AKA the epitome of i-am-lazy-and-my-oven-is-sometimes-incompetent type of baking. I have those days too.
When I’m all about easy, I mean it. This pairing of deep chocolate and smooth vanilla is irresistible. Classic. The best part is that you unload an inappropriate whopping of ice cream on a piece of brownie and nothing becomes goo for quite a while. I’m the sort who loves a beautiful melting mess, but the time delay prolongs the sensory pleasure of digging into the harmony of sweetness come together by the distinct separation of flavour. Then everything melds together, and the symphony is complete.
These brownies are fudgy, but still retain the texture of a brownie more so than plain old fudge. The addition of crushed biscuits gives it both sweetness and stability. An important point to note in this recipe is that the milk, cream and sugar should be boiled for at least 5 minutes so most of the water content has evaporated, before the other things are mixed in. This will yield the best fudgy texture after less time in the fridge. And the ice cream? It just couldn’t be more straightforward.
1 cup crushed biscuits (I used Nice coocnut biscuits, but you can use anything you have in the pantry, such as crushed cereal or oreos!)
175g (1 cup) chocolate chips or chunks
pinch of salt
optional add-ins: more chopped nuts/ chocolate chips
For the no-churn ice cream:
600ml whipping cream
450ml (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract/ 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste/ the insides of one vanilla bean
Pour the milk, butter and sugar into a large saucepan and heat on medium heat until everything comes to a boil. The mixture will froth and seem to double in volume so it’s important to have a large, not small saucepan here. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes, then take it off the heat and stir in the flour, salt, crushed biscuits and chocolate. The chocolate will melt and turn everything a rich brown colour. Pour this mixture into a greased 8×8 or 9×9-inch baking pan and place in the fridge to set for 3 hours, or overnight.
In a large bowl and with an electrical whisk, pour in the can of condensed milk, whipping cream and vanilla. Beat until you have soft peaks, then pour into a freezer-safe container (I just used a plastic tupperware box), cover and place in the freezer for at least 4-5 hours, or overnight.
And that’s it! Since these components are meant to be left in a cold environment, they last for ages in the freezer (or just leave the brownies in the fridge), and they can be taken out at any one point in time to enjoy together.
I write this as a sailor stranded to my bed, the cold shivers churning my skin blue and green and all sorts of unnatural tones. I hate sickness. I hate what it does to you; the freedom it strips away from you. Food poisoning is actually the worst. So to make myself feel a little better, I’ve decided to talk about waffles. Which is easy enough, except these were particularly good waffles, and not the mediocre sort you would get from trying to make it yourself at home from a pack. Granted I’m no waffle expert, but I think I know a good one when I taste/see one. Welcome to Wimbly Lu, everyone.
Be careful, though. The chances of your bottom ruining the dainty, feminine chairs laid out as if for a 24/7 tea party is monstrously high.
Worth it. Every single cent.
I never really thought myself a diehard waffle fan. But I GET the appeal of these– outrageously crisp exterior, wonderfully fluffy interior. The ice cream topping was lovely, though I wish they had larger ice cream scoops. The ratio was a little off, and this fact was made even more evident as the sun ran its course, and the cream slithered into all the cute little square syrup traps and down the sides, soaking each nook and cranny, but there was just not enough of it to provide a more moderate degree of pleasure.
Honey cinnamon and salted caramel aside, they also have flavours such as cheesecake (dear lord, I was close to picking that one), rum and raisin (alright, that too), milo, brownie, chocolate truffle and vanilla bean. Doesn’t that just sound decadent.
Gosh, the crunch on that thing. My ears perked as my knife made shingle sounds, as it cut into the wonderful, brown crust. I have to say though, the waffles from Artistry still have my heart glued to its perfect little crevices.
I didn’t expect much from the nutella pie, but goodness, it was pretty much the richest chocolate pie I’ve ever had, laced with the childlike whimsy of nutella. A deep, dark ganache, not overly cloying, so thick, so beautiful. The pastry was only lightly sweetened to play off the carnal chocolate notes. It worked magnificently.
Why hi, ungroomed toes.
I read quite a bit about their famous lemon meringue pie, and I almost felt inhuman if that meant not taking one of these babies home. Just one slice, at a shocking 7 bucks, but at least it was one of those humongous slices that could last one for days on end. Quite satisfied, yes. The interior is a buttery lemon curd, topped with swirls of sweet, torched meringue, all lying on a strong pastry base, sweeter than that of the nutella pie, but justly so, for a mild sweetness was necessary to offset the jaw-tingling tang of lemon. I loved it. You will love it. Go get it.
Oh baby. We made it. Rejoice and let the angels sing in the background. All hail the world of coffee and waffles.
Seriously, it’s almost a job. By the way, did you know that cafés actually make for extremely conducive work spaces? I used to avoid them like the plague, and now look what’s bitten me. Can’t help it, I just can’t. I’m living the dream, and studying becomes so much more exciting and worthwhile beside the perfect cup of coffee. I learnt this fact today. Most glad I did, at that. Furthermore, it’s the most satisfying thing in the whole world to be able to tick a café’s name of my to-go list. Akin to having a bright, cold shower after being stuck in the heat. Almost like tasting sweet water after having none of the stuff for 12 hours straight. That’s how empowering that tick is.
Popped by this GEM of a place near Arab Street, heart on my sleeve, coffee stomach empty (and hair a little messy). After having the french toast at One Man Coffee, my friend and I decided to share just a couple of things, just so we didn’t feel like exploding halfway, a la Monty Python and the Meaning of Life. If any of you have watched it, please tell me what you think of that absurd fat suit in the comments. Moving on. Ordered a Gibraltar and the Belgian waffles at the counter, from a most charismatic and knowledgeable young man. The fancy espresso machines were smirking at us, and the kindly service was so becoming that afternoon. I couldn’t wait to sit down and enjoy something good. Look, it was my first time. Sole virgin experiences don’t deserve pretentious expectations. But I tell you, oh, I tell you, I wa sseverly underestimating the quality of this space. The coffee, for one, was a dream in a cup. Not very acidic, but the beautiful roast was aromatic and kindly, bringing forth the right degree of caffeinated strength, sweetness and bitterness.
You’re officially in denial if you say this isn’t a work of art.
Alright, everyone has had waffles before. Probably from a next best café, or a box mix, or something. One thing’s for sure, and that it probably doesn’t come close to the divinity my friend and I experienced that afternoon, as we sat there in the weak sun for the sake of catching this babe in the best possible light. I mean, look at that. Of course, there’s beautiful food, and then there’s beautiful and delicious food. I’m so excited to gush about how crisp, light and fluffy these were that my hands are practically flying across the keyboard and I’m constantly attacking the backspace button because I just can’t type properly with these sentiments and memories of that one waffle.
Crisp, I said. Oh, so crisp! They beat the ones I had at Assembly Coffee, and probably the ones at Strangers’ Reunion. The crunch was magnificent, angelic, but most of all, completely and utterly unexpected. Of the perfect thickness and doneness. I didn’t think they were going to be anything which surpassed mediocre. Waffles are so easy to be described as good. Shove the batter in the creviced pan and bam, you’ll probably get something nice. Decent, almost. Alright. But these are so wonderfully aerated and full of character, as if destined to be ravaged with the most extravagant of toppings, such as this gorgeous berry compote, which offered a sharp tinge of ruby citrus for our sweetened buds. The ice cream was a refreshing twist, though I can’t sing praise for that alone. The fig and honey was not evident at first bite, and offered little depth in flavour. I was surprised at how long the ball stayed in tact after spending quite a while in the heat, though, and after we went on a guilty photo-taking spree.
I’m going to try their famed cakes and PB&J french toast (goodness gracious?!) the next time, and my heart is pounding at the mere thought of such undeserved extravagance.
Tune in to your senses at Artistry. Read a book. Soak in some jazz. Pretty magic.
Basically I have this problem. And no, I’m not talking about my pathetic sense of direction or the fact that I cannot walk in a straight line.
And this problem has manifested itself slowly and silently throughout my teenage years.
The problem is that I hardly ever go out to tea. And yet such a sophisticated English Rose occasion is crazily ubiquitous; millions of the common folk go out to experience this pinkies-up-whilst-drinking-earl-grey phenomenon. Yes, even here in the not-so-quaint Singapore. I remember going out for pain au chocolats with the maman and sister in Kensington, London, back when I used to live there. I’d hop onto a buggyboard at the back of my sister’s pram and we’d all stride along the leaf-littered streets just to chance upon a myriad of cafes, offering the tempting smells and charming, traditional sights. I cautiously sipped my mother’s cappuccino and crinkled my nose, not understanding the power of such a drug which I would only come to know of many, many years later. It’s rather nice to think about how many years I’ve lived, for it makes me reminisce and ponder and yet sadly, feel remorseful over. Everything there was sweetly carved in white brick and rustic wood, as if no other material would live up to the quintessential English Rose cafe. Even here, there are so many little quaint bistros, cafes and specialty dessert places which allow one the privilege to live the life of an uptown aristocrat from the 16th century. Perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing, but delightful all the same. Delightful.
Just an hour or two, but that’s really enough. The chance to sip tea and dig into petite cakes and souffles with a couple good friends was beyond what I consider to be privileged. Just a note: this all happened after Ruru and I managed to actually find the place.
Yes. The Pier!
Where on earth is that!
Somewhere on Mohamed Sultan Road. But I swear I can’t see it. I swear I swear.
Google Maps is utter crap.
I know, it should be here.
Panic, panic, panic. Before we politely asked a passer-by. She looked behind her and calmly mentioned that The Pier was right ahead.
In big letters too. The Pier.
Joy of joys. We sucked in our embarrassment, straightened our blouses and hurried over. The best things are always the most esoteric nowadays. Or perhaps it’s always meant to be this way to prevent hyperactivity and overly sensational ravings from the common peasants who wander along Orchard Road and nowhere else.
Their coffee and wine selection is most agreeable, with a whole section dedicated to connoisseurs of either.
Burns a hole in your pocket, too. My old school camp facillitator Aik Seng treated Ruru and I, and wanted to engage in some appalling splurging. That single-shot espresso macchiato right there was round about nothing less than $5 or $6, if I may correctly recall. I never was one for such price memorisation. It surged with the strength of real caffeine. Believe it or not I saved that little square of (hopefully) dark chocolate in the misty corner of my black tote, waiting for the right time. Today isn’t right, and tomorrow probably won’t be either. Somewhere, sometime in heaven perhaps.
Even though no one will be there anyway.
We quickly ordered the chocolate soufflé, since Ruru warned that it typically takes quite a while to prepare and then serve. I hurried the waiter, who I’m afraid to say failed to impress on any level.
At all. It took about 5 times before he stumbled towards our table, hefty with the pains of everyday life and almost steaming with a mild sense of rebellion. Service-wise, it was a terrific disaster.
This actually made my mouth water when I saw it make its way through the empty lit cavern, a dark-skinned king hailing triumphantly from the Land of the Oven. It rose almost obnoxiously from the pristine, gargantuan white thing of a ramekin, coupled by a lovely little scoop of raspberry sorbet.
Or in other words, its saving grace. I’m that type of person who can’t have a molten, gooey dessert my itself; it must certainly be accompanied by some wildly cold partner to lax its richness and offer some breezy, white-hued relief. The relief this time was in a becoming shade of baby carmine, good and icy, yet full of that frozen raspberry twang and punch.
Soft but not to the point whereby it was perfectly scoop-able and oh so dangerously fragile. The lady came with a tiny jug of hot chocolate sauce, which we all expected to flow out gracefully like a reincarnation of Wily Wonka’s chocolate river. Dark and seductive, making a nice small hole in the middle as it hit the centre, cracking its tissue-like surface and ravaging the fluffy holey interior.
We could not have been more wrong about anything in our entire lives.
The lady didn’t even pour anything, so we did so ourselves. Woe and behold, the sauce was thicker than the consistency of frozen nutella right out of the fridge. We literally had to force it out in thick , rounded globs. That chocolate flavour, I admit was well on spot, with the slightest hint of orange or perhaps even a tinge of Grand Marnier, to complement the rich electricity of dark chocolate. Could’ve had the whole jug if no one was watching (not like something like that would ever happen ever). It was just that terrible, terrible consistency which made my heart sink to the floorboards beneath and beyond.
I felt rather greedy when the other two had stopped picking at the souffle, but I continued to scrape and poke and prod and lick anyway. Story of a chocolate addict.
Thanks to my small lunch, I believe. I can be practical okay. If I possess some degree of sentience and sanity.
We attacked the middle to indulge in the tender warmth of its belly, before proceeding to enjoy the slight chewy crispness of the outside edges, warmed from the oven’s kiss and broil. All made just perfect with the contrasting tang of the raspberry. The one downside was that it was a smidgen dry, but the dense core and bottom were not lost, since even the little bits left over were obviously still very moist and slightly fudgy. But still a smidgen dry (and crumbly). Not as good as the strawberry one in La Bastide last year in December, but then again that would be like comparing little master with grand master in its native home. Partial comparisons make for no good comparisons at all, oui?
And no, you can’t go and have tea with a couple other lovely people and some riveting conversations on our lives and other random happenings with just one dessert.
Honestly. Be honest. Please, for you and for me.
It’s just not practical or sane. So we ordered another.
And that rounded the whole event off to make it perfect and beautiful and complete.
With a spoonful of whipped sweet cream for good measure (as if that will ever live up to the glory of the humble vanilla bean ice cream.) Comparatively, I actually preferred the texture and flavour of the chocolate souffle compared to this. Anything cakey or crumbly is not typically my cup of tea (all puns intended), but this was sufficiently moist. It said cake, not molten lava, so thankfully I was not let down by my own disappointment when there was absolutely no evidence of anything molten. Couldn’t help that small tinge of sadness, of course, but it was pleasing all the same, especially when paired with the sweet and aromatic vanilla. I quite enjoyed the bed of crumbled crackers which the ball of ice cream rested on. Textural variety is probably what I live for.
It’s Valentine’s Day today, isn’t it?
Wonderful! Let me revel in the magnificence of being absolutely single and elated in the blurred joys of life and raw freedom.
Laurent Bernard Chocolatier
80 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-11
The Pier @ Robertson Singapore
Zooming in on my inherent ice cream addiction here.
There comes a time where it must must must be combined with something so supremely luscious it should be an atrocity. A grim streak in the face of white innocence.
Chocolate+ice cream= Not chocolate ice cream but something heavenly in the works; so ethereal it doesn’t deserve to be given a peasant-like name.
Chocolate ice cream. I mean, pfft. It should be feathersgolddustdarkdreamslovelysofaswissbelgianbeauty. Or, something of the sort.
There are the good ones from Haagen Dazs.
There are the mediocre, overly sweet chemical concoctions from Ben and Jerry’s (may I say I believe they have lost fans from the ice cream purists, with all the bits and bobs they mix in, in their endeavours to please the entire population. Not that I complain. Some are really rather lovely).
Then, there’s the painful one. Yes, just one. Whoever hasn’t heard of Awfully Chocolate by now should go and jump into a big, beautiful pool of green acid.
And it’s painful due to its painful irresistibility. In my opinion, the best chocolate ice cream I have tried so far. I remember being introduced to it the first time the signature flavour came out (though of course, many years after 1998, when the entire brand burst into life).
HEI. This is what I love. HEI.
At $11 a pint, this is at least $4 cheaper than your typical Haagen Dazs tub. And since so little air is incorporated into this rich chocolate pack, it is absolutely worth every single cent in that figure. Chockfull of flavour in 473ml; a nice prism of luscious, frigid temptation. The thing about this is that it’s simply spoon, mouth, spoon, mouth (or fork, if you’re nice and weird that way). Out of the tub, straight to chocolate-drenched utopia. Good chocolate always has a lower melting point, and you can gauge the quality of such by how fast this melts. It doesn’t do so too rapidly, but it does so at an exquisitely even rate, with a glossy undertone to prove its golden worth.
Success comes in the form of perfect chocolate churn with at least 70% cocoa solids. A bittersweet indulgence, to say the least.
Yes, that’s straight off the Internet haha. Just look at that wonderful, ridged sphere.