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Dec 162014
 
Stian Glass Cookies

Stain Glass Cookies

 

These stained glass cookies are Christmas Tree ornaments and cookies all in one. For kids it’s a cookie and candy all in one! For the Baker, these look like art and yet are simple to make. And when they are hung on the tree, the light penetrating through them looks magical. Hence, this was my choice for the Cookie Exchange. I wanted to make something that would make everyone happy. After all, Happiness is synonymous  with Holidays.  These cookies make me look good!

Stian Glass Cookies-6

 

The theme this month is International Winter Holiday Cookies! If it is a cookie traditionally made somewhere in the world for a holiday traditionally observed near the Winter Solstice you might find it on this list.  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 here 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:

Stian Glass Cookies-2

Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 C cup sugar Plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • Jolly Rancher Candies in different flavors and colors

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla; beat until mixed in, scraping down side of bowl often. Add flour and mix on low speed until dough comes together in a ball.
  2. Divide the dough in three equal portions. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 1 hours .
  3. Heat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Crush the candies in blender or mortar and pestle. Keep each color separate.
  5. Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator and roll out dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut out dough with cookie cutter. Cut out center of each cookie with another smaller cutter. Transfer to prepared baking sheets.
  6. Carefully fill the cutouts with candy. Sprinkle cookies with some sugar. Bake at 375 F until cookies are firm and Browned at the base. About 8 minutes.
  7. Repeat with the entire dough.
http://www.spiceroots.com/stained-glass-cookies

 

 

 

 

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Nov 292014
 
Pumpkin Roll

 

Pumpkin RollOf course you must have noticed. If you have been reading my blog regularly, you must have noticed that I haven’t done ANY pumpkin posts this year. In our home there used to be a pumpkin season.  It would start when we would carve pumpkins  out for Halloween, then roast the seeds for snacking on, and make the delicious butternut squash rolls that even kids love or make the curried butternut squash soup.  But this year, we have done no such thing. In fact we haven’t made a single pumpkin related thing all fall.

But then Holidays are sort of incomplete without some pumpkin. And it was decided that we will make a pumpkin roll this Thanksgiving. It’s traditional, it’s elegant and it is quick to make. Since we had just returned from a long vacation and the fridge was empty and the pantry almost empty, it was time for a trip to the grocery store to stock up on things we would need to make our Holiday treats.

If you have ever had the tiniest slip and not planned shopping days ahead of a Holiday, or if you circumstances got the better of you and you were too busy to shop or like me, you were away but got home in time to celebrate Holidays with friends and family, you know that the long lines at check out at the grocery stores are not fun.  So when Walmart invited me to try out their Walmart Grocery To Go  , I did not waste a moment to say yes.  I was happy to try out the home delivery of things I needed the day I got back from the vacation and for the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

Walmart Grocery To Go   was easy to set up. Browsing  and selecting the grocery items was fairly easy and I was able to select a time slot for the delivery as per my convenience for the next day. The groceries were delivered between the two hour window that I chose. Before I had had my second round of coffee, grocery had been done. Just like that!

Walmart truck

Home Delivery – Bright and Early

 

Things I needed to get the Holiday baking started

Things I needed to get the Holiday baking started

We made some pumpkin dinner rolls, the pumpkin roll and a lot of ginger cookies to share with our friends who had invited us to celebrate thanksgiving with them. And we made these really gooey chocolatey choco chip cookies with all that chocolate for the kids in the neighborhood.

Ginger Cookies

 

I saved at least 2 hours of my time by shopping for the required grocery online and having it delivered. I also saved myself from the stressful holiday grocery shopping. The best part was I could order online looking at a recipe and knowing what ingredients I would need without having to make a list or hunting it in the aisles.

Disclosure:-

As a participant in the Walmart Grocery to Go program, I’ve received a personal invite and payment for my time and efforts in creating this post. The views are based on my experience and are my own.

 

Pumpkin Roll-2

 

All ready to order from Walmart to go ? You can use the following link  and  you get $15 off your next order and I would too. 

http://refer.walmart.com/share/anshied

 

Pumpkin Roll – Let’s do pumpkin a little differently!

Pumpkin Roll – Let’s do pumpkin a little differently!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves ground to powder
  • pinch of teaspoon salt
  • Filling
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar plus some more for dusting
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and keep it aside.
  2. In a largish bowl, beat egg yolks until thick, add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin a little at a time beating on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
  3. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, and keep whisking until stiff peaks form.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Fold in the egg whites. Spread onto previously prepared pan.
  5. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cover the top with a slightly damp towel or two layers of damp paper towels for 10 minutes. Gently remove towels.
  6. Sift one tablespoon of confectioners sugar over the top of the cake and cover the cake with a thin flour sack towel.
  7. Invert the cake onto this thin towel. Gently peel back the parchment. Sift more confectioners sugar over the top of the cake . Roll the cake from the short end using the towel. Yes you will be rolling the cake and the towel together. Allow to cool completely.
  8. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, maple syrup,confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Unroll the cake gently; spread filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll the cake up -only this time without the towel. Cover and freeze until firm. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

http://www.spiceroots.com/pumpkin-roll-lets-pumpkin-little-differently
 

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Nov 182014
 
Chewy ginger cookies

 

 

Chewy Ginger cookies

 

I am always thinking ginger during Holidays. Ginger and Holidays are kind of hand in hand. The warm, woody flavors of ginger perfectly compliment the Holiday spirit. The baking aromas from anything ginger makes a warm welcoming home in the cold chilly days. The other day while my home security system company people landed up to do a check up of the system which was going to last a couple of hours. Since I was home with nothing to do but to just be there, I decided to bake these chewy ginger cookies.  So I got my dough ready, put it in the refrigerator, set the oven to pre heat and all the while the gals and guys responsible for the security of my home kept at their work, barely saying anything to me.

Chewy ginger cookies

Then, I baked the cookies. The aromas started to waft through. The guys and gals started to ask what I was baking. And then I took these babies out and on to the wire rack for cooling.  And since I had more time on hands and it was a ‘good light’ day, I decided to photograph them while they were still warm. It was sort of awkward to just pull out the gear, lay the cookies on a plate and try and photograph them with a bunch of strangers working in my house. But I decided to do it anyway. Light, time and cookies wait for no one!

cookies

By the time I finished photographing them, the security system was up and running as well. And the guys and gals were getting ready to leave. As I was signing off the papers they had for me, I asked them if they would like some cookies. “Like? We would love to! We thought you were never gonna ask us to try some!”  And so they dived into the cookies and ate some. The merriment in that moment, sharing a small thing in exchange  for so much joy is what matters to me the most. As I write this post from the island of Kauai, I am smiling again because of that moment.  Though it is also a day to pack up and head out home, leaving the peace and tranquility behind. But then again, peace and tranquility is always within us, we just need to stay still to find it. Hope you all have Happy and full of good memories Holiday Season!

The chewy ginger cookies were for the Creative Cookie Exchange.  The theme this month is Ginger! Dried and ground, candied, fresh–if you like ginger in your cookies 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.

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 here 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:

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1C all-purpose flour
  • 1C whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 ground cloves
  • a pinch of nutmeg powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 4 tbs sugar for rolling
  • 1/4 C molasses
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Extra Large egg

Instructions

  1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Add in the vanilla, egg and the molasses. Mix until well combined.
  3. Using a spatula mix in the dry ingredients, a little at a time. Take care to not over mix the dough. As soon as all the dry ingredients are mixed in, gather the dough and cover and keep it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the fridge and gently form the dough into 1-inch balls. Gently roll the balls of dough in sugar then place them on a non-stick or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, spaced about 2-inches apart, and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  4. When they come out the oven, the cookies will have cracks on top and look gooey. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack. Eat while warm or at room temperature.
http://www.spiceroots.com/chewy-ginger-cookies

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Oct 282014
 
Cranberry Martini

Cranberry Martini

The purist will say that this Cranberry Martini isn’t a martini because it is made with vodka. Usually martinis are made with gin and vermouth. But then if James Bond drank a martini with a vodka, Gordon’s and Lillet, I can’t be that wrong!  Now I am not a Bond girl (though I do wish it sometimes), I think what’s good enough for Bond, James Bond is good enough for me. And just to keep the purist happy we do have a generous portion of gin in this martini. And made it as he would have wanted it –  Shaken, Not stirred !

Cranberry Martini

 

The beautiful color from cranberry juice makes this a perfect cocktail drink for the season. And this Cranberry Martini is what I am serving to the Progressive Eats Cocktails and Appetizers Party.

Cranberry Martini

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Welcome to another edition of Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.

We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

GIVEAWAY!!

This month’s theme is a Cocktail Party celebrating Creative Culinary’s 3rd year of Friday Cocktails. Be sure to hop over to Barb’s post where she is giving away a gorgeous wine bottle opener to one of our Progressive Eats readers.

 

Appetizers

Beverages

Desserts

Cranberry Martini

Cranberry Martini

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 2 oz Tanquaray Gin
  • 1 oz Kru Cucumber Vodka
  • 2 oz Cranberry Juice
  • 2 olives

Instructions

  1. Take a martini glass and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes
  2. Get the martini glass out of the freezer and pour the Vermouth in the glass and swirl it around so that the vermouth spreads evenly on the inside of the martini glass.
  3. Discard the remaining vermouth and put 2 olives on a stirrer stick, put them in the martini glass and put the martini glass back in the freezer for about 15 minutes
  4. Fill a shaker with ice and pour the gin, cucumber vodka and cranberry juice over ice
  5. Shake the mixture till its nicely mixed and chilled with ice
  6. Get the martini glass out of the freezer and pour the martini over the olives
  7. Enjoy the chilled drink and the soaked olives in the end
http://www.spiceroots.com/cranberry-martini

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Sep 162014
 
Roth_-2

The theme this month is Comfort Food Cookies! What cookie says comfort food to you? 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 here 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:

Roth_

 

At the outset, let me tell you that I bake these cookies once a year. Growing up, I ate them once a year relishing the leftovers over a few days time, which indicates that my mom also made them only once a year. So why am I posting these as Comfort Cookies for this month’s theme?

Because they make me think of home, remind me of my mom, bring memories of childhood helping mom make the Roth and they bring a smile so deep and true that I can feel it in my core. These are cookies I save in the freezer to eat on a day when everything appears to go wrong. These are cookies I make and eat with a reverence and these are cookies that bring me a deep sense of stability no matter what’s going on in life.

Roth_-6

 

For a Kashmiri Pandit, Roth are not just cookies. These are a part of who we are and making these cookies is a very ancient tradition going back thousands of years. The ritual of making these cookies is called “Punn Duen” and after making them they are first offered to the Goddess of Harvest and hence sacred. The pots, pans and utensils used in baking these cookies are traditionally kept separate from everyday cooking utensils. They are only used once a year in every family for making these cookies and then packed away.

Every year, just around the fall season, there are a few auspicious days as per the lunar calender on which we must make the Roth. Each family picks a day as per their convenience and sets for “Punn Duen”. Freshly ground flour is bought, along with sugar and other materials and kept separate from everyday use things. The kitchen is given a deep clean the night before and the utensils for making Roth are brought out, scrubbed clean and a thread is spun out of cotton by a girl child. This thread is called the Punn and is a significant part of the ritual. The making of the Roth usually began at 4 a.m.

Roth_-2

As a young girl, I used to pledge to wake up at 4 am along with my mother to make Roth. My grandmother and my mom somehow always managed to get through half of the process of making the Roth before I woke up, which was never at 4 a.m. To appease me, my mom would tell me to take a sanctifying bath, wear clean clothes and come and help her bake because she needed my help. Then she would ask me to hold the poppy seeds in my tiny fingers and spread it on the cookies that she rolled out. I used to feel so important and grown up, that I would even try and chant the hymns that the elders sang.

After the Roth is ready, which during my childhood days used to take a good few hours as my mom baked them one by one on a flat clay griddle using a stove; the prepared Roth are kept in a large wicker basket and covered with a muslin cloth. The lady of the house performs the Pooja and ties sacred thread around on the wrists of family members. Then she narrates a very old story mentioning why the festival of Pann Duen is held in such reverence. After everyone has offered their prayers, the Roth which is now considered a prasad, since it has the Goddess’s blessings, is offered to everyone.

Roth_-3

When I moved away from home, my mom would send me the prasad every year and I would longingly wait for the package to arrive. When I moved from India, it became difficult for my mom to ship me the Roth. So I asked her to teach me how to make these. Since she was never a person for following recipes, she simply gave me her best guessed measures and guess what! They worked for me.

But for you all I have a tried tested and measured out recipe for this ancient cookie. I also made a few changes to the original to make it better suited for oven baking. You may substitute Ghee with butter or take a few moments to make ghee if you don’t have any. Here is how I make Ghee.

My comfort cookies come with a lot of history and a lot of longing! How about yours?

Roth -The Sacred Cookies from Kashmir

Serves: 18

Serving Size: 1

Roth -The Sacred Cookies from Kashmir

Ingredients

  • 4 cups All purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • 2 tbs chilled butter cut into small pieces
  • 6 tbs Ghee
  • 1/4 tsp brown cardamom powder (use only the seeds from one brown cardamom)
  • 4 tbs milk powder mixed in 4 tbs water
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup almond halves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coconut slices
  • 3 Tbs Poppy seeds

Instructions

  1. Add the butter and ghee and cardamom to the flour and mix it in until the flour sort of gathers together.
  2. Add in the sugar and mix.
  3. Add water gradually and mix until the dough comes together. Do not over knead. You may not need all the water, so begin with half a cup and then a tbs at a time, until the dough comes together.
  4. Let it rest covered for about 10 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 375*F
  6. Roll out the dough to abut 3/8th inch thickness
  7. Cut out the cookies in desired shapes. Mine was a 6 inch round cutter.
  8. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  9. Roll out the leftover dough again and repeat the process of cutting and rolling until all the dough is used up.
  10. Take a sharp paring knife and prick the cut cookie dough rounds a few times. This ensures they don't puff up while baking.
  11. Press in the almond and coconut slices, brush with a little milk powder paste and sprinkle some poppy seeds on top.
  12. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until light brown on top.
  13. Cool on a wire rack
http://www.spiceroots.com/roth-sacred-cookies-kashmir

 

 

 

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 Posted by on September 16, 2014 at 12:42 AM
Aug 262014
 
Grilled Rosemary potatoes-2

 

 

Grilled Rosemary potatoes

 

When people back home ask me to mention one thing that made me feel that I finally ‘belong’ in the new country that I chose as home, I don’t have to think. I know it was the first Summer Barbecue. Gathering of friends and family, silly games, laughing children, aroma of food being grilled and lots and lots of beer. It felt like summer days were meant to be celebrated like this. It felt like home.

So yes, yo guessed it right! Backyard barbecue is my favorite way to cook dinner during summer. I even sneak out in my big boots during fall to make use of the outdoor grill one last time. The flavor from the grill is something I really enjoy. It makes everyday meats and vegetables turn out delicious without much effort.

Grilled Rosemary potatoes-5

I am sure we all have our favorite recipe of grilled potatoes. After-all they are so versatile and go with any meat. What makes these grilled rosemary potatoes different is that these pack a punch. Hidden in those innocent looking potatoes is a little ground habanero. Just a little. But that little goes a long way in packing the punch.

The Grilled Rosemary Potatoes with Peruvian Sweety Drop Pepper Aioli would not be a complete dish until I talk about the Aioli or sweety drops or both.

Sweety Drop Peppers

The sweety drop peppers are drop shaped, bright red like cherry tomatoes and have a little peppery and a little tart flavor. I saw them at the olive bar a few days ago at Whole Foods and decided to get some for trying. Before I knew it, I was hooked. I kept eating them like cherry tomatoes. They pop and explode with flavor in your mouth, so an addiction is bound to happen.

The result of the said addiction was that I made an aioli with the peppers to go with the kicky grilled rosemary potatoes.

Grilled Rosemary potatoes-2

This combination is exquisite people. And if you are having a BBQ party this labor day, you MUST make these potatoes and the aioli. You will love the dish, but you will love the compliments more. This was my dish for the August Edition of the Progressive Eats. Check out what other members of our dinner party are bringing to the Summer Barbecue :-

Main Course

Appetizers

Bread

Salad

Soup

Sides

Beverage

Desserts

 

Grilled Rosemary potatoes-7

10383035_10203453385393972_1456898644294222895_n

Welcome to another edition of Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.

This month’s theme is Summer Barbecue hosted by Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake. You’ll love all the summertime recipes that will be perfect for your next cookout or Labor Day gathering.

Grilled Rosemary Potatoes with Peruvian Sweety Drop Pepper Aioli

Grilled Rosemary Potatoes with Peruvian Sweety Drop Pepper Aioli

Ingredients

    For Peruvian Sweety Drop Pepper Aioli
  • 1 tbs Sweety Drop peppers
  • 1 large egg yolk ( Pasteurized egg)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar
  • For Grilled Rosemary Potatoes
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes
  • 1 tbs chopped garlic
  • 1 tbs chopped rosemary sprigs
  • a pinch of Habanero powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2tbs olive oil

Instructions

    Make the Aioli
  1. I used my Blendtec to make the aioli. Use your food processor or blender or do it the old fashioned way.
  2. Start with mixing the egg yolk with the vinegar and salt and a little bit of oil. If you are not using a food processor, then finely chop the peppers before adding in. Add in the peppers and mix.
  3. Then add the oil in a thin stream and keep whisking until the aioli is completely emulsified.
  4. The potatoes
  5. Wash and slice the potatoes length wise into two.
  6. Put a large pot of water to boil and add salt. Once the water boils, add in the potatoes and cook them for about 5 minutes or until partially done.
  7. Drain and leave to dry out for a few minutes.
  8. Add the olive oil into a prep bowl, add in the garlic, rosemary , habanero and salt and mix.
  9. Add in the potatoes and toss to coat.
  10. Cover and leave in the fridge until you are ready to grill.
  11. Grill on a medium to high heat for a couple of minutes on each side.
  12. Serve with the aioli and some other stuff off of the grill.
http://www.spiceroots.com/grilled-rosemary-potatoes-with-peruvian-sweety-drop-pepper-aioli

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