An easy-bake brownies recipe

It’s been a while since I last baked for the CG. Preoccupied with a lot of activities or perhaps, I was just not feeling up to it. But when the desire comes, I quickly get my act together and started baking. This time round, I just want to do a simple bake. Brownies it will be.

I used an 8-inch square pan and the baking time took about 30 -35 minutes in total. While I couldn’t achieve a crinkly top, it delights me nonetheless. The added walnuts add a certain classy look to a traditional-looking brownies.

Ingredients (Makes 16 cut brownies)

145 grams unsalted butter
200 grams caster sugar
80 grams Valrhona cocoa powder
1/4 rounded teaspoon kosher salt, use slightly less if using fine sea or table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large cold eggs
65 grams all-purpose flour
walnuts (to place on top of the brownie surface)

Prepare Batter

:: Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 165 degrees C. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. (This helps when removing the baked brownies from the pan, once cooled).

:: Add enough water to a medium saucepan so that it is 1 to 2 inches deep. Heat water until barely simmering.

:: Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and the salt in a medium heat-safe bowl. Rest the bowl over simmering water (if the bottom of the bowl touches the water, remove a little water). Stir mixture occasionally until the butter has melted and the mixture is quite warm. Don’t worry if it looks gritty; it will become smooth once you add the eggs and flour.

:: Remove the bowl from heat and set aside for 3 to 5 minutes until it is only warm, not hot. Stir in the vanilla with a spatula. Then add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.

:: When the batter looks thick, shiny and well blended, add the flour and stir until fully incorporated, then beat with the spatula for 40 to 50 strokes. (The batter will be thick). Beat vigorously here. You want to see the brownie batter pulling away from the sides of the bowl.  Spread evenly in lined pan.

BAKE BROWNIES

:: Bake the brownies for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out with a few moist crumbs. As a visual test, brownies are done when the edges look dry and the middle still looks slightly under-baked.

:: Let the brownies cool completely before taking it out of the pan.

:: Use a serrated knife and cut into 16 square pieces. Sieve snow powder on top of the brownies.

This recipe is a keeper and the next time I bake again, I would use brown sugar and add loads of walnut pieces into the batter.

This is another recipe that results in light brownies. See the tray of brownies on the tray in the above pic? It’s prepared by an awesome mom friend and I asked her for her recipe.

4 eggs, beaten until fluffy
Add one tub of 275g of Nutella
Bake at 180C for 25 minutes

Okay, that’s all! 😁

Teaching cupcake baking & decorating

Itchy hands, so they say. With the Christmas cheer in the air, one can’t help baking, can you? The desire to teach a class on baking and decorating got me asking a mom friend if the kids would be interested in such a class.

It’s a ‘yes’.

I taught a similar class in this exact clubhouse 4 years back when the girl was 3YO and the boy, 2 months old. We had a bigger crowd and frankly, teaching younger kids is more challenging since they require more assistance. So, this time round, teaching the 7YOs was a breeze.

I like it when kids asked questions. I mean, it’s definitely much better than a monologue, yes? We had a few inquisitive kids in our midst in this class and it was interesting.

I got them to go through the steps in the recipe, hoping that this would help spark some interest in helping out in the kitchen. My handheld mixer failed me and in the end, we had to mix the batter by hand. No biggie. The kids were all so ready to help so it’s really a joy.

Taught the kids to pipe the IMBC with 1A tip and decorate with ready-made decor. Alas, my buttercream split and it wasn’t terrific looking. The good thing is the kids didn’t mind and were happily munching their cupcakes after they have decorated them. Growing kids…

We went on to fondant and they were briefed a little about sugar art and I showed them some designs they could make. This was a tad more challenging but still, it’s doable with children this age.

Everyone was on task. This made the teacher very happy indeed.

The weather wasn’t too kind for sugarart, I must say. The fondant started ‘sweating’ once we were out of the air-con room.

The kids were really on task and we even had time to make gingerbread cookies as supplied by mommy Kate.

From 10am to 3pm with lunch in between, we fully maximised this period. This group of kids is too easy to teach.

Thankful to be given the chance to do what I love. I should really start to bake more.

Bintan Family Trip

When it comes to vacation, I’m one who prefers exploring places, hiking in the forests, visiting places of interest to check off the ‘to-go’ places on my list. A result of years of back-packing, I guess? I remember in those days when the internet was not so accessible, we had to rely on maps and recommendations from Lonely Planet guidebooks. It was exciting and challenging.

As much as possible, I tend to avoid a beach holiday. Not a beach bum most definitely though I wish I could. 😂

This time round, the family (in-laws inclusive) decided to go to Bintan for a short getaway. It was ten years ago that I was at Bintan for the triathlon which I DNF 🤣 due to a punctured tyre during the race and I didn’t bring a spare. This time round, I came with the family with two very active young kids.

Even though we live on an island (Singapore is an island, no?), the kids have never really enjoyed the sea. In fact, they fear being in the sea water. This time round, the water was inviting and the sand so smooth that the kids found themselves gravitating to it. We didn’t have much equipment for sand play but the two could entertain themselves with their own imaginative play.

They had a feel of the waves and were both thrilled and terrified of them. Can’t blame them, my city kids.

Forced the man to take a pic of me and the boy. Memories … and I want to be reminded that I was in it.

I would very much love to have some quiet moments to myself and to reflect on this past year. It has been a fruitful and full year, with much thanksgiving and lessons to be learnt. It’s truly a discipline to be quiet before the Lord and to listen to His small still voice. Most of the time, I find it difficult with the kids around me. This practice is something I very much wanted yet I haven’t gotten good at it.

Still couldn’t have a good half an hour to read and reflect. It’s a season and I’ve to recognise that and not allow bitterness to take root. At the very least, I’ve the privilege to witness their development throughout their childhood and that is a true blessing.

We hired a driver to bring us to Tanjung Pinang and off we went to the local market. Brought back memories to the time when I was a girl, following my mom to the wet market and she would explain to me how to look out for fresh fish and vegetables and the like. Nowadays, our kids are only exposed to supermarkets and naturally they found this local market none too exciting.

Sunset at Lagoi Bay and took the opportunity to take a family pic in these colourful changing rooms. We went to the shore since it was low tide and saw hermit crabs and other sea creatures. It was fascinating to me!

Such a beautiful sunset and it kind of marked the end of this short getaway.