Mocha Roll

Today is an extraordinary day… two of my childhood best buds came over for lunch – that’s not unusual at all.  What is special today, however, is the fact that I am NOT cooking!!!!!  It is one of those rare times when someone volunteered to cook for me!!!!!!!  And I really, really appreciate it!

Of course I could not be “ungrateful” and contribute nothing to the feast, so I took the opportunity to bake a cake roll with my “new” electric oven…

Since I had a lot of time, I cooked custard for the filling too… and while I was at it, I experimented with a different buttercream – a more stable one, as suggested by a friend of mine.  These days, because of the heat and humidity, my buttercream always, always melt!  So I wanted to see if her secret (not so secret anymore I guess) technique would work wonders for me!

Basically, to stabilize my buttercream, she said, I had to use a bit of Crisco (butter flavored) with the butter.  To be honest, when I heard this, I was hesitant because I have always felt an unpleasant mouth-feel when using Crisco.  But my friend said that I could use about 1 tablespoon of Crisco for every half cup of butter and it would not be noticeable at all!  So, what the hey, it was a day for experimenting…

Well, guess what?  it worked!  and I did not notice any weird mouthfeel at all!!!!

 

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Ginataang Langka at Mais

Ginataan means cooked in coconut (milk or cream).  It could be savory or sweet.  This is a sweet one.  I previously posted one for Ginataang Mais at Sago, this time it is langka (jackfruit) and mais (corn), but it still has sago and bilo-bilo, which are sticky rice balls…

4 cups coconut milk
1/3 to 1/2 cup muscovado, or to taste
a lot of langka (jackfruit), sliced in bite-sized pieces
1-1/2 cups shredded sweet corn (canned is okay)
about 20 pieces bilo-bilo (sticky rice balls)
1 cup thick coconut cream
1/2 to 1 cup cooked sago (tapioca)

Mix coconut milk and sugar together in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium fire. When the mixture boils, add the langka (jackfruit) and reduce the heat to low-medium, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes, then add the corn kernels and bilo bilo. Cook until the bilo bilo float (this means they are cooked already). Add the coconut cream and sago. Let simmer a few minutes. Adjust sweetness, if desired. Serve hot.

I think I like the ginataan with langka best of all… if only langka was not expensive!!!!!

 

Bibingka!

This is not the first time I made bibingka… truth is, I’ve been experimenting on and off for years.  The first relatively successful one did not look all that nice but it was ok.  This latest experiment is the most successful one, I think (a slightly different recipe from before).

Bibingka is a local “cake” made from rice flour.  I’ve seen many recipes for bibingka without using rice flour and to me this is plain cheating!  It is not bibingka if it is not made from rice flour!  Now, there are many kinds of bibingka – the fluffy kind (which is the kind this one is), a heavier pudding-like concoction, another kind made from cassava… it seems that there are as many kinds of bibingka as there are provinces or regions in the country!!!

The other “secret” to bibingka is the banana leaf lining.  For some reason, it does not quite taste like bibingka unless its bottom is covered in banana leaf!

There are special bibingka “ovens” where several can be cooked, in a “tower” with “drawers” where the bibingka pan is placed.  It is difficult to describe but it is the best I can do.  Google has many images of bibingka ovens for those who want to get a visual picture.

My version of bibingka is the one that I personally like.  I don’t know if it is any one of the variants of any region but what I can say with honesty is that the inspiration for it is the bibingka from Via Mare Cafe.  I “upgraded” my version by including real coconut flakes in the batter. The recipe also has cake flour because I found that the bibingka has a softer bounce to it with cake flour in the mix.

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

tender/moist coconut flakes, about 1/2 cup

sliced kesong puti (local white cheese made from carabao milk)
1 salted egg, coarsely chopped

butter or margarine to serve (margarine is preferred locally)

grated coconut to serve

Preheat oven to 435 to 450F. Prepare a 2 7-inch bibingka pans by buttering the pan, fitting a banana leaf on the bottom of the pan and buttering the banana leaf.  In my case, I used 1 bibingka pan and 6 large muffin tins to make mini-bibingka.

Note – my bibingka is baked in my convection oven, with the fan on, because I will not buy a bibingka oven!!!

Stir together dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in coconut flakes (or actual coconut strips but make sure that actual coconut strips have been patted dry).

Pour into the prepared pans, top with kesong puti slices and chopped salted egg pieces.

Bake 20-25 minutes for the big pan and about 15 minutes for the muffin tins.

Brush with melted butter straight from the oven.

Serve piping hot with more butter and grated coconut on the side.

Buko-Macapuno Muffins

I have a basic, standard muffin recipe but I decided I was ready to try another recipe.  The one that caught my fancy was the “Anything but Basic Muffin Recipe” by Broma Bakery.  There’s many variants of the muffin but I wanted to make a variant with a local flair – hence this Buko (coconut) Macapuno (mutant coconut!) muffin.

Mix dry ingredients together –

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix wet ingredients together

2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup melted butter-flavored Crisco (because I discovered too late that I ran out of butter!)
3/4 cup coconut milk (originally buttermilk)
1 teaspoon each vanilla and coconut extract

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet; mixing only until just combined.

Fold in 2/3 cup coconut flakes (the moist, tender kind, not desiccated).

Scoop into muffin tins lined with paper cups (I got 6 large muffins and 8 mini-muffins).   Spoon macapuno (I used chunky sweetened macapuno that came in a bottle) on the top.

Bake in a preheated 375F oven (I did not follow the oven instructions!).  For the large muffins, bake about 25 minutes.  For the mini-muffins, bake about 15 minutes.

We shared the muffins with friends and the consensus is – IT’S GOOD!!!!

Coconut-Rum Cupcakes with Ube Halaya Centers and Ube-Coconut Buttercream

Coconut is never my first choice when thinking of baking cupcakes.  But I had leftover coconut cream in the fridge, as well as coconut flakes… so for hubby friend’s birthday, coconut cupcakes it is.  And, since I had leftover ube halaya, the cupcakes got an ube halaya center and ube-coconut buttercream on top!

Of course I did not have a coconut cupcake recipe on hand!  Thank goodness there’s a number of them on the internet.  I picked one from Brown-eyed Baker.  As usual, I changed a few things…

my adaptation –

1-1/4 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
1/2 cup butter (I used butter flavored Crisco)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut cream (well-stirred)
2 tablespoons Malibu coconut rum

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place paper cups in cupcake tins.

Stir flour, baking powder, salt and coconut flakes together (I did not process the coconut flakes); set aside.

Beat Crisco and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat to mix well.  Add vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the coconut cream and coconut rum.

Scoop mixture into the paper cups.  Place a small teaspoon of ube halaya in the center of the batter.  Bake for about 18-22 minutes; rotate pan midway.

When the cupcakes have cooled.  Frost as desired.  I used ube-coconut buttercream for mine.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup ube halaya
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut cream (well stirred)

For the frosting – Beat butter and halaya until well combined. Gradually add powdered sugar (adjust according to personal taste). Add coconut cream by tablespoons, beating well after each addition.

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe for these cookies came from one of my favorite cookbook authors/chefs – Dorie Greenspan!  My brother recently got me a copy of Dorie’s Cookies and of course I just had to try the peanut butter (that being my favorite cookie flavor and all…)

I followed the recipe faithfully, even using Skippy which was the recommended brand! But I swapped the chopped peanuts with chocolate chip cookies… (and halved the recipe while I was at it)

1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup Skippy smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking powder, and nutmeg; set aside.

Beat peanut butter, butter and salt together until very smooth.  Add the sugars, continue beating.  Add the egg and beat some more.

Stir in the flour mixture then fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, place dough mounds onto parchment or silicone lined cookie sheets.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes or so; or until the cookie edges are set.

We loved the cookies!!!!! And again, the kid praised me for being the best in the kitchen!

The original recipe can be found here.

Fruitcake Cookies

This is another recipe from Mrs. Fields; but not from the same book as the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (the post before this one).

And, because we are not exactly fruitcake lovers, I halved the recipe!

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup molasses
1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1-1/2 cups mixed fruit (glazed and dried)

Sift the dry ingredients together; set aside.

Beat butter, brown sugar and molasses together; add brandy, vanilla and egg. Stir in the dry ingredients (do not overmix!) then fold in the mixed fruit.

Drop by tablespoons onto greaseproof-paper-lined cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 12 to 18 minutes or until the cookie edges are light brown.  Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes after removing from the oven; then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

I was pleasantly surprised when the kid ate one and declared it delicious!  You see, she does not like mixed fruit of any kind!!!

 

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s good news… and there’s bad news…

The good news is that the kid loved the cookies.

The bad?  The kid was disappointed because the recipe for these cookies came from someone else.  She has this idea that I am the world’s greatest cook and baker (let’s see up to when that lasts… but I am absolutely enjoying it in the meantime!)

Anyway, these cookies were BFF’s request.  And the original recipe is from Mrs. Fields.  Although technically I changed it since I did not like raisins (and BFF did not like it either!) so it got swapped out for chocolate chips (dark mini chips and bittersweet chips).  I also used only 1 kind of sugar (raw or washed sugar that is available locally) and baked the cookies at 325F instead of the original 300F.

1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter (1 225g bar); softened
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Eggs

2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking oats

1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes?)

Add honey, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.

Sift in the flour, soda, salt and oats. Don’t over-mix.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop mounds of cookie dough on to greaseproof-lined cookie sheets (I used a small cookie scoop); lightly press to flatten slightly. Bake about 15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Do not over-bake!

Cool on cooling racks.

I made about 5 dozen (approx. 1-inch) cookies.

Nevertheless, the kid loved the cookies and asked that I make some more!

Ube, Ube, More Ube!

Who knows if ube is uniquely or exclusively a Filipino food.  What I do know is that it has traditionally been considered as Filipino.  And we grew up with it!  Ube jam, ube cake, simple boiled ube with melted butter… ube ice cream… ube kakanin… there are even ube dishes that are savory!

More importantly, I don’t know anyone (consider though that my world is small!) who does not like ube!  I do know that most of my friends love it… and they love it even more when I make ube cake.

This particular one, however, is not the usual ube chiffon cake that I make.  For friend J’s birthday, I decided to go for a heavier cake – an ube pound cake, filled with ube halaya, and garnished with ube rossettes topped with macapuno balls.

It was a big hit and everybody loved it!

 

Pineapple Tarts for CNY

Yes, yes, I know.  I need to practice more to make the tart shells even and nice…

But I am happy to say that after several attempts, I finally found a tart shell/crust recipe that hubby (and the kid) likes!  The only problem?  It is a fragile one, and does not keep well!

More than that, I found a recipe for the pineapple filling that used weight!  Most of the recipes I found specified the number of pineapples to use and my problem with that is the varying sizes of pineapples!!!!

The recipe is from Bake for Happy Kids.  I scaled down the recipe because I was intending to make only a dozen or two at most.  Also, I grated the pineapple instead of using the food processor (the filling was very chunky, but as it turns out, hubby preferred it!).

Happy Chinese New Year (of the Earth Piggy)!