Braided Pesto Bread

Perfect with a glass of sauvignon blanc!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 package active-dry yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoonkosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 cup pesto sauce

Directions:

  1. Combine the water, yeast, and sugar until blended. Let stand in the bowl for about 5 minutes until the mixture appears foamy.

  2. Add the milk (at room temperature), olive oil, and salt to the yeast and mix until just combined. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, mix after each addition until combined into a homogeneous mass.
  3. Scrape the raggedy dough from the edge of the mixer bowl. Knead for 5 to 8 minutes. The dough will be less sticky and become smooth on the surface. It will clear the sides of the bowl.
  4. Cover dough with a large kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot in the kitchen. Allow to rise for 1 hour until it has almost doubled in size. The dough should be smooth and puffy-looking.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C and prepare egg wash by whisking the egg and water in small bowl and set aside.
  6. When the dough has risen, lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough out onto it and divide it into 3 equal pieces.
  7. Lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll one piece of dough into a rough 8-inch square. It should be about 1/8 inch in thickness.
  8. Spread pesto on the dough, leave a 1/2-inch border uncovered. Use a pastry brush to brush a small amount of the egg wash over the exposed edge.
  9. Lift up the pesto-covered edge and roll it up, as tightly as possible. Pinch the seam closed with your fingertips. Gently roll the tube back and forth until it spreads lengthwise to about 10 inches long.
  10. Line up 3 rolled tubes on a sheet of parchment, positioning the thin ends toward you. With a very sharp, long knife, make a lengthwise slash through each, cutting a deep slit halfway down the depth of the tube; make sure not to cut all the way through to the bottom.
  11. Braid the tubes together, crossing one of the outer tubes gently over the middle one. Then cross the other outer tube up and over the new middle one. Repeat, working your way down to the end. Half of the tube should be braided. Then turn the parchment paper around and braid the other side, from the center point to the end, so that the entire loaf is braided. Tuck under ends if desired.
  12. Let the bread rise for another 30 minutes before baking.
  13. When the loaves have risen, uncover and brush well with the egg wash.
  14. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.  Bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, turn the pan 180° from its original position every 15min to ensure even baking, bake until the bread is brown and crusty.

 

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Biscoff Buttercream Icing

Happy Birthday to my fatter half!

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Biscoff is one of my favourite cookies, crispy and aromatic, full of caramelized sweetness of well-toasted sugar, they are simply out of this world! And you know what?  These Belgian babies are even more addictive when made into buttercream icing…

Ingredients:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (cubed)
  • 1 cup Biscoff spread

Directions:

  1. Place egg whites and sugar into a medium-sized bowl, whisk until combined.
  2. Place bowl over a hot water bath on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins).
  3. Whisk on med-high with hand mixer until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)).
  4. Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth. Add Biscoff spread and mix until smooth.

No Knead Crusty Raisin and Walnut Bread

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1g instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup raisin
  • ½ cup of walnut
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 350ml warm water (about 35°C)

Directions:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the warm water and honey. This should result in a sticky dough, if it is not sticky to the touch, add a few spoonful of water. Gently shape the dough into a ball as best you can. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature and allow to rise for 12-18 hours. The dough will be doubled in size and covered in air bubbles.

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using lightly floured hands, shape into a ball as best you can. Transfer dough to a large piece of parchment paper.

3. Using a very sharp knife, gently score an X into the top. Leave dough alone for 30 minutes.

4. During this 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 246°C. Place the dutch oven (with the lid) inside for 30 minutes so that it’s extremely hot before the dough is placed inside. After 30 minutes, remove the dutch oven from the oven and carefully place the dough inside by lifting it up with the parchment paper and tucking it all– the parchment paper included– inside the pot. Cover with the lid.

5. Bake for 25 minutes with the lid on. Carefully remove the lid and continue baking for 10 more minutes until the bread is golden brown. Remove pot from the oven, carefully remove the bread from the pot, and allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.


 

Merry Cherry Sponge Cake

Let us eat cake, it’s somebody’s birthday somewhere. Oh, in fact it’s everyone’s birthday today!

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Ingredients (yield two 4-inch cakes):

  • 150g butter, at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 10-12 cherries, stoned and halved

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease two 4-inch cake tins with butter and flour.
  2. Lay the cherries at the bottom of the cake tins.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until pale and creamy.
  4. Fold in the flour until well incorporated. Transfer to the prepared cake tin.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
  6. Serve while still warm!

 

Ferrero Rocher Cookie

Happy year of the dog everybody!

Chinese New Year is the time when you visit your friends and relatives, very often those you only see during this time of the year, and got “interrogated” by them =.=.  Gift plays an important role in Chinese culture, so you never go empty-handed! If you pay attention to TV commercials enough, you may notice that many of the most popular gift items among Hong Kongers are, interestingly, not Chinese produces. Kjeldsens Cookies, Almond Roca, Sugus, Ferrero Rocher… just to name a few. Ferrero Rocher is particularly popular in Hong Kong for its golden package, a color Chinese people love for it symbolizes wealth.  I’m not a superstitious person, but I do like their creamy, nutella-like centres!

And…. Surprise, surprise! They are equally nice when made into cookies!!


Ingredients (yield 12 pieces):

  • 6 Ferrero Rochers  (freeze them before baking)
  • 1 cup (packed) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼  cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Place the Ferrero Rochers in the freezer until firm, about an hour. Remove from freezer and hit with a hammer in a zip-loc bag a few times until they’re broken into chunky pieces. Put back in the freezer until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the full egg, then the vanilla, mixing until smooth. Add flour mixture in three parts, stirring until just combined after each addition.
  5. Stir in ½ the Ferrero Rocher pieces. Drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Place the remaining Ferrero Rocher into the tops of the cookies, pressing them into the dough slightly.
  6. Bake for around 10 minutes until edges are nicely browned. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter and Jam Rolls

Peanut butter has always been one of my favourite food. That’s been the case ever since I was a little girl. I may have developed a more refined palate over the years ( at least I hope I have… ). Still nothing- not the finest caviar, the most aromatic truffles or the flakiest croissants, can beat the pure joy of eating peanut butter straight from the jar. Haha, yes, still doing that, feel no shame for that!

Hope u like this bread roll idea as much as I do! There is just something about those two flavors that brings back childhood memories ♥


Ingredients (yields 6 rolls):

Dough

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup butter
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup jam

Honey for glazing

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cups flour, 1/8 cup sugar and pinch of salt, set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan, melt butter and milk until warm. Let cool to about 40 degrees C.
  3. Once yeast has proofed, add in milk/ butter mixture along with an egg to the flour mix.
  4. Stir to combine the remaining flour gradually, until dough starts to pull away from bowl.
  5. Dump out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, add in additional flour as needed, about 5 minutes.
  6. Cover the dough and let rise in warm place until doubled.
  7. Once doubled in size dump the dough out onto lightly floured surface and roll out into a 12″x15″ rectangle.
  8. Spread peanut butter over the dough (leaving 1” at the edges), then dollop jam over top, spread unevenly.
  9. From long side, roll the dough up, cut off edges and then cut into 6 equal rolls using dental floss.
  10. Place rolls cut side up in a greased muffin pan and cover again and let rise until doubled.
  11. Once risen preheat oven to 180 degrees C, bake for about 20minutes.
  12. Apply honey evenly using a brush, then bake for 10 minutes more.
  13. Serve warm!

 


 

Gingerbread men

Soft in the centers, crisp on the edges, perfectly spiced =) No holiday cookie platter would be complete without our beloved gingerbread men!


Ingredients (yield 12 pcs):

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add golden syrup, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.
  3. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired.

 

Mushroom and Chicken Braided Bread

“Good things come to those who bake.”

Sometimes, all you need to do is bake, and that very act will bring you instant peace and happiness. Whether you’re baking a loaf of brioche or whipping up some quick banana bread for breakfast, the joy that fresh, warm bread brings to the table is unlike any other.

Came across this ultra easy pizza dough recipe, calling for only two ingredients- greek yogurt and self-rising flour, on allrecipes.com the other day.  Instead of ordinary pizza, I used it for a more fancy-looking braided bread and I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out!

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Ingredients

Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Filling

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 bowl of chicken cubes (marinated to taste with salt and pepper)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 260 degree C.
  2. Mix flour and Greek yogurt together in a bowl; transfer to a work surface floured with self-rising flour. Knead dough, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from being too sticky, for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, about 3 mins. Stir in chicken cubes and mushroom. Cook for 5 more minutes, stir occasionally. Remove from heat.
  4. Unroll pizza dough on parchment sheet. Starting at center out, roll dough into 15 x10 -inch rectangle with a rolling pin. Sprinkle cheese over center third of dough. Spoon onion-chicken mixture evenly over cheese.
  5. Make cuts 1 inch apart on both long sides of dough to within 1/2 inch of filling. Alternately cross strips diagonally over filling; turn ends under and press to seal. Brush egg white over top.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes and then cut crosswise into slices and serve!

 

Rosemary and Parmesan Cheese Cookie

A nice change from all the sweet cookies out there. Crumbly, cheesy, and delicious… An ideal nibble with a glass of dry white wine!


Ingredients:

  • 1¾ all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon minced fresh Rosemary leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 250g butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 75ml heavy cream
  • Additional rosemary leaves and coarse salt for garnishing

Directions:

  1. Beat butter and lemon zest using an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Add in the egg yolk and cream.
  2. In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Cream together until well combined.
  4. Divide the dough in half.  Place each on a sheet of parchment paper, roll into a log approximately 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap logs tightly in the paper and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least two hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 160˚C.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Slice each log into 1/3-inch thick slices.  Space them 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Garnish each cookie with rosemary leaf and a light sprinkling of course salt.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until just golden at the edges.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

 

Lemon Blueberry Loaf Cake

Moist, flavorful and delicious- a classic combo that everyone loves!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Lemon glaze

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180deg C and slightly grease a 9″x 5″ loaf pan with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients using a spatula just until smooth. Be careful not to over-mix.
  4. Toss fresh blueberries together with one tablespoon of flour.  This flour coating will help prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your loaf while baking.
  5. Add the flour coated berries to the batter and fold gently to combine.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Cool bread in the pan for about 20 minutes, then move to a wire cooling rack with a baking sheet below (to catch the glaze you’re about to add).
  8. Prepare glaze by simply whisking together the melted butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla; then pour glaze over the loaf.  Allow to set a few minutes.