Saturday, December 29, 2012

Parker House Rolls

Have to try this rolls whenever I see the recipe for Parker House rolls.  I'm imagining soft and fluffy rolls, warm and buttery.  And I'm not disappointed with this recipe.  It's a bit time-consuming forming this small pillows but of course, any shape will do.  The addition of sea salt at the end is necessary so don't skip it.

The way I did was a bit different than the recipe, there's things I modified to use up what I had at home.  I used SAF Red Instant yeast because that's the one I kept in my fridge; this way I skipped step number 1, i.e. proofing the yeast.  The quantity for using SAF Red Instant yeas is 2 teaspoons and it's added with egg.  Bread flour substituted all-purpose flour.  I added the water used for proofing yeast to my milk and then proceeded with the rest of the steps.

The next day I warmed rolls and ate it with homemade strawberry jam given by a friend.  It's oh, so good.

Parker House Rolls

Makes 36

1 envelope active dry yeast

1/4 cup water

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg, at room temperature

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1/4 cup unsalted butter

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

In a small bowl, whisk the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (110°-115°).  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just warm.  Combine shortening, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Add warm milk; whisk to blend, breaking up shortening into small clumps (it may not melt completely).  Whisk in yeast mixture and egg.  Add bread flour; stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough forms.  Knead dough with lightly floured hands on a lightly floured surface until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let stand at room temperature until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Lightly brush a 13x9" baking dish with some melted butter.  Punch down dough; divide into 4 equal pieces.  Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12x6" rectangle.

Cut lengthwise into three 2"-wide strips; cut each crosswise into three 4x2" rectangles.  Brush half of each (about 2x2") with melted butter; fold unbuttered side over, allowing 1/4" overhang.  Place flat in 1 corner of dish, folded edge against short side of dish.  Add remaining rolls, shingling to form 1 long row.  Brush with melted butter, loosely cover with plastic, and chill for 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.

Bake rolls until golden and puffed, 25-35 minutes.  Brush with butter; sprinkle with flaky sea salt.  Serve warm.

Source:  The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, 1984.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Greeting

Merry Christmas dear readers!

This is the second Christmas cookie I made with the help of my son.  He actually picked it out about a month ago because it looked so cute.  Making this type of cookies was like playing with playdough :)

Snowball Trees

Makes about 36 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Green paste food coloring

1 recipe Powdered Sugar icing (below)

Red & green or multicolor confetti sprinkles

In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add granulated sugar.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in milk and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.  Remove 1/2 cup of the dough.  Tint the remaining dough with green food coloring.

Preheat oven to 325°.  For each cookies, use the green dough to shape ten 1/2-inch balls.  On an ungreased cookie sheet arrange balls in a row of four, topped by a row of three, then two, then one on top.  As you arrange balls, gently press them into each other.  Use the plain dough to make a 3/4-inch ball; place it at the bottom of the tree for a trunk.  Repeat with remaining dough, leaving 2 inches between cookies.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light brown.  Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes.  Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

Pipe or drizzle Powdered Sugar Icing back and forth over cookies to look like strings for lights.  Add sprinkles to icing for lights.  Let stand until icing sets.

Powdered Sugar Icing

In a medium bowl stir together 4 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and enough milk (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make icing piping or drizzling consistency.

To store:  Layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover.  Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Baking 2011.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cream Cheese Shortbread with Toasted Kenari Nuts

I don't have a bake-a-thon this Christmas but I managed to bake two extra cookies today.  The first one is this Cream Cheese Shortbread with Toasted Kenari Nuts.  The inspiration was from a book I borrowed from the library, One Girl Cookies by Dawn Casale and David Crofton.  Their book has good reviews everywhere and I wanted to try out some of the recipes.

Kenari nuts is indigenous nuts from Southeast Asian islands, particularly Eastern Malaysia and Indonesia.  I grew up eating kenari nuts, or also known as pili nuts, in a variety of baked goods.  The shape of the nuts is similar to almonds but the taste is actually closer to macadamia nuts.  Whenever I have a chance to go back to Indonesia, I make sure I bring some home because it's hard to find here or else, the price will be exorbitant.

This cookies has great texture; short of crumbly but holds together well when baked.  The amount of sweetness is right on and I can taste the tanginess of cream cheese as well.  Toasting the nuts enhance the flavor altogether, it isn't overpowering at all.  I think this sort of cookies are perfect nibbles for before Christmas day; in fact, I can't guarantee they're gonna be here at all in 2 days!

Cream Cheese Shortbread with Toasted Kenari Nuts

Makes about 36 cookies

1 cup kenari nuts (substitute with walnuts)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon table salt

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.  Place kenari nuts (or walnuts) on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 8-10 minutes.  Let the nuts cool (leave the oven on).  When the nuts are cool enough to handle, put them in a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times, until all of the large pieces have been chooped.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the chopped kenari nuts, and stir to combine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the vanilla and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.  Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture, and mix for 20 seconds.  Take the mixing bowl off the mixer and finish mixing the dough with a rubber spatula.

Scoop out a small round of dough, about 1 1/2 tablespoons in size.  Roll the scoop into a ball, place it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and gently pres the ball.  Repeat, leaving 1 inch between cookies

Bake the cookie for 14 to 16 minutes, until they are light brown around the edges.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool.

Source:  adapted from One Girl Cookies by Dawn Casale and David Crofton

Monday, December 17, 2012


To my readers: I just discovered yesterday that new & old post links from my food blog are being directed to adult content websites when seen on mobile devices. The same thing will happen if you're to search my blog's name using mobile devices, you're going to be redirected to those same websites. But if you access the links from home computer, they're working fine and will link back to my food blog.

I'm currently working to solve this problem soon but don't know the definitive answer yet. I apologize to anyone who's encountered the problem, I've no idea how long has it been doing it. I'm mad & disappointed that this could happen to my blog.Thank you for being supportive during this misshapen--Eliza

Well, there it is.  It's not the end of the world but I feel helpless now because this type of technical difficulties is beyond me and I've to wait for someone to fix it for me.  I don't like waiting but I need to be patient.  I'm just hoping it can be resolved and won't happen again.

While this thing is brewing in the background, I did some baking last Sunday.  I baked gingersnaps cookies for a friend and hand pies for my family.  The house smelled so good when the gingersnaps were cooling on the racks.  I didn't have a chance to snap pictures of it so I won't share the recipe.  Perhaps the next time I'm making it again, I will write it down here.  As for the hand pies, I used some cranberry-orange relish that was a leftover when I made it for Indulge magazine.  The relish was quite thick, sweet enough, and I thought was a perfect filling for hand pies.  As for the crust, I used store-bought; which I thought wasn't too bad.  As for the shape, well, Christmas is coming soon and what perfect shape than Christmas tree and snowflake.  I got about 8 hand pies by using double pie crust.  Not bad, eh?  So here they are...until next time!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Indulge

This summer I once again had to do articles for Zupan's Indulge magazine.  The articles were for fall/winter edition of the magazine and let's just say I had a lot to tackle :)  I had to cover in-season produce and also an article about food and travel in Indonesia.  Now, this wasn't as easy as people would have thought because Indonesia has such diverse ethnicities and foods.  A  few weeks later, a breath of relief once everything's all done and submitted.


I just received the issue in the mail and it was awesome to see the articles printed alongside the recipes.  And my crown roast photo for Carlton Farm graces the  back cover of the magazine :)  My 2012 was a productive year for me for sure.

If you live locally, you can pick up the Indulge magazine at any Zupan's Market!