Thursday 17 December 2009

Assorted Decorated Christmas Cookies

Decorated Christmas cookies can be found easily during Christmas season in most bakery. It can be made as simple as a sugar cookie dusted with colored sprinkles, or an elaborate with different combination of decorating techniques to create an edible work of art. Whereas, each cookie is unique and it makes excellent as homemade gifts that work great for Christmas cookie exchanges.

A Gingerbread man is a cookie made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a human. It started back to the 15th century where figural cookie-making was practiced and the first documented figure-shaped gingerbread cookies appearing was in the court of Elizabeth I of England. Today, gingerbread man cookies can take form in any shapes and colour depend on the ingredients used and some might only take after it's name but without adding spices or ginger as one of the traditional ingredients.

Although it might look and sound tedious on the making and decorating process but I am sure it worth all the time and effort just to bring a smile on the recipients' face. In this recipe, I omitted the use of spices because my boy don't really fancy the taste of it. Instead I used the 70% Dark chocolate and I sugar syrup using Kahlua(Coffee flavored liqueur) and sugar to enhance the fragrance and taste.

125g Plain Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon Powder, optional
40g Caster Sugar
30ml Water
15ml Kahlua
50g Dark Chocolate
45g Butter

1. Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder together.
2. Combine sugar, water and Kahlua in a small sauce and simmer over low heat to form syrup(until sugar melted, stir on and off to prevent burning)
3. Melt the chocolate and butter in microwave (medium low for 15 - 20 sec), removed and stir the mixture till well combined.
4. Add the slightly cool chocolate into the flour mixture, mix well then pour in the sugar syrup to form a smooth dough.
5. Divide the dough into two portion in two different plastic bags and flatten slightly, keep in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
6. Roll out 1 portion of the dough between two sheets of baking paper to about 5mm thickness.
7. Cut out different shapes using the Christmas cookies cutters.
8. Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes till cooked.
9. Remove from oven, set aside to cool then decorate with royal icing.

When the cookies are completely cool to room temperature, you can make different colour of Royal Icing to decorate your Christmas cookies accordingly to your liking. And this is the fun part where you can get the kids at home to participate. I am sure they will enjoy decorating their favour cookies which make great bonding time for the family.

65g Icing Sugar
1/2 Egg White
1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Assorted Food Colourings
Assorted Christmas Theme Sprinkles, optional

1. Sift the icing sugar and set aside.
2. Beat the egg white till foamy then add in lemon juice and icing sugar in a few batches till smooth. (about 5 - 8 minutes, it must be a spreadable consistency)
3. Divide the icing into a few portion then mixed with your desire colours.
4. Spoon icing into disposal piping bag, snip the tip off and pipe decorative outlines and design on each biscuit.

This is a "Stars Tower' done by boy where he stack up three different size of the star cookies to form the shape of a little Christmas Tree. He also sprinkle some Christmas Red, Green & White Nonpareils on it.

While playing one of the Facebook game - Pet Society, Rey has a virtual Christmas tree in it. So while decorating the cookies, he also insists of having a big Tree for him to decorate with his favourite toppings. So he used his favourite M&M with only green and red plus some Silver Dragees that we have in the pantry.

Finally, we have finished decorating our Christmas Cookies with all sort of designs that we can think of. And as you can see, these cookies will look just great for gifts during this season after decorated with these colourful icing and sprinkles. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Christmas Fruitcake

Fruitcake is a cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices that soaked in spirits. Since Christmas is around the corner, it will be the time where you can spot all kinds of fruitcake in the bakery showcase. No matter which type you prefer, what ingredients you want it to be, I am sure there is always a kind to your liking.

From what I had read from books before, it shares that actually fruitcakes were consumed on the twelfth night which is the last day of Christmas traditionally. But despite of what it is, today, you can buy or even make a decent fruitcake at anytime of the year. So today what I wanted to share with you is this golden fruitcake which is full with antioxidants in yellow orange dried fruit like Mango, Apricot and Peach.

125g Butter, soften
250g Dried Mixed Fruit
1 Orange Rind, roughly chopped
40ml Fresh Orange Juice
40ml RUM
1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup(125g) Plain Flour

For Decor:
Some extra Dried Mixed Fruit/Candied Fruit

For Glace:
1 1/2 Tablespoon Apricot Jam with 1 Teaspoon Hot Water

1. In a bowl, combined dried mixed fruit and orange rind together, pour in the rum and orange juice.
2. Leave it to soak overnight in the fridge.
3. Grease a tube cake pan or 2 disposal small rectangle paper case.
4. Beat butter together with caster sugar till light and creamy, add in egg one at a time and beat well after each addition.
5. Fold in dried fruit alternately with flour and pour batter into cake pan and bake in a preheat oven of 150 degree for about 25 - 30 minutes or until cooked.
6. When the cake cooled down, brush with apricot jam and decorate with extra mixed fruit on top.

1) You can buy the pre-packed dried mixed fruit from any supermarket under dried fruit session.
2) I use the cold storage brand "Breakfast Mix" that consists of California Raisins and Cranberries. Other than these, I also add in chopped mango, apricot and peach.

For this fruitcake, it is infuse with a very light and fragrance citric and fruity taste due to the use of fresh orange juice, orange rind and Rum. You can see from the cross-section of the cake that it is fully packed with assorted mixed fruits. So what can be more meaning to make something like this and pack it up as this coming Christmas Gift and share it with your love ones. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Hup Chong Yong Dao Foo

Those who stays around Toa Payoh Lorong 2, or working either around Yellow Pages Building or Singapore Press Holdings might have tried this famous Hak Ka Yong Dao Foo. According to those friends who have tried, they all comment that the soup is nice and the handmade ingredients are fresh and worth the waiting time. So perhaps next round when you are near Braddell MRT area, you can try this stall at Block 116, #01-148, Toa Payoh Lorong 2.

The stall located at the right end corner in the coffee shop and you can find a range of homemade yong dao foo arranged nicely on the shelf. On and off you can see people queuing up to pick their ingredients and everyone have to wait for at least 20 minutes or so during lunch/dinner hours for a good bowl of Yong Dao Foo here.

I have heard a lot of good review about their soup and their specialty items. The must tries are the deep fried meatball and they special homemade "ngoh hiang". So without much delay, I order a set of Soup with Rice and another set of dry version with yellow noodle.

Overall the soup base is great is full of flavour and kind of sweet due to the adding of Ikan Bilis, Soy Bean and etc. And their special homemade "ngoh hiang" really taste different from those that is serve in other stall as their filling is smooth, soft and tasty. Posted by Picasa

Friday 4 December 2009

Din Tai Fung

A few months back I have shared a "Blog Post" on some of the dishes from "Din Tai Fung - 鼎泰丰" that we have tried. Today we shall continue with some other new dishes that you might be interested with.

For the appetiser, we start off with our all time favour which is the "Steamed Dumplings - 小笼包" whereby you will find exactly 18 folds on each dumpling which marks a distinguishing feature of Din Tai Fung's dumplings.

Mum loves this spicy " Hong You Chao Shou - 红油抄手" which are cooked dumpling served in chilli oil and vinegar. The dumplings filling are always very fresh and it taste great with that chilli oil dipping sauce which act as a very good appetising dish.

This is my 1st time trying their " Zha Jiang Mian - 炸酱面" which is "La Mian - 拉面" topped with spicy minced pork, tofu and beans. Overall we are quiet satisfy with the texture of the noodles which is bouncy when eaten and combines well with the sauce ingredients too.

Since last visit we have tried their "Pork Chop Fried Rice - 排骨蛋飯" which we all loves, this round we shall give their "Fried Pork Chop Noodles Soup - 排骨面" a go. Although the present of the dish might not look good as it seems to have too much soup covering the noodles and pork chop but basically it still taste great.

Finally to wrapped up today's dinner, we ordered their sweet dumplings that consists our favourite yam paste. But unfortunately this "Yam Paste Dumplings - 芋泥小包" is not really up to our standard. As you can still see that the top peak of the skin seems to be too thick which cost is to be hard or undercooked when served. Posted by Picasa