Brookie/Crownie

100_6598  Whatever you call it, irrespective of it they taste delicious!

Brownie and a cookie with a secret goodie? Who can say no to that!!

Here’s some in a cupcake form!

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My favorite cupcake recipe and a huge chunk of chocolate.

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In goes the brownie batter!

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Here, food of the GODS ūüėČ

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

100_6391Season’s Greetings one and all!

I know I am so very late in wishing you lovely people an amazing Christmas, but I hope these cookies make up for it.

These “cookies” are a cross between a brownie and a biscuit, with the exterior being a lil crunchy and the insides all fudgy. The quality of cocoa makes a huge difference to the chocolate taste, so I suggest you don’t use anything other than the best. The cookies have an adult dark flavor to it. So if you’re making em for a bunch of kids, I recommend adding around 100 grams more of sugar. Once the dough is made, we’ll refrigerate it for a few hours to let the flavors blend in . However, if you are running short on time, stick em into the freezer for 30 minutes and you are good to go. Also make sure to use a greased parchment paper to line the baking sheet, cos these cookies stick to the sheet. Also, to get nearly even cookies I used a cookie scoop that ¬†gave me around 25 ¬†2″ cookies. I stored em in cute lil jars and gave em out as Christmas Gifts. ūüôā100_6392

Alternatively you could drop them tablespoon by tablespoon onto the sheet.

Happy Holiday’s Everybody!

Recipe Source: Bakingdom

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams sugar ground to a fine powder
  • 80 ml neutral flavored oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
  • 45 grams good-quality cocoa powder
  • 120 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 60 grams icing sugar or more to roll the dough in.

Recipe:

  1. In a bowl, sift the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt
  2. In a another bowl pour the oil and add tablespoon by tablespoon the ground sugar, mixing well.
  3. Stir in the egg, one at a time beating well after each addition.
  4. After both the eggs have been added, add in the vanilla. Mix.Fotor0104195739
  5. Now,¬†add half of the flour mixture to it and slowly mix to form a “batter” .
  6. Continue adding flour, tablespoon by tablespoon to this.
  7. After all the flour has been added, you’ll notice that the texture of the “dough” is quite like a cake batter, but that’s just the way its meant to be. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for around 4 hours until its quite firm or stick it in the freezer ¬†for around 30 minutes until¬†it’s¬†firm but manageable.
  8. After the rest, preheat the oven to 180C while you start scooping out the dough.
  9. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and grease it with a lil oil/butter/pam.
  10. Put the icing sugar in a deep bowl and using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop; scoop out the “dough” and roll it evenly in the icing sugar. The dough will be manageable and you will be able to easily shape em.¬†Fotor0104200258
  11. Plonk em onto the baking sheet and once the oven has pre-heated,Bake for 10-12 minutes. The tops will be a lil puffy and you will find the beloved “crinkles”.Fotor0104200456
  12. Cool before serving as they harden up a bit as they cool. (A word of caution, do not stack em together if they are warm and certainly do not touch em with wet hands :p)

 

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Eggless Vanilla Ice-Cream

100_6329As the cold set in, I moved towards the thermostat. I needed warmth. Wrapped in my blanket, I kept replaying the events of the past few days. Still disheartened, I realized I needed fresh air. I¬†slipped into a parka, put on my boots and¬†opened the door. My snow filled lawn looked eerily unwelcoming. Moving forward, I was barely a few metres down the lawn and blasts of cold wind slapped across my face. I had all the “air” I needed. I headed back towards the warmth of my home.¬†

I lay on the couch, thinking of all the things. I needed to cook to get away from uncertainty. Cooking, more of baking does that to me. A bowl of hot soup seemed unappetizing. A memory jogged itself to present, and I was transported to another time. I was happily slurping on melted Amul Vanilla Ice-cream. Laughter and chatter all around me seemed so distant. I wanted Amul. Now.

With such weather, even the malls were shut. I decided to make Vanilla Ice-Cream and ease aka slurp away my discomfort.

I found a recipe online that didn’t need an ice-cream maker. The ice-cream is creamy. The ice-cream is good. ¬†It gave me the taste I was looking for. It gave me comfort.

The tiny specks of vanilla showed me beauty. The creamy, no icicle texture gave me Amul.100_6336

Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients

  • 500 ml full fat milk
  • 15 grams cornflour
  • 1/2 vanilla pod/ 2 tsp vanilla essence/ 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 grams granulated sugar ¬†ground to a fine powder, but I suggest you keep more or less on hand depending on preference.
  • 200 ml cream (25% fat will work just fine)

Recipe:

Take around 4 tbsp of milk and add the cornflour to it. Mix and keep aside.

Take the rest of the milk and put it to a slow boil while you split the vanilla bean . Add in the vanilla bean to the milk and let it slowly simmer for around 10 minutes. If  you intend to not use a vanilla pod, let the milk simmer as it is. While this is happening, slowly beat the cream with the addition of sugar for a few minutes until it just starts to thicken up. Around 4-5 minutes . Do not do that in excess.

Once the milk has simmered for a whole 10 minutes on low heat, remove the vanilla pod and slowly add the cornflour mixture. ¬†Again, if you’re using vanilla essence or extract just add the cornflour mixture.

As soon as you add the cornflour, you’ll notice that the milk considerably thickens up. Let it simmer for another few minutes and then put it out to cool.

In around 15-20 minutes, you’ll notice that the milk will have a custard-y impression. Alternatively, you can put it in the refrigerator to cool up faster. Once it has completely cooled, take a bowl and whip this on high for around 4 minutes. Next, fold in the cream that was whipped before and carefully pour it into a freezable container.

The ice-cream will be ready in around 3 hours if you have an exceptionally high-end freezer. Otherwise, once the ice-cream has frozen,churn this mixture once to erase out any icicles that may have formed and refreeze it again until it is solid. Or you can have it without the churning. Just like that.

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Here, have a bite!

Pure Chocolate Cake

100_6019You know the pure chocolate cake’s that we get at p√Ętisseries? This cake is like that but only better since its homemade.

The cake is rich. Very rich. Rich enough for a chocolate devourer to have one piece at a time. The cake has got four gorgeous layers of silky smooth ganache that melts in your mouth. And the crumb! Oh-so-delicious! . Imagine a world of you and pure unadulterated chocolate bliss.

Now take that, and imagine having it for dessert. Imagine? Why imagine when you can bake the cake and eat it too! The batter yields 2 cakes where each cake is divided into 2 parts.

Now hop along and bake this ūüôā1386001662365-1

Recipe Adapted from: The Purple Foodie

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 250 gms flour
  • 60 gms cornflour (Makes the cake lighter)
  • 100 gms good-quality cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt (skip adding the salt if using a salted butter like Amul)
  • 250 gms yogurt
  • 60 gms water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 230 gms unsalted butter
  • 550 gms granulated sugar which is ground to a fine powder
  • 5 eggs¬†
  • 100 gms dark chocolate melted on a bain-marie

For the ganache:

  • 400 ml heavy cream (I used Amul 25% fat)
  • 800 gms dark chocolate chopped into little pieces
  • 30 gms butter

Recipe:

For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 170¬ļC.
  • Grease and line two 9″ square cake pans with parchment paper.
  • Sift the flour, cornflour, cocoa, baking powder,baking soda and salt 3 times.
  • Whisk together the yogurt, vanilla and water in another bowl.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together.
  • Next, beat in one egg at a time.
  • After all the eggs are beaten and fully incorporated, add in the melted chocolate. Next, fold in the dry ingredients and the thinned yogurt into this mixture.
  • Start and end with the dry ingredients. So that would be fold the flour, then the yogurt, the flour, yogurt and lastly the flour.
  • Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Let it cool completely on a cooling rack.

    1386001569246

    Thats another pineapple cake I made, decked up and sky high

For the ganache (Can be prepared a day before):

  • Put chopped chocolate pieces in a big bowl.
  • In a pot, pour the cream and bring to a slight boil until the corners of the cream have a little bubbles but the cream isn’t bubbling.
  • Pour this cream onto the chopped chocolate pieces and let it rest for 2 minutes. Add in the butter.
  • Stir until smooth. Since its dark chocolate, add a few tbsps of icing sugar if you find this to be too bitter.
  • Cover with a cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator to thicken up.
  • Prior to using this cream (If refrigerated), let it rest at room temperature for an hour or so.
  • Separate this cream into four equal parts with a knife in the same container.

Assembling:

  • Split each cake into two parts with a serrated knife.
  • Place a cake board and spread a tsp of ganache on the board. Place one part of the cake onto this. This will prevent the cake piece from moving around and will let it sit in its place. Pour in one part of the ganache onto the cake and spread evenly. The ganache is going to be thick, so you will have to spread it very carefully. Leave 1/2 an inch of space at the sides. Press onto this the next cake layer.
  • Repeat this for every layer of cake.
  • Once you reach the topmost layer, spread the ganache carefully and spread it evenly onto the sides of the cake.

Prior to serving , let the cake sit at room temperature for an hour or so.

Here, have a bite!

Here, have a bite!

Perfect Pineapple Cake

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My lil bro has been the guinea¬†pig of my life. He’s tasted every batter and given invaluable advice on my baking from a child’s perspective. He is my official tester. No wonder I wanted his birthday cake to be the best.

Even though he’s more of a chocolate lover like me, he¬†loves¬†whipped cream. So I decided to bake the Best Pineapple Cake .¬†In India, we call it the Pineapple Cream Pastry.¬†

Do not confuse this cake with the upside down pineapple cake (I have) which btw is a beauty on its own.

This recipe yields a 9″square cake which can be split into parts or two 6″ round cake which can be split into 2 parts each.

Though this cake doesn’t rise much, it provides the perfect amount of sweetness and fluffiness for the cake. The cake will be a tad dry since there’s no added fat in the cake. But don’t let that hold you up. We are going to soak each sponge in pineapple juice which will provide the cake with moistness and a¬†delightful pine-appley texture. (Ok I know that’s not a word, but you got what I meant right?)

I got this recipe from here. I did not make any changes as the recipe does its job to perfection!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • Eggs – 5 (250 gms)
  • Powdered sugar – 125 gms
  • All-purpose flour – 125 gms
  • Cornflour – 2 tbsp
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1 pinch
  • Vanilla essence/extract – 1 tsp
  • Pineapple Essence/extract – 1 tsp

For the filling:

  • Whipped Cream – 400 ml or 400 ml heavy cream and 4 tbsps powdered sugar.
  • Pineapple Essence/extract – 1 tsp (Optional)
  • Pineapple bits approx 3 pineapple slices cut into tiny lil pieces soaked in 200 ml pineapple juice or 200 ml sugar-water syrup.
  • A few pineapple pieces for decoration.

Note: the flour = half the weight of the eggs i.e. 125gms

Recipe:

For the cake

Pre-heat the oven to 190 C.

Next, grease and line one 9″square tin or two 6″ round cake pans with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cornflour 3 times.
Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric beater for around 10 min until its very thick or once you move the beater away, the mixture so formed holds for at least 5 seconds.
Next, add in the vanilla and pineapple essence and beat it for 1 min.100_5614

Now gently fold in the sifted flour and make sure no air has escaped. It may seem that the mixture won’t come together, but it will. Keep folding. Also make sure that no lumps remain and there are no streaks of flour anywhere.100_5616
Now turn it slowly and gently into the prepared tin(s) .100_5621

Bake for 30-35mins for ¬†the 9″ tin and around 20-25 min for the 6″ tin.
Once done, remove from the cake from the tin(s) after 5 minutes and leave it on  a wire rack to cool completely. If you do not want your cake to brown from the top, cover the top with foil and then bake.100_5623

Filling:

Whip the cream with the pineapple essence (Optional) until it holds stiff peaks. Since I use a pre-sweetened whipped cream, I do not add any sugar. However if you are going to use heavy cream, you need to whip the cream on a bowl of ice with ice-cold beaters for 5-7 min and add 4 tbsp of powdered sugar to it.
Reserve 1/2 of the whipped for frosting the top of the cake.

Take about  4 tbsp of cream and add one drop of yellow food colour to it.

Assembling:

Cut the cake horizontally into 2 parts.

Place one part on a cake board and generously drizzle with the prepared pineapple syrup and pieces. We won’t be needing all of the pineapple juice, use it only to moisten the cake. We don’t want to dunk the whole thing in there. Barely moist is our goal.100_5630

Put around 1/2 of the whipped cream on the cake and spread generously.

Place another cake piece carefully on to it. Frost with the rest of the cream and pipe with the yellow food color according to your fancy. Use the pineapple pieces decoratively. (Unlike me!)100_5667

Before serving, let the cake rest for a few hours for all the flavors to blend in.

Here, have a bite!

Here, have a bite!

No Fail Gulab Jamuns

100_5596Yep, no fail. I mean, seriously no fail.
What’s gulab jamun you ask? A sweetmeat that will leave you in wonderment. You will curse yourself for not knowing about it earlier. You will be transported to a land of bliss where only you and oh so wondrous spongy sugar syrup filled balls fill your mouth with warmth and slowly engulf your whole being into pure love for it.

Gulab jamun comes from Persian words gol (rose) and ńĀb (water), referring to the rosewater-scented syrup, and Hindustani jamun, m. Syzygium jambolanum (also jńĀmaŠĻá, m, from the Hindustani language), an Indian fruit with a similar size and shape Gulab (good ole Wiki!)

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If you’ve made gulab jamuns before, you will know that they are a little difficult to perfect. The traditional way of making these involves a mixture of khoya and all purpose flour mixed with a little soda. However ,using this method at times can make the jamuns a lil tough and dry. The humidity, texture of the khoya and how well you knead the dough make it so.
But with this recipe, you can make these in a breeze.100_5568
You don’t need to adhere to any so called rules before making these! ¬†How cool is that?

Well, I got this recipe from a social web sharing cookbook application called Sweet N Spicy.

Ingredients:

For the jamuns:

  • 1 cup milk powder
  • ¬Ĺ cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tsp cream
  • Oil or ghee for deep frying.

For the sugar syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-3 cardamom pods crushed and ground to a fine powder or a pinch of cardamom powder.
  • 1 – 2 drops rose essence

Recipe:

To make the gulab jamuns in a big bowl mix the milk powder, flour and baking soda.
Now add the ghee and cream and keep kneading till the dough is slightly moist and soft. You can add more cream if the dough is not coming together.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth and set it aside for around 10 minutes.100_5543
While the dough is resting we can prepare the sugar syrup.

How to make the sugar syrup:
Add the sugar, water, cardamom powder and rose essence in a pan. 100_5548Mix well on medium heat until it begins to boil. Let it boil for around 5-6 minutes. Switch off the gas.
After the 10 minute rest, add some oil to your palms and divide the dough into equal portions. Roll them into smooth balls . 100_5550
Heat the oil on medium heat. Once hot, test it by adding a gulab jamun to it. If it is the right temperature it will rise to the top in about 20 seconds.
Fry the gulab jamuns for 5 minutes or until golden brown ensuring that they cook evenly.100_5554
Drain the excess oil on a napkin.
Set aside.
Allow the gulab jamuns to cool for a few minutes before adding them to the sugar syrup. Let them sit in the syrup for about 20 minutes before serving.
Here, have a bite!

Here, have a bite!

Baked Eggless Doughnut/Donut

Deep-fried donuts are the only way to go. Maybe its got to do with me knowing only about fried donuts uptil recently, but I will never give up a fried donut for a baked one. But don’t go so soon!!

These aren’t bad or horrendous. These taste good. On their own and they are an amazing alternative if you abhor deep fried stuff. But just cos these are baked,are they ¬†going to have a lesser fat content? NO.

These are almost as “fatty” . Did I just lose you there?

We are adding butter, having the same amount of glaze aka chocolate heaven. But why make these? That’s because its perfect for beginners. Its no fuss. Its No fail. Well, back here you are! Plus they taste really delicious. I deep-fried a few of them to see if i could work with this dough for the same. One word. DONT. These donuts are meant to be baked. Not fried. No chemical reactions or anything. But then even you would go for the baked ones. Got what I mean?

Good.

Hop along now.

Adapted from here.

Ingredients
For the donut:
  • 180 grams All purpose flour (Around 50 grams more for dusting)
  • 1 tbsp Corn flour
  • 30 grams milk powder
  • 1 tbsp instant/dry yeast
  • 50 ml lukewarm milk
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50 grams additional butter for brushing
 
For the simple glaze:
  • 6 tbsp powdered sugar/icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tbsp milk (enough to get it to the consistency you want)
 
For the chocolate glaze:
  • 100 grams chopped dark chocolate
  • 1-3 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar (Optional)
 
Sprinkles to garnish (Optional)

Recipe:

How to proof dry yeast?
First ,pour the lukewarm milk in a bowl with around 1 tbsp of granulated sugar.Stir until the sugar granules barely start to dissolve.Add in the yeast . Stir until the yeast is barely combined. Cover with a cling wrap and leave undisturbed until yeast has proofed and bubbly. Around 10 minutes.
Keep in mind, the milk cannot be hot. Barely lukewarm. Why? Too hot a milk will kill the yeast. Too cold will not be an ideal temperature for it to activate. If you have a thermometer, let the temperature register between 40C to 45C.
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While it is proofing , in another big bowl mix the flour,cornflour, milk powder, salt and sugar well.100_5277

Add in the butter. Mix with a fork until this whole mixture now resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Make a well in the centre and slowly add the milk mixture. Knead until the dough starts to come together and is no longer sticky. In around 5-8 minutes, the dough will have become beautifully elastic. Take a deep bowl, one that can withhold the double size of the dough and oil it well. Put the dough in this and cover with a cling wrap . Leave it to rise for around 2-3 hours or until doubled. You can even leave it overnight.100_5281

After the dough has doubled, lightly punch it down and roll it on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1/2 inch. 100_5282
Cut with a donut cutter or any circular shaped mould.
Place this on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and cover it again with a slightly damp cloth for around an hour or until doubled again.
Bake in a preheated oven for 8 minutes at 160 C or until lightly brown.
As soon as its out of the oven, generously rub each donut with butter. Dip it in your favorite glaze.100_5293
To make simple glaze:
Mix all the given ingredients well until you achieve the consistency you want.
Dip one side of the donut into it.
To make the chocolate glaze:
Mix chocolate and 1-3 tbsp milk in the microwave or bain marie until its melted. Add a little icing/powdered sugar if you find this a little bitter for your tastes.
Dip one (or both if you’re as greedy for chocolate as me!) into your choice of glaze. Pur on a wire rack to get rid of the excess glaze.
Top with sprinkles if you like.

Here, have a bite!

Here, have a bite!

Black Forest Cake

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What’s your favorite cake?
I simply love the pure chocolate cake, its bitterness provides me with a wonderful comfort. (That’s the reason you would always find me hunting for chocolate that has a lot of cocoa content. I mean a lot!)

But that’s not stopped me from making another BFC today. I already have a BFC recipe which is amazing on its own. But I tried playing around with the ingredients, how wrong can you get with the simplest cake eh? (and by playing around i mean looking at a handwritten recipe that I got from somewhere I don’t remember!)

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Verdict? This cake is amazing. On its own I mean. Pure cocoa bliss in the  cherry-rum syrup soaked base that is slathered with fluffy cream whipped to peaks that stand to perfection and garnished with tart cherries with some dark chocolate even more!

If I gave you two BFC’s one store bought and the other my home baked, I’d bet you’d never even touch the store bought!!

Now hop along, make some.

This recipe yields a 9″ square¬†6″ round cake which is split into 2 (or 3!) parts100_5497

Ingredients:

  • For the cake:
  • 240 grams all-purpose flour
  • 300 grams granulated sugar that is the ground to a powder (Adjust according to preference)
  • 85 grams good quality cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp¬†baking¬†powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 220 ml milk
  • 100 ml¬†¬†oil
  • 2 egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 120 ml¬†¬†hot water mixed with 2 tbsp coffee powder
  • For the filling
  • ¬†2 1/2 cup/500 ml¬†Whipping cream (I used Tropolite)
  • 400 grams tinned cherries soaked in its syrup mixed with 1-2 tbsp Rum /Kahlua or 2 drops of non-alcoholic Rum Essence.

Recipe:

For the cake:

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt together. 100_5460

Beat the egg lightly with the vanilla extract in another bowl.

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Can you see how thick this is? That’s without the addition of the coffee mixture

Make a well in the sifted  mixture bowl and add the milk and oil. Stir well. The mixture will be very thick and will not come together. No worries. .Slowly add in the egg. Mix well. In goes the hot coffee mixture. Mix until barely combined. Now have a go at the batter!100_5468

Sugar right? yes? Go ahead. Pour this onto a greased and floured 9″ square pan (or use three pans, but seriously do you own that big an oven? I’m J!) and bake at a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Do not over-bake!

For the filling:

While the cake is baking, go have some rest or just whip up the cream to stiff peaks. Since the one I use is already sweetened I do not add any sugar. However if you are using heavy cream, you need to add 6 tbsp of powdered sugar and whip it on a bowl of ice.

Take half of the cherries (your reserving some for decoration!) , de-seed and chop them into little pieces. Add a tbsp or two of powdered sugar to the cherry syrup(We are getting rid of the tartness).Next you could add in a tbsp of rum, but if your’e a no-go to alcohol, just use 2-3 drops of non-alcoholic rum essence. Does the job *wink wink* ūüėČ

Assembling:

Once the cake is done, let it cool. Invert and split it into two parts. If your feeling a little gutsy, make it three.

Pour the syrup generously over the cake. Not too much. Don’t be stingy though! We want it to be barely wet, not soaking ūüôā100_5490

If you’ve made 3 layers, you may need 50-80 ml more of the cream. ¬†On a cake board, place one layer of the cake. Spread 1/3rd of the cream onto the cake. Even it out. But make sure to leave at least half an inch of space at the side. Why you ask?

That’s because when you top it with the other cake layer, the whipped cream will ooze out and fall onto the sides! Now we DO NOT want that!! Top with a little of the chopped cherries. Repeat with remaining layers. Frost with whipped cream and chocolate curls.100_5494

Since I had 2 layers, I used half of the whipped cream on the base , added the cherries, and topped with the second layer of a cake. Poured whipped cream on top, and didn’t frost the sides, but that was just my preference. you can decorate it however you want!

Look how moist that is!
(Ignore the tilt!!)

(Update : The handwritten recipe seems to be exactly from here .

I made this cake again, and doubled the recipe. Changing the ingredients for the doubled amount as the doubled version yields two 9″ cakes of 1 inch height each. )

McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits

Whenever I get a lil too healthy for comfort, I turn towards “Diet” biscuits. Sugar free, oil free, no cholesterol, you name it and I’ve had it! My personal favorite is the McVitie’s Digestive and after guzzling down one too many, I thought about making my own.

Though not exactly like the original, they surely make the cut of being the almost-replica. I haven’t bought another McVities since I found this recipe. You can find the original recipe here¬†. I omitted adding the Crisco,cream of tartar,half-n-half singles¬†due to non-availability and used margarine in place of butter.

Next time, I’d probably add a little lesser sugar as I personally found them to be on the sweeter side. The cookies taste better with time, so make sure to store em in an air-tight container.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 4 tablespoons butter (can sub with margarine)
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tbsp milk

Recipe:

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, bran, baking powder, baking soda, sugar with the pastry blender or a fork.

Mix in the margarine. The mixture at this point should resemble coarse breadcrumbs. 100_5232

Mix the vanilla in the milk and add to the mix. Mix with pastry blender or fork until it is a really soft dough. Refrigerate for a few minutes to make it easier to work with.

Roll out dough between wax paper to a thickness of 1/8th inch and cut into rounds with cookie cutter about 2 inches in diameter  .100_5247

Transfer to baking sheet and prick all over with a fork100_5250

Bake in a preheated oven at 176 C for 10-15 minutes or until done.100_5255

Cool on a wire rack and transfer to an airtight container,

Here, have a bite!

Here, have a bite!

Moussaka

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My lil brother gifted me a few cookbooks recently. Well they aren’t really cookbooks, but¬†two huge files¬†that have¬†hundreds of various delicacies in¬†them. He cut out recipes from numerous sources and sheepishly handed me his prized blue file, wanting me¬†to make¬†those recipes¬†that caught his fancy.

One particular recipe that I was intrigued by was mousakás / Moussaka. A traditional Greek dish made with aubergines, beef,tomatoes, béchamel sauce, and lots of cheese. Kinda like a lasagna. But without the pasta. The aubergine replaces the pasta sheets in Moussaka.Its a perfect dinner dish, highly filling and uses cheap, readily available ingredients and is amazingly easy to prepare
This recipe comes straight from the kitchens of Views Restaurant, Le Meridien Al Aqah, Fujairah.
I halved the given recipe and made my own béchamel sauce and used fresh tomatoes in place if tomato paste.

However you can use readily available white sauce (Not in India), and tomato paste if you want. Since i halved the recipe, I’m putting down the original measurements.

It doesn’t matter if ¬†you’ve ever had Moussaka ¬†before or not, this is one recipe that will not disappoint ūüôā

Ingredients:

For the Moussaka you’ll need:

  • 800 grams large aubergines sliced into 1.5 cm thick slices
  • 3 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 200 grams onion chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 500 grams of minced lamb/beef
  • 125 grams tomato paste or 4-5 freshly chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon cumin
  • 35 grams fresh parsley (I skipped adding this, but highly recommended)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme¬†
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 20-30 grams multigrain/plain bread crumbs
  • dash of Cinnamon
  • dash of Nutmeg
  • 1 cup of grated cheese preferably Parmesan but I used Mozzarella that’s easily available around here

 For the Béchamel sauce:

  • 100 grams of butter
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 2 ¬Ĺ cups of milk
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

Recipe:

  • First cut the aubergines into 1.5 cm thick slices and generously rub these slices with salt. Doing this ensures that most of the natural bitterness found in aubergines has gotten away. Put some heavy weight on this so that the excess water from the aubergines has drained. Let it rest like this for around 30 minutes while you make the rest.
  • While it is draining, we can start preparing the Moussaka filling.
  • First add some oil onto a pan and add the onions and garlic cloves. Mix till transparent.100_5185
  • Add in the minced beef and let it brown. Once browned, add in the tomato paste, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin¬†, salt¬†and 5 grams of parsley. Cook for around 5- 10 minutes.100_5191
  • However since I used fresh tomatoes, I had to cook this for almost 20 minutes for the tomatoes to get really mushy.Set aside.

For the Béchamel sauce:

  • In a small saucepan melt 100 grams of butter.
  • Add 1/3 cup of flour to the melted butter and mix thoroughly to form ¬†a ‚Äúroux‚ÄĚ. This is just a flour and butter paste. its easier if you use a hand whisk, but if you don‚Äôt have one of these a wooden spoon is perfectly adequate.
  • Allow your roux to cook for two minutes then turn off the heat.100_5178
  • In another saucepan add a bay leaf and a sprinkle of nutmeg to 2 ¬Ĺ cups of milk and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes.100_5179
  • Add your roux to the milk. When you do this, you want to prevent any lumps forming, so keep the heat low and whisk constantly until the roux is thoroughly blended into the milk.
  • Simmer for a further 5 minutes stirring constantly.
  • Add in the salt and pepper.
  • Remove the bay leaf and take the white sauce off the heat.100_5184

Next, rinse the eggplants under cold water and pat dry with a towel. Ideally ¬†use a reasonable amount of pressure ‚Äď to remove even more moisture.

In a non stick pan, pour some olive oil and fry the eggplant slices in olive oil until they are just starting to brown. No further.

Alternatively, you could drizzle some olive oil on the aubergines and bake them in a preheated oven at 180 C for around 8 minutes.

Assembling:

  • Use a oven proof dish and line with foil (Optional, but recommended). Sprinkle breadcrumbs generously all over . arrange aubergine slices in an even layer on top.100_5198
  • Sprinkle with oregano. top with minced beef.¬†100_5199
  • Pour over sauce. Garnish with Parmesan and remaining parsley .100_5201

Another way of layering them would be:

  • A layer of eggplant slices
  • A layer of lamb/tomato mix
  • A layer of eggplant slices
  • A layer of lamb/tomato mix
  • A layer of eggplant slices
  • A layer of white sauce
  • Cheese100_5202

I did both of them and prefer a single layer of each. Multiple layers make it harder for me to serve.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C for 25 minutes and reduce the temperature to 180 C for the next 5-10 minutes.

Serve warm.

Here, have a bite!

Here, have a bite!

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