American muffin

IMG_0835American muffin, one of the easier thing you could do in the morning, forget about the ready made muffin carton from supermarket,  don’t even mention what kind of ingredient had gone into the box. When you think about it, why you have to pay the extra money for the carton box, plastic bag that holding the dry mixture? This took about 30 minutes to make from scratch to its glory finish. Unlike English muffin, American muffin are quick breads. They are light, savoury or sweet buns made with a slightly more puffed, richer dough than scone. They are very popular breakfast bread.

I remembered the first baked goods I made is while I lived in UK is this American muffin, I started to curious about food and that had inspired me to write about them. American muffin is a versatile snack for any occasion too. I remembered there is one time muffin used to be a “haute” food in Asia for years and then cupcake took over the market for a very long time until every housewife thinking to perfect a cupcake or even taking a cupcake lesson. It is like a food trend in Malaysia. For me decoration is one of the worse I ever done. I’m not like Martha Stewart can perfectly done each of them, I don’t have the patience.

I have a basic recipe and variation

  • butter for greasing
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 200ml milk
  1. Butter the twelve 6cm muffin tins or deep bun tins. Set the oven to 200°C . Sift the dry ingredient into a large bowl.
  2. Melt the butter. Mix with the egg and milk in a separate bowl. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir only enough to dampen the flour, the mixture should be lumpy. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin, as lightly as possible, filling them only two-thirds full.
  3. Bake for about 15 minutes, until well risen and browned. The cooked muffins should be cracked across the middle.
  4. Cool in the tin for 2 – 3 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Variations

  • Walnut Muffins. Increase the sugar to 100g. Add 75g chopped walnuts before adding the liquids. After filling the muffin tins, sprinkle with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and extra finely chopped walnuts
  • Blueberry Muffins. Reserve 50g of the flour. Sprinkle lightly over 225g firm blueberries. Stir into the mixture last.
  • Jam Muffins. Before baking, top each muffin with 1 teaspoon sharp-flavoured jam.
  • Raisin Muffins. Add about 50g seedless raisins before adding the liquids.
  • Orange Apricot Muffins. Add 50g chopped ready-to-eat dried apricots and 1 tablespoon grated orange rind before adding the liquids.
  • Wholemeal Muffins. Substitute 100g wholemeal flour for 100g of the plain flour. Do not sift the wholemeal flour, but add it after sifting the plain flour.

There still many variation of recipe you could find it online, I adored Mrs. Beeton‘s recipe simply because I like the Old English writing as you read it, as it is back in the time. I don’t really ready about the history about American muffin, I’m not sure how it appear.

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Winner of September

1This morning I woke to an email containing the news that my entry into the baking competition on Nigella Lawson‘s website had won! I couldn’t believe it! But am so thrilled as the competition was tough, with some really wonderful entries from around 50 contestants, some with very fancy icing, and very beautifully made. I kept my entry simple as it was to celebrate a new baby entering the world.

Here’s a link to the competition in case you missed it last time.. http://www.nigella.com/cookalong/archive/2013/09

Learning to share food and home baking with friends and family is very fulfilling, and makes life so much happier. I’m feeling so inspired thanks to this competition, so please share in my excitement and keep reading and watching this blog for further news.

I’m now going to celebrate by opening a bottle of wine before I sleep, and will raise a glass to the culinary goddess Nigella, thank you!

Mini coffee & walnut layer cake

-19I love this little baby cake which I made for a special occasion of my friend’s new born baby to seduce my friend’s sweet tooth. The sparkling shine glazed walnut looks like fossil been wrap in a amber colour of lava. I posted on Nigella’s cookalong to share the new twist of her recipe here is the link http://www.nigella.com/cookalong/2013/09/entries/156

For the sponge cake

For the frosting

For the glazed caramel walnut

  • Approx. 6 to 8 walnut halves (to decorate)
  • 2 tbsps of water
  • 100 g of caster sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350°F.
  2. Put the halved walnut onto a baking tray bake lined with baking paper in 180°C for about 3 to 5 minutes or until turn lightly brown. Then remove it from the oven and let it cool complete.
  3. To make caramel sugar, in a saucepan put together sugar and water on a heat to completely dissolve the sugar, (neverever stir the sugar) until you have a light brown then remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Using a thong or chopstick dip the walnut onto the warm caramel (be careful is a hot sugar syrup, don’t get it on your hand) and place the dipped walnut onto baking tray with lined baking paper. Set aside.
  5. Butter six 7cm / 3inch mini square tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.
  6. Put the walnut pieces and sugar into a food processor and blitz to a fine nutty powder.
  7. Add the 225g/2 sticks butter, flour, 2 teaspoons espresso powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and eggs and process to a smooth batter.
  8. Add the milk, pouring it down the funnel with the motor still running, or just pulsing, to loosen the cake mixture: it should be a soft, dropping consistency, so add more milk if you need to. (If you are making this by hand, bash the nuts to a rubbly powder with a rolling pin and mix with the dry ingredients; then cream the butter and sugar together, and beat in some dry ingredients and eggs alternately and, finally, the milk.)
  9. Divide the mixture between the 6 lined tins and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and feels springy to the touch or insert a skewer into the middle and it come out clean.
  10. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, before turning them out onto the rack and peeling off the baking parchment.
  11. When the sponges are cool. Carefully half the mini cakes by using bread knife, you can make the buttercream.
  12. Pulse the icing sugar in the food processor until it is lump free, then add the butter and process to make a smooth icing.
  13. Dissolve the instant espresso powder in 1 tablespoon boiling water and add it while still hot to the processor, pulsing to blend into the buttercream.
  14. If you are doing this by hand, sieve the icing sugar and beat it into the butter with a wooden spoon. Then beat in the hot coffee liquid.
  15. Place all the halved sponges upside down on your cake stand or serving plate.
  16. Spread with about half the icing; then place on it the second halved sponges, right side up (i.e. so the 2 flat sides of the sponges meet in the middle) and cover the top with the remaining icing in a ramshackle swirly pattern. (I used piping bag with some decorated pattern to piped the buttercream on the top)
  17. This cake is all about old-fashioned, rustic charm, so don’t worry unduly: however the frosting goes on is fine. similarly, don’t fret about some buttercream oozing out around the middle: that’s what makes it look so inviting.
  18. Gently press the walnut halves into the top of the icing all around the edge of the circle about 1cm apart.
  19. For the final touch, place the glazed walnut on top of the frosting.

A very easy cakes yet so inviting to eat and this is not exactly like you see in Parisian patisserie window, I enjoyed it by just looking at them.

Walnut Bread

P1150484AThis bread is a must on any cheeseboard. Many people suggested serving it with a ripe Stilton or failing that, try it with any other strong flavour cheese and a glass of red wine. Often in UK restaurants serve this bread before entree. If you have any leftover of this bread you could pop it into microwave about 5 to 8 second, then spread with butter and you can enjoy it on its own. Here is how I do the bread, I think if you could do it by hand is even better as I feel the food and I get exciting for it when is baked.

  1. Put all the ingredients except the walnuts into a large bowl, (make sure yeast at one side of the bowl and salt at the another side) then mix well with your hands for about 4 minutes.
  2. When all the flour has been incorporated, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, using your fingers and the heel of your palm, knead for 5 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  3. Line a baking tray. Incorporate the walnuts into the dough, shape into a ball and dust with white flour. Place on the baking tray and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross into the top of the dough, then bake the bread for 30 minutes until golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

I promised this is the bread you should have to try to make at least once, since most of the restaurant is making this bread as a starter, maybe it can be great for your dinner party as well.

Avelinettes, Chocolate Nutty Truffle

Chocolate Truffle
It’s a little late for valentine, but if you could wish to have valentine any day you like, you could, if you try this French nut truffle! It has all the walnut, hazelnut, almond flavour ground inside it, and the velvet-smooth truffle is coated with pure cocoa powder. Is perfect for an after dinner light snack, or you can serve as the sweet snack after dinner party when served with coffee, or even on it’s own as a special little treat.
When you bite it you will taste the rich deep flavour of the bitter cocoa powder that coats the truffle, then the romance comes with the sweetness of the sugar and the aroma of the nuts, it feels like someone came along to give you the most sweetest moment of life; just like your wishes of valentine that you could never had. This will definitely fulfill you more than anything else. Would you like to have a valentine right now?
These delicious hand-made truffles is indulgence treat for special occasion, or why not just treat yourself to a small quantity for those moments when you need cheering up!
Now I going to cheer you up by letting you do this at home.
  • 150g ground walnuts
  • 150g ground hazelnuts
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 450g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp coffee extract
  • 1 small egg white (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sieved
  1. Place the walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, sugar and coffee extract in the mixing bowl, adding a little egg white if required. Otherwise adding water to combine.
  2. Shape pieces of the paste into little oval petits fours and roll them in the cocoa powder. Do not cook them. Serve in a little paper confectionery cases.