Sunday, February 28, 2010

In search of the perfect butter cookie... Milan Cookies (NQN)

Back in the days when I used to live in Hong Kong, our local bakery made the best butter cookie. It was very thin and crispy yet crumbly, ooooh so rich and buttery and they just melt in your month. Now that I'm in Brisbane I just can't find any butter cookies nearly as good as that! So I'm on a mission to find the perfect butter cookie from my childhood....

The first recipe I tried was Not Quite Nigella's Milan Cookie.

I reduced the amount of sugar and it was still quite sweet. So here's my slightly tweaked version, from Not Quite Nigella.

Milan Cookies
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Scale of difficulty ★★
Yummy-ness ★★★ 

12 tablespoons (170g/ 6oz) softened unsalted butter
1.5 cup caster sugar
7/8 cup egg whites (about 6-7 eggs, depends on the size)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
0.5 teaspoon lemon juice

1)  Cream together the sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy
2)  Add egg whites gradually (one at a time) and mix in the vanilla, lemon juice and zest
3)  Add (sieved) flour and mix till completely combined

How the batter should look. Nice and pale :)

4)  Put the batter in a piping bag and use a small (1/4 inch) tip, pipe the batter onto baking paper and make sure there is plenty of space in between, because they will melt into puddles and spread like crazy.
lol please excuse me in my PJs
See??? Batter melted into puddles!!!

5)  Bake in a preheated 160C/ 350 F oven for approximately 10 minutes until the cookies are nice and golden brown around the edges.
6)  Place cookies on cooling rack and enjoy :)

Ta da!! Finished product!!

How did it taste?
These cookies look exactly like my beloved butter cookies from my childhood. However the texture and the taste are completely different. To be honest the cookies are quite nice,they have a nice buttery flavour and the lemon goes great with it, the egg white flavour is quite prominent as well. The texture is crisp but I find it a bit on the crunchy rather than the crumbly side. It was nice, and the guys at work liked it, however it is not what I'm looking for. So I guess the quest continues!

To people who actually read my blog and especially those who took the time to leave a comment, THANK YOU! Do you have a favorite butter cookie recipe that you'd like to share?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Carrot Cake :)

This week is a free choice week and you get to pick any cake from Rose's cookbook. I had to start work early today so I didn't get time to write in my blog till now... I'm thinking Tuesday Arvo here in Australia equals to Monday night in the US.. Don't know if its true or not tho. Anyways! back to cake!! I chose the carrot cake this week because my health freak sister loooooooooves carrots :) and cinnamon, so carrot cake it is. Didn't take too many pictures this time... I forgot!! I'm still new at this blogging thing....

Scale of difficulty ★★☆ (well... not actually HARD, more like time consuming as you have to grate half a kilo carrots... took foreeeeever)

Yummy-ness ★★★ I liked it, but I probably won't make it again anytime soon.

Firstly, you have to grate your carrots

Yes... heaps of carrots.....

From then on it was pretty simple, just your sugar, flour, oil and spices mixed together and put your carrots in, then into the oven it goes!

After the cake is out of the oven, it was time for icing, I didn't exactly follow the recipe... I melted some white chocolate and then whipped it with the cream cheese and omitted the butter and sour cream, because honestly I'm not going to buy a tub of sour cream so that I can put a tablespoon in the icing. The icing was great on its own, I mean, it is just white chocolate and cream cheese, so how can that not be awesome?? However it just lacks a bit of tangyness when paired with the carrot cake. I guess I probably should've put in a teaspoon of lemon juice to replace the missing sour cream... my bad :P

How did it taste?
It was a nice cake, no one in my family said anything about it really.. I guess its because it was nothing special, not one of the best cakes I've made but not bad either. I actually made a carrot cake for Christmas last year using the Planet Cake cake decorating book's recipe and I thought it was better than Rose's.... I didn't think the cake was cinnamon-y enough and the icing is not tangy enough.

Monday, February 8, 2010

True orange genoise.... Kinda

This week's cake for the heavenly cake place blog is the true orange genoise cake.... which consists of a genoise cake brushed with orange syrup, with orange curd between the two layers and frosted with a chocolate ganache.... sadly I only managed to do the orange curd part.... because it took me 2 hours to just do the orange curd!!! After completing the orange curd I was just too tired to bake a cake and make ganache... oh, and I ran out of real butter and thought.... there is no way that I could do 'clarified butter' (for the genoise) without actual butter!!  So... I did the unthinkable and whipped out the trusty cake mix, and sandwiched it between the White Wings Madeira cake. I have to say, while the curd is nice it was definitely not worth the 2 horus I put into squeezing and straining 5 oranges, reducing it to just 100 g and then mix in butter, sugar and yolks, do a second round of straining......

I think I put in too much orange zest so the marmalade was a bit too bitter... :(

Just rating the orange curd part....

Scale of difficulty ★★★☆ (too time consuming!!!)
Yummy-ness ★★★☆       (nice, but not OMG this is awesome!!)