Sunday, August 19, 2012

Holy Mission On Earth

Bangket Kacang - before baking

Time flies. Yet another year, another idul fitri. I didn't plan to sell lebaran cookies this year, due to time and mental constraint. We have to finish wrapping up material for the upcoming book of NCC at the beginning of Ramadhan, that alone took me more than a week to recover. Then I still taught a few classes during fasting month, another slow recovery. Yet, I still craved to have obligatory cookies for idul fitri. No, it's not nastar nor kaasstengels. For me, those obligatory cookies are bangket :) Haha, you might be sick of this word by now, I don't care :D

Around mid Ramadhan last year, I baked Bangket Kacang using unpeeled peanuts, coz there is no way I would leave that beautiful tasty skin behind. It created the pretty specks on my bangket and it tasted better to my palate. I baked them again this year, around the same time of Ramadhan, along with its peer, Bangket Susu. The photo above was from last year, which later became the inside title cover of my book.

The Towers 1

So much for the plan, it wasn't quite agreed by a few customers. Allah The Most Beneficent. Some of them called, some of them twitted. I never thought I would feel guilty rejecting their orders, so I referred them to a friend instead, hoping they would be as satisfied. That worked for common cookies like Nastar, Kaasstengels, and such. But when they insisted on ordering PennyLane Cookies, I just had to fulfill it. It's my call, my holy mission on earth.

So, yeah. There I was, in my kitchen again, having fun baking the chocolate cookies, mound after mound, tower after tower. Not much, 12 towers in total, but satisfying as the sun. Allah The Most Compassionate. I have to say though, it was one of the greatest temptation that I could not lick the batter!

The Towers 2

Eid mubarak, everyone.
Forgive me for everything. And I mean everything.

1 Syawal 1433 H,

ps: all the bangkets were gone even before idul fitri *sigh*
so, so, so much for the plan..

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chocolate-Peanut Spread

Choco-nut Spread 1

I have this little book for 2 years now, "200 Chocolate Recipes" by Felicity Barnum-Bobb. I use it for food photography purpose and never tried any recipes in it. Until one night I was thinking it's time for the book to fulfill its destiny in my hand.

How I wished we grow hazelnuts locally in this country, coz a jar of homemade Nutella won't hurt at all. But I love peanuts just the same. I can finish a jar of Skippy crunchy peanut butter by myself and not feel guilty at all :). So when I poured the shiny chocolate spread into 2 half-pint mason jars, I couldn't help but feeling gleeful inside, almost could feel the dancing of two most delightful food in the world on my tongue already.

It was that good I felt like spooning all night. Literally :)

Choco-nut Spread 2

100% Whole Wheat Loaf

Whole Wheat Bread 2

"Who says whole wheat bread has to be dense, dry, and tasteless? This 100% whole wheat recipe features the delightfully nutty taste of wheat in a fine-grained, moist, faintly sweet loaf."
You know what, they speak the truth. When I read the review, it didn't take long before I ran to baking store  and be back in my kitchen to try the recipe. By the time the sun smeared the sky purple in the afternoon, I've had a wondrous yeasty fragrant kitchen and the best home-baked wholewheat loaf for my afternoon tea. Could life be any sweeter?

I'd been in quest for a good one-hundred-percent wholewheat bread for quite some time that I almost gave up. They're always too dense, too dry, didn't taste really good, or I had to give up some part of the flour for white flour. But this, I love! Got it from King Arthur Flour website, tweaked a little bit, and I have a foolproof recipe I always can count on. Been baking this several times now and for me it's a life saver. Can't count on the so-called wholewheat loaf they sell in the bakeries, let alone supermarket. You have to find a European style bakery to get a full wholegrain bread in Jakarta. Last time I checked, only Vineth Bakery still sells this thing. Others only sell the fake ones, the ones contained only about 10-20% wholewheat flour in them. And they don't even taste good.

One afternoon I enjoyed it with homemade chocolate-peanut spread and fresh cheesecream, another time I had it with vegetables and homemade mayo for lunch. Call me wholewheat crazy, I'm happy.

Whole Wheat Bread 3

Bangket Susu

Bangket Susu in the Jar

That milky floury super crumbly melt-in-your-mouth sensation which had been around through generations. In other words, yet another Bangket :)

Yea, yea, another little known fact that Bangket takes control of me like a charm. For this coming idul fitri, I have nothing in mind but bangket after bangket. I planned to bake Bangket Susu, Bangket Kacang and Bangket Jahe --which by the way, I have found the best recipe of--, but turned out only accomplished the first two. And finished them all even before idul fitri. Couldn't help it!

This is the famous Bangket Susu by Nadrah Shahab. Other than the already famous virtues of bangket, this one particularly boasts the milky aroma that surprisingly goes really well with the distinctive character of savor of sago flour. Two years ago, Natural Cooking Club took the community by the storm with its Bangket Week, where the members deliriously baked nothing but bangket to respect and honor this traditional cookies of Indonesia. I've had it a year before when Nadrah sent me one jar, along with a jar of Bangket Kacang. So when the Bangket Week was on, the two bangkets were stars in a matter of seconds.

The original recipe uses margarine which I initially planned to substitute with butter. I was run out of butter, so I used oil instead and it produced different texture than those made of butter or margarine. When the oil mixed with flour, it created lumps that later when baked turned to be these wonderful crunchy things inside the crumbly cookies, things the original one doesn't have. On the exterior, they created beautiful cracks adorning each cookie beautiful like pretty laces. Oh, how lovely little nibble!

Bangket Susu