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Posts Tagged ‘bittersweet chocolate’

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Okay, last time I made strawberry chocolate muffins, I used 3/4 cup milk for 10 muffins– it was good, but a little too moist and too soft to hold its shape. The batter was kinda runny because I used milk, which contains more water. This time I fine tuned the recipe around– changed the ingredient proportion for 12 muffins, used whipping cream (which is thicker than milk), and switched to egg separation method. I believe the egg separation method is the main key to fluffy muffins. It’s the same principle as making a chiffon cake, and the outcome is really fluffy baked goods. Yes, it requires more work, but not too bad in this case. Give it a try!

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Strawberry & Chocolate Muffins #2

Strawberry & Chocolate Muffin #2 Recipe (makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter– melted and keep warm

Egg yolk mixture:
2 egg yolks– room temperature– see note below
3/4 cup whipping cream– see note below
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Egg White mixture:
2 egg whites– room temperature
2 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin pans with muffin cup liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour, 4 tbsp sugar, baking power and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. Whisk all ingredients in egg yolk mixture to blend well. Add in melted butter and mix well again. Pour into flour mixture. Use a spatula to fold in just enough to moist. The batter will be very lumpy and thick like  wet dough. Do not over mix the batter.
  4. In a separate clean bowl, whip egg whites on high speed until it looks white and bubbles are very tiny. Gradually add in sugar. Continue whipping on high speed until soft peak (curve tip) forms.
  5. Fold in whipped egg whites into the batter in 2 batches, until all whipped egg whites just blend well. The batter at this point will still be lumpy but a little loose. Add in strawberries and chocolate chips, fold in a few more times.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 20-22 minutes and the muffin top springs back when lightly pressed. Remove to cool on a rack for 5 minutes before serving.

Regina’s Note:

  • Eggs: be sure to use room temperature eggs. A quick way is to soak eggs in luke warm water for 10-15 minutes to bring to room temperature.
  • Whipping cream: I used whipping cream instead of milk because whipping cream is thicker, and thus the batter was not as runny compared to using same amount of milk. If you use milk (preferably whole milk), start with 2/3 cup first to get the batter moist enough (batter should be dense like scone batter). You can always add a little more if needed. You can also use whipping cream/milk combination or substitute milk for cream, but if milk is used then cut down amount of liquid (starts with 1/2 cup then gradually adding a little more as you fold in batter) because milk contains more water and better absorbed by flour mixture, and thus you don’t need as much amount as cream.
  • If you have hot cocoa mix sitting in your pantry too long, you can use it too instead of unsweetened cocoa powder, but cut down sugar to 2 tbsp as there is sugar in hot cocoa mix. The chocolate flavor won’t be as strong but the muffins still taste good.
  • Other tangy berries like raspberry and blackberry are also good choices for making these muffins.
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I got a bag of organic dried sliced plantain bananas from Costco just to give it a try, but found out they are quite chewy and dense. Great... now I’m stuck with a big bag of chewy dried bananas! What can I do with it? What can I do with it??… I know! Banana chocolate scones! It’s quick and easy to make, and a new flavor for the family.:-)

Results: Even I added 1 tbsp of rum to soften the bananas, I could’t taste any alcohol at all after baking. I didn’t want the taste of bananas take over the overall taste of the scones, so I just coarsely chopped. As a result, there are bites of the scones that comes with the sweet fragrance of banana, but no bananas in those bites at all… interesting!

Banana Chocolate Scones

Banana Chocolate Scones

Banana Chocolate Scones (makes 12 small scones)

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter– cut into pieces
1/2 cup toasted walnut– chopped
1/2 cup bitter-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried banana slices– chopped, and soak in 1 tbsp golden rum for at least 1 hour– see note below
2 eggs
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Rub in butter until the mixture resembles of coarse crumbs. Add walnut, chocolate chip and chopped dried banana. Toss to mix well.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla extract and milk (or cream) in a small bowl, whisk to combine. Scoop out 2 tbsp to reserve for glaze. Pour the egg mixture all at once into the flour mixture. Use a spatula gently stir until the dough comes together. Do not over mix or the scones will be tough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently 4-6 times, then divide the dough in half. Pat each half into 6 inch circle, then cut into 6 small wedges, for a total of 12 wedges.
  4. Place scones on a lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart, and chill in freezer for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400°F.
  5. Brush scones with reserved egg wash and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the center is baked through and golden brown on the edge. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Dried banana slices: The banana I used are dried sliced plantain banana that I got from Costco. They are a bit sticky, chewy and a bit dense in texture, so I added 1 tbsp of rum to soften up a little (and rum makes it more flavorful, you can’t taste the alcohol at all after baking). you can substitute rum with water.

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Coconut Chocolate Muffins

Coconut Chocolate Muffins

Coconut & Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 eggs
1 small can (5.6 oz) coconut milk
1/2 cup oil
2 tbsp golden rum

Fillings:
bittersweet chocolate chips (about 4-5 chips per muffin)

Toppings:
Sweetened shredded coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt into a big bowl. Stir in shredded coconut.
  3. Combine eggs, coconut milk, oil and golden rum in a medium bowl. Mix to blend well.
  4. Pour egg mixture to flour mixture. Fold together with a spatula until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin molds, about 1/3 full. Add in chocolate chips (about 4-5 chips in each muffin mold), then cover with more batter. Sprinkle top with some shredded coconut.
  6. Bake at preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when gently pressed with a finger.
  7. Remove from muffin molds and cool on a rack. Serve warm.

Regina’s Note:

  • Baking time: I baked for 22 minutes but found out the muffins were a little dry. So maybe 18-20 minutes?
  • Flavor: Full of chocolate flavor, not too sweet, but didn’t taste any rum nor coconut flavor other than from the topping.
  • Texture: the texture was okay, not super fluffy that I was looking for.

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I subscribe to a group on Facebook called “Baking Wonderland”, and recently I saw lots of mouth watering yummy looking Ogura cake photos posted to Baking Wonderland, all kinds of flavors too– vanilla, pandan, chocolate, coffee, mocha, mocha, passion fruit, pomelo honey etc… This is how I get to know Ogura cake. “Ogura” sounds like Japanese so i believe it’s a type of Japanese cake. I looked at all Ogura cake photos and they all have that moist, cotton-soft, fine texture that I always want for cake base, be it a sponge cake or cake roll. I have made sponge cake before but it didn’t turn out well enough for me– too dry, too dense and too rough (texture). I love chiffon cakes with all my heart– they are soft, moist, light and airy, but they don’t have that fine texture of a cake.

Needless to say, I rolled up my sleeves and started my concur on Ogura cake– let’s start the Ogura journey with the chocolate version.

End result? Just like some people said– it’s a cross between chiffon cake and egg-separated sponge cake. It’s moist, soft and the texture is more fine. While chiffon cake is very light, airy and sometimes a tiny bit dry, Ogura cake is moist, soft  and more fine which kinda melt in your mouth, just like Japanese cotton-soft cheesecake– except it’s a chocolate cake. I read about some people complaining about the cake being too wet, I didn’t have this problem this time, and I wonder is it because my baking method is slightly different– I put the cake on a rack, with water tray on the rack below (steam bake method), rather than had the cake pan sitting in the water tray (water bath method)? The top crust of the cake (my favorite part of a cake!) browned very nice and doesn’t get sticky even after cooling (Yay!!). Flavor: full of chocolate goodness and not very sweet, fit our palates just right.

Chocolate Ogura Cake 巧克力相思蛋糕 #1

Chocolate Ogura Cake 巧克力相思蛋糕 #1

Chocolate Ogura Cake Recipe  巧克力相思蛋糕 #1 (makes one 9-inch cake)– adapted from Jane’s Corner: 巧克力相思蛋糕

Ingredients:

Egg yolk mixture:
2 tbsp bittersweet sweet chocolate chips
50 ml milk
52 ml oil
1/4 tsp salt
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/3 cup cake flour
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Egg white mixture:
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Fill a shallow tray with tap water to half way and place the tray on the bottom rack. Place another rack on top of it– this rack is for the cake (so it is positioned at lower half of oven). Grease and line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan.
  2. Place chocolate chips and milk in a big bowl over a double boiler, until the chocolate melts. Remove from heat. Use a balloon whisk to whisk in salt and oil until well blended. Cool slightly.
  3. Whisk in egg yolks and whole egg, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture. Mix well after each addition.
  4. Combine cake flour and cocoa powder. Sift flour mixture into yolk mixture in 3-4 batches, whisk to blend really well after each addition. Cover the bowl until egg whites are ready to fold in.
  5. Whip egg whites on high speed (KitchenAid speed 8) until bubbles are small and no clear egg white is visible. Add in cream of tartar, continue whipping on high speed (KitchenAid speed 8). Scrap the bowl if necessary.
  6. When the egg whites does not have visible tiny bubbles and turns white, gradually add in sugar. Continue on high speed (KitchenAid speed 8), scrap down the bowl. When the meringue looks glossy, reduce speed to medium low (KitchenAid speed 6 or even 4– this is to push out big air bubbles, producing a cake with tiny holes and thus a more fine texture). Whip until it is soft peak (soft curl tip on the whisk when lifted upside down).
  7. With a silicone spatula, gently fold in whipped egg whites to the yolk mixture in 3-4 batches, be sure there’s no egg white lumps in the batter. Pour the batter into cake pan slowly (this will avoid big air bubbles and last check for any egg white lump in the batter). Tap cake pan once. Bake for 50 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and inverted on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

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Banana Muffins with Chocolate Filling

Banana Muffins with Chocolate Filling

Banana Muffins with Chocolate Filling

Banana Muffins with Chocolate Filling

Banana Muffins with Chocolate Filling (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
2 ripe bananas– mashed
2 egg whites
1/2 cup chopped walnuts– toasted
bittersweet chocolate chips for fillings

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a muffin pan with 10 paper muffin cups or grease with cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Stir in 3 tbsp of sugar. In another bowl, hand whisk egg yolk, milk, melted butter and mashed bananas until blended well. Pour the yolk mixture over the flour mixture and whisk until just combined (do not over mix– the batter will be slightly lumpy). Add walnuts to the top but do not mix yet– you will fold in walnuts when you fold in egg white in next step.
  3. Use a electric hand mixer, beat egg white until fluffy. Add in 1 tbsp sugar gradually and continue beating until soft peak appears as for meringue. Gently fold in whipped egg white into the batter until just blended.
  4. Fill each muffin cup half full, drop in 2-4 pieces of chocolate chips in the center. Then fill each muffin with more batter to cover chocolate chips.
  5. Bake the muffins until golden, for about 20 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on the rack.
Banana Muffins with Chocolate Filling-- added chocolate chips for the fillings, then covered with some batter on the top.

Banana Muffins with Chocolate Filling– added chocolate chips for the fillings, then covered with some batter on the top.

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Never have I had a chocolate babka before until one of the parents in MERC Chinese School gave me one to try– and man, that was GOOD! I searched online about this bread, and found out it is a Jewish Easter bread filled mostly with bittersweet chocolate. Well, I am not a Jewish, but I made this bread for Easter Sunday’s breakfast. A lot of butter was used making babka, to a point that when I remove the bread from loaf pan/muffin pans I see there’s lots oil at the bottom of the pans (I used non-stick pans and I didn’t spray!) Luckily we don’t eat babka on a regular basis. Despite that, the bread is very rich and chocolatey. Chocolate babka is best when enjoyed fresh hot from the oven– as the streusel topping is crunchy while the bread is buttery soft, moist and chocolatey. Since only bittersweet chocolate is used, the babka doesn’t taste awfully sweet at all, just the way I like it. It’s not that difficult to make. Try it, my friend; your Easter baking will never be the same… 🙂

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka Recipe (makes 1 loaf and 12 muffin size pieces– adapted from Epicurious.com)

Ingredients:
For dough:
3/4 cup warm milk
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 tsp yeast
3 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
10 tbsp (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

For egg wash (mix well):
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp heavy cream or whole milk

For chocolate filling (mix together):
5 tbsp unsalted butter, very well softened
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped– see note below
4 tbsp almond meals– toast in dry frying pan on low heat until pale golden, cool
1 tbsp candied orange peel– finely chopped

unsweetened cocoa powder

For streusel topping (combine flour and sugar, then cut in butter using a fork or butter knife until it resembles crumbs):
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (4oz, 1 stick) unsealed butter (room temperature)– cut into small pieces

Method:

  1. To make dough: Stir together warm milk and 2 teaspoons sugar in bowl of mixer. Stir in yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5-8 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. Add 1/2 cup flour to yeast mixture and beat at medium speed until combined. Add whole eggs, yolk, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low, then mix in remaining 2 3/4 cups flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. Increase speed to medium, then beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat until dough is shiny and forms strands from paddle to bowl (the dough will be very soft and sticky).
  3. Scrape dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours (I sit my bowl on top of a big pot filled with hot tap water at the bottom of the pot– just be sure the water doesn’t touch the dough bowl).
  4. Line loaf pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper (1 lengthwise and 1 crosswise), and liner for muffin pans.
  5. Punch down dough with a lightly oiled rubber spatula, then divide the dough into 1/3 (for loaf pan) and 2/3 (for 12 muffin molds) portion.
  6. For loaf pan: Roll out 1/3 of dough on a well-floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13×10 inch rectangle, with the long side in front of you. Brush egg wash on the long side farthest from you.
  7. Dust cocoa powder evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch space all around. Spread remaining 1/3 of the chocolate filling evenly on top of cocoa powder. Starting from the long side nearest to you, roll up the dough tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch firmly along egg-wash side to seal.
  8. Bring ends of log together to form a ring, pinching to seal. Twist entire ring twice to form a double figure 8 and fit into lined loaf pan.
  9. For muffin pans: Roll remaining 2/3 of dough on a well-floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 15×10 inch rectangle, with the long side in front of you. Brush egg wash on the long side farthest from you.
  10. Dust cocoa powder evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch space all around. Spread remaining 2/3 of the chocolate filling evenly on top of cocoa powder. Starting from the long side nearest to you, roll up the dough tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch firmly along egg-wash side to seal. Divide dough log into 12 even pieces.
  11. Take a piece of dough, hold it with one hand and twist the dough with the other hand (so it looks like a cinnamon twist). Carefully place the dough into lined muffin mold. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
  12. Loosely cover pans with greased plastic wrap (buttered side down) and let babkas rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough reaches top of pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in pans in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours; bring to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours, before baking.)
  13. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, prepare streusel.
  14. Brush tops of dough with remaining egg wash. Scoop some streusel topping on the top. Bake until tops are deep golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped (when loaves are removed from pans), about 35-40 minutes. Transfer loaves to a rack and cool to room temperature (please note muffin pans take a little less time to bake).

Regina’s Note:

  • Bittersweet chocolate: it’s better to use good quality chocolate for this recipe. Also, use a food processor for the chopping– just be sure to freeze the chocolate and blade before chopping.
  • Babka tastes best when warm, reheat in toaster or toaster oven when it is cold.
  • According to Martha Stewart, unbaked babka can be frozen for up to 1 month. After 2nd rise in the pan, wrap the pan with plastic wrap, followed by foil. When ready to bake, remove from freezer; let stand at room temperature for about 5 hours, and bake.
  • Alternatively, this recipe yields 2 loaf pans– I don’t have second loaf pan so I used muffin pans.
Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

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