Friday, September 23, 2011

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

I was looking around for a suitable chocolate chip cookie recipe. Though I tried one last December and was pretty happy with it, I was particularly inspired to try a new recipe after reading Ann's blog. I also knew this time I wanted to add in some nuts to give it some extra crunch.

So after reading many a blog on different chocolate chip cookie recipes to try, I decided to go with Ann's recipe from her blog and I'm glad I did! I did vary it ever so slightly to accommodate the nuts. Here's the recipe.

What you need:
150g plain flour
45g corn flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
125g salted butter 
65g caster sugar
40g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
125g chocolate chips
60g roasted pecans 
1 egg

Toast the pecans following these steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 150C.
  2. Line your baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Roughly chop pecans. Place on baking tray.
  4. Toast for 7 minutes.Remove from oven and allow to cool.

What to do:

1) Sieve flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2) Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl till mixed together well. Then add in egg and vanilla essence. Cream for 1 minute.
3) Using a spatula, fold in gently the sieved flour, baking powder and salt to the creamed mixture.

4) Add in chocolate chips and pecans and mix using spatula.

5) Cover mixing bowl with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge.
6) Drop a teaspoon full of dough on baking tray. Don't place them too close together. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at a temperature of 180C.

Use your spatula to help scrap the dough from the teaspoon onto the tray.

7) Let cookies cool on tray for 10 minutes then place on wire rack to cool completely. 

1) To get the cookies in a nice round shape, instead of just dropping the dough on the tray, nicely 'roll' them into a ball shape. Fab tip from Ann.
2) I baked the cookies for about 18 minutes in my oven.
3) Keep an eye on the pecans when roasting them especially if your oven get's hot fast.
4) Be sure the butter is at room temperature. Remove from fridge about 20 minutes before creaming.

Place cookies in airtight container to retain freshness and crunch factor.

They were not too sweet. In fact, I kinda wished they were sweeter. But the more I ate them the more I thought the sweetness was just right.
As you can see - the cookies are not nicely rounded. That's cause I didn't know of the 'roll' dough into a ball shape tip till later. Will definitely put that tip into use on my next try.
The pecans went great with the chocolate chips.
Overall - this recipe is bookmarked come Christmas!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tom Yum Noodle Soup

I love tom yum and not just the soup kind. I would willingly order tom yum fried rice (if I saw it on the menu) or a  pipping hot bowl of tom yum noodle soup filled with thin vermicelli, fat prawns and rubbery squid!!

So when a dear colleague went to Bangkok recently, I asked her to get me two packets of tom yum paste of any brand. Am very aware that you can get these here as well, however I just wanted to be all Bangkok about it. So she bought me the paste (brand: Lobo) and I put it to the test.

You will need 2 of these. Brand: Lobo
Serves 2

Two 30g tom yum paste packs
1 lemongrass - sliced at the white portion
Couple of chilli padi or bird's eye chillies
About 10 kafir lime leaves - I plucked out the stem and snip the leaf in half
Grey mushrooms - bought these all sliced already from the supermarket
Fresh prawns
100g of meehoon/vermicelli - soaked in water for a couple of minutes and drained

1) Bruise the chilli padi 2) Remove the lime leaf stem and snip in two 3) Use only white portion of lemongrass - sliced
What to do:
1) Bring 1 litre of water to a boil. Cover the pot to ensure faster boiling time.
2) Add contents of tom yum paste and stir. Add in prawns and continue to boil for a few minutes.
3) Add in lemongrass, chilli padi, lime leaves and mushroom. Stir. Add in meehoon.
4) Serve hot.

Submerge the unopened packet of tom yum paste (as pictured above) in hot water for 1 minute. This allows the paste to soften.
If you don't wish to add the noodles, then don't. You may also look to this video for a visual on how to prepare tom yum soup using this paste. It really helped!

My husband and I loved it. You can of course add squid or any other ingredients you fancy. Adding the noodles in I think gave it a nice touch. Would definitely recommend this brand. Try and buy peeled prawns - saves you a tonne of time!!!

I have no shame when it comes to using ready-made paste once in a while. I also used one to make this spicy fried vermicelli - da bomb!

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