Friday, May 25, 2012

Butter Cookies

In my last post about Vanilla-Bean Cupcakes, I mentioned butter cookies that I made for my friend in KL,Malaysia. Sorry it took me so long to blog this post. Finally got down to uploading the pics. These cookies were full of rich buttery deliciousness! I have made these cookies twice since, and they are super easy to whip up on short notice.

These cookies were simple and easy to make. I used my cookie press to make the shapes. A cookie press is a hollow tube fitted with a decorative nozzle at one end and a plunger at the other, to press the cookies directly onto the baking sheet.  Below is a picture of my cookie press, it came with 20 different nozzles.

I have had this cookie press for a long time now, don’t remember the last time I used it. So I was thinking of purging it. But decided to give it one more go. Thank god I made these cookies, now I LOVE my cookie press.  But if you don’t have a cookie press, just make small balls of dough and flatten it on the baking tray with a fork.

Butter Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Yield: Makes 3 dozen cookies

  • ¾ cups unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Colored pearls for decoration

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift the flour, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolk,vanilla and salt. Beat well.
  • Add the flour in 3 additions, and mix until well incorporated.
  • Fill the cookie press with the dough, and press out the cookie shapes directly onto an ungreased baking sheet. Place the colored pearls on the cookies.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned.
  • To ensure even baking, rotate the sheet halfway through the baking process.
  • Transfer to a wire rack, and let it cool. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

A friend of mine from my undergrad years is living in KL, Malaysia. She has recently given birth to an adorable baby boy. So hubby and I went to visit her over the weekend. She loves my blog and all my recipes! So I wanted to bake some cookies and cupcakes for her and her hubby.

I tried out some Butter Cookies with my cookie press, recipe to be posted soon. And I also made some vanilla bean cupcakes. I have made vanilla cupcakes before, but this recipe from Annie’s Eats, called for actual vanilla pods! I happened to have bought some last week to make vanilla extract. And so I got started on my vanilla bean cupcakes with fresh vanilla pods!

Though the process, of mixing the batter is a bit time consuming than usual. I promise the end result is worth the few extra steps. The baked cupcakes were so fluffy like a cloud! They were so moist and soft, you could actually see little small black specks of vanilla in the cupcakes. My friend and her hubby loved these cupcakes!

For the frosting, I used block cream cheese, tinted with blue food colouring. I was actually going for a light blue colour, but since the cream cheese was “cream” in colour to begin with, the frosting just kept getting greener as I kept adding blue colouring! Sigh! Anyways maybe next time I will try some buttercream frosting.

I love those pretty pink flowers on top of the cream cheese. I searched all over Singapore, and got them from a baking goods store in Geylang, along with the pretty blue cupcake cases.

 Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

3 cups - cake flour
1 tbsp. - baking powder
½ tsp. - salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
16 tbsp. - unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups - sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cups - buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tbsp. - vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.  
  • Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  
  • Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.)
  • Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
  • Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  
  • Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  
  • Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.  
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full (you will likely have batter left over after filling 24 wells.)  
  • Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  
  • Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  
  • Replace paper liners and bake remaining batter if desired.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.
  • Yield: approximately 30 cupcakes

Monday, May 7, 2012

Almond Bars

Made some delicious almond bars this weekend. Hubby was playing a cricket match with his team. And it went on for the whole weekend! So I was home all weekend working on my overdue craft orders.

On Sunday hubby’s team won the match! He mentioned during their lunch break, that they were in the finals and were about to win. So I wanted to make something for him to celebrate when he came home.

Almonds are his favourites! I have some wonderful almonds that my aunt brought from Malaysia. I wanted to make something special with those almonds. And hence these almond bars. 

The recipe called for flaked almonds,but I wanted to use the whole almonds that I had. So I soaked the whole almonds for a 3 hours in warm water, and then peeled the skin off. I cut the peeled almonds into thin slices. This is a time consuming project, and not really necessary, unless you have almonds at hand. Otherwise it is better to just buy some flaked almonds.

The super easy recipe is from I loved how simple the recipe was. The almond bars were heaven! They were chewy, soft and super moist! The brown sugar and the slivers of almond gave the bars a deeper level of richness to them. Hubby loved it!

Makes 8 big bars

1/4 cup - butter
1 cup - brown sugar
1 - egg
3 tablespoons - honey
3/4 cup - plain flour
1 teaspoon - baking powder
1/2 teaspoon - vanilla extract
1/3 cup - flaked almonds


  • Heat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
  • Line a square pan with baking paper.
  • Melt butter in a heat proof bowl, in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Add brown sugar and honey, and stir until well combined.
  • Stir in egg. Mix well.
  • Combine flour and baking powder, then stir into the mixture.
  • Add vanilla and fold in almonds.
  • Pour batter into pan and bake for 23-28 minutes, or until golden.
  • Cool in pan and then cut into pieces. 
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving.