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Almond Cookies

CNY is upon us. My favourite goodies is the peanut cookies. I also like the almond, walnut and basically anything with nut type of cookies. I was planning to bake all the different nut cookies, but I decided it was not worth the trouble. Maybe next year, when everything is not so rush, I’ll do that. I found this recipe from GuaiShuShu and I saw almond meal as one of the ingredient and got excited. Cause after my fail attempt of macarons, I have a lot of almond meal left. You can also use baked almonds and ground them using food processor if almond meal is not available. I also substitute the potato starch, as I only have corn starch.

Instead of rolling the dough into a 3-5mm sheet and cut them out with cookie cutter, I rolled them into balls and press down with my thumb. Thus the shape is not a perfect circle. You can also just cut them into squares. It really is up to you. And my cookies are not shiny and less than perfect looking, cause I do not want to waste a egg for the egg wash.

Make ~45 1.5inch cookies
160C preheated oven, lined cookie sheet
Ingredients
150g softened butter
80g sugar
1 egg yolk
200g flour
100g almond meal
2 tbs cornstarch

Methods
Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Beat in the yolk.
Mix in the almond meal.
Sift in the flour and cornstarch and fold until well mix and no more white can be seen in the mixture.
Use a dough scooper to get similar size ball and lined them on the baking tray 3 cm apart. (Or you can just scoop with your hand and roll into round balls, I prefer this method.)
Gently press the cookies with thumb to flatten them.
(You can brush an egg wash on top of the dough to make it shiny.)
Bake for about 12-15 minutes.
Let cool and store in airtight containers.

The cookies sort of melt in the mouth, but they are crunchy. Keyword: sort of. From the look of it, it seems like the cookies will break apart easily. But they don’t crumble as badly. If you like almond, you’ll like this.

Creme Brûlée

I tried making creme brulee with just an oven. Despite trying to melt it with the broiler setting, the sugar just doesn’t melt. Originally I followed the recipe from thekitchn.com. I already reduced the sugar from 1/2 cup to 1/4 for just 2 servings. Then, I reduce the sugar further, so not to have a full 1/4 cup, but I found that my creme brulee is way too sweet. So after buying a torch, I reduced the sugar to 1 tbs per 2 servings, I also use white sugar instead of icing, but you just have to whisk it more. Not much different in my opinion.

If there is one thing I can change, I would prefer to have a shallow dish for creme brulee. The eating experience will be quite different. But creme brulee is creme brulee. It is just one of those dessert, you’ll enjoy no matter what.

Make 2
135C preheated oven, 4-inch ramekins
Ingredients
2 egg yolks (or 3 if egg is rather small)
200ml heavy cream (I use whipping cream 35.1% Fat)
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tbs vanilla
more sugar for the crispy layer top

Methods
Whisk sugar into egg yolk until creamy.
Add a bit of cream to lighten it.
Add the rest of the cream and whisk.
Add in vanilla extract, stir and pour mixture into 2 ramekins.
Place them in a baking dish and put them into the preheated oven.
Pour water into the baking dish around the ramekins until the water reach about half the side of the ramekins.
Bake them for about 50 minutes. (It really depend on the depth of your ramekins, it will take longer for custard to cook in a deeper ramekin)
The custard is done when it is quite wobbly, but will not have liquid in the center.
Let cool.

Once cooled, placed ramekins into the fridge for at least 1 hour to set the custard.
When ready to serve, take out the custard from the fridge.
Sprinkle a layer of white sugar to coat the custard. Remove excess sugar.
Use a blowtorch and lightly melt the sugar to form a crispy top.