Strawberry Chocolate Crumble Bars

It’s strawberry season in Australia!! The dry winter with warm days and freezing nights of good old Queensland has led me to create this dessert. This strawberry chocolate bar is very rich, but at the same time not overly sweet for my taste. For the base, I used my favourite digestive biscuit base of all times for any cheesecakes, or for any types of dessert tarts. I also used the same digestive biscuit base for my previous post – Banoffee Pie x Tiramisu as well!

strawberry crumble bars

For the sauce on top, I simply blended the strawberries in a food processor and cooked it on top of the stove alongside with powdered sugar to reduce it into a thicker consistency. Of course, as always, I encourage creativity when you’re in your own kitchen, so feel free to replace the sauce with melted white chocolate or cream cheese glaze or any other sauce that you think it will go well with it. But please do let me know!

Here it goes.


 

Strawberry Chocolate Crumble Bars

               Serve: Around 12 slices

Ingredients:

Biscuit Base
20 x Mcvities Digestive Plain Biscuit
125g butter

Chocolate Filling

1 and 1/2 cup of dark chocolate discs
1/2 cup of milk chocolate discs
300g condensed milk

Strawberry
Around 700g

Crumble topping
1 and 1/2 cup plain flour
3-4 tbsp Sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder (optional)
110g of room temperature (soft) butter

Strawberry Sauce

1 and 1/2 cup of strawberries
1/2 cup of powdered sugar

Method:

1. Blend digestive biscuit in a food processor until it turns into crumbs
2. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat
3. Mix the melted butter with the crushed biscuit and mix well
4. Pour into a baking dish and lightly press it down with a spoon
(don’t forget the edges!)
Digestive biscuit base

5. Bake the base in the oven on 375 degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius for 10-15 minutes
or until slightly golden brown
6. Meanwhile, prepare chocolate filling and cut strawberries

Strawberries

1. Rinse strawberries and cut the stem off.
2. Slice strawberries into quarters.

fresh strawberries

Chocolate Filling

1. Melt the dark and milk chocolate discs with the condensed milk in a small saucepan over low heat.
2. Fill the baking dish with a layer of strawberries and pour the mixture to cover


Chocolate filling

*Note: fill the whole layer with strawberries instead of leaving gaps like the above picture*

Cumble Topping

1. Add flour, sugar, soft butter, salt, cinnamon and mix well until it resembles chunky crumbs
2. Sprinkle on top of the chocolate and bake for around 40 minutes on 375 degrees F or 180 degrees C
3. Once the crumble is golden brown and the mixture is bubbling, take it out of the oven
4. Set aside and let it completely cool. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes before slicing

strawberry chocolate crumble bars

Strawberry sauce

1. Pour 1 and a half cup of strawberries into blender and blend until smooth
2. Cook the liquid with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a small saucepan over low heat
3. Turn the fire off when it slightly thickens (it will be more thicker once it cools down)
4. Pour into piping bag and squeeze on top of the chocolate bar

strawberry sauce

SERVE WITH FRESH STRAWBERRIES, WHIPPED CREAM OR ICE CREAM!
ENJOY!

strawberry crumble bars

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Japanese Milk Bread

This bread is one of the most popular bread in Asia- especially Japanese and Chinese. It’s super delicate and soft, with a hint of sweet taste that you will instantly fall in love. If you are in Australia, you can find them in Bread Top before deciding whether you want to do a home-made version. The ingredients listed on the Bread Top website include “Wheat Flour, Eggs, Sugar, Condensed Milk, Butter, Yeast Gluten, Butter, Milk Powder, Improver, Salt.”. This is slightly different to the ones that I made, however, the taste is very similar (or better) as well.

Japanese Milk Bread

Another secret of making the fluffiest bread is also called- TangZhong, also known as, the Water Roux Method. Basically, all you need to do is heat some water or milk in a pot, then slowly add flour in until it turns into a thick, smooth but very sticky paste. You can do this in advance and save it in a tightly sealed container for a couple days. The purpose of Tang Zhong is to form a gel for the starches to hold the water together. This keeps the bread moist and will last longer as well.

Let’s get baking!
Recipe adapted from Christine Recipe.


Japanese Milk Bread

Yields: 4 loafs
Ingredients (Tangzhong):

50g of bread flour
1 cup (250g) of full-fat milk (or water)

Ingredients (Bread dough):

375g of bread flour
4 tbsp of caster sugar
1 packet (7g) of active dry yeast
(OR 2 teaspoons of instant dry yeast)
50g of cream
110g of full fat milk
1/2 cup of condensed milk
1 egg
1 tsp of salt
145g Tang Zhong
30g (or 4 tbsp melted) of butter

Other:
1 egg (for egg wash)

Method (Tang Zhong):

1. Bring flour and water/milk in a pan on low heat.
2. Constantly stir until your whisk leave trace behind.
3. Leave aside to cool or store in the fridge for later use.

Method (Bread dough):

1. Mix egg, butter, milk, cream and condensed milk until combined.
2. In a sepearte bowl, sift flour and add salt, sugar and yeast to combine.
3. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to combine.
4. Add 145g of Tang Zhong and knead.
5. The dough should be a little bit sticky but able to form into a ball shape.
6. Leave aside in a warm environment (e.g. microwave or oven) for around 2 hours.
7. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough to release air bubbles.
8. Sprinkle bench top with flour and kneed the dough for about 5 mins.
9. Cut the dough into 4 pieces and roll the dough flat into an oval shape with a rolling pin.
10. Fold one side into the centre and same with the other side.
11. Flip it to the opposite side, using a rolling pin to flatten it out more.
12. Carefully scroll the dough and set aside in the bread baking tin.
IMG_5054
13. Once you scrolled 4 doughs, leave it aside for another 30 – 60 minutes until it double in size.
14. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 degrees on fan forced.
15. Once the dough finished proofing, brush egg wash around the bread dough.
16. Bake it for around 15 minutes or until the top is golden.
17. Remove from the baking tray and let it cool on a rack.
18. Serve by itself or with some butter/jam!

Smell that deliciousness.
IMG_5072

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Philly Cheese Steak Jaffle

Who’s a Masterchef fan here? In last week’s Tuesday episode (Season 7, Episode 8), the top three contestants (Reynold, Ashleigh and Jessica) had to make jaffles (which is a fancier word for cheese toasties, in my opinion) to win the immunity pin. Are you wondering what was the winning jaffle like? The jaffle that won all three judges heart was named Jaffa Jaffle by Asheligh. The jaffle was filled with ricotta, dark chocolate, pistachio and cardamom. Find her recipe here.

IMG_5173
So as always, with my brain running 100 miles per hour like the contestants as well, I tweeted this on Twitter.

Surprisingly, Masterchefau’s Twitter responded: “Mmm sounds like a winning filling!”. I was so excited with that comment, I even shared it on my Instagram and Facebook page straight away! HAHA!

But on the serious note, I actually DID make it. For people who never heard of Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, it is a classic and iconic sandwich that represents Philadelphia town in America.

Toasted Sandwich

So, I started doing research on how to re-create it as authentic as possible. The type of cheese they use in Philadelphia for the cheese steak is either Cheese Wiz or Provolone- which I did not have in hand. However, I still made a cheese sauce using the only cheese I have in the fridge- Perfect Italiano’s 4 Cheese Melt (romano cheese, cheddar cheese, traditional mozzarella cheese and easy melt mozzarella cheese). This cheese sauce is optional, you can add the shredded or pieces of cheese in between the onions, mushrooms and the steak before you put it in the jaffle maker.

IMG_5137
I also froze the piece of steak for 20 minutes so it hardens up a little bit which makes it easier to thinly slice it against the grain (not parallel to the muscle fiber), creating a ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ texture.
IMG_5120
HERE IT GOES!


Philly Cheese Steak Jaffle

Cost: Around $5-7 Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 rib eye steak (freeze 20 minutes before slicing)
1 medium size onion
1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
1 cup of mushroom (optional)
Cheese of your choice
(preferably a mix of cheddar and old english)
4 pieces of bread
Oil
Salt & Pepper
Spreadable butter for the bread

Cheese sauce (optional):
3-4 tablespoons (50g) of melted butter
2 teaspoon of plain flour
1/2 cup of full cream milk
1/2 cup of cheese

Method:

Caramelized Onion:
1. Slice or chop onion (depends how you like the texture)
2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry onions until slightly brown.
3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar, stir.
4. Add 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
5. Cook until translucent and set aside.

Caramelized Onion

Sautéed Mushroom:
1. 
Add 1 teaspoon of oil. Fry the mushrooms until soft.
2. 
Add salt and pepper. Taste. Set aside.

Sauteed Mushroom

Cheese Sauce (optional):
1. Melt butter in a pan.
2. Add 2 teaspoon of flour (as a thickening agent) and stir until no lumps.
3. Gradually add 1/2 cup of milk while stirring the mixture.
4. Once it begins to thicken up, add 1/2 cup of cheese (or more).
5. Taste. Add salt if needed.
6. Take off the heat once everything is well combined.

Cheese Sauce

Seared steak:
1. Freeze steak for 20-25 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes, slice the steak as thinly as you can.
3. Add salt and heat a pan with 1 tbsp of oil.
4. Lightly sear the steak in a pan.
*DO NOT OVERCOOK*
4. The steak should still be rare because it will continue
to cook in the jaffle maker.

IMG_5135

To assemble:
1. Spread butter on a piece of bread.
2. Place bread with butter side down in the jaffle maker.
3. Pile onion and mushroom on top. Don’t be stingy!
4. Pour cheese sauce on top or place your pieces/shredded cheese on top.
5. Pile steak on top of the cheese.
6. Spread butter on another piece of bread to close the sandwich.
7. Close the jaffle maker and wait patiently for 5 minutes or more.
8. Open and check if the bread is toasted enough.
Serve with a side salad!

Philly Cheese Steak Jaffle
 This was one hell of a good sandwich.

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Homemade Butter!!

Hm…do I need to add more adjectives to the title? Like “homemade smooooth butter” or “homemade creammmmy butter”? Nah, just these two words “homemade butter” already makes me scream YUMMMM! If it doesn’t do that to you…then I think you don’t love butter enough.

Homemade butter

When people heard that I made my own butter, they went…”wow” “really?!”. But even before I started to do research on how to make my own butter, it wasn’t something that I thought I would ever make it myself as well. Because…it’s only like $3 – $5 to buy a whole tub of butter in supermarkets right?

Then the research process started…and then I realised how INCREDIBLY easy it is to make your own butter. They say you need to churn your butter, and even the word churn made me feel like I need some kinda special machine to “CHURN”. Nope, I was wrong. All you really need is a hand-held electric mixer, a shallow mixing bowl, milk/cream and ice water. Some even say that you can shake it in a jar until it seperate (yes, work that muscle). A blender will work perfectly as well.

Making butter from cream

After a messy 10 minutes, for the first time ever, I was holding a big ball of super soft and light-weight butter. Spread it on a piece of toast, and oh-my, it just melts in your mouth straight away! The texture was super soft and creamy. Never have I had so much butter in such a short amount of time.

Here it goes.


Homemade Butter

Cooking Time: 20 minutes Cost: AUS $4
Ingredients:

600ml pure cream (or more)
ice water (to wash the butter)

Tools:

Electric Mixer/ Blender/ Stand mixer
Mixing bowl
Sieve/Cheesecloth

Method:

1. Pour cream into mixing bowl and beat it for around 10 minutes.
Thickened cream
2. You will realise the cream starts to thicken and eventually split into buttermilk and butter.
3. Once it splits, scrape the side of the bowl and beat for a few more minutes.
Buttermilk and butter
4. Pour the mixture into a sieve and press it down to get all the buttermilk out.
(Alternatively, you can use a cheesecloth instead)
Squeeze out buttermilk
5.
Rinse the butter in ice water (to prevent it from melting) until the water turns clear.
(It took me around 7 washes.)
6. Add salt in and give it a good mix. Don’t add salt if you want unsalted butter.
7. Put in a sealed container, you can either freeze it if you made a big batch,
or just leave it on the counter so it is ready to use at all times!
Spread butter

ENJOY!!


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Banoffee Pie x Tiramisu with chocolate mascarpone

BANOFFEE PIE!!! I just wish I discovered this pie’s existence earlier. The first time I had a banoffee was at a Cafe. When I scanned through the cabinet window, I was immediately attracted to…basically the whole thing- the thick layer of toffee, big chunks of fresh bananas and that fluffy coffee cream on top were staring right back at me. Since then, I’ve been wanting to make this pie from scratch.


However, when I realised how easy and effortless it was to make the banoffee pie by itself, I felt that my soul needed more challenge. So to fulfill my ambition, I decided to do a crossover…

Banoffee Pie x Tiramisu

From the bottom layer there is: digestive biscuit base, dulce de leche (toffee), basic butter cake soak in espresso and your choice of liquor, another layer of dulce de leche, fresh bananas, another layer of butter cake soak with espresso and liquor, dulce de leche, fresh bananas and finish off with chocolate mascarpone with shaved dark chocolate on top.

Banoffee Pie x Tiramisu

INTENSE. I know. Let’s get into detail.

Digestive Biscuit Base

For the base, I only used digestive biscuit and unsalted butter to combine it together. No additional sugar was added because I didn’t want this cake to turn out too sweet from the condensed milk and the sugar in the butter cake. The texture turned out perfect, it was crumbly and not one of those base that you nearly broke the plate to get a bite of it.

Dulce de leche

Dulce de leche is made from simmering a can of condensed milk for a few hours, turning its colour and texture into a thick consistency. I made mine in an open pot (not with lid on) of boiling water with the can fully submerged in water. I sat in the kitchen for 3 hours, adding water as the water evaporates because I don’t want the can to explode everywhere! Of course, if you’re lazy, you can always buy canned caramel/toffee from the supermarkets. But we all know, homemade is always the best.

Butter cake

A basic butter cake recipe requires a 1:1:1:1 ratio with your butter, eggs, sugar and flour. That means, when you weigh your eggs with the shell on, say it is around 200g, you would use 200g of butter, 200g of sugar and 200g of flour. However, for my butter cake that I used for this recipe, I broke the rule and only added half of the sugar because I’m really paranoid when something turns out way too sweet for my own likings.

I also used self raising flour but you can substitute it with plain flour and baking powder. Here’s a guide to how much baking powder you need to add.
In terms of the type of espresso and liquor I used; I always think that it is more fun if I leave the game for you guys. There’s no “must-use” brand/type, but if you want to know, I used a vanilla espresso capsule and a mixture of hazelnut liquor and rum.

LET’S GET STARTED!


BANOFFEE PIE x TIRAMISU

Serves: 6-8
 Estimated Cost: AUS $20-25

Ingredients:

3-4 fresh bananas

Digestive biscuit base

150g digestive biscuit
75g melted unsalted butter

Dulce de leche

1 can of Nestle sweetened condensed milk

Butter cake

1:1:1:1 ratio
4 eggs in room temperature(weight with shell on)
Unsalted butter in room temperature (same weight as eggs)
Self raising flour (same weight as eggs)
Sugar (same weight as eggs)
vanilla essence
1/2 cup of milk
A splash of liquor
An espresso

Chocolate mascarpone

4 eggs
250g mascarpone
1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
100g or less castor sugar

Method:

 Dulce de leche:

1. Bring a deep pot full of water to a boil.
2. Take the paper off the can and carefully lower it into the water.
3. Put the can on its side (horizontal) so there’s more space to add water
and allow room for the can to roll over.
4. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 3 hours.
5. You must keep the water level above the can at all times!
(Ain’t no time for explosion!)
6. After time is up, tip the water out and take the can out of the pot.
7. Let it cool and with a bowl underneath, punch a hole in the can to release pressure.
8. Open the can to check (cheeky taste) and set it aside.

Butter cake:

1. Meanwhile, prepare your butter cake. Preheat oven to 180°c
2. Weigh eggs with shell on and same with the butter, sugar and flour.
3. Cream butter and sugar together until the colour turns pale and creamy.
(This is to dissolve the sugar and let more air into the mixture)
4. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence in and mix.
5. Add one egg at a time and mix until fully incorporated before adding another egg in.
6. Add 1/2 cup of milk in and mix.
7. Sift your flour and add it in the mixture bit by bit.
Do not over mix your batter.
8. Oil your cake pan with olive oil spray or melted butter.
9. Pour in the batter and let it bake for around 20 minutes
or check the centre of the cake with a skewer, if it comes out clean it is ready!
10. Set it aside and let it cool completely  before cutting.
11. Divide the cake horizontally into equal halves for 2 layers.

Butter Cake

Digestive Biscuit Base:

1. Break the biscuits with your fingers into fine crumbs.
2. Pour in melted butter and mix.

Digestive Biscuit Base
3. Transfer the crumbs into the cake pan and firmly press it down.
4. Remember that it should go right to the edges.
5. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Chocolate mascarpone:

1. Seperate your eggs with egg whites in one bowl and yolk in the other.
2. Add castor sugar in with the egg yolk and beat it til sugar is dissolved and mixture is pale.
3. Add cocoa powder and mascarpone in. Mix until combined.
4. Rinse and tower dry your electric mixer and beat the egg whites til firm peaks.
(if you turn your bowl upside down it will not fall-hopefully!)
5. Add one spoonful of egg whites into the mascarpone mixture and fold with a spatula.
6. Once that is combined, add the remaining egg whites in.
7. You should have a very light and moussy texture!

TO ASSEMBLE (Finally)

1. Spread dulce de leche evenly across the biscuit base.
dulce de leche

2. Carefully slide half of the butter cake into the pan.
3. Using a brush (I find it easier to control), dab the espresso and liquor mixture onto the cake.
Espresso and liquor on cake

4. Spread another layer of dulce de leche.
5. Slice bananas and place it around the cake.

Layerd bananas

6. Add another layer of butter cake and again, dab espresso and liquor on top.
7. Spread another layer of dulce de leche and bananas on top.
8. Finally, spoon the mascarpone mixture evenly around the cake.

Chocolate mascarpone
9. Shave dark chocolate on top to garnish.
10. IF, you are patient, leave the cake in the fridge overnight for the flavours to develop.

Otherwise, DIG IN!!!
Banoffee Pie x Tiramisu

Want more cake?
How did yours turn out?

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