FRIED CRAB STICKS
(using Philips XL Air-fryer)


[Chinese New Year Bakes] Air-fried Crab Sticks
Always wanted to make this "crispy crab sticks" which bestie talks about during Chinese New Year where she would spent hours in the kitchen deep-frying these addictive snacks. So this year, instead of following her "deep-fried" method, I decide to replicate this popular new year snacks using Air-fryer for a healthier version.

If you Google the recipe on this snack, you might find many similar versions which vary from the model of air-fryer as well as the type of crab stick used and seasonings to enhance its taste. For this recipe below, I am using the Dodo brand crab flavoured stick (SG$2.10 per pack)  which is available at the chiller section together with fishballs and etc.

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Air-fried Crab Sticks - 炸蟹柳条

(Yield: 2 bottles | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 10 minutes)

Ingredients:
2 packets of Crab Flavoured Sticks (蟹柳条)
Seasoning of your choice (optional)
- chilli powder
- pepper salt
- lemon pepper

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Steps on preparing the crab sticks.
Method:
1. Unroll crab sticks (I use dodo brand) into a thin sheet then shred it into 1 - 1.5 cm wide and set aside to air-fry while working on the rest of the sticks.

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Steps on how to prepare air-fried crab sticks.
2. Spread a layer evenly in the air-fryer basket. Air-fried it at 160°C / 320°F for 2 minutes, briefly toss the mixture to prevent them from sticking together.

3. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes till slightly browned.

4. Give it a quick toss, cover it with a wire rack (to prevent them from flying up to the heating elements on top) and continue to cook for another 4 - 5 minutes till crisp.

5. Remove and pour them onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Season with pepper salt/chilli powder (optional), set as to cool completely before storing it in air-tight container(s).

Tip:
~ Alternatively: instead of using air-fryer you can arranged the prepared crab sticks on a baking tray lined with parchment paper then pop it into preheated 160°C / 320°F oven (middle rack) for about 20 minutes.

- Remember to give it a toss every 5 minutes to prevent them from sticking together as well as promote even cooking.



AIR-FRIED ARROWHEAD
(using Philips XL Air-fryer)


[Chinese New Year Bakes] Air-fried Arrowhead Chips
It had being a few years back since I last made Arrowhead Chips (recipe for deep-fried arrowhead chips here). This year since I am making some air-fried crab sticks, I thought perhaps I could try making some arrowhead or lotus root chips using Air-fryer too. So I bought a 500g of arrowhead to test out the


(Yield: 1 Bottle | Preparation: 15 minutes | Cooking: 15 minutes)

Ingredients:
500g Arrowhead (茨菇)
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt Flakes

[Chinese New Year Bakes] Steps on preparing the Air-fried Arrowhead Chips
Method:
1. Peel the arrowhead and try not to break the stem; rinse and slice it as thin as possible using a vegetable slider.

2. Roughly pat the arrowhead slices dry using kitchen paper towel before arrange them on the air-fryer basket (try not to overload with repeating layers).

3. Preheat air-fryer at 180°C / 356°F the fry the prepared arrowhead for 3 minutes. Give it a quick stir to prevent them from sticking and overlapping.

4. Lower temperature to 160°C / 320°F, continue to cook for another 6 minutes, give it a quick and cover it with a wire rack (to prevent them from flying up to the heating elements on top) continue to cook for another 5 - 6 minutes or until it turns browned and crisp.

5. When done remove, season with some sea salt if prefer and cool completely before storing them in air-tight containers.

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