Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Gudetama Coconut Macarons (Reduced-sugar Swiss method)

There are some days when you feel just like Gudetama, don't you 😜?

I had a small batch of macarons to work with so I decided to try a reduced sugar adaptation of the Swiss method which I have yet to try. I made these Gudetama macarons along with a couple of Minion macaron cake toppers so keep a lookout for that.

Recipe is adapted from the Broma recipe with reduced sugar adaptations. For those of you unfamiliar with the Broma recipe, it has an extremely easy to remember ratio for almond: icing sugar: caster sugar: egg whites of 1:1:1:1. It uses the Swiss meringue method which partially cooks the egg whites so as to make the meringue more stable. If you find difficulty in working with a wetter batter than your usual recipes, try increasing the amount of almond and/or icing sugar portion as I find that this recipe has a relatively lower almond and icing sugar content compared with other formulas. This may be necessary especially when working in humid climates like Singapore.

Recipe for reduced sugar coconut macaron shells (Swiss method)
Ingredients (makes about 16-20 macarons):
50g egg whites
50g caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
40g superfine almond meal
10g dessicated coconut, sifted
4g coconut cream powder
45g icing sugar
5g rice flour
2g cornflour
Gel food colouring

1. Prepare baking tray with template and line with baking paper. Set oven rack to lowest position.

2. Sift all dry ingredients together (almond, dessicated coconut, coconut cream powder, icing sugar, cornflour and rice flour). Divide into two equal portions.

3. Place egg whites, caster sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl. Whisk over a pot of gently simmering water until mixture temperature reaches 50℃ and all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and beat with electric mixer at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Divide meringue into two equal portions. Use a little meringue to stick the baking paper onto the tray.

4. Add yellow gel to one portion of meringue and gently mix well. Scatter the dry mixture over the meringue. Gently fold with spatula until well combined. Scoop out about 1.5 tbs of white batter and add colouring for the bacon slice. Continue folding the batter but deflating it by pressing it to the sides of the bowl until consistency is that of a slow-moving lava. You may refer to  this post  for the basics of folding and testing batter consistency.

5. Transfer to piping bag and pipe away! You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.

Piped shells

6. Bang the tray on the table after piping between steps. Dry in aircon room or under the fan until the shells are dry to touch. Note: people who used the Broma method mentioned that there is no need to dry the shells prior to baking but I find it necessary.

7. Preheat oven to 160℃. Place tray in oven and turn heat down to 140℃. Bake for 10 min. Reduce temperature to 110℃ and bake for another 10-15 min or until feet doesn't appear wet. Cool completely on tray before removing the macaron shells.

I decorated the shells with edible marker and royal icing.

Decorated shells!

Recipe for coconut white chocolate ganache
42g white chocolate, chopped
21g unsalted butter
21g vegetable shortening
26g heavy cream or coconut cream
6g coconut cream powder
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp lemon juice (optional)

1. Melt white chocolate, butter and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl at medium power for 20 seconds. Mix well with spatula. Repeat heating and stirring until mixture is smooth and melted.

2. Mix coconut cream powder and heavy cream/ coconut cream in a small saucepan. Heat on low heat until the powder is dissolved and mixture starts to bubble. Pour into white chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.

3. Add salt and lemon juice. Mix well.

4. Freeze mixture for 2 minutes and mix well with spatula. Repeat this and start whipping the mixture when it starts to thicken. Beat until texture is fluffy like buttercream.

5. Transfer into piping bag and pipe onto shells. Store in the fridge for at least 24h before serving. Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 10 min before eating.

If you like coconut flavour, this is a delectable macaron for you as it is nice and delicate after maturing and full of coconut fragrance!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 13 August 2017

'Woodlands animals' Wooden Stump Chiffon Cake

Woodlands 🦊🦉🍁 "Wooden Stump" Chiffon Cake! 🌲 I had lots of fun creating a Wooden Stump this time and various Miniature Animals from chiffon cake!

My friend was worried about her daughter being sad about cutting up her favorite animal hence all mini mini =p.

*NEW* 16/8/17: Uploaded video on my instagram.

It's vanilla chocolate flavour and naturally-coloured. It uses a similar recipe to my previous Sushi Wood-style Chiffon Cake, but the wood grains configured in circular fashion like a wooden log. Also I concentrated the chocolate batter at the sides and made cuts on the chiffon cake to mimic a wooden stump exterior.

Wooden Stump Chiffon Cake (9-inch tube pan) ~ Vanilla chocolate chiffon cake
8 egg yolks
53g castor sugar
106g vegetable/corn oil
119g water
13g vanilla extract
160g Prima cake flour, sifted
1 tsp cocoa powder, sifted (alkalized)

11 egg whites
120g castor sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare a tray of water at the bottom of the oven (I used the lowest rack to bake the cake). *You may omit steam baking; I like to use it to control my oven temperature rise.

2. Beat eggs with sugar with whisk till pale and light before stirring in oil, water and vanilla extract.

3. Next add in sieved flour and whisk till no trace of flour lumps are found.

4. Spoon out 20 tsp and add 1 tsp cocoa powder, mix well.

5. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till firm peaks, mixing in caster sugar gradually in a few additions.

6. Spoon out 40 tbsp meringue for cocoa batter, leaving the rest for plain batter. Gently but quickly fold in the meringue into the respective egg yolk batter.

7. Transfer the 3 tsp cocoa batter into a piping bag. Pipe thin "wood grains" onto the base of the pan and a ring around the side of the pan. Spoon the plain batter gently into the spaces between the "wood grains". Cover the "wood grains" in the middle gently with more plain batter. After this, I just spoon cocoa batter at the side of the pan and plain batter in the middle (doesn't need to be neat as long as the sides are covered with cocoa batter).

8. Bake the chiffon cake for 15 min at 160°C and then at 150°C for 10 mins and 140°C for 30-31 min, or until skewer comes out clean. *This is just a guide as each oven’s internal heat is different, do optimize for your own oven.

9. Invert the chiffon cake once removed from oven.

10. Unmould the chiffon cake by hand after cake is completely cool (watch Video tutorial 'Hand Unmoulding Chiffon Cakes for a Clean Finishing'). Gently pull the cake from the sides of the tin at each angle and push the removable base up to unmould the sides. To unmould the cake from the base, gently lift up the cake from the base using hands, repeating this at each angle before turning the base over.

11. Made cuts along the sides of the cake using a knife.

The animals are made from baking chiffon batter in small 3-cm cake pops molds and then adding on details like spikes cut from sheet cakes. I've also shared the Mushroom chiffon pop in my 2nd chiffon book Deco Chiffon Cakes. In the book, I also have some small animals from cake pops like mini sheep.

Some of you may know, I'm currently working on a new Basics Techniques book. It will be very different from the first two books; the book format is centered around pictures (more pictures and pictures for every step), to show you more in-depth how to get various shapes and patterns. It also has more in-depth on how to control the oven temperature to prevent browning, sort of textbook-style =). Hopefully this will help more people master the Basics of Deco Chiffon cakes!

Have a blessed week ahead!

With lots of love,
Susanne =)

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Thursday, 10 August 2017

'Snowskin and Baked Mooncake' Macarons (new recipe for Gula Melaka macaron shells!)

This bake came about because I was inspired by Jennifer Lu's macaron version of taiyaki that I saw from a macaron Facebook group. Unlike the ferris wheel which I succeeded on my first try, or the macaron tricycle which I succeeded on my second try, mooncake lookalikes took me a few attempts to get it right. Presenting probably the world's first mooncake macarons that look like mooncakes!

I will share in detail the recipe for Gula Melaka "baked mooncake" macaron shells (French method) and the "mooncake" filling in this post. The "snowskin mooncake" macaron shells were made using an old recipe so I will just provide the link to it.

I have always wondered what if we replaced caster sugar with brown sugar or even Gula Melaka for making macarons. Gula Melaka also has a glycemic index that is a third of white sugar, making it less harmful for diabetics. A yummier and healthier option! I had some leftover chopped Gula Melaka from making Ondeh-Ondeh and some aged egg whites in the fridge so I thought why not try it out. When using brown sugar, keep in mind that it is more hygroscopic in nature than caster sugar (tends to absorb moisture from atmosphere) and this may potentially cause problems when baking macarons. I overcome this by baking at a higher temperature for a longer time to really dry out the shells (overbaked by usual standards) and add a little more cornflour to the powdered almond mixture. Overbaking caramelizes the sugar more, intensifying the caramel flavour that is already present in brown sugar. The resulting macaron shells are softer to bite after maturing with filling than regular shells and the caramel flavour is amazing😍! You don't have to bother with browned shells since they are supposed to look brown anyway :p.

Recipe for Gula Melaka macaron shells
Ingredients (makes about seven 5cm mooncake macarons, 14 shells):

35g egg whites (about 1 egg), preferably aged
35g Gula Melaka*, finely chopped and sifted (not necessary to use an extra fine sieve)
48g icing sugar (with cornflour added)
37g superfine almond meal
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
1/8 tsp Dutch processed cocoa powder (optional, I added to deepen the brown colour a little)

*You may replace with fine brown sugar

1. Sift almond, icing sugar, salt, cornflour and cocoa powder together.

2. Prepare baking tray with mooncake template. You may use a scalloped cookie cutter to trace out the shape like I did. Line baking tray with baking paper.

3. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar on low speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add Gula Melaka and continue beating on medium low speed until stiff peaks form. The reason for using lower speed is to allow time for the sugar to dissolve. Alternatively, you may also use the Swiss meringue method using the same amount of ingredients to make the meringue. This also ensures that the Gula Melaka is dissolved in the egg whites. It is important to whip to stiff peaks and not just firm peaks.

Gula melaka meringue

4. Add in powdered ingredients in three batches and fold in carefully and gently using a spatula. When the powdered ingredients are incorporated, press the batter against the side of the bowl to deflate the batter a little until the batter falls off the spatula in a lava-like manner. You may refer to this post for how to fold and press the batter, and how to test the consistency of the batter.

5. Transfer batter into piping bag fitted with a suitable sized tip, which depends on the cookie cutter scalloped pattern that you traced. I used a Wilton #6 for mine. Pipe the base of the mooncake and let it partially dry. Add the pattern details (I used Wilton 1S tip) and dry the shells under a fan or in aircon room until dry to touch.

6. Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. Bake shells in preheated oven (fan off) at 150℃ for 15 min and at 130℃ for another 5-10 min or until feet no longer appears wet. It is ok to overbake the shells and let it brown a little. Cool completely on the tray before removing. Note that baking temperature and time will vary as each oven behaves differently. They key is to overbake the shells such that it is crispy and slightly browner when freshly baked.

Freshly baked shells!

You may notice that my macaron shells have an "egg washed" look. Here's the magic that took place post baking as you can see from the picture below.

Adding on "egg washed" look

Completed shells!

I am not releasing the details of how I made the scalloped edges look the way they are (you can't achieve this look by simply piping the batter the normal way) or how to add on the wash effect at this point in time but I am sure those of you who have been following my macaron blog posts will be able to figure out the tricks ;).

Here's a peek at the insides! The shells taste very close to my brown sugar cookies but with macaron texture!

Fluffy insides and no hollows!

The snowskin mooncake version was made using the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells (Italian method). Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.

Just to share some pictures of the process...

Piped and partially dried base

Added details

Freshly baked shells!

At this point in time, I haven't figured out how to include lotus paste into the macaron filling since I was focusing on getting the look right. I used a reduced sweetness white chocolate ganache as the base and added on Gula Melaka to colour it brown such that it looks a little like lotus paste. The salted egg yolk center is really salted egg yolk mixed with the ganache.

Recipe for mooncake macaron filling
Basic vanilla white chocolate ganache
40g white chocolate, chopped (I used vanilla bean white chocolate)
40g unsalted butter
40g vegetable shortening
40g heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp Caramel flavouring (optional)

Gula Melaka ganache
65g vanilla white chocolate ganache
18-20g Gula Melaka syrup (melt 25g chopped Gula Melaka in 1-2 tbs water with one knotted Pandan leaf, set aside to cool)
1/8 - 1/4 tsp salt (according to taste)

Salted egg yolk ganache
13g vanilla white chocolate ganache
12g mashed cooked salted egg yolk (about 1 salted egg)

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate, butter and shortening at medium power for 20 sec. Mix well with a spatula. Repeat until mixture is melted. Be careful not to overheat.

2. Heat cream in a saucepan until bubbles appear. Pour over white chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.

3. Add salt, vanilla and caramel flavouring. Mix well.

4. Freeze mixture for 2 minutes and mix well with spatula. Repeat until mixture thickens. Start to whip it either with spatula or electric mixer until it resembles whipped cream. This white base can be used as the outer ring of filling for the snowskin mooncake version.

5. Make the Gula Melaka ganache. Add salt and Gula Melaka syrup a little at a time to the vanilla white chocolate ganache, mixing well between each addition. Add as much as you would like according to taste and the depth of colour. This will form the "lotus paste" portion of the filling.

6. Make the salted egg yolk ganache. Mix mashed salted egg yolk and vanilla white chocolate ganache together. Press the mixture through a fine sieve if it is lumpy.

7. Transfer all three types of filling into piping bags. Fill the shells as shown below:

Snowskin mooncake macaron filling

Baked mooncake filling

8. Refrigerate in airtight container for at least 24h before serving. Let the macarons stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before eating.

My dad and younger kid had first dips to the mooncake macarons and they said it was yummy! Here's a closer peek at the insides...

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 7 August 2017

Merlion and Singapore Flag Heart Earl Grey Lavender Macaron Pops

In the past I have made Singapore flag brown sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, snowskin mooncake and chiffon cake pops, but never macarons. So I thought why not make some this year in the form of macaron pops :). I made a few Merlion heads, which are iconic of Singapore as well.

I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.

Just to share some pictures of the process..

Piping hearts!

You may watch my video tutorial on how to pipe the perfect hearts shapes

Piping Merlion!

Checkout the freshly baked shells and their feet!

The Merlion doesn't need any more decorative work but the hearts sure did. I used royal icing to make the flag patterns. It's was quite a challenge to get the stars painted on uniformly as I didn't have star fondant cutters that were any smaller. I used fondant or cookie cutters to stamp out the outline of where the royal icing was supposed to go before filling it up.

Decorated shells!

I filled the shells with Earl Grey lavender white chocolate ganache. I tweaked my usual recipe a little by using less white chocolate so that it is even less sweet.

Recipe for Earl Grey lavender white chocolate ganache (fills about 20-25 macarons)
60g vanilla bean white chocolate, chopped
9g vegetable shortening
9g unsalted butter
16g heavy cream
2 tsp Earl Grey powder
1/2 tsp dried Lavender powder
1/8 tsp sea salt

1. Place white chocolate, shortening and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on medium power for 20 seconds and stir. Repeat until mixture is melted. Be careful not to overheat.

2. Heat cream in a small saucepan until bubbles appear. Pour into white chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined.

3. Add salt and tea powders and mix well.

4. You may let mixture stand at room temperature to firm up before piping onto shells. I prefer to whip it so that the texture is lighter. To so so, freeze the bowl of ganache for 2 minutes and beat with a spatula. Repeat freezing for 1 min and beating until the ganache lightens in colour and texture resembles whipped cream.

5. Transfer to piping bag and pipe onto shells. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating. This ganache can be stored at 25℃ for a few days so it is perfect as gifts.

Filling the shells!

Individual wrapping was requested so I packed them like this...

Happy birthday Singapore!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Pink Carebears Strawberry Chiffon Cake

Happy birthday 6th dearest Christine!! Times flies and my number 2 is growing up. Thank God for her always being a source of joy. This Pink Carebear (Love-a-lot) reminds me a lot of her. May she continue to grow in the grace and love of our Lord <3.

I haven't made Carebears since 2 years back. This is my first attempt at a full 3D chiffon version, made from Strawberry Chiffon Cake. Thank God it was well-received! The kids had lots of fun putting in the candles and cutting up the cake!

Just sharing some pictures below =).

Singing "Happy Birthday"

The teacher couldn't bear to cut the face. My girl had the honor of eating it =p

With lots of love,

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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Reduced-Sugar Earl Grey Macaron Tricycle

After my macaron ferris wheel creation, I had an inspiration to try another mobile macaron structure. Presenting possibly the world's first tricycle made up of macarons!

Complete with a cute rider!

Here's a view of the tricycle without the rider on it.

And of course I had to have fun making a video out of this :p.

See it in action!

I used the reduced sugar Italian method recipe to make the Earl Grey shells. I filled the macarons with Earl grey white chocolate filling that doesn't require refrigeration. Like the cookies n cream ferris wheel macarons, these are yummy too and not too sweet due to the tea flavour. The best part is, these macarons do not need to be refrigerated and can be stored at room temperature (27-28℃) in warm Singapore for about a week in airtight container. For longer storage, store in the fridge but let the filling soften at room temperature before eating.

Recipe for reduced sugar Earl Grey macaron shells
Ingredients (enough to make 2 tricycles):
110g superfine almond meal
100g icing sugar (without cornflour added)
3g cornflour
6g rice flour
1/8 tsp salt
43g egg whites
4g Earl Grey tea powder

100g caster sugar
41g egg whites
32g water
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

You may refer to this post for the detailed steps. But I will describe briefly here without going into the technical details.

1. Prepare baking tray with template.

2. Prepare mass by sifting all dry ingredients together. Add egg white and mix well.

3. Prepare Italian meringue. Heat sugar and water until softball stage while beating egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peak stage. Slowly add syrup while beating on high speed. Continue beating for another 12 minutes or so until meringue is stiff and cool.

4. Fold meringue into mass in two additions. Fold until batter flows in a slow-moving lava-like way.

5. Transfer to piping bag and pipe the pieces. Bang tray on table and pop trapped air bubbles with toothpick if necessary.

6. Dry shells in aircon room or under a fan until dry to touch. Bake in preheated oven at 140℃ for 10-35 min depending on size of the parts. Cool completely on tray before removing.

Freshly baked shells!

Recipe for Earl Grey white chocolate filling
80g white chocolate, chopped (I used vanilla bean white chocolate)
20g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp Earl Grey powder (you may add lavender if you wish)

1. Melt white chocolate with vegetable shortening in a microwave-safe bowl.

2. Add salt and Earl Grey powder. Mix well.

3. Let the mixture firm up till piping consistency before filling the shells by letting it sit on the counter for about 15 min. I like to fluff it up a little by beating the mixture. This makes the filling lighter in texture.

The tricycle is screaming for a rider so I made the ever iconic cheery bear macaron holding a bicycle horn this time :p. You may find the template for the bears in my Creative Baking: Macarons book.

Honk! Honk!

I have to admit that my first attempt at making the tricycle failed due to design fault. Macarons are really too fragile and the frame broke. This second attempt was a lot sturdier and could withstand my kids handling for two days. Just to share my first attempt here...

The chocolate macaron tricycle frame was too narrow and so it broke easily.

Although my first attempt didn't work, it gave me a better idea of how to design the macaron pieces. It was yummy too--chocolate shells with cookies n cream filling!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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