Happy Valentine's Day! It doesn't get more basic than this - sugar cookies with icing - but what fun to make and share! I say these happy hearts deserve to be made all year long.
The Asian Food Channel (AFC) has a Studio at the 7th floor of Orchard Central, where they hold hands-on cooking classes and demos (sometimes by visiting celebrity chefs). A few of us attended a blogger party where we learned how to make these cookies as well as chocolate chip biscotti.
I was last here for a Spanish cooking masterclass. I'm glad that some of the Spanish ingredients (like the smoked paprika) are still available here.
The colourful and cheery studio not only has merchandise, books, trendy cookware and kitchen utensils, but also an extensive cookbook library. Anyone is welcome to sit down, chill with a book and a cuppa. Their cafe section offers desserts and pastries made fresh daily by their own in-house culinary team. The coffee's pretty good, and they serve TWG tea. All this far from the maddening Orchard crowd below.
AFC Managing Director and Co-Founder Hian Goh who led the blogger session says they can customise classes as well. The classes are usually kept deliberately small, so the audience can benefit from a better teacher-student ratio.
Chef Sue-Ann Lambert brought us through the steps and made it look super-easy. Let me share the recipes they gave.
2 cups flour
A pinch of salt
85g butter, softened
half teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
- Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix to combine. Add salt, vanilla and flour, and mix until dough just combines.
- Chill for 30 minutes.
- Roll chilled dough and cut with desired cutter. (Some of us created handmade shapes, so there are no rules!)
- Transfer to baking tray and bake for about 8-12 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown.
- Decorate with icing (Sue-Ann's recipe below, but here's one that doesn't require egg whites!)
2 large egg whites (60g)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups (330g) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
- In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until combined.
- Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth.
- Use icing immediately or transfer into an airtight container before it hardens. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.
CHOCOLATE CHIP BISCOTTI:
1 cup sugar (white or brown is fine)
half stick (quarter cup or 4 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 cup chocolate chips (or anything else you fancy - nuts, dried fruit, etc)
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat a few more minutes. Add the vanilla.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, then add to the mixer. Combine well, then stir in the chocolate chips.
- Shape the dough into a log, approximately 12 inches long and 3 inches wide with lightly floured hands. You may find it easier to shape them into two shorter logs. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 30 minutes at 160 degrees C.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice diagonally into desired thickness (no more than half inch slices), and return them to the baking sheet. Bake again until cookies turn light brown for about ten minutes. Flip them over and brown them for another few minutes.
- Allow to cool and enjoy with your favourite coffee or tea!
One Night: A Malaysian Wedding - Chef Wan" at 9pm (Singapore) or 8pm (Jakarta and Thailand) tonight. Chef Wan faces his ultimate challenge of putting together THE wedding for his daughter Serina. I hear it goes on for 3 days and the bride goes through 10 wedding dresses. Chef Wan puts together his signature dishes at a gala dinner for 700 guests. What a stress bath it all must be, but vicarious adrenalin for the rest of us. (photo from AFC website)
Thanks once again to AFC and Fulford PR for inviting me to this blogger event.
THE AFC STUDIO
181 Orchard Road,
#07-02 Orchard Central,
Tel: +65 6834 4829
Opening Hours: 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.