Saturday, July 30, 2011

30 Jul 11 (Sat) - Chocolate Balls

Had one and a half packets of icing sugar left and wanted to try to finish them so went about looking for recipes that make use of icing sugar last Friday before going to my sis’s place for the weekend. Most of the recipes found were making frostings which wasn’t what I wanted. Finally found one on chocolate wine balls that makes used of icing sugar. Looked at the ingredients which consisted of crushed vanilla wafers, red wine, unsweetened chocolate powder, corn syrup and icing sugar and decided to attempt it during the weekend.

Searched for a few more similar recipes and they all required the same basic ingredients with some adding crushed walnuts, some using honey and white wine. So I decided to use the first recipe as my base and do my own variation. As I didn’t have vanilla wafers so replaced it with the rice crisp chocolate biscuits I got from Switzerland during my Europe & Dubai trip in June; didn’t have corn syrup so replaced with maple syrup, didn’t have unsweetened chocolate powder so replaced with semi-sweet chocolate buttons and since my niece and nephew would be eating them, I decided to omit the red wine. Also omitted the icing sugar coz was afraid that it might get too sweet since I would be using semi-sweet chocolate buttons and maple syrup. I have some grounded peanuts and colorful rice crisp left therefore decided to make use of them too.

Woke up early on Saturday morning and started making the preparation. Crushed the biscuits to fine bits in a ziplock bag using the blunt side of the meat tenderizer then added the grounded peanuts and mixed them together. Melted the chocolate buttons with a bit of butter and maple syrup and poured into the biscuits mixture. Combined them using a spatula before using my hand to knead the dough to mixed them properly. After that, tore out some dough and rolled it between the palms to make it into a ball. Coated some of the chocolate balls with grounded peanuts, some with the colorful rice crisp, lined them on a plate, took some photos and then put into the fridge to set.

The amount of ingredients from the original recipe should yield 10 balls but I ended up with 20. The grounded peanuts and colorful rice crisp didn’t stick well to the balls and I wondered why. Maybe because I used butter in the melting of the chocolate? Maybe I didn’t use enough chocolate or maple syrup? Maybe the dough was too dry? Anyway, perhaps next time I could try coating the balls with melted chocolate before coating them with grounded peanuts or colorful rice crisp. After a few hours, took one out to try and it was quite hard. Transferred them to an airtight container and left them in the fridge again. Later the day, took another one out to thaw to room temperature before eating and it was just nice, not too hard.

Chocolate balls

Chocolate balls - close up

Ingredients (Makes 20):
124g rice crisp chocolate biscuits
150g chocolate buttons
10g grounded peanuts
10g butter
2 tsp maple syrup
some grounded peanuts for coating
some colorful rice crisp for coating

1.  Put biscuits into a ziplock bag and crush them to bits
2.  Mix the grounded peanuts with the crushed biscuits
3.  Melt the chocolate buttons, butter and maple syrup on a plate over a pot of boiling water
4.  Pour the chocolate mixture to the biscuits mixture and mix well
5.  Knead the dough with hands to combine them properly
6.  Tear out some dough and roll between the palms to make into chocolate balls
7.  Coat them with either grounded peanuts or colorful rice crisp
8.  Put in the fridge to chill
9.  Thaw to room temperature before serving

---------------- Edited on 1 Aug 2011 ----------------

On Monday night, my niece opened the fridge and saw the box of colorful chocolate balls and asked if she could have them. So told her to put the box on the table to thaw before she went for her shower. My nephew came out and saw the box and took one to eat. He asked what was inside the chocolate balls and so told him. He popped one into his mouth and after that he said “Nice”. I thought I hear him wrongly and asked him to repeat. He said “Nice” and even gave me the thumb up and asked for another one. Then my niece came out from her shower and was shocked to see that there were less chocolate balls in the box. She took a couple of them and put the balance back into the fridge.

Felt happy that this dessert had struck the right chord with the kids.

---------------- Edited on 2 Aug 2011 ----------------

Brought the peanut coated chocolate balls to office for colleagues to try. One of them asked if I had put wine and I said no. She said there’s a taste that she couldn't quite describe but it was nice overall. Another colleague, the one who commented “NICE!” on my previous attempt on the cupcakes, said that it would have tasted better if it was chilled. Explained that the chocolate balls might be too hard if chilled but come to think of it, I guessed what she really meant was that the chocolate balls would have tasted better if they were just taken out of the fridge for a while.

Another three colleagues said that they couldn’t quite taste the chocolate, one of them commented that she tasted more peanuts than chocolate while the other two said the chocolate balls tasted weird, like something is missing. Finally another colleague asked if I put wine or herbs or ginseng in the chocolate balls and I said no. Told her what the ingredients were and she said perhaps next time I should try without the maple syrup.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

24 Jul 11 (Sun) - Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Chips and Colorful Rice Crisps

Had a lot of icing sugar left and so thought I could make cupcakes with frosting. Used the usual cupcake recipe but this time I used less flour, in fact, it was a 1:1:1 ratio. Also since I had some chocolate buttons and colorful rice crisps left, decided to make some variations.

Stirred some colorful rice crisps into the cake batter, arranged the chocolate buttons to be enclosed with the cake batter, put a chocolate button onto each of the six cupcakes and sprinkled some colorful rice crisps onto the rest of the six cupcakes.

After baking, the chocolate buttons which were supposed to be in the middle of the cake, ended up at the bottom. The rice crisps that were stirred into the cake batter, melted into a colorful mess while those sprinkled on the top were melted into the cake resulting in uneven top.

After seeing the uneven cupcake tops, decided to just abandon the idea of doing frosting. Altogether, the ingredients yielded a total of 12 cupcakes, packed six to bring to office, Ry ate one, Lyn ate four and I ate one.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Chips and Colorful Rice Crisps

Ingredients (Makes 12):
100g butter - soften
100g castor sugar
100g self-rising flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
30ml milk
2 eggs
a few drops of red food coloring
some colorful rice crisps
some chocolate buttons

1.  Pre-heat oven to 160 degree celcius
2.  Line 12 silicon muffin cases with cupcake cases
3.  Place the butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, eggs, milk and red food coloring in a large bowl
4.  Beat with an electric mixer for 2 mins till smooth
5.  Arrange the cake batter, chocolate buttons and colorful rice crisps into the cupcake cases
6.  Bake for 20mins until cupcakes risen and firm to touch
7.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool

---------------- Edited on 25 Jul 2011 ----------------

The feedback from my friends was that the cakes tasted great. One of them was known to be quite a foodie and she said the cakes were "NICE!". So I guess the ratio of 1:1:1 is the way to go for great tasting cakes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

23 Jul 11 (Sat) - Colorful Rice Balls in Sugar Syrup (缤纷汤圆)

Had some glutinous rice flour left from my previous attempts at making song pyeon and peanut shiru tteok so decided to just finished it by making plain rice balls for my younger niece and nephew. Didn't follow any particular recipe or measurements. Everything was just by my own estimations. Since I have red food coloring and blue food coloring so decided to try using them as well.

When I was trying to make the pink dough, I used a chopstick to dip into the red food coloring and flung a bit of the coloring into the flour. It was after that then I realised that I should have added the coloring to the sugar solution instead.

So dipped the chopstick into the red food coloring and then stirred the coloring into the sugar solution to make it pink. Kneaded the dough but couldn't spread the original drops of coloring so ended up with a pink dough with thin stripes of vivid pink.

Having learnt from my previous mistake, I mixed the blue food coloring into the sugar solution and ended up with a uniform light blue dough. Scooped some for my younger niece to eat and after her first bowl, she asked for a second helping and commented that the rice balls looked like water babies.

Rice balls before cooking
Rice balls after cooking

Ingredients (rough estimations):
200g glutinous rice flour
1 stalk pandan leaves
9 tbsp hot water
9 tsp sugar
3 pinches of salt
600ml water
a drop of red food coloring
a drop of blue food coloring

1.  Divide the glutinous rice flour into three portions
2.  Make sugar solution using three tablespoons of hot water, three teaspoons of sugar and a pinch of salt
3.  Add the sugar solution little by little to one portion of the flour and knead the dough with hands
4.  Tear out some dough and roll it between the palms to make rice balls
5.  Put the rice balls on a plate and put into the fridge to be used later
6.  Repeat step 2 and add a drop of red food coloring to make a pink sugar solution
7.  Repeat step 3 to step 5
8.  Repeat step 2 and add a drop of blue food coloring to make a light blue sugar solution
9.  Repeat step 3 to step 5
10.  Boil 600ml of water with pandan leaves in a pot and add sugar till the desired level of sweetness is obtained
11.  When the water boils, remove the pandan leaves and add the rice balls
12.  Turn off the heat when the rice balls float

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

20 Jul 11 (Wed) - Strawberry Flavour Yogurt with Mango

Made the strawberry flavour yogurt on Monday night and didn't have time to check on it the following morning so left it till I got home that night. Opened up the cover and saw that the yogurt has set nicely so put the container into the chiller for the night.

Yesterday was my company's fruits day and we were given mango each. Brought the mango home today and went about cutting the fruit to bits and put them into my favourite glass. After that, scooped some yogurt into the glass before taking photo of it.

Yogurt Premix

Yogurt Maker

Strawberry Flavour Yogurt with Mango

Monday, July 18, 2011

18 Jul 11 (Mon) - Honeydew Flavour Konnyaku Jelly

Went to Phoon Huat yesterday with my sis, brother-in-law and his father coz my brother-in-law wanted to buy a breadmaker. It was my first time into Phoon Huat and it was really a baker's wonderland. They are very well stock with everything that is needed in baking, cake decorating, bubble tea making, jelly making and so on. My brother-in-law bought the Red Man breadmaker for S$130 and a few packets of bread premix while I bought a yogurt maker for S$35 and a packet of yogurt premix. Remembered that I have a movie appointment on Tuesday and decided to make konnyaku jelly for SWT and myself. Phoon Huat sells konnyaku flavouring such as kiwi, mango, peach, blueberry, honeydew and so on. Bought a bottle of honeydew flavouring before heading back.

Brought all my stuff home and after showering, started making the jelly. Followed the instructions behind the konnyaku jelly powder packet, half-filled the containers and moulds with the liquid jelly before putting coloring into the remaining half that was still in the pot. Wanted to mix a purple color but my hand wasn't steady enough and ended up pouring more red than needed. So in the end, I had a vivid red color liquid jelly. Poured the red liquid jelly into the containers and moulds to fill them up but the first layer still wasn't firm enough so the red liquid jelly went through it. Instead of having a distinct two layers, the two colors ended up swirled together.

Left them to cool and continued to make the strawberry flavour yogurt with my new yogurt maker. Followed the instructions given by the lady who sold the maker and hope for the best. I can only see the results of the yogurt tomorrow morning coz it takes 10 hours to set.

Food Colorings and Flavouring
Honeydew Flavour Konnyaku Jelly

10g konnyaku jelly power
210g sugar
950ml water
1/2 tsp honeydew flavouring
a few drops of red food coloring

1.  Mix the konnyaku jelly powder and sugar in a bowl
2.  Boil water in a pot, add the konnyaku jelly powder and sugar mixture slowly into the water, stirring all the time
3.  After the powder and sugar are fully dissolved, off the flame
4.  Pour the jelly solution to half-fill each mould
5.  Add the red food coloring to the balance of the jelly solution and mix well
6.  Pour the red jelly solution to fill up the mould
7.  Let the jelly cool down to room temperature and chill in fridge till the jelly is set