Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Doughnuts / Donuts and Cake Balls

I know that I have to bake a Chocolate-Zucchini Bundt Cake from the book, Cake Keeper Cakes or here for our bake-along with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings but I didn't!!!

Sorry that there is NO bundt cake in my bake-along post. Instead, I have baked these...

Chocolate zucchini doughnuts donuts
Chocolate Zucchini Doughnuts
chocolate zucchini cake balls
Chocolate Zucchini Cake Balls

NO bundt cake? ... but doughnuts and cake balls?

"Turn to this recipe when you desperately need a new way to use some of your bumper crop of zucchini. It gives this not-too-sweet chocolate cake terrific moisture and a mysterious but delicious vegetal flavor..." Reading this part of the recipe gave me an idea!

At this time of the year, we don't have a bumper crop of zucchini. Winter in Australia means that zucchini are not seasonally cheap! And so, I don't desperately need any way to use zucchini now.

Instead, I desperately need a good recipe to bake moist and delicious chocolate doughnuts or cake balls and yes yes yes... It is true that the addition of zucchini gives these tiny little doughnuts and cake balls terrific moisture. I have tried using various moist chocolate cake recipes to bake little doughnuts and cake balls before and nothing tastes moister and better than these ones made with this recipe. Definitely, I would say that this is the BEST recipe I have used so far for baking mini doughnuts and tiny cake balls!!!

Moist cake? Thanks to these grated zucchini!
To start...
The presence of zucchini in the batter is pretty subtle.
Using 2/3 of the recipe, I have baked 24 of these ...
... plus 24 of these.
Perfect round cake balls - I can't wait to try of these!!!
Cooling these little cakes completely before glazing.
Making the chocolate glaze
Dunk 1/2 of each doughnut and cake ball into chocolate glaze. Dip 1/4 of each on chocolate sprinkles
A perfectly glazed itsy bitsy doughnut
Maybe it is a little too small for Homer Simpson's fat fingers to pick :p
Small and yet wonderfully moist!

After baking this recipe in the form of doughnuts and cake balls, I have to say that... I have totally no regrets baking these! Thanks, Lena for your fantastic choice! We are enjoying these little treats as like we are having fun in a kiddy wonderland.

This is how I used this recipe from the book, Cake Keeper Cakes or here to make these doughnuts and cake balls.

Makes 24 really small 3 cm doughnuts plus 24 cake balls

35g Dutch process cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona

85ml sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/3 tsp vanilla extract
250g unbleached all-purpose flour
2 2/3 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp salt
1 1/3 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)
125g butter, softened plus extra to grease baking pans
100g granulated sugar (reduced from 130g in original recipe)
100g packed light brown sugar (reduced from 120g in original recipe)
1 1/3 cups finely grated zucchini (with skin on)

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 160°C fan forced. Lightly grease a doughnut pan and cake balls with extra butter.

Whisk together sour cream, eggs, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder together.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 mins, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.

With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the sour cream mixture. Repeat, alternating flour and sour cream mixtures and ending with the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Stir in the zucchini.

Spoon batter into a large piping bag and pipe the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 10-15 mins. The 3 cm doughnuts require 10 mins to bake and the cake balls require 15 mins to bake. Let cool in the pan for 10 mins, then remove the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

To glaze the doughnuts and cake balls:

This is the Alton Brown's recipe that I have mostly adapted from here

25g unsalted butter
2 tbsp whole milk, warmed
1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g chocolate, preferably Callebaut ones with 70% cocoa)
100g icing sugar
chocolate sprinkles, optional

Combine butter, milk, corn syrup and vanilla in a microwavable bowl or a saucepan if you are cooking this on the stove.

Using a microwave with low power or medium low heat from a cooking stove, heat mixture until butter is melted. 

Decrease the heat to low or using a lower microwave power, add chocolate into the mixture, and heat and whisk until chocolate is completely melted.

Remove the saucepan or the bowl from the stove and the microwave. Add icing sugar, and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip half sides of the doughnuts and cake balls into the glaze immediately. For a more Homer Simpson kind of doughnuts, dip half of glazed area into chocolate sprinkles. Allow glaze to set for 30 mins before serving.

Happy Baking

Here are our friends that have joined us for this bake-along. Please visit their blogs for more of their Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake baking.

Please submit your details if you wish to link your post with this bake-along. This linking tool is open from 24 July to 2 Aug 2014.

For our next bake-along, we are baking baked pasta which is to be posted on 7 Aug 2014. Please bake-along with us! All you need to do is to bake any of your favourite baked pasta recipe and blog hop with us for the next 10 days.

To blog hop with us, simply copy and paste this linky HTML code into your blog post where you want the blog hop list to appear. Make sure you are in HTML view/mode when you paste in the code. get the InLinkz code

Before using this linky tool, please make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post. (2) Please mention Bake-Along in your post and link back to any of our hosts' Bake-Along post, (Joyce, Lena or Zoe). (3) Appreciate if you can display the Bake-Along badge in your post when linking up with us. Cheers!

Sorry for being a nag but I like to mention this again...

Yen from Eat your heart out and Mich from Piece of Cake and I (Zoe) from Bake for Happy Kids will be cooking and baking lots of Gordon Ramsay's recipes for the whole month of August 2014. Sadly, this will be our second last Cook like a Star event. Whether you love Gordon Ramsay or not, I hope that you won't miss this event and enjoy cooking with us.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spiral Chicken Curry Puffs Epok-Epok / Karipap Pusing

Sometimes, I wonder if curry puffs or karipap is a typical Singaporean or Malaysian thingy... because I know many Singaporeans including me have craving for curry puffs at times. or maybe it is just me???

Instinctively, curry puffs is always one of the local food that I love to eat when I'm in Singapore. Being a Singaporean, I have also tried to convince and educate my chili-resisting child the beauty of curry puff eating but sadly, my boy is still not trying. Maybe, my boy is just not Singaporean enough... Or maybe, it is just me that is too nuts about curry puffs??? Being mum, I can't enjoy anything delicious without feeding my child. Maybe I can make non-spicy-non-curry chicken puffs for my boy. Non-spicy-non-curry puffs!!!??? Sounds ridiculous, isn't it? ... but I hope that my boy will like his non-curry puffs as much I love my curry ones! For this reason, I like to compromise...

Years ago, the little fatty me love eating curry puffs. I remember making curry puffs with my grandmother, mum and auntie Lita. Auntie Lita was like part of our family when we were young... She is our helper that lived with us for more than 10 years and had to returned to Philippines reluctantly to fulfill a marriage obligation. You know... words can say how much we missed auntie Lita.

I remember watching how my grandmother giving instructions to my mum and Lita. Like usual, our curry puffs were made with grandmother's agak agak (estimation in Malay) instructions which leaves me minimal amount of information to make mine. Back in those days, we often made two versions of puffs. The chicken curry potatoes ones and the tomato-chilli sardine ones and they are mostly wrapped with an oily pastry containing Planta margarine. Unlike my boy, I love love love my curry and sardine puffs! I often had more than three puffs in a go and packed another few subsequently for school in my Hello Kitty lunch boxes.

Over the years, I have lost grandmother, mum, auntie Lita and my Hello Kitty lunch boxes. I know that it is sad but the least that I possess now is the rest of my family and my memory. A memory that can help me to cook my own curry puffs according to the most traditional way that I like... A memory that also remind me to love and cherish all that I have...

Based on my memory and knowledge, these are the curry puffs with flaky spiral pastry that I have made... Hope that you like them as much I do.

spiral chicken curry puffs epok-epok karipap pusing
My spiral chicken curry puffs
The puffs that I made are mostly filled with these potatoes ...
... cooked with non-curry vs curry seasoning.
This is how I cooked the filling ...
This half was cooked with curry seasoning and the other was cooked with soy sauce and 5-spice powder.
To make a spiral dough, I need to prepare 2 types of dough. 
Then, I had to roll and "roll"...
At this stage, I can clearly see the spiral design on each portion of dough.
I used the mould to shape my first puff initially ...
... and decided to crimp the rest using the traditional method because this is the way I like the most.
My mum said that the addition of shortening in the frying oil can make crisper puffs and I did what she said.
I'm happy to see the defined spiral designs on these puffs ...
... and enjoying them like I always do :)

When these puffs were gone, my boy kept telling me... "Mum! Can you make more curry puffs with no curry for my school lunch?" ... and I said "yes" instantly.

This is how I made my chicken curry and chicken non-curry spiral puffs.

To cook enough chicken curry (or non curry) filling to make 10-12 decent sized curry puffs:

1 tbsp cooking oil, preferably rice bran oil
1/2 of a large onions, finely diced
150g chicken thigh fillet, skinless, boneless, cut into large chunks
2 potatoes, peeled and finely diced
80 ml water or more if required
a pinch of ground white pepper

To season this amount of non-curry filling, add:
3/4 tsp five-spice powder
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder, optional
1/4 tsp salt or any extra to taste
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce

To season this amount of curry filling, add:
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder, optional
1/4 tsp salt or any extra to taste
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder or extra according to taste*
1 sprig of curry leaves

* I have used mild curry powder which is good enough for me but not hot enough for my husband. You can use hot curry powder if you like your curry to be spicier.

2 eggs, boiled, shelled and cut each into 8 - you will get a half egg as leftover.

To prepare filling:
In a large frying pan, heat oil with medium-high heat. Cook chicken for 3 mins until slightly browned. Remove chicken from frying pan and set aside. Cook onions for 3 mins until slightly browned. Add potatoes and cook for another 2-3 mins. Return browned chicken into the frying pan. Add water, pepper and seasonings required for either non-curry and curry fillings. Lower the heat to medium-low. Cook filling (with no cover) with occasional stirring until potatoes are tender with a semi-dry texture. If the potatoes are not cooked thoroughly and the mixture is drying up, add gradual amount of water to continue cooking. When the filling is cooked, remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool completely.

Any leftover filling can be kept frozen for 1-2 weeks.

Note: I have cooked 4 times the amount of filling to make extra non-curry and curry fillings. I have cooked the leftover a little saucier and we ate them with plain rice for our weekday dinners.

To make spiral curry puff pastry (mostly adapted from Sam Tan's Kitchen):

Makes 10-12 puffs with decent amount of fillings

For the water dough:

300g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 egg, small and beaten
1 tbsp of oil, preferably rice bran oil

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and knead into a soft and pliable dough by hand. Alternatively, you can use a breadmaker or an electric mixer with hook attachment for kneading the dough.

Divide dough into two portions and cover them. Allow them to rest for 30 mins in room temperature.

For the butter dough:

75g cold butter, roughly diced
150g all purpose flour

Using a pastry blender or by hand, incorporate butter into flour until crumbly. Combine all by hand to form a smooth buttery dough. Divide dough into two portions.

Place one portion of butter dough on roughly rolled out water dough. Seal the butter dough inside the water dough. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into thin oval shape with a rolling pin. Then, roll it tightly from the bottom end toward the other end like a Swiss roll.

Turn the dough with the spiral side facing you. Roll the dough to form a thin oval shape and then roll it tightly like a Swiss roll.

Using a knife, slice into dough into 2 cm discs starting from its spiral side. The cross section of the dough will clearly show the spiral layers that you have just made.

Repeat the same shaping method with the other portion of water and butter dough.

To assemble the puffs: 

Flatten each disc into a thin circle with a rolling pin.

Place the pastry on a curry puff mould (or use your palm if you don't have one). Place 2 tbsp of filling (or just enough fillings) in the middle and fold the mould or pastry to enclose, peeling off any excess pastry if required

To crimp the pastry manually (like the traditional way), pinch the edges flat and fold in at a 45° angle to form a plait . 

Note: At this stage, the assembled puffs can be be kept frozen for 1-2 weeks. As hard boiled eggs don't freeze very well, please do not incorporate any hard boiled eggs into your puffs if you are planning to freeze them. Fry frozen puff directly if they are required to be consumed.

Heat sufficient frying oil (preferably canola oil with the addition of 2 tbsp shortening in every 400ml for extra crisper texture) in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Deep fry the puffs, tossing continuously until golden brown.

Remove with a pair of wooden chopsticks or a slotted spoon, shake off excess oil and drain on kitchen towels before serving.

Happy Cooking

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs up organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and me, Bake for Happy Kids, hosted by Jasline from Foodie Baker at this post.


Our Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday until the last day of the month. Please join us! To join, simply cook or bake any recipe with the theme of the month which is POTATO for July 2014 and link with us at this post anytime until 31st July 2014. 

Don't forget your thumbs up or display this badge! And make sure that: (1) Your post must be a current post preferably within this month. (2) Please mention Little Thumbs Up in your post and link back to Bake for Happy Kidsmy little favourite DIY or/and Jasline from Foodie BakerFor more details, please see this.

What after July 2014? Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe will be the next hostess of August 2014 and her theme is FLOUR! Her Little Thumbs Up event starts on the first Tuesday of August 2014 (5th Aug) until the last day of the month. If you are wondering what kind of flour you can use to participate this event, please check out this message from Diana...

"Flour is an essential ingredient in my (and I am sure, many of your) kitchen. It is the base of pastas and noodles, cakes and biscuits, or even as thickening agents in the making of a roux. The list of food items made using flour is endless. As such, we will be limiting the theme to mainly Wheat Flour, namely:
  • All-Purpose (also known as Plain) Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Cake Flour
  • Self-raising Flour
  • Pastry Flour
  • Wholemeal Flour
  • Hong Kong (also known as Waterlily) Flour
  • Superlite Flour
  • Top Flour
You must use one of these flours in its raw form in your recipe and you must use at least 1 tablespoon or 10g of these flours in your cooking /baking.

Sorry for being a nag but I like to mention this again...

Yen from Eat your heart out and Mich from Piece of Cake and I (Zoe) from Bake for Happy Kids will be cooking and baking lots of Gordon Ramsay's recipes for the whole month of August 2014.

GORDON RAMSAY!!! Yeah... Love him or hate him! I have to say that I don't exactly adore Gordon Ramsay like crazy but I really like his humour and the food that he cooks.

Sadly, this will be our second last Cook like a Star event. Whether you love Gordon Ramsay or not, I hope that you won't miss this event and enjoy cooking with us.

Join us!!!