Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

27 December 2013

Easy Eggless Chocolate Cake



Quite a few readers have written in asking me for a simple chocolate cake recipe (which is already there on my blog) but eggless! Some people don't eat eggs and others don't like the eggy smell in baked goods. So whatever be your reason, this is the perfect recipe for you. Not too tough to remember the ingredients either, once you've tried it a couple of times. All ingredients used in this cake are everyday baking ingredients easily found in your kitchen. So the next time your kid (or friend) says "I want a chocolate cake" - you don't have to look around in despair. So here's my sweet treat for you to end the year on a sweet note.

While this is a basic chocolate cake, there are several ways to dress it up. Cut it half and spread whipped cream between the two layers. Top with more whipped cream and scatter strawberries, for a sensational cake for special occasions. Or for that matter any seasonal fruit. You could pour a simple chocolate ganache over the top and then sprinkle the top with coloured sprinkles if you're baking this for a kid's birthday. As it is, it makes the perfect cake with tea or coffee. You can also use this recipe to make eggless chocolate cupcakes and then cover with icing of your choice.




16 December 2011

Easy Jam Filled Muffins - A perfect kiddie treat

December is a hectic month. Socializing, vacation plans, festive madness all around. More so for me as it was my son's 3rd birthday on 4 December and I took on myself what only a few crazy (foodblogger) moms would - ie. Catering to a small crowd of some 18 kids and 2 dozen adults all by myself (a couple of things ordered from outside though, including the cake) and also hand making all the decorations and buntings.

A & N got the most amazing cookies to the party which had the kids all quiet and focussed on eating. They were called World Peace cookies by Dorie Greenspan for a reason, but given that we had kids from a few different countries from around the world, it was almost like the World Peace cookies were being served to a mini UN delegation (which is what our friend Vinod remarked). Since I went through quite some dilemma on what to serve in a kiddie's birthday party with adults, I'm sharing the menu with you, in case any of you plan to do the same, it can give you an idea.


Jelly Boats were a big hit with the kids (and some adults too)




Kids' Menu
Juices
Potato wafers
Banana- Blueberry Bread
World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cucumber Sticks
Tomato Cheese Spread Sandwiches
Jam Sandwiches
Jelly Boats (Tarla Dalal's recipe)

Kokum Sherbet in recycled Olive / JalapeƱo bottles


For Moms & Dads
Kokum sherbet with mint sprigs
Masala Chai (was perfect for the outdoors on a cold winter afternoon)
Rosemary Shortbread
Peanut Butter Brownies (Rachel Allen's recipe)
Hummus with Cucumber Sticks
Kachori with sweet chutney
Jalebis

Everyone, including me had loads of fun and the food was well liked by everyone. The rosemary shortbread was the star for me. What an amazing discovery from the NYTimes website! I have made another batch within a week and nearly everyone whom I've shared it with is in love with this buttery-melt in your mouth-dainty smelling cookie. Because I am a good girl and I believe in sharing, here is the recipe link for you. Remember me for good karma when people want to kiss your fingers after eating this.

Another fun thing that happened this week and it was to get featured in Bangalore TimeOut, complete with a picture of me in my cluttered   not so spic-n-span kitchen. But that's how busy kitchens look like, right? Right! If you subscribe to Bangalore Time Out, check out Page 62.




Back to the subject of this post, these jam filled muffins are a wonderful treat for your kids. Imagine the surprise in their eyes when they break open a plain boring-looking muffin to find their favourite jam oozing out, like a cute Jack in the Box.

Not just kids, I'm sure adults will love it too. Especially if you fill a little adult something inside, like Orange Marmalade or Vodka-infused Jam (Ideas credit : Monika, Sin-a-mon)

I made these in 30 minutes to surprise a friend on her birthday. So it's something you can rustle up in a jiffy even when your kid brings his/her friends home without a notice ;) The muffins were soft and mildly sweet to contrast the sweet jammy filling inside. And a little dusting of icing sugar makes everything look pretty.



Jammy muffin with little extra bit of bitter marmalade for me


Jam Filled Muffins
Adapted from Muffin Bible
Makes 12 regular sized muffins or
24 mini muffins
Printable version of recipe






Ingredients
1 ½ Cups All purpose flour
½ Cup Sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

¼ Cup Butter
½ Cup yogurt
¾ Cup Juice (Use one that matches with the jam flavour. I used Dark Grapes juice)
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Jam (upto 12 tsp, I used black currant jam)
Icing sugar




Directions
Preheat the oven.
Line a 12 muffin tin with paper liners or grease well and keep aside.

In a large bowl, mix well (with a fork) flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar.

In a microwave safe glass bowl, melt butter (20 seconds).
Add to this cold yogurt, juice and vanilla extract.
Check if this mix has come to room temperature and then add one beaten egg.
(If you add egg to hot melted butter, it will scramble, hence the precaution)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and lightly combine with a fork until they come together. Do NOT beat or overmix. This will make your muffins rock like.

Spoon a little over a tsp of batter in each muffin liner. Place around a tsp of jam over this and cover with 1-2 tsp of batter, dividing the batter evenly between 12 cups.

Bake at 180 C for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. (some melted jam may stick to skewer, but that is okay)

Remove and dust with icing sugar.

Tip:
Please note that I added little under a tsp of jam as I thought the jam would melt inside the oven itself and make the muffins look messy. Turns out I was wrong. You can be generous with the jam filling, and it wont spill out as most of the liquid part gets absorbed into the muffin while baking.

In case you want to know where i found the pretty muffin liners - they are from General Food Additives, Sheshadripuram, Bangalore. That one little shop can take care of your baking needs completely.




10 November 2011

Oatmeal Prune Cookies spiced with Chai Masala

Hello! The line "I'm finally back after a long break" seems to be my opening line for every post in the last few months. A new kitchen, a big oven, nurturing my own little vegetable patch and still I am looking for the inspiration to be blogging regularly.

Last month, Aparna was in Bangalore and some of the Bangalore food bloggers met up over a scrumptious buffet lunch. Much fun was had. Lots of pictures taken. And of course the food critic role played.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes


For our first Diwali in the new house, I made the 7 cup cake, a shortcut mixture and Bakerella's sweet potato cupcakes with chocolate ganache. My version of shortcut mixture was puffed rice (pori) crisped up with tempering of chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida, mustard seeds, peanuts and fried gram dal. To this I added store bought shankarpala, khara boondi and omapodi (sev). This is the best I could manage when my mildly over-inquisitive son didn't even have the school to keep him engaged.

Last weekend, I cooked for a crowd of 9 people (umm okay, not crowd but group). While I was toying between a Mexican and a Lebanese menu, the friends 'demanded' Tambrahm food, politely put as 'food you cook regularly' or 'food you cook well'! So I set aside all my hopes of winning compliments as a truly world-class vegetarian chef and sat down to draw out a Tambrahm menu, as many items as I can possibly make all by myself with a 3 year old hanging around me dangerously!

The menu finally turned out to be :


Kosumalli / Kosumbari (with grated carrot, cucumber, gooseberry)
Crispy Bhindi Raita (crisped in the oven, no deep frying)
Arachuvitta sambar with small onions & carrots
Baby Potato roast Chettinad style flavoured with fresh dill
Yennai Kathrikkai - stuffed baby eggplants ( Google docs link to a friend's recipe notes) 
Store bought Banana Chips
Rice
Mini chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache - Adapted from Dan Lepard's Easy chocolate cake recipe

Now that I'm done updating you, here's what today's blogpost is about. My friend Preethi sent me a few baking trays that included this beautiful cookie mould tray in which one can bake x-massy snowflake imprint cookies. I couldn't wait to try baking cookies in this one. The recipe is adapted from the cover of on of the Wilton cookie trays. These imprint cookies will be better with all purpose flour or whole wheat flour rather than chewy oatmeal cookies, so by all means you can bake these cookies on a plain cookie tray dropping spoonfuls of dough or flattening balls of dough on your palm and baking them until golden. The addition of oats makes these chewy and somewhat soft, perfect for your teething babies or aged parents who can't bite very hard biscuits. If you want these crisper, you can pat them thinner and bake for a few minutes more.

The addition of chai masala is my own twist to a traditional American recipe for the only way I eat cookies is with my chai, and this way they will complement each other beautifully. You could substitute ground cardamom, ground cinnamon or a mix of your favourite spices.



Printable version of recipe


Oatmeal Prune cookies spiced with Chai Masala
Makes 12-14 cookies
Time taken Under 30 minutes


3/4 cup oats
1 cup all purpose flour + a few tbsp on the side in case required to bind dough
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp Chai Masala ( Everest or any other brand)
1 tsp instant coffee powder (optional)

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
3 tbsp finely chopped prunes or use raisins
Handful of finely chopped walnuts (optional)
2 tbsp milk


Preheat oven at 180C.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract and egg. Beat some more.
Run the oats for a few seconds in the small jar of your mixer until coarsely powdered.
Add the oats, flour, salt, baking powder and chai masala.
Stir well it all the dry ingredients are incorporated into wet ingredients. Add the nuts and prunes in the final stage of mixing.

Line a cookie sheet with grease proof paper.
Divide dough into 12-14 balls adding some of the reserved flour to the dough if too sticky and tough to handle.
Flatten using fingers dipped in milk and place on cookie sheet leaving adequate space in between cookies as they will expand while baking.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Store in airtight container once cooled.

I used a cookie sheet with moulds, so I pressed the dough balls into each of the shape-moulds to get pretty snowflake imprints on them.


Thank you Preethi for this sweetest housewarming gift. Check out her food blog here

P.S.
If you like reading my blog and you are on Facebook, please show some love to my blog page there : http://www.facebook.com/SaffronTrail

P.P.S
It will be nice to meet up the Bangalore Foodbloggers, over food (what else?!) and discuss food (no surprises there) this Saturday once again as we have our first ever Mega Bangalore Food Bloggers' meet up. We have a group on Facebook, so if you are a foodblogger who blogs from Bangalore and you aren't  a part of the group yet, please leave a note in the comments, so we can send you an invite.