Friday, January 30, 2009

January DB Challenge: Tuiles

Thank you Daring Bakers! Thank you so much for choosing a recipe that I could actually make with my toaster oven!! Yes, I'm still mourning the loss of my old oven, and awaiting my new oven's triumphant entrance sometime in mid-February. I didn't make my tuiles with chocolate swirls; partly because I was lazy and partly because it would have just added to the hectic-ness of only being able to make 2 tuiles at a time in my tiny oven. But anyways, here goes...

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day! and Zorra of 1x umruhren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.
Following is a recipe taken from a book called “The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck.


Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (I didn't make butterflies, just a couple random shapes)Preparation time: batter 10 minutes, waiting time: 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch


- 65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
- 60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
- 1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
- 2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
- 65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.1/4 ounces sifted all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice (I didn't use this, instead I added 1/2 tbsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tbsp powdered ginger)

Prepare: Butter/spray to grease baking sheet. Preheat Oven: 180C / 350F

1. Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste (I added my cinnamon and ginger here!). Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.

2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. (If doing cocoa swirls) Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly. (I didn't use the cocoa swirls, but I did top my tuiles with a sprinkling of sesame seeds before baking)

4. Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones

This challenge was pretty simple, and a lot of fun! I was a bit skeptical of how the tuiles would turn out. I vaguely remember a past failed attempt to make a tuile-like fortune-cookie, and it ended up a disaster. But my silly fears were proven wrong, as this recipe was a hit! Although the batter looks like it contains an abnormally large proportion of butter, it's this butter that is necessary for the spreading and molding of this thin and crisp cookie.

Since the challenge seemed easy, the hosts said that we should pair our tuiles with a "light" sort of dessert/food. I decided to make a Coconut-milk Panna Cotta with Gingered-Pineapple Puree... see recipe below.

Coconut-milk Panna Cotta with Gingered-Pineapple Puree


- 1 cup coconut milk, from can

- 1 packet gelatin

- 1/2 cup sugar

- 1 tsp vanilla


1. Prepare molds (I used shot cups and a couple cocktail glasses) by greasing them with oil so that the panna cotta can more easily slide out. Note: If you are eating it right out of the glass, then don't bother greasing it.

2. In a small pot, combine the coconut milk and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, then bring back down to medium heat.

3. Add in the gelatin and vanilla, stirring to combine well.

4. Remove pot from heat and pour into prepared glasses.

5. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Unmold panna cotta and top with pineapple puree (recipe follows). Decorate with tuile (recipe above).

Pineapple Puree

1. Drain 1 can of crushed pineapple of juices (reserve for something else!! drink it?!).

2. Add in 2 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp ground ginger.

3. Place mixture in blender and pulse until pureed.

The panna cotta was a tasty light snack. I had never tried making it before, it looked like it was a daunting challenge. Everytime I saw a panna cotta picture it always looked so elegant and flawless... and I thought to myself, "Hmmm... I will probably mess that up". But if you grease the molds well, then you should have no trouble taking out these beauties... so go and give it a try!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I actually received this award on January 10th, '09 (from a great blogger herself: Palidor) To be given this award by her is truly humbling... so, thank you sooooo much!!!

I don't know if I'm suppose to pass this one on or not (there weren't any instructions to) but I will anyways!

1) Camille of Rtemis-Epicurus
2) Lily of Hearth and Home
3) Cher of The Baker Who Cooks
4) Happy Home Baking
5) Baking Fiend

I'm always checking out what's new with these bloggers, so you should to! Get inspired to create amazing fun in the kitchen :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Apologies for being a lazy, lazy bum. But between running and training to do the 1/2 marathon in March, studying for mid-terms and trying to maintain my sanity by planning a couple dine-out nights with some gal pals it appears I have abandoned many things... namely, my blog :(

But fear not! I will definitely be posting for this month's DB challenge, and I am still live and kicking in the kitchen! I just haven't have any time to post my adventures. And yes, the oven is still a miss... we have to wait until February because the gas guys have to come at the same time as the oven-delivery guys to hook up the gas to the oven (it would kinda be scary to have an un-attached open gas line hanging around the house :x) Anyways, on with this post... I must warn you... I'm very, very rusty...

My sister is a great fan of cheese! I too have a fondness for the curdled, solidified form of milk so my sister and I decided to have a cheese-plate party. Basically it was just her and me sitting around and snacking on various cheeses, we did offer our parents some but my mom was not so keen on the smell of some of the varieties.

Cranberry & Pinenut Honeyed Brie


- 1 wedge of brie

- 3 tbsp honey

- 2 tbsp clear fruit juice (I used pinapple. You could probably use cranberry or apple, but I'd avoid using something too strong because you want the honey to dominate)

- 1/4 cup pinenuts

- 1/4 cup dried cranberries


1. Place brie wedge in the center of a square piece of aluminum foil.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the cranberries, pinenuts, honey and juice.

3. Spoon the cranberries and pinenuts onto the top of the brie, trying to ensure that the toppings all fit on the top of the cheese.

4. Gather up the sides of the foil around the brie, making a cup-like pocket for the cheese. Carefully Pour the honey-juice mix overtop of the cheese (make sure it doesn't leak!)

5. Fully wrap the cheese with the foil, bake the cheese at 350 degrees for 8mins.

6. Remove brie from foil, plate and serve with toasted pita wedges, crackers, chips or fruits.

My sister loved the goat cheese. At first, she wasn't very skeptical and actually the smell of the cheese lured her in. She didn't really enjoy the brie, because strangely enough, she said that it didn't taste cheesey enough. Truth-be-told, she was right. The brie had a way more mellow flavor, but a flavor that my mom (who hates pungent foods) actually enjoyed. So, I guess that in buying goat cheese and brie, I balanced the flavors and pleased all! I wonder what cheeses I should try next time?

Monday, January 19, 2009

First Race of the Year: Chilly Chase 10k

Having participated in the Vancouver Sun Run in '08, I decided that I would take up a couple more races in '09 as a sort of resolution. Yes, I'm one of those avid runners who simply loves the feeling of the road/treadmill beneath my feet, but just haven't gotten around to signing-up (and paying) to participate in many races. Last year's 10k Sun Run was fun, and I got a fancy t-shirt as part of the registration package, and so for the first race of the year I decided to do another 10k and participated in the Chilly Chase.

My dad ran the race last year, and he kind of sold it to me by stating that once you finish the race they serve up Tim Horton's Chilli! Ah... the truly Canadian way, finishing a race and enjoying Timmy's. My dad decided to run the 5k (as the race offered the option of 5, 10, 15k) and so after the wonderfully scenic run through Langley on a brisk Sunday morning, I met up with my dad around the chilli cookhouse. This race was so much fun, and the weather was wonderful. I was worried at first that there would be a lot of icy patches on the roads (since there was still a lot of snow lingering about) but surprisingly the race course was ice-free! Another concern of mine was the crazy fog that had been making driving around Langley very difficult; but, for some strange reason, the fog decided to dissappear on race day. We were a very lucky bunch of runners!

I managed to convince a friend of mine to join the race with me, which was lots of fun. Running is always more enjoyable when you're doing it with others, and to see the look of accomplishment on your friends' faces after a race well run is very satisfying indeed. So, anyways... I think I should probably get back to baking something... or at least cooking something. (Oh, and of course prepping myself to run the 10k Historic Marathon in Langley!)

For more information about the Chilly Chase: Click HERE

My Race Results:
45th overall (out of 169 10k runners)
17th female finisher (out of 103)
6th female finisher between 20-29 years of age
Chip-Time: 50 minutes 44 seconds

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tasty Cake on a Friday Morning

I know, it's been far far too long since my last post. I seriously have to stop using my non-functional oven as an excuse to stop baking... but hey, it's tough. Luckily, my family has pre-purchased an oven from Sears and all we need to do now is wait for the delivery and installation! Yeah! But until then, I will be forced to bake with my toaster oven... and so far it's been a really great pal-of-mine.

For some reason I was really craving a simple gingerbread recipe... and after searching through my house I realized that I had about a pound of apples hanging about that needed to be used. So, after some arduous online searching I found this Upside-Down Apple Gingerbread recipe from and was well on my way to enjoying a lovely gingerbread breakfast.

The cake was wonderfully moist and I truly enjoyed the addition of the cinnamon-sugared apples. It reminded me of a delicious apple pie mixed with a ginger-molasses pudding... it really is a must try recipe!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Using What I've Got... Espresso Brownies with Cream-cheese Swirls

Just because my equipment is non-functional doesn't mean that I have to follow suit. I am in awe of my amazing little toaster oven... it's really picking up the slack for it's big-sister and is helping me get through my baking-addiction.

It's the start of a new year and I couldn't feel any less energized to ring it in. I decided to surprise the family this New Year's morning (which, by the time everyone woke up was actually 11am) by baking them a fresh batch of Espresso Brownies! But being that coffee tastes so much better when cream is added I decided to add in an amazing cream-cheese swirl topping.

Espresso Brownies with Cream-cheese Swirls

Ingredients for Brownies:
1⁄2 cup butter (1 stick)
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate (6 squares)
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
2 1⁄2 tbsp. instant espresso coffee powder
1 tbsp finely ground coffee grinds (optional, but adds a nice texture)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Cream-cheese Swirls:
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp all purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 8x8-inch square baking pan.
2. In medium saucepan, over low heat, melt butter and chocolate, stir until smooth. Remove from heat, stir in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla and coffee grinds if using.
3. Add eggs and salt, blend well.
4. Gradually stir in flour, mix until smooth. Spread batter evenly into pan.
5. Make cream-cheese mixture by creaming together the cream-cheese, butter and sugar. Add in beaten egg and mix in flour until well incorporated.
6. Make swirls: drop dollops of cream-cheese mixture by the tablespoon onto the brownie batter in a random design of "dots". Use the tip of a sharp knife to run through the various cream-cheese dots and swirl the batters together.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool thoroughly in pan on wire rack, cut into squares.

These brownies were amazing! Much better than the boxed kind (although I do love Betty Crockers brownies :O) The cream-cheese swirls were not overpowering in flavor, but did add that wonderful subtle creaminess to contrast the rich dark-chocolate flavor of the brownie batter. The addition of finely ground coffee beans was also very intriguing; they added a slightly gritty texture to the bars that lingered on after you swallowed the rich brownie. I've always been a fan of the chocolate covered coffee beans... I just love the grit, I don't know why?! I will definitely be making these brownies again, I might even have to make a double batch because my sisters loved them so much.