Friday, June 27, 2008
Macadamia Nut Cookies
The other day I did some major baking – about 10 containers of Macadamia Nut Cookies. To me, these cookies are pretty close to being the ultimate cookie because they are crunchy, buttery and really fragrant!
Macadamias nuts: These nuts go so well with this cookie dough. These nuts are expensive (about 20 Singapore dollars per kilogram) and they contain quite a high amount of fat (which is what makes them so yummy!). Unfortunately that makes them turn rancid easily in warm weather, which is why they should be refrigerated all the time. I like to use macadamia nuts that are as fresh as possible, so whenever I want to make these cookies, I make a trip to the store just to buy them.
Kueh Tu Tu: I tried making Kueh Tu Tu using the Tefal VitaCuisine 3 in 1 Steamer (see picture above). The metal steamer tray came in very handy and the steamer worked up quite a steam quickly. Everything worked well – the kueh tasted yummy but I still needed to experiment on my recipe ingredients because the kueh was too fragile and was not firm enough. But anyway it was fun making my own kueh tu tu. I love this traditional snack (the peanut version) and I’ve always wanted to make my own. The first kueh tu tus I made were a disaster but after a few tries, they got better. They aren’t perfect yet, that’s why I’m still working on my recipe.
Question from a dear reader:
I just knew about your blog and find your recipes interesting and easy to prepare and bake. I have just ordered 2 of your books too. Like to know :
Your bread recipe mentioned 'potato flour', is sweet-potato flour' the same? Finally, I just used all bread flour. Instead of adding pumpkin/sunflower seeds, I added chocolate rice in it. I kept it for 3 hrs in a closed unheated microwave oven. The dough did rise but noticed the top surface was not as smooth as yours. Finally when it’s baked, the top layer was very hard n not smooth. When cool, I cut into slices, the texture is on the hard side n smell of yeast. This morning, it's even harder. Any chance you can help to guide me along.
Regarding your chocolate muffin, the cake rose quite well but some had got cracks on top. As I am using a 26L type of small oven, always encountered uneven heat when baking cakes. With your recipe, I can put the batter in 18 muffin paper cups but I had to spread all into 2 trays thus one tray on top of each other. So the result always top tray very nicely baked but the bottom tray with cakes overflow from the paper cakes. So always, I have to interchange the tray position thus causing more time to bake all and messy. When baked, the texture at the sides and bottom of the paper cups were soft. Initially I was worried and thought that despite 35 mins, still not baked. Luckily, this morning the texture harden a bit. The texture is so fine that it drops easily and tend to stick to our teeth when eaten. Hope you can help in answering to all my questions as I love very much to learn and bake but sometimes the results are just disappointing.
Thank you for your email! Potato flour is not the same as sweet potato flour. I have not used sweet potato flour in my breadmaking before, so I do not know how it will turn out.
May I know how much chocolate rice was added to the bread dough? Too much extra ingredients in the dough will weigh it down and thus make it unable to rise well.
It's OK to let the dough rise in a closed microwave oven. In fact, as long as you keep the dough covered in a slightly warm and 'unwindy' place, it should rise well.
The trick to having a smooth-surfaced bread is in the kneading. If your mixer is unable to do a good job, knead it by hand for about 5 minutes. It's quite tiring but kneading does make the dough smooth and this gives rise to a bread with a smooth surface.
If the baked bread has a strong yeast smell, you can reduce the proofing time from 3 hours to 2 and a half.
For a 26L oven, it is best to bake one tray of muffins at a time. It is not a good idea to open the oven in the middle of baking because the sudden drop in temperature can cause the middle of the cakes to collapse. I have a similar sized oven and I always bake one tray at a time. It will take longer since baking two trays at once saves time, but the extra effort is well worth it. Baking one tray at a time ensures that the muffins have sufficient heat around it. The more items there are in the oven, the less heat each item has for it to be baked.
Finally, for a really well-shaped muffin that has a nice dome at the top, use a muffin tray and line it with paper cases. The muffin tray, being made of aluminium, can help the muffin batter to bake more evenly. Do not use the pleated sturdy paper cases that can stand alone on their own. These are more suited for flat-topped cupcakes.
Don't give up on baking. Initially when I started out baking, it was all a mess and it was disappointing when the cakes and cookies did not turn out right. But after many tries and experiments, I started to understand the roles of the various ingredients, the methods of mixing, etc. My cakes and cookies still turn out horrible from time to time. I try to figure out what went wrong and then I write it all down in my notes, so I can learn from it.
Don't give up, I'm sure you will be a FANTASTIC baker!
Labels: Macadamia Nut Cookies