♥ Cinnamon Sugar Churros ♥

Do you know churros are spanish donuts? Deep-fried doughs and rolled in either sugar or cinnamon-sugar! They are my sister's favourite treat. Unluckily, we can seldom find them in Hong Kong except now at Disneyland. But who will know in fact they are super simple to make? 

Easy. Speedy. The ingredients are handy. You'll probably already have them in the kitchen. The original recipe calls for vegetable oil so I used grapeseed oil. But you can use any other flavourless oil. (Never use peanut) You don't want these mini spanish fritters turn out taste like peanut right? 
Oh and mind you, it is crucial to use a pastry bag instead of disposable piping bag / ziplog, because the dough is heavy and will break the plastic before being able to pass through the star-tip. As mentioned, a star-tip is not a must but if you want it looks like REAL churros, use it.

Adapted from allrecipes
You'll need:
1 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsps grapeseed oil
1 cup all purpose flour
4-5 cups grapeseed oil, for frying
1/2 cup sugar + 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, for rolling

How to make homemade churros:

  1. Prepare cinnamon-sugar by combining 1/2 cup sugar and ground cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Line a plate with paper towel. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, sugar, salt and vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a dough.
  3. Heat oil for frying over medium-high heat in a deep skillet as it reaches 190 C.
    (You can test by using a chopstick which bubbles when it touches the oil)
  4. Transfer the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large star-tip. Pipe the dough to desired length and use scissors to cut it, so it releases into the oil.
    (Pipe two to three churros into the oil each time so you don't bring down the oil temperature)
  5. Frying them until golden and cooked, drain them on prepared paper towel plate. Roll drained churros in cinnamon-sugar mixture. 
  6. Repeat the frying and rolling process with the remaining dough.
  7. Serve warm.
With all my love <3
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♥ Passion Fruit Yogurt & Orange Marmalade Whipped Cream Cupcakes ♥

This post must credit to my best friend, Alison, who came all the way from Australia to visit me in last Christmas with several package of yogurt mix, with flavors of Passion Fruit, Goji Berries and Boysenberry. If you are not familiar with or haven't heard of yogurt mix, click here. EasiYo is the only yogurt mix brand that are being sold in Hong Kong for the time being. And since I have an EasiYo Yogurt Maker at home, it feels more economical and nutritious to make yogurt myself having to know what I am actually adding to my yogurt. There are tons of different flavors and honestly I can eat a whole bucket in second. I am joking :)

Back to my yogurt cake. This recipe is so easy without the use of any electric nor standing mixer. The batter can be easily whipped up using an old-school wooden spoon and the flavor can be changed by substituting another fruit based yogurt. And for a much super-fast way, you can use self-rising flour instead and omit the teaspoon of baking powder. A last dollop of flavored whipped cream will make you like a genius baker for sure.

Make 6 mini cupcakes
You'll need:

For cupcake
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup passion fruit yogurt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup flavorless oil

For whipped cream frosting
1 cup cold whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsps icing sugar
1/3 cup chilled bitter orange marmalade jam

How to make passion fruit yogurt cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare 6 mini cupcakes liners or line a muffin tin with paper cups. Set aside.
    (Alternatively, you can grease the pan with vegetable oil)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, eggs, vanilla and yogurt. Mix until combined.
  3. Sift in flour, salt and baking powder. Stir well. Add in vegetable oil and mix well.
  4. Divide batter into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting them.
How to make orange marmalde whipped cream:
  1. Place mixing bowl and wire whisk in freezer for 15 minutes. Then place all ingredients in cold bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.
  2. Cover and refrigerate before using. Pipe on cupcakes.
With all my love <3
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♥ Caramel Stuffed & Toffee Bits Chocolate Cookies ♥

What is an ultimate chocolate cookies? Don't ask, just watch! 
It was my first 2014 surprise when I received two bags of Hershey's rolo and toffee bits respectively from my beloved sisters. They are now continuing their tertiary studies in Utah, where you can possibly find anything you want. I mean everything. To show my gratitude, I make the most out of these two Hershey's candies and come up with these gooey, rich and salted chocolate cookies.
They are like brookies (brownie+cookies), and slightly hit with sea salt. However, if you couldn't find toffee bits, feel free to substitue with chocolate chips or butterscotch chips.

Make 2 dozens
You'll need:
110g unsalted butter
350g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
55g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
260g all purpose flour
100g Hershey's Bitso Brickle Toffee Bits
sea salt, for sprinkling
16 caramel-filled milk chocolate candies / ROLO

How to make caramel filled chocolate cookies:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Take off the heat and stir in brown sugar.
  3. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Add cocoa, salt and baking powder and stir until combined.
  4. Add flour and stir until none is left. Fold in the toffee bits.
    (A wooden spoon is good enough for the above steps.)
  5. Dollop 1 heaped tablespoon of dough on prepared cookie sheet, use your finger make an indentation at the centre and press in a caramel-filled chocolate.
  6. Top with another flattened tablespoon of dough, seal edges and sprinkle with sea salt.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies stay on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
With all my love <3
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♥ Chocolate S'mores and Pretzel Cupcakes ♥

A big thanks to my friend who have sent me this stand-alone Good Housekeeping CUPCAKES cookbook a long way from UK. It contains millions of amazing easy-to-make cupcake recipes which are waiting for me to dig in. For the first trial, I decided to adapt the most simplest cupcake recipe, with a alternation of using vegetable oil instead of butter. 

I know a chocolate cupcake would not be impressive enough. All the ideas should credit to my weekend family barbecue gathering, when I was toasting a marshmallow in front of the fire -> s'mores! I also combined my favourite snacks and the never-fail chocolate ganache to form these incredible, magnificent treats. S'more cupcakes with pretzel bites! You name it!

Adapted from Good Housekeeping CUPCAKES
Make 6 large cupcakes
You'll need:

For the cupcakes:
125g light muscovado sugar
100ml vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
15g cocoa powder
100g self-rising flour
100g semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the topping:
150ml double cream
100g semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 big marshmallows, halved
10 mini salted pretzels, crushed

How to make chocolate s'mores and pretzel cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Line muffin tin with cupcake cases. Set aside.
  2. Beat sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl. Gradually beat in eggs, one at a time.
  3. Sift cocoa powder with flour and fold into wet mixture with chocolate chips.
  4. Divide the batter equally between cupcake liners.
    (An ice cream scoop will do a great job)
  5. Bake for 20 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Set oven to broiler.
  7. Meanwhile, heat double cream in a medium saucepan over low heat until simmer. Pour over chocolate chips and leave it to stand for 5 minutes before stirring with a spatula.
    (This is the chocolate ganache which has to be cooled at room temperature)
To assemble:
  1. Top half marshmallows onto each cupcake, place under broiler for 5 minutes or until toasted.
    (Stand right at the oven to prevent burning)
  2. Immediately take out the cupcakes from the oven and press each melting marshmallow with your hand to cover the top of the cupcake. Let cool slightly.
  3. Drizzle chocolate ganache over the cupcake, sprinkle each with crushed pretzels.
With all my love <3
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