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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cutout Sugar Cookies | Christmas Cookies

Pappu's holidays have officially started. Last thursday was the last day of school and now its Christmas break. Its fun on one hand cos we can sleep in late, have fun playing but the thing is he gets bored easily. His attention span is so little and engaging him needs stamina. I have some stuff planned for us like baking cookies (!!!duh), puzzle time, sensory play and threading pasta. So lets see how everything is going to work out. Coming to these cookies, these make perfect kids activity and holiday gift cookies. Kids can help in making the dough, cutting out the shapes and then decorating it as they want to. Since I made these for a volunteer event at pappu's school, I didn't decorate them as it was planned for kids' activity. But if you are planning to decorate them then use royal icing.



~*What U Need*~
Prep time: 30 mins; Cook time: 10 mins; Serves - 2 dozen
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Unsalted butter - 6 tbsp
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Eggs - 1
Pure vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp

How I Made it:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of your standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to whisk till fully combined for about 1 minute.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder and mix it into the egg mixture until its all combined. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for about an hour. Take the dough out of the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick, cut out any design with your your cookie cutter and place them on your lined baking sheet. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges and allow them to cool completely.


Decorate as desired with royal icing.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

Signs off!!!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

White chocolate Cranberry & Coconut Oatmeal cookies

Christmas is all about gifting to friends and family. With just a few more days to go, I am planning to share a few cake and cookie recipes here and this is first of the lot. My husband is a big fan of coconuts in cookies while the kid loves white chocolate. As for me I have been wanting to make oatmeal cookies for a long time and so I incorporated all three, added some cranberries to overcome the sweetness and a teeny bit of lemon zest for some freshness. These taste delicious and make perfect holiday gifts.


Prep time: 15 mins; Baking time: 12 mins; Makes - 18 cookies

~*What U Need*~
Unsalted butter - 1/4 cup, room temp
All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Old fashioned oats - 3/4 cup
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
White sugar - 1/4 cup
Egg - 1/2 of an egg
Lemon zest - 1/4 tsp
Dried Cranberries - 1/4 cup
White chocolate chips - 1/4 cup
Coconut flakes - 1/4 cup

How I Made it:
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl, combine flour, oats, salt, and baking soda; set aside. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add egg, lemon zest, and mix well. Add the flour mixture and gently mix till you see no traces of flour.

Gently fold in the coconut and white chocolate chips and cranberries. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Form 1 tbsp balls, flatten it a bit and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool for 2 minutes before using a spatula to move onto a cooling rack. Repeat with the entire batch.


Serve with a glass of milk.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

Signs off!!!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Eggnog | Homemade eggnog | Boozy Chirstmas Drink

When it comes to eggnog you either love it or don't. If you are a spice lover then you will love it. But then if spices are not your thing then this drink is not for you. As for me, I love eggnog. Its creamy, its luscious and its comforting. This here is an adult version like the one where Jake drinks and sings "mammio daddio" in Two and a half men. Most of the eggnog recipes that I came across uses uncooked eggs and whipping eggwhites and folding it into the drink. Well I hate uncooked eggs and this recipe was just right for me. I referred lot many recipes and came up with my own version. As for the rum, you can totally skip it and add imitation rum extract or if you are one who doesn't love rum flavor then skip it.


Prep time: 5 mins; Cooking time: 15 mins; Serves: 2 cups
~*What U Need*~
Egg yolks - 4
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Whole Milk - 1 1/2 cups
Heavy cream - 1/2 cup
Freshly grated nutmeg - 1/2 + 1/8 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Ground cloves - 1/8 tsp
Cinnamon - 1/8 tsp
Rum - 2 tbsp

How I Made it:
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture doubles in volume and is a nice pale color{I missed including that in my step by step pictorial}. Add the cream, milk, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer. Add about half of the hot milk into the egg yolk stirring constantly. Add this into the saucepan with the remaining liquid and cook stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 160 degrees or coats slightly the back of the spoon. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, add the rum and vanilla and place it in the fridge to cool completely, best if refrigerated overnight to allow the flavors meddle.


Serve chilled with a dollop pf whipped cream!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

Signs off!!!


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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

Baking is something like an integral part of my life these days. Its like no day passes by without me cranking up the oven. Mostly its something for breakfast or to refill our cookie jar. And then there are potlucks and friends coming over. Coming to the breakfast part, I generally make banana breads when there are over-ripe bananas in the basket or some kind of yeasted breads with whole wheat flour. But this time we wanted a change and this baked banana oatmeal was what I made. Reheated the next day morning, dunked it into some milk, poured in some maple syrup and it was a yummy breakfast.


~*What U Need*~
Old fashioned rolled oats - 1 cup
Chopped pecans - 1/4 cup
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon - 3/4 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Maple syrup - 1/4 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Egg - 1, large
Canola oil - 2 tbsp
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Blueberries - 1 cup, fresh/frozen

How I Made it:
Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease 8x8 cake pan. Spread half of the berries in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the syrup, milk, egg, oil, and vanilla.

Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats. Sprinkle the nuts and remaining berries over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Serve warm!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

ABC Cake | Apple Banana Carrot Cake | Breakfast Cake

Well if you are looking for a bake which incorporates fruits, veggies, nuts and very little fat, then look no more, for I have a very simple breakfast cake for you today. Its filled with carrots, apple, banana and uses only quarter cup of sugar. Slice them up, toast 'em with some butter and serve it with some freshly squeezed orange juice or freshly brewed coffee and you have a delicious, kid-friendly breakfast to serve. So lets move on to the recipe.



~*What U Need*~
Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup, packed
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1 tsp
Canola oil - 2 tbsp
Egg - 1
Honey - 2 tbsp
Sour cream - 2 tbsp
Whole milk - 1/4 cup
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Carrots - 1 cup, shredded
Apple - 1, shredded
Bananas - 2, mashed
Walnuts - 1/2 cup
Cranberries - 1/4 cup, dried

How I Made it:
Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine carrot, apple, sour cream, oil, egg, milk and vanilla; stir well. Add the mashed bananas and mix gently.

Add honey and mix well. In a large bowl, combine all purpose and whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir well with a whisk. Add the cranberries and walnuts and mix.

Fold wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Spoon batter into a bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for about 40-50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.

Slice and serve!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tomatillo Dhal | Pachathakkali pappu/paruppu

Sometimes all you need is comfort food. Not something exotic but something simple and home cooked like curd rice with potato roast or dhal with rice and pickle for the side. One mouthful and you will be transported to your childhood days. Days when you waited impatiently for dinner after playing for hours in the grounds and amma served you pappu saadam mixed with her own hands with dollops of ghee. This dhal is something like that. Comfort food but with a twist. It is just a variation of our regular paruppu using tomatillos. The addition of tomatillo gives it a nice tang which will leave you craving for another mouthful.



~*What U Need*~
Moong dhal - 1/4 cup
Toor dhal - 1/4 cup
Tomatillo - 3
Tomato - 1/2 cubed
Garlic - 2 cloves
Green chilli - 1
Turmeric powder - a pinch

To Temper
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Hing - a big pinch
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Dry red chilli - 1
Shallots - 5-6, sliced

How I Made it:
Remove the outer covering from tomatillos, wash and chop; Set aside. Wash dal and take it in a pressure cooker, add chopped tomatillos, tomatoes, garlic, green chilli, turmeric powder and enough water and pressure cook for 3 whistles or till done. Allow the pressure to release and open the lid and mash it slightly. Heat oil in a skillet, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add cumin seeds and allow to brown. Add curry leaves, dry red chilli, hing and sliced onions and fry well. Add this tempering to the paruppu.

Serve with rice or rotis.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

Signs off!!!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

French Macarons ~ My first OK attempt!!!

Yeah, you heard me right. I got them right, well not perfect right but OK right. Atleast I got what makes a macaron, a macaron stuff right. I got the feet, I got the rise and I got them out of the parchment paper intact. So yeah, I made my first OK macarons. This is not my first time but gladly this is not my nth time too. The first time I made it, I didn't grind my almonds fine enough and so the second time I resorted to store bought ground almonds. And these macarons happened.

So if you are here for macaron advice, my first one would be to get a kitchen scale. Macarons are all about precision and cup measurements would never work out. Next grind your almonds fine but donot overwork it that the almonds start releasing their oils. If you are not confident enough then get store bought flour. Then age your egg whites, the older the best. Sieve the almond+icing sugar atleast thrice. Finally allowing the piped shells to dry till they are no longer tacky is super important. So why wait ;ets get going and bake some macarons.


~*What U Need*~
Ground almond - 50 gms
Icing sugar - 100 gms
Castor sugar - 20 gms
Egg whites - 60 gms
A pinch of salt

How I Made it:
Separate the egg whites and place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for 2 days. On the day of use, remove the container from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Weigh all the ingredients and set aside. Blend the icing sugar and ground almonds together with a food processor for around 1 – 2 minutes. Sieve the mixture thrice getting rid of the bigger bits, set aside. Whisk the egg whites with the whisk attachment at medium speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt. With the mixer at medium speed beat until soft peals. Turn your mixer to high speed and gradually add the caster sugar beating till you get shiny stiff peaks. Gradually add the dry ingredients to your meringue in 3 additions. Gently cut and fold the mixture by means of a silicone spatula. Around 50 folds. You should get a smooth and glossy batter, with no visible dry ingredients just like lava. Attach a plain nozzle to the piping bag and fill it with the macaron mixture. Pipe the shells onto a parchment paper and remove the macaron template carefully. Tap the bottom of the baking sheet against your worktop in order to remove any peaks and large air bubbles. Leave the shells to dry for around 30 mins to 1 hour until no longer tacky. This is the most important step of all. Preheat the oven for 15 mins for 300F. Bake the macarons for around 10-14 minutes. Once the macaron is done, allow to cool for 5-10 mins and then remove from the parchment paper. Place them on a cooling rack and let them cool completely. Fill with chocolate ganache and then combine two shells. Store them in an airtight container inside the fridge up to 2-3 days.

Serve with love!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

Signs off!!!

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