Archive for the ‘wheat flour’ Category

This is a straightforward cake recipe using the creaming method. You might want to refer to the tips on creaming here and here.

Instead of butter, this recipe uses hydrogenated vegetable shortening, under the Spry brand name. I’ve commented on the history, use and health considerations of using Spry or its competitor brand, Crisco in an earlier posting. My personal choice would be to use butter, which would probably also give a better taste.

For the filling and icing, please see:
Chocolate/Coffee Filling
Chocolate Water Icing

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This quick bread basically uses the muffin method of mixing: dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, mix together very quickly till just blended. The difference is that it is baked into a large cake, rather than small muffins. For me, I often do the opposite and bake cake recipes into muffin or cupcake sizes because they need less time in the oven and hence use less electricity.

Don’t let the ‘rub butter in flour’ bit fool you into thinking this uses the rubbing-in method (see Plain Scones). Here, it is just a way to incorporate solid butter. Other recipes melt the butter and combine it with the wet ingredients. Personally, I’m lazy to melt butter when I make muffins, and usually use oil instead :). A cooking oil with a neutral flavour is best, but coconut oil will give a strong tropical flavour if that’s the effect you intend to produce.

For more on oven temperatures, see grandma’s notes here.

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The term ‘Drop Scones’ can be rather confusing because it’s used to refer to two distinctly different items. The first usage, which seems to be more common in America, is scones made by the rubbing-in method, just like that described in the Plain Scones recipe but roughly shaped by dropping spoonfuls of the dough onto a baking sheet (as illustrated here).

The second type of ‘Drop Scones’ is not made from dough, but a batter, and its alternative name, ‘Scotch Pancakes’ reveals what it’s most similar to. ‘Drop Scones’ are considered a traditional Scottish recipe, as you can read here.

The photos here show you what Scotch Pancake style Drop Scones look like, and the recipe also provides ideas for eating them with savoury toppings.

It’s this pancake variation that grandmother’s recipe below refers to. This is evident from the way the ingredients are combined (straight mixing, no rubbing-in) and the reference to a ‘batter’ that must be left to stand.

Without any clear instructions for the quantity of milk (and I’m not sure how much exactly ‘1 Breakfast cupful’ is!), it would certainly help if you were already familiar with working pancake batters to be able to judge the correct consistency by sight. Don’t forget to use self-raising flour or else add some baking powder.

You may wish to compare this recipe with grandma’s Pancake recipe as well as check out some buttermilk variations (buttermilk assists the rise of the batter and tenderises it) here and here. You’ll notice the second recipe substitutes milk+vinegar for buttermilk, you can also use lemon juice,citric acid or cream of tartar to create the same result; read about buttermilk substitutes here.

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It’s been waaay too long since I last posted here. The changes to the WordPress Dashboard have really gotten the better of me and made blogging too frustrating and time-consuming. I’m now experimenting with offline blogging software and using different operating systems so I hope to find a new method that works for me in the long run.

This Apple Scone recipe continues the scones series started with my last entry on Plain Scones.

There seem to be truncated instructions here as I have my doubts as to whether a haphazard lumping together of the ingredients below will produce a scone! My advice would be to please follow the instructions for the rubbing-in method in the Plain Scones entry. There’s no quantity for the cream either so is it for topping, or including in the mixture?

The shaping of this scone is also rather unusual. Instead of the usual single-serve pieces cut out from a large piece of dough, this is baked in one entire whole. I’ve never come across a scone like this before!

Also, the instructions call for a low oven temperature, which is quite different from my experience using high temperatures (about 200°C) to force the scones to rise.

Good luck with the recipe and I’d love to hear from anyone who has made a scone like this before!

You might also want to read the recipe for:
Drop Scones (which is actually type of pancake)

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Plain Scones

My grandmother loved scones. A couple of decades ago, she bought a recipe book of only scones and muffins, in the back of which she collected handwritten scone recipes from friends and relatives in the search for a great scone recipe.

And I was the one to test them out for her :). Although grandma was an avid baker in her younger years as you can see from this collection recipes, I don’t recall actually seeing her bake something herself. Though of course she guided my childhood interest in baking and always supervised my every move in the kitchen!

More recently, in the last few years, scones became one of my foolproof staples through regular practice as I used to bake them about once a fortnight. Grandma was the happy beneficiary and especially on her birthdays, I knew she would appreciate hot scones fresh from our home oven more than any fancy cake I might buy.

Scones are typically made with the rubbing-in method as mentioned in this recipe here. Working with the the tips of the fingers only and making sure your hands are cool is important to prevent the butter from melting. These days, I use two knives instead – less messy and definitely keeps the temperature down :).

The quantities in this recipe are very straightforward. Self-raising (SR) flour is used and I like the fact that it doesn’t rely on buttermilk, which is expensive to buy in Singapore. However, recently I discovered cheap and easy substitutes for buttermilk, which can be made by adding a bit of lemon juice or cream of tartar to regular milk (read full instructions here). However, I haven’t yet tried scones using this. Personally, I would also omit the sugar as it’s not necessary and you won’t notice its absence after you have heaped cream/butter and jam on your scone!

As long as the rubbing-in is done correctly and the appropriate amount of liquid added, the scones should come out very nicely. Delia Smith teaches that the secret to good scones is to rolling them out at least one inch thick; her page on How to Make Scones is extremely useful.

Another trick is to make sure the dough is not too dry. In fact, I usually work with a dough so wet and soft that instead of struggling to roll it out and use a biscuit cutter, it’s much easier to shape it into a large round and slice into wedges.

One problem with rolling out is that the more times you do it (especially when reworking the odd bits of dough leftover from cutting out the round shapes) the tougher the end result. A cool kitchen tool I have to assist in such circumstances is a batch cookie cutter for five hexagonal shapes joined together in a honeycomb pattern (from Lakeland, but unfortunately they don’t seem to sell this anymore). This eliminates wastage between the shapes or leftover bits that need to be rolled out a second time.

My favourite way to eat scones is with very thick and heavy cream — preferably clotted cream — plus a touch of jam — yes, an English Cream Tea :). I’ve given up ordering cream tea at eateries, both here and in England as the cream is usually disappointingly light and fluffy. Anyway, having just bought some lovely Carrefour organic crème fraîche (I like the way it’s very thick and just gently soured), I think a batch of homemade scones might be coming up very soon :)!

Although best fresh from the oven, scones freeze well. The sooner you pop them into the freezer, the fresher they will taste when you reheat them later.

Do also check out the recipes for:
Apple Scone
Drop Scones (which is actually type of pancake)

Scones Plain

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Doughnuts are a hard food to pin down. They come in fried or baked versions, and can be made by a huge variety of methods: some are like breads and use yeast as a leavening agent, while others rely on baking powder; they can be made by the muffin method or by the creaming technique. Grandmother’s recipe introduced me to yet another style of doughnuts.

The recipe here is for a choux pastry. Although grandma did not record the instructions for this, you then go on to fry the choux pastry, as the recipes here and here explain.

This style of doughnuts is closed connected with another kind of fried dough – crullers, which are fashioned into a long, twisted shape. Traditional French crullers are also made from choux pastry, while other kinds of crullers can be made from other kinds of leavened doughnut dough (either using yeast or baking powder). The term ‘Chinese crullers’ is sometimes used to refer to Chinese you tiao [Mandarin] / yao zhar kwai [Cantonese].

Speculation on the historical origins of the doughnut range from prehistoric Native Americans to ancient Rome to the medieval Middle East. However what most sources agree on is the better-documented story of how doughnuts became an American staple. Beginning in early modern Germany and Holland, oliekoecken (oil cakes or fried cakes) were brought to the New World by Dutch settlers, and had established themselves on the American dining table by the mid-19th century.

Well, if what makes a doughnut a doughnut is the hole in the middle, then what about the dough balls made from these holes? Aside from just seeing them as leftover ‘doughnut holes‘, one can simply shape the dough directly into balls and make more elegant-sounding beignet (recipe here).

Below are the two recipes grandmother copied into her notebook. The first is for choux pastry-style doughnuts, The second set of ingredients doesn’t include eggs and therefore can’t be for choux pastry. You’ll need to improvise your own cooking method there.
Doughnuts 2

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The inclusion of baking powder indicates that these are American-style pancakes, which are thick and eaten in stacks, often topped with butter and maple syrup. In comparison, British pancakes and French crepes are much thinner and don’t use leavening agents (read more about the differences here).

Grandmother used to tell me about her encounters with American foods through Mrs Armstuz of the YWCA, and quite possibly, American-style pancakes were among those foods.

Unfortunately, this is another one of those recipes where there are no instructions and only very vague quantities (the ‘teacup’ is my grandmother’s own measurement based on our cups at home, and most of those from that old set have broken and been thrown away over the decades). So you might want to refer to other recipes for American pancakes, such as this, this or this.

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