Thursday, December 31, 2009

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

We made this cookie some time back before Christmas 2009. It was during the holiday season which was a perfect time for baking. This cookie has a nice blend of peanut butter and chocolate/ butterscotch taste.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chip*
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chip*
*The chocolate/butterscotch chips can be replaced with Hershey's chocolate, nuts, cherry, etc.

  1. Beat butter and peanut butter in a large bowl until well blended.
  2. Add the white sugar and brown sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.
  4. On another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. With a spatula, stir the flour mix into the peanut butter mixture. Mix well.
  6. Cover the dough tightly and chill for 5 hours in the fridge.
  7. After 5 hours, shape the dough into 1 inch ball and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  10. Immediately press a chocolate/butterscotch chip into center of each cookie. Cookie will crack around edges.
  11. Removed from cookie sheet to wire rack and let is cool completely.
This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Muffin

This is our favorite muffin recipe so far as it is easy to prepare and yet delicious. Whenever we are running out of bread or cornflakes for breakfast, we will just go into the kitchen and start baking our favorite muffin. It is all ready in less than an hour.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup halved frozen/fresh cranberry
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.
  2. Gradually stir in the oil and sugar to the egg.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. With a spatula, fold the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir only until all ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter as it will result in tough muffins.
  6. Stir in the cranberry and the chocolate chips.
  7. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter.
  8. Place the muffin cups in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. (about 14-18 minutes).
  9. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from tray.
This recipe makes 6 regular sized muffins.

Butter Shortbread Cookies

It's the last day of 2009 and we are planning to bake some cookies at home. As we both are butter cookies lover, we have decided to try baking our own butter shortbread cookies. Based on our online research, we found out that shortbread requires only 4 ingredients. Sounds pretty simple, isn't it? However, the secret of a good shortbread lies in good quality butter and pure vanilla extract. Despite the ingredients are simple, the toughest part is mixing all the ingredients manually as we have not gotten our mixer. Moreover, due to the nature of shortbread, the dough crumble easily. Probably we should consider investing in a mixer soon.

So, now here you go the recipe:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Sift flour and set aside.
  2. Cream butter till smooth about 1 minute.
  3. Add sugar to butter and beat until smooth for about 2minutes.
  4. Beat in vanilla and mix well.
  5. Gently stir in flour and blend until all well mixed.
  6. Flatten the dough into a disk shape and wrap in a plastic wrap.
  7. Chill the dough for at least an hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in the middle tier.
  9. After an hour, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and shape it to 1/2 cm thick.
  10. Cut into the shape you desire and place the cookies on a the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  11. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes in order to firm up the firm up and maintain the cookie shape.
  12. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until cookies are lightly brown.
  13. Cool on a rack and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Walnut Raisin Rosemary Bread

If you've got a bunch of rosemary branches leftover from your Italian cooking, you'll be pleasantly surprise to know that you could use it for making a wonderful bread - thereby putting it to good use before it turns old. With a little bit of walnut, some raisins and of course your mix of flours, you'll be able to churn a nice looking bread which you and your family can enjoy.

We tried it ourselves and find it pretty appetizing. You'll need the following ingredients.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of yeast
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water (you may need a bit extra in case its too dry)
  • 1 1/4 cups of bread flour
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt / table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary
Then once you've prepared those ingredients, you'll need to follow these steps:
  1. Begin by adding the yeast with the water.
  2. Mix and let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes, allowing the yeast to form up and come alive.
  3. While putting that aside, now mix all 3 of the flour types with salt and olive oil slowly while mixing it evenly with the flour.
  4. Pour the yeast mixture into it and mix it till dough forms altogether.
  5. Knead the dough while feeling whether or not its the exact consistency you want.
  6. Pour some flour over it to make it less sticky while transfer it to a plastic bag.
  7. Seal it in the plastic bag and ensure air is released as much as possible. This avoids crust build up and wait for it rise about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Once that is done, take it out and flatten it to square and add your raisins, walnut and rosemary and knead the dough back to a round dough shape. Sprinkle extra flour over it if needed.
  9. Once that is done, place it on a plate that has some cornmeal on it and cover the dough with plastic.
  10. Allow it to rise for another half an hour.
  11. After that, slit the dough at the top according to the design of your liking to allow for the crust to crack and open up.
  12. Then place it into the oven at 420 - 450 F (depending on your oven type) for the first 30 minutes. Then reduce a notch (25 F) down for another 15 - 20 minutes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Italian Rosemary Bread

As mentioned in our earlier blog, today we tried baking an Italian rosemary bread. We were amazed by the outcome as we did know what to expect. The bread is soft and tender... kind of melt in your mouth texture. This is our first non-artisan bread. The only mistake we made was to be too artistic and cut a cross on top of the loaf before putting it into the oven. Subsequently, we learned that for non-artisan bread, it was not necessary to do so as it will not crack and open up. Anyhow, it is a blessing in disguise and the bread turn out unique in it's own way.

Besides, we also learned that brushing loaf with some egg before putting into the oven gives the bread an appealing shiny look. Don't you think so?

Now, here you go the recipe:

Italian Rosemary Bread

  • 1 1/2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsps active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal for dusting
  1. Dissolve sugar in warm water in a medium size bowl.
  2. Mix yeast into the sugary warm water and leave it aside for 4 minutes.
  3. Add in salt, butter, 3/4 of the rosemary and the Italian seasoning. Blend well.
  4. Mix in 1 cup of bread flour and slowly add in the remaining bread flour gradually.
  5. Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes.
  6. Shape the dough into a dome shape loaf.
  7. Coat inside a large bowl with the olive oil.
  8. Place the dome-shaped loaf inside the large bowl and cover it.
  9. Allow it to rise until it is doubled for 1 hour in a warm environment.
  10. After an hour, remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured table and punch it down to release air.
  11. Shape the dough back into a dome shape loaf and place on a cornmeal dusted parchment paper.
  12. Allow it to rise until it is doubled for another 1 hour in a warm environment.
  13. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.
  14. Brush loaf with egg and sprinkle the top with the remaining rosemary.
  15. Bake 18-20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
Enjoy baking......

Project of the week - Rosemary Breads

Since we have a lot fresh rosemary herb left over from the Xmas Eve dinner, our project for this week is none other than rosemary breads.

We are currently experimenting with 2 different types of rosemary breads:
  • Walnut Raisin Rosemary Bread; and
  • Italian Rosemary Bread.
Still awaiting for the breads to rise. As what Peter Reinhart mentioned in "The art of baking bread" in (, may our baking fortunes be showered with the ol' baker's blessing - May the crust be crisp and the bread always rise!

We will update again as soon the breads are out from the oven. Keep posted!

The 3 Elements of Bread Baking

The 3 most important elements in baking a loaf of bread is none other than:
  • Ingredients;
  • Temperature; and
  • Timing.
By mastering these 3 elements, you can create all kind of breads. We have just started embarking on our journey to master the art of baking. Along the journey, we will share our experiences here in this blog. Wish us luck!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our Very First Loaf

My wife and I, we're bread lovers. Yes we enjoy our bread very much.
We would buy about at least 2 loafs every week, if not 2 and 1/2. We'll use it for various things - either for sandwich or with butter and jam.
So we figured what better things to learn than to make your own bread. This we did. So we embarked on making our first loaf not very long ago and as you can see below is the picture of the end result.

It may not be much, but it tasted just like other breads we've bought out there.
To make your basic loaf like did, there are 4 key ingredients
  1. Salt
  2. Flour - we used all purpose white flour for now
  3. Water (lukewarm)
  4. Yeast
The steps are pretty simple too. You'll need to:
  1. Mix your yeast with the water.
  2. Then simply mix the salt and flour.
  3. Then stir until you get a wet dough mixture.
  4. Simply leave the dough covered for about 2 hours to allow it to rise.
  5. Then, once it has risen, you'll need to knead the dough a little. Add flour (if necessary) to avoid it being sticky to your fingers.
  6. Shape it according to whimps and fancy. Allow it to rest for another 1/2 hour.
  7. Then simply cut any design of your liking at the top of the dough. The idea is to allow a crack for the dough to expand when baking it.
  8. Once you've done that, simply place the dough onto a tray (with a parchment paper beneath it).
  9. As for your oven, you should have already set it to pre-heat at 350F. Then place the tray into your over, whist you place a smaller tray with water below in the oven as well (to allow for moisture in the oven during the baking process).
  10. Bake the bread for 40 minutes. Of course, check it from time to time to see if its ready as some oven may be hotter than others.

Prologue (prō'lôg', -lŏg')

Hi All,

We decided to start a new blog called Bedtime bakers. Why the name? Well, we love baking things and the weirdest thing about our baking habit is that we often find ourselves baking at night. Well, although we've been doing it for awhile, we've just decided to start writing down our exploits only recently. Thus, we're not too sure how this would continue, but we hope we'll be able to pursue and maintain some form of discipline in updating this blog from time to time, especially when just completing a crazy baking session.

So that being said, let the craziness begin and hope we'll be able to share our thoughts with like-minded folks out there as well.