FOOD

5 easy baking recipes to try at your home

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Home baker Mary Anne Ramos of Blue Toque, a bakery that offers a variety of premium home-baked quality desserts, has compiled five recipes that are easy to follow. Photos by MARY ANNE RAMOS

Editor's note: For the rest of the community quarantine, CNN Philippines Life is bringing a short, weekly series on easy baking recipes developed by different home bakers. Recipes featured in the series have not been kitchen-tested by the CNN Philippines Life staff and were featured in good faith with the bakers.

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Hand-crafted desserts may seem intimidating to try especially for the inexperienced, but there are various recipes that are easy to follow. In this installment of our baking mini-series, home baker Mary Anne Ramos of Blue Toque, a bakery that offers a variety of premium home-baked quality desserts, has compiled five recipes to try. Arranged according to level of difficulty, some tips and variations for each recipe have also been provided.

To start, Ramos shares some basic baking pointers:

1. In baking, precision is key.

2. Weigh your ingredients accurately and follow instructions to a T.

3. Personally, Ramos prefers to measure ingredients using a scale (instead of measuring cups and spoons) to ensure that the end-product will be consistent every time. But to make the following recipes beginner-friendly, measurements were written in cups and tablespoons.

4. Use the best ingredients available. Stick to the recipe and avoid substituting as much as possible.

5. Always preheat your oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking. Use an oven thermometer to ensure that you are baking at the correct temperature.

6. Gather all your ingredients and tools first before starting.

7. Just enjoy the process.

Photos by MARY ANNE RAMOS

CHOCOLATE-COVERED CORNFLAKES

Tools & Equipments:

Bowl
Spatula
Sheet pan or plate

Ingredients:

Good quality chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Cornflakes (plain, not sugar-coated)

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a microwave.

2. Add the cornflakes to your evenly melted chocolate.

3. Stir until every cornflake is covered.

4. Spread flat onto a sheet pan or plate. Chill for 15-20 minutes.

5. Break into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container.

Tips:

The final product’s taste will largely depend on the chocolate used so use the best chocolate available.

Moisture can make chocolate seize. Make sure to wipe all your tools dry and don’t let even a drop of water get into your chocolate.

Do not overheat your chocolate. Go low and slow.

Variations:

Use different kinds of chocolate (e.g. dark, milk, or white) depending on your preference.

Photos by MARY ANNE RAMOS

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Tools & Equipments:

Saucepan
Silicone spatula
7” or 8” square pan lined with parchment paper
Sifter
Knife

Ingredients:

¾ cup of heavy cream (at least 36% fat)
2 cups of good quality chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons of butter
For dusting: good quality cocoa powder, unsweetened

Directions:

1. In a saucepan, bring cream to a simmer.

2. Add the chopped chocolate and stir using a silicone spatula until lump-free.

3. Turn off the heat and add in the butter and liquor. Mix until mixture is smooth.

4. Pour onto the prepared pan.

5. Tap the pan a few times to evenly distribute the truffle mixture.

6. Chill for 4 to 5 hours.

7. Remove the truffle from the pan and cut into squares using a hot knife.

8. Sift cocoa powder on top.

Tips:

The final product’s taste will largely depend on the chocolate used so use the best chocolate available!

Warm up and clean your knife after every cut to achieve clean cuts.

Variations:

You may use either dark chocolate or milk chocolate.

If using white chocolate, increase to 2 ½ cups.

Want to make your chocolate truffles more interesting? Add 1 tablespoon of any liquor of your choice.

Photos by MARY ANNE RAMOS

CHURROS WITH CHOCOLATE DIP

Tools & Equipments:

Heavy bottom saucepan
Mixer
Piping bag and tip
Wax paper or greased parchment paper
Frying pan and tongs

Ingredients:

1 cup of water
½ cup of butter
3 tablespoons  of sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 ¼ cup of all purpose flour, sifted
2 eggs, large
oil, for frying (heated to 350 F)

Directions:

1. Boil the water, butter, sugar, salt together in a saucepan.

2. Turn the heat down and add in flour. Stir until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.

3. Transfer to a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium to cool down the mixture.

4. Add in the eggs one at a time. Beat until mixture is smooth.

5. Using a piping bag with tip, pipe mixture onto wax paper about 4” long.

6. Drop the piped churros into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown.

7. Remove from oil and place on table napkins to absorb excess oil.

8. Serve warm with hot chocolate dip. Optional: Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tips:

Use the chocolate truffle recipe (see previous recipe) as chocolate dip.

If using a hand mixer, expect that mixing time will be longer.

Fry at the right temperature. (If it's too low, the churros will absorb more oil than necessary. If it's too high, the surface will brown easily and inside will be undercooked.)

Variations:

For cinnamon sugar churros: Roll the fried churros on brown sugar-cinnamon powder mixture

Photos by MARY ANNE RAMOS

MOIST BANANA BREAD

Tools & Equipments:

Mixer
Loaf pan, greased or lined with parchment paper
Oven, preheated to 350 F

Ingredients:

½ cup of butter, cubed
1 cup of brown sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 eggs, large
2 of teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups of over-ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup of sour cream or yogurt
2 cups of all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon of baking soda

Directions:

1. Sift together flour and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar and salt until mixture is fluffy. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl with spatula.

3. Add in eggs one at a time.

4. Add in vanilla extract, mashed bananas and sour cream. Mix well.

5. Stir in flour mixture just until blended. Do not over-mix.

6. Pour batter into loaf pans. Fill until ¾ full.

7. Bake for 30 to 45 min (depending on the size of your load pan) or until the toothpick comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.

8. Cool for a few minutes and unmold. Slice and serve.

Tips:

Use an oven thermometer to ensure that you have the right oven temperature.

Keep the oven door closed. Even if it’s very tempting to check how your baked goods are coming along, don’t check until you are 3 to 5 mins away from the prescribed baking time. Opening the door too early will lower the heat and can make your baked goods collapse.

1 (225 grams) bar of butter is equal to 1 cup. If you need ½ cup, just divide into 2.

Variations:

Add ½ to 1 cup of toasted unsalted nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds, etc) or chocolate chips.

For banana muffin: Bake in cupcake pan for 15 to 18 minutes (depending on your pan size).

Photos by MARY ANNE RAMOS

MILKY UBE CHEESE PAN DE SAL

Tools & Equipments:

Mixer
Oven, preheated to 350 F
Bowl, greased
Cling wrap or any plastic that can cover the bowl
Sheet pan, greased
Plastic that can cover the whole sheet pan

Ingredients:

4 ½ cups of bread flour, sifted
2 teaspoon of instant dry yeast
½ cup of sugar
1 cup of fresh (full cream) milk
2 egg yolks
1½ to 2 tablespoons of ube flavoring
1 teaspoon of salt
¼ of cup butter
For the coating: bread crumbs
For the filling: cheese, cut into cubes

Directions:

1. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix on low all ingredients except for salt and butter.

2. After 5 minutes of mixing, add in salt and butter. Mix on medium for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the dough passes the “window pane test” (dough is smooth and elastic)

3. Fermentation: Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a cling wrap or plastic. Let rise for 45 min to 1 hour or until double in size.

4. Punch down to de-gas. Scale 30g per pan de sal.

5. Shape into balls. Rest for 10 min.

6. Fill in with cheese. Seal well and round each dough again.

7. Roll in bread crumbs. Place on a sheet pan.

8. Proofing: Cover with plastic. Let rise for 45 min to 1 hour or until double in size.

9. Bake for 15 min.

Tips:

Use very cold liquids (e.g. milk, water, eggs) in bread dough to control the temperature during mixing.

Do not over-ferment or over-proof the dough as this will result in yeasty-smelling and off-tasting breads.

If dough is slightly sticky during the shaping/rounding stage, avoid using excess flour to dust your work surface. Use a small amount of butter instead.

Use an oven thermometer to ensure that you have the right oven temperature.

Keep the oven door closed. Opening the door too early/often will lower the heat and can result in under-baked breads.

Variations:

Other fillings to try: ube halaya, yema, custard, etc.

For plain pan de sal, omit flavoring. Fill dough with preferred savory fillings (e.g. asado, tuna, etc.)