Thursday, May 21, 2015

Compilation of Baked Cheesecake from Salted Caramel Cheesecake onwards

There are few versions of Base Crust that you can mix and match for your Cheesecake.

Base Crust Ingredients:
120g Plain Oreo (with icing inside) or Graham Cracker or Digestive Biscuits
40g Melted Butter.

Step By Step
1. Line the baking pan with baking paper.
2. Dry Blend the biscuits to fine powder, it's ok to leave the icing in between.
3. Melt Butter in a sauce pan and melt it over low heat, stirring it constantly.
4. Evenly mix the ground biscuits and Melted Butter.
5. Press it tightly into the baking pan.

There is another interesting crust base to share..
Marie Biscuit Base Crust Ingredients:
250g Marie Biscuits
250g Butter
2 tablespoons Brown Sugare
6 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
4 tablespoons Golden Syrup

Step By Step
1. Line the baking pan with baking paper.
2. Dry Blend the Marie Biscuits to fine powder.
3. Put Butter, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Golden Syrup in a sauce pan and melt it over low heat, stirring it constantly.
4. Evenly mix the ground Marie Biscuits and Liquid Mixture.
5. Press it tightly into the baking pan.

Moving on to the Cheesecake batter.

Cheesecake Ingredients:
250g Cream Cheese
140g Sugar
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons of Vanilla Paste

Step By Step
1. Pre-heat over at 180°C
2. Beat Cream Cheese until creamy approx 2-3mins.
3. Add in Sugar and continue beating for approx 1 min.
4. Add Eggs and Vanilla Paste and continue beating until well combine. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowls to ensure there are no lumps of creamcheese.
5. Split or spoon the Cheesecake batter evenly.
6. Bake for until center are almost set.
7. Cool in pan on wire rack.
8. Pour your choice of topping over and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
9. Before serving ganish or drizzle to make your cheesecake pretty.

Full recipe:
Round Pan 8". Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
x2 Loaf Pan 3" x 6". Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
x2 Round Pan 1.5" x 5". Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Muffin Pan 12 holes x 1.5". Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Some Extra Tips Below:
- Our sugar reduction advice for different cheesecake is advice in the below list of creation, it's basically the best part of homebake. Reason why we reduce sugar depding on topping used is to ensure the overall sweetness of the Baked Cheesecake is as per the sweetness level we can accept. Everyone should explore their own.

Below is my creations hopefully it'll inspire you. You may split the base recipe in 2 parts and top it off with different toppings for more varieties. Hope you all will love this recipe.

Salted Caramel Baked Cheesecake with Oreo Crust
5 tablespoon of Homemade Salted Caramel Recipe click here
80g Melted Chocolate to drizzle
Note: We reduced the Sugar of the Cheesecake to 90g, as caramel is the topping which is sweet enough.

Click here for our blog page Baking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Terrific coffee in the Bedok Heartlands at Percolate.

Percolate (Cafe) is a bit of a misnomer. Actually a lot of a misnomer, since to percolate coffee is to let gravity drip through ground coffee beans - not unlike how drip coffee is brewed - but Percolate's coffees are mostly Espressos. It occupies two lots in a decidedly non-hipster row of shophouses a little behind the Bedok Sports Complex.

Percolate Bedok Cafe

Decor is no-frills and the menu is limited - but prices are very reasonable and there's no GST or service charge. If you're used to having a favorite 'type' of espresso-based coffee i.e. latte, flat white, cappuccino, etc you might be a bit disappointed - Percolate only gives you a choice of size (3oz or 5oz) and whether you want your coffee black, white (with milk) or mocha (with chocolate).

Rest assured, though, that the coffee is excellent - served at just the right temperature, with a spot on balance of coffee intensity and the right hints of sour, bitter and a bit of sweet thrown in for good measure. Nice cream from the milk, too! $4 for 3oz and $4.50 for 5oz.

Percolate Bedok Cafe White Coffee with Milk
One day, I will learn how to appreciate black espresso. But not today.

The food offerings are a little spartan, with a handful of choices of cake, pastry and croissant sandwiches - no big breakfast with a plateful of sausages and bacon here. We tried the Curry Egg Mayo ($7) and Smoked Salmon Wasabi Cream Cheese ($9). Both were delicious, with the curry and wasabi adding a pleasantly spicy dimension, but the amount of egg/salmon in the croissants was perhaps a little on the low side.

Percolate Bedok Cafe Croissants

Having wolfed down the croissants we try one of their speciality desserts - the Bittersweet (a shot of espresso over vanilla ice cream over a dark chocolate brownie, $7). It's deliciously great - we definitely see ourselves coming back to order this again.

Percolate Bedok Cafe Bittersweet Brownie with Ice Cream

Many cafes (particularly those marketing to the brunch crowd) focus on the food, with the coffee playing a supporting actor role. Percolate is exactly the opposite - the coffee here is the focus, the star, and the food options are there just so you can fill up your stomach afterwards. We definitely see ourselves coming back here regularly though - partly because it's walking distance from our place, partly because ~$15/person is a refreshing change of pace (at some cafes you can hit $50 a person), but mostly because the coffee really is superb.

Percolate is located at 136 Bedok North Avenue 3 #01-152B, Singapore 460136, closed on Tuesdays.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

This Cookie Recipe is similar to but better than Famous Amos Cookies

Getting your fresh baked cookie fix from Famous Amos?

Hang in there. Why not bake some yourself!

We're crazy Famous Amos fans, however after I started baking this recipe we love it so much that we'll never get our cookie fix at Famous Amos unless I'm terribly busy. With our standard set high after consuming my homebaked version, we dropped by Famous Amos to get some when we're traveling, most of the time no much nuts or no chocolate chips or enough butterscotch taste!

Homemade is always the best, no matter there is labor required & the cost is way higher with the ingredients sourced~

Base Cookie Dough Ingredients:
1 Egg
0.5 teaspoons of Vanilla Essense
1 teaspoons of Coffee Emulco
250g Salted Butter
200g Brown Sugar (if you want the cookie sweet add 50g to 80g more depending on your preference)
0.5 teaspoon of Salt
100g Ground Nestum or Ground Almond or Ground Oatmeal
290g All Purpose Flour
10g Baking Powder
10g Baking Soda

Step By Step
1. Beat Egg with Coffee Emulco or Vanilla Essence in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Sift All Purpose Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat Salted Butter, Brown Sugar & Salt until all the crystal melt and combine.
4. Pour in the beaten Egg mixture and mix well.
5. Pour in the Sifted Flour mixture and fold till well combine.
6. Pour in Nestum or Ground Almond and fold till well combine.
7. Pour in the ingredients you love (our suggestions below) and fold till evenly distributed.
8. Place in the fridge to chill for minimum 2 hours to let the flavor infuse.
9. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
10. Roughly roll the cookie dough and place on the baking sheet.
11. Place in the oven to bake until golden brown.
12. Cool completely before serving.

Full recipe:
0.5 teaspoon of cookie dough yields approx 160pcs. Bake for about 8 minutes.
1 teaspoon of cookie dough yields approx 80pcs. Bake for about 16 minutes.
1 tablespoon of cookie dough yields approx 50pcs. Bake for about 22 minutes.

Some Extra Tips Below:
- Recommended to mix the dough and let it chill overnight in the fridge.
- Leave it on the counter top to bring it back to room tempreture before baking.
- You can store the mixed cookie dough (well wrapped) in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.
- It's important that the 100g of Nestum or Almond or Oatmeal is Ground this an ingredient that will affect the structure of your cookie, as not grounding it will lead to a flatter cookie. My observations: Ground Nestum is light & cookies will turn out flat. Ground Almond is similarly light & cookies will turn out slightly flat. Ground Oatmeal is slightly healtier and heavier & cookies will turn out with beautiful cookie structure as per above picture.
- Coffee Emulco can be replaced with Vannilla Essence. However, this is the key ingredient that makes the cookie smell and taste like Famous Amos.
- If you're using a mixer, remember to do remove and manually fold in the Chocolate Chips and Macadamia.
- Remember space it slightly apart to let the cookie have space to brown evenly.
- To allow the flavour and fragrance to develop further, store cookies in an airtight container overnight before serving.

Below is my creations hopefully it'll inspire you. You may split the base cookie dough is 2 parts and half the portion as per suggested below for more varieties. Hope you all will love this recipe.

Macadamia with Chocolate Chips Cookie
1 cup of chopped Macadamia
1 cup Chocolate Chips

Butterscotch Chips with Pecan Cookie
1 cup Butterscotch Chips
1 cup chopped Pecan

Chocolate Chips with Pecan Cookie
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1 cup chopped Pecan

Oatmeal Chococlate Chips Cookie
1 cup Rolled Oatmeal or Instant Oatmeal
1 cup Chocolate Chips

Cranberries Almond Cookie
1 cup Dried Cranberries
1 cup chopped Almonds

Oatmeal Raisins Cookie
1 cup Rolled Oatmeal or Instant Oatmeal
1 cup Black Currant Raisins
This picture below is x2 of these ingredients out of greed. Just add as suggested here.

Chocolate Chips Cashew Nuts Cookies
1 cup Chocolate Chips
0.5 cup of Dried Coconut
This picture below is x2 of these ingredients out of greed. Just add as suggested here.

Chocolate Chips Coconut Cookie
1 cup Chocolate Chips
0.5 cup of Dried Coconut
This picture below is x2 of these ingredients out of greed. Just add as suggested here.

Click here for our blog page Baking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hotel Review: The Ranee Boutique Suites, Kuching.

Greetings from Kuching, over on the Island of Borneo! We were here over the long weekend to celebrate a cousin's wedding, and were advised enthusiastically that The Ranee Boutique Suites was the "best hotel in town." So naturally we had no choice but to book a room!

Ranee Boutique Suites

The Ranee certainly lives up to the 'boutique' portion of its name - the entire hotel is renovated off a couple of shophouses and has just 24 rooms. We use the word 'rooms' intentionally, because these really are just regular hotel rooms despite the hotel's self-declared "suite" naming convention. It's got a terrific location right smack on one end of the Kuching Waterfront, right around the corner of a shopping mall (Plaza Merdeka) and within easy walking distance of a myriad of food, handicraft and other miscellaneous knick-knack shopping options.

Ranee Boutique Suites

Check-in and check-out times are 2pm and 12pm respectively. Check-in was quick and easy, with a mini welcome amenity of iced lemon tea and cold towels. Now we might be nitpicking a bit here perhaps, but it was a cold, rainy day so we would have much preferred hot towels and hot tea instead.

Ranee Boutique Suites

The interior is gorgeous, striking just the right balance between the modern (televisions, fans, air-conditions and sofas) and the traditional (retro bicycles, furniture, fittings and art pieces). There's even a small mini-"garden," complete with a shared seating area for relaxing. It isn't the biggest or most authentic of gardens, of course, but we quite liked it, especially since we could lounge around in air-conditioned comfort.

Ranee Boutique Suites

We were booked into the "Standard Suite," which as you can see in the photos below was really just a standard hotel room. That's fine, though, because the room itself is really nice and clean (we particularly like the feel of the timber flooring). The bed and pillows were very comfortable and just the right firmness - although the linens weren't quite up to 5-star hotel standards - and we were impressed that the drinks and snacks at the mini bar were very reasonably priced. None of that $10 per can of coke nonsense here.

Ranee Boutique Suites

Bathroom was huge, clean, and completely and uncharacteristically modern. Fully stocked, too - shampoo, soap, toothbrush & paste, razors - everything you'd need to freshen up after a long day.

Ranee Boutique Suites

Breakfast is served in the bar/cafe; As this isn't a huge hotel they've wisely opted for cooked breakfast to order rather than try to put out a decent buffet line.

Ranee Boutique Suites

Each breakfast comes with juice, coffee/tea, fruits, and a choice of about a dozen different 'main courses,' ranging from Angmoh big breakfast, to Malaysian staples like roti canai, and Sarawak Laksa (rice noodles served in a curry-like broth). The options we tried were decent enough - I don't think it would qualify as good by any stretch of the imagination. Can't expect a 3-michelin starred chef in the kitchen in a hotel this size, I suppose.

Ranee Boutique Suites

The main negatives of The Ranee, thanks to its' (small) size, centre around the lack of hotel facilities like gymnasium, swimming pool, function rooms, business centre, room service or a proper restaurant. At around MYR 285 or SGD 106 nett, it's also pretty pricey - room rates are even slightly higher than those of the nearby Pullman Hotel (slightly lower than the Hilton).

Having said that, if you're in town and don't need big hotel chain facilities, we'd totally recommend The Ranee, thanks to its' charm, decor, and killer location. Check out their website for reservations (or you can also head to the usual suspects like agoda or expedia). 4 thumbs up.