Friday, April 10, 2015

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallow

Pillow-soft, chewy sweets...
Do you remember what your first taste of a marshmallow was like?

Homemade Marshmallow

When I bit into the first one (when I was 5 years old), it was as if I was nibbling on a cloud. They’re so fluffy, bouncy and super soft! And many years later, I still do ... They're spongy, stretchy and taste like everything good in the world... 
Dad bought it from Singapore during his business trip. It such a unique and special candy at that time, we couldn't get it in our country. Nowadays, we can find it at any groceries store, and even we can make it by ourself.

I was intimidated for a long time at just the thought of homemade marshmallows, the recipe written "heat sugar, water, and corn syrup to the soft ball stage" They seem need a special technique and pretty fancy, right? But as with so many things, it’s really much easier than whatever you might imagine.

Marshmallows are made by heating sugar, corn syrup and water to the ‘soft ball’ stage (a temperature of 240F). The melted sugar syrup mixture is combined with gelatine, colouring and flavouring. The syrup is whipped with the gelatin mixture to fluffy white clouds. 

When making, be sure to pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatine in a slow, steady stream while whisking continuously, and don’t over-mix, as this will compromise the lightness of the finished marshmallow.

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallow

Beat the marshmallow until it is thick enough to hold its shape and is completely opaque. 
Pour it into a container greased with oil or butter, so that once the marshmallow has set it can be removed easily (the batter is extremely sticky, so any pan or surface you use for the marshmallow batter should be either dusted generously with the coating mixture or very light oiled).

The marshmallow does need time to set about at least about 12 hours at room temperature. 

Homemade Marshmallow

Cut the set marshmallows into pieces using an oiled knife, then toss each square in the coating mixture so all the sides are evenly coated, to prevent them from sticking to each other.

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallow

Cut the set marshmallows into pieces using an oiled knife, then toss each square in the coating mixture so all the sides are evenly coated, to prevent them from sticking to each other.

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallow

If you are planning to celebrate your anniversary or Valentine’s day, then chocolate-diped marshmallows seems like a perfect gift for this special occasions. 
Just melt the chocolate and have fun! You can make these a day before the celebration and pack into some nice boxes.

Homemade Marshmallow

I’m sure you'll have great time, especially in the step of dipping chocolate covered marshmallows into sprinkles or another topping of your choice.

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallow

Fluffy Homemade Marsmallow
Active Time: 1 hours
Total Time: 14 hours

Yield: one, 9-inch square pan (about 30 pieces)

For the Marshmallow
240 grams cold water, divided
21 grams unflavored gelatin (make sure that you use gelatine and not agar)
400 grams granulated white sugar
240 grams light corn (or golden) syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Coating
200 grams confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
200 grams corn flour

For the Chocolate Dipping
150 grams dark chocolate compound, chopped
Topping of your choice

For the Marshmallow
1. Grease a 9” x 9” square pan with butter. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in 120 grams water and sprinkle gelatin on top.
3. In a medium saucepot, bring another 120 grams water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a rolling boil (rapid and large bubbles) and boil for 1 min or until a candy thermometer reads 240 F. Do not stir while mixture is cooking, and be careful! This mixture is extremely hot – ask an adult for help if you’re not comfortable handling the boiling sugar syrup.
4. Mix gelatin mixture a few times to break up the clump, and slowly drizzle in sugar syrup along side of bowl. Turn to high speed and whip for 8-10 min until thick and fluffy.
5. Immediately pour into prepared pan, and spread out with an offset spatula. Use a greased sheet of plastic wrap to smooth out marshmallow, and leave to sit for at least about 12 hours.

For the Coating
Mix sifted icing sugar with corn flour until well combined.

For the Chocolate Dipping
In top of a double boiler or a metal bowl over barely simmering water (or microwave), melt dark chocolate compound; stir until smooth.

1. Sprinkle a work surface with coating mixture, and turn out marshmallow slab. Cut with a greased knife, and sprinkle with additional powdered sugar/cornstarch so all the sides are evenly coated (to prevent them from sticking to each other).
2. Drop melted chocolate by 1 tablespoon over marshmallow. Sprinkle it with topping of your choice.

The marshmallows will keep in a cool dry airtight container for about two weeks.

Enjoy :*
luv Sandra

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Moist Marble Cake with Vanilla and Chocolate Frostings

Today I am going back to simplicity. Whenever I need a recipe for marble cake, I usually use the one from this recipe. I loved it so much, but to be honest... it has a too rich buttery taste.

Moist Marble Cake

I remember how the strong aroma of butter made that classic marble cake so addictive to me, feeling like never having enough of it. 
Its simplicity, without any fancy decoration, with the golden brown crust, buttery taste and rich texture, totally wins my heart. You can’t stop eating after tasting the first slice. 
Mind you, if you’re on diet, make sure you can share with some other friends, or bring it along to any parties as finger food. 
One slice of the marble cake, with a cup of tea or coffee, brings me enough enjoyment with no regrets.

Marble Cake

I don’t make butter cakes very often because I like them quite a bit and well, butter cakes are pretty rich. (Fat die me.)
I guess for me, a good butter cake, apart from oozing with buttery flavor, has to have nice loose (but not too loose) crumbs. It should also be moist.

Since I am into trying new things – good thing too, seeing that I post a new recipe three times a week on average – I decided to bake this cake

Moist Marble Cake

Thankfully, the recipe I found that accomplishes both of these feats also tastes magically delicious. Sturdy yet moist with wonderful chocolate flavor, these cake is definitely my new go-to when I need a marble cake base. 

I’m not saying I won’t use my other favorite now and again, but I like knowing I have a perfect, perfect, perfect marble cake recipe to use for any variety of occasions.

Moist Marble Cake

The final result is just delightful. You have the firm but light texture that you expect from a sponge cake. 
You can not only clearly see the two flavours but you will also taste them distinctly when you bite into a slice. 
Apart from the visual beauty of that marbling, the interplay between the sweet vanilla batter and the slightly darker, not-too-sweet chocolate batter ensures that the cake is not cloyingly sweet. 

Marble Cake

Moist Marble Cake with Vanilla and Chocolate Frostings
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 1/2 hours

Yield: One 2-layers, 9-inch round cake

For the Cake
140 grams dark chocolate compound, chopped
53 grams butter
355 grams butter, softened
500 grams fine granulated sugar/ castor sugar
315 grams eggs (about 6 ¼ eggs)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
340 grams all-purpose flour/ plain flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
150 grams sour cream

For the Frosting
170 grams butter, softened
775 grams confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
120-160 grams milk
2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips

For the Cake
1. In top of a double boiler or a metal bowl over barely simmering water (or microwave), melt dark chocolate compound and 53 gr butter; stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C.
3. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans, line bottom with parchment paper and then grease the paper.
4. In a large bowl, with electric hand mixer beat 355 gr butter and fine granulated/ caster sugar until pale, light and fluffy about 8 minutes.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
6. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) using hand whisk.
7. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream (in 5 batch-start and end with dry ingredients) to the butter sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.
8. Remove 2 cups batter to a small bowl; stir in cooled chocolate mixture.
9. Drop plain and chocolate batters using soup spoon into prepared pans, dividing batters evenly among pans. To make batter level in pans, bang cake pans several times on counter.
10. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.

For the Frosting
1. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach desired consistency.
2. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.

1. If cake layers have rounded tops, trim with a serrated knife to make level.
2. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, frost top and sides of cakes.
3. Drop cooled chocolate by 1/2 teaspoonfuls over frostings. Using a large offset spatula, smear chocolate to create marble design in frosting.

- You can make the cake up to a week in advance.
- To store the cake, wrap the cake tightly with the cling wrap, and then cover it again with alumunium foil. Place it in the refrigerator.

Enjoy :*
luv Sandra

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Moist Banana Cupcakes with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

Bananas, one of my favorite fruit.
Got some bananas that are too-ripe? Don't throw them out.

Store them peeled in the freezer in a baggie to use in banana smoothies, shakes, or mash and use to whip up these easy cupcakes, hum... sounds delicious... tell you one secret, the trick to amazing moistness and sweet flavor is overly ripe bananas!

Moist Banana Cupcakes with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

I have had great success replacing eggs* with mashed bananas in vegan baking. The ripeness of the banana itself will have a direct effect on moisture levels and the overall nutritional value of the fruit itself.

Moist Banana Cupcakes with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana with chocolate (called it banana choco), banana with coffee (banoffee), or with mocha, vanilla, rhum, Oh Yes....seems fit with any kind of flavours. How about cream cheese??
I always thought cream cheese frosting would taste HORRIBLE with cupcakes, but ever since I first tried, it has been one of my most favorite frosting!...Oh.. I love it...

Moist Banana Cupcakes

Banana, cinnamon, yogurt... there are no words to describe the deliciousness, you won’t even know these cupcakes are a complete health food.
Trust me! Bake them today!

Moist Banana Cupcakes

Moist Banana Cupcakes with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes
85 grams unsalted butter
100 grams granulated sugar
1 large (50 grams) egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 medium sized (225 grams) super ripe bananas
135 grams cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional)
a pinch of salt
45 grams sour cream or plain yogurt

For the frosting
455 grams cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
230 grams powdered or icing sugar

For the cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 360° F/ 180° C. Line a standard cupcake pan with your favourite cupcake liners.
2. Combine all dry ingredients; sift cake flour, baking soda, cinnamon powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until very light and fluffy.
4. Slowly add eggs and the vanilla extract to the mixture, mix until well combined.
5. Once it has all been incorporated, add 1/2 of the sifted dry ingredients, mix well.
6. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add half of the mashed banana and your choice of cream or yogurt.
7. Last add the remaining dry mixture and mix just until combined, add the remaining banana/sour cream mixture, mix well.
8. Divide batter into each cupcake liners, bake until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean, about 25-40 minutes. Try not to over-bake.
9. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely.

For the frosting
Mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together until it is light and creamy.

• This icing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
• Be sure that all baked good with this icing stay refrigerated as cream cheese is highly perishable.
• Banana cake last for several days (2-5 days) in room temperature, but I would store them in the refrigerator, especially in hot or warm weather.

Enjoy :*
luv Sandra

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pink Moscato Cupcakes with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Elevate your baking game, and bring a booze-infused sweet to the table by baking with wine.
It is also a fabulous way to use up any leftover wine you have. Perhaps you bought a bottle specifically to cook with, or just never seem to finish your sparkling wine before it would go flat.

I love Pink Moscato... My husband got it during the Christmas gift exchange with his colleague last year. The bottle has been sitting around for some time, because we are both casual drinkers, well..we only drink on special days.

Moscato wine has a light, sweet flavor. The taste profile of it is further enhanced by a burst of aromatic tones that include green grapes, citrus, ginger, almonds and orange blossom.

Moscato is a sparkling wine that typically comes from Italy. It’s made from moscato (muscat) grapes. Pink! Where does it get that blush and bashful hue? Most pink moscato is made from Muscat Blanc grapes but is infused with some red wine like merlot, pinot noir or whatever red wine they had laying around.

The batter is semi-liquid mixture and it does not turn red by the time we add moscato.
The cupcake turned out moist with hint of Moscato and it wasn’t overly sweet. It was perfect.

I was ready to dig in but first I needed to top it with something spectacular. So, I knew pairing this cupcake with Vanilla Swisss Meringue Buttercream was the perfect marriage.

The great thing about Swiss Meringue Buttercream is that it can be made in big batches and frozen, or refrigerated for up to a week. The only thing is you need to take a moment to reconstitute it back to its glorious satiny texture when you’re ready to use it. If it’s frozen or refrigerated, you need to thaw it at room temperature; this can take overnight if it’s frozen, and several hours if it’s refrigerated. 

I can definitely taste wine in this Moscato cupcake and the flavour of buttercream was wonderful. Floral aromas, mouthwatering sweetness, aromatic vanilla and a vibrant citrus finish that is perfect for the summertime.
I hope you can enjoy this cupcake as much as I do, something unique yet tempting.

Pink Moscato Cupcakes with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

For the cupcakes
2 cups (240 grams) cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113.5 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1 1/3 cups (320 grams) Pink Moscato or regular Moscato (I use Long Flat Red Moscato)

For the buttercream
5 large, fresh egg whites (150 grams)
1-1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks)(340 grams) butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
few drops pink food colouring

For the cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 360° F/ 180° C. Line a standard cupcake pan with your favourite cupcake liners.
2. Sift the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside
3. In a small bowl mix the egg whites and vanilla
4. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy ( about 5 minutes).  Be sure to scrap down the bowl.
5. Add the egg whites and vanilla mixture gradually to the butter and sugar. Scrap down the bowl and mix just until combined.
6. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the Moscato to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. scrap down bowl after each addition and only mix until combined. DO NOT OVER BEAT. Beating too much after the flour is added will result in a dense and dry cupcake.  Your goal here is to handle the batter as little as possible.
7. Divide batter into each cupcake liners, bake until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Try not to over-bake. 
8. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely.

For the buttercream
1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
2. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don't begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
3. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
4. Add few drops pink food colouring.

• You may have to rotate your pans midway through baking if your oven heats unevenly.
• The cupcakes itself (without buttercream) will keep at room temperature in a container with some airflow for up to 3 days.
• How to store Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Place it in a tightly sealed containter and refrigerate it up to one week or place it in the freezer for up to a month.

Enjoy :*
luv Sandra

2 Minutes Microwave Moist Chocolate Mug Cake

If there's anything on the earth that can bring a smile faster than a piece of cake, it's a cake you can make in five minutes. ...