Pumpkin Buns

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I only started watching Korean drama last month.  It was more like “companionship tv-watching”.  I watch it to keep my daily guests company.

There’s this particular series where a girl works for a grouchy baker who makes wonderful pumpkin bread.  After a few episodes, I felt like I needed to get my hands on some pumpkin bread!  And you know me.  Won’t occur to me to go out and search for pumpkin bread.  Instead I searched for pumpkins!

My foray into pumpkins ended about 20 years when I broke 2 knives trying to cut open an acorn squash.  Of course those were cheap knives.  But, you know, these days the grocery stores sell them in pieces.  It’s much easier to cut them when they are already cut open.  So I just peel it and cut it into smallish cubes just so that it will steam up faster.  It’s ready when it crumbles under my potato masher.  Then add it into my bread dough.  It’s not difficult.  Don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier.  Now I’m making up for lost time.

Oh ya, this is a no-knead bread recipe.

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Before baking

 

Butter Bomb Pumpkin Buns (updated)

300g fresh pumpkin (steamed and mashed)

1 cup water

1 tsp instant yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

about  3.5 cups plain flour

about 3 tbsp soft butter or oil

Topping: little bits of butter and sugar

extra butter to oil your hands

In a large mixing bowl, put in water, sugar, salt, yeast, mashed pumpkin.  Using your hands, mix in enough flour to get a soft and slighty tacky dough.  Next, add in the butter/oil and mix until the dough is slighty just about to get sticky.  Stop right there.  You should have a soft, pillowy dough now.  Cover and leave it in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Divide into 15 pieces and roll into smooth balls and place on well-buttered cookie sheet.  If your dough is sticky, please don’t add more flour. Just Oil your hands with butter. 😋Using your thumb, make thumbprints on each dough.  Fill up the thumbprints with a little knob of butter and sugar.  Leave it to proof for another 15 to 30 min, depending on how warm your place is (my room temperature is about 29c).  Mine was almost ready to go when I was done filling up my thumbprints with butter and sugar.

No need to preheat the oven.  Bake at about 160c for about 20 min.

Please let it cool a bit before eating.  Although I can’t imagine why, it’s better when it’s not burning hot.

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Durian Smoothie

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Recently we happened upon a stall selling durian smoothie in Bangkok. I tell you, it’s BRILLIANT. SIMPLY BRILLIANT.

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All you need is durian (remove the seeds), plenty of ice cubes, a bit of condensed milk to sweeten it, and a little water or milk for blending.

You gotta try it.

BRILLIANT.

Browned Butter Banana Bake

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Sorry, I just had to alliterate that.  It’s actually just banana muffin. heheh.

This is the muffin which I bake for my mom almost every week.  There are variations, of course.  I always believe in variety.  Mostly I try to keep it as natural as possible.  That means no coloring, no artificial flavoring etc.  And I almost always sneak in some oats and/or flax seed meal.

It’s a quick, one pot, one whisk recipe.  Minimal washing.  Probably about 30 min from start to finish.  Great for those who need muffins in a hurry.  Like for when you have a muffin emergency.  My Coz said there’s no such thing as a muffin emergency.  Oh, my dear Coz, sometimes you just need cake.

Browned Butter Banana Bake (makes about 10 )

about 125g or 1 stick butter

less than 1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed bananas (just mash it coarsely with the whisk)

1/2 tsp instant coffee (in lieu of artifical vanilla essence)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup instant oatmeal

1/4 cup flax seed meal

less than 1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup nuts

1/2 chocolate chips

In a pot, melt the butter until slightly brown.  Take it off the heat.  Add in the bananas and mash it coarsely with a whisk.   Add in the sugar and eggs.  Mix it with the whisk.  Then add in the rest of the ingredients except chocolate chips. Make sure the batter is cool before adding choc chips.

Line muffin pan with paper cases.  It saves on washing.

Bake at 350F or about 180c for about 20 min.

 

30 min to cake.  About same time as going to the stores to get artificially-flavored cake.  I think it’s a good deal.

Carrot Cupcakes

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I like frosting more than most of my peers. But at the same time I always felt that frosting is used to cover up dry, bland cake. If a cake is good enough, it should be able to stand alone.  For example, brownies. If a brownie is dense, chewy, chocolatey, then frosting it is like *adding legs to a drawing of a snake.

What I am trying to say is that my carrot cake does not need any frosting coz it is yummy on its own.  8D

This is an easy recipe.  Except the grating of carrot part coz I hand grated them on an ancient grater.  I didn’t enjoy that part.  But the eating part, definitely!  It’s moist, tender, and not overly sweet.

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Carrot Cupcakes (makes about 15 cupcakes)

225 g melted butter or 225 ml oil

3 large eggs

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp rum essence

1.5 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2  1/4 tsp baking powder

9 oz grated carrot (about 2 medium size)

1 cup walnut bits

Mix everything together.

Heat up oven to 180c.  Bake in muffin cups for about 20 min.

 

* A Chinese story about a kid who after drawing a snake decided to add on some legs coz he didn’t know what else to draw.

 

Coffee Butter Cookies

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Sometimes you just want to eat your coffee.

This is a variation of my butter cookie recipe.  I threw in a small handful of chocolate chips coz coffee and chocolate go together.  But not too much as this a a coffee cookie, not chocolate chips cookie.

Coffee Butter Cookies

250 g butter (softened)

250 g sugar

2 Tbsp desiccated coconut

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

3 Tbsp instant coffee granules

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

pinch of salt

handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Cream butter and sugar until well mixed.  Add in everything.  Mix well.  Dough should not be sticky.  If it sticks to your hands, add in a bit more flour.

Chill dough for at least half an hour.  Scoop teaspoonfuls on a lined cookie sheet.Press lightly at the top to flatten them a bit.

Bake in a 180C oven for about 15 min.  Turn off the oven and let it dry out for another 15 min.  This makes it more crunchy.  It’s optional of course.

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I have collated a list of FAQs that people have asked me.  Hope it helps.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where do I buy softened butter?

Just leave it on the counter top for a little while and it should soften.

2. I chilled my dough like you said and now it’s all hard!  What do I do?

Just leave it on the counter top for a little while and it should soften.

3. My cup is bigger/smaller than yours.  How?

I use a standard measuring cup.  Please get one from the baking shop.

4. Must I dissolve the instant coffee in water first?

No.

5. Must I use the electric mixer to cream my butter and sugar until light and fluffy?

This step is not necessary for cookies.  I just use a wooden spoon and whisk the butter and sugar till well mixed.

6. Can I freeze the dough?

Yes.

7. Why are you so inconsistent? You use cups to measure flour and grams for measuring sugar and butter??

Because it’s faster and less messy for me.  Butter is pre-measured in grams; sugar I usually eyeball using a Tbsp (usually 25g per Tbsp); measuring so much flour in cups is less messy than on a kitchen scale.

8. Can don’t chill the dough?  So troublesome!

Yes.  It’ll still work.  But it probably won’t taste like mine.

9. Your blog is always about baking/chocolate/coconut/sweet potatoes/muffins/cookies.  Don’t you know/make anything else, like real food?

Yes.  But I LOVE baking/chocolate/coconut/sweet potatoes/muffins/cookies.

10. How do you invent/come up with recipes?

I am not afraid to substitute and experiment.  I encourage you to do the same. *wink

 

 

 

Ondeh Ondeh

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Be careful when you eat this.  Firstly, when you bite into it, it may squirt sugar syrup at others. Secondly, you can never stop at one.  We all love it.  It’s like mochi, covered with grated coconut on the outside and stuffed with coconuty brown sugar.  SO good!  They are made smaller than a ping pong ball because they need to be bite-size.  So that you can pop the whole thing into your mouth.

 

 

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Grated Coconut 

1/2 fresh,skinned coconut, grated

pinch of salt

Mix salt into the grated coconut and steamed on a plate for about 5 min. Put aside.

Ondeh Ondeh (makes about 26)

80 g boiled sweet potato

80 g glutinous rice flour

50 g water (adjust accordingly)

1/2 blk gula melaka (cut into small chunks).

Mash sweet potato and then mix the flour in.  The amount of water given is just an estimate.  Just add in enough to form like play dough consistency.

Divide into 26 pieces.  Flatten and fill with gula melaka.  Close and roll into balls.

Prepare a pot of boiling water.  Put in the ondeh ondeh.  They are done when they float. Then just fish up the floaters and put them straight onto the plate of grated coconut.

Best to let them cool before eating.

 

 

 

 

Felt Donuts

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My kids and I made lots of donuts recently.  They were very high in fiber but not a single one was edible 😉

If you are interested in a “high fibre diet” as well, this is how we made them:

Ingredients:

Brown felt for donuts, colored felt for frosting, buttons for eyes, polyester stuffing, needles, thread, pins.

“Cooking” time: about 2 hours (excluding cutting time)

Method:

Cut 2 donut rings and a piece for frosting.  Sew or glue on eyes and mouth.

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Stitch or glue the frosting piece onto one piece of brown felt, as shown in the pic. Use either running stitches or blanket stitches.

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If you had chosen to sew instead of glue, now sew the outer rim of the frosting, as shown in the pic.

 

Get the 2nd piece of brown felt and place it underneath. Stitch the inner rim of the 2 pieces of brown felt together, as shown in the pic. Use either blanket stitches or overcasting stitch.

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Now, stitch the outer rim of the donut, as shown in pic.  Donut (pun intended heheh) sew it all the way.  Leave a gap about 1″ for stuffing.   Stuff it well coz we like fat donuts.  Then sew up the gap. Glue felt sprinkles on them. Done!

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Just a heads up on sewing with children, things to watch out for apart from poking themselves.  The problems I encounter mostly involve the thread and needle.  One, they find it challenging to tie knots, be it at the start or at the end.  Two, the thread tends to slip out of the needle because when they pull the needle out of the fabric when sewing, they don’t know when to stop pulling.  You can either make it double strand for them or tie simple knot at the needle’s eye.  Three, the thread tends to get tangled up during sewing if they use too long a piece.  Usually I would tell them to get thread that is about the length of their arm.  Also, use higher quality thread.  I feel that cheap thread tends to get tangled easily, even for me.

Happy sewing!