Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cinnamon Bread

I love how fresh baked bread smells. And how butter smells so yummy. And also how cinnamon smells are mega irresistible.

So I decided to be adventurous and just baked my own set of cinnamon rolls after looking at Jenny's rolls, which recipe was from Smitten Kitchen. It didn't turn out to appear as cinnamon rolls, so to call it cinnamon bread suits more. Or cinnamon roll bread? -_-

It was very fun making this bread. It was my first time ever baking my own bread. I had never kneaded any dough before and all. Thank God it turned out to be pretty decent.

I sprinkled the leftover filling mixture on top of the dough that's why it's very brownish (like burnt brownish). It's not burnt or anything. I'm not a big fan of overly sweet stuffs, and the reason why sometimes I prefer Saint Cinnamon buns to Cinnabon's is because Saint Cinnamon's buns don't actually have extra glaze. So instead of the milky and sweet glaze, I sprinkled the leftover filling... which was so GOOD.

The warm and milky bread that smells so good... oh YUMS. My whole house smelled like cinnamon yesterday and I could not be happier by that. I always dig Saint Cinnamon and Cinnabon buns... no matter how overpriced they are, just because I love the smell of cinnamon and the warmth feeling those buns present to my tummy.

I did make several crucial mistakes during the process.
First of all, the baking pan. I didn't have pans that are bigger than the one I used. Instead of having slight distance to each other, the dough had to cram in a small pan. My baked bread looks like a deformed Quasimodo thanks to that. Mistake noted... won't do that again. Will buy bigger baking pan.

I'm also embarrassed by the fact that I fell asleep!
YES! I fell asleep while waiting for the dough to rise!! :(
For the second dough rising time -- which was after I arranged the dough in the pan for it to double its size -- I fell asleep, so instead of 45 minutes according to recipe, my dough was left for merely 3 hours! When I woke up I felt so angry at myself. THANK GOD again the bread turned out decent or else I might be suicidal. Kidding.

Anyway after day one my bread hardened... anyone knows why?

Cinnamon Rolls-Bread
recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise or instant yeast (from 1 envelope yeast)
1 teaspoon salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray (I didn't have this so I used olive oil)

3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt

For dough:
Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, about 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add additional 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. (You may also use a KitchenAid’s dough hook for this process.) Form into ball.

Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

For filling:
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt in medium bowl.

Press down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture evenly over butter. Starting at the longer side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, trim ends straight if they are uneven (we baked them in a ramekin, incapable of discarding such deliciousness) cut remaining dough crosswise with thin sharp knife (a good serrated worked well here) into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).

Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes (an 8-inch square metal pan worked just fine, too) with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes, though yours, like mine, may take longer. Don’t skimp on the double-rising time.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.


You can also put glaze on top of your rolls (Cinnabon does this). It's totally optional.
This is the Smitten Kitchen version of the glaze.

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Using electric mixer beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Heart You Cookies

I remembered when I was young, I enjoyed making biscuits with Mom. She is a very innovative person, and she likes to do everything practical. We didn't have an oven back then, so she decided to just "fry the dough!". I remember shaping the dough with all sort of cute cookie cutters, and when fried they became somewhat fat in the middle (maybe because of the baking soda).

So there, one day I decided that I wanted one of those sugar cookies to nom. I was also excited about the decoration, because I'd wanted to try decorating with royal icing for so long, and finally I had my chance to do so. I found some sugar cookies sold in the shops with ridiculous price. I know, I know, they look so gorgeous with those breathtaking icing decoration. Why not make my own? I even told myself that one day I was going to succeed in duplicating the famous, melt-in-the-mouth beauty in a form of overpriced Pepperidge Farm's Ginger Man.

I was set to follow Martha Stewart's recipe until one night before I started baking, I'd stumbled upon a blog. In one of her blog entries, Camelia explains that she followed Martha's recipes, and that the cookies turned out tad too sweet for her liking. I don't really like over-sweeten nibbles as they make me feel so full in a bad way! Malaysian way of saying this is 'jelak' and in Indonesian it's called 'eneg' feeling.

Naked cookies. They are so pretty; there was even a moment that I contemplated whether I should proceed with the icing or not.

My first attempt on icing cookies. I will definitely try again as I'm not too pleased with the end result. I need more practice! My hands are virgin decorators.

More cookies, more designs, different types of swirling sugar.

I need to research how to apply royal icing properly. It was a challenge for me because I'd imagined my cookies' icings to be smooth and pretty. Who has tricks on how to apply royal icing smoothly on cookies? I need that. ASAP. I'm as curious as a cat.

Or was my icing too hard? I didn't exactly follow the icing recipes to the end bit. The end result was not as watery as the icings I'd seen on YouTube before. I applied the icing and to smoothen it I had to use a plastic knife.

Ideal Sugar Sugar Cookies
from Martha

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup instead)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (I beat it with fork in a small bowl)
2 tbsp brandy or milk (I used milk)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg, milk/brandy, and vanilla, and mix until well combined. With mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture and mix until just combined.

2. Transfer dough on a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper.

4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Do not allow to brown.

Royal Icing
recipe altered from NCC Indonesia website

I didn't bother to weigh the ingredients back then, so I just mixed the ingredients bit by bit. The ingredients I used was lemon juice, caster sugar, and egg whites. I just kept adding the sugar until I felt was enough. Well I guess my mistake that the icing wasn't perfect.

Here's the real recipe. Mix everything in a mixer:
100 ml egg white
500 gr caster sugar
1 tsp cooking vinegar or lemon juice
1-3 drops desired essence

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marble Cake

Baked marble cake because it's my mom's favorite cake. My mom is not a baked cake person actually, she's more into steamed cakes and those traditional nibbles.

Still had a bit of a problem with my oven, because I followed the recipe thoroughly to the oven temperature, which is 180º C... just to find my cake's surface burnt. I was sitting in front of the oven, reading, when I saw that the top part is kinda burnt, thus making me reduce the temperature to 150º C by reducing the gas power of the stove.

Yummy and hot marble cakes, sliced, after the removal of the disastrous burnt part.

One slice.

And another.

I just have one problem that's bothering me a bit. Please if anyone knows the answer, let me know! My cake's edges are tad crispy and hard. Not that it's not nice; my mom actually loves the crispy crust.
Why is my crust crispy? It's biscuit like crispy, although it's not as crispy as that. Issit supposed to be like that? Or is there any problem with the oven temperature or butter when I whisk everything?

Marble Cake
From Yasa Boga group

200 gr caster sugar
175 gr unsalter butter
3 egg whites
4 egg yolks
25 gr cocoa powder
150 gr all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Grease and flour a pan (I used loaf pan). Preheat oven to 180ºC.
2. Beat butter and sugar until it's pale colored and well mixed, add in eggs one by one while beating, and keep beating until it expands. Little by little add in flour while still beating the dough. Add in baking powder.
3. Divide the dough into two. Put one part of the dough into the pan, and mix the rest with cocoa powder. Add in the chocolate dough to the pan, and mix both doughs using fork to create marble-like texture.
4. Bake for around 50 minutes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Accidental Chocolate Covered Pound Cake

I was extremely interested in Joy The Baker's Avocado Pound Cake recipe that I decided to bake them as my first experimental cake in the new oven. I baked before with an electric oven, and it was a blessing. Then I tried baking with the conventional oven -- it's cheap but it's tricky because it's the type of oven which heat source comes from the ordinary gas stove -- when I baked cupcakes and cookies with my friends. It was pleasant because one of my friend's maid was there to worry about the oven temperature and so on.

My mom bought me the same conventional oven for me to spend my free time with, since I like being in the kitchen so much. So far my creation had been limited to bake-free cakes such as frozen ones or pancakes... until today. I decided to try on avocado pound cake as the virgin oven cake.

But damn those avocados. I was halfway mixing the ingredients when I opened the avocado and found out that they were unmashable... as in they're not ripe enough yet. Was super disappointed because I'd altered some things in the recipe already.. and how to make avocado pound cake without an avocado??

I didn't have buttermilk so I substituted the buttermilk with a homemade substitute I'd learnt from the net, by mixing 15ml lemon juice with milk to make the liquid become 250ml. I didn't have cornmeal as well, and after doing some research of other pound cake recipes that don't require cornmeal, I passed the cornmeal.

Working with the oven was a challenge. First time using and I was downright sweating in front of that little metal thingy. The temperature kept on going up and down up and down that I couldn't leave it sit just like that-- I had to actually check the temperature every 5 mins and play with the stove for it to reach the right temperature again.

I love the cake's texture right out the oven. The outside is crunchy and crispy (almost biscuit-like) and the inside is not too soft, but soft enough.

Vanilla Pound Cake
recipe altered from Joy The Baker's.

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk (I made it by the lemon and milk mixture I mentioned above)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
2. In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, beat butter with mixer on medium speed until softened and pliable. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 mins.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after the addition of each egg. Beat in vanilla extract.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, all of the buttermilk, and then the rest of the flour mixture. Beat until combined.
6. Divide dough into the pans. Turn oven down to 325 degrees F. Bake for 40-45 mins or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Chocolate Butter

1 cup unsalted butter
4 tablespoons caster sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder

beat with mixer until softened.