Homemade chocolate ice-cream #WeekendCooking

 

Ok so this KitchenAid Ice-cream mixer attachment is some of the best $45 ever spent.

Last time I talked about my very own gula melaka (palm sugar) coconut ice-cream recipe 

And here’s something else I made, chocolate ice-cream.

I am a lover of chocolate but also, I am very particular about chocolate. As you probably may have guessed, I don’t like milk chocolate much. Chocolate to me must be dark and delectable. It cannot be too sweet. I like nuts in chocolate, but usually only hazelnuts.

So maybe that’s why I didn’t immediately turn to chocolate ice-cream as the first ice-cream to try. I have had quite a few chocolate ice-creams that just haven’t quite fit the bill. Too sweet or too milky.

This one, recipe from David Leibovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop is indeed perfect. Rich and creamy. Just the right amount of chocolate-y. Not too much that all you can eat is just one spoonful.

It uses both cocoa powder and chocolate, so use good ones!

 

He does, also have a different version of chocolate ice-cream on his blog, one adapted from Jeni’s Splendid. I borrowed her cookbook recently and have been intrigued by her way of making ice-cream, which involves a cornstarch slurry and no eggs.

Have you made ice-cream that way before?

 

 

 

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

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Gula Melaka coconut ice cream #weekendcooking

 

 

Over the long weekend, we picked up an ice-cream attachment for the KitchenAid mixer. We’d been toying with the idea of buying an ice-cream maker for a while now, I argued for getting an attachment, since my mixer sits on the counter already,  too heavy to move around. I wasn’t ready to commit to a proper ice-cream maker, the bigger machines which do not require pre-freezing of the bowl, and which are of course more expensive. There were some reviews of the KitchenAid attachment that didn’t seem that great, about the liquid inside leaking. But so far it’s been ok. We will see how it goes later in the year. Meanwhile, it was at a really good price at Target ($45) compared to list price which was about $71. So we went for it!

And after freezing the bowl for about 15 hours, we made our first vanilla ice-cream (recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Leibovitz also available on his website) and it was so good! The real vanilla beans make a difference plus that custard was just lovely and silky and rich.

So far so good.

I wanted to also try a coconut ice-cream recipe. My in-laws are visiting from Singapore and they always buy this ice-cream from the Philippines when they’re here. There are some speciality Filipino grocery stores here that carry it, unlike in Singapore. But it is expensive!

I found a recipe that uses coconut milk and coconut cream (no egg yolk custard). And decided to try it. But it never churned up properly. Was it because there was no custard? Instead we froze it into popsicles, which were really delicious but also kinda icy. I decided that I had to look for a recipe which did use the egg custard and try that instead.

The recipe is below. I found that the coconut taste wasn’t very strong in the way I adapted it. I may experiment with substituting some of the heavy cream with coconut cream, although I’m unsure of how that would work, if it has enough fat in it to make a good ice-cream. Stay tuned for a future coconut ice-cream experiment!

 

(I adapted this recipe from David Leibovitz‘s Toasted Coconut Ice-cream from his book The Perfect Scoop. In his recipe, he doesn’t use coconut milk but regular milk which he infuses with  toasted shredded coconut.)  

 

1 cup (250ml) coconut milk

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

50g gula Melaka (palm sugar)

100g brown sugar (or regular sugar – I only had brown sugar in my pantry)

Big pinch salt

5 egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Warm the coconut milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, palm sugar and brown sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Do not boil.

Pour the remaining one cup of cream into a large bowl and set a large strainer on top of the bowl. Also get a bigger bowl that the bowl of cream fits into, so you can create an ice bath.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks together.

Now this part is important, don’t skip it! You need to temper the eggs, so pour the warmed milk and cream mixture into the egg yolks really slowly. In the original recipe, he says to pour it all in, but I don’t think you need to. Pour enough so that the eggs warm up and don’t become scrambled eggs when you pour it into the saucepan. Now scrape the warmed eggs into the saucepan (on medium heat) and keep stirring often. The mixture should thicken and coat the spatula. I run my finger down the spatula and if it leaves a distinct “trail” then it should be done.

Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the cream. Add vanilla extract. Let cool in an ice bath for a bit. Then stick it in the fridge until it’s cold enough.

Then freeze the mixture in your ice-cream maker per your instructions. In my Kitchenaid ice-cream attachment, it took about 20 minutes to get churned and cold. It wasn’t however as ice-cream-like as the vanilla ice-cream I first made, the husband said I seemed to have made soft-serve ice-cream.

But once we stuck it in the freezer for a few hours, the texture was just nice.

 

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

#WeekendCooking Pai Bao

Oddly, this is not a bread I’ve really seen in Singapore. This 排包 is a bread that originates from Hong Kong. But we Asians like our bread to be super soft, and while Singapore doesn’t have Pai Bao, the old-school bakeries has very soft white bread.

Also there is that love for condensed milk, which is swirled into coffee and tea.

And so this is a recipe that combines the sweetness of condensed milk with the soft Asian-style bread.

Adapted from Christine’s Recipes

(makes two loaves)

370g all-purpose flour
65g sugar (I used brown sugar)
5g salt
12g milk powder (this helps with the milky flavour)
6g instant dry yeast
1 egg
200ml milk (I used whole milk)
120g tangzhong*
35g condensed milk
35g unsalted butter, softened

*The tangzhong is made from 25g of flour and 1/2 cup of milk, which you cook over a low heat, stirring regularly. This mixture will thicken. You’ll know when it’s thick enough when your spoon leaves “lines” as you pull it through the mixture.

 

I used a breadmaker and simply added all the ingredients and let the machine knead and do the first rise. In the original recipe it says to let rise for about 40 minutes.

I divided the dough into six portions but didn’t realize that this was for two tins! Instead of splitting it into three portions each, I put all six portions in my own loaf tin. Oops….

Anyway, so the instructions are to roll out the dough until it’s about the length of your loaf tin, then fold in half and roll it all the way down. Don’t forget to seal it by pinching. Do that for all your portions and then place three in each tin.

Cover with cling wrap and let rise until it almost reaches the top of the loaf tin.

Christine’s recipe has egg wash but I brushed milk on the the surface instead.

I baked it in a 350F oven for about 35 minutes.

 

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

#weekendcooking – another month, another funfetti cake!

My boys’ birthdays are within less than a month of each other.

So we have birthday cake after birthday cake!

This year, both of them wanted funfetti cake. (see my 8yo’s cake here)

Here’s his order

Second layer on!

The first time, I used a Smitten Kitchen cake recipe (which was adapted from the Molly Yeh recipe) but I wasn’t happy with the way the cake turned out. It was a bit denser than I would have liked. I realize that with funfetti, the cake can’t be airy and light like a chiffon, as the sprinkles will just all fall to the bottom – they need to be suspended in a relatively heavier cake. But I was on the lookout for a different cake recipe. And decided to try this one from Salt and Baker. As usual, I reduced the sugar.

The funny thing is I didn’t have enough icing sugar yet it worked. The recipe called for about 6-7 cups of icing sugar but I only had about 4! The consistency was fine as it was and didn’t need any more liquid so I didn’t add any milk or cream.

I’m going to have to say that this was a more successful funfetti cake than last month’s!

 

#WeekendCooking Funfetti birthday cake

 

 

Sprinkles sprinkles everywhere!

That seems to have been the theme for my now 8yo’s birthday cake.

This was his request…

 

 

And so I set off to try Smitten Kitchen’s Confetti Party Cake recipe. I did make a slight change as I  substituted whole milk yogurt thinned with a bit of whole milk in place of buttermilk though and as usual reduced the sugar slightly and increased the salt. The thing with funfetti cake though is that it’s not a light fluffy kind of cake as I’m guessing it needs some density in which to suspend all those sprinkles. And that really is quite a lot of sprinkles!

 

With the chocolate buttercream, I used the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, again reducing the sugar and increasing the salt. I also used a mix of regular cocoa powder and the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder

 

 They were very pleased with the cake and my 5yo has asked for the same cake but with vanilla buttercream for his birthday in a couple of weeks!

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

Reading Sweet Bean Paste and making dorayaki #weekendcooking

The title of the book – and the writer’s name (Durian? As in like the fruit? Or does it have some other meaning?)- was what attracted me at first, as well as the lovely color scheme of the cover.

And what a poignant and moving story this was.

It’s an odd couple kind of story. An ex-con working at a dorayaki shop to pay his debts and a 76-year-old woman with gnarled hands who asks him for a job at the shop, offering to teach him her recipe for sweet bean paste, which she says she’s been making for fifty years.

(Dorayaki is a Japanese confectionary with sweet red bean paste sandwiched between two small pancakes.)

Sentaro doesn’t want to hire her at first, even though she offers to accept a lower pay. But it turns out that Tokue makes amazing sweet bean paste.

“Unlike the ready-made paste, this was the smell of fresh, living beans. It has depth. It had life. A mellow, sweet taste unfurled inside Sentaro’s mouth.”

Sentaro had been using a commercially-made paste which isn’t exactly the best. He’s been pretty much grudgingly doing his work every day, it’s more about paying off his debt than anything else.

But after he hires her, business begins to improve. And Sentaro starts to be more interested in the making of dorayaki. They experiment with beans from different countries. And since Tokue doesn’t work every day, Sentaro begins to make the paste himself.

However word soon gets out – to the customers, to the shop owner – that there may be something wrong with Tokue. People stay away from the shop, the owner wants Sentaro to get rid of her. But how can he?

Sweet Bean Paste is a story about loneliness, about prejudice, about two outsiders who become unlikely friends. I loved how the focus was just on a few characters and the friendships that developed among them.

And oh, the changing of the seasons, especially with all the cherry blossoms!

“Blossom surrounds him on all sides, as if he is at the centre of a deep, sparkling lake. He senses the full force of emotion that has been dormant in the trees all year, waiting for this once-a-year explosion of joy: their pure, unadulterated happiness.”

And most of all, this book will make you long for a taste of dorayaki. Or maybe you’ll be tempted to try to make your own!

And that was exactly what I did.

One thing I like to pick up when we visit Japanese supermarkets is dorayaki. I especially love the dorayaki with chestnuts in them. I’ve never thought to make them! But I was really inspired by the book and just wanted to try making my own.

I found this recipe from Just One Cookbook and hey, I had all the ingredients in my kitchen. I had also seen a couple of recipes like this one from Chopstick Chronicles which added a teaspoon of mirin or sweet rice wine so I added that too.

So we made it just yesterday, a rainy Friday after school.

It was a nice treat for all of us, as we have all been catching coughs and colds one after another these past few weeks.

The recipe was easy enough and didn’t require any special equipment besides a whisk. The kids took turns cracking and beating the eggs, adding ingredients.

And they stood by the stove and watched for bubbles. And soon became quite good at spotting when it was time to turn the pancake. It needs about 1.5 minutes or so on the first side.

 

The pancake batter has both sugar and honey in it. So it does brown quite a bit.

 

I didn’t have adzuki beans on hand but I did luckily have this tin of red bean paste or anko.

Tada! Freshly made dorayaki. So good!

I’ll have to try making the red bean paste myself another time but for now, this was great!

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

#WeekendCooking Muffins and Financiers

 

I recently tried two new-to-me muffin recipes and both of them were great!

Chocolate chocolate chip muffins

I used this recipe from Pretty Simple Sweet but buttermilk isn’t something I have at home and I didn’t want to go out and buy some. So instead, I used whole milk yogurt, thinned with some whole milk. And it turned out great. It’s not too sweet (although that may be because I reduced the sugar by 20g) and it’s nice and chocolatey from the cocoa powder and the chocolate chips. I didn’t have quite enough chocolate chips though! I had just slightly less than a cup but it was enough for me!

 

Mixed berry muffins

Recently I picked up a bag of frozen berries from Costco. You know Costco, those bags are huge. I made some berry-banana smoothies from it but decided I also wanted to make some berry muffins. I was curious about this recipe from King Arthur Flour, supposedly some famous department store recipe (a name I wasn’t familiar with). The recipe is actually a blueberry muffin recipe but my bag of frozen berries was a mixture of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. So I went with that! The recipe called for 1/2 cup of the berries to be mashed but since I had frozen berries, I didn’t do that. As usual I decreased the amount of sugar (I find American recipes to be a little too sweet) but just slightly as I wasn’t sure if these berries were sweet enough. And I always appreciate websites like KAF’s which allow for weighted measurements. One of my favourite tools in the kitchen is the digital scale and it makes it so easy (and accurate) to add ingredients to the bowl. Anyway, if you do try this recipe, ignore the part that says “fresh preferred”. This recipe worked great with frozen berries!

 

Chocolate Financiers

I wasn’t quite sure if I had had a financier before. Maybe at a high tea once? But it didn’t have a lasting impression and I couldn’t tell you for sure what one tasted like. They aren’t exactly something I can easily find in my suburban town. So I decided to try making it. Once again, Costco to the rescue – their bag of almond flour is huge and priced well.

I don’t have a financier mould (which are small rectangles) but I did have a silicon mini muffin tray. And that worked out great. This recipe from Wild Wild Whisk was easy enough to follow (it’s adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller). But I was too lazy to pipe out the batter and instead used a spoon to pop it into the mini muffin moulds. And that still turned out fine! You do have to prepare the batter ahead, as it sits in the fridge for an hour. And I especially liked browning butter – it smells so good. It was delicious and so very chocolatey that one mini one was just perfect.

I might give this Brown Butter Financier recipe from David Lebovitz a try too. Interestingly, it doesn’t require refrigeration before baking.

Apparently they’re called financiers as their shape (the original rectangle) looks like a bar of gold!

Have you made financiers before?

 

 

 

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs