Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins.

Eggless Princess Cookies with Rose bits and Jam hearts!

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These Eggless Princess Cookies with Hearts of Strawberry Jam are really easy and an awesome addition to a valentine party at your kids school or a birthday party! These are easily flexible and can be turned around to create any cookie. WIth a dash of dried cranberries it gets a tart taste and looks so pretty. Add bits of orange zest and essence and some orange vegetable food colour to make a cookie for Halloween! Add bits of chocolate chips, peppermint barks, heath toffee bits and pllay around with it. Today I added rose essence and bits of rose petals for a refreshing change from the regular Eggless Choco Chip that I normally make for the kids. With some leftover dough I baked hearts and dunked half of each cookie in to melted chocolate. One dough – two cookies…Smart arent I??

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour.

2 Sticks of Butter at room temperature.

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar.

1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar or White Sugar.

1/2 Tsp Baking Powder.

1 Tsp Vanilla Essence.

2 Tsp of Strawberry Jam.

1/4 Tsp Rose Essence. (Optional).

A pinch of salt.

Rose petals fresh/ dried crushed to little bits. (Optional)

PREPARATION:

  • Cream the sugar and the butter on medium speed on a stand mixer using the whip attachment. Once its incorporated add vanilla essence , rose essence and rose bits. You can add a few drops of Vegetable based food coloring. 
  • In a dry container add the flour, baking powder and salt and give it a quick mix with your spoon.
  • Slowly add the flour in to the mixing bowl and beat it in on low speed. Continue and finish all the flour. Loved the little specks of red in the dough!!
  • Remove from the mixing bowl and using your fingers, knead lightly to form a smooth flat disc. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for about 30 mins.

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  • Now there are loads of arguments on chilling cookie dough and whether it really adds to the flavour, texture and buttery taste. But I rarely plan ahead for a cookie.
  • When I decide to make a batch of cookies, I just go ahead and make it.  I did have some errands to run before rolling out the dough , so I thought hey why not?
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and If you find that its too hard, allow it to rest for a couple minutes until you get your stuff ready.
  • Spread the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and using a rolling pin, roll it in to 1 – 1 1/2 inch thickness.

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  • Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out perfect heart cookies and place them 1 inch apart on a lined cookie pan.
  • Take out remaining dough, shape them in to a ball, flatten them out again and re cut more heart shaped cookies. Continue until you exhaust most of the cookie dough. Feel free to sample the remaining dough!!
  • Using the back of a wooden spatula make a small little indentation in the centre of the heart cookie and fill with a small scoop of strawberry jam.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 F and place the cookies in the top rack.
  • Bake for 18 – 20 minutes until the cookies are cooked . Whats that? How to check if they are done?
  • Well, it varies with each type of cookies, but for this one, when you see that the cookie is firm and the ends and the bottom has a beautiful golden colour, its good to go!

CHOCOLATE BETTER HALF COOKIES!!

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  • I had some of the cookies which I did not fill with Strawberry Jam Heart, so I simply dunked half of the baked cookie into  a bowl of melted chocolate and sprinkled them with red coloured sugar sprinkles….Chocolate Better Half Cookies were soft, crumbly, decadent and extremely delicious!!!
Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins.

Eggless , Fudgy & Low Fat Avocado Chocolate Brownies.

Eggless Low Fat Fudgy Avocado Chocolate Brownies.
Eggless Low Fat Fudgy Avocado Chocolate Brownies.

“Forget Love, I`d rather fall in chocolate!!!”

Brownies have always been a favourite anytime snack at home.  The little one had never been a great fan of anything sweet, but give her a chocolate brownie, and she loves to have a couple at least. I have tried all kinds of brownies,  The best brownies ever, with a dollop of cream cheese I tried the Scream Cheese Swirl Brownies, and when I had to use up the Ghirardhelli Cocoa Powder, I made the Eggless Ghirardhelli Chocolate Brownie Bites!!! I was on a hunt for a brownie recipe that was eggless and moist yet fudgy. I love my brownies fudgy and moist and chewy on the inside and slightly crusty on the outside. Just Perfect! Pavithra`s version did inspire me a lot here and I came up with this version. Please try them in a small quantity , in your oven with the ingredients that you carry before you try them out for a get together or a party.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Large Avocado or 2 small mashed to a smooth puree.

1 cup All Purpose Flour.

1 1/2 Cup Milk Chocolate Baking Melts.

1/3 Cup Hot Water.

3 Tbsp Butter.

1 Cup Sugar.

1 Tsp Baking Powder.

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda.

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract.

PREPARATION:

  • Mash the avocado to a smooth paste and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F and prep the brownie pan with grease and parchment paper.
  • Sieve the all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder and mix them all together.
  • Melt the chocolate chips and butter over low flame in a double boiler.
  • Add the hot water to the avocados and mix them in. Follow up with the melted chocolate, sugar, and vanilla essence.
  • Using a whisk, incorporate them all together and then slowly add in the dry ingredients – all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  • Take care not to over mix the batter. Pour in to the prepared pan, smooth the surface  and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes.
  • When a toothpick inserted in to the brownie comes out clean, then its time to take it out and allow it to cool for about an hour.
  • This is actually the time when the brownies set and come together.
  • When its well cooled, use a bread knife and cut in to clean squares. If you DO NOT allow them to cool, they dont get sliced in to clean squares. 
  • Serve warm brownies with cold vanilla ice cream and a dollop of chocolate sauce.
Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins. · Kid Friendly Recipes.

DIY – Olive Garden Bread sticks.

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I remember the first time ever that I had dinner at Olive Garden at their location near Ahwatukee, Az. I was awestruck by the soft, simple pillows of salty bread sticks and their famous piping hot minestrone soup filled with red beans, green beans, tomatoes and baby pasta shells.  We always loved the salad that came with the entree and many times I remember feeling almost full with just the pre-starters. Another all time favourite at Olive Garden is their Eggplant Parmigiana which Th loves and which I make at home pretty often. I had always wanted to try out the soft bread sticks at home earlier, It’s now a regular after school snack but  I have never been able to have a basket of them left, enough to style and shoot!!!  Try these pillows of salty niceness at your home and enjoy it with a dip or by itself!

INGREDIENTS:

3 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour.

1  Cup + 2 Tbsp  Warm Water.

1 1/2 Tsp  active dry yeast.

3 Tbsp Butter / Olive Oil.

2 Tbsp sugar.

1 3/4 Tsp  – 2 Tsp Salt levelled.

Garlic Herb Topping:

1 Tsp Garlic Powder.

1 Tsp Salt.

1/2 Tsp Basil/  Oregano/ Herbs De Provence. (Optional)

Mix the salt, garlic powder and herbs and set it in a dry place.

PREPARATION:

  • In a bowl add 1/2 Tsp sugar, the water which is slightly warm and mix it well before adding the yeast. Allow the yeast to proof and make sure its active. (Else, throw this mix and restart with fresh yeast.). Let is sit for about ten minutes.

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  • Now add the remaining 1 Tbsp + 2 1/2 Tsp Sugar, 1 3/4  Tsp Salt,  the 3 Tbsp Olive Oil or Canola, and 1 1/2 Cups of the flour. Use the paddle attachment in the stand mixer and incorporate all the ingredients together.  If you do not have a stand mixer, use your hands.
  • Now use the dough hook attachment and pour in the remaining 1 1/2 Cups of flour and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but is still a wee bit sticky.  If you need to, add a little of the 1/4 cup of flour to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Oil the insides of a large bowl and place the ball of dough and smear oil on it. Cover with a dry kitchen cloth and fasten a rubber band to hold it in place.
  • Set aside for about 1 1/2 hours undisturbed until the ball doubles in size.

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  • Grease two cookie sheets with oil and keep ready.
  • Punch the dough to remove all the air and divide in to twelve parts of all similar size.
  • Lightly flour the work surface and roll in to thin rope of about 8-9 inches.
  • Arrange on the cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 425F (roughly 220C).

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  • Bake for 11-13 minutes until you see a golden crust on the bread sticks.
  • Remove from the oven and brush it with a stick of butter or margarine and immediately sprinkle the salt/garlic powder/herb mixture on the bread sticks.
  • Serve warm bread sticks with a steaming hot bowl of tomato soup.
  • Enjoy!!!

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Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins. · Kid Friendly Recipes.

(S)Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies!!!!

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Brownies are a welcome dessert treat at my home and there seems to be always room for brownies right after dinner!  It`s a favourite for my older daughter to have the home smelling of chocolate brownies as she returns form school. But some how i always end up making them a little before dinner so ends up that their appetite for dinner is mysteriously lost!  I have recently started slightly modifying my weekly kitchen prep plans a little based on the produce on sale at the local farmers market or at Sprouts. I had two packages of cream cheese for a buck and I thought it was really high time I try the Oreo Cheesecake that I have eyeing for quite some time and the Cream Cheese Brownies Swirls. It was very flavorful and moist and chewy yet deliriously chocolatey with the hint of sweet salty from the cream cheese swirls. Try it and there`s really no looking back!

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2  Sticks of butter (3/4 Cup).

2/3 Cup Cocoa.

1 2/3 Cup Sugar.

1/4 Tsp Salt.

2 Eggs at room temperature.

1 Tsp Oil.

1 Tsp Vanilla Essence.

1 Cup All Purpose Flour.

1/3 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips ( Could be substituted for any good quality chocolate).

Cream Cheese Filling:

4 oz softened cream cheese.

4 tbsp Sugar.

1 Tsp Vanilla Essence.

PREPARATION:

The best part of this batter preparation is that its completely fool proof AND its all done in one go – one vessel over the stove, a whisk and some measuring and adding!

  • Take a deep dish with a strong base, and add the 1 1/2 sticks of butter to it. Place a whisk in to the dish and allow the butter to  melt slowly on low flame.
  • Meanwhile butter an oven proof dish and preheat the oven to 350F/180C. I always like to line by dish with parchment and allow it to hang on either side so there is no messy clean up.
  • Lay out all your ingredients in an assembly line  on the counter so you can reach to them when they are needed.
  • Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and a little egg white until its nice and smooth. Set aside. ( I used a little egg white from the 2 whites reserved for the brownie itself).
  • Measure out the 2/3 Cup of cocoa powder and slowly dunk it in to the melted butter.
  • The cocoa laps up the butter happily and glistens.
  • Continue whisking and add the 1 2/3 Cup pf Sugar, and the 1/4 tsp of salt.
  • Whisk and at this stage it gets a little gritty with the sugar crystals. Keep going!
  • Add the eggs one at a time and whisk them in. This stage gives the brownie batter all the body it needs. You are still on low flame so make sure you keep whisking.
  • Flavour the brownie with the vanilla essence and mix it all in.
  • Now measure out exactly 1 cup of flour and add it to the pot. Slowly fold the flour it to the silky batter.
  • At the last stage add the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and let them melt in.
  • Pour this brownie batter in to the baking dish.
  • Empty out the cream cheese filling on to the top of the brownie batter and using a butter knife cut out marbled swirls.
  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes depending on the capacity of your oven. Do keep an eye on them and do not let them burn.
  • Remove and allow to cool for a good hour or so before attempting to slice in to little squares.
  • Makes a a great return gift for a kids birthday party!

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Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins.

Just ten mins of work and your own loaf of bread!!!

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“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Baking my own loaf of bread has been a revelation – lessons in patience and perfection, that comes only by practice. There are times when you have to allow things to  happen on their own and all you can do is watch and wait. It`s such a basic truth of life. My bread baking has been inspired  by so many blogs – The Kitchn Blog, and of course this one. Try this just once and enjoy the aroma of bread wafting in your kitchens!

INGREDIENTS:

3 Cups Bread Flour/ All Purpose Flour.

2 Tbsp Sugar.

1 Tsp Salt.

1 – 1 1/8 Cup Water.

2 Tbsp Olive Oil.

1/2 Tbsp Yeast.

A few notes about Yeast:

What is yeast? Why is it required to make soft fluffy airy bread loaves?

Bread wouldn’t be bread without yeast and yeast can’t work without sugars.  Yeast is alive—living organisms—and living organisms need food for fuel, in this case, simple sugars.  Yeast needs to feed on these sugars and multiply to create two  byproducts—alcohol (ethanol) and carbon dioxide.  The carbon dioxide is what leavens the bread—carbon dioxide gases filter through the bread and creates beautiful air pockets and the alcohol evaporates during the process of baking. 

Proofing of Yeast:

Every packet of dry active yeast is used in making many different kinds of breads, cakes, loaves etc. Since its the very basic requirement of any bread, it is important that we know that the yeast is going to work its magic and multiply, thus fermenting the dough to make it rise. Some times, the yeast is old and not active and hence will not “proof”. We need to “prove” that the yeast is good enough and active and will aid in the baking process.  All one has to do is to take a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water and add some form of sugar – sugar crystals/ honey/ agave nectar/ maple syrup which is required for the yeast to start its process of “proofing. Then add the yeast and mix it in. leave the bowl undisturbed for about 7-10 minutes. The surface of the water will slowly bubble and get frothy. Allow it to stand for the full ten minutes. If the surface is all bubbly and frothy (yes it is a little smelly!!!) then the yeast has “proofed” and can be added to the flour to make bread etc. If this does not happen, dump the water and start the process afresh.

PREPARATION:

  • Measure out 1 1/8 cup of water in a glass jar and microwave for about 30 seconds. When you insert the finger in to the water it has to be just warm it should not be hot,as this would kill the yeast.
  • Yeast needs a sweet medium to multiply, so next add the 2 tbsp of sugar. Now add the yeast, give it a stir and let it sit for about ten minutes.
  • While the yeast is “proved”, we can get the dough ready.
  • In a mixing bowl, measure out the flour and salt and sieve once. Add the olive oil and the yeast+sugar+water mixture.
  • Using a spatula or a wooden ladle, mix it until you get a sticky dough. Add flour or water as needed until you get a smooth dough.
  • Oil the base of the mixing bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Smear more oil on the surface and cover it up with a moist kitchen cloth.
  • Keep for about 1 1/2 hours in a warm place undisturbed until the dough doubles in size.

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  • Punch the dough lightly and remove the air inside and fold it a couple times until its shaped as shown.
  • Grease a loaf pan and place the dough inside.
  • Lightly cover with a thin kitchen cloth and place inside the oven with the light switch on, or in a warm place for another 45 minutes, until the dough rises.

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  • Preheat the oven to 375F or 190 C and place the loaf pan in the middle rack.
  • Spray a couple squirts of water  on the sides of the oven. This step is optional but helps keep the outside of the loaves moist and supple so that the bread can spring for as long as possible. Once the outside of the loaf begins to dry out it hardens, preventing further spring. Then the crust begins to form.

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  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the top of the loaf sounds hollow and the crust is a beautiful golden brown.
  • Cool for about 30 minutes before slicing.

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STORING HOME BAKED BREAD:

  • I have always found that baking bread at home is extremely therepautic and energising, but when it comes to storing home  made bread for even 3-4 days, its a challenge. 
  • Many people recommend placing it the sliced side down on to a cutting board.
  • Some suggest a bread box, but I have not found it too helpful.
  • I did see an online bread storage bag like this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000VLGIY/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p79_d1_i2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1WFPVF7AATRM6RSP6ZM4&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846 but did not read very many good reviews.
  • I have this time around, sliced my bread, but fashioned them as a loaf, moved them to a plastic grocery bag, and then stored it in an air tight rubbermaid container, to keep fresh for at least 4 days. I am not a fan of mold at all.
  • How do you store your bread??
Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins. · Kid Friendly Recipes.

Oreo Truffles – 3 Ingredients, 30 Minutes.

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It`s already Feb 14`th and I had a really crazy week, running errands, kids, homework and classes and little did I realise the d-day was already around the corner! When I did a rough pantry check, I was mortified that I had no butter!!! That really gives me a panic attack. One never knows when the drive to bake assumes ginormous proportions and I had to be ready. No butter on Valentine`s eve and there was really no way I could run to the grocers. I had  been wanting to try out any form of chocolate  truffles for a very long time and I remember seeing many blogs with this quick version and what better way than to make them today.  They dont need any butter or eggs and no baking either. Try them out and tell me how they were!!!

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INGREDIENTS:

18 Oreo Cookies.

4 Oz Cream Cheese softened.

4 Oz Chocolate blocks/chips.

PREPARATION:

  • Prep up a baking tray and line  it with parchment paper. Keep aside.
  • In a food processor, pop in the oreo cookies and give them a quick pulse. Add the softened cream cheese and pulse until well combined to form a soft dough.
  • The fat in the cream cheese combines with the butter cream icing in the oreos and the mingling creates pure magic.
  • If you do NOT have  a food processor, simply crumble the oreos in the mixer and then mix in the cream cheese and mix it until the heat from your palms brings them all together.
  • Transfer to a dish and seal with cling wrap. Refrigerate for over an hour.
  • Remove from refrigerator and scoop out balls of oreo cookie dough and smooth them in to balls of the same size. Set them on the parchment paper. Return back to the refrigerator.
  • Take a clean deep vessel and fill it with water. Set the flame on medium low.
  • Now place a dish with the chocolate/chocolate chips over the vessel containing water. This is a double boiler. We dont want to introduce any direct heat on the chocolate and we use the steam from the water to slowly melt the chocolate.

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  • Stir with a rubber spatula to aid in the uniform melting. When the chocolate is melted its silky smooth and shiny.
  • Using a fork/spoon gently pick up the oreo ball and drop it in to the chocolate.
  • When its coated with the chocolate, spoon it on to the parchment sheet again. Repeat and continue until all the balls are coated.

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  • When the truffles are still wet, sprinkle with toppings of your choice – Nuts/ Sprinkles / Candied Sugar/ Confetti/ Colored Sugar Crystals.
  • Refrigerate until the chocolate hardens.
  • Enjoy decadent Oreo Truffles . Make them as gifts for your valentine!!!
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Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins.

Eggless Ghirardelli Chocolate Brownie Bites – It`s been 4 years….

IMG_6308Bite sized brownies are an all time addiction for my older daughter S. She loves chocolate in any form, so unlike me, added to the fact that this gives me an awesome opportunity to try my baking results on her . I had taken a back seat from baking for some time as my little one alwatys wanted to crawl in to the oven. Yes, you did read that right. I was petrified of managing the oven door, the kiddo and the cake, and I decided it was best left to later. Now that she is 3, I think its about time, I came back to what I loved doing before! – Baking. It`s an addiction that never lets you go. Here are these litle bite sized brownies, that I made for my 4`th Bloggiversary last week.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup All Purpose Flour.

3/4 Cup Unsweetened Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder.

1/2 Cup Heaped White Sugar.

1/2 Cup Mashed Bananas.

4Tbsp Butter at room temperature.

3 Tbsp Hot Water.

3 Tbsp Milk at room temperature.

A pinch of salt.

1 Tsp Vanilla Essence.

1 Tsp baking Powder.

1/4 Tsp Baking Soda.

5-6 walnuts chopped.

PREPARATION:

  • Measure out the flour and add in the salt, baking powder and baking soda and gently sift it through.
  • This is basically to air out the flour and remove impurities if any.
  • In a mixing bowl add the mashed banana, hot water, sugar, vanilla essence and briskly mix it all in.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave or stove top and add the measured cocoa powder and whisk it well so all the cocoa powder is well incorporated in to the butter.
  • Add this chocolate mixture to the mashed banana mixture and mix them well. If at this stage you find your wet ingredient base to be a little dry, add a few more drops of oil/ milk and loosen it up.
  • Now tip in the flour mix and whisk gently until you get a homogenous dough.

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  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Grease the bottom of a cake pan or a tray and line with parchment paper.
  • Pour out the chocolate batter on to the tray and smooth well with the end of a spatula.
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes depending on whether the crust becomes well set and well cooked. If you take out the brownies as soon as they are just baked, they might come out looking like cakes.
  • Cool for about 2 hours at least before you cut them in to little brownie bites! This is important as they take time to cool down and set well. The interiors are soft and a little chewy and the outside is am little thick and crusty.
  • Serve with a dollop of ice cream or hot chocolate sauce.

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Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins.

Candied Orange Peel and how to make more Orangey Goodness with it…

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It`s difficult to explain my love for Oranges….I love them in every form possible…their sweet juicy fleshy fruit, the juice from the oranges, the fragrant zest and even its peel!!!  As a little girl, it was a pleasure to open the sweet orange peel, and see perfect fleshy oranges tightly packed, preserved in their little casings,  and enjoy its juiciness in every bite. Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C which is an excellent anti0xidant for the human body. I remember seeing baskets of Oranges sold in trains when they stop at Nagpur, India. Everytime we would buy a basket and start peeling away orange skins. I remember my sister and me used to dunk the orange slices in salt before the tastes mingled in our senses – the sweetness from the ripe oranges and the saltiness bursting through. Now when I see the navel oranges here, I miss the humble “Santra” Orange that we used to have in my childhood. But the stories of those days keep the kids enraptured through these story telling sessions…

I made a huge batch of the Candied Orange Peel last week to use for my Eggless Christmas Cake and also as a reserve for salads and soups. I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did!

INGREDIENTS:

2 Oranges.

1 cup sugar.

1 cup water.

A shallow tray with 1/3 cup sugar.

PREPARATION:

  • The first step for making these candied goodies, is to peel the orange with your fingers or a peeler.  When you peel oranges with your fingers, they come off with the whitish pith inside. This part is a little bitter so it has to be pre-treated before making candied orange peel.
  • Collect all the orange peels and pop them in to a shallow saucepan. Pour about 2 cups of water and let it sit on a medium flame for about 6 minutes or so. Discard the water and refill the saucepan with more fresh water.
  • Pop it over the stove for another ten minutes or so and discard the water once again. This helps remove most of the bitterness from the orange peel.
  • Add equal quantities of water and sugar in a container and place over a medium flame in the stove.
  • When the sugar has melted and little bubbles start to form in the sugar solution, add the pre-cooked orange peels and let them simmer in the simple syrup for about 30 minutes or until you see that the orange peel has cooked well and is slowly getting transparent.

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  • Prep up a shallow tray with 1/3 cup sugar and spread it in to a thin layer.
  • Remove the orange peels and drop them on to the sugar crystals and roll them  in to the sugar to coat them well.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • Store in an air tight container for weeks.

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Ah yes what more can you do with it???

  1. I always used Candied Orange Peel every year during christmas to make my favourite Kerala Eggless Plum Cake.
  2. How about making Orangettes by dipping one end of the candied orange peel in melted chocolate and let it sit until it cools down. Makes a great after dinner refreshment!
  3. Or use the candied orange peel ground to a powder as an excellent garnish in an Orange salad or a crunchy garnish over ice cream.
  4. Add powdered candied orange peel to soft butter to along with a  little orange zest, to spread over warm bread or cookies. Double yum!
  5. Candied Orange Peel can be added with any fresh fruit juice that has oranges for that extra zing!
  6. Combined with extra virgin olive oil and orange zest, candied orange peel makes a great salad dressing!
  7. The simple orange syrup that is left behind after making the candied orange peel can be used instead of honey in cakes and instead of maple syrup over pancakes and waffles…
  8. I did use it in a simple vanilla cup cake with orange cream frosting as a crunchy garnish for that oomph!
  9. I am guessing it can also be used to make Pachadis and Vetha Kuzhambu too…
Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins.

Xylophone Rainbow Cake

As a little girl, I always had a fascination with colors and shades, just like any little girl of my age. I remember going so crazy happy seeing my neighbours etch lovely rangolis and fill them up with all the colors of the rainbow. Every year, my school held competitions for Rangolis and we used to plan to fill up the rangolis with imaginative colors and fillers. There was once we mixed color rangoli powder with rock salt to give the rangolis an embossed finish. Another time we mixed it with white lentils and filled it up then realised by afternoon all the lentils had gotten swept away in the wind! I had seen my good friend using colors to decorate her cakes and I simply loved it when food colour drops spread all over butter icicing getting churned in the mixer bowl and goes round and round and meanders in to create lovely bright colored icing. I wanted to recreate colours in to a cake as layers right next to one another as this is how my little one wanted it! I tried to do this and was might pleased with the results., Next time I want to cover the cake in milky white icing so whoever cuts it, would love the colors inside!

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour.

3/4 Stick of butter or 125 gms of butter (approx) at room temperature.

2 Eggs.

1 Heaped Cup Sugar.

2 Tsp Baking Powder.

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda.

1 1/4 Cup Milk.

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract.

Red Blue Green Yellow Food Colorings.

PREPARATION:

  • Baking always states that we start with preparing the dry ingredients and keep them ready – So mix the all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a cake pan / tin with butter.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one after the other and beat them again till the batter is light – this should take a few minutes.
  • Now alternately add the flour and the milk and make sure that the flour is added finally.
  • This is done so, even if the batter turns out too thick, we could always add a little more milk.
  • Now add the vanilla essence and mix it all in.
  • I used a stand mixer to help with the mixing of the batter, but your hands would also do!
  • Divide the batter in to 7 equal cups and set aside.
  • Add drops of food coloring – I used the 4 food colours of Red, Blue, Green and Yellow to create purple, dark blue, turquoise, green, yellow, orange and red.
  • In the end I had 7 cups of each of the rainbow colors and  must say they made such a pretty sight!
  • I layered them one after the other in a square baking pan and smoothed them to create a xylophone effect.
  • Then pop them in to the baking pan and bake for 25-35 minutes depending on how long they take to get done in your oven.
  • When a toothpick inserted in the cake, comes out clean without any sticky mess, then its time to pop out your cake and let it cool.
  • The top would have browned a little, but cut it in to little slices and be amazed at the colors!!

HINTS:

  1. This cake can be modified for any occasion…Pink for a little girls`s party, Orange and Purple for a Halloween party, red and green for a Christmas party filled with little tuity fruity and nuts and raisins.
  2. This cake can also be made eggless substituting with other ingredients like Buttermilk, condensed milk, flaxseed powder, etc.
Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins. · Kid Friendly Recipes.

The best brownies ever – A brownie recipe you cant go wrong with!!!

The Best Brownies Ever!!!!

There is always a search for the best recipes for all of our favorites – Hyderbadi Biriyani, restaurant style Veg Pulav, Fried Rice, or a favorite sweet….my search was for the best brownie recipe ever. …It has to be simple , measurable, chewy, moist , yet slightly crusty and finally EASY!!! This recipe is borne out of multiple research attempts out of so many recipes over a few months. One video on Youtube helped my immensely with the procedure. One pot over a stove!!! and the rest fell in place…Try it and there is really no looking back….6 Basic ingredients, one pot over a stove, and 30 minutes in the oven!!! Go ahead and give it a try and the best brownies made at home,  would never be store bought again!!! The next search is for the best eggless brownie recipe ever!!!!

Level : Easy.

Time Taken : Under 45 minutes.

Makes : 16 Medium Sized Brownies.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2  Sticks of butter (3/4 Cup).

2/3 Cup Cocoa.

1 2/3 Cup Sugar.

1/4 Tsp Salt.

2 Eggs at room temperature.

1 Tsp Oil.

1 Tsp Vanilla Essence.

1 Cup All Purpose Flour.

1/3 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips ( Could be substitued for any good quality chocolate).

PREPARATION:

The best part of this batter preparation is that its completely fool proof AND its all done in one go – one vessel over the stove, a whisk and some measuring and adding!

  • Take a deep dish with a strong base, and add the 1 1/2 sticks of butter to it. Place a whisk in to the dish and allow the butter to  melt slowly on low flame.
  • Meanwhile butter an oven proof dish and preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  • Lay out all your ingredients in an assembly line  on the counter so you can reach to them when they are needed.
  • Measure out the 2/3 Cup of cocoa powder and slowly dunk it in to the melted butter.
  • The cocoa laps up the butter happily and glistens.

  • Continue whisking and add the 1 2/3 Cup pf Sugar, and the 1/4 tsp of salt.
  • Whisk and at this stage it gets a little gritty with the sugar crystals. Keep going!
  • Add the eggs one at a time and whisk them in. This stage gives the brownie batter all the body it needs. You are still on low flame so make sure you keep whisking.

  • Flavour the brownie with the vanilla essence and mix it all in.
  • Now measure out exactly 1 cup of flour and add it to the pot. Slowly fold the flour it to the silky batter.
  • At the last stage add the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and let them melt in.

  • You are left with soft silky brownie batter. Pour this in to the  oven proof tray and smoothen.
  • Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool considerably and then cut them in to little squares.
  • Transfer to an air tight cannister and enjoy soft, chewy brownies again and again!

HINTS:

  1. You can line the oven proof dish with parchment paper to cut down on the mess and the grease! Simply topple it upside down when the brownie cools and cut them in to desired shapes!
  2. Keeping the flame on LOW is very important to the whole procedure.  Baking is a science, and and art, and rules must be followed else you would be left with chocolate omlettes!
  3. The baking time largely depends on the make of the OTG oven, temperature fluctuations, size of the oven, nad of course, the quantity of the brownies made! If you have doubled this recipe, time taken would definitely be more.
  4. Try these delicious brownies and let me know your reflections, observations and any suggestions!!!