Thursday, November 8, 2012


EASY POLVORON RECIPE

polvorón (From polvo, the Spanish word for dustCebuano: polboron; Tagalogpulburon) is a type of heavy, soft and very crumbly Spanish shortbread made of floursugarmilk, and nuts. They are produced mostly in Andalusia, where there are about 70 factories in that are part of a syndicate that produces polvorones and mantecados.[1] Under the name mantecados, these sweets are a traditional preparation of other areas of the Iberian Peninsula as well.[2]
Polvorones are popular in all Spain and ex-Spanish colonies in Latin America, as well as the Philippines, during the Christmasperiod. Traditionally they were prepared from September to January but are now available all year round. There are authors who claim a possible Levantine origin, based on a similar sweet known as ghurayba,[3] but the recipe is too simple and one of the traditional main ingredients in the polvorones is pig fat.   
                                                                                                            -- Wikipedia

Memories of my mom making this addicting "candy" ( for want of a better word) brings back  warm and loving childhood vignettes. Mom was a  creative homemaker and to this day , I still remember her special dishes and pastries . I even  inherited some of her classic recipes.  One of which is this polvoron.  Fortunately for us especially her grandchildren, she makes it a point to  come home for a vacation ( from California) every year. Dad passed away 12 years ago so its only Mom now.  She  is 72 and we thank God  for her good health and we cherish every moment spent with her.

Yesterday while in  a mall with mommy, we spotted a polvoron molder. So right then and there , I decided we would make a polvoron together.  What happened though was, I made the polvoron and  Mommy did the wrapping  in the green cellophane...lol.

Here is the recipe :
Ingredients :

4 cups of all purpose flour - apf ( sifted)
2 cups of powdered milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1  melted 225 g salted butter ( 1 block )
Optional for flavor :
a. toasted pinipig
b. cocoa ( if you want chocolate flavor0
c. ground nuts. etc

Method :
1. Toast the flour in a heated pan till light brown in color. Do not burn.
2. Turn of the heat and mix in the powdered milk with a wire whisk.
3. Add in the sugar till incorporated
4. Pour in the butter . You can add a tablespoon more if mixture is too dry.
5. Use a molder and wrap in a cellophane wrapper.

Notes:
1. Important to choose a favorite powdered milk. I use either Bear Brand or Nido
2. I use salted butter so I don't need to add salt anymore
3. You can eat the polvoron as it is or use a molder and  wrap in a cellophane. or japanese paper whichever is easiest for you.  The texture of the polvoron is a little crumbly but moldable.
4. You have to push the polvoron against the molder really tight so it comes out compact. 
5. Refrigerate after wrapping.
6 Best to eat the next day when it sets firm and hard.
7. But if your kids are like my "piggery", sometimes the polvoron doesn't get to the setting part and are wolfed down as soon as molded.....hahaha





...will add more pics later  :))













Monday, October 15, 2012


PASTILLAS DE LECHE RECIPE - The 'No Cook Easy Way"

Pastillas de leche....kids love them, kids at heart are also crazy-addicted to these sinful treats. They can be lovely desserts or sweet-in-between snacks. The best part is they are quite easy to do. 

Whenever we find ourselves in the mall which is every Sunday, our youngest  child Job more often than not will not let up until his dad buys him his favorite pastillas de leche.  His dad normally buys him a big box with 25 pieces and with the "help" of his sibs , finish it all of in under 2 minutes.. Not surprising, considering how small the pastillas are, rolled  inside   what looks like a bond paper wrapped in white japanese paper.

Last week, Job came up to me and requested me to make him pastillas de leche. So I went and googled the recipe plus checked out You Tube too.  Here's what I found in Panlasang Pinoy. Only 3 ingredients and its the "no cook easy way".


Ingredients :
2 cups Nido or Bear Brand powdered milk sifted
1 can 14 oz Alpine condensed milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Method :
1. Just mix them all together
2. The final mix will have a dough-like consistency
3. It is very sticky so I used two teaspoon  to roll the pastillas in the granulated sugar
4. Roll in a pre-cut parchment or bond paper


Pastillas de leche literally means candies with milk and the "lazy" version ( which I adapted from panlasang pinoy)  uses two kinds of milk - condensed and powdered and granulated sugar to roll them in.

A more complicated recipe uses boiled carabao milk before adding the powdered milk.





Saturday, October 13, 2012




My Exciting Journey into Chocolate Ganache, Covering 
with Fondant and "Edging"



In our decorating class a few weeks ago , there was a part where we were told to cover our chocolate-ganached-crumb-coated-cake with fondant. It is a one-shot deal. If you don't get it right the first time, you ruin your fondant and your set ganached cake  and you have to do both fondant and cake-ganaching all over again. To say that it was a nerve-wracking moment was an understatement. We were  only 7 students in Chef Joanna's class and it would be humiliating if Im the only student who can't get it right.  This was my Basic 101 class. Pressure, pressure...


I kept kneading my fondant trying to calm my fears and making sure the dimensions of my fondant is correct for the 8 inches  round cake I will cover. Then harnessing all my positive energy and fully committed, I dove in. I think I forgot to breathe for a while, just concentrating in making sure the whole cake is covered, acting  quickly to smooth out all the creases. A few seconds or so after the last wrinkle have been evened out, I realized I just covered my cake...Yay!!! I was grinning from ear to ear. Now with more confidence and a bit of a swagger ( hehe), I proceeded to the next step....sharp edges.

But Im getting ahead of myself...must discuss ganche( ing) first......:))





Part I :    Ganache ( ing)



I didn't even know that one can use Chocolate Ganache as crumb coat.  B.C.G. (Before Chocolate Ganache) I  crumb coat my cake with SMBC ( Swiss Meringue Buttercream) previous to covering them with fondant. Don't get me started with fondant. That would require another post hehe.

For now, lets just discuss my fascination with chocolate ganache. Thanks to Chef Joanna of Cuppy Puppy,  a whole new vista opened itself to me.  I use 3:1 ratio ( 2 parts semi sweet chocolate to 1 part cream). I heat up the cream via microwave and pour it over the chopped chocolate. I let it rest for a minute before it stir it all up. Once the chocolate and cream are incorporated , I let it cool at room temperature overnight.

The next day, if the ganache is not pliable, I heat it up for less than 10 seconds in the microwave. One is looking for a peanut butter consistency. One has to work real fast covering one's cake because ganache tends to set  fast in an air-conditioned environment and melts when the room is too hot.

Step 1:                
Divide your cake into three parts .

Step 2:                  
Glue your cake to your cake board with ganache (top side - reverse the cake so that   top is glued to the cake board)

Step 3 :
Put buttercream filling or ganache per level

Bench Scraper and Acetate - important tools in ganache(ing) with edges
Step 4:
Check that your cake is level with a cake leveler.

Step 5 :
Cover the cake with chocolate Ganache. Use a spatula and bench scraper. Work fast as ganache tends to set quickly. Position your bench scraper at 90 deg angle against your  cake board. Fill in the gaps.

Step 6 :
If a squared   cake, move your bench scraper from corner to center




Part III :    Making Sharp Edges with Fondant

Tools needed :

1.  Two kinds of fondant smoother
2.  Acetate
3. An air-conditioned room if in a humid tropical country like ours
4.  music
5. lots of patience and a positive attitude






As in anything in life, practice makes perfect. For a novice like me,  making edges via the fondant smoother and acetate is hard work indeed.  It seemed like a no-brainer when Chef Joanna demonstrated  the why's ,wherefores  and the hows. But as they say, its easier said than done. A day after our class, my arms , wrist and fingers are still sore from all the rubbing, smoothing that I did just to get the aspired for edges. It was frustrating,exhausting but exhilarating at the same time . You get an unexplained high for realizing that yes with a vast amount of patience initially, I can make edges like a pro too Yay!

For now though. my bench scraper-acetate-fondant smoother-patience are my best friends :)




























Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Banana Walnut Bread Recipe 

My mom loves banana and walnut so  I thought I'd bake her one today to make her smile. I just enjoy baking this bread because its something that satisfies my craving for sweets yet its healthier than most desserts I love. So I can eat it sans any guilty feelings hehe.

Ingredients :

500 grams wheat flour
500 grams all purpose flour + 1/4 cup
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup toasted walnut


Method :
* Preheat oven to 350 deg F
1.Cream butter in a mixer at no 6 speed using a paddle till light and fluffy.
2. Add sugar gradually till incorporated with the butter. 5 minutes max at speed 6
3.  Combine egg and vanilla and pour over the butter mixture one at a time.
4. Add the mashed banana. Mixture looks curdled. This is normal
5.Fold in the flour mixture
6. Then fold in the walnuts.
7. Bake for 40- 55 minutes
8. Let cool in the rack.
9. Cover in cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
10. Best to eat the next day


Tuesday, August 7, 2012



Home-made Cinnamon Roll


We just love cinnamon rolls! Don't you?  There was even a time that we keep buying boxes of these goodies at St. Cinnamon or at Cinnabon and the "piggery" just can't get enough of them. I just love gorging myself with these pastries with a cup of hot and steaming brewed coffee.

What is it about rain that makes us  crave and binge on food -- sweets most especially ( sigh ). Today I just got to bake cinnamon rolls..yum!

Fortunately,  I came across this recipe by Picky Palate.  I just love this blog.
Cinnamon Roll
Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water 115 degrees F.
8 tablespoons (1stick) unsalted melted butter
3/4 cup warmed whole milk or heavy cream 115 degrees F.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
4 cups Gold Medal all purpose flour plus more for dusting counters
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Cinnamon/Sugar Layer
Ingredients

8 tablespoons (1stick) unsalted softened butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for buttering pan)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (for sprinkling over buttered pan)
Frosting
8 ounces softened cream cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
2-3 cups powdered sugar

1. Place yeast and sugar into stand mixer then add warm water and gently stir. Let sit until yeast has doubled, about 10 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, mix melted butter and warm milk. 

3. Add butter and milk mixture to yeast mixture with the dough hook attachment on low speed then add sugar and egg mixing until combined. 

4. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add 2 cups of flour mixture to the mixer at a time scraping sides of bowl, continuing to add remaining flour until the dough starts to clean sides of mixing bowl. 

5. Kneed dough on low speed for 7 minutes. Place dough onto a floured counter and kneed dough until it does not stick to your hands. 

6. Place dough into a large bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a barely warm oven for 45-60 minutes, until dough doubles in size.

7. Remove dough from bowl and place onto a floured counter top. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough into an approximate 14×19 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch in thickness. Spread softened butter over entire surface of dough. 

8. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over buttered dough. Starting at long end of dough, carefully roll into a log shape. Using dental floss or knife, cut rolls into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

9. Take 4 tablespoons softened butter and spread over 13×17 inch jelly roll pan lined with a silpat liner or parchment paper then sprinkle with brown sugar. Place 4 rolls per row close to each other, about 1/2 inch apart. 

10. Place into a barely warm oven (turn oven to warm for 5 minutes, then turn off right before placing rolls in oven to let rise) for 45-60 minutes or until rolls have doubled in size. 

11. Remove rolls from oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 15-17 minutes or until rolls are golden brown and baked through. Set aside to cool slightly.

12.Place cream cheese and butter into your clean stand mixer bowl and beat until smooth and combined. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved. I prefer 2-3 cups. Spread cream cheese frosting over warm rolls. Serve warm or let cool and enjoy room temperature. If serving the next day refrigerate then warm in the microwave individual rolls for 10-15 seconds in the microwave.




Makes about 18 rolls











Wednesday, July 25, 2012



CHOCOFIEND CAKE

My brother in law loves his chocolates especially the dark kind.  So I thought  baking a bespoke chocolate cake would be our birthday gift for him.

I baked two kinds of chocolate cake from scratch using Martha Stewart's recipes.  For the base, I  made double-chocolate brownie cake and for the top layer, Martha's Ultimate Chocolate cake. Both recipes can be found also in this blog under  my Kit Kat Overdose Cake post.

For the filling,  I took inspiration from Paula Deen's chocolate mousse recipe. Its soft-icecream-like texture was a perfect foil to the two layers of different chocolate cakes.

The double chocolate brownie layer is dense and chewy providing a nice contrast to the soft and chocolatey Ultimate chocolate cake.


Here is the recipe :

A. Double Chocolate Brownie Recipe ( base) ---  see Kit Kat Overdose Cake post in this blog

B. Ultimate Chocolate Cake ( second and top layer) - see Kit Kat Overdose Cake post in this blog

C. Chocolate Ganache - see Kit Kat Overose Cake post in this blog

C. Chocolate Mouse Filling : 

Ingredients :


4 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup extra strong coffee
4 large eggs separated
1 cup sugar  + 1/2 cup
2 cups heavy cream

Method :

1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. When close to melting, add coffee and stir.
2. In a separate bowl, beat 3 egg yolks and 1 cup sugar. Mix well.
 Add to the chocolate mixture ( #1)
3.  Cook over low heat. Stir well till sugar is melted. Set aside and cool.
4. In a separate bowl, beat 4 egg white till stiff peaks form. Fold into the chocolate mixture.


Assembly :

1st layer - double chocolate brownie
2nd layer - chocolate mousse
3rd layer - ultimate chocolate

NOte : Pour the ( cooled ) chocolate ganache all over the cake and garnish with chocolate shavings.


Enjoy !



Thursday, July 19, 2012




Japanese Mango Shortcake Recipe

For a change from my usual chocolate posts, I thought I'd bake a mango cake today.

Inspired by my pretty niece Reg Dominguez whom I fondly call "Twiciapot" and who previously baked a delicious Japanese Strawberry Shortcake ( see  www.facebook.com/foodfiend under the album Delish Dish from Family and Friends ), I  searched the internet for a good recipe for the cake...and  found this delightful blog " La Fuji Mama" and her recipe for Japanese Strawberry Shortcake.
Another design for a Japanese Mango Shortcake


Since fresh mangoes were in season, I opted to use them instead of strawberries :))

Ingredients  for the cake :
4 large eggs- separate white from yolk
4.2 oz (120 grams) granulated sugar sifted once
3 tablespoons milk at room temp
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4.2 oz ( 14 Tablespoon) cake flour sifted 3x
1.2 oz ( 22 grams, 2.3 Tablespoon ) melted butter

Method :
1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F
2. Use and 8" pan
3. Add sugar to egg whites. Beat until stiff and glossy
4.Add egg yolks to the egg white mixture. Whisk till incorporated
5.Add milk, vanilla, flour ( in this order) to the batter and GENTLY fold them into the batter with a spatula.
6. Fold in melted butter til combined.
7. Pour  batter into prepared pan. Drop the pan  against
the counter 2 -3x to remove air bubbles.
8. Bake cake for 25-30 minutes till golden brown and cake
springs back when pressed lightly.

Ingredients for Stabilized Whip Cream
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
4 tsp cold water
1 cup cold heavy whip cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method :

A.1. Put cold water in a small sauce pan.
2. Sprinkle gelatin and let stand for 5 minutes.
3. Place sauce pan with gelatin mixture in low heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon till all gelatin dissolves.
4.Remove from heat and set aside

B.1 In a mixing bowl, combine whip cream, sugar and vanilla and beat till slightly thickened.
2.While beating , slowly, gradually pour the gelatin 
into the whip cream mixture. 
3. Whip at high speed till stiff.

Ingredients for Simple Syrup

1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar

Method :

In a saucepan, combine sugar and water. 
Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved.  
Remove from heat and cool.

Assemble :

1.Slice the cake into 2 layers.
2. Place sponge layer cut-side up and lightly 
brush the surface with the simple syrup.
3. Spread a thin layer of whip cream and 
arrange a layer of mangoes over the surface.

4. Spread an additional layer of whip cream



5. Do some rose swirls and decorate
 with mango dot cut outs and voila !

Wednesday, July 18, 2012





GOT-TO-BAKE REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUP-Like CAKE


Don't you just love Reese's peanut butter cup chocolate? Our piggery loves them so much they can finish a big bag among themselves in a few minutes. Sinful and delightful. Nothing like the combination of peanut butter encased in chocolate. The texture is just unique. We actually play with eat while eating it.  Prolonging the suspense by eating the chocolate part first then saving the peanut butter filling for last or vice versa.

Thanks to a wonderful blog "I Fine Cooking",  I was inspired to try baking my own version so I can surprise the "piggery".  Nothing quite like seeing their amazed expression when they see this baby.

Alright here's the recipe :


For the chocolate cake - you can use your own recipe or you can use Martha's like I do. Just see my Kit Kat Overload Cake post on this blog for the method and ingredients. By the way, I used an 8" pan for this recipe

For the Peanut Butter Filling :

I tried " I fine Cooking's" recipe and it was delicious and simple.


Ingredients :

1/2 cup powder graham cookies ( or if you have the
biscuit form just food process it or pound it with your mortar
and pestle till it turns into powder)
3/4 cup powdered sugar sifted
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup peanut butter

Method :
12 
1. Use your food processor and process everything till incorporated.
2.Filling should be firm and dry.
3.  Taste and determine if you like the sweetness. If per your standards you like it sweeter
simply add more powdered sugar and pulse again.
4. Oh , I added 1/2 tsp of salt to my filling. I find it brings out the sweetness of the mix better.
5. Press the mixture in an 8" pan and refrigerate for a couple of hour or until firm. 
Don't forget to put aluminum foil on your pan first so its easy to take out once firm.
Note : You can double or triple the recipe if you find it not enough. I doubled mine.

For the chocolate ganache :

Ingredients :

1 1/3 cup heavy cream or whip cream
1 1/2 pack Nestle TollHouse semi sweet choco chips
4 tablespoons of butter

Method:
1. Microwave whip cream and butter on high for 1 minute.
2. Pour the choco chips on  whip cream-butter mixture. Let the chips sink into the mixture for about 15-20 seconds then start stirring.
3. Set aside and let cool.
To assemble :

1. Cut the chocolate cake into two layers.

             1st layer - chocolate cake
             2nd layer - peanut butter filling
             3rd layer - chocolate cake

2. Put the assembled cake in a  9 inch pan or  ( what I did) an 8 " Tescomma Silicon mould. Do not forget though to line it with aluminum foil before pouring in the chocolate ganache. This will make your life easier.  It can be quite difficult to get the cake out of the mould without the foil.



3. Pour the ganache all over the assembled cake in the silicon mould.

4. Put in the refrigerator for an hour t then to the freezer for an hour to set.

5. With the help of the aluminum foil, you can now pull out the whole cake from the mold with ease.


6. Slice and enjoy :)))




















Friday, July 6, 2012



SHRIMP-TOMATO-BASIL-FETA PASTA SALAD


I just love pasta and salad and to see a recipe in a food magazine for a dish that is both pasta and a salad was such a welcome sight that I decided to include it in our Sunday Dinner with my wonderful parents-in-law.

In our family when you say pasta, you normally mean either a regular beef lasagna, a lasagna roll over special or a Tuna Pesto Pasta.

The redness of the tomato versus the fresh green of the basil combined with the succulent-looking meat of the shrimp and the  white color of the pasta and feta, made for a very attractive dish.

So when I served this new pasta, the "piggery" immediately took notice and dived into it even before I expounded on the ingredients or to tell what its name was. Oh well, the important thing is that they liked it. 

There was a bit of trepidation on my part because by my "piggery's" standard,  I expect that they would think that it was a bland dish. These kids of ours are used to my rich red beefy sauce of the lasagna.  But I guessed they liked it ,  because it vanished from the serving plate quite quickly.

Perfect to pair with buffalo wings with Bleu cheese dressing :))


Ingredients :
500 grams linguine pasta
4 cups water
dash of salt
canola oil

lots of garlic
sliced onions
1/4 cup olive oil
cherry tomatoes or diced red tomatoes
fresh basil leaves
1 cup shrimp or prawns shelled and deveined
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of white wine
chili flakes ( optional)

1. Cook the pasta per package directions.  Add salt and canola oil upon boiling. DO NOT wash in cold water.  Save some of the pasta water for later.

2. In a separate pan, sauté the shrimp/prawn in olive oil till pink. Take the shrimp/prawn off the pan and set aside. Saute garlic and onion till translucent. Add cherry tomatoes and cook till it crack.

3.  Add the white wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Reduce.

4. Toss in the pasta. If a little dry, add some pasta water. Salt and pepper to taste. 

5. Add chili flakes. Turn off the heat.

6. Garnish with the shrimps/prawns, basil leaves and crumbled feta cheese.

7. Drizzle with olive oil  and chili flakes again before serving

Bon Apetito <3 <3