Follow Me On…

Desserts

Jan 312016
 
Date and Sesame Bars
Share

Date and Sesame Bars

How important is it to you that you know what is in the food you are eating, where it comes from and who grew it? I have had this conversation time and again with people. “what I don’t know is not going hurt me” and “ignorance is bliss” were the tip of the iceberg sort of responses I received from a lot of people. When I first began to ask this question almost a decade ago, not many people I had conversations with thought it was important.

To some I seemed like a pretentious food snob, to others I was someone who was trying to do the impossible.

I agree. When you are trying to feed a family, are on a tight budget or don’t have time to cook from scratch, the notion of farm to table / organic / from scratch cooking is daunting. After all, the way the present system is – eating fresh clean food is more expensive than getting take out. And you don’t even have to do the dishes.

Date and Sesame Bars

But, in the last decade a lot has changed in terms of awareness. More people are trying to eat home made, cleaner food. We may not always eat local – after-all having access to exotic ingredients from around the world is a big incentive to cook at home. What is happening though is that more and more people are reading labels, cutting out excess sugar from food, saying no to buying things that don’t remotely have any real ingredients in them.

Date and Sesame Bars

That brings us to today’s recipe. It was created over a whatsapp chat. One of my friend, who is a proponent of eating clean, said that she had sesame seeds she wanted to use. And wanted to know a good, healthy, nutritious way to use them. I knew she liked energy bars so I thought about making an energy bar. So here we are with the recipe for date and sesame bars. And if you are addicted to Til Chikki – a delightful concoction of jaggery and sesame seeds, you will absolutely love these bars.

 

Date and Sesame Bars

Date and Sesame Bars

Ingredients

  • 16 Fresh Dates - deseeded and chopped
  • 1/8 C goji berries
  • 1/8 C dried cranberries ( look for no sugar cranberries)
  • 1/8 C chia seeds
  • 3/4 C Sesame seeds
  • For assembly
  • A few drops of coconut oil
  • An 8 in plate

Instructions

  1. Blend the dates into a paste. Do not use any water or oil. A powerful blender / food processor will be ideal for this step.
  2. Put the date paste in a mixing bowl and add in goji berries, dried cranberries & chia seeds.
  3. On medium heat, put a small pan to heat up. Add the sesame seeds to this pan and gently toast the sesame seeds, stirring once a while for evenly toasting them.
  4. The sesame seeds will start to make a popping sound. Stir and give them another 10 - 20 seconds after you first hear the popping, then remove from heat.
  5. Add the still hot sesame seeds to the date mix.
  6. Mix this all together, until well combined You will need a strong spoon and arm.
  7. Assemble
  8. prepare the plate by applying the coconut oil on the inside - just like you would prep a cake tin.
  9. Tip the date and seed mix into the prepared pan and using your hands or a flat spatula, spread the mix evenly onto the plate.
  10. Press the mixture down so that it is compact.
  11. Score lightly with a sharp knife into squares or rectangular bars.
  12. Let it cool down before you refrigerate to store.
http://www.spiceroots.com/date-and-sesame-bars/

Share
 Posted by on January 31, 2016 at 11:08 AM  Tagged with:
Jan 212016
 
chocolate and tomato soup bundt cake
Share

chocolate and tomato soup bundt cake

 

It’s the strange but good sort of a day with the Bundt Bakers. And that’s why you are being forced to partake in a recipe that uses tomato soup as one of it’s ingredients. If you think adding tomato soup in my chocolate bundt is way too weird, wait till you see what the other strange (ahem) Bunt Bakers have come up with!

chocolate and tomato soup bundt

As weird as it sounds, it is not all that uncommon – the tomato soup cake! It has been known to have made it’s presence in the depression era. And there are scores of recipes, old and new that make use of tomato soup in a chocolate cake. So I thought it fit the theme of strange but good-weird flavor combinations for Bundt Bakers and also gave me an opportunity to try making this cake in a bundt pan and see how it fared.

 

chocolate and tomato soup bundt cake

I really wanted to try the recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’sHeavenly cakes. But using a can of tomato soup was not going to happen. Yes, some may argue that there isn’t anything nutritious about a cake and that it IS made of processed flour and sugar. But the canned soups had way more unrecognizable ingredients than I could justify. So, I did end up using Rose’s recipe but I modified it a bit for altitude and used a little jar of tomato paste.  I am really not sure how different is it from the original recipe, but one thing I can tell you – it was the silkiest chocolate EVER! The crumb actually MELTS in the mouth! I am going to make tomato paste a standard in chocolate cakes from now on. It’s THAT GOOD.

chocolate and tomato soup bundt cake

Our Lovely host this month is Jen, Better known by her nom de plume, June. June blogs at How to Philosophize with Cake

Here are our strange but good-weird flavor combinations for this month! Go on! I know you are curious to find out just how weird we all are and I am happy to say we won’t disappoint!

BundtBakers

chocolate and tomato soup bundt cake

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

 

Chocolate and Tomato Soup Bundt Cake #BundtBakers

Chocolate and Tomato Soup Bundt Cake #BundtBakers

Ingredients

    To make the tomato soup
  • 5 Tbs tomato paste
  • Water
  • For the cake
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups baker's sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

    Make the soup
  1. Add the tomato paste into a measuring jug and add water a little at a time, mixing well until you make one whole cup of tomato liquid like thing. We will call this the tomato soup.
  2. Cake
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F ; prepare a bundt pan.
  4. Whisk the eggs, tomato soup and vanilla extract until well combined. Add in the baking soda and baking powder and mix a bit and keep it aside.
  5. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and airy. Add in the flour and salt and mix until combined. Add in the cocoa powder and stir until everything mixes in.
  6. Add the tomato soup mixture a little at a time until well combined.
  7. Pour into the prepared bundt pan.
  8. Bake on middle rack for 50 - 60 minutes.

Notes

I used a basic ganache to top the cake with. It goes well with the cake. You can also just dust it with powdered sugar or use any other icing.

http://www.spiceroots.com/chocolate-and-tomato-soup-bundt-cake-bundtbakers/

Share
Sep 222015
 
Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars
Share

Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars

Are they cookies? Are they Brownies? Is it a cheesecake? These were the questions floating around the living room. No one was asking me, but the guessing game was on. Sometimes I let them wonder without telling them what I am up to. Seeing me make a batch of cookie dough, whip up cream cheese with eggs and mix a batch of eggs and chocolates, the spouse and the offspring were trying to guess what I was making. Usually I finish my baking before the kid gets home, so she can come home to a fresh batch of goodies and enjoy them before heading out for the next activity of the day. But some times life happens and I end up baking well after dinner time. This was one such day.

Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars

So I let them wonder and kept working. The batch of brownies came out, the house was smelling brownie like and  people were waiting for it cool down when I layered it with cheesecake and topped with the chocolate chip cookie dough. It might have raised some eyebrows but by now they have gotten used to some unique type of creations every once a while. So in anticipation they waited and finally after much patience for waiting for the photos to be taken, they ate a few of these Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars with some milk. Patience pays in cookies!

I minimally adapted the recipe for Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars from the Brownie Bottom Cookie Dough Cheesecake recipe from  Handle the Heat . I used a brownie recipe that works for me, and used the idea for the bars from Tessa’s blog.

Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars

The theme this month for the Creative Cookie Exchange  is Layered Bar Cookies–if you like crispy, crunchy, chewy, creamy or gooey layers packed into one cookie you have come to the right place!! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

 

Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake BarsYou can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of our bloggers have made this month:

Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars #Creative Cookie Exchange

Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars #Creative Cookie Exchange

Ingredients

    For the brownies
  • 1 1/4 sticks butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • For the cheesecake layer
  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • For Cookie dough
  • ¼ C unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • a pinch of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 3/4 C all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

    Make the Brownies
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang.
  2. Melt the butter then add sugar, cocoa, and salt. Mix until the mixture is smooth. It will look gritty and thick. Allow to cool before adding the eggs.
  3. Once the mixture is cool to touch, stir in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. Mix until the batter looks shiny then add the flour and stir until the flour is completely mixed in. Do not over mix.
  4. Spread the brownie batter into the pan and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. You want to remove it before they are completely done as they will bake again with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Remove and let cool for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  6. Make the cookie dough
  7. Beat the butter, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and milk in the stand mixer. Once the mixture is fluffy, stop the mixer and gradually add the flour and mix with a spatula until combined. Add in the chocolate chips. Mix and remove from the mixer, set aside in another bowl.
  8. The cheesecake layer
  9. Clean and dry the mixer bowl and then add cream cheese and sugar and using a paddle attachment, mix until well combined and smooth. Add in the salt and beat in the eggs one at a time and combine until just mixed in completely.
  10. Pour this over the now cooled brownie. Spread the cookie dough batter on top the cheesecake. You could alternately scoop out small cookies from the dough and place them on the cheese layer like I did.
  11. Bake at 325°F for 40 to 50 minutes. The cheesecake will set and cookie dough will look a light brown. Allow to come to room temperature before letting it cool in the fridge overnight or at least a few hours. Cut into desired shapes.
http://www.spiceroots.com/cookie-dough-brownie-and-cheesecake-bars-creative-cookie-exchange/

Share
Aug 202015
 
Chocolate Sprinkles Sour Cream Bundt Cake
Share

“Mom, Will you bake a cake just for me”? This isn’t a request I ever get, because there is always cake or cookies lying around in the house for the teen and her friends to eat. And the request is usually about a particular kind of bake. Never about a bake “Just for her”.
So, I had to pause and ask what kind. But what I wanted to know was what brought about the request. And a few minutes of ‘cake chat’ later I found out that unknowingly, I am always baking cakes either because I have a bundt cake challenge, or because there are new flavors and techniques I want to try or because weekend house guests are visiting and I want something handy because with guests in the house I don’t usually get around to baking. Except for the cakes I bake for friends to take to their birthdays and weddings and the like, I thought I was baking for her because she enjoys eating my cakes.

Chocolate Sprinkles Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Photos By :- Shloka Dhar

It was an honest talk, just the way I have taught her to express herself. It made me pause. Sometimes, in the long lists of getting things done or doing things for others we forget what’s most important. The precious moments we have with our kids while they are growing up. I already can’t believe that she will start driving soon and then off to college and have her own adult life in a short few years. I was thankful for this talk. Grateful for her direct demand and I asked her what cake she wanted me to bake for her.

Chocolate Sprinkles Sour Cream Bundt Cake

“Just a simple chocolate cake. With lots of chocolate and Sprinkles on top and vanilla icing”. So that’s exactly what I made. I am still not the best mom. Because I also made this cake for the Bundt Bakers. But only because the challenge theme matched with the teen’s request.
It did mean that I was to change my plan of having a deep, dark luxurious chocolate ganache icing for the cake to the quick and simple vanilla icing.

Chocolate Sprinkles Sour Cream Bundt Cake
We have decided that before the next month’s Bundt Baker’s challenge I am going to consult with her about the cake. With her inputs, we are going to make cakes that she wants to eat and help bake.

Life as a blogger can sometimes take over the simple home life. Even for a whimsical one like me who only post once a while. Menus that need to be blogged, recipes that are not on the blog yet or not cooking things that are already on the blog. Though I didn’t follow those blogging norms, Somehow without me noticing, I had fallen through the gaps and done this with my cake baking. But now, I promise to pause every now and then and ask, “So, What should I bake you today?”

Chocolate Sprinkles Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Photos by :- Shloka Dhar

What about you guys? Do you pause to ask the important people in your life what they feel like eating or trying?

Chocolate Sprinkles Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Now about this particular cake – It’s so moist that my husband asked if I had used oil instead of butter. And the choice of the cocoa powder was my daughter’s. She wanted to use the Dutch processed cocoa powder because she wanted it to contrast with the white icing and the dark chocolate sprinkles that Dad got from his trip to Prague.

The recipe is adapted from the William Sonoma Recipe for chocolate sour cream cake. It’s moist, with a nice crumb and tastes very chocolatey. This is our contribution to the Bundt Baker’s monthly event and this month our host is the very FUN Terri Truscello of Love and Confections. Thank you so much, Terri for a FUN filled “Sprinkles” themed event.
Here are this month’s “Sprinkles” Bundts:

 

BundtBakers

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

Chocolate Sprinkles Sour Cream Bundt Cake #BundtBakers

Chocolate Sprinkles Sour Cream Bundt Cake #BundtBakers

Ingredients

    For the Cake
  • 1 C unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powdered
  • 6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 C hot water
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 16 Tbs butter
  • 1 ½ C sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 C sour cream
  • For the Glaze
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbs milk
  • chocolate sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Prepare your Bundt pan by greasing and flouring it. Preheat the oven to 350*F.
  2. Heat the water and add the chopped chocolate and the cocoa powder, Stir to mix and set aside to cool.
  3. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder. Keep aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light in color and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Incorporate each egg before adding the next. The mixture will thicken and be a cream like consistency.Add the sour cream in two batches, mixing completely on each addition.
  5. Add in the vanilla.
  6. Now add in half of the flour and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Gradually add in the cocoa mix (be sure it is not warm). Mix and then add the rest of the flour and then the rest of the cocoa mix. Mix until well combined.
  7. Pour into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack for 60 minutes. The batter may look like it's too much for your heritage pan. In other pans it should be ok.
  8. When a cake tester comes clean, the cake is done. Allow to cool for an hour before un moulding. Then make the glaze.
  9. Glaze
  10. Mix the vanilla, milk and sugar and pour over the cake. Quickly sprinkle the chocolate sprinkles.
http://www.spiceroots.com/chocolate-sprinkles-sour-cream-bundt-cake-bundtbakers/

Share
Aug 182015
 
Naan Khatai
Share

Naan Khatai

Nan Khatai – Indian Shortbread cookies are not shortbread cookies in the real definition of the word. But saying light and crispy, yet flakey and utterly buttery and melt in the mouth cookies sounds like a mouthful. Which after a few bites of the Nan Khatai is simply not possible.

My Naani ( Naani is how you address your grandmother on your mom’s side) got me hooked to Nan Khatai. She knew all the right bake shops that sold the best Nan Khatai and she would stop by every few days and place an order for special ones. You may ask if they were the best shops why would she place an order for special ones? That’s because she would carry a pot of home made ghee and bring it to the store and ask them to use it in the order she just placed. She has a gentle demeanor that disarms even the non-indulgent kinds. The chefs would see her arrive and grin wide and ask her how many of the nan khatai biscuits she wanted. Biscuits – because we are still British in our use of English, though they way it’s pronounced in most of India – BisKOOT may not be understood by the English speaking English.

Naan Khatai

 

Made with fresh, homemade ghee and catered to our taste, they were melt in the mouth, divine rounds of cookie goodness. Really soft to touch, they have an outer crunch, feathery soft interior that falls into the mouth and you close your mouth and it simply melts and vanishes. I never found them anywhere else in the country. Though every region has its nan khatai, the ones from Jammu are my favorite. It could be because of the memories attached to it or it could be because they simply are divine.

Naan Khatai

To put the theory to test, I made two batches of Nan Khatai today for the Creative Cookie Exchange. The theme this month was Pack for a picnic cookies. Basically cookies that won’t go bad, get soggy or hard if kept in less than ideal conditions. Nan Khatai fits the bill perfectly as they are made with ghee that has a better shelf life than butter. They are not easily spoiled, stay fresh for days and are just delicious.

Naan Khatai
The two kinds of Nan Khatai I made were blind taste tested by the in house taste tester. He picked the Jammu one over the other. Though both the cookies taste great, there is just something about eating food that has memories that makes it taste special.
You can try one or both and let me know which one you preferred.

Naan Khatai

The theme this month is Pack for a Picnic Cookies–any kind of cookie that sounds great for a picnic! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

 

 

Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Naan Khatai – Indian Shortbread Cookies #Creative Cookie Exchange

Naan Khatai – Indian Shortbread Cookies #Creative Cookie Exchange

Ingredients

  • 1.5 C flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
  • a small pinch of salt
  • Optional - almond slivers for garnish
  • 1/2 C sugar ( If you don't live in the US.. look for baker's sugar or coarsely grind your sugar)
  • 1/2 C ghee, room temperature that looks a little melty

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, cardamom powder and salt. Keep aside.
  3. Cream together the ghee and the sugar
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and mix very briefly until the dough comes together
  5. Take 2 tbs of the dough and roll it and then press it down to flatten it. Keep it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  6. If using almonds, put those slivers on the cookies and press down
  7. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes. The cookies won't brown on top so check after 10 minutes to see if the bottom has browned a bit. You don't want to over bake these.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

This is the recipe for the Jammu style Naan Khatai. To make the Pakistani style Nan Khatai, swap 1/2 C flour with garbanzo bean flour and follow the same procedure.

http://www.spiceroots.com/naan-khatai-indian-shortbread-cookies-creative-cookie-exchange/

Share
 Posted by on August 18, 2015 at 2:14 AM
Jul 202015
 
chocolate chip cookie bowls
Share

chocolate chip cookie bowls

Dear Pinterest,
You sometimes fill me with misery. I must break up with you. It’s you, It’s not me. And I say that with all dignity I can muster up after an unhappy (disastrous) project. Many such projects if I had kept a count. So as beautiful as you look, and as enticing as you are – It’s over between us. Yes, you have been very useful when I have tried to look for inspiration and most of the projects have turned out ok. But it’s the projects that look nothing like you showed that hurt the most. And for those I can’t forgive you.
I have much to thank you for. Take for example all the time you make vanish because I am checking things that I, in my wildest dreams would not even think of undertaking – like building the fish aquarium from scratch. Or the times when I think I can finally undertake the DIY projects in my bathroom because you make them look and sound fabulously easy. Sadly the husband always says No and I am left dreaming And then I am on to make some more time vanish with you. Really! It’s like magic.
But you have given me a lot more grief than you will ever care to acknowledge. Take for example these chocolate chip cookie bowls. They were supposed to look like this! See this?  That’s how they were supposed to look.

But instead looked like this:-

chocolate chip cookie bowls

 

What do you have to say for yourself? I am ending this right now. It’s over between you and me!

And while you are at it, do tell people that this project is not really worth the time, though it tastes good. Also tell them that If they have a willing teenage helper who wants to really bake the cups, go ahead. Otherwise, they should just make some chocolate chip cookies and fill in some ice cream into them and call it an ice-cream sandwich. They will thank you and not break up with you. I am saving you some heart ache.

chocolate chip cookie bowls

Oh I am adding this disaster to your boards. After all YOU did make me make these. And good bye!

Oh yes, before the final Good Bye – be sure to tell people to check how awesome cookies with ice-cream ACTUALLY look like – Here is a list for your kind information!

I was supposed to send my chocolate chip cookie cups to this event:-

The theme this month is Ice Cream Cookies–any kind of cookie that works well with ice cream in any form–could be an ice cream sandwich, could be the perfect cookie garnish! If you are dying to beat the heat with a fun ice cream creation involving cookies, we’ve got you covered! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. Please be patient though, as this month Laura is off to Italy and will not be checking email quite as often!

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Disclaimer – Pinterest is actually not human! So don’t go looking for him. He is not even a He.  Even if you have had temporary lapse of reasoning like I do, just don’t do it. Most of the times – he/she/it is nice!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowls

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowls

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the reverse side of a mini bundt pan (the outside) with a pan spray.
  2. In medium bowl, combine flour and salt. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and the vanilla extract. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix it until combined.
  3. Roll out dough on generously-floured surface to 1/8 in. thickness. Cut 4-1/2 in. circles from dough.. Drape each circle over each of the reverse side of the bundt pan, pressing to form smooth surface.
  4. Bake 12 minutes or until cookie cups are firm and golden brown. Cool on pan on cooling rack 10 minutes. Loosen bottom edges of cookies from pan using small spatula. Carefully remove cups from pan and cool completely. Wash, dry and spray pan; repeat with remaining dough.

Notes

Recipe source ;- Wilton

http://www.spiceroots.com/chocolate-chip-cookie-bowls-creative-cookie-exchange/
Share