Category Archives: Cookies

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Mawa Cake 1 main

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen was our August 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to make some amazing regional Indian desserts. The Mawa Cake, the Bolinhas de Coco cookies and the Masala cookies – beautifully spiced and delicious!

I was really kicked about the Mawa Cake and worked on it as soon as I read the post. In a hurry I ended making a stupid mistake. I read 4 cups of milk as 4 litres of milk(that was alot of MILK!!!). Mawa requires patience and lot of stirring. Mine took almost 3-4 hrs; that’s when I felt something was wrong;logged into the DBC site to check and that’s when I realized how dumb I was!!!.Now that I was left with a huge batch of Mawa,I saved up a cup for the cake and added a little sugar to the remaining. Mixed it well and made small flat disc and refrigerated it for sometime. These are called Pedas and they make agreat dessert. But yes…not to forget they are made with whole milk so very very HIGH in calories.

Mawa Cake 2 main Mawa Cakes are a speciality cake that is the hallmark of Irani cafe’s in India. Mawa (also known as Khoya/ Khoa) is made by slowly reducing milk (usually full-fat) until all that remain is a mass of slightly caramelized granular dough-like milk solids. Mawa is used in a wide variety of Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun and Peda, to mention just two. Mawa is pronounced as Maa-vaa; Khoya is pronounced as KhOh-yaa.
Mawa Cake 3 main In this cake, Mawa lends a rich and a caramelized milky taste to this cake which is slightly dense and reminiscent of a pound cake. Cardamom and cashewnuts are typical of a Mawa Cake; but almonds can be used too. I had a whole pack of blanched sliced almonds from Trader Joe’s that came into use. The batter can be used to make Cupcakes as well. They were totally moist and the cardamom flavor was to die for. Even my little enjoyed this cake. Masala Cookies 2 main
Masala cookies are something that features very often at home. So these were not something new; however I just baked them with the flavors I like.The word Masala means “Spice Mix”, they are savory and spicy Indian snack. These were quite spicy because of the chilies and pepper that went into them. They are loaded with flavors and are super crunchy on the outside;soft and flaky in the inside. I used Mint and Dill leaves which added a zing to the cookies. Masala Cookies 1 main I made the Mawa two days ahead of time and stored it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature before you make the cake. Instead of cardamom you may choose to use nutmeg also.For the Masala cookies I didn’t have curry leaves handy; Cilantro,Dill and Mint leaves did their flavoring magic:)

Mawa Cake

Serving Size: Makes One 8 inch Cake

Ingredients

  • For the Mawa:
  • 1 litre (4 cups) full fat milk
  • For the cake:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted Butter (soft at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup packed crumbled mawa
  • 1-1/4 cups castor sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 to 6 cardamom pods, powdered, (about 1-1/2 tsp powdered cardamom)
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • Blanched Sliced Almonds / Cashewnuts to decorate

Instructions

First make the “Mawa”. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably a non-stick one. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring it on and off, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Turn down the heat to medium and keep cooking the milk until reduces to about a quarter of its original volume. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.

The important thing during this process is to watch the milk and stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan and get burnt. The danger of this happening increases as the milk reduces and gets thicker.

Once the milk it has reduced to about one fourth, 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to low and let cook for a little while longer. Keep stirring regularly, until the milk solids (mawa) take on a lumpy appearance. There should be no visible liquid left in the pan, but the mawa should be moist and not stick to the sides of the pan.

Remove the pan from heat and transfer the mawa to a bowl and let it cool completely. Then cover and refrigerate it for a day or two (not more) till you’re ready to make the cake. It will harden in the fridge so let it come to room temperature before using it.You should get about 3/4 to 1 cup of mawa from 1 litre (4 cups) of full-fat milk.

Now start preparations for the cake by pre-heating your oven to moderate 350°F . Beat the butter, the crumbled mawa and the sugar in a largish bowl, using a hand held electric beater, on high speed until soft and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed till well incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and beat till mixed well.

Sift the cake flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt onto the batter and beat at medium speed and well blended. If you cannot find cake flour, place 2 tablespoon of cornstarch in the bottom of your 1-cup measure and then fill it with all-purpose (plain) flour to make up to 1 cup.

Grease and line only the bottom of an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan. Pour the batter into this and lightly smooth the top. Place the cashew nuts (or blanched almonds) on top of the batter randomly. Do not press the nuts down into the batter. A Mawa Cake always has a rustic finished look rather than a decorated look.

Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 1 hour until the cake is a golden brown and a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Do not over bake the cake or it will dry out. If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, cover it will aluminium foil hallway through the baking time.

Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 10 min in the tin. Release the cake, peel off the parchment from the base and let it cool completely.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2013/09/mawa-cake-and-masala-herb-cookies-daring-bakers-august13-challenge/

Masala Herb Cookies

Yield: Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 tablespoons fine white or brown rice flour (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or according to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 3/4 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorn, crushed coarsely
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon each finely chopped fresh cilantro,mint and dill leaves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold yogurt
  • A little oil to brush the tops of the biscuits/ cookies

Instructions

Put both flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl of a food processor and add the pieces of chilled butter. Pulse until the mixture takes on the texture of breadcrumbs.

Now add the chopped green chillies, finely grated ginger, crushed peppercorn and cumin, sugar, the chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves. Pulse a couple of times to mix well.

Then add 2 tablespoons of yogurt and pulse again. Add one more tbsp of yogurt (or two, as much as needed), and pulse again until the dough just comes together and clumps together. You want a moist dough, not a wet one – somewhat like pie dough.

Do not over process or knead. The dough should be just moist enough for you to use your hands and bring everything together to shape into a ball. Flatten it into a disc and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least hour. You can also leave it overnight (up to about 24 hours) and work on it the next day.

Pre-heat your oven to moderate 350°F and line your baking trays with parchment or grease them with oil.

Lightly dust your working surface and roll out the dough to 1/8”(3 mm) thickness, not more or your biscuits/ cookies will not be crisp. If using Sesame seeds, sprinkle it uniformly over the dough and use your rolling pin, very lightly, to press them in.Using cutters of your choice (about 2-1/4 inch in size), cut out biscuits/ cookies and place them on lightly greased baking trays. Brush a very thin coat of oil over them. This will help them brown while baking. Bake them in a preheated moderate oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or till they’re done and golden brown on the top. Remember the baking time will depend on the thickness and shape of your biscuits/ cookies. Let them cool on the trays for about 5 minutes and then cool them on racks. Once they’re completely cool, they should be a bit crunchy and not chewy.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2013/09/mawa-cake-and-masala-herb-cookies-daring-bakers-august13-challenge/

Note – I was traveling so posting very late. Its better late than never:)

Bon Appétit
Nina

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Torcettini 2 main

I have been away for long yet again.  This time I do not wish to offer any excuses. It’s sheer LAZINESS. Well if I may say, the weather is also partly to be blamed for my hibernation. I am so frustrated – it is supposed to be Spring but the weather here has been absolutely unforgiving. The snowstorm that concluded yesterday dumped about 8 inches of snow. Can’t wait for sunshine! Anyways, the weekend weather is finally expected to be in 70’s and that is good enough motivation for me to get started with baking.

For this month’s “We need to Bake” Aparna choose a beautiful yeasted cookie – called the Torcettini di Saint Vincent (Sugar crusted Twisted Cookies from the Valle d’Aosta ). This recipe is originally adapted from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri.

Torcettini 3 main

Torcettini are smaller versions of Torcetti (meaning small twists), and these pear/ teardrop shaped twists are made of a dough of flour, yeast and butter which are shaped and then rolled in sugar before being baked.  These cookies are not too sweet as there is no sugar directly added in the dough. I like recipes which do not use too much of sugar, eggs and butter. This one is just a perfect one with minimal ingredients. 

Torcettini 1 main

They tasted similar to Palmiers. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside,these cookies are truly addictive. No one can have just one:).

Torcettini (Torcettini di Saint Vincent (Sugar Crusted Twisted Cookies)

51

Yield: 24 - 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water, about 110F
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime/ lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • about 1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies

Instructions

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, in a small bowl and keep aside.

Put the flour and the salt in the food processor bowl (or a largish regular bowl if kneading by hand) and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is well mixed and the flour-butter mixture looks powdery.

If making chocolate Torcetti, remove 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and add the 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder mentioned in the recipe. Don’t add the lemon zest/ anise. Use orange zest and maybe add 1/ 2 tsp instant coffee powder with the flour.

Add the yeast-water mixture and pulse till it all comes together as a ball. Do not over process or knead. Place the ball of dough in a oiled bowl, turning it so it is well coated with the oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise quite a bit.

This dough does not really double in volume, but it should look “puffy” after about an hour or so. When you pinch off a bit from the top you can see the interior looking a bit like honeycomb. Press down the dough and deflate it, wrap it in cling warp and refrigerate it for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.

When ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and lightly roll it out into an approximately 6” square. If the dough feels sticky, scatter a little sugar on it. Using a pizza wheel cut the dough into four strips of equal width. Cut each strip into 6 equal pieces, by cutting across, making a total of 24 pieces. The measurements are not very critical in this part because this just makes it easier to have 24 equal sized bits of dough, as compared to pinching of bits of the dough.

Roll each piece into a pencil thick “rope” about 5” long. Sprinkle a little sugar on your work surface and roll the “rope” in it so the sugar crusts the dough uniformly. Form the “rope” into a loop crossing it over before the ends.

Place the Torcettini on parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2" between them. Leave them for about 20 minutes or so till they rise/ puff up slightly. Don’t worry, they will not “puff up” much.

Bake them at 325 F for about 25 minutes till they’re a nice golden brown. Cool the cookies completely, on a rack. Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature.

http://www.thefoodielovers.com/2013/04/torcettini-di-saint-vincent-sugar-crusted-twisted-cookies/

Thanks Aparna for yet another interesting recipe. I loved it!

Bon Appétit

Nina

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The other name for Procastination is “me”…lol all I wanted was a Summer break….soon it became a fall break and now I had to push myself hard to get back to blogging before a longggg winter break.Our Summer was well spent,enjoyed every bit of it. Wish it lasted for long, its freaky 18F|-8C now. I am not someone who enjoys winter, hate it when it gets dark by 4:30pm,so much to pay attention to clothing – cant step out without layers n layers of clothes – sweaters/cardigans,winter jackets…and lets not forget ear protectors,caps,gloves etc. And how can I forget the main thing…FLU! My little one is down with cold and cough and she passed it on to both of us. Oh my!

Anyways let me stop cribbing and get back to this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

As a family, we enjoy eating cookies. I make both the sweet and the savory ones, though the later is more preferred. We were asked to choose one of the twelve recipes suggested by Peta.I decided to make the Piped Shortbread Cookies and my Savory Spiced Shortbread Cookies .

The Piped Shortbread Cookies were very easy to make. We loved its texture…it was a perfect melt in the mouth cookies titillating every taste bud and thus making it all the more irresistible. I couldn’t get the perfect rings like the one that Peta made, but nevertheless the taste is all that mattered. The Savory Shortbread Cookies are something that I’ve been making for a while now. I got the original idea from this blog but have worked on it as per my liking. Again,these cookies are easy to make and taste great with different kinds of herbs and spices.

PIPED SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup cornflour
a teaspoon vanilla extract
nuts,chocolate chips or maraschino cherries for topping

Directions: Preheat the oven to moderate 300°F.Combine butter, flours, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle beater. Mix on low speed until combined and then change to the whisk beater.Beat for 10 minutes.Pipe into rings.Decorate with maraschino cherry pieces to look like little wreaths or leave plain.I used a spoonful of Holiday Fruit mix for topping.Bake in preheated moderate oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned.Cool completely and drizzle with melted chocolate or icing (frosting) if you want to.

To pipe shortbread beat for 10 minutes NO MORE – if you overbeat the mixture it won’t hold when it cooks.
A cool oven is important. If your oven is too hot the butter and sugar boils and you end up with lacy cookies that fall apart as soon as you try to do anything with them.Between piping put the bowl and the piping bag away from your oven so it doesn’t get hot but don’t put it in the refrigerator because it gets too cold and you can’t pipe it.

SAVORY SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Ingredients:

4 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
3-4 tablespoon yogurt
3-4 thai green/red chillies minced
1-2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
4-5 mint leaves finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon carom seeds
¼ teaspoon sesame seeds
Salt as per taste

Directions : Preheat oven at 325F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar. When it is creamy, add rest of the ingredients except the yogurt. On low speed, mix all the ingredients. Add the yogurt one tablespoon at a time. At first it will be crumbly(shudn’t be wet) and then when they start coming together, using hands gently knead for a few seconds. Roll the dough into 1/4″ thickness(use flour if needed). Using a cookie cutter make small circles and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15-18 minutes, rotating once halfway. Increase the baking time if you prefer extra crispy cookies. Since it doesn’t contain much sugar the top will not brown, but be careful to watch as the bottom will brown soon. They will firm up well once they cool.

Thanks Peta for the lovely challenge.

Bon Apetit!

Nina

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Scotland is famous for their exotic Whiskies, but have you heard about their delicious Butter Shortbread?

We picked the Walker’s Scottish Pure Butter Shortbread a few years back and both of us loved it instantly. Now my li’l one has taken a liking for it too.With the right amount of sweetness along with the perfect butter flavor,they are crumbly and have “melt in the mouth” texture.Nothing can beat them,they are just the Best!

Pure Shortbread cookies are made with three main ingredients ButterFlour and Sugar. To my surprise I came across a recipe which uses cornstarch too. So I decided to give it a try.

TRADITIONAL SHORTBREAD

Makes about 24 fingers

Ingredients:

250gm butter,softened
105gm of sugar
315 gm Plain Flour
60gm cornflour
a pinch salt
extra sugar for sprinkling ( I used turbinado sugar)

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients.Knead lightly and press into a greased 8 inch square pan. Prick well and bake in an preheated oven at 270F for about an hour.

Cut into fingers while still hot and sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar.

Shortbread bakes more evenly when pricked all over with a fork. I must say they are quite addictive. They weren’t as soft and crumbly as the original Walkers,probably because of the addition of cornstarch. However, they tasted the same. We loved it!

Note : The above recipe was adapted from the Complete Book of Home Baking by HEILIE PIENAAR.

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