Saturday, 24 December 2011

Florenta Almond Thins - Easy CNY Cookies

You know sometimes during Chinese New Year, some relatives will bug you for HOMEMADE cookies? Worst still, these relatives are those people who doesn't know how to appreciate the hard work we dump in from frying the pineapples to tapioca flour?
If you wanna know, yes, I do have some of these relatives. 

I don't know since when did this product emerge in the baking supplies shelves but since I started baking, I've seen the owner advertising it. When a friend first told me how nice and easy it is, I didn't believe her.. It was till I saw a discussion group in facebook discussing this again and again and again....

Its called ... FLORENTA! aka FLORENTINE or a subtitute called Bienetta.

Source: Google Images
The texture are like white fine breadcrumbs and the instructions are simple.

Just take whatever nuts you love like almond flakes, sunflower seeds, pine nuts etc etc and pour them on to a NON STICK parchment paper. Next, simply sprinkle on the florenta powder onto the nuts and BAKE!

Sprinkle it on, like the picture above. 

The first time, I tried using 180c and the sugar caramelised way too fast before I could look, about 8 minutes its in the shade of dark dark brown already. It also tasted a bit bitter.

The second time, I reduce my temperature to 150c and it took about 12 minutes for it to be done perfectly.
Make sure you are around the oven to peek every few minutes. Sugar turns brown really, really fast.

Also, if you want to cut it into even pieces, make sure you cut it with a sharp knife when its still hot, not when its cool..

Lastly, I wish all readers a very Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

First Birthday Prayers aka 抓周 (Part 2): Pandan Layer Cake

This are the food we prepared for prayers.

Glutinous Rice with chicken and mushrooms. 
One bowl of Mee Sua with 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 large chicken whole leg and 2 prawns. 
Roasted Pork
Red eggs
Angku Kuih
Hutt Kuih
Dried Beancurd aka Tau kua
Pandan Layer Cake 
Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

After prayers, there are a few ceremony to be done.

First, Samantha have to wear a new pair of shoes bought by my mom. She then have to step on a pair of angku kuih. My mother in law said this signifies "脚踏实地".

Then, we sat her down on a table and let her determine her own future.These are the items I compiled.

From top: A stamp, a pen, a stethoscope, cash, Gold, Hand Whisk, Lipstick, Law Book and Abacus.
 What did she choose? She kept pointing at the abacus and did not lift it up. Then we waited and waited, maybe she was overwhelmed by the new toys she have.

"I give up!"
In the end, daddy offer her the items one by one and the cash money interest her the most. She prefers the RM 50 note compare to the RM 10 note. LOL....

The last ceremony was the eating part. We have to feed her mee sua, chicken and egg. Being the 'tam-chiak' person, she refuse to open her mouth and take in the food. Don't know what's with her that day.

Here is the recipe for the Pandan Layer Cake I made for her.

Pandan Layer Cake
(Sponge adapted from: Table for 2... or more from Wendy)
(Pandan Layer adapted from a facebook friend. )

For the sponge: (7 inch)
250gm Whole Eggs (about 4 large or 5 medium)
130gm Castor Sugar (I reduced it too about 80gm)
100gm Cake Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
50gm Coconut Milk (I used Coconut Cream)
80gm Corn Oil
1/2 tsp Pandan Paste
Some green colouring (Which I ommited)

1. Preheat oven to 180c.
2. Beat eggs and sugar till pale, thick and creamy aka ribbon stage. (I read from a taiwanese blog that sugar have to be added in right before beating as letting the sugar sit too long with the eggs may prevent it to incorporate air. )
3. Combine coconut milk, corn oil, pandan paste and food colouring in another bowl.
4. Sieve in cake flour and baking powder and fold till incorporated.
5. Add in 3 tbsp of the beaten yolks into the flour mixture and fold. Repeat this three times.
6. Pour the flour mixture into the remaining yolks and fold till even. Becareful not to deflate the yolks too much.
7. Bake in a preheated oven at 180c for about 30 minutes.
8. When cake is done, remove from mould immediately and cool on a wire rack.
9. When cake is cool completely, slice into 3 even layers.

For the Pandan Layer: (8inch)

300gm Thick Coconut Milk
400gm Pandan Juice (Blend 10 blades of  pandan leaves with some water. Sieve and squeeze it. Mix enough water to yield 700gm of liquid. Divide into 2 portions for [A] and [B].)
90gm Castor Sugar
8gm Agar-agar Powder

300gm Pandan Juice
100gm Hoen Kwe Flour

1. Dissolves 8gm of agar powder in 400ml of pandan juice. Mix everything together in a pot.
2.  Cook [A] using medium heat till mixture boils.
3. Dissolves hoen kwe flour in 300ml of pandan juice. Slowly pour into mixture [A] while stirring continuously.
4. Cook till mixture thickens and start boiling.
5. Immerse the pot in a large basin fill with hot water to prevent it from setting quickly.

To assemble: 
1. Scoop one ladle of pandan layer into a 8 inch baking tin.
2. Put in a layer of sponge cake.
3. Put in another layer of pandan layer, minding the sides first then the top. Smooth it out.
4. Put another layer of sponge then another layer of pandan layer.
5. Lastly, pour the remaining pandan layer in and smooth in out properly. This last layer will be the bottom of the cake when you un-mould it.
6. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before un-moulding and serve.

(i) Before assembling, spray the 8 inch tin with some water. This will ensure easy removal of the cake.
(ii) Use a sharp knife and run across the sides. The cake will un-mould easily like a jelly.
(iii) Prepare everything ahead of time including tools you need and ingredients.