Doughnuts!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurio
I was so busy all month with other tasks I had decided I wouldn’t be a part of this months challenge. But yesterday I did have some time to myself , thanks mainly to my parents who are visiting. Obviously the fact that my kids and I absolutely love doughnuts did help convince me to make em!!! And am so glad I did!

I halved the Alton Brown Yeast recipe so finally got just about 8 doughnuts and it was a mad scramble to polish them off. As Aparna had suggested on the forum, I reduced the egg and the yeast and contrary to my fears and pervious experiences the dough was extremely manageable. Boy! They were delicious. I made a chocolate –praline topping and it was fantastic…thanks Lori for a great challenge!

Yeast Doughnuts:
Preparation time:Hands on prep time – 25 minutesRising time – 1.5 hours totalCooking time – 12 minutes
Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Ingredients
Milk 3/4 cup
Butter 35 grams
Active Dry Yeast 1 teaspoon
Warm Water 40ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs,small 1
White Granulated Sugar 1/8th cup,25 grams
Nutmeg, grated 1/2 tsp.
Purpose Flour 2 1/3 cup + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Directions:
Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired

Topping

Over a low heat, melt 1½oz caster sugar in a saucepan with 1½oz almonds.
Once melted and browning nicely, keep moving it around with a metal spoon until but they get a bit darker for a good flavour
Once cold, crush into a course powder.
Mix it in with melted chocolate ….hmmmmm It will make you MOAN!

Swiss Roll Ice Cream- DB July


The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Cake and Ice cream..Now that’s a combination that has the angels carousing in divine happiness..and who are we mere mortals to resist its exquisite pleasure.

To say we were thrilled at the prospect of making this dessert would be an understatement….and the end result did not disappoint. NOT ONE BIT. On the contrary it was a perfect dessert at a party we had a few weeks back that had my guests oohing and aahing like never before.

Taking a picture was another story altogether. Somehow the cake came apart by the time I took pictures so the pics I must admit belie its incredible deliciousness.

I made this dessert over the course of 4 days though it can be done in just a day. The ice creams took longer than I expected…..actually deciding what flavor of ice cream to make took even longer. But finally I chose to make a chocolate chip Ice cream and a caramel ice cream. Both turned out great….but sadly don’t have pictures. Maybe next time. Yes there will be a next time for sure. This one’s a keeper. Thanks Sunita.

Swiss roll ice cream cake

The Swiss rolls-

Ingredients-

6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ 3 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /2.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans
For the filling-
2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar

Method-
1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
3. it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
10. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
11. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
12. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
13. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
14. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens an coast the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate until there are still small chunks, the residual heat will melt those. Gently add to the vanilla ice cream and mix well and freeze again.

Caramel Ice Cream (Glace Caramel) Recipe
Adapted from here

Serves 4

Ingredients

70 g sugar
80 ml cream
3 egg yolks
360 ml milk
1 vanilla pod

Method
1. To make the caramel, put 45 g of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and heat until it dissolves and starts to caramelize – tip the saucepan from side to side as the sugar cooks to keep the colouring even. Remove from the heat and carefully add the cream (it will splutter). Stir over low heat until the caramel remelts.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring just to the boil, then strain over the caramel.
4. Bring back to the boil and pour over the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously.
5. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, until it is thick enough to coat the back a wooden spoon.
6. Do not let it boil or the custard will split.
7. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and leave over ice to cool quickly.
8. Churn in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s instruction.
9. Alternatively, pour into a plastic freezer box,cover and freeze.
10. Stir every 30 minutes with a whisk during freezing to break up the ice crystals and give a better texture.
11. Freeze overnight with a layer of clingfilm over the surface and the lid on the container. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

The Hot fudge sauce

Preparation time-2 minutes
Cooking time-2 minutes

ngredients-
1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

Method-
1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

Assembly

1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).
2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
3. Soften the chocolate chip ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)
4. Add the fudge sauce over the chocolate chip ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
5. Soften the caramel ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set.
6. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
7. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Yummmmmm…..Ooooey Gooooey Chocolate!

I have a maniacal love for chocolate. I baked these DELICIOUS baked fudge a while back but I MUST share them with you because they are ABSOLUTELY DIVINE( isn’t that my diet flying outta the window!)…and unbelievable easy to make..even ur kid can make ’em for you!These will definitely be made again in my home!!!!

They are from Ree’s beautiful website and you can find the original recipe here.

Warning: Before you make these you might need to wake up earlier than usual and run an extra hour to offset the catastrophic caloric intake you are about to experience….

Baked Chocolate Fudge
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 50 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4

Ingredients

* 2 whole Eggs
* 1 cup Sugar
* 2 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
* 2 Tablespoons Flour
* ½ cups Butter, Melted
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 to 325 degrees.

Beat eggs until light in color. Beat in sugar until just combined. Add cocoa, flour, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Mix gently until well combined.

Pour batter into four large ramekins or one 8-inch square baking dish. Set ramekins or pan into a larger pan halfway full of water.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until upper crust is crispy and the rest of the batter is firm but not set. Toothpick should come out…not clean, but mixture should not be overly runny. If you pull it out of the oven and have second thoughts, stick it back in for ten more minutes.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

This one goes off to the Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman

Maid Matters

Hiring a maid aka Domestic help is no big deal in India. The reasons are obvious- labour is inexpensive and widely available here , unlike in many other countries. It is even more so here in the Navy as we are provided attached ‘servant quarters'( I hate the word servant, don’t you?) hence help is rather easy to come by. So many of us here employ a plethora of help- cooks, cleaning lady, baby sitters, ironing lady, gardeners at our beck and call. In short many of us are uhm…..I guess the word I’m looking for is SPOILT!

So when my maid a few weeks earlier I was devastated. I was continuously weepy and irritable. M couldn’t fathom why I was “overreacting”!

But now I must admit that I rather enjoy doing some chores around the house. Its a LOT more satisfying to do things the way I want , rather than giving out a million instructions before it gets done the way I want it done…


But the thing is, it’s all I seem to be doing….I barely get time for my music lessons or my painting..or even to watch my kids fight it out:)….so am contemplating hiring help again…

My dilemma( based on a moral lecture my cousins in Australia gave me) is this..
Do I need to feel guilty about hiring help to do jobs that I can obviously do. Am I an exploiter?..I cant bring myself to feel that way…it is developmental aid applied directly , right?There is room today for the Saki lifestyle, no?
hhhmmmm Am I lazy? Obviously it takes very little effort to go around the house with a hoover and a damp cloth atleast once a week,,,Just because there are people willing to do those jobs for money do I need to use them? I’m sure there will be people willing to carry me around all day in a fluff of cushions but does their willingness to do the job make me any less lazy?Isn’t it just the nature of privilege?
Obviously there are so many things that I hire help for although I could do it myself…I use caterers for Birthday parties, I use the services of a milkman although it is possible to go get the milk for the store directly…I do it either because I can afford it, or I would just rather not do these jobs…But is the idea that it is definitionally wrong to pay for something that you can very well do yourself is almost impossible to contain to maids..it has a blanket morality that intrinsically spreads to every aspect of our life..
What do you think?

My maid woes aside here’s an absolutely super delicious pudding I tried from here one of my all time fav blogs……This pudding is simple, chocolaty and delicious at the same time a perfect comfort dessert.

Chocolate Custard Biscuit pudding

Condensed Milk 3/4th of a 400g tin
Milk 400 ml
Chocolate pieces 150 grams
Egg yolks 4
Biscuits 10
Strong Black coffee as required
Fresh Cream for decoration

Working quickly dip the biscuits in the coffee and line a pudding dish/ bowl.
Using the double boiler method melt the chocolate and let cool.
Mix all the other ingredients and the melted chocolate( except the cream ).
Now carefully cook it over low flame, stirring continuously .If you do have a LOT of time at hand you could take the safer route and just double boil it. I used a double boiler to make the custard and it took FOREVER so the last few minutes I just transferred the contents to a thick bottomed pan and heated on low flame.Voila! it thickened in a flash!
Once thick pour the custard over the biscuits. Leave to set in the refrigerator.
Pipe cream over it.

Heaven on a Dessert Plate


Although I had decided to give this months DB challenge a go , I did a complete turnaround when I read that 2 of my favourite bloggers were this months hosts…..
Nothing could stop me.
Not the never ending guests we had this month, not the diet I was on, not the painting deadline that was inching so close.
Nothing!!

And I’m so happy I did try this lovely dessert that lives up to its name. It was delicious. Really!
I usually distribute everything I made to near and dear and not so dears..but this one we polished off on our own! I mean actually licked the plates clean!!!!It was excellent!!

I made the dessert over a period of 1 week…made the Savoiardi(Ladyfinger Biscuits) first, then the mascarpone cheese(I can NEVER thank you enough Deeba) and then yummy sauces.
hmmmmm….HEAVEN!!!!!!

TIRAMISU

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
For the zabaglione:

2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese(see below)
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (see below)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:
For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row.
You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.

Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

HOME MADE MASCARPONE CHEESE

Ingredients:
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

LADYFINGERS/ SAVOIARDI BISCUITS
(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

The Disgusting and The Delicious

Use your kitchen sponge to clean your toilet.

Wait! Did u read that right? Yes you did because with the way many of us live we could do this and be none the dirtier. So read on for a few tips to get you going to a healthier, cleaner life…

Let’s start with the Kitchen Sponge; that innocent looking green scrub that no kitchen can do without.
(image courtesy offthemark.com)
Did you know that it carries more than 134000 bacteria per square inch …Horrible isn’t it.
Sponges are a popular party venue for bacteria and the moist environment is a total bacteria magnet. Often people use the sponge to wipe up raw meat or fish from the sink counter and then use the same sponge to clean their baby’s bowl. Nice huh!!
So what can we do, you ask?

For one you could disinfect them, or better still stock up on a few and REPLACE them every week or so. Also leave them to dry in-between every few uses as most bacteria can only survive a few hours on dry surfaces.

Your Cutting Board is also a hot bed for germs. Don’t believe me? Read on.
It is said that there could be more that 200 times fecal bacteria on your seemingly innocuous cutting board than your toilet seat..YUK YUK YUK!
So what can you do? Divide and Rule, I say! Use separate cutting boards for vegetables and non vegetarian food items. That solves a lot of issues.
Clean your board using hot water and detergent and the wash using a chlorine bleach-water mixture. Do this often (and I don’t mean once a month!)

Another potential bacteria breeding ground is the Kitchen Sink. Full or empty, the sink is housekeepers sink of woe, as germs tend to LOVE to live here. Keep baking soda and an old tooth brush near the sink at all times and clean using hot water as and when possible including the tap and tap handle as well.
Now that’s wasn’t too difficult was it? A few extra minutes is all it takes and you have a cleaner home and life!

After that bit of kitchen gyaan let me share with you a delightful cake that I made using the recipe that I found on the Purple Foodies blog..


Chocolate Walnut Marbled Cake

2 ½ cups flour
½ cup coarsely ground walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
9oz. / 250g. butter
3oz./ 85g. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/4th cup hot milk
1 3/4th cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/160C. Butter and dust a loaf pan.Use a loaf pan..I didn’t have one at the moment so used a regular cake dish…thats why they dont look so good…The marbled effect comes out beautifully in a loaf tin.
2. Whisk together the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder and salt.
3. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt 2 tbsp butter with cocoa and chocolate. Heat until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
4. Mix together the butter and sugar for about 3-4 minutes .
5. Beat the eggs in one at a time, until the mixture looks smooth. Add the vanilla extract.
6. Now either on a reduced speed, or by folding in by hand, add the flour and hot milk alternately.
7. Now take a little less than half the flour and mix it with the chocolate mixture that you set aside earlier. Stir till it is thoroughly blended – don’t overmix.
8. Pour in the white mixture into the pan then the chocolate mixture and then the white mixture again into the bundt pan without stirring and then run a knife through it once or twice for very visibly distinct two layers. For a pronounced marbled look, stir the knife through the batter a few more times.
9. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the knife comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes or so before unmoulding.
Hope you enjoy it…

Nanaimo Bars(pronounced Nah-nye-moh)- DB goes to Canada

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and http://www.nanaimo.ca.

If you are on a diet don’t even LOOK at this Canadian Dessert, cuz it will BLOW your diet away!

But it will be totally worth it.

These outrageously rich and delicious treats are as delicious as they are fattening and pretty much uncomplicated to make. I followed the instructions, but I did reduce the sugar by half and they were still fine. I gave away a few to my friends and my family and I polished off the rest. Though I may not make them too often. I’m glad I did make them this time. Thanks Lauren.

Try these out if you want a piece of heaven…But make sure you share it too…

Since we don’t not get Gluten-free dough here(I tried a LOT) I just replaced it with whole wheat.
Graham Wafers

Ingredients
3 cups whole wheat flour
200g dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
100g unsalted butter (cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
80ml honey, mild-flavoured
75 ml whole milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 180′C.
6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups of crumbs.
Nanaimo Bars

Ingredients:

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer

115g unsalted butter
25g granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups gluten free graham wafer crumbs (See previous recipe)
55g almonds, finely chopped
130g shredded coconut

For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
115g unsalted butter
40ml heavy cream
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
100g icing sugar

For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer

115g semi-sweet chocolate
28g unsalted butter


Directions:
1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

An Award Deserves Chocolate

Yay!! My first award!!!….Thank  you shaz for thinking me worthy of this.
The rule book says I need to pass this one to 8 other worthy blogs..it was a Herculean task to just name 8 but anyway, here goes… in random order..

Joanne of eatswellwithothers
PJ of GingerandGarlic
Happy Cook of kitchen treasures
Ann of splitpeasonality
Shwetha of cookie cutter
Sumi of sumis kitchen
Rebecca of Chowandchatter
Divya of divyascookbook

These are awesome blogs and i am so glad that I discovered them. i am sure that if u visit their blogs, u will encounter wonderful posts.

Also today I leave you with this oh-so-delicious Banana Chocolate Pudding Cake.. I tried it out from the 101 desserts book that I recently purchased and it was DELICIOUS!!

Chocolate Chip and Banana Pudding Cake
Serves 4

200 g/1 ¾ cups self-raising flour ( I substituted with AP flour ..see conversion here.)
6 tablespoons butter
2 bananas – ripe
75 g/ 1/3 cup caster sugar
60 ml/ 1/4 cup milk
1 egg – beaten
4 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips
Glossy Chocolate Sauce and whipped cream, to serve.

Prepare a steamer or partially fill (about halfway) a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Grease a 4 cup pudding mold or four 1-cup molds. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mash the bananas. Stir it into the creamed mixture with the caster sugar.
Whisk the milk with the egg in a bowl, then beat into the pudding mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon mixture into mold(s) and cover closely with a double thickness of foil. Steam for 2 hours, replacing water if needed.

Run a knife around the top of the pudding to loosen it, then invert onto serving dish. Serve hot with warm chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Glossy Chocolate Sauce
This is a delicious accompaniment or topping to any dessert. And better still- it freezes well. Pour into a freezer proof container and store upto 3 months. Thaw before use.

Serves 6

½ cup caster sugar
175g chocolate pieces
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brandy/ orange juice
Place the sugar and 4 tbsp of water in a saucepan and heat gently. Sir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.
Stir in the chocolate bit by bit until nice and melted. Similarly add the butter. Do not let boil. stir in the brandy or orange juice. Serve warm.

This dessert also goes to the following events

Cakes and Cookies @ Saras Blog…shes celebrating her 1st Blog Anniversary!

Food for 7 stages of Life – In love with DDPI @ saurashtrakitchen, an event also organized by this lovely blog.

Sanghi’s FIL_Fruits event.

and to Show me your Lunchbox event by Divya of Dil se

I Dream of Chocolate……

“The human heart is the same everywhere” I read Ohran Pamuk, the Turkish Nobel laureate declare in an interview last week.

I guess what he meant was that all of us feel the same emotions; sad feels sad the world over right?

But our tastes ah! Now that’s something! It differs from nation to nation, culture to culture and person to person. What I find sweet is often too sweet for some and not sweet at all for another.

I’ve tried so many raved about recipes only to find them disappointingly average. I’ve also hesitatingly tried some simple seemingly uninspiring dishes only to be wowed by its taste.

Anyway I have for you a treat that all you chocolate lovers(who isn’t one?). I found the recipe from the legendary Pioneer Woman’s blog.

It’s a treat you WILL love.A LOT.And its crazy-simple too.


Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 12
Ingredients

* 1 cup Brown Sugar
* 1 cup Margarine
* 1 whole Egg
* 2 cups Flour
* ½ teaspoons Salt
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla
* 6 ounces, weight ( To 8 Ounces) Chocolate Chips

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together brown sugar and margarine. Add egg and mix together. Add flour, salt, and vanilla, and mix together well.
Spread dough onto cookie sheet to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2-inch.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly brown. At this point, pull out of the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Return to oven for 1 minute. Remove and spread melted chips over the top. Cut into squares.

This awesome recipe goes to FFPW Breakfast/Brunch theme round-up.

Give me a TINKLE anytime…

supandi
“I have been asked to keep an eye on the boiling milk…….any suggestions on what I can do with my other eye till then??!” – a Suppandi original.

Did you know that Suppandi, of the Tinkle Comics fame will make his debut on the silver screen next November 2010?It seems that the producers of the 28 year old comic series, ACK Media, are producing a stereoscopic 3D animation film with Suppandi as the protagonist.

For those not-in-the-know, the Tinkle and ACK comic magazines were one of the standard reads for loads of Indian kids growing up in the 80’s and 90’s and Suppandi of Tinkle fame was a rectangular-headed village simpleton who often got into troubles because he insisted on thinking for himself. His clumsiness and uncanny ability to get into trouble and his journey from one mishap to another made him such an endearing fool. .

When I read this snippet of information in last week’s Economic Times it brought in a deluge of memories. Did you know the idea behind starting Amar Chitra Katha came to its founder Mr. Pai when he watched a quiz contest on Doordarshan in February 1967, wherein participants easily tackled questions pertaining to Greek mythology, but were unable to reply to the question “In the Ramayana, who was Rama’s mother?”

I too read a whole lot of Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle magazines all though my early school life and even now I sigh with fondness every time I can lay my hands on one. These magazines helped me and many others develop an interest in Indian Mythology and its vibrant history.

I have spent countless hours lost in the vivid stories of poets, dreamers,magical lands, valiant kings and queens, courageous freedom fighters, the clever animals, sly animals… the repertoire was endless and best of all was the eternal victory in all stories of good over evil…if only life were as black and white now….

Anyway I’m going to leave you with a pudding that is as simple as it is delicious …but don’t go by the picture. Its one of those ugly duckling puddings; the taste of the pudding is in the eating……
Chocolate magic mud pudding
Magic Chocolate Mud Pudding
Serves 4

50 g butter
200 g brown sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup self-raising flour( I used its sub i.e.for 1 cup self-raising flour substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.
1 tsp ground cinnamon
75 ml cocoa powder

Vanilla ice cream to serve.
Magic Chocolate Mud Pudding
Preheat your oven to 180 C and grease and keep ready an ovenproof dish( preferably use a soufflé dish as it will support the sponge as it rises)

Put in the butter, ¾ cup of the sugar and 2/3 cup of the milk in a saucepan and heat gently until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remember to stir frequently.

Now, sift the flour, cinnamon and 1 tbsp of the cocoa powder into the pan and stir into the mixture.
Pour this batter into the prepared dish and level the surface.

Sift the remaining sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl, mix well and sprinkle over the pudding batter. Pour in the remaining milk over the top and bake for 40 minutes or until the sponge is firm to tough.

Serve hot with ice cream.

When I Took the Plunge and some Eggless Chocolate Cake

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”
— George Carlin
Driving me crazy

While technically I do know how to drive, I’ve never really ventured to take the car outside of our colony without my M. I’ve always maintained that the world is a happier and safer place without me driving. So I happily drop/pick up my son from his million classes , meet friends who live nearby, pick up an occasional DVD from the store here…But drive OUTSIDE the gate..That i would NEVER NEVER NEVER do.

Or so I thought.

When a friend had some important work asked me to go along I happily agreed. I assumed i just had to accompany her. Its only once she came home that I realized I was supposed to drive her to Vasco- outside the forbidden gates. Well I was forced to take the plunge. .

Driving a manual car requires a long attention span, even more patience and sturdy feet. Its unnerving having to do so many things at once- change the gear, look into so many mirrors(and not to check my make-up), prevent son from jumping out….it was crazy.and the roads. Although Goa has by far the bestest-est-est roads and traffic in the entire country but that day it seemed the Gods were scheming against me- there were cows, small children, people holding protest marches, and to add to it all, my son was creating a racket; screaming, throwing stuff- it was a nightmare. My hands immediately broke out in cold sweat for fear of running over an innocent, roaming seven-year-old. But thankfully I left everyone in Vasco and everyone in my car, safe and sound.….and I’m happier for it. I’ve been to Vasco many times since and although I’m nowhere the close to being what anyone would call a good driver- it’s a start.

In the same vein of trying out something new I decided to try out this eggless cake. Never been into anything eggless, and definitely not cakes. But this one turned out great. Was happy with the results so try it out all you egg-filled cake eaters….“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”

Eggless Chocolate Cake
Eggless Super Quick Chocolate Cake

1 ½ cups flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
6 tbsp oil
1 cup milk
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence

ICING

I’ve never had icing so quick ….
2 tbsp melted butter
6 tbsp cocoa
1 cup sifted icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp hot hot hot water

Sieve the flour with the cocoa and baking soda.
Put the flour in a bowl. Add in the sugar, oil, milk, vinegar and the essence. Mix well. That’s it, you are ready to go.
Just grease a baking tin (8”) and dust it well.
Pour the prepared batter and bake for 40 minutes or until done.

For the Icing– Mix the melted butter, the vanilla and the cocoa. Sift the icing sugar and add it in. Mix and add the hot water little by little till you get the desired spreading consistency. Spread on cake and allow to set (which I didn’t do..as you can see from the pictures.

Come look at my Cookie Platter

It is a hard matter, my fellow citizens, to argue with the belly, since it has no ears.
Plutarch (AD 46-120) Greek biographer and philosopher
cookieplatter

I love to bake(ok I know I’ve said that like a thousand times already!) but its so true I need to keep saying it. Baking cookies is one of the non-negotiable things I have to do. But they are such a pleasure to make especially since they are devoured by my family and friends alike.
A few days back I decided to bake a lot of ‘em so they would last me awhile. And I made a LOT. Surprise surprise!! I have no idea who finished them all (was it me?) but it’s already time to bake some more.
Anyway here’s what I made. These banana choco-chip ones are just DIVINE!! .These were one of the first cookies I tried my hand at and they have remained a favorite since. They have whole wheat flour too ,so well, they are not THAT unhealthy as well…
The pin roll ones are not too bad either! It is a refrigerator cookie- so just chill and bake and they are always ready when you want them.
Just halve the measurement and you could try them both…I’m sure you will enjoy these.Banana chocochip cookie

Banana Chocolate Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
about 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together both the flours, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.
Put butter and sugars into the bowl mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. put in the banana. Next add the flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chips.That’s it!
spoon dough onto baking sheets keeping about 2 inches gap. Bake cookies until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 2 days.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies

Chocolate Pinwheels

1 ¼ cup butter
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 egg
3 cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt

Mix butter, sugar and egg. Stir in flour and the salt. Divide the dough in half. Stir ¼ cup cocoa in 1 half. Chill one hour.
On lightly floured base roll plain-covered dough into rectangle. 16/9 inches. Roll chocolate dough same size; place on top. Roll doughs 3/16 inch thick. Roll up tightly. Wrap rolled dough in waxed paper, plastic wrap or aluminum foil, chill 8 hours.
chill n wrap
Heat oven to 400 C. Cut rolls into 1/8-inch slices (if dough crumbles while cutting, let warm a bit). Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 8 minutes. Immediately remove from baking sheet; cool. Alternately use cookie cutter and cut in attractive shapes. These are great for kids and adults alike

Moroccan Chocolate Yogurt Cake

Night-Out
The venue was Fisherman’s Wharf, a lovely restaurant by the river Sal. The Food was good, the ambience great and the company outstanding. We were meeting some old friends who were holidaying in Goa and we had such a fabulous time.
Options for vegetarians are a bit limited in Goan restaurants but thankfully for my friends, this place had an almost fair share. All-in-all a great evening.

Earlier in the afternoon when my kids took a nap I made a Moroccan chocolate cake. It was all that it claimed to be…and oh-so-soft.

Moroccan cuisine is very new to me and I must thank DK of Chefinyou who started A Worldly Epicurean Delight (A.W.E.D) event and this months host Cooks hideout for giving me a chance to read up so much about this wonderful place. There were so many things I wanted to try out (Brochetter-a lamb kebab, pastilla,baklava-a very popular dessert, the moroccan tea
…..) and a few I didn’t want to try(brain fry, liver sauce, calves heel, snail…) but I had the ingredients for this cake so that’s what I baked…
Moroccan Cake

First make the Chocolate Sauce

In a saucepan, mix together:
3/4 cup of cocoa powder (in Morocco this is “Caobel” powder)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
1 1/3 cups water

Bring these ingredients to a boil. Cool 2/3 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator.

Now the Cake
Sift 2 2/3 cups of flour along with 3 tsp of baking powder.

In a mixing bowl, beat four eggs, together with ¾ cup granulated sugar, and 2/3 cup of cooking oil. Add ½ cup of yogurt. Add the flour to this mixture.

When the remaining chocolate sauce has cooled to room temperature, add it into the batter, and mix well.

Bake in a greased and floured bundt (circular tube) pan, in a medium oven (350 °F, or gas mark 5) until a knife, or toothpick comes out clean. When done, immediately remove from pan, while still very hot, and pour the refrigerated chocolate sauce all over the top of the cake, while the cake is still very hot. Immediately take a table knife and poke the cake in various places so that the sauce goes through. There you have it. Chocolate drenched cake….

Coconut Chocolate Pudding

coconut chocolate pudding
Coconut Chocolate Pudding

Coconut and chocolate are not really the best of combinations so I was hesitant to try this out. Although there is a reasonable quantity of coconut milk , one gets only a pleasant whiff of it and the uncommon blend of chocolate and coconut and the spice makes it sort of exotic.

500 ml of coconut milk
4 tbsp sugar
¼ cup arrowroot powder
1 tsp curry powder
3 tbsp cocoa
4 oz chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup coconut flakes for garnishing

In a saucepan, bring to boil 11/2 cups of the coconut milk along with the sugar. Put on low heat and meanwhile in a medium size bowl mix the remaining coconut milk along with the arrowroot powder, the spice and the cocoa powder. I substituted corn flour for the arrowroot and added ½ tsp cinnamon instead of the curry powder. Mix well so that it looks like a thick frosting.

When the milk mixture has started simmering, remove about ¼ cup of the coconut milk mixture and whisk it very gradually into the thick cocoa mixture. Turn down heat to minimum and drizzle the cocoa mixture into the simmering pan of coconut milk. Continue stirring briskly until the mixture thickens up into a mousse type texture.

Take off heat but don’t stop stirring for yet another minute. Add in the chocolate chips and the vanilla and mix until smooth. Garnish with the coconut flakes and serve cold.

I am posting this as my entry to Lets Go Nuts – the brain child of Aqua , an event being hosted by Seduce Your Tastebuds this month.

Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolicious!!!!!
It’s been pouring, pouring, pouring here in Goa, and I feel so lazy, not to mention sleepy. Sadly with 2 very hyper kids who seem to get through the day with minimum sleep, my sleep time gets reduced to a bare minimum. I had some painting work to get done and promised to bake my son some chocolaty treat if he didn’t fight with his brother for 10 whole minutes. Well, he did! And since it was my turn to keep my promise I baked him this yummy dessert.

This oh-so-yummy dessert been on my to-do list, like, for EVER. Somehow it seemed time consuming and I never got around to doing it. But now the time has finally come…

Contrary to what I thought, these were fun to make and assemble. I even got my son to give me a hand. They turned out quite tasty as well- though not quite photo-worthy! Éclairs have been popular with chocolate lovers for years now. Although little is known about the origin of the éclair, it is believed to have originated, (like most wow-desserts) in France around the turn of the nineteenth century.

The only problem I faced was with the cream. Perhaps I didn’t beat it enough, and was a bit messy to fill into the éclair. STILL, they were scrumptious Go ahead try them…

Ingredients

Pastry
¾ cup refined flour
A pinch salt
75 grams chilled butter, diced
3 eggs

Filling
1 cup whipping cream ( I used Amul Fresh cream)

Chocolate Icing
50 grams chocolate
25 grams butter

Method

Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F

Sift the flour.

In a pan heat butter and 1 cup of water and stir over low heat until butter melts. Now dump all the flour all at once and stir over medium heat until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides. Now take off the flame and let it cool for about 5 minutes.

Now add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. The dough will now look smooth and shiny. This mixture is called choux pastry. Spoon this mixture into a piping bag with a wide nozzle, or you could fill into a zip lock bag and cut the end to form a ½ inch hole.

Line a baking tray with buttered paper. Squeeze the mixture into medium sized sausage shapes. Keep these well apart (3 inches or so) as they will double in size in the oven.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed up and golden brown in colour and feel hard when tapped. Now, and this is important, IMMEDIATELY remove from baking tray and with a pointed knife gently make slits on the top of each éclair so that the steam escapes and the éclairs do not become soggy. Keep aside.

For the icing, melt the chocolate in a double boiler and add butter and mix well. Take off stove.

Now for the filling- Whip the cream for a few minutes until it is stiff.

Fill, using a piping bag, the insides of the éclair and pour the chocolate icing over the éclair. This part turned out quite tricky and messy. Next time I will use a piping bag to cover the éclair with the icing.

Leave for a while, if you can resist it, until the icing sets.

Zebra Cake

Check Out My Stripes :)

Check Out My Stripes 🙂


Was not so sure about this recipe but am so glad i did try it out. It was absolutely fun to make and had such a different pattern to it. My family loved it and when i served it to some friends who came to visit they loved it as well. The original recipe called less sugar so i needed to dust icing to suit our tastes. The texture turned out perfect too. All-in all a good cake. This one is for keeps!

ZEBRA CAKE

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) cake

INGREDIENTS

4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) milk, at room temperature
1 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups (10 oz / 300 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder

You’ll also need: mixing bowls, electric mixer or wire whisk, 9 inch (23 cm) non-stick round cake pan.

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C).

2. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar until the mixture is creamy and light in color.

3. Add milk and oil and the vanilla essence and continue beating until well blended.

4. In a separate bowl, sift, combine and mix flour,baking powder and the baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine just until the batter is smooth and the dry ingredients are thoroughly blended. DO NOT OVERBEAT to prevent air pockets from forming in the batter.

5. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions. Keep one portion plain. Add cocoa powder into the another and mix well.

6. Lightly grease the pan with oil.

7. Now come the most important part. Scoop a big ladle of the plain batter into the middle of the baking pan. Then using another ladle of the same size scoop the cocoa batter and pour it over the center of the plain batter. Do not stop and wait until the previous batter spreads – KEEP GOING! Do not spread the batter or tilt the pan to distribute the mixture. It will spread by itself and fill the pan gradually. Continue alternating the batters until you finish them.

8. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Enjoy with or without icing…..

Easy ,Yummy Crinkle Cookies!!!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
These were one of the first cookies i ever baked and they were awesome. Not too sweet these cookies are storage friendly as well-they keep for nearly 5 days, but i bet you will finish them off much sooner!!!With a contrasting light and dark finish they make an interesting addition to your cookie platter.

I got this recipe from the recipezaar site but tweaked it a bit….so Go Ahead INDULGE, its quite simple and you wont regret it…

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
60 gms sifted confectioners’ sugar

Preparation:
Preheat oven at 160 c.
Melt the chocolate .In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, chocolate, oil, baking powder, and vanilla until blended. Beat in as much of the flour with the mixer as possible, then stir in the remaining flour.
Cover and chill the cookie dough for 2 hours or even a couple of days.
Shape dough into 4 cms balls and roll in the sugar.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

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