For those of you who have been reading my blog for quite some time now, you would probably know by now how much I love my desserts. I have such a sweet tooth that I think I have tried every imaginable sweet creation out there – from restaurants, pastry shops, food bazaars and home bakers. But amongst all these places, I favor getting my dessert fix from the home bakers because I find that their homemade goodness surpass the quality and taste of the mass-produced desserts out there.
Although I love desserts, I have to admit that I do not know how to bake a simple cookie. So I then decided to come up with a Baking 101 class for me and my friends! Last Friday, we invited a home baker, Carmela Villegas of Casa San Luis to spend an afternoon to teach us the basics of baking with some easy to follow recipes. Because we were so excited to learn, our group of 12 ladies was able to make 3 baked and 2 non-baked desserts in a total of 3.5 hours! 🙂
Incidentally, if you haven’t read my previous post, Carmela and I collaborated last year on a dessert that combined the 2 things I love most : Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter! Apologies for this shameless plug but if you must order one thing from her, it has to be our dessert called The Spoiled Mummy’s Chocolate Molten Cake! (Click the link to see my post about it.)
The first dessert that we made was called Fleur de Sel Chocolate Fudge Cake.
I don’t really have the step-by-step photos of each recipe here since I was also busy managing the kitchen. But hopefully, these will suffice in giving you an idea of how we baked each dessert.
For this recipe, we started by melting the 500g of dark chocolate, 30g of sugar and 150g of butter together. (The smell of the melted Belgian Chocolate in the kitchen was just so heavenly!!) Then we beat 4 large eggs with an electric mixer until it tripled in volume. We then stirred 1/4 of the egg mixture into the chocolate. Then, we folded in the chocolate mixture into the remaining eggs. Next, we added our 2 tsps of vanilla. Then lastly, we oiled our 9 inch pan and poured the whole chocolate mixture there.
Because we were only a small group of 12, each one of us got a close-up view watching our teacher and our dessert creations unfold before our very eyes! 🙂
We then baked the cake for 15-17 minutes at 210 Celsius. Afterwards, we cooled it on a wire rack for 10mins then placed it in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes.
When the cake came out of the fridge, we sprinkled Fleur de Sel (or you can use any good quality sea salt that you can find) on top of it, to give it that nice, sweet-salty combination.
The cake was a success! It came out perfectly baked with that soft, very moist, mousse-like texture! 🙂
The next thing we made were the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.
First, we whisked 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a medium bowl. We then set that aside. Then we put 3/4 cup of unsalted, softened butter in our mixing bowl and added 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter with it. We mixed the butter and peanut butter together using our electric mixer on medium speed until they were combined, for about 2 minutes. We then added 1/2 cup sugar and 2 large eggs to it. Then gradually, we mixed in our flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture until they were both fully combined.
Next step was we folded in the 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips and 2tsp of vanilla in the mixture until they were well distributed. We then refrigerated the dough until slightly firm for about 15 minutes.
Next step was the fun part! We scooped the dough into 1-inch balls and spaced them 2-3 inches apart on the baking tray. We baked them until they were golden brown, about 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, it was the last step that was the hardest part! We had to wait a while to cool the deliciously smelling, freshly baked cookies before we were allowed to get our share and eat! 🙂
Our third dessert was called Lemon – Cookie Butter Cheesecake!
In this recipe, we used a lot of Speculoos Cookies and Cookie Butter Spread! Thank you to Lorena and Loreta for providing our class with these necessary and yummy ingredients!
First, we crushed 1 cup of Speculoos Cookies and mixed it with 1/3 cup of vegetable oil (or butter, whichever you prefer). We then placed the cookie mix in our springform pan and gently patted the cookie mix to have an even layer of crust. Afterwards, we placed the pan in the oven for 10 minutes at 350F degrees, to set the crust.
Next, we beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed, just enough to break them apart and soften them slightly. We then added a pinch of salt and gradually added 1 1/2 cups of sugar and beat them again for about a minute until well combined. Afterwards, we added 1 cup of Cookie Butter spread (Smooth or Crunchy, whichever you prefer) and beat them all together again. Next, we added 1/3 cup of sour cream (if none, you may use yogurt), 2 tsps of lemon juice and 2 tsps of vanilla. We mixed all these ingredients together until they were all fully combined. Lastly, we added the 4 eggs to the mixture (but we made sure that we slowly added just 1 egg at a time).
When everything was fully combined in the mixer, we then spooned the whole filling into the cooled crust. We baked the cake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes without opening the oven. We also reduced the temperature later on and cooked it for another hour and a half. After the baking process, we cooled the cheesecake on a wire rack and refrigerated it until cool.
We didn’t have much time to make the lemon glaze for this Lemon – Cookie Butter Cheesecake since we were happy with having it just plain and with the Speculoos Cookie Butter. But if you wish to add that citrusy lemon flavor to the cheesecake, here’s the very simple recipe : Mix 1 cup plain yogurt, zest of 1 lemon, juice of half a lemon and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Place it in the refrigerator and then before serving the cheesecake, just add the glaze on top! 🙂
Our 4th dessert for the afternoon was something non-baked called Peanut Butter S’mores!
First step, we crushed the Speculoos Cookies in bigger chunks and mixed it with 1 cup of Dark Chocolate morsels. Then on a non-stick sauce pan, we placed 3 tbsps of butter and 2/3 cup of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, up to you) and placed it on low heat.
Once the butter was melted, we then added the whole jar of Marshmallow Fluff to it. (This is available from Lorena and Loreta too.)
Once all the marshmallows were melted, we took the pan off the stove and added in the crushed cookies and dark chocolate morsels together. (Don’t forget to line your pan with foil or grease it with oil / butter because marshmallows stick to everything!)
Last step was easy! We sprinkled a little bit of Fleur de Sel on top just so the whole thing doesn’t become too sickly sweet. We placed the pan in the freezer for about an hour to cool and then with a sharp knife, we cut it into our desired shapes and pieces. And voila, we were done! No actual baking needed! 🙂
Our last recipe for the day was for another non-baked dessert we called Mango Speculoos Cream Pie.
First step, we boiled the juice of 2 oranges and the zest of half an orange together. Then in a bowl, we whisked together 150g of sugar and 3 egg yolks, until we got a pale yellow mixture. We then added the cooled orange juice to the egg mixture.
Next, we heated the the mixture on low fire to cook the raw eggs. (You will know that the mixture is ready once the cream covers the back of your wooden spoon. You may also add a shot of Orange Liqueur here at this time.) Once it was ready, we placed the whole thing in the refrigerator to cool.
Next step was simple. We cut our mangoes and placed them in our serving dish. (You may opt to use ice cream bowls, glasses or soup bowls here instead of the big predictable Pyrex square.)
We then whipped the cream and folded it in the orange juice mixture. Soon after that, we poured the cream on top of our sliced mangoes and refrigerated the whole thing to cool. (If you have more time, it is best to do this the day before so the cream mixture has already set and the dessert would be perfectly chilled by then.)
Last but not the least, once the dessert was cooled, I volunteered to cut the Speculoos Cookies in half and placed them on top of the cream mixture to decorate our finished product! This was the best part for me because I was able to sneak in a bite or two, or even more – of these really deliciously addicting cookies! 🙂
Not only did we learn a lot of baking tips and secrets that day, my friends and I all got to have a pretty-in-pink customized The Spoiled Mummy lootbag! 🙂 A big thank you to one of our friends, Maan San Buenaventura who owns Party Starters for making these in time for our Baking 101 class. She has always been my very reliable go-to supplier for all my party needs!
It was truly one afternoon spent wisely and productively with good friends. We learned a lot of simple and easy to follow recipes, but more than the baking skill we earned, I was happy to see that my kitchen suddenly came alive again and witnessed a whole lot of chit chatting, laughing and eating! Oh yes, it was one happy and loud day with all 12 ladies on sugar high!! 🙂
Lorena and Loreta – 0917-857-7249
Party Starters – 0927-929-1075 or 0933-364-0685
Carmela Villegas (Casa San Luis) – 0916-644-8522