Chocolate and Hazelnut Muffins

Ingredients

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chocolate-and-hazelnut spread
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup roasted and chopped hazelnuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 6-cup muffin pan with paper muffin liners.
  2. Gently melt the chocolate and chocolate spread in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Let cool for a few minutes.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder into a large bowl, then stir in the sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla, oil, and milk using an electric handheld mixer. When combined, stir in the cooled chocolate. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula or metal spoon, but don’t overmix. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Divide the batter among the muffin liners, filling them three-quarters full, then sprinkle the hazelnuts over the tops. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. When cooked, transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Makes 6 muffins.

Source: Chocolat

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Chinese Spring Onion Cakes

Ingredients

400 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
5 grams fine sea salt
1 cup water at 65 degrees Celsius
about 50 grams finely minced spring onions
about 100 ml cooking oil
6 large eggs (optional)

Sauce

3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Put the flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix in the salt. With the motor running on low speed, pour in the water. Increase the speed to medium and mix for five minutes.
  2. The dough should form a ball and come away from the sides of the mixing bowl, and will be slightly sticky and quite stretchy. If you want to mix by hand, make a dough with the flour, salt and water, then knead vigorously for about 15 minutes. It will be very sticky at first, but when it’s ready, it will be less so.
  3. Whatever mixing method you use, shape the dough into a smooth, round ball. Place the ball in a lightly oiled bowl, then flip the dough over so the oiled side is on top. Cover the bowl with a larger bowl and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes. (You can leave it for several hours, if needed.)
  4. Weigh the dough and divide the weight by six. Split the dough into six even pieces and shape them into smooth, round balls, then place each one on a lightly oiled work surface.
  5. Rub a little oil over each ball so it’s coated in a thin layer. Cover the dough balls with a clean, dry dishcloth and leave to rest while preparing the sauce.
  6. Put the sauce ingredients in a small pan placed over a low flame and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Taste the sauce – it should be balanced, with savoury, salty and sweet flavours. Correct the seasonings, if needed, then leave to cool.
  7. On the lightly oiled work surface, roll out the first piece of dough until it is a rectangle that’s about 30 cm x 18 cm. Scatter some of the minced spring onions on top.
  8. Starting at one long end, loosely fold up about 1cm of the entire side, then continue to loosely roll the long end over and over until you reach the centre of the rectangle. Start from the other long end and repeat the process.
  9. Pinch the entire length of the dough where the two rolls meet to seal in the spring onions, then gently stretch the dough so it’s about 40 cm long.
  10. With your left and right hands working simultaneously, start coiling the far ends of the dough towards the centre, until they meet. Twist one of the coils so the two form a figure 8, then place one coil on top of the other and press gently.
  11. Place the coil on the work surface and shape the other pieces of dough the same way.
  12. Cook the cake immediately after shaping all the dough balls (if you wait too long, the moisture from the spring onions will seep through the layers).
  13. Heat a skillet (about 20 cm in diameter and preferably cast iron) over a medium flame. Pour about 2 tsp of oil into the skillet and continue to heat.
  14. Quickly roll out one piece of dough so it is 3 mm thick and about 18 cm in diameter and lay it on the hot pan. Cook until the bottom is starting to set and pale golden in spots, then turn it over.
  15. Flip the cake frequently, adjusting the flame as needed. Don’t let it brown too quickly or get overly dark, which would make the exterior too firm.
  16. Add more oil to the skillet, if needed. After about four minutes, use two spatulas (or a spatula and tongs) – one held in each hand – to roughly press the opposite sides of the cake towards the centre, to fluff up the layers.
  17. Turn the cake slightly and repeat several times – this should be done quickly. Adjust the heat to high and brown both sides of the cake. They need five to six minutes in total to cook. Cook the remaining cakes the same way.
  18. Brush the sauce on one side of the cake, fold in half and serve hot.
  19. If you like, whisk an egg while the cake is still in the skillet. When it’s fully cooked, lift the cake and pour the egg into the skillet. Immediately place the cake on top and cook until the egg is set. Brush the egg-side of the cake with the sauce, fold in half and then eat.

Source: SCMP

Peruvian-style Squash and Sweet Potato Doughnuts

Ingredients

5 oz sweet potato
3 oz macre squash, cut into large chunks
3 oz loche squash, cut into large chunks
2-1/4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1/8 oz fresh yeast
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 cup cola
2/3 cup anise seed tea
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Fig Syrup

1-1/4 cup chancaca sugar
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon anise seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
3 dried fig leaves

Method

  1. To make the fig syrup, place all the ingredients except the fig leaves in a pan with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook until half the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick and syrupy.
  2. Add the fig leaves and let infuse for a few minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat. Strain into a suitable container, cool, and refrigerate until needed.
  4. To make the dough, bring a pan of water to a boil, add the sweet potato, and cook until tender. Drain. Repeat with the macre and loche squash.
  5. Place the cooked vegetables in a blender and blend until pureed.
  6. Put the pureed vegetables in a large bowl with the flour, fresh yeast, sugar, salt, anise seeds, cola, and anise seed tea. Using your hands, combine the ingredients to form a dough, then knead for around 20 minutes until smooth.
  7. Leave the dough in a warm place to proof for 1-1/2 hours.
  8. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or deep-fryer to 350°F/180°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.
  9. Take pieces of the dough and shape into rings or doughnuts, then drop carefully into the hot oil, and cook until crispy and golden. Drain well and drizzle with the fig syrup to finish.

Makes 5 servings.

Source: Peru – The Cookbook

Pan-fried Lobster and Scallop Ravioli

Ingredients

Pasta Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup free-range egg whites
3 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt

Filling

8 large scallops (white meat only)
1 lb cooked lobster
olive oil
salt
black pepper

Sauce

2 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs of marjoram
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 dry sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil), chopped
2 cups lobster stock
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
salt
black pepper

Garnish

4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
marjoram leaves

Method

  1. First make the pasta dough. Put the flour in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and knead to make an elastic, but not sticky, dough. Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, then roll it out on the ‘o’ setting on a pasta machine.
  2. Chop the scallops into 1/8-inch dice. Break up the lobster, cutting the tail into quarters for the garnish. Extract all the rest of the lobster meat and cut into 1/4-inch dice, then mix with the diced scallops and season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
  3. The shape of the ravioli is up to you, but the simplest method is to cut the pasta dough into 24 rounds about 2-1/2 inches in diameter.
  4. Divide the scallop and lobster filling among 12 of the rounds. Brush the borders with water to moisten, then top with the remaining rounds and press down well around the edges to seal.
  5. Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, add the ravioli, and cook for 4 minutes.
  6. Remove the ravioli and plunge them into iced water to stop the cooking, then carefully drain and dry on a cloth and lightly drizzle them with olive oil. Keep the ravioli refrigerated until needed.
  7. For the sauce, put the shallots, garlic, and marjoram in a pan with the white wine and boil until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and lobster stock, then bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve, then pour it back into the pan, season, and finish with the cold butter to thicken and shine. Keep The sauce warm while you finish the ravioli.
  9. Pan-fry the ravioli in a hot nonstick pan until golden on both sides and hot inside. Serve in warm bowls with the piping hot sauce and garnish with diced tomatoes and lobster claws and a few marjoram leaves.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The French Kitchen

Nyonya-style Coconut Golden Cake

Ingredients

15 g yeast
110 ml warm water
80 g plain flour
1 tsp sugar
4 pandan leaves
350 ml thick coconut milk
30 g butter
260 g sugar
120 g tapioca flour
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
a pinch of salt

Method

  1. Mix yeast, warm water, 1 tsp of sugar and plain flour in a bowl. Stir till batter is smooth. Cover with a piece of cloth and leave it in a warm place for 50 minutes.
  2. Cook pandan leaves, coconut milk, salt and vanilla essence over low heat. Stir in butter and leave it to cool.
  3. Line a 8″ round baking tray with baking paper. Grease the baking paper with coconut oil on the bottom and sides of the tray.
  4. In a mixing bowl, pour in the batter from step (1) and sugar. Beat briefly. Add tapioca flour and eggs. Beat at low speed for a while and lastly add coconut milk mixture from step (2). Pour into tray and prove for 2-1/2 hours.
  5. Bake in a preheat oven at 170°C for 15 minutes. Then switch to 150°C and bake further till the cake is cooked.

Makes one 8-inch round cake.

Source: Delicious Nyonya Kueh and Dessert