Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cookies Galore

Baked lot of cookies this holiday season for sharing with Friends and Neighbors.  Here's a quick peek on to them

From the left: Oatmeal Raisin Coconut Cookies (my personal favorite) , Mexican wedding cookies, Almond Macaroons, Shortbread cookies with chocolate dipping.

Yet to blog about the last two, probably after the holidays. Till then have a blasting weekend.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chocolate Brownies with Fudge Frosting - A Christmas Treat

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas weekend. The weather was pretty bad over here on Saturday and it was a white Christmas after 20 yrs or so. But after two days of snow and uncleaned roads, its a complete mess out there.
We had a relaxed weekend at home with the "very happy"  little one running around with the surprise  gift from Santa :) . Well,  he got what he wished for, and also some Brownies as a bonus treat for Christmas.

I baked these wonderful cake like brownies from the book I already mentioned here
The recipe was totally different from what I have been baking so long, as it called for a layer of fudge frosting over the brownies. The result was a soft cake like Brownies with a very thin layer of smooth frosting. Loved every bite of it. 
1 cup All purpose flour
1/4 cup Cocoa powder
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon milk
For the Frosting:
2 Tblsp Butter
2 Tblsp cocoa
3 Tblsp evaporated milk ( I used whole milk)
1 cup Confectionery/Icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C
Prepare a 11 / 7 inch rectangular pan. Grease and line the pan with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy in a seperate bowl.
 Add the eggs little by little and beat well.
Scrap the sides of the bowl and beat again for a min.
Now fold in the dry ingredients and the milk alternately. 
Mix gently until no visible streaks of flour appear.
Transfer it to the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove and let cool in the pan.

For the Frosting:
Melt the butter in a saucepam under low heat.Add the cocoa powder and mix well, cook for a min.
Remove from heat and add the milk and sugar. Blend well with a whisk for a min.
Pour over the cooled brownies, spread evenly and allow it to set. Cut into squares.

Note: Cut only after the frosting is completly set , atleast 2 hrs, otherwise it will leak while making squares. I was a little impatient as you can see in the picture.

Try this recipe when you bake brownies the next time, you will  not be disappointed.
Sending these to Meeta's Monthly mingle event hosted this month by Ria where the theme is "Chocolate Extravaganza"

On an ending note, I am very happy to announce that I have won the giveaway hosted at Mriganayani for her blog 2nd anniversary.  So I got my share of surprise for the Christmas weekend :) Thanks Anu for the wonderful book giveaway.

Update : The picture after the frosting's set completely (overnight)

Happy Holidays Everyone...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Apple Almond Cake

Here's yet another cake for this season. I baked this over the weekend, the recipe  from Dragon's kitchen. I had bookmarked this recipe as soon as she posted in her blog, but it took about a year for me to make it. When the cake was baking, the house was filled with wonderful aroma of cinnamon ,apples and almonds  typical flavors of December. The cake was moist and delicious, a perfect dessert cake with a scoop of vanilla Ice cream.

Recipe source : Dragon's Kitchen
I almost followed the recipe with a slight change from my side. I increased the cinnamon to 11/2 tsp and used brown sugar for the topping. I also used vanilla essence instead of almond extract.

11/2 cup All purpose flour
3/4 cup Granulated sugar
11/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup yogurt
1/4 cup butter melted

3 apples peeled and sliced thin
1/4 cup slivered /sliced almonds
3 tablespoon Sugar/Brown sugar
11/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
Prepare a 9'' springform pan
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder , soda and salt in a bowl.
Break in the eggs one by one in a separate large  bowl, stir in the yogurt  and melted butter and vanilla essence. Beat well for a min.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir well till incorporated.
Pour the batter to the prepared pan. Arrange the apple slices over the batter.

In a small bowl mix the almonds, cinnamon and the brown sugar.Sprinkle on top of the apple.
Bake in the oven for 50 - 60 minutes. Mine was done in 50 minutes. So start checking from 50 mins

Serve warm with whipped cream or Ice cream

Sending this off to Champa's Bake-off event at the Versatile Kitchen 
Cakes and cookies - Xmas event at "My Culinary Creations"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vanilla cupcake with butter cream frosting

 I baked these cupcakes for a bake sale at my kids school last week. I have baked vanilla cupcake several times using different recipes, but this is the first time I decorated them with buttercream, did this specially for the kids.I made two batches of them (about 24) and felt happy to see that they vanished within the first 30 mins of the sale.

Recipe source: Joy of Baking

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup of white sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon (I used 1/ of a lemon)
11/2 cup All purpose flour
11/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk

For the Buttecream
2 cus of Icing sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar using the hand mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides.
Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and beat well for a minute.

In a seperate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
Now add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture alternating with the milk. Beat till incorporated.
Fill in the muffin cups evenly.Bake for 18 - 20 mins or until the tip is browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes about 12 cupcakes.

For the Buttercream , beat the butter till light and creamy.Gradually add the sugar and beat till fluffy (about 2 mins).  Now add the vanilla extract and milk and beat for another minute. Pipe the buttercream using the large star tip that you have on hand or spread the buttercream on the top using a butter knife.

Tip: the butter should definitely be at room temperature to make the buttercream mixture.I learned this the hard way :)

Sending this to the following events
Cakes and cookies - Xmas event at "My Culinary Creations"
Its time to jingle again - at AsanKhana
Champa's bake -off event at 'The Versatile Kitchen'

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

KFC style Fried Chicken

Have you ever wondered how the combination of just flour, salt, pepper and chicken can taste so good?
I have, many a times, whenever I happen to snack at KFC. Back in 2000 when I came to US for the first time, I was so much addicted to this food, that this became the evening snack on the way back home from work.  Ahh..those carefree days...:)

Last week I made these for my kid. Something interesting for him to eat as he was giving me a hard time, literally eating nothing for the past two weeks because of cough and cold. He seemed to like it and had a few pieces, which made me happy..:)

Boneless chicken pieces , cut into thin strips
salt and pepper as required
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour

Marinate the chicken with little salt and  pepper.
Break an egg in a wide bowl, add salt and pepper, and whisk well
Take the flour in a plate .

Heat oil in a saucepan for frying.
Dip the chicken in egg , and the coat with flour, again dip in the egg and coat with the flour.
Drop in the hot oil and fry till golden.
Serve with your favorite sauce.

Dipping the chicken twice in egg gives a nice crunchy layer, but its up to the individual's taste. To make it more spicy, you can also add some hot sauce to the egg.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Viennese Shortbreads/Biscuits with chocolate buttercream filling

Hi all , how have you been? December has started and its time to bake some cookies. Here's an interesting bake that I made this week from a book called  "Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook" which showcases traditional British recipes right from soups to desserts. Its a pretty old book published in the 70's , but the pictures are absolutely amazing. After baking Hot Cross Buns last year, I dutifully flip through the pages every night deciding on which ones to try next. Finally decided to try out this Viennese shortbread cookies.
What interested me most was the method of making these cookies. Rather than rolling and cutting or making small balls, these involved piping out the dough using a Icing bag.

The original recipe is for Orange shortbread, but omitted them as I am not so fond of the citrus flavor in any baked goodies.


1 cup All purpose flour
1 cup cornflour(white)
3/4 cup butters
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
extra confectioner's sugar to decorate.

For the Buttercream:
 4 tblsp butter
1 cup Icing sugar
2 tblsp cooking chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven for 180C/350F
Sift the flour and cornflour(cornstartch) together into a bowl.
Cream the butter, icing sugar in a large mixing bowl until very soft and light.
Gradually beat in the sifted flour and cornflour.
Put the mixture in the piping bag fitted with a large star tube (6mm) and pipe out small circles, rosettes or fingers on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
The shortbread should crisp without becoming too brown.
Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Note:   Its very important to cream the butter and sugar until soft otherwise, when the flour is added, the mixture would be too stiff to pipe. Add a 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk or water if too stiff to pipe.

For the Buttercream:
Cream together the butter and Icing sugar for the filling.
Melt the chocolate on a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water.Let it cool down.
Add the chocolate and mix well. When the biscuits are cold sandwich together in parts with the buttercream, and dust the tops with sieved icing sugar.

I wanted to use the star tip for these as in the picture from the book, but mine was too small to pipe out the dough and thus ended up in circles. The biscuits were soft and buttery, not too sweet, very different from the regular butter or sugar cookies. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

The cookies filled up with chocolate buttercream..

.I know I went a little overboard on the chocolate filling but hey its chocolate...

The biscuits tasted good on its own, but the chocolate filling enhanced the sweetness of the biscuits as well as the taste. 
Sorry for the poor lighting in the picture but this is what I could get out of the gloomy dark winter weather over here  :)    Sending this off to Champa's Bake-off event at Versatile kitchen.
Bye and have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

The first week of November was pumpkin week at school. We had to find some odd shaped pumpkins (big or small) for the school display. In that searching process we ended up with some really cute pumpkins. I made a soup and a curry ( twice ) but still had two more to go. Then I remembered the post about how to make pumpkin puree from DK's blog. I successfully made two jars and  also made this Pumpkin bread using the puree the very next day. The recipe for this bread has been in my bookmarks for ages and I finally got a chance to make it.
I was expecting a dark coloured Pumpkin bread like the ones we get in Starbucks( Iam a big time fan of that) ,but mine turned out more orangish. Its more related to the variety of the pumpkin I guess, Nevertheless the taste was wonderful and we loved every bit of it. I more or less followed the original recipe except the olive oil and added some cloves to have a strong flavour.

The original recipe is from  Simply Recipes Blog


1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon cloves  powder (optional)
1/2 cup  chopped walnuts


 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). 
Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
If you do not have the spice powders, just go ahead and powder the whole cloves, cinnomon and scrape the nutmeg.Worked well for me.
 Mix the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.
 Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.
Makes one large loaf

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