Friday, July 6, 2012

Matcha Macarons v2



I apologise for the late update. i've been extremely busy recently so much so that i even did this post during my break at school (i didn't have internet access so i typed this on Word)

As I mentioned previously, I wasn’t impressed with the green tea taste from the previous batch of matcha macarons. So after picking up a can of green tea powder from Sukayara Fish Mart at Parkway, I proceeded to attempt matcha macarons a second time.

Clearly, the colour of the macarons are a lot lighter as the colouring (originally with the matcha powder from Phoon Huat) has been omitted and I used plain matcha powder. You can see more about buying green tea powder here.

This batch was rather well received and those who tried the previous matcha batch felt that this was nicer and much lighter than the previous batch. Also, I had changed the filling for this one. If you see my post here, you’ll know that I had filled the matcha macarons with white chocolate-matcha ganache which was a tad too sweet for my liking. So with this, I tried using dark chocolate and the new matcha powder I bought and made a matcha-darkchocolate ganache, made by taking 2 parts dark chocolate, 1 part white chocolate and matcha with whipping cream – because I was afraid that the ganache would be too dark/bitter, so I added in some white chocolate. The macaron piped only with this had an overwhelming dark chocolate taste which outshone the matcha flavor of the shell. So I decided to pipe both ganache into the shell and it had a nice balance. (this explains the different fillings in the picture).

I reverted to using my Glad Baking Paper and had no problems getting the macaron shells of the paper (thankfully). Although so, I did meet with some hollow shells for one of the batches.

Because I bake the macarons one tray at a time, I tried exploring with the different temperatures. The best temperature so far would be 145ºC. Although it causes the macarons to brown slightly, I don’t have an issue with that because I feel more assured that they’re cooked thorough. 140ºC causes the macarons to be undercooked with hollow shells even though the outside seems dry and the bottom seems totally flat and cooked. I’m guessing it is because of the position of the tray in the oven – the lowest rack. Hence the bottom did manage to cook although the insides weren’t given enough time to rise, causing them to rise, collapse and settle, forming sticky inside bottoms. But as Not So Humble says, no one is going to spit out a hollow macaron and they are still delicious. So I’m not too worried about that, also considering I’ve figured the solution.
So yup, again I turned to my favourite macaron recipe as yet. I cut 15g off the icing sugar and replaced 10g of the cocoa powder with matcha powder.
And with this, I’ve finished my huge container of egg whites ^^. I’m going to do a kueh lapis some time soon so I’ll get a new batch of egg whites to work with in abit. And now that I’m satisified with the use of extra egg whites I guess I can attempt more recipes with egg yolks soon! (:
Matcha Macarons V2 (Makes about 36 whole) (Adapted from Call Me Cupcake!)
Ingredients:
100g Blanched, Ground Almonds
100-110g Egg White
170g Icing Sugar
10g Matcha Powder
4 Tablespoons Sugar (~60g)
  1. If egg whites are cold, bring it to room temperature while measuring the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Sift icing sugar into a bowl - ensure that there are no lumps. (i usually push bumps through the sieve.)
  3. Sift ground almonds into the same bowl - when you get to the coarser ground almonds, grind almonds in a food processor. (this is important if you want smooth shells) (do note that i usually face a slight problem when blending the almonds. they tend to clump at the sides of the container due to the natural almond oils when you blend. but most of them should turn powdery and i don't use the side lumps)
  4. Add matcha powder and mix the dry ingredients thoroughly with a fork to ensure well mixed.
  5. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites. When the egg whites start foaming, add the sugar gradually and continue whipping until the mixture is glossy and stiff. (stiff peaks)
  6. Do not overwhip.
  7. Fold the dry mix into the meringue in 2-3 parts using a clean spatula. Mix until mixture is just slightly runny and dissolves back into the mixture. (it's okay if it takes a little while to dissolve in)
  8. Fill your piping bag and pipe the macarons onto a baking sheet. Let them set for 60 minutes to form a dry skin.
  9. Preheat oven to 145ºC. Bake for 18 minutes in the middle rack. (i did one tray at a time)
  10. After baking, remove and let cool. The shells should come right off when peeled.
The white chocolate matcha ganache can be found here


Matcha White-Dark Chocolate Ganache (Adapted from Youtube Video)
Ingredients: 
1oz White Chocolate (i used white chocolate chips)
2oz Dark Chocolate (i used 70% dark chocolate)
10g Matcha Powder
60ml Whipping Cream
  1. Bring whipping cream to a boil. Remove from heat.
  2. Add Matcha powder and whisk well.
  3. Combine with white&darj chocolate and whisk/stir well.
  4. Mix in tea leaves if desired.
  5. Leave to cool at room temperature. It will set well in the fridge.
On my next attempt i shall try 2oz white chocolate and 1oz dark chocolate instead. :)


Rowenta Updates & Records

I am aware that there is very limited information about the Rowenta Oven on the net right now, hence this is my third update about the oven over my half a year use so far.

This post will also serve to remind me about the modes i should be using for certain pastries, biscuits and cakes and i will attempt to update it periodically.

About the Oven:

  1. As mentioned in my previous posts, i'm using the Rowenta OC7891 which has the steam function.
  2. Steam Function: if you see my post here, you will know that the Rowenta does a pretty good job at steaming foods with all the moisture retention in the cocotte. HOWEVER, one thing i really dislike about this steaming function is the cocotte, which is quite heavy to start with. when steaming, you will need to fill the bottom with water and then your food on top. and then, you need to hold it carefully to ensure you don't spill any gravy or anything when you put it in the oven. because my Rowenta is situated on a platform, i have to lift the heavy cocotte with water and plates inside to put it in the oven. now that's not the worst part. after steaming, yes, the entire cocotte is hot AND heavy. i've burnt myself at least twice trying to get it out of the oven. again maybe it's the fact that it's on a pretty high platform for me. so if you do use this function you've gotta be very careful. i don't recommend using the steam function for everyday use to heat up food etc because it really is a challenge to balance the heavy cocotte for me. i'll only use it if i want to prepare like.. a dish or something. not the everyday steam rice or heat food function. i will use a separate steamer. if you intend to two in one this and use it as a main steamer, i suggest you reconsider!
  3. Oven Modes: previously i wasn't that impressed by the various oven modes offered. having used a traditional oven for the past ten plus years of baking, i was quite happy with it. so all these modes did confuse me a little. but i explored various modes while macaroning the other day and i actually found the perfect mode for macarons i'm mad happy!! so this goes to show that it really has a marked difference! in the past i would have about 40% of cracked shells. after changing modes i've got almost 0% cracked shells AND almost perfectly even tops. <3 and i'm pretty sure my old oven wouldn't have been able to achieve such consistent and even results. :)

The cards come like that :

 

it is cleverly designed to be able to slot at the bottom of the oven so it's quite foolproof. 

Suitable for grilling meats (chicken, fish etc)
it has a fixed temperature (cannot adjust own temperature) it is set at around 200ºC if i'm not wrong.
should not be used for more than 1.5 hours at a time.
I use this when i'm uncertain. 
Banana Chiffon Cake
Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookies








I used this for macarons but they didn't turn out ideal.
i noticed that the preset oven mode for meringues use this though.

Good for Macarons - produced very even macaron shells with little cracks.










have not used.










as i continue to explore the oven i'll update this page ^^

10Aug12/ updated to include more details and fix image issue on the page

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies


the memories i have of these chocolate chip cookies go a long way back. since i started baking when i was eight (hence the blog name), i'd made chocolate chip cookies every Teachers' Day as Teachers' Day gifts. and they were well received amongst my classmates as well. i recall a particular Chinese teacher who even requested for the recipe. ^^

in those days, i only had my mini oven. if you've seen my Rowenta post on the comparison between my old Moulenix and the new Rowenta, you'd know that my old oven was really small. Because of that, when i start baking at about 5-6pm, i could still end up watching the oven till 11-12ish because i could only do one tray at a time and the cookie dough batch was rather big. i would halve it but it'll still take a long time. the kitchen counters would be laid with magazine sheets and wire racks on top with cooling cookies. and i remember my mom and my brother walking in every once in a while to grab a couple of cookies. and at the end of the night i would always smell buttery and feel exhausted.

one batch made at least a 100 drop sized cookies. they would be crispy, just the way i like it. however the girls (my tutees - lest you think i'm a mom) like them crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. a friend was telling me that it's simple to do that. just make the cookies bigger. which makes a lot of sense because it'll take longer to cook the inside and the outside would probably brown before the inside would be completely dry.

they go really well with milk. and i always remind myself never to use the normal, in makeup terms, drugstore brand chocolate chips. ALWAYS use semi-sweet chocolate chips or the cookies won't taste like choc chip cookies.

when i grew older and continued doing it in secondary school for certain years, i realize that i didn't enjoy it as much as when i did it in primary school. it felt more like an obligation after awhile i guess. the last time i made these was probably in J1 or J2 i don't remember. I did this again recently because i promised the girls cookies and i had a bag of Hersheys Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips i picked up on sale awhile back. so yup!

my mom still loves it and so do most people who tried it. (I HOPE!) ^^

anyhow i'm glad to take a post break from Macarons. there were too many macaron posts floating in this space it was getting claustrophobic!

one more post after this on my Matcha Macarons v2~

Lemon Curd


a picture taken when i did my second batch of earl grey macarons. i used my dad's little empty honey jars (from Yummi House dad's a HUGE fan) to store the lemon curd which is really awesome because the jars are air tight and made of glass. so yes. i had halved the recipe as i mentioned earlier but it still produced quite a fair bit of lemon curd as you can see. The recipe i'm going to be listing will be a third of the recipe. i had made half the first time and had a whole lot of leftover. so the second time i did it i actually made a third instead.

Lemon Curd (From Rei's Lemon Curd)
Ingredients:
2 Eggs, whisked and strained
80g Fresh Lemon Juice
75g Fine Sugar
40g Unsalted Butter, bring to room temperature
Zest of 2 Lemons
  1. In a mixing bowl (use either stainless steel or glass), add in eggs, sugar and lemon juice. Using double-boiling method, whisk the mixture constantly.
  2. Continue to whisk till mixture looks pale and starts to thicken. At this stage, the whisk will leave a mark on the curd. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter till incorporated. Add in the lemon zest and mix well. (note: i did not thicken the mixture sufficiently which resulted in a runny lemon curd for my macarons. if you do want to use it as macaron fillings try cooking it for a little longer.)
  3. Cut up a large sandwich bag and press onto the surface of the curd to avoid a layer of film from forming. Leave aside to cool through before storing.
You will find other tips and tricks in Rei's post so do hop over to see more.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Matcha Macarons & Matcha White Chocolate Ganache


*long post ahead*

i apologise for the shadow in the picture. there were some painting works going on in the balcony today and the workers were walking in and out of the house and my angles to take the shots (without looking weird) were limited. so i had to back face the light. anyway! this particular batch of macarons were really REALLY DRAMATIC. before i carry on, do take a look at the picture below. these came out of the oven perfect! and when they were in the oven and i saw the beautiful feet forming and they were forming almost perfect rounds i was delighted!


they were so perfectly round even though i had faced a slight piping issue before this. because i usually use a normal sandwich bag to pipe (just cutting off one end), sometimes i don't get the size right and the batter comes out in.. a straight line tip-ish. if that makes sense. so it's harder to get it round. 

when the first batch came out, i had problems removing the shells from the baking paper. i had initially thought that they were still undercooked so i quickly popped them back in. after awhile, they were still stuck to the paper! and they were definitely cooked. i was devastated as my attempts to peel them from the baking paper left the shells in crumbs. :'( i quickly pinpoint the baking paper as the culprit. i checked the label on the bag of baking paper i bought recently and it said "GREASE-PROOF PAPER". i did some googling and found out it was different from the usual baking parchment paper i use. SO DID THAT MEAN THAT WAS THE END OF MY ENTIRE GORGEOUS BATCH OF MATCHA MACARONS??

sadly yes...

to half of them anyway. i was so frustrated and saddened by the first half that i tried to peel off i ended up dumping most of them after cracking the shells and taste-testing whatever managed to come off. i had done the routine of letting them cool (baking paper attached) on a wire rack for 5 minutes before moving them to the top of a damp cloth for awhile but they still wouldn't come off. and i was very careful about leaving them on the damp cloth for too long because for the usual normal properly baked macarons, they should come off pretty quickly and staying too long on the damp cloth will leave you with sticky macarons. macaron shells absorb moisture really fast.

when the tray holding the more perfect-looking macarons were done, i tried my best to peel them off intact. they did come off with a lining of paper stuck beneath each round. ._. i did that for about 3-4 macarons and the rest just couldn't come off. i was demoralized, discouraged and extremely devastated. so i left the rest of the baking paper on the damp cloth and went ahead to measure out the dry ingredients for the next batch of matcha macarons i was determined to make right away (or the next day at least). after that i left the kitchen waiting for the last batch to bake and whiled time away. when i returned, ready to clean up the mess... i tried peeling them off again for the last time before i would throw them AND THEY MANAGED TO PEEL RIGHT OFF. PERFECTLY.

OMG I FOUND THE SOLUTION I WAS ECSTATIC. 

IF YOU USED THE WRONG BAKING PAPER FOR MACARONS, AFTER BAKING, LET THEM COOL ON A WIRE RACK FOR 5 MINUTES AND THEN TRANSFER TO A DAMP CLOTH. LEAVE UNTIL THE PAPER'S ALL WRINKLY. TRY TO REMOVE ONE. ^^

so yes. i hope i saved some of your macarons. i'm glad i saved half the batch and they came out gorgeous. :) i do have some shame i shall stop calling them beautiful and gorgeous although i'm really pleased with the appearance of this batch.

i wouldn't continue using the paper for my future macarons though. for the simple reason that leaving them on the damp cloth for too long does affect the texture to a certain extent even though it helps the macaron to peel off well.


again i used the base recipe i turn to from Call Me Cupcake! just replacing the cocoa powder (15g) with 10g of Matcha powder. 

Matcha Macarons (Adapted from Call Me Cupcake!)
Ingredients:
100g Blanched, Ground Almonds
100-110g Egg White
10g Matcha Powder
185g Icing Sugar
4 Tablespoons Sugar (~60g)
Green Tea Leaves from a tea bag
  1. If egg whites are cold, bring it to room temperature while measuring the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Sift icing sugar into a bowl - ensure that there are no lumps. (i usually push bumps through the sieve.)
  3. Sift ground almonds into the same bowl - when you get to the coarser ground almonds, grind almonds in a food processor. (this is important if you want smooth shells) (do note that i usually face a slight problem when blending the almonds. they tend to clump at the sides of the container due to the natural almond oils when you blend. but most of them should turn powdery and i don't use the side lumps)
  4. Add matcha powder and mix the dry ingredients thoroughly with a fork to ensure well mixed.
  5. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites. When the egg whites start foaming, add the sugar gradually and continue whipping until the mixture is glossy and stiff. (stiff peaks)
  6. Do not overwhip.
  7. Fold the dry mix into the meringue in 2-3 parts using a clean spatula. Mix until mixture is just slightly runny and dissolves back into the mixture. (it's okay if it takes a little while to dissolve in)
  8. Fill your piping bag and pipe the macarons onto a baking sheet. Let them set for 60 minutes to form a dry skin.
  9. Sprinkle green tea leaves on each shell if desired
  10. Preheat oven to 145ºC. Bake for 18 minutes in the middle rack. (i did one tray at a time)

Matcha White Chocolate Ganache (Adapted from Youtube Video)
Ingredients: 
3oz White Chocolate (i used white chocolate chips)
10g Matcha Powder
60ml Whipping Cream
Green tea leaves from tea bag (same tea bag from above mentioned)
  1. Bring whipping cream to a boil. Remove from heat.
  2. Add Matcha powder and whisk well.
  3. Combine with white chocolate and whisk/stir well.
  4. Mix in tea leaves if desired.
  5. Leave to cool at room temperature. It will set well in the fridge.
* i set the ganache in the fridge before using. it hardened well in the fridge so you might want to leave it out for awhile before using.

** i had generously added matcha powder here to my own taste as i was afraid of the white chocolate being overly sweet. it was still overly sweet (may be due to the type of white chocolate i used) but feedback was that the matcha taste was quite strong.
*** one tea bag has more than enough green tea leaves for both the decor of the shells and the filling.


OH YES. before i forget. the oven mode for this.

Rowenta: 
i know i stated in one of my posts that i had been using the fan mode. i've faced a couple of problems with that. namely uneven heat distribution and the fan too strong i suspect causing my macarons to rise unevenly. with the dramatic fiasco i described above, i actually even went about adjusting the oven modes thinking it had something to do with that. 
convection (top bottom heat): bad and unsuitable - half the macarons that came out from this batch cracked.
bottom heat & fan: this worked the best out of all the modes so far. it produced the most even batch (zero percent cracked from this batch) and the macarons rose beautifully (the ones pictured). although so, i would like to emphasize that the results of macarons are dependent on many factors and it could have just been a coincidence that they came out well for that batch. i will continue to experiment on my next trial.

Matcha Powder:
i heard that the Phoon Huat one was quite 'potent', in the words of a friend. so i used 10g instead and used the other 10g on the filling because i wanted a very strong green tea taste. (yes i love green tea). it was about SGD$3+ if i recall correctly. for 20g.
HOWEVER, i'm not impressed with the taste (nor the scent for that matter). the bottle does state ingredients: green tea dust (????), flavor (or something), food coloring. something along those lines. so i went down to Parkway Parade today to pick up a mini can of authentic matcha powder from Sukuraya Fish Mart. it is SGD$6.80 for 40g which is rather affordable, i mean if you compare to the one from Phoon Huat. it is about the same price. i did read somewhere that it is cheaper at Fairprice Finest (perhaps the Jap section) at about SGD$6.50. so yes. i will try that matcha powder tomorrow and update perhaps?



Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lemon Earl Grey Macarons with Lemon Curd Filling




I had done earl grey macarons earlier (as i've posted a couple of posts before). i was quite happy with the results then, but i after attempting Call Me Cupcake!'s chocolate macaron recipe, i was so pleased with how the chocolate macarons came out that i decided to try adapting her recipe and changing the cocoa powder into earl grey tea powder to see if it would work better. i made some modifications here and there and i was pleasantly surprised at how well they formed! i mean just look at those feet! i was very pleased.

so i left them to freeze in the freezer after they cooled because i wasn't ready and didn't have the time to pipe them as yet. i left them for filling yesterday and awhile ago when i checked on them (admit it you sneak one or two even though they're not ready for eating), i found that the shells had become super delicate and fragile! in fact it was a challenge to even hold them up. WHAT WENT WRONG?!!

after much thought and listening to feedback from friends, i came to a conclusion - the runny lemon curd affected the texture of the shell drastically because it was not firm enough and the moisture content of the lemon curd overly-infused into the shell. simultaneously, it might be because of the additional lemon juice i added into the meringue, causing the moisture ratio balance to be upset. another thing - i had cut the sugar by 15g because the chocolate macarons previously had a bitter cocoa powder to offset the sugar but for the earl grey, i was afraid it would be too sweet so i cut the sugar. all these factors... SIGH.

so, macarons are really fussy and delicate things. we shouldn't mess with the recipe too much.

however, the shells did cook dry and i did take the curd off the heat once it seemed to start to thicken. i will try heating the lemon curd for a longer period the next time.

another thing, the earl grey flavor was really subtle and after doing some research, it seems that most people complain of the subtle earl grey flavor no matter how many tea bags used. a friend suggested i soak the bags for the liquid instead. i will go look into that method after more googling :)

i will write the recipe down here for my own reference. i will re attempt soon and update.

Lemon Earl Grey Macarons (Adapted from Call Me Cupcake!)

Ingredients:
100g Blanched, Ground Almonds
100-110g Egg White
185g Icing Sugar
3 TWG Bags of Earl Grey Tea
4 Tablespoons Sugar (~60g)
17g Lemon Juice

  1. If egg whites are cold, bring it to room temperature while measuring the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Sift icing sugar into a bowl - ensure that there are no lumps. (i usually push bumps through the sieve.)
  3. Sift ground almonds into the same bowl - when you get to the coarser ground almonds, grind almonds in a food processor. (this is important if you want smooth shells) (do note that i usually face a slight problem when blending the almonds. they tend to clump at the sides of the container due to the natural almond oils when you blend. but most of them should turn powdery and i don't use the side lumps)
  4. Add earl grey powder from the tea bags and mix the dry ingredients thoroughly with a fork to ensure well mixed.
  5. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites. When the egg whites start foaming, add the sugar gradually and continue whipping until the mixture is glossy and stiff. (stiff peaks)
  6. Add lemon juice and whip to combine. Do not overwhip.
  7. Fold the dry mix into the meringue in 2-3 parts using a clean spatula. Mix until mixture is just slightly runny and dissolves back into the mixture. (it's okay if it takes a little while to dissolve in)
  8. Fill your piping bag and pipe the macarons onto a baking sheet. Let them set for 60 minutes to form a dry skin.
  9. Preheat oven to 140ºC. Bake for 18 minutes in the middle rack. (i did one tray at a time)