I’m extremely happy to say: the school holidays have finally arrived! And I’m also proud to tell you that I spent my first three of these precious days baking (duh!), eating and catching up on the sleep I've been deprived of over the last two weeks. No longer do I have to half blog-half study (tehehe)- I can actually sit down and blog properly. It actually feels strange- it's been so long since I've done so!
I usually like to spend the last week or so of the term planning what I'll do in the holidays. Usually, this involves me writing a huge list of things I want to do but by the time I get to the holidays, I don't actually feel lilke doing any of it (until the last two days of the holidays). This time, I ended up writing a list of things that I wanted to make (food, of course) which ended up with almost 100 different recipes I wanted to try. And these were only things I'd read about in the last 2 weeks or so! You see, the last two weeks were exams, and when I try to study, I often end up looking at a lot more blogs than I would normally- I'm terribly good at procrastinating =]
Of course, I'll be lucky if I even end up making 10 of these things, but I guess we'll just have to see. Meanwhile, there are these cute little cocktail buns I made a while ago:
This was actually not my first attempt at making cocktail buns, although the first probably didn't really count. The first was a couple of years ago when I wasn't all too familiar with baking. I didn't have any seasame seeds in the house and was not bothered making mexican cream so I decided to make cocktail buns in the shape of turtles (I used to be a bit more creative!) Unfortunately, the yeast I used was probably dead, and so after 6 hours of proofing, they weren't any bigger than they originally were. The buns did not really taste like bread and we ended up throwing the whole lot in the bin. I wasn't going to be making cocktail buns for a while!
After figuring out that it was the yeast's fault, and also being a bit more familiar with bread making, I decided to try these again (but with a different recipe) following a request from my sister. I've never actually liked cocktail buns- whenever we go to Asian bakeries,I usually go for curry buns whilst my sister and dad will choose cocktail buns. However, cocktail buns are a classic, and I knew that if I made them I would eat them so I went ahead and made them. I used the straight dough method, for its simplicity and the fact that I knew it probably wouldn't fail on me.
The filling had a surpiringly high amount of butter- who would have thought that these innocent little cocktail buns had so much fat in the filling? The fact that the mexican cream was made out of butter, flour and sugar was also surprising- I'd thought it was made out of flour, sugar and water, like the top of hot cross buns. The recipe was extremely vague- it said to mix all the ingredients together. Perahps I did it wrong, but the mexican cream was not 'creamy' at all- it was more like pastry dough. I tried to heat it and pipe it but it was too stiff to pipe so I ended up rolling it out and sticking it on. It looks pretty bad but at least it made the buns sorta resemble cocktail buns!
The buns didn't turn out as terrible as my first attempt but nowhere near as good as the ones we get from the bakery. The mexican cream was mostly a failure- it turned out tasting like shortcrust pastry. However, the filling tasted a lot like that of normal cocktail buns which we buy! Other than the splotchy appearance, the bread itself wasn't too bad- it was soft and fluffylike most home baked breads. This didn't last too long though- they turned hard the next day, and even a zap in the microwave help much. I guess that's what happens with bread made with the straight method!
Recipe from Hong Kong Breads by Yau Yung Ling
Cocktail Bun Recipe
448g strong flour
112g caster sugar
168g warm water
1 egg (about 50g)
Some yellow food colouring- egg yellow or lemon yellow (optional)
4g bread additive (I’m guessing its bread improver?)
56g soft flour (I used cake/low gluten flour)
56g coconut shreds
70g soft butter
70g vegetable butter (I used margarine)
42g milk powder
84g Strong Flour
Some beaten egg
Some sesame seeds
Place all ingredients except butter into bread machine (according to the directions your bread machine manual!) Set to Dough function. Add in the butter after 8 ~ 10 mins into the kneading cycle. When the dough has finished kneading, remove dough from machine and put it in a bowl covered with cling wrap
Let ferment for 60 minutes, or until double in volume.
Filling- Mix all butter and sugar to milky white colour. Mix in all other ingredients
Divide he fermented dough into 16 portions. Add the filling and make into a piglet shape (or just the shape of a cocktail bun!) and put on a baking tray to let prove until double in size (I covered it with cling wrap)
Mexican Cream -Mix all ingredients together
Brush egg wash on top and pipe some Mexican cream on and top with sesame seeds. Bake at 200oC for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.
Btw, Happy Easter to everyone!