Monday, June 24, 2013

Nigella's Walnut Brownies

Walnut Brownies

      For a few months, I kept my baking bug at bay- I couldn't bake anything, not that I didn't want to- it seemed that I lost my "mojo". Things were not going well at work, there were simply too much of paperwork and assignments, so I stopped baking almost- totally. That  explains the lack of posts in my blog. Personally, I loved baking too much that I despise my paperwork and assignments, as they made me lost my concentration in life ;( . I have some enquiries on baking brownies and friends at work place have been asking for them, but I told them that I lost my mood in baking -well, almost.
    Eventually, last Thursday morning, at  3.00 in the morning precisely, I woke up early just to  bake these brownies, not for friends at work but for another set of "friends" as we had a potluck party on Thursday afternoon. I wanted to bake a simple no-fuss butter cake but I ended up baking these brownies. These brownies brought back my " mojo" as I had been bugged by paperwork for nearly three months. As for my friends at work, I've baked a pan of brownies on the next day - but that would be another great story for my next post.
These brownies are enough for more than 15 persons during the party.

Brownies, brownies
 Well, as you could see I had Nigella's brownies recipe from "How To Be A Domestic Goddess" on my mind. So my intention here, is to share this recipe, so that friends at my work place can stop and browse on my blog and just cut, paste and print this recipe. The truth is, I've tweaked this recipe here and there, but I'll give you the complete original recipe from Ms Lawson and do some notes on my version. Bake them and you will have the "mojo" to bake again, just like me.

Here goes the recipe;


1 2/3 cups soft unsalted butter ( I used Beurre Demi-Sel Lescure - semi-salted  French butter from the Lescure brand)
* it was unitentionally- I thought I have used unsalted butter
13 ounces  best bittersweet chocolate ( I used 100g / 3.5 oz Swiss Frey Noir Authentique extra dark bittersweet chocolate  +  1 whole bar of bittersweet Hershey's baking chocolate)
6 large eggs
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups caster sugar ( I used 1 2/3 cups soft brown sugar)
1 1/2 cups all- purpose flour ( 1 used 1 1/3 cups plain flour) -*sifted twice
1 tsp salt ( I omitted this)
1 1/3 cups chopped walnuts ( I used 1/2 cup of walnuts - I roasted them first, in the oven for 7-8 mins)
Pan measuring approximately 13 X 9 X 2 1/2 inches


1) Preheat the oven to 120 C. (mine is electric conventional oven)
     * Nigella - preheat the oven to 350 F.
2) Line your brownie pan
3) Melt the butter and chocolate. Double boil them . (Put a heat-proof bowl on top of  hot water).
4) In a big baking bowl, beat the eggs with vanilla and sugar.
5) Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt (if any).
* If  you have used semi-salted butter or salted buter - please omit salt in the recipe.

6) When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool for a moment.  Pour the chocolate mixture into  the baking bowl which contains eggs and sugar.
7) Pour in  flour and walnuts. Beat until the mixture comes out smoothly and then scrape out of the baking bowl into the lined pan.
8) Bake for about 25 mins or less, depending on your oven. Check if it's ready, by inserting a skewer into the brownies, if it comes out clean, then, your brownies are ready.

Some notes from Nigella Lawson, the baking goddess, I quote ;

" When it's ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle still dark and dense and gooey. And even with such a big batch you do need to keep alert, keep checking: the difference between gungy brownies and dry brownies is only a few minutes; remember that they will continue to cook as they cool. # Makes a maximum of 48 "

No fancy props, as I took this picture at 5.00 in the morning

From the book "How To Be A Domestic Goddess"
Well, on a final note, I am smitten by Ms Nigella Lawson, the  Kitchen Goddess, as she gives a different meaning of being in a kitchen and still looking good, but I am definitely not a Domestic Goddess. (chuckles). Have a  happy Monday and may baking rules your heart ;)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Big-sized macarons @ Coffee Planet, Shah Alam

Massive macarons

The  coffee shop in Section 13, Shah Alam.

 Sometime in April this year, I happened to crave on iced coffee. Since there's a coffee joint in Shah Alam aptly named Coffee Planet, I went to have a nice glass of iced coffee. Eventually, I saw some big-sized macarons lined up delicately in the covered dessert counter. Hence, I've ordered these two big macarons and I was exasperated to finish even half of one mac. Next time, I should only order one. hehee. These macarons are delicious and  the butter cream filling was even nice. Not overly sweet and we could just lick off the buttercream. From my readings I've found that these jewels are baked by Tomoko of  Caramel Factory . She is actually a Japanese lady married to a Malaysian and conducts baking classes in her baking school, right here in Section 13, Shah Alam. No, I don't know her personally but I read about her in one of the Malaysian cooking magazines recently. I thought of joining her macaron classes, but the dates always clash with my commitments. In fact, it also happened that I past her baking school a few months ago, and thought of checking her store, unfortunately it was closed at that time. But, never mind- some other time I might be lucky, perhaps.

   All right, just another short entry for today. Have a nice day, indeed ;)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

French Macarons

French Macarons

I've been super duper busy lately, until there's no time to blog anymore. I was lethargic most of the time and couldn't divide my time between work commitments and house chores. That's why this blog has been abandoned for three months. When I started this blog four years ago, I thought that  this space would become my "place", where I could share my baking inventions and thoughts on life. However, it didn't go as planned. Along the years, I've seen myself being overwhelmed by work commitments and pressures. No more simplicities in life for me, and that made me very unhappy. Last few years,  whenever I had work pressures or things didn't go well in my personal life, I used to spend time doing a little bit of gardening  or bake something in the morning. But nowadays, I hardly got the luxury to spend time for myself. It's always doing bits of everything for someone else, without being acknowleged for the things I do.

      However, a few days ago, my friend Nuyui  of cake2u,  called me for a recipe and she asked me of my absence of blogging these few months. And that got me thinking ;). Before fb, instagram and twitter, blogging used to be my therapeutic space. It was definitely my first love, where I could "blabber" and share my thoughts, doing inventions of cupcakes and nobody bothers to read anything on it. But to do that- it's such a luxury nowadays. Life is full of surprises and it doesn't help thinking that our own happiness would be sacrifised just to make the others happy. Hmmm..;(

    Well, enough of blabbering- back to this post. These macarons- I didn't bake them. I bought them in Jaya Grocer and they costed me RM29.90 for 12 plumpy "petit"  pieces. The taste? Wow, it's something different from the usual Malaysian macarons I bought in various cafes or chocolates' store. These macarons are rightfully plumpy, crunchy, chewy and adictive at the same time. I've tasted the framboise and pistachio flavours and they are simply out of the world. The sweetness is of the right balance and their textures are a bit smooth as well. I could even taste the richness of almond meal. For RM29.90, I would say these jewels are worth buying. Mind you, they came all the way from La France. They tasted like almond biscuits and not like some fancy overly sweet egg white and almond meal creations that I have tasted along the years. Some local Malaysian macarons are good, but some failed to make me rave about them. These macarons are what macarons should taste like, they make you realise that they are of their own standards. Apparently, they are in the league of their own. These are srumptiously almond biscuits which deserve their own accolades. These are gems.

Twelve flavours at the same time ;)
After tasting these macarons, I don't know whether I have the guts to bake macarons again. A few years ago, I did try to bake them but failed miserably. Up until now, I didn't have the courage to bake them again. There are so many recipes to choose from and I have six books just on macarons but still, I couldn't have the patience to try them all. Say it  whether it's Italian or French technique, I still have nightmares on doing macarons. That's why you see me blogging about macarons over the years. None of these, I baked. For the time being, I think I will stick to buying macarons rather than baking them. Wait until I have the "calling" to bake them and achieve the best results.

I go crazy on these :)

The box is presentable as well.
 On a final note, let  me show you some well-deserving pictures of French Macarons and I hope that they will give you a pleasant start on a Sunday morning. Happy Sunday, everyone ;)

Could you see the texture of the pistachio macaron?

My brother went to Paris and he bought for me this box of macarons from the queen of confectionary
-Laduree ;). Will blog about this in the next post.


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