Gingerbread Scones

Okay too many things are happening. Firstly, as usual I have been MIA since a couple of months. If you are curious and you want to know what I was up to – well I can’t believe I am saying this because I have my own Kitchen! I have a professional kitchen all to myself… well almost all to myself. Me and my very talented partner decided to take the plunge and start The Omakase Kitchen, which is a Japanese and Korean delivery and take away joint. So its been three months, it’s been mad, it’s been hectic but I am enjoying every minute of it. Secondly, it’s that time of the year where I go crazy. Christmas is coming! And as you guys know that it is my favorite time of the year. Thirdly it is my blog’s anniversary. Yes I just completed four years of blogging. Happy Blog Birthday to me!

Coming back to the recipe – every year I do my take on the ever popular and delicious Gingerbread. This year, I have made Gingerbread Scones. This British delicacy is perfect as your tea time snack. 

Gingerbread Scones

Makes about 10 scones

Ingredients – 

  • 225 grams All Purpose Flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 25 grams Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon mix spice 
  • 37 grams softened butter
  • 112 grams milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions – 

  • Preheat oven to 220 C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  • In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, ginger powder, cinnamon, mix spice and sugar.
  • Add the butter and whisk till sandy consistency. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla and milk. 
  • Leaving 1 tablespoon of the milk and egg mixture to glaze the scones later. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix in two additions. 
  • Mix until combined. The dough should be sticky and a little wet. 
  • Dust flour on a table, take the dough and flatten it with your hand till about 1/2 cm in height. Taking a 1 inch round cookie cutter, cut circles and put them on the baking tray. Repeat the process by reusing the scraps.
  • Using a pastry brush glaze the scones with egg and milk mixture.
  • Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or till golden brown at 220 C. Let them cool completely before serving. 

Notes – 

  • You can add or delete the amount of spices according to your liking. I prefer the flavor of spices on the heavier side in my dishes. So I have modified it accordingly. 
  • You can also modify the size of the scones according to your liking. 
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Lemon & Rosemary Loaf Cake

Valentine’s Day is upon us. This year I will be showcasing the desserts I love. I will either be posting tried and tested recipes, which I have baked time again and have never disappointed me or I will be giving a special twist to my favorite desserts.  People declare their love for their special someone. This year I will declare or showcase my love for my favorite recipes and my special someone is going to enjoy eating them.

I am starting this series with the light and refreshing Lemon and Rosemary Loaf Cake. I love tea cakes. Their flavor profile is so simple, yet they are so delicious. Simplicity takes the cake sometimes (literally taking the cake in this scenario). The cake is pretty much very simple to make. My family loves this cake so much its over in one sitting. So don’t expect any leftovers if your family also loves desserts like mine.

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf Cake

Lemon & Rosemary Loaf

 

Ingredients –

Cake –

  • 135 gms butter, melted
  •  215 gms castor sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Few Rosemary Sprigs, chopped
  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla
  • 170 ml milk, room temperature
  • 235 gms all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Candied Lemon Slices –

  • 1 lemon
  • 100 gms sugar
  • 150 gms water

Lemon Syrup –

  • 100gms sugar
  • 150 gms water
  • Juice and zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Method –

Cake –

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 7in x 3.5in loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  • Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.
  • In a bowl sift the flour and baking powder.
  • Using a stand mixer – mix sugar, eggs, lemon zest, rosemary and vanilla until well combined.
  • Alternate adding the flour and milk, one third at a time to the sugar and egg mixture. Mix well.
  •  Add the melted butter in the end. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes on 180 C.
  • Keep checking the cake after 40 minutes whether it is done by poking a toothpick inside and it should come out clean.
  • As the cake is baking get ready with the Candied Lemon Slices and Lemon syrup.

Candied Lemon Slices –

  • Cut thin slices of a lemon.
  • In a saucepan add sugar and water. Let it come to a boil.
  • Add the lemon slices and let is simmer for about 20 minutes or till the water is almost evaporated.
  • Remove the slices and let them dry on a plate for 5 – 10 minutes.

Lemon Syrup –

  • In a saucepan – add sugar, water, lemon juice and rosemary. Cook on medium heat till the mixture is thick for about 5 minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook it as it will reach the soft ball stage and wont be a syrup consistency anymore.
  • Strain the syrup and keep it ready.
  • When the cake is baked. Remove from the pan and while its hot pour the warm syrup on it. Let it cool. Arrange the candied slices on top.
  • Cut into slices and serve warm with a cup of tea.

Gingerbread Doughnuts

Recently I was one of the few chefs who was talked about it in the article by Mid-day regarding baking Christmas goodies. They wanted something revolving around Gingerbread and hence I told them about Gingerbread Doughnuts. While we were talking about Gingerbread, a very good question was asked and that was – What makes the dish – Gingerbread. I realized the concept was very simple – to anything if you add ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice. Replace the castor sugar with brown sugar to add in a little bit of nutty flavor. And oh! you have a gingerbread dessert. It is pretty simple. Honey or molasses is also added to enhance the flavor.

I absolutely love anything Gingerbread, cause I love spiced up dishes. Gingerbread somehow brings out a different taste altogether. This year, I thought lets change things a bit and not bake the regular cookies that I make and go for Gingerbread Doughnuts. They are very easy and takes a little bit of time, as I am doing yeast – leavened doughnuts. But other than that they are a perfect treat for this festive season.

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Gingerbread Doughnuts

Makes at least 2 dozen of regular size doughnuts

Ingredients –

  • 2.5 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 teaspoon all spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 55 grams butter, room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Oil, for frying

Coating –

  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Method –

  • In a stand mixer bowl – take the warm water, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast and mix until the yeast is dissolved. Keep it aside for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a bowl mix – flour, both the sugars, baking powder, salt, ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice.
  • When the yeast is active, it will become foamy, add the yolks, butter, and vanilla. Mix with the paddle attachment for 1 minute.
  • Keeping the speed on low, keep adding the flour with a big spoon. After adding half of the flour, shift to hook/dough attachment and add the remaining flour. Mix for 3 – 5 minutes on medium high.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.
  • After 1 hour, knead the dough and roll it to an 1/2 inch thick height.
  • If you want small bite size pieces, cut them with 1 inch round cookie cutter. If you want the original doughnut shape – cut it with one 3 inch cookie cutter and then 1 inch cookie cutter to cut the centers. If you have a doughnut cutter, then you know what to do.
  • You can re – roll the remaining dough and cut them.
  • Let the doughnuts rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil till its 180 C. Fry the doughnuts for 30 – 45 seconds on each side or until brown.
  • After removing, let them sit for 2 minutes on tissue papers and then coat them in cinnamon sugar.
  • Serve warm.

Notes –

  • You can add / delete the amount of spices in the dough according to your taste.
  • If you don’t like too much cinnamon in your dessert avoid the coating of cinnamon sugar and just coat them in plain sugar.

Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread

As I have mentioned in the previous post – I am in the holiday mood and I absolutely love baking during this time. So mixing my current obsession bread and my long lasting obsession of baking Christmas-y goodies, I have made Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread – which is a cross between cinnamon roll and bread. It looks amazing. The major reason I wanted to make this was because I love the way it looks. It looks complicated but it is extremely easy and takes very little time.

Christmas Star Cinnamon Bread

Bread

Ingredients –

  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 40 gms butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 3/4 cup slightly warm milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Filling –

  • 2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 30 gms butter, softened

Method –

  • Warm 1/4 cup water in a cup, make sure it is not hot. Add a tiny pinch of sugar, and the instant yeast (instant yeast and dry active yeast are different, please check the package). Mix until yeast is dissolved and leave it aside for 10 – 15 minutes till it is foamy.
  • Using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment combine 40 gms butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix for 1 minute. Add the yeast and then the flour. Mix for 5 – 7 minutes till the dough is elastic and check the gluten development by doing the window pane test.
  • If you are kneading by hand, then mix in the same format but knead with your hand for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Window pane test – take a small piece of dough and stretch it. It should stretch without tearing, forming a thin layer and if you see it against the light it should feel like you are looking through a fogged glass.
  • After the test, rest the dough in a bowl for 1 hour or until double in size covered with plastic wrap.
  • In a small bowl mix the cinnamon and sugar, and keep it aside.
  • After an hour, shape the dough again, weigh and divide it in to four portions.
  • Take the 1st portion, roll the dough until its thin and place it in a greased cookie sheet.
  • Brush soft butter on it and generously sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.
  • Roll the 2nd portion of the dough, and place it on top on the 1st. Repeat the butter and cinnamon sugar. Continue layering by rolling the 3rd and repeat butter and cinnamon sugar. Roll the 4th and place it on top.
  • Taking a plate or a big bowl, lightly place the round side on it, to indent a large round, so you can cut the excess dough and make a proper circle with a knife.
  • Taking a 1 – 2 inch cookie cutter, make a slight indent in the center but make sure you do it lightly.
  • With a knife cut equal 16 portions, starting from the outside of the indent line till the outer end, leaving the 2 inch round center as it is. Take two portions and twist them outward individually, joining them at the end.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining butter of the filling and as soon as the bread is baked, brush the top lightly with butter.
  • Serve warm.

 

Cappuccino Snickerdoodle

Its Christmas time! My obsession of baking delicious winter-y goods is on an all time high. This is my time to experiment and try all the new dishes that I have in mind. I made these cookies in October for Halloween, but I had made a huge batch and right now its frozen in my freezer. So I am ready with these delicious treats whenever I want them.

I know the last recipe was also coffee related, but I am not sorry – I love coffee and as I said before coffee in desserts is just perfect.

According to me Cappuccino Snickerdoodle is the best version of Snickerdoodle. Snickerdoodle is basically – Cinnamon cookies. As you all know cinnamon and coffee compliment each other very well. So this mingle was bound to create great flavors.

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Cappuccino Snickerdoodle

Ingredients –

  • 200 gms butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Method –

  • Preheat the oven to 175 C.
  • Sift flour, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl.
  • In a small bowl mix 3 tablespoon of castor sugar and 3/4 tablespoon of cinnamon and keep aside.
  • Using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer / hand mixer, cream butter and the remaining castor sugar, and brown sugar till light and fluffy, for about 4 -5 minutes on medium speed.
  • Add eggs, vanilla, and instant coffee powder in the butter – sugar mixture. Mix for 1 – 2 minutes until combined.
  • Add the flour mixture. Add the vinegar. Mix until everything is combined.
  • Scoop the batter with a tablespoon on your hands and roll it into a ball. Coat them in the cinnamon sugar prepared before. Place them on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake them for 12 – 15 minutes or until brown.

Tips –

  • Make ahead  – You can wrap the batter in a plastic wrap and store it in the freezer. When needed, remove it from the freezer. Let it thaw till its soft, and continue with scooping, rolling and coating.
  • You can substitute the brown sugar with castor sugar. Though I feel the brown sugar brings in a subtle nutty flavor.

 

Singapore in 48 hours – Day 2

Day 2 began with coffee. I had a whole list of things to do and eat. I was determined to tick everything off on my to do list. So I picked up an Almond Croissant from the Starbucks right outside the hotel, hailed a taxi and off I was to the ToTT Store at Suntec Mall.

I will tell you why I mentioned ToTT aka Tools of The Trade store. ToTT is a huge kitchenware store, so obviously I had to mention it. I was actually in the store for 2 hours figuring how much budget and space in my bag I have so I can narrow down the things I need to buy. After much deliberation and confusion and conclusion I bought what I needed and headed for lunch. Conclusion – if you would like to buy good kitchen equipment head over to ToTT.

Lunch –

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According to my research Hainanese Chicken Rice is the national dish of Singapore. Traditionally you should go to Maxell Road Hawker Centre. But as I was short on time, I had to eat at the Food Court in the mall, which was delicious none the less. Hainanese Chicken Rice is Chicken poached in broth preferably wrapped in Pandan leaves flavored with ginger. The rice is also made with adding the same broth. And the broth is also served as the soup on the side. Which is pretty darn good!

Chicken was perfectly cooked and juicy. The soup was something I could just put it in a bottle and keep sipping it the whole day. The salad and rice was good. It was a perfect comfort meal and the portion was huge.

After lunch I continued to roam the mall as I had to buy and eat other things.

Evening-

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Kaya Toast is a famous snack sold in Singapore. It is a jam made of coconut and eggs. Again it is a must have. And probably most widely available here. I preferred it at the Toast Box. Toast Box has its outlets everywhere so I would really advise not to miss it. Kaya toast is a delight with the perfect amount of kaya jam and salted butter making it perfectly sweet enough. I even bought kaya jam bottles to take back home from Toast Box, again I advise you do the same. Also do try their Peanut Butter Toast, I took that as a takeaway and enjoyed it as my midnight snack at the hotel.

30 minutes after Kaya Toast –

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Now this isn’t a Singaporean delicacy. But I happened to spot Robert Timms outlet, which is a famous coffee outlet from Australia. At the entrance I saw a doodle of the huge crazy milkshake and I decided to check it out. I wanted to know what is the fuss about those crazy huge milkshakes. So I ordered a coffee milkshake.

Well let me just say it was glorious! Topped with overflowing whipped cream, Coffee Eclair and chocolates, this thick and delicious milkshake gave me the perfect coffee kick I needed to continue the rest of my day.

Dinner –

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After the milkshake, I went to Marina Bay Sands. And after all the sight seeing, I went over to their Food Court for early dinner. Again a must have dish at Singapore is the Laksa. I had the Curry Laksa which is the tastiest spicy soup made with coconut milk, chicken, bean curd puffs, shrimp and noodles. It was a perfect hearty meal to end the day with.

There it is my 48 hours in Singapore, where I tried to cover as much as the amazing food Singapore has to offer. Let me just say I didn’t cover the half of it, but I tried. The best part of Singapore’s food scene is that it has something to offer from all the Asian countries, which makes the experience all the more exciting and worthwhile. If you love food and especially want to try all the possible dishes that Asian Cuisines have to offer I suggest a trip to Singapore is a must.
Here is the link to Day 1 – Singapore in 48 Hours Day 1

Singapore in 48 Hours – Day 1

So when my brother decided to attend the CanJam meet at Singapore for two days. I decided to tag along with him and explore the city. As I kept hearing about the awesome food scene at Singapore. I couldn’t resist myself. So I booked my ticket and off I was flying to Singapore.

I am the type of person who like to research about the place before I go. Write down the must visit places and must do things. This trip to Singapore was solely for the reason to explore Asian food. I made sure I ate as much as I can. The only problem was I had 2 days! But I was on a mission.

Breakfast –

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I reached my hotel early in the morning. I decided to rest for a bit and then leave. I decided to skip breakfast and go for lunch straight, but I couldn’t skip coffee, especially when you have a Nespresso machine in your room. I would say even if you don’t drink coffee, start drinking. After having my cup of superb coffee, I left to explore.

I was staying at Royal Plaza on Scotts Road. Which is 30 seconds walk away from Orchard Street. Orchard Street is like the Oxford Street of London. If you are a shopper, you have to go there. Go there even if you are a foodie. Any big mall in Singapore has a great food hall. You will get almost everything there which is a must have in Singapore. And the food court is extremely cheap.

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So morning went on the exploring the malls. Then came lunch.

Lunch –

Now I would like to mention, you may get lost in the malls. The malls are so huge and they all are interconnected underground. So well lets say I did loose my way once or twice but in my defense it was in search of food. I could not find the food court and I was too hungry to walk around more. So I spotted a couple of restaurants. I decided on one and went in.

Nara Thai was my choice. Nara has been voted one of Thailand’s best restaurants since 2006. I saw beef on the menu and just went inside. Because I knew what I was going to order.

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The menu was vast. But when you are alone and not tasted beef since I don’t know how long. The choice is easy. I went for Nua Yang Jim Jaew – Spicy Grilled Beef with Tamarind Sauce along with Kao An Chan – Blue Jasmine Rice.

The beef with tamarind sauce was delicious. Jasmine Rice was perfect. The portion was huge for me. I ate as much I could. Craving for beef was finally fulfilled and I was ready to hit the next place. Do try Nara if in Singapore or Thailand as the menu has some great dishes I could not try more stuff because I was eating alone, hence it didn’t make sense for me order so much and let it go to waste.

Tea Time –

My new obsession is Japanese Desserts. Hence I made a point to myself to go to a Japanese Cafe and try as many desserts as I can. I went to Hashida Garo. Along with desserts and teas they serve breakfast and lunch also.

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I reached there and got to business. I ordered three Wagashi which is Japanese term for tea time desserts, and a tea.

1 – Mochi

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Rice cake stuffed with fresh Strawberry and Chocolate Ganache. Mochi was soft. It had very subtle flavors unlike the dessert we eat. It was just perfectly sweet enough.

2 – Merlion Monaka

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Wafer filled with homemade kaya, white bean, white chocolate and miso. This was heavenly. The wafer was crisp and the filling with the kaya jam was mind blowing. I loved this so much that I even took some as takeaways.

3 – Chocolate Yokan

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Thick, jellied dessert made with red bean paste, chocolate and sea salt. This was so sinful. I usually don’t like chocolate desserts except chocolate cake. But this changed my mind. The combination of chocolate and red bean was excellent. And the sea salt was the icing on the cake. Every bite was pleasure.

4 – Ureshino Green Tea

I would totally recommend the green tea with the desserts. The desserts are not that sweet but when you have them along with the tea. It brings out a balanced taste on your palate, which is marvelous.

Evening –

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For an evening snack I had the Curry Puffs from Old Chang Kee which is running its outlet since 1956. Curry Puff is basically Puff with an almost Samosa type shell but bigger filled with Chicken and Potato Curry. It is really good and tasty. And a must have if you happen to spot it. Almost like a Cornish Pasty but with a lot more flavor.

Dinner –

It was time for crab! I am not much of a sea food eater, but if it is a must have then I will make an exception. Hence dinner was at the much acclaimed Jumbo Seafood. Now this may be on the slightly expensive side but it is definitely a must have.

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I had the Pepper Crab which was splendid. It was packed with flavors. The Chilli Crab and the Pepper Crab are its star dishes. I was suggested the Pepper Crab as the Chilli Crab is supposedly sweet. But you have to try it.

That was it! That was Day 1 now stay tuned for Day 2.