December 22, 2009

Very Berry Macarons and Holiday Cheers!

The weather is improving in the countryside where I live. We've started enjoying early Summer plums, strawberries and raspberries from our orchard and garden. Our young trees of blackcurrants and blueberries are trying their best to give us reward upon attention we've been giving them throughout the year. Giving us a little string of blackcurrants is quite a satisfaction given that how young the tree is.

early Summer harvests

The children are so happy in the orchard and it is their favourite task climbing up the tree and picking fruits. What a childhood bliss!

delight from the orchard

Today, I have finished my assignment on baking macarons for Christmas sweets my sister-in-law has ordered to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. I am using Helen's basic macarons recipe and make blueberry marshmallow filling.

Very Berry Macarons-1

Very Berry Macarons

I also want to thank you all for participating on DMBLGIT December 2009 edition. Thank you for sending us your gorgeous photo entries.

As it is going to be my last post of the year, I am also sending you all my gratitude to all HomeMadeS readers who have been following my posts newly or for years. Happy Christmas and Have a safe and wonderful New Year 2010. Cheers!

Holiday Cheers

See you again next year!

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December 15, 2009

SHF#60: French Macarons

Baking French Macarons for me is more to satisfy my passion of baking rather than enjoying the sweetness of meringue. I thought I am a sweet tooth, but the taste of macarons makes me shuddered. The highly sweetness of meringues sandwiched with sweeten chocolate or caramel sauce or whatever sweet stuffs they may require is really too sweet for my taste. Perhaps, I am not such a sweet tooth anyway, for I only cannot enjoy it.

Out of curiosity, I first learned baking French macarons just last year (French Macarons and Tag post). The results were oh-so-embarrassing. The meringues were too dry and cracked. Then, I followed Helen of Tartelette's macarons tutorial on Desserts Magazine. It surely worked (Yes, I Did It! post)! Since then, I love baking these little delicate sweets for Christmas gifts to our neighbours, friends and families or on other special occasions. These sweets have never failed to entertain guests. There are also macarons I have made: Fleur de sel Macarons, Green Pandan Macarons, Assorted Macarons on Sarah's Birthday, Sesame Macarons, and Snicker Macarons which I haven't posted yet. I've more photos rather than posts, I suppose :)

snicker macarons

This is my entry for Sugar High Friday (SHF) #60, originated by Jennifer of Domestic Goddess, and this month is hosted by Nic of Cherrapeno.

before and after

The recipe for macaron shells can be searched on Helen's website, and trust me, it always works! Here is her latest invention of macarons: Candy Cane and Eggnog Macarons.

French Macarons by ab'09

On the photo above as you can see, I use milk chocolate flavoured with raspberry essence. I use plum colour powder. I have experienced macarons flattened when I use food colouring paste wither water-based or gel-based. Perhaps, such food colouring contains more liquid that make the batter heavier and wetter. Colour powder is the best to use to colour macarons. You can find colour powder on cake decorating shops or bakers specialty shops.

And, it is a reminder: I am still waiting for your submission for DMBLGIT December 2009. Please, send me your photos not later than 20th December 2009, your time. (I have a day bonus for you, as NZ is the first country to receive the sunlight). So, come on! Don't hesitate to send me your entries. I'll be here waiting.

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December 08, 2009

DMBLGIT December 2009 Announcement

I am thrilled to host Does My Blog Look Good In It? (DMBLGIT), December 2009 Edition. If you are new to this photo contest for foodie bloggers, please feel free to visit DMBLGIT page on Andrew Barrow's blog, the very father of this 'grandest foodporn event available', and get more information about it. 

Would you like hosting this finest food photography contest next year? Please, feel free to visit Andrew's page on DMBLGIT? or send him an email at arbATandys-scribblings DOT co DOT uk, with the subject "DMBLGIT Host".

This is the winner of DMBLGIT November 2009, hosted by Sandra of Le Petrin.

I have four peer judges to join me on the judge panel. They are:

Ema Yudhistira of My Explorations
Nic of Cherrapeno
Y of LemonPi

The Rules to participate

  1. Send a photo that has appeared on your blog during November 2009. The photo should be food and/or drink related. No diptychs allowed.
  2. Your photo must be text-free, please.
  3. Only one entry per person.
  4. The photograph must have been taken by you (copyright is allowed).
  5. Deadline for submissions : December 20, 2009.

Send your entry to arfi.binstedATgmailDOTcom with DMBLGIT in the subject line with the following details:

- Your name.
- Your location.
- Your blog’s name and URL.
- The photograph that you wish to enter, of no more than 500 pixels wide.
- Your photograph’s title.
- URL of the post containing the photograph.
- Type of camera used, lens if you wish.
By submitting a photo, you agree to your picture being redisplayed and altered in size on the host’s page and on DMBLGIT page.
The judges will review your entries on the basis of:
- Aesthetics: composition, food styling, lighting, focus, etc.
- Edibility: “Does the photo make us want to dive in and eat the food?”
- Originality: the photograph that catches our attention and makes us want to say wow!, displaying something we might not have seen before.

From these categories, the judges will come up with:
- Overall Winner: top overall scores in all three categories combined.
- There are three overall winners for photographs with the highest point totals in all three categories combined, and one winner in each of the three individual categories.

Every photo entry will be compiled on DMBLGIT December 2009 photo album. I will personally send you a note when I have uploaded your photo on the gallery, so you know that I have received your entry.

Well? What are you waiting for? Come on, send me your gorgeous photo entry. And thanks so much for your participations!

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December 07, 2009

Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis

I visited my Greek mate's blog, Peter G of Souvlaki for the Soul, resides in Sydney, Australia one day, and bumped into his gorgeous photographs of cherry clafoutis. What makes more of this sudden appetite rising to its peak is that the photos speak to me and convince me that it is delicious!

cherries by ab 09 cherries2 by ab 09

And so I made my way to the kitchen while, luckily, we bought some plump and juicy cherries from the local  market that very day. Can't wait too long, can we?  

cherries3 by ab 09

Here's my simple recipe for gluten-free cherry clafoutis.

Cherry Clafoutis by arfi binsted 2009

Gluten-Free Cherry Clafoutis for Two

I just did not really measure the ingredients, so this one is approximate measurements. Please, feel free to adapt to suit your needs. I prefer not too sweet clafoutis, for cherries are already contributing the sweetness in it.

2 cups pitted cherries
1 Tbs caster sugar
splash of orange juice

2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 Tbs - 1/4 cup caster sugar
3 Tbs cup gluten-free flour + 1/8 tsp baking powder, sifted
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp orange zest
about 1/2-3/4 cup milk + 3 Tbs fresh cream

Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly greased ramekins. Put the pitted cherries in each ramekin, sprinkle with sugar. Combine until well-coated. Splash freshly squeeze orange juice. Put in the oven for about 5-8 minutes until the fruits are just soften. 

Beat eggs and egg yolk until smooth and fluffy with sugar and vanilla bean paste. Add in orange zest. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder. Trickle milk + cream a little bit at a time until the mixture is thinner but not so thin. It is just like your pancake batter, not so thick, nor too thin. Pour this mixture into ramekins, just to cover the cherries. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked and golden, and there's no runny mixture in the centre although it may be still wobbly. Remove from the oven. Cool for about 5-10 minutes. Dust with icing sugar, and serve warm. Lovely for celebrating Christmas over Christmas dinner in a romantic evening with your beloved. Makes 2.

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November 29, 2009

KBB Getting Doughy with Baker's Percentage

Roti Menul-2 by Arfi Binsted 2009

I am slowing down again, yes I know. So sorry if you keep coming back to find only old posts. I just can't help myself sitting in front of the computer for hours to write however much I want it. This recent condition keeps me away from computer.

After 5 years and a half from our last child, I begin feeling morning sicknesses, although gladly I never vomit, but more of headaches and upset stomach. I am more like to eat heaps of firm tart mangoes and under ripe strawberries rather than my favourite fried rice. Strange things happen and if it's true for women to crave strange things in their pregnancy?

Yes, I am pregnant. It's about 7 weeks now. Feels like the first time given that my youngest daughter is now 5 years and three months.

The worst part in my trimester pregnancy is that I am sick of computer and have been just using my iPhone to connect with everyone on Facebook. It took me two weeks to eventually finish this post (I have to keep nibbling tart mangoes to get rid of the headaches and upsetting stomach)! However, I am feeling better after I got a one-day Taoist Self-Healing for Women on Sunday workshop last week, organized and tutored by Tamara Bennett of Smiling Dragon, my tai chi instructor in Tuakau. Although it still does not stop me from keeping away from computer, I can deal with morning sickness quite well.

But, don't worry, Andrew, I'll do my best to host  DMBLGIT next month for sure. Make sure you guys send me some great photos of yours, alright?

I am still doing cooking and baking, you see. I still make bread once a week for my loved ones, for I am not a bread eater so much (I prefer rice than bread, typical Asian I suppose). Last batches of bread I made I used from calculating on BsP (Baker's Percentage) that has become the task of KBB.

Klub Berani Baking is a club that I founded, has been two years old, and now on the 14th task of its bi-monthly challenge. This time, we're getting doughy. And it is not your usual pick-a-recipe-and-make challenge, but most valuable of all is that we are asked to use a Baker's Percentage formula to compute the ingredients to suit our needs.

What is Baker's Percentage? Well, if you google, you'll find out a large amount of articles that you can relate to an understanding how to compute bread ingredients, but perhaps, you'll find this article from the The Artisan may be of help. The thing is that baker's percentage is using percentage which is more a ratio measurement than the real percentage. For instance, if we're using the BsP below for White Bread variation 1 adapted from Peter Reinhart's 'The Bread Baker's Apprentice' book, when you use 500g flour (100%), then you will use 9g salt (1.8%), 38.5g sugar (7.7%), etc.

Baker’s Percentage
Bread flour
Granulated sugar
Powdered milk (Dried Milk Solid)
Instant yeast
Egg, slightly beaten at room temperature
Butter, room temperature

It is not as hard as it looks and quite a basic math. I am sure everyone will be able to do this. The results that I can see from using this formula is a more well-balanced bread with softer texture.

I made a lot of sweet buns from this formula while the process takes the same path as your usual bread making.


Mix together the flour, salt, powdered milk, sugar and yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Pour in the egg, butter and water and mixt with a large metal spoon (or on low speed of the electric mixer with the paddle attachement) until all the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a ball. If the dough seems very stiff and dry, trickle in more water until the dough is soft and supple.


Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook), adding more flour, if necessary, to create a dough that is soft, supple, and tacky but not sticky. Continue kneading (or mixing) for 6 to 8 minutes. (if the electric mixer, the dough should be clear the side of the bowl but stick ever so slightly to the bottom.) The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 80oF. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


Ferment at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size (the length of time will depend on the room temperature).

Remove the fermented dough from the bowl and divide it in half for sandwich loaves, into eighteen 2-ounce pieces for dinner rolls, or twelve 3-ounce pieces for burger or hot dog buns. Shape the pieces into boules for loaves or tight rounds for dinner rolls or buns. Mist the dough lightly with spray oil and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to res for about 20 minutes.

Shaping. For loaves, shape like rolling a Swiss roll but pinch the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. Pinch the final seam closed with the back edge of your hand or with your thumbs. Lightly oil two 8.5 by 4.5-inch loaf pans and place the loaves in the pans. For rolls and buns, line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment. Rolls require no further shaping. For hot dog buns, shape into a pistolet without tapering the ends. Transfer the rolls or buns to the sheet pans.

Mist the tops of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof the dough at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until nearly doubles in size.

Roti Sobek by Arfi Binsted 2009

Preheat the oven to 350oF for loaves or 400oF for rolls and buns. Brush the rolls or buns with the egg wash and garnish with poppy or sesame seeds. Sandwich loaves also may be washed and garnished, or score them down the centre and rub a little vegetable oil into the slit.

Roti Gulung by Arfi Binsted 2009

Bake the rolls or buns for approximately 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and register just above 180oF in the centre. Bake loaves for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through for even baking, if needed. The tops should be golden brown and the sides, when removed from the pan, should be golden. The internal temperature of the loaves should be close to 190oF, and the loaves should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

Roti Menul by Arfi Binsted 2009

Cooling. When the loaves have finished baking, remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving. Rolls should cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before serving.

Roti Menul-3 by Arfi Binsted 2009

Aku suka tekstur roti ini, lembut. Untuk dijadiin roti tawar kayaknya emang perlu nambahin garam, tp untuk roti manis garamnya perlu banget dikurangi. Ternyata emang pake BsP takaran jadi lebih mantap. Aku mau pake BsP terus deh kalo bikin roti.

Oh, just an update from my garden:

I am so happy to hear there are cicadas in the garden again, bees are buzzing on the lavender bushes, and birds been peeking if there are any ripe fruits. My strawberries have been pecked, but no worries, more to come! Although Onewhero is a bit grey and windy, we are looking forward to enjoying more homegrown fruits in Summer.

my summer garden

This is my roses collection. I have about 35 rose bushes. They are ranged from climbing roses, floribunda, hybrid tea, and David Austen English roses. I love roses and never fail myself smelling each bloom whenever I am scrolling along the roses beds. Their fragrance makes me happy.

my roses collection

Have a great day, my friends!

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November 13, 2009

A Reflection and Chocolate Truffles

First time blogging, it was in 2005. The food blogging space was really quiet, especially in the part of the world I am living in. I thought I was alone, until one day I read an article about blogging food in New Zealand on a culinary magazine. That was the first time I knew and went to Barbara's blog. I wrote to her and reflected how happy I was to find another fellow food blogger in New Zealand. Then, I came to know Emma, Bron, Nigel, and Tim. We were like one group of foodies who 'visits' one another in a regular basis. Until then, who starts to giving up, I am not sure. It seems that we were lost somewhere in different paths.

We had New Zealand Blogging By Post (NZBPP) back in 2006, organized by Emma of Laughing Gastronome. I sent my Rich Fruit Cake and other stuffs over to Tim (from Take3Eggs--blog is no longer I could trace) and I got a parcel from Bron. First time to taste homemade macarons, Bron's home-mades.  Perfect for our Morning Tea as it was arrived in the morning. I had read other fellow bloggers who sent away their goodies and received theirs from others. It was the surprise like a Christmas day that brought the NZBPP so special, moreover everyone got to taste homemade goodies specially made for this case. I wonder if we can do that again?

I reflect back because I have seen some positive sides on blogging. That we can taste other blogger's homemade goodies, as well as weaving friendship through writing and passion for food. And if you enjoy my photographs and food styling (given that I am self-taught and never been trained), it is a bonus.

Now, food blogging in New Zealand seems taking on a spotlight where many food-lovers are highlighting various lifestyles, food passion, interests, cultures, and culinary professionalism, it should be offering more positive knowledges and widening our culinary horizon to be brought to the next level, if you dare. We should understand where our food is coming from. Once, perhaps you have never cooked artichoke in your life before, and not even know what it is. With an instant type on a search engine, voila, you would find many recipes and what's more is that you will even know the Latin name of it and how to grow it.


Back then, I and Barbara had met for several occasions: at the Halal Bihalal (Muslim Gatherings) in Auckland (you can tell that we're foodie bloggers as we took photos of food rather than people or others); then Barbara and husband Bryant drove down to our small farm to have lunch with us on a Lovely Sunday. As an Indonesian-born Kiwi, I still keep my Indonesian traditional flavour in many of my cookings. Barbara and Bryant did not mind at all. They were just lovely.

Then, we met down to whitebait at our good friends' river house in the Te Kohanga. Sue Dwen made whitebait fritters, freshly caught from the river. How wonderful was that? I was quite feeling a lost that someone so close like Barb when she decided to move back to Australia with her family. Although we are still keeping in touch with each other from any devices (we GTalk too, you see), it is never the same as having her and Bryant here with us.

When Gilli of So Simple came one day to see us and sampled my plum cheese, I know exactly that I can always make more friends through blogging. Mary Longmore from the Sunday-Star Times phoned me on this blogging thing few weeks back for she was going to write an article about the rapid growth of food blogs in New Zealand. When I heard this, I was like 'Wow, we're a big family now!'.

I got a surprise one day when the lovely food writer and author of Sweet As, Alessandra Zecchini, left a comment on my artichoke post that now she encourages me to keep writing and blogging (Thanks, Alessandra). I also have a help from Christelle Le Rue, when I organized books for love to raise funds for cancer kids in Indonesia. She donated her books which was a very generous thing she does for Indonesia. I told you why I love High-Profile culinary gurus in New Zealand: they are so down to earth and generous!

Well, to celebrate the growth of food blogs in New Zealand, here's some chocolate truffles you may want to gobble down with your favourite wine or champagne or even espresso? I used to use my own Bailey's Chocolate Truffles recipe for many occasions for after-lunch/dinner sweet meat, but this time I use Nigel Slater's chocolate truffles recipe to make these imperfect balls, taken from his book Real Food. I like it that way, though. For Nigel's style is so homey and generous that you cannot find that kind of cooking, shapes, soul or imperfectness in restaurants. All that kind of imperfectness that creates the atmosphere itself perfect.

Chocolate Truffles-1 by Arfi Binsted 2009

Chocolate Truffles
by Nigel Slater. Real Food.

Nigel wrote: "How horrible it would be to live in a world without chocolate", and "I am convinced the best truffles are those made from nothing more than chocolate and cream", and so I agree. Totally.

450g fine chocolate
275ml whipping cream
cocoa powder for dusting

Chop the chocolate finely; the pieces should be about the same size as gravel. They will melt more successfully if they are all of roughly equal size. A large, heavy cook¹s knife will make the chopping easier than using a small one.

Put the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. If the bowl is warm it will help the chocolate to melt. Bring the cream to the boil in a small pan. Just as it reaches boiling point, remove from the heat and pour slowly into the chocolate, beating gently with a wooden spoon. The chocolate should all melt into a thick, glossy, dark-brown cream. If there are lumps left, then you will have to put the bowl over a pan of hot, almost simmering, water until they melt. But take care not to overheat it, which will result in the mixture separating and curdling.

Place the basin of chocolate in the fridge to stiffen. Depending on the temperature inside your fridge, the mixture will need about an hour to thicken. (It should not set solid, although if it does, just melt it over hot water and refrigerate again.) Now you have a choice: thick, solid, luxurious truffles or softer, lighter ones. If you prefer, as I do, an unwhipped truffle with a rich texture, then leave the mix as it is. If you like a soft, airy truffle, beat the mixture with an electric whisk for a minute or so until it starts to change colour. It will become paler and fill with air. Overwhipping will curdle the truffle mixture.

Chocolate Truffles-2 by Arfi Binsted 2009

Using two teaspoons, scoop out balls of truffle and drop them into the cocoa powder. The size is a matter of choice. I like a large truffle; others may prefer to make a smaller one that can be eaten in one go. Roll them lightly into rounds if you wish, though I prefer them as rough-textured lumps. Roll the truffles in the cocoa, then leave them in a cool place for an hour to set. Makes about 500g.

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November 07, 2009

Truthfully Saying

I have been writing and re-writing what's the best words to put my feelings together and describe them, but nothing rights are coming up. I give up. I am not going to think about it anymore. I just don't care if I am IN the crowd or not, I am NOT going to try to put myself IN the crowd doing whatever people doing without enjoying it or to try to impress you or others; I will still be here: writing whatever I please, photographing whatever I enjoy. Comments or no comments, I have decided I am quite happy with a small group of constant friendly readers rather than a huge group of fans that I haven't really got time to know which is who, who is which. From now on, I am going to write not to try to impress you or a group of popular people in this blogging world (as if they care?), but me only to watch my own progress. I am writing out of my passion, interests, and joy on food and food photography. I don't mind if you like it or not.

chilled water

Cheers to the new HomeMadeS.

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October 28, 2009

HHDH: Carciofi Aglio E Prezzemolo

  Hay Hay its Donna Day

Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is in season here. I quite like the green heads of them filling out vegetable boxes in our local growers market. Proudly to say that New Zealand grows our own artichoke, so you know. I also am planning to grow one or two in my own garden next year. I think it will be handy to have them fresh and available in Spring.

I have this old recipe (it was written by Alessandra Zecchini on a culinary magazine as far as I remember), to participate on Hay Hay It's Donna Hay, created by Barbara of Winos and Foodies, once facilitated by Bron of Bron Marshall, and now it is organized by Chez Us and this month is hosted by J of Have Fork Will Travel.

This dish is really good to be served as a starter with a group of people you know well. Sharing laughters over a plateful of artichokes by plucking each leaf is a sensuous affair. Garlic and parsley give great flavour on the basic taste of artichoke, with a generous amount and season, allow yourself licking the mixed flavour lingered on your fingers. A sip of wine perhaps a good idea. I don't drink, so I leave it up to you to choose a good wine to company your relaxing dinner.

Carciofi Aglio E Prezzemolo by Arfi Binsted 2009

In the recipe, Zecchini uses fresh garlic, I use roast garlic instead. I bought smoked garlic from the farmers' market the other day and I roasted it. The flavour is awesome! You can smell the lovely earthy with smoky flavour which you can almost taste it on the tip of your tongue. Mixing it with freshly chopped parsley and olive oil, it is a great journey with this sensational garlicky and herby artichokes.

So, here's what I do with the artichokes.

Carciofi Aglio E Prezzemolo-2 by Arfi Binsted 2009

Carciofi Aglio E Prezzemolo for Two
adapted from Alessandra Zecchini's recipe.

2 small artichoke heads
a handful of fresh Italian parsley, chopped well
a good drizzle of olive oil
vegetable stock
3 cloves roast garlic, peeled and minced
1 fresh clove garlic, finely chopped with extra freshly chopped Italian parsley and mixed with a tablespoon olive oil, salt and black pepper

Use mezzaluna if you wish to chop herbs and garlic well.

Mezzaluna by Arfi Binsted 2009

Prepare a bowl of lemon juice and slice from 1-2 lemon(s), pour in cold water. Set aside. Prepare the artichokes. Cut the stems. Use a serrated knife, cut the tip of artichoke heads, just to reveal the heart. Make the parsley paste by mixing the freshly chopped Italian parsley, and minced roast garlic. Stuff this mixture generously in between the leaves and heart. Put these artichokes in a saucepan to fit enough, drizzle with olive oil, and pour in vegetable stock just to cover half-way. Simmer and cook until the artichokes are cooked. You can pluck the leaves easily when they are cooked.

Remove from the saucepan on the serving plate. Spoon the extra mixture of parsley, garlic and olive oil to serve. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

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October 18, 2009

On the Pink Side

It's October and it is the month of pink. Breast cancer awarenesses everywhere. Buy breast-cancer-labeled bras or knickers and everything in pink, you'll get one free. Special pink month. 

I used to bake for breast cancer awareness fund-raising in the town, but I have no idea why there's no more such an event to participate. I got a pleasure to bake while donate. Don't you?

Last year, we have my fellow foodie blogger, Bron Marshall, hosted Pink Paris Bre(a)sts for Pink October. This year, Susan Vriens of Dragon Musings hosts Virtual Girls Night In to support breast cancer awareness througout the world. Please, feel free to join in and let's be merry with lots of girly pinky winky goodies!

I am sending you all my girlfriends these little gem roses. Well, I call them chocolate buttons. These little gems used to be the main target when my mother asked me to accompany her shopping at a local market. Just like many other children who love sweets, I would eat the icing firsthand. Today, my children do the same. Some genetics, is it?

Anyway, these little sweets are easy to make and fuss-free (except you are not too keen on playing up with piping icing?). These can be a great idea for a special occasion, too:  colour  them differently, wrap in a cellophane bag, and pop in to a lunch box, or even a birthday gift bag for your guests to bring home. Help yourself with larger ideas. You'll find a lot of fun!

Chocolate Buttons2 by ab '09

Cokelat Glasur
Source: Tabloid Lezat. Edisi 141. September 2009.

I made a few changes on the recipe as I don't really like biscuits or cakes which taste overwhelmingly too sweet: using 275g plain flour; 80g caster sugar; and 50g cocoa powder. I also add 1 tsp vanilla extract. I just love the darkness of  chocolate flavour on chocolate biscuit. Next time, I am going to try to make these using dark cooking chocolate. See how it goes.

300g plain flour
1 egg
250g butter
150g icing sugar
25g cocoa powder

Beat butter, icing sugar and egg until soft (what I do is beat the butter and icing sugar until just going pale, and then add the loosely beaten egg). Take a little bit of biscuit dough (I use a teaspoon at a time), roll into marble-size balls, and put on the greased baking sheets. Flatten a bit, and then brush with egg white, sprinkle with desiccated coconut (I omit this step). Bake in a preheated oven to 170C for about 25 minutes or until cooked. Remove from the oven and cool. (I transfer them on a wire rack after leave them on the sheets for 5 minutes).

Chocolate Buttons by ab '09

175g icing sugar
30ml egg whites
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon pink food colouring (I just use a drop of red food colouring)

Whisk the egg whites in a bowl on a simmering water, add in the icing sugar a small amount at a time, keep beating until stiff. (What I do was making a hot sugar syrup and then pour it with a thin stream into the foamy egg whites while keep whisking, and then add more icing sugar to a thicker paste). Add in the lime juice and the food colouring. Mix well. The icing should be a form of paste rather than runny. Put this icing into a pastry bag with a star or rose noozle. Pipe on to each biscuit. Leave it dry and then keep them into an airtight container. Makes heaps!

Besides all the chocolate buttons with pink icing, I also made gluten-free version which suit me the best. I made vanilla biscuits topped with different coloured icing.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Buttons by ab '09

Gluten-Free Vanilla Buttons
Inspired by Tabloid Lezat's Coklat Glasur

350g gluten-free flour
125g unsalted butter
125g margarin
80g icing sugar, sifted
50g milk powder
100g almond powder
1 egg, loosely beaten
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Preheat the oven to 150C. Line the baking tray with baking paper. Put the butters in a mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until just light. Fold in icing sugar and milk powder. Add in the loosely beaten egg. Add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix well. Add in the almond powder and gluten-free flour. Roll into tiny balls (otherwise, you're ending up with golf ball-size buttons rather than marble-size ones). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked and the biscuits are hard but are not brown. Remove from the oven and leave on the trays for 5 minutes before transfer them on wire racks to cool completely. Ice them. Use the recipe above to make the icing. I just play up with different colours. I use pandan paste for the green one. I also drop a few of orange essence on the yellow icing.

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October 08, 2009

Donna's Vanilla and Rosewater Madeleines

It's been a long time I haven't sent any entries for foodie events. Time just flies and the next thing I know, the day has just finished. I am trying this time to send you these little biscuits for High End Treats, as a theme of Monthly Mingle food event, pioneered by Meeta of What's For Lunch, Honey. This month, my dear friend, Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen is hosting.

I have never baked madeleines and this is my first. I chose Donna's Vanilla and Rosewater Madeleines as they look so simple to make and bake. These madeleines are iced with rosewater icing. I prefer to ice these little biscuits with lemon/lime/orange icing rather than rosewater. However, to taste the combination of vanilla and rosewater, I had to bake as instructed.

 Vanilla and Rosewater Madeleine2 by ab '09

 I like the lightness of these biscuits. The flavour of vanilla is really mild and it is such a pleasant fragrant in a texture of little cakes. However, rosewater is quite overwhelming to combine with vanilla, and if it's used a few more drops, its fragrance will take over. I may be not too familiar with this kind of scent in baking, but it's quite nice to flavour it, for a change.

When I made batch of madelienes the second time, I use vanilla biscuits, flavoured with orange zest and iced with orange icing. Taste much more familiar, really, not too-good-to-be-true-kind-of. They are also really good match with green tea with mint and slices of lime. High end treats, to be true.

Vanilla and Rosewater Madeleine by ab '09

Vanilla and Rosewater Madeleines
Source: Donna Hay Magazine, Spring, Issue 41. Oct/Nov 2008. Page 82.

2 eggs
75g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
75g plain flour (sifted with) 1 tsp baking powder
80g butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease madeleine tin. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla, whisk to combine. Fold in sifted flour and baking powder, mix well. Add the melted butter, mix well. Spoon or pour the batter into a 12-hole madeleine tin. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cooked. Cool on a wire rack.

Vanilla and Rosewater Madeleine3 by ab '09

Rosewater Icing

320g icing sugar
80ml boiling water
1/2 tsp rosewater

Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Spoon the icing over the madeleines. Leave to set.
Makes 12.

Have a great afternoon tea, everyone!

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