Saturday, August 22, 2009

14

Matcha Shortbreads + 7 Things

I'm back to school! Year 13, my last year of high school. We started school on Friday (strange, eh?) and on Thursday I was so sick of writing my extended essay I decided to ditch it and went to bake instead. I think I definitely deserved that baking session because I was working non-stop for the last week already!

matcha green tea shortbread cookies
I digress. Back to these shortbreads, these wonderful shortbreads. I know that they were all the rage around two years ago amongst many food bloggers, and I am the extremely untrendy latecomer that chose to bake these two years later on a whim. But I'm glad I did, because after the first bite, the recipe went straight to my keepers list. And of course I'm talking about the famous Kelli's Green Tea Sweets!

matcha green tea shortbread cookiesThey are buttery and crumbly, and the green tea flavour was prominent enough to be noticed, but not overpowering that the whole thing tastes bitter. And the texture is lovely too - delicate and melt-in your mouth, but surprisingly both the dough and baked cookie held up really well. The shade of green came out perfectly - I thought that the matcha might have lost its colour after baking - I think the colour is very pretty! Along with the teeny crunch from the granulated sugar, it's currently ranking high in my favourite cookie list.

matcha green tea shortbread cookies---
I also recieved the 'Kreativ Blogger' award from 17 and Baking (another teenage baker - yay!). Thanks Elissa!

I'm supposed to write 7 things about myself...

1. I'm planning to study Biochemistry. Yeah, that's what I want to study at uni. Wish my luck in my uni applications (which are starting like....now!) - I am currently working through my personal statement.

2. I wish I could write better. I wish I was able to write more enticing posts, describe food better, but unfortunately, writing is not my forte at all!

3. I have a younger sister. Her name is Venus, and she eats alot of the stuff I make. We laugh at silly things together.

4. The thing I really hate in the world now is IB. Yes, I cannot express my hatred for this thing enough. The workload is so high it's incomprehensible. Normally on a school day, I sleep at 12 at the earliest, and the worst so far - I've stayed up until 3am, working.

5. I'm a Scout! Yep, I am currently a member of my Venture Scout troop, in a Scouts group I've been at since I was 10. I really love camping, because it's just so relaxing and fun when you go crazy with your friends in the middle of nowhere.

6. I really, really, really want to learn how to make macarons. I've only had 3 macarons before in my whole life, and I want to try making them. Unfortunately, after years of thinking 'I'll make it during the holidays' I still haven't gotten round to making them. - Sigh -

7. I love The Pioneer Woman. Pioneer Woman Cooks! was the first food blog I read, I still remember that the post was the Chocolate Sheet cake. Now, I read all the sections of her site, and I secretly wish I can live at a her ranch too.

Aaaand, I'm passing this along to Happy Home Baker, Florence of Do What I Like, Elyn of e's joie and Doreen of Desserts. Yum.
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matcha green tea shortbread cookies
Have you tried these matcha shorbreads yet? If not, I think you should go make them now!
Alright, I'm going back to work - I'll try to squish in a few posts about some of my other bakes/makes from summer soon!

Matcha Shortbreads
From Lovescool

3/4 cup (2.25 oz; 90g) Confectioners sugar
5 oz (142g) Unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 3/4 cup (8.5 oz; 219g) All-purpose flour (I used cake flour because I ran out of All purpose)
3 Large egg yolks
1.5 TBS Matcha (powdered green tea)
1 cup (200g) Granulated sugar (for coating)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175 C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and green tea together in a bowl. Add the butter and green tea/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and light in color.
3. Add the flour and mix until well combined.
4. Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.
5. Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes).
6. Roll the dough out to ½” (around 1cm) thickness.
7. Cut the dough with a leaf cookie cutter.
8. Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat.
9. Place the sugar-coated cookie on a parchment lined pan. Bake at 350F (175 C) for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.



Matcha Shortbread Cookies on Foodista

Monday, August 10, 2009

14

Chocolate Espresso Mousse Cake

This cake was made for a dear friend, that I've known since I was 10. I got to know her in Scouts. We see each other once a week, hangout on Saturday afternoons before our weekly Scout meeting, experienced hikes and camps together and it's been the same for 7 years! And, a few weeks ago it was her 18th birthday.


We just hanged out at her house with our normal group of friends, played some crazy twister and the UNO stacking tower, where the losers had to pick out a punishment from a bag. One of them involved kissing a plant, and I won't mention the crazier and disgusting ones here! We cut the cake at midnight, left a few slices for her parents and polished off the remaining next morning.


The recipe is from Tartlette, but I made a few modifications and additions to it. This chocolate cake is really a keeper, because it's moist and chocolaty, but also with a lovely soft texture that's not too dense. It would work really well with many other cakes. Maybe it's just the clumsy me, but I think its a bit fragile because I always tend to break it a bit when handling it! I brushed on some simple syrup spiked with rum to keep it moist because I made the cake layers one day in advance before assembling it.

The mousse is really nice too, albeit a bit rich for our palates. I think I'd cut down on the butter next time. However, it is again simple to make - no need to whip any egg whites and such. It also had a great silky and airy texture that accompanied the cake well. Because I was really scared that the mousse would melt or something in the sweltering heat whilst I was transporting it, I added some gelatine to set it a bit. I added some Varlhona crunchy perles for a bit of contrast, and a simple chocolate ganache glaze to top everything off.


And sorry for the lack of posts recently - in less than two weeks time I'm back at school, and I've got way too much stuff I haven't done. In fact, I'm writing this at the Central Libary right now, where I'm supposed to be working hard on my EE. (Hi Peter!)

Anyhow, I have been baking and making things - so I will eventually get around to posting those, so more will be coming soon!

Chocolate Espresso Mousse Cake
adapted from Tartlette

Serves 12

Cake:
1 stick (113gr) butter
1 cup (200gr) sugar
1/2 cup (45gr) natural cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups (185gr) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5gr) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5gr) espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon (2.5gr) baking soda
1 cup (250ml) warm water

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter two 8-inch round baking pans, sprinkle some flour into the pans, shake it around and tap the excess off. Line the bottoms with two 8 inch circles of parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. On low speed, add the cocoa and mix until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to make sure they are properly mixed in. Add the flour, baking powder, espresso powder and baking soda and mix on medium-low speed while slowly adding the warm water and mix until smooth. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature and unmold the cakes.

Soaking syrup:
15g sugar
15g water
1 tsp rum

Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool, stir in the rum and set aside.

Mousse:
6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (62.5ml) whole milk
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 stick (55gr) butter
1 egg yolk
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream, cold
1 tbsp kahlua
8g gelatine powder
15g water
30g Varlhona crunchy perles (optional)

In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (make sure that the bowl fits snuggly over the pan and does not touch the water), melt together the chocolate, milk, espresso powder and butter. Remove from the heat and let cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatine over the water in a small bowl and let it bloom. Heat the bowl in a microwave for 10 seconds to liquefy the gelatine, stir until gelatine is dissolved. Whisk in the egg yolk, kahlua and cool gelatine mixture. In a mixer, whip the cream to medium peaks and fold it into the chocolate mixture. Lightly fold in the crunchy perles.
Ganache glaze:
70g semisweet chocolate, chopped
100g heavy cream
5g butter

Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Scald the cream and immediately pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit alone for 30 seconds, then stir until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the butter.

Assembly:
Prepare an 8-inch mousse ring (I don't have a mousse ring so I used a pan with a removable bottom). Place a cake layer on the bottom and soak the surface with the soaking syrup. Pour in the mousse and let it set for 10 minutes or so in the refridgerator. Soak both sides of the second layer with syrup and place it on the mousse. Pour over the ganache glaze and let the whole cake set, for at least 2-3 hours. Decorate as desired.

- I've actually made this cake before way way back in March for another friend. Last time, I added a crispy chocolate feuilltine layer to the mousse to add some extra texture, so you might want to add that if you make this cake.
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