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Japanese Salmon Fried Rice




Happy Mother’s Day!



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With the aroma of spring onions, garlic and ginger, this salmon fried rice is packed with Asian flavours and it is so flavourful, delicious, and deeply satisfying as a quick-mix meal. Also, it uses minimal ingredients and takes little time to make – excluding the time to cook rice, it takes literally less than 30 mins to finish. Funny enough, this Japanese Salmon Fried Rice was made because I overcooked my salmon fillets one night; just before I surrendered and decided to eat the salmon anyway, my body refused and the idea of breaking the salmon into small pieces to make fried rice popped up. That’s when magic happened.  

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I came up with this recipe taking reference from Just One Cook Book. People usually say it’s best to use leftover rice to make fried rice so that all the grains can remain separated. However, let’s face it – sometimes making fried rice is a last-min decision just because WE CRAVE FRIED RICE AND WE WANT IT TODAY. If that’s the case, you can simply reduce the amount of water used to cook rice ( 85% water :  100% rice) and quickly pop them in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of ingredients.



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To me, the essence of the seasoning of this fried rice has to be sesame oil. Confession: I love adding sesame oil whenever I make Asian dishes, because its strong nutty taste enriches and brings out all the flavours of the dish. Also, I’d recommend using tamari soy sauce as it comes with a stronger taste and aroma.

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If you are an international student like me who loves food, you’d understand how essential it is to do meal prep cost-effectively without sacrificing taste. In Australia, a pack of salmon fillet costs me approximately AUD13. Yes, compared to other meat types like chicken, salmon still remains a luxurious option. But when you think about it, this salmon fried rice can possibly be splitted into 4-5 portions to freeze, so budget-wise it’s not too bad at all :). Thanks for reading and have a great week ahead!

Ingredients :

  • 3 cup cooked rice
  • 460g salmon fillet
    • Marinade: 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper)  
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced  
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • white pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the baking pan with aluminum foil. Prepare the marinade and coat the salmon fillets evenly with it. Place the salmon on the foil and loosely wrap it to prevent it from drying out in the oven. Bake for 15-20 mins until cooked through. Let cool and break the salmon into small pieces for later use.
  2. While the salmon is cooking, add 1 tbsp of oil to the wok and heat the wok over medium high heat. When the wok is hot, add the eggs and mix with a spatula until the eggs are almost cooked. Take the eggs out and set aside.
  3. Add another tbsp oil to the wok, add spring onions, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry until they’re nicely coated with oil and you can smell their aroma.
  4. Add the rice and break the chunk of rice with your spatula. Stir fry until the rice is nicely separated and well mixed.
  5. Add the prepared eggs and salmon pieces to the rice and break them into smaller pieces as you continue to stir fry.
  6. Season the fried rice with sesame oil, soy sauce, white pepper, black pepper and salt. Enjoy while it’s hot.






3 comments
Taste of Summer – Coconut Lime Cupcake with Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Lime curd filling

I understand that cupcakes don’t appeal to everyone. I get that; the huge pile of buttercream can look quite intimidating if you have had awful experiences of eating overly sweet and dense buttercream sitting on some dry sponge cake before. But I promise you that these coconut lime cupcakes are nothing like that – the swiss coconut buttercream is light in texture while rich in flavour; and thanks to the addition of coconut milk, the cake is incredibly moist and the lime curd inside will definitely give you a little surprise when you bite into it. And don’t forget they are the combination of the two refreshing flavours that make you want to devour it with a glass of gin and tonic in the summertime (or anytime..)!

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The idea of making these cupcakes emerged when I saw the coconut lime cupcake by the Scran Line https://www.thescranline.com/coconut-lime-cupcakes. I got especially excited when I happened to have a bunch of limes left in my fridge. This cupcake recipe is modified from my own trusty cupcake recipe. I always prefer to away away from the traditional American buttercream because I simply find it too heavy in texture and taste, and the meringue lightens up the richness of butter brilliantly. I tried to incorporate as many lime and coconut components as possible and the outcome didn’t disappoint me!

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It seems that It’s been a while since I last talked about my school life. I just had the first two weeks of school (intermediate level), and we’ve already made a wide variety of pastry/dessert items. I am going to attach the images of my products at the end of this post so you will have a better idea. At this early stage, the difficulty of the items we’re required to make each lesson is not necessarily higher (so far..), but we have to work at a much faster pace to get more things done in the same period of time. I guess the school is gradually trying to get us used to the real working environment where time management is everything.

The other difference between basic and intermediate is that there are more assessments – on the second week, we were assessed on making a roulade with strawberry and cream filling. I don’t have much experience in making roulade and the last time I made one was ages ago, so I was a little nervous. The trickiest part of making a perfect roulade lies in rolling it up well to create the swirl while maintaining the shape and keeping the outer layer intact without any crack. To achieve this, the sponge cake has to be baked properly – if underbaked, it will become too sticky; if overbaked, it will crack. My first roulade during the practice session cracked on the surface. So during the real assessment, I made sure I didn’t overbake my roulade and I would pre-roll it when it’s freshly baked to create the “rolling memories”, a trick that I learnt and mentioned in my Black Sesame Swiss Roll Post before. Luckily, I passed the assessment but I know there were a few flaws that I must correct next time.

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We will be making Danish Pastry tomorrow and I am so pumped for it! Hopefully I can share the results with you later. May you all have a good weekend!

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Sacher torte

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Madeira Cake

Bienenstich(Beesting)

Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)

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Bagel (cream cheese, smoked salmon, chives) , Apple Strudel

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Savarin with Chantilly Cream and Fruits

Ingredients (make around 15 cupcakes):

For the cupcake

  • 190g all-purpose flour
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 115g butter, softened
  • 30g coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 120ml coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 280g butter, softened and chopped into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the lime curd

  • Juice and zest of 3 limes
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 60 cold butter, chopped into small cubes

Instructions:

For the cupcake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, desiccated coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt. These are your dry ingredients. Set aside.  
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, oil, and sugar on medium high speed until creamy and smooth. This will take around 4-5 mins.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for 1 min. Add coconut milk and vanilla. Continue beating for 30 secs.
  5. In 3 batches, pour the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture, and gently stir with a spatula until incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  6. Fill cupcake liners to nearly full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake’s centre comes out clean.

For the lime curd

  1. Prepare a double boiler. Fill a saucepan with 1-1.5 inches high of water and bring it to simmer. Find a heatproof bowl that fits in the saucepan without directly touching the water.
  2. Put all ingredients except the butter into the heatproof bowl. Using a whisk, stir the mixture continuously and gently to slowly cook the eggs. The lemon curd is ready when it starts to thicken up. This process will take about 5-7 mins. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.
  3. Stir in the cold chopped butter into the mixture. Mix until the butter completely melts. Let cool and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Buttercream

  1. Add  egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140F (60C).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool (this is very important, otherwise the butter you’re about to add it will melt). This will take about 7-10 mins.
  3. Turn to medium-low speed, gradually add the softened butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until a silky smooth texture is reached. Add coconut milk, lime juice and salt, and beat until well combined. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. When the cupcake is cooled to room temperature, use a corer to remove the centre of the cupcake to insert lime curd later.
  2. Fill the lime curd into a piping bag with a round tip. Pipe into the cored cupcake until it just starts to ooze out.
  3. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes with your favourite piping tip, and sprinkle lime zest and desiccated coconut on top as decoration if desired.

Yum




4 comments
Earthy Soul – Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse with Baileys Ladyfingers (topped with chocolate soil)




If you’re hosting a party soon and looking for a fancy-looking dessert recipe to impress your hungry guests, you’ve found the right place. This Hazelnut Bailey Chocolate Mousse Cup is made of the same rich & smooth hazelnut dark chocolate mousse used for the chocolate semi-sphere I shared before, with devilicious baileys-soaked lady fingers layered between. You think it cannot get any better? How about if I tell you it’s finished off with some crunchy hazelnut chocolate soil on top? Conventionally, people would put mint leaves onto the “soil” but I didn’t have any mint that day so I skipped it. Dig into these layers with a spoon and I promise you it’s one of the most satisfying feelings ever.



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I came up with this idea when I was asked to prepare party food for a bunch of young adults. I got so pumped and I thought about what would make the best dessert to get the party going? Alcohol. Duh. Rum, Cointreau, limoncello and Coffee Liqueur are the to-go alcohol that I would use for desserts, but it’s about time I tried THE renowned Baileys, a creamy and smooth Irish whisky-and-cream-based liqueur that is usually served cold (with ice-cream, yum!). As you can all imagine, Baileys is delicious just as it is, but it goes extremely well with chocolate too. I didn’t hold myself back when I was dipping my ladyfingers into Baileys (I mean, why I should I?), so there could be 2 shots of baileys in each cup and everyone loved it. But you’re wary of getting your friends drunk, do try to limit yourself with it.

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I made my own ladyfingers this time using the recipe by Anna Olson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezR5UUqiOJc), as I always preferred making things from scratch if possible. But if you’re running out of time or feeling a little bit lazy, feel free to get them in supermarket. For those who don’t know what a ladyfinger is, it is essentially a simple sponge biscuit that resembles the shape of a large finger. It’s commonly used in layered dessert such as Tiramisu, and all sorts of parfaits; or it can be dipped in chocolate and enjoyed as it is. I love it for its subtleness and versatility. Make this boozy mousse cup and get indulged in all the creamy chocolatey goodness!

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Ingredients (make 10 mousse cup):

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 50g butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 35 caster sugar
  • 25g nutella

Ladyfingers (modified from http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/chocolate-dipped-lady-fingers/12698/)

  • ½ cup (64g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp (63g) cornstarch
  • 3 eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 9 tbsp (113g) sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar

Hazelnut Chocolate soil

  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 50g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 50g  hazelnut, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions:

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate on low heat until melted. Let it cool slightly. Stir in butter and nutella. Set aside.
  2. Using a whisk, lightly beat egg yolks until pale and creamy. Add to the chocolate mixture, mix well.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg white until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat egg white to stiff peaks.
  4. Gently stir in the chocolate-egg yolk mixture (in three additions) into the egg whites, mix until no obvious egg white is visible.  
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ladyfingers (extracted from http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/chocolate-dipped-lady-fingers/12698/)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and set aside. Whip the egg yolks with 3 Tbsp of the sugar until thick and pale and they hold a ribbon when the beaters are lifted. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy, then slowly add the remaining 6 Tbsp of sugar and continue whipping until the whites hold a medium peak when the beaters are lifted.
  3. Fold the whites into the yolk mixtures using a whisk, then fold in the flour until just incorporated. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe lady fingers onto the prepared trays that are 4-inches long and an inch apart (they will spread a little once piped). Bake for about 8 minutes, until the fingers are an even golden brown. Allow the fingers to cool completely before removing them from the trays.

Hazelnut Chocolate soil

  1. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt butter and allow it to cool to room temperature.
    While the butter is cooling, put sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  Mix well with a whisk and set aside.
  2. While whisking, slowly add the melted butter into the sugar cocoa mixture. Continue to mix until the mixture resembles dark soil.
  3. Add the chopped hazelnut and mix to provide the soil texture. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble

  1. Put the hazelnut chocolate mousse in a piping bag with a plain round nozzle, pipe the mousse into the bottom of the cup. Then, break the ladyfingers into pieces (I broke one ladyfinger into 3 parts) and soak them generously in Baileys, and put them on top of the mousse.
  2. Repeat step one to create alternating layers of hazelnut chocolate mousse and Baileys-soaked ladyfingers, with the hazelnut chocolate mousse as the top layer in the end (Save half an inch of space for the chocolate soil).
  3. Cover the top hazelnut chocolate mousse with chocolate soil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 
Yum




12 comments
SO mint to be – Mint Chocolate Macarons with Mint Chocolate Ganache Filling




After spending two weeks in Brisbane reuniting with my friends, I’m home and it’s about time I updated my food blog. Some friends of mine noticed that I’ve been updating my blog less frequently than before since I moved from Hong Kong to Sydney. My deepest apologies… living by myself has been unexpectedly draining and due to all the desserts I learn to make at Le Cordon Bleu, I do not bake as often at home. In fact, I am starting my intermediate level next week (NERVOUS and EXCITED), and hopefully I can share my learning journey with you all every now and then!

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These lovely mint chocolate macarons are to die for – lightly mint-flavoured macarons shelled with rich, creamy mint chocolate ganache filling. When you take a bite into these macarons, you’re going to fall for the textural contrast between the crispy & marshmallowy macaron shells and the smooth chocolate ganache. Again, mint chocolate is my all-time favourite flavour, so I am not kidding when I say I am happy to devour the whole tray of these by myself.

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No matter how many times I failed making macarons at home, there’s something unique about these little cookies that mesmerise me and makes me push on. If you are feeling frustrated with failing your macarons over and over even though you swear to god that you’ve followed the recipe completely (which usually isn’t true…), you might want to try with a different recipe or adjust the baking temperature and time. I used to believe one rule works for everything, but I’ve been proven wrong through all the failed attempts. There could be a millions of reasons for your macarons to fail, so doing some research online will be a big help to specifically resolve your macarons issues.

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Reality check: every oven works differently and you must spend time getting to “befriend” yours. Because I got a new oven as a gift when I moved to Sydney, it took a few times for me to know what the temperature and baking time work best for creating the best macarons with my oven –  bake at 150C on the lowest rack for 13 mins, then move to the middle rack for 5 mins (use a baking paper to cover the macarons to prevent browning the shells too much). But this is only what works for my oven and it might vary for yours. Also, as I noticed that my macaron batter was a bit too runny to pipe, I adjusted the amount of water I put when making  the sugar syrup. And guess what? This change made all the difference. Hope you enjoy these!

Ingredients (yield 36-40 macaron shells) :

Macaron shells

  • 95g almond flour
  • 95g icing sugar
  • 75g egg white, separated into two portions, 37.5g each
  • 1 tsp of peppermint extract
  • 25g water
  • 100g caster sugar

Mint-Chocolate Ganache FIlling

  • 120ml heavy cream
  • 150g dark mint chocolate
  • 15g unsalted butter

Instructions :

Macaron shells

  1. Place the icing sugar and almond flour in a food processor, and pulse for 30 seconds until well combined and fine in texture. Sift the flour-sugar mixture through a sieve into a mixing bowl, and pour in the first portion of egg whites. With a spatula, mix together until well combined. You can still be quite vigorous at this stage.
  2. Now you prepare the syrup. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and do NOT stir. Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed.
  3. When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites (pour the hot syrup on the side of the mixing bowl to avoid cooking the egg whites). Turn the mixer to high speed and continue beating for about 5-7 mins, until the meringue is cooled down to 50C and glossy stiff peaks have formed. In two additions, add the meringue over the almond mixture, and, using a spatula, gently fold in until combined and smooth. Work the batter until it flows in very thick ribbons when the spatula is lifted.
  4. Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter, spacing them 2cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter to flatten the macarons and to remove air bubbles.
  5. Tap the tray on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the shells.
  6. Preheat the oven to 150C, then put the trays in the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes. (Cover the macarons with baking paper if they become too brown on top in the last 5 mins). Out of the oven, slide the shells on to the work surface. Let cool.

Mint chocolate ganache filling

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Using a saucepan or microwave, bring the heavy cream just to boil.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 2 mins before stirring. Whisk until smooth. Stir in butter and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble:

  1. Place mint chocolate ganache into a piping bag topped with a rose nozzle and pipe it on the inside of the macarons and sandwich them together.
  2. Serve macarons at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a week.

Yum




4 comments
Layers of goodness – Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse Sphere (with Coffee Creme Patissiere & White Wine Poached Pear & Crispy Chocolate Base)

This post is all about celebration – about finishing my first basic term @LCB passing all my assessment, about flying to Brisbane in a few days for vacation, and about finally successfully making a mousse sphere for the first time (after contemplating on it for a thousand years). This hazelnut chocolate mousse sphere is my cup of tea, hands down – it marries my favourite flavours into one dessert that tastes absolutely divine. I’ve always wanted to make mousse spheres but I was too scared to, until I recently watched Zumbo’s just dessert which motivated me to be a better “dessert maker”. While I was watching all those amatuer home-bakers produce their eye-opening, beautiful desserts, my heart ached for creating some of my own.

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As I said, this dessert is celebratory, so I decided to apply some of the skills I learnt from school to it. It is also inspired by the Shiny Mirror Glaze Mousse Dome with Crispy Chocolate Base and Ganache Topping created by Cupcake Savvy’s Kitchen. Cutting through the sphere, you get a smooth French hazelnut chocolate mousse, creamy coffee creme patissiere, and a layer of refreshing poached pear that balances the richness & sweetness of chocolate. The dessert’s crunchy texture is provided by a crispy rice puff chocolate base (who doesn’t like indulging him/herself in loads of cocoa rice puffs???), and I finished it off with a shiny chocolate mirror glaze that renders the dessert a sophisticated look. How does that not sound heavenly?

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Special thanks to my friend who made me this stunning board with my baking motto – Simple Ideas, Big Whisks – written on it. <3 hazelnut_mousse_sphere_with_mirror_glaze10

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Realistically speaking, baking at home can be a bit tricky at times because you don’t always get the equipment or tools you need for your recipe. Like this time, I didn’t have a smaller sphere mold for my coffee creme patissiere so I had to carefully spoon it into the large mold, which could create a bit of a problem in terms of even layerings. But well, as as a pastry chef wanna-be, I need to be adaptive and make use of what I’ve got at home. Although the end result isn’t as perfect as I wanted, I am already quite happy with it. Anyway, give this recipe a go – If you are a hard-core chocolate fans, I think you will fall in love with it. Have a good weekend!

Ingredients:

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 50g butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 35 caster sugar
  • 25g nutella

Coffee Creme Patissiere (coffee pastry cream)

  • 150g milk + 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp coffee liqueur
  • 25g egg yolk
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 10g corn flour
  • 10g butter

White Wine Poached Pear

  • 2 fresh pear, cored
  • 300ml white wine
  • 300ml water
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 orange, zest of
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick

Crispy Chocolate Base

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g choco rice puff

Chocolate Mirror Glaze

  • 100g sugar
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • 40g water
  • 70g double cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp gelatin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water

Instructions:

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate on low heat until melted. Let it cool slightly. Stir in butter and nutella. Set aside.
  2. Using a whisk, lightly beat egg yolks until pale and creamy. Add to the chocolate mixture, mix well.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg white until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat egg white to stiff peaks.
  4. Gently stir in the chocolate-egg yolk mixture (in three additions) into the egg whites, mix until no obvious egg white is visible.  
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Coffee Creme Patissiere (coffee pastry cream)

  1. Using a saucepan, heat milk and instant coffee powder over medium heat and bring it to boil.
  2. While the milk is being heated, add egg yolk, sifted corn flour, caster sugar in a bowl. Mix well with a whisk until you can a thick, creamy consistency.
  3. With a steady mixing motion, pour 1/3 of the milk mixture to the egg mix to temper the egg.
  4. Pour the above mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat while whisking vigorously for at least 3 mins, until all starch is cooked. You will know it’s almost ready when it starts to bubble. Continue cooking for 1-2 mins. Remove it from the heat.
  5. Whisk in the butter and coffee liqueur until incorporated.
  6. Pour the custard into a bowl and cover the custard surface with a plastic wrap. This will prevent a skin from forming on top.
  7. Let the custard cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.

White Wine Poached Pear

  1. Put all ingredients (except the pears) in a pan.
  2. Peel and core pears, gently poach (NOT boil) pears in syrup.
  3. Cook the pears for about 1 hour until they are soft. Use a stick to test every once in a while to see if the pears are done.
  4. When done, take out the pears from the pan to stop the cooking process.
  5. Cut one poached pear into small cubes, and blend the another one into puree or mash it with a fork. Pour the pear cubes into the puree and mix well. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Crispy Chocolate Base

  1. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate on low heat until melted. Pour the chocolate onto the rice puff and shape the mixture into a 2-cm thick layer.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins, and use a circular cutter that fits the size of the spheres to cut 6 circular bases. Refrigerate until ready to use. (If the base is too hard to cut through, run the cutter in a hot water bath and dry it before usage.)

Chocolate Mirror Glaze

  1. Add gelatin and cold water into a bowl. Stir and set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a saucepan, add sugar, cocoa powder, water and cream. Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to boil while stirring continuously. Cook for about 2 mins until the mixture is smooth and no lump is visible.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the gelatin mix and stir well.
  5. Set aside and let cool to at least 35 C for usage.

Assembly

  1. Put the hazelnut chocolate mousse into the mold. Smoothen out the surface with a spoon until you can an even layer as the outer layer of the sphere. Freeze for 15 mins.
  2. Then, put the coffee creme patissiere in the mold. Freeze for 15 mins.
  3. Then, pour the pear mixture into the mold. Leave some space for the next step of closing the sphere with the hazelnut chocolate mousse. Freeze for 15 mins.
  4. Then, close all the spheres with a thin layer of the hazelnut chocolate mousse. Smoothen the surface with a off-set spatula. Freeze for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight to let it set completely.
  5. Carefully push the spheres out of the mold and put them on to a cooling rack. Pour the mirror glaze (at 35 C). Set it set. And put the glazed sphere on to the circular chocolate base.
  6. Sprinkle some chopped hazelnut on top as decorations.

Yum




8 comments
Zuger Kirschtorte with a raspberry twist (with review of the 1st week of final practical assessment @LCB)



Hello again, I’m quite excited about this post because I just had my first practical assessment week and I could do a little review (YAYY!!). One major part of this week’s assessment is making French puff pastry, which was needed to make vol-au-vent, bouchee, and palmier. Learning to make puff pastry myself was quite a journey; yes, it is a long and technical process but hey, it’s actually very fun and rewarding when you see the result. Although I still panicked everytime I used the dough sheeter ( the chance of dropping the pastry on the ground is so high, well at least for me, if you don’t pay enough attention), I successfully produced puff pastry products that rose beautifully and were flaky and buttery :). Sorry that I didn’t take any pictures of them as I was too preoccupied that day.

Other assessment items for the week include linzer torte, baklava, coffee eclairs and fruit flan. I didn’t get to practise on linzer torte because I got sick last week; luckily, it was a rather straightforward dessert with an elegant look. Also, we had to make baklava, a rich buttery dessert made of layers of filo pastry filled with grinded nuts soaked with syrup. I wasn’t a big fan of baklava as I found it too heavy when I first tasted it a few weeks back then, but I realised that it tasted so much better when served cool/cold.

Linzer Torte

Zuger Kirsch Torte (with raspberry twist) 3

Zuger Kirsch Torte (with raspberry twist) 6

Coffee eclairs and fruit flan were the last assessment items for this week. As we did a lot of mise en place the day before (i.e. pastry cream and sweet pastry dough), it was the most relaxing day among all. When I made my eclairs yesterday, my choux pastry got too liquidy as I added too much egg. So I had to quickly make another choux pastry without falling behind my schedule too much. Luckily I got back on track and got to finish and present my items on time. What a relief!

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At this point, you may wonder what we will be mainly making for our final assessment next monday. It’s Zuger Kirschtorte. Zuger Kirschtorte is a traditional layer cake from Switzerland with layered with japonaise (almond-meringue),  kirschwasser flavoured génoise  sponge, and buttercream. Normally, the outer layer of the cake is coated with flaked almond as well. I absolutely love this cake because of its intricate complexity – it is layered with various elements working together to create beautiful textures and flavour combinations.

Zuger Kirsch Torte (with raspberry twist) 5

For the recipe I am sharing here*, it holds the essence of the cake with a raspberry twist. I decided to incorporate raspberry to the cake for three reasons. Firstly, the buttercream has to be pink for the final assessment, maybe for aesthetic reasons (?), so I reckon raspberry would be a good choice to fit the color. Secondly, the tangy and sweet flavours of raspberry would complement the richness of buttercream perfectly. Thirdly, they look so damn good as decoration no? This cake is perfect for celebration, especially when it’s in this ridiculously adorable pink color haha. Finger crossed that I can successfully finish making this cake next monday! Enjoy the weekend 🙂

*Recipe and Instructions given are adapted from those provided by Le Cordon Bleu.Zuger Kirsch Torte (with raspberry twist) 2

Zuger Kirsch Torte (with raspberry twist) 4Zuger Kirsch Torte (with raspberry twist) 1

Génoise  sponge

Ingredients:

 

  • 100g whole eggs, room temperature
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 65g plain flour
  • 20g melted butter

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Preheat oven at 190C.
  2. Grease and line a 6 inch pan.
  3. Using an electric mixter, mix eggs, vanilla, and sugar on medium speed until thick and pale (or ribbon stage is reached).
  4. Fold in sifted flour and melted butter alternatively. Gently mix until no flour is visible.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan.
  6. Bake at 190C for 15-18 mins until golden brown, or when a skewer inserted into the cake’s centre comes out clean. Let cool and unmold the cake. Cut a slice of the cake (around 2 cm thick) with a serrated knife; set aside.

 

Japonaise

Ingredients:

 

  • 95g egg whites
  • 60g caster sugar
  • pinch of cream of tar tar
  • 20g corn flour, sifted
  • 95g ground almond
  • 70g caster sugar

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Preheat oven at 170C.
  2. Using an electric mixer (make sure the whisk and bowl are oil-free), beat egg whites and cream of tar tar on high speed until stiff. Gradually add in sugar and mix for another 2 mins.
  3. Mix corn flour, ground almond, and caster sugar in a bowl. These are your dry ingredients; set aside.
  4. Fold in half of the egg white mix to the dry ingredients. Mix gently.
  5. Add the remaining egg white mix and gently blend until just incorporated. Important: be as gentle as you can in this step. Don’t overmix to avoid the mixture from becoming too thin.Put the batter into a piping bag with a plain round nozzle. Pipe two 6 inch discs onto silicone paper.
  6. Bake at 170C for 20-25 mins until golden brown.

 

Kirsch syrup

Ingredients:

 

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g water
  • 30ml kirsch

 

Instructions:

 

  1. Bring the sugar and water to the boil.
  2. When cooled, add the Kirsch.

 

Raspberry vanilla italian buttercream

Ingredients:

 

  • 160g caster sugar
  • 40ml water
  • 100g egg white
  • 250g unsalted butter, room temperature and chopped to small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  • few drops of red food coloring

 

Instructions:

 

  • In a medium pot, boil sugar and water.
  • When syrup reaches 110 C, start whisking egg whites with an electic mixer on high speed.
  • When syrup reaches 118C, add syrup in a fast stream (be careful with the hot syrup!) to the egg whites. Continue whisking until the mixture is light and cooled to room temperature.
  • Add butter to the italian meringue piece by piece. Add raspberry jam. Continue mixing until no butter cubes are visible, and the buttercream is smooth and creamy.
  • Set aside for frosting.

 

Homemade raspberry jam (can substitute store-bought jam):

Ingredients:

 

  • 125g fresh raspberry
  • 125g sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

 

Instructions:

 

  • Bring sugar and raspberries in a saucepan on high heat for around 2 mins until all sugar has dissolved. Mash raspberries with a fork as you go.
  • Turn to medium heat, continue to cook the jam until it’s thickened enough to your liking.
  • Turn off heat. Add lemon juice and mix well.
  • Transfer the jam into airtight jar for later use.

 

Assembly

  • Assemble gateau using two discs of japonaise sandwiched with raspberry jam, buttercream and Genoise sponge soaked with kirsch syrup.

In other words,

 

  1. Firstly put a disc of japonaise as the cake base.
  2. Then, pipe 1 cm thick of italian buttercream. Spread raspberry jam on top of italian buttercream.
  3. Add the sponge cake. Generously brush the kirsch syrup onto the sponge cake until it’s well soaked.
  4. Repeat step 2.
  5. Put the 2nd disc of japonaise on top of the sponge cake.
  6. Frost the cake with italian buttercream and decorate it with garnishes to your liking.

 

Choice of garnish

 

  • Flaked almond
  • Fresh raspberry
  • Chopped roasted pistachios

 

 Yum




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Drunk in Style – White Wine Poached Pear Almond Tart




It’s been a while, everyone. I am really glad that I’m finally sharing a recipe I learnt from school with you all. This week, our teacher demonstrated how to make this French-style white wine poached pear almond tart (Pear Bourdaloue); I absolutely loved it and I knew I had to recreate it for myself.

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Making tarts hasn’t been my strong suit, because up until now I haven’t fully grasped the techniques of handling and rolling pastry. Thanks to school, I had to squarely deal with all my weaknesses and practice. Cope with the huge difference between last year’s baking experience and that of this year isn’t easy either. In LCB, I am constantly introduced all sorts of pastry items that never existed in my world due to my limited exposure to the culinary world. Honestly, the feelings of inadequacy could be overpowering at times, but so is the sense of excitement burning in my heart that I know I just have to keep learning and getting better. For those who are curious about what I’ve made at school for the past few weeks, I’ve attached couple photos at the end of this post as promised. 

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About the tart itself, I know in many sense it matches with autumn theme more, but when you want to eat tarts who cares about the time? Sweet and soft pears shall be the star of this tart – they are beautifully spiced by cinnamon and cloves, with the addition of tangy, sweet flavour thanks to the white wine, as well as lemon and orange peel. Poaching pears requires correct time, temperature and patience. You want soft, sweet, flavoured pears that are not cooked to become mushy in the end. Having the pears together wIth the nutty almond cream at the bottom is simply delicious. I like having this tart when freshly baked (preferably with vanilla ice-cream on top, yummmm), but it’s purely my own preferences. I hope you will enjoy this recipe! 

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White Wine Poached Pear (Can be made the night before)

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh pears
  • 500ml water
  • 500ml white wine
  • 250g sugar
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • peel of 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or  1 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • 1 clove (or ⅛ tsp ground cloves)

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients (except the pears) in a pan.
  2. Peel and core pears, gently poach (NOT boil) pears in syrup.
  3. Cook the pears for about 1 hour until they are soft. Use a stick to test every once in a while to see if the pears are done.
  4. When done, take out the pears from the pan to stop the cooking process. Reserve the liquid. When both the pears and liquid have cooled, let the pears continue soaking in the liquid. Keep in fridge until ready to use.

Sweet Pastry Dough (this recipe makes two tart shells):

Ingredients:

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 142g sugar
  • 90g eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 375g bakers flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 45g almond meal

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar by hand or with a mixer until well combined.
  2. Adds eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. Mix.
  3. Mix in sifted flour and almond meal to form a dough.
  4. Wrap it with plastic and keep in refrigerator to set and rest for at least 30 mins. (the gluten in the dough needs to rest or the pastry will shrink when baked)
  5. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  6. Lightly flour your working surface. Roll out the pastry to 2.5-3mm thickness. Line a 8 inch tart pan with sweet pastry. Poke littles holes with a folk on the pastry’s base to avoid air bubbles from forming when the pastry is baked. Refrigerate to rest the pastry for 20 mins.
  7. Bake the pastry for 12-15 mins until golden brown.
  8. Let cool and set aside.

Almond cream

Ingredients:

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 20g baker flour
  • 120g almond meal
  • 20ml rum (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar by hand of a mixer until well combined.
  2. Add vanilla, and eggs (one at a time). Mix well.
  3. Add flour, almond meal, and rum (if used). Mix well to form a paste.
  4. Set aside until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Fill the tart with the almond cream generously.
  3. Put the poached pears on top according to the design you want.
  4. Bake for approximately 25-35 mins until golden brown.
  5. Sprinkled toasted almond on top if desired.

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Yum




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First Week of LCB, Sydney (ft. Sun dried tomato, olive, caper pasta)




SO, I’ve officially embarked on my baking journey and I just had my the first week of studying at LCB, Sydney as a patisserie student. How exciting! Honestly, I hadn’t experienced such a hectic schedule since I graduated from uni. It was quite an overwhelming week during which I was poured with tons of new information that I literally walked home like a zombie every day (especially with all the tools I had to carry). The long school hours was out of my expectations too – 7:30 or 8:30am to 6pm – but luckily I can feel that my biological clock is slowly adjusting to this new lifestyle, because I start to wake up by 9am no matter what.

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On the plus side, I feel blessed that now I get to be surrounded with amazing, knowledgeable chefs and classmates of common interests the moment I enter the campus. This week, we were taught to make several basic French desserts, namely scones, friand, pound cake, victoria sponge cake. I must confess that I also struggled a bit with making these “relatively easy” cakes because I predictably got nervous and disorientated working in a new kitchen. The photos I took of them don’t look nice enough (without my proper camera), so please pardon me that I don’t show my works here yet haha. But I promise that I will show you guys my bakes made in LCB kitchen later.

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Funny enough, for the past few weeks, I’ve been cooking more savory than sweet at home as I have to feed my own tummy. So I decided to share with you my favourite pasta recipe – it’s so easy, nutritious, and bursting with flavours that I’d make it every time I crave pasta for a quick dinner. I am in love with this pasta dish for its flexibility, for I consider it the base that I can feel free to twist around based on the ingredients available at home. For examples, sometimes I’d also add mushroom or tuna to the dish when I feel like it. Therefore, be as creative with this simple recipe as you can, and surprise yourself with the result!

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Ingredients (serve 2):

  • 200g spaghetti (or other pasta)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp sun dried tomato, sliced into strips
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 tsp dried italian herbs
  • a handful of olives , each cut in half
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Toasted Pine nut, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 4-5 mins. Add garlic and cook for another 1 minute (be careful not to burn the garlics). Add tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar, and dried herbs. Reduce heat to low, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked pasta, olives, capers and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Yum




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Chinkiang Vinegar Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs (鎮江糖醋排)




TIME FOR SAVORY! I know, I know, I’ve been sharing dessert recipes to the point that my life appeared to consist of nothing but sugar and butter (aka a standard baker’s life). Well, I do cook as well. So if you’re looking for an easy Chinese dinner recipe for a family feast, you found the right place.

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The reason why I finally decided to post a savory dish on my blog is that it means something more than just one of my favourite chinese dishes. It is a dish that represents the start of my true cooking journey. This dish was among the very first dishes I made on my own for a purpose: international dinner, a “tradition” that everyone had to follow in our shared student apartment to showcase our own home cuisines way back during my exchange. I had panicked so much due to my lack of cooking experiences at the time (I tried to look up as many Chinese/HK recipes as I could online and I felt as f lots of my brains cells died in the process haha). But, phew, I did a pretty good job in the end and my friends were all impressed! Many had asked me why I became so passionate about cooking, and now you know why.

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Back to the actual food. To me, hands down, the thing that I like the most about Chinese cooking is its extensive use of “Sweet & Sour” – I know you feel it too, it is truly addictive. The proof is its popularity in the Chinese take-outs in foreign countries. Honestly, as someone who was born and raised in Hong Kong, I still can’t resist ordering sweet and sour pork every single time I dine in a Chinese restaurant.

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Regarding the dish, please don’t worry about the sauce being overly sour, because the sourness of the Chinkiang (or Zhenjiang) vinegar will be nicely balanced by the sweetness of sugar to become the yummiest sauce ever. Just prepare yourself a bowl of rice to have with it and you’re so good to go. I made this for my family and fingers crossed that they’ll like it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pork ribs, each cut into 3 pieces
    • Marinade:
      • 2 tbsp corn flour
      • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
      • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 small ginger piece, cut into thin slices
  • 4 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
  • 2 shallots, cut into thin slices
  • 1 large onion (or 2 small onions), cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2  tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) Chinkiang  vinegar  
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 1 rock sugar (but if you don’t have it, use 4 tbsp raw sugar instead)
  • some roasted white sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Wash the spare ribs under running water, drain and dry well with kitchen towel.
  2. Cut each spare rib into 3 sections
  3. Marinade the spare ribs with corn flour, light soy sauce and white pepper for at least an hour.  
  4. Heat your pan with medium high heat. Add in spare ribs, cook each side for 2 mins until golden brown.
  5. Add in gingers, garlic, and shallots, stir well and sauté until they become fragrant.
  6. Add Shaoxing cooking wine, dark soy sauce, and sugar, stir well.
  7. Add Chinkiang vinegar, water, and sugar, stir well.
  8. Bring to boil, braise over low heat for 30-45 mins until ribs become tender and sauce thickens.
  9. When served, sprinkle roasted white sesame seeds on top.
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C for Celebrate – Flourless Mocha Pistachio Cookies




Christmas is just around the corner, and it means BAKERS GOTTA BAKE. Therefore, the upcoming posts are going to be Christmas-themed. These flourless Pistachio Chocolate Cookies are possibly the easiest baked goods that you can give to bribe your friends and family *smirk* . They cannot be simpler to make. Also, there’s something about pistachio that makes these cookies look extra festive. The pistachio crumbs are like sparkles; just a small amount of them already gives the cookies a vibrant character and another layer of luxury.

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I made these cookies for a party with a newly met friend who’s also crazy about baking (we literally forgot to have lunch that entire afternoon). She’s very passionate about vegan baking and feel free to check her works out here . I am not sure if you can relate, but It felt amazing to me to work with another baker in my kitchen; when we baked, we understood each other’s mind pretty well and fast that things were finished in no time. Looking back, I realise how many precious friendships have developed and been improved due to my fervour for baking and food in general. How funny things work huh?

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Back to the star of this post. This recipe is adapted from the chocolate crinkle cookies by Anna Olson.  As always, I decreased the cookies’ sweetness to suit the taste of my friends and family. And I also added coffee and coffee liqueur as the favour booster. In my opinion, these cookies taste best when freshly taken out from the oven, as the chocolate would literally melt in your mouth. However, if you intend to pack them nicely for others, it’s alright, because when they’re cooled, they’d simply turn to some fudge-like cookies that are equally addictive. Make these cookies. Make people around you happy.

: )

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Ingredients:

Make 24 cookies (around 25g per cookie)

  • 270 g 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 whole eggs + one egg yolk at room temperature
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp coffee liqueur (or vanilla extract)  
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder, ground, melted in 2 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup (130 g) icing sugar, plus extra for rolling cookies
  • ½ cup (60 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp (7 g) cornstarch
  • ½ tsp (2.5 g) salt
  • 50g pistachio, chopped

Instructions:

(adapted from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJmewcEnlJY):

Baking directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 ºF (190 ºC). Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a saucepan filled with an inch of barely simmering water, stirring gently until melted. Set aside.

3. With electric beaters or in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the eggs with the granulated sugar, coffee liqueur, coffee mixture and milk  until frothy and light, about 3 minutes (it doesn’t have to hold a “ribbon”). Whisk in the melted chocolate.

4. Sift in the icing sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt and stir in by hand until well combined. The batter may seem very soft at first, but just give it a minute – it will tighten up.

5. Place some icing sugar in a shallow dish. Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop the batter and drop it directly into the icing sugar (I measured each cookie as 25g and it’s a good size), rolling to coat each scoop fully. Arrange these on the prepared baking trays, leaving 1 ½-inches (4 cm) between them. Gently press each cookie flat with the palm of your hand. Press pistachio crumbs onto the cookies. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (do not overbake) and cool the cookies on the tray just until they can be lifted off (1-2 minutes) then cool on a rack.

Yum




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