Martha Stewart’s Maple Nut Tart

I don’t know about you, but I can never resist booksales. I went into Harris one day and saw this beautiful cake cookbook that was on 20% discount! I wanted to buy it there and then, but the boyfriend dragged me out with my hands empty, saying that I don’t need to add another book to my collection at home.

Yes, I admit. I collect cookbooks. I read them often but rarely do I actually cook from the recipes there.

So imagine my joy when he calls me up and tells me that he’s going to buy me a cookbook to make up for my disappointment that day. I was excited but then I realise, hmm, something’s not quite right…

The boyfriend kindly bought me a book on his favourite treats – Pies & Tarts! And bought me a tart tin to complete the package. I was pleased with the present but was more excited about putting the new Martha Stewart on my shelf. Haha.

Here’s the first recipe I tried – Maple Nut Tart, a spin on the classic pecan pie, which is the boy’s ultimate favourite.

The filling recipe is quite versatile as you can incorporate other nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts, as long as the total volume remains the same. For my first attempt, I used almonds instead as I didn’t manage to get pecans from the supermarket near my place.

First, prepare the pastry dough. This recipe makes enough for one 9-inch double-crust pie or two 9-inch single-crust pies:

Pâte brisée
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ to ½ cup ice water

1. Pulse flour, salt and sugar in a food processor (or whisk together by hand in a bowl). Add butter, and pulse (or quickly cut in with a pastry blender or your fingertips) until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pieces of butter the size of small peas. Drizzle ¼ cup water over mixtures. Pulse (or mix with a fork) until mixture just begins to hold together. If dough is too dry, add ¼ cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse (or mix with a fork).

2. Divide dough in half onto two pieces of plastic wrap. Gather into two balls, wrap loosely in plastic, and press each into a disk using a rolling pin. Refrigerate until firm, well-wrapped in plastic, 1 hour or up to 1 day. (Dough can be fozen up to 3 months, thaw in refrigerator before using).

Maple Nut Tart
adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts

All-purpose flour, for dusting
½ recipe of Pâte brisée
2 large eggs
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup pure Grade A maple syrup
1½ cups coarsely chopped pecans*
1½ cups coarsely chopped walnuts*

(*Note: 1½ cups is equivalent to about 150g. I used 100g almonds, 200g walnuts)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (about 176°C). On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to an 11-inch round. Fit into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim excess dough flush with rim.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and salt; whisk in maple syrup. Add nuts, and mix to combine thoroughly. Place tart pan on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, and pour in filling. Bake until filling is set and crust is slightly golden, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely in pan. Unmold before serving.

It’s definitely a sweet treat. I recommend serving the tart with some hot tea.

Almond Cake

Yes, I know, it’s the exam period. But I just couldn’t resist baking something, especially when my mommy offered to help :)

Picked a simple recipe from a recently bought cookbook – Classic Essential Cakes (Periplus Mini Cookbooks). It’s so straightforward that we were done with the prep work within 15 mins! Perfect for a quick bake! 

Almond Cake
adapted from Classic Essential Cakes

125 g butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 drops almond essence
3 eggs, lightly beaten
90g ground almonds
1/2 cup plain flour
whole almonds for decoration

1. Preheat oven to moderate 180°C. Line a deep 17 cm round sandwich tin with baking paper

2. Beat butter, sugar and essence in mixing bowl until light and creamy

3. Add one third of eggs, together with one third of ground almonds; repeat with remaining eggs and almonds

4. Fold in sifted flour and stir until ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth

5. Spoon mixture into prepared tin; smooth surface and decorate with almonds

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into centre of cake. Leave cake in tin for 10 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack.

Mag’s Lemon Cake

I enjoyed my days as an intern, very much. It was an awesome experience and I had lots of fun learning my way about marketing from the experienced.

Food was also another highlight from those intern days: Glory Laksa from the Signature Building at Changi Business Park, having got the chance to taste what I deem, one of the best curry puffs in Singapore (Maxwell Market!) and trying food that I’ve never tried before during those working makan sessions.

I remember that day pretty much – my boss Mag came in with some butter cake lookalike an offered me a slice, telling me that it’s her homemade lemon cake. It was a beautiful sunshiny yellow, covered in a matte white icing.. it was buttery yet light. with a delightful lemon fragrance…As they say, the rest is history - no other lemon cake comes close to hers and i’m so glad that i was able to replicate the very same in my own kitchen!

                                                      

Mag’s Lemon Cake

225g     butter  (Just use the whole slab of SCS butter)
220g     sugar
220g     self raising flour
1          lemon
1          orange
4          eggs

1. Preheat oven to 160°C and butter a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking paper

2. Zest and juice the lemon and orange; do set them aside separately

3. Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then add one egg at a time, beating well between additions.

4. Add in 1 tbsp of lemon zest and 1 tbsp of orange zest and continue to beat the mixture

5. Mix half the flour in and stir, adding in 3 tbsp of lemon juice and 3 tbsp of orange juice

6. Stir in the remaining flour and mix well

7. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake for 50 – 55 minutes; or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Tip the cake over a rack and allow it to cool

Icing
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoon of orange juice
2 tablespoon of lemon juice

1. Mix all ingredients together, stirring well. The end consistency should be as thick as ketchup, if not, just add a bit more juice (to make it more flowy) or icing sugar (to thicken it) to achieve it.

2. Proceed to pour it over the entire cake, letting it flow off the edges. Icing turns hard when set.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I intended to bake a batch of christmas cookies as presents, last christmas. really. honest. I swear.
I even bought the set of christmas cookie cutters, dug out my rolling pin from the depths of my kitchen cupboards and bought all the ingredients needed, but, somehow i just never got to it.

ah yes. i blame school. econs, business law and all that jazz; stressful stuff.

So there I was, the night before christmas eve, desperate for ideas that would make for a nice small gift.
Went through my fridge and found a new bag of chocolate chips stashed beneath the chips, so I decided on making my chocolate chip cookies!

This recipe is perfect for baking noobs as there’s no way to mess it up.

I had one main concern though, as previously I had always baked these cookies in a turbo broiler…

I didn’t have an oven back then,but the cookies always turned out perfect when ‘baked’ in my broiler. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to replicate the same cookie in my microwave oven and it’d be disastrous to give away lousy cookies as gifts.

But I’m glad I went ahead with making the cookies as they were every bit as delicious as I remember them to be.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 60-ish small cookies

1  1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup soft margarine or butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar (you could use 1/2 cup instead but I reduced the amount, don’t want the cookies too sweet)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I sometimes use almond extract instead, and find that this induces a very Famous Amos-ish scent!)
1 egg
2/3 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)

2. Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined

3. Place them on the baking sheet in tablespoonfuls, if not you could shape n roll them up with your hands like me

4. Bake for 11 – 15 minutes, or until golden browned around the edges

5. Leave to cool completely before packing

Orange Cupcakes with Orange Icing

Felt motivated after my first attempt at cupcakes, plus the sister wanted to try icing her own… so we had a Sunday baking session at home with mommy!

Tried this recipe from CupcakeRecipes and everyone pretty much loved them, except me. =/ maybe i’m just not a fan of icing.. it’s really just too sweet. sighs sighs. and i kinda prefer lemon over orange =Xx

Do try the recipe out if you like orange as there’s quite a distinct orange taste in both the cake and icing.

Orange Cupcakes with Orange Icing
Makes 16

Orange Cupcake Recipe from CupcakeRecipes
1  3/4 cup cake flour (see tip below)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs, separated and whites beaten until stiff
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice
1 stick of butter, softened

*Tip: 1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)

2. Combine butter, sugar. egg yolks and vanilla and cream it thoroughly

3. Mix dry ingredients – flour, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add the dry to the creamed ingredients in parts, alternating with portions of orange juice

4. Fold in the beaten egg whites

5. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases and bake for 15 min or until risen and firm to the touch

6. Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before icing

Orange Icing from CupcakeRecipes
1  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
3 tablespoons soft butter
2-3 tablespoons orange juice

1. Mix all ingredients together starting with only 2 tablespoons of juice, gradually adding more to achieve the right consistency for frosting.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Glace Frosting

To celebrate the end of our exams, we had a mini baking session today!
so glad that the boyfriend’s sister, fiona kinda shares my interest.. my sis and cm are only interested in the eating bit. -.-||

it’s fun to have company during the baking process and she had a blast decorating the cupcakes with the sprinkles and cherries!

it’s my first attempt at decorating cupcakes and i think it went quite well..

we both think that the cupcakes taste great (i think the icing is a lil too sweet IMO), cm adores the icing and could polish off the entire bowl if i didn’t stop him in time :p

dressed cupcakesVanilla Cupcakes with Glace Frosting
Makes 12

Basic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe from cupcake-creations
150g      softened butter
150g      fine sugar
175g      self raising flour
3           eggs
1 tsp     vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)

2. Combine the butter, sugar, flour and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Add in the eggs last and beat till smooth and creamy

3. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases and bake for 18-20 min until risen and firm to the touch

4. Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before icing

Simple Glace Frosting from all-about-cupcakes
2cups     icing sugar
3tbsp     softened butter
2tbsp     lemon juice

1. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and add in the butter and lemon juice

2. Mix until smooth

3. Embark on the decorating and have fun! :)

Lemony Lemon Squares

I admit. I’m an extremely lazy person.
So I’m always on the look-out for simple recipes that look good and sound promising.

I found this Lemony Lemon Squares scribbled in one of my old notebooks, prolly copied off some baking cookbook from the library.

They’re so simple to make and great for those who really love their lemons!
My friend Shing says that this should be prepared as a before-exam-paper treat, as the tart-ness of the squares will really make you pucker up!

CIMG3526

Lemony Lemon Squares
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)

CRUST
1 cup            all-purpose flour
1/4 cup         granulated sugar
1/2 cup         cold, butter, cubed

TOPPING
3                   eggs
1 cup             granulated sugar
3 tbsp            all-purpose flour
2 tsp              grated lemon zest
1/2 cup          freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Crust: In a bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Using your fingers, combine the butter with the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Press evenly into a greased 8-inch  square cake pan (i use a baking parchment on mine!) and bake in a preheated oven until its lightly browned around the edges, 12 – 15 mins

2. Topping: In a bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, flour, lemon zest and juice until just smooth. Don’t overbeat it! Then pour over the crust.

3. Return it into the oven and bake until set, which should take about 25 – 30 mins. Leave it to cool completely before cutting them into squares!

Optional, but you could dust the top with some icing sugar to make them look extra-irresistible!

Rice Krispie Treats

it’s my very first post – a recipe for a sweet treat to a sweet start! :p

This recipe is from crepesofwrath and I couldn’t resist trying it out as the steps were too simple and they looked soo good!

RKT

These Rice Krispie Treats are just bars of sweet goodness – with the gooey-ness of the marshmallows complementing the crisp of the cereals. They keep really well in the fridge and are great for the midday munchies! They’re also really addictive! My sister’s friend ate 4 bars at one go! Be warned!

Rice Krispie Treats from crepesofwrath
1 box of Rice Krispies Cereal
2 bags of Jet-Puffed Marshmallows (I used Rocky Mountain Marshmallows)
6 tablespoons butter
sprinkles (optional)

1. Grease a 9×13 pan (it has to be this size or something close to it – these are going to be giant rice krispie treats. Halve the recipe if you are using a smaller pan).

2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s completely melted, add the marshmallows and allow them to melt completely, stirring often so the marshmallows don’t burn.

3. Remove the marshmallow mixture from the heat and pour all of the cereal into the pot. Using a greased spatula or large spoon, stir the cereal and marshmallows together until thoroughly combined.

4. Pour the cereal and marshmallows into the greased pan. Even it flat with your greased spatula. Sprinkle the rice krispie treats with the sprinkles if you like, and allow them to cool completely before serving.

If you simply can’t wait (like me), just pop em into the freezer for 15mins or so and they’re ready to be served!

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