Chocolate and Almond Biscottis

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What is holidays and merry making without any chocolate? A quintessential ingredient while baking because chocolate makes things taste darn delicious. One of my all time favorite holiday pairing is Chocolate and Almonds and when you get both these in a biscotti, its pure bliss. The magic of chocolate and almond is such that it entices you with every bite. The crunchy toasted almonds and the chunks of dark chocolate is a perfect treat for this holiday winter!

This year has been phenomenal for me. Everyday was a new day with lots of learn and relearn. Professionally and personally I have grown and become more confident. Yes, every path has its own hurdles, I learnt how to embrace it, work on it and come out of it sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully. And every lesson learnt called for a celebration and these biscottis is a reminder to the awesome year that almost flew past my eyes. A great treat to munch during the day before your ring in the new year. Crunchy, chocolaty and something which shouldn’t be missed this year!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 15 – 16 biscottis)

  • 120 grams blanched almonds
  • 110 grams all purpose flour
  • 110 grams whole wheat flour + extra for dusting
  • 135 grams granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120 grams dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C and line a baking try with parchment paper and keep aside. Spread the blanched almonds on the sheet and bake it for 10 – 12 minutes  until just fragnant.
  • One done remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Chop it roughly and keep aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Now in a bowl add the eggs and granulated white sugar and beat until thick and pale. This would take about 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat it for 30 – 40 seconds. To this add all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt and beat it until just combined.
  • Now add roughly chopped chocolate chunks and almonds and fold in the mixture gently.
  • Transfer this dough to a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out in the shape of a log around 12 – 13 inches long and 4 – 4.5 inches wide. Bake this for 22 – 25 minutes.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and let it cool for 5 – 7 minutes. Take a sharp knife and cut the log into pieces which is 3/4 inch – 1 inch thick.
  • Preheat your oven to 170C for atleast 10 minutes. Keep each piece of half baked biscotti side by side on the baking tray and put it to bake on one side for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Flip the biscottis on the other side and allow it to bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and allow it cool completely. Once cooled bite into this magical biscottis.
  • You can store it in an airtight container for 10 – 12 days.

 

 

Spiced Semolina Cake with Orange Drizzle

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Simple ingredients, quick recipe and an addictive cake – this Spiced Semolina Cake with Orange Drizzle is juts about that. Its getting quite cold back in Bangalore and all I am craving for is nuts and spices for the extra warmth. And then its December where I don’t need any additional excuse to make homemade cakes. My kitchen smells amazing – some nuts and fruits soaking in booze at one end, cookies baking in the oven, fruits being converted into jam on the stove top, cake cooling down and cream getting whipped up elsewhere. Amidst all this its me – an excited soul who is loving every bit of this scene in my kitchen.

Suddenly my mum calls and tells me she made this amazing semolina cake loaded with nuts. Ah! My to do baking list just increased slightly and I set to make this cake since I had everything stocked up at home. The crumbly cake loaded with the goodness from different seeds is a perfect accompaniment during tea time. Garnished with toasted nuts and a tangy orange drizzle, I have got my go to recipe whenever I want to bake something quickly. Delicious, moist and super easy. Try it now!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes a 8 inch cake)

  • 1 1/4 cup semolina
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature + extra for preparing the baking tin
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (you can use granulated white sugar too)
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 1/2 tbsp mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, melon, flax seeds and chia seeds)
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • few strands of saffron
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 C for atleast 10 minutes. Spread the blanched almonds on the baking tray and allow it to toast for 8 – 10 minutes or until just slightly brown.
  • Once done, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool completely.
  • Again Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Take 2 tbsp of milk and soak the saffron strands in it for sometime.
  • Meanwhile take the cake mould, slightly butter and flour it and keep it aside.
  • Now in a bowl whisk melted butter and brown sugar until a smooth mixture is formed. To this add semolina, whole wheat flour, salt, , orange zest, cardamom powder, mixed seeds, saffron soaked milk, curd and milk and fold in gently until well combined.
  • Allow this mixture to rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Lastly add baking powder and baking soda and fold the mix gently until just combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to cake mould and allow it to bake for 30 – 35 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Take it out of the oven and allow the cake to cool completely.
  • In a bowl take fresh orange juice and add icing sugar and stir until completely dissolved.
  • Take the cake, generously drizzle the orange juice mixture. Garnish with toasted almonds, pistachios and dig in.

Dry Fruit Bliss Balls

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Diwali is right here and I can’t contain my excitement. Meeting friends and family, wearing new closed, decorating each corner of the house and then the most important part – eating the most amazing array of food. The festive happiness spread to every nook and corner of the house. The flowers, the diyas, those little lights, all ready to adorn my house and then the laddus and cookies all making my kitchen smell sweet and fragrant.

I try to lose my self control during my favorite festival of the year and this year is going to be no different. Yes, I will gorge on the traditional desserts and some fried snacks during get togethers but then I will try to watch and eat. I know its slightly difficult but these pretty Dry Fruit Bliss Balls solves this problem. No compromise on the fun, food and flavor for sure!

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These dry fruit loaded bliss balls is an amazing way to serve your desserts + dry fruits this year. Pop them into your mouth and your sweet craving is taken of. Dry fruits and Diwali brings back lots of childhood memories. I have grown up watching my parents gifting dry fruits to friends and family or offering dry fruits to guests when they came to greet. This treasure trove of dry fruits is a nice twist to the usual bowl of mixed dry fruits. Fun and an easy affair, this yummy bliss ball will solve all your end minute stressful Diwali preparation.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 12 – 14 balls)

  • 1 cup Mejdool Dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 3 tbsp almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut + extra for rolling
  • 2 tbsp black chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 5 – 6 saffron strands, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp cold pressed coconut oil (optional)

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METHOD:

  • In a food processor put dates, figs, raisins, almonds, pistachios, desiccated coconut, walnuts, poppy seeds, chia seeds, cardamom powder and saffron strands and  blitz it until the mixture doesn’t have big chunks of dry fruits.
  • Add coconut oil and grind it again. Make sure not to over grind it else you will get dry fruit butter.
  • Scrape down the sides of the food processor and transfer the mixture into a bowl.
  • Take 3/4 – 1 tbsp of the mixture and make balls out of it. Roll it into desiccated coconut and keep aside.
  • You can keep the bliss balls at room temperature and serve within 1 day or keep it in the fridge and serve cold.

Happy Diwali!

 

 

 

 

Kheer – Diwali Special

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The quintessential Indian dessert made in every household is Kheer. I have grown up watching my grand mom and my mum making the most delicious Kheer ever. Patiently waiting for the milk to thicken, the rice to be perfectly cooked, the perfect amount of sugar and garnished with chopped dry fruits – already struck with nostalgia. Whether its a festival, any small function at home or an auspicious celebration – that Kheer is imperative.

Creamy and luscious, one spoon is never enough. Such a humble dish yet always a treat for your taste buds. A hot day and the chilled Kheer beckons and with the nip in the air, a bowl of hot Kheer is what is soul-satisfying. The aroma of the saffron and cardamom is quite inviting and the dried fruits adds the much needed richness and crunch to the dish.

With festivals just round the corner, this recipe is not to be missed. Made with basic pantry staples, this recipe is a no brainer. This recipe is a must in your repository. It’s easy to fall in love with it each and every time.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (for 3 – 4 people)

  • 1 litre full fat milk
  • 1/3 cup long grain basmati rice
  • 6 – 7 tbsp sugar (you can adjust the quantity as per your liking)
  • 5 – 6 saffron strands
  • 3 pieces green cardamom, powdered
  • 1 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp blanced and slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp dried rose petals (optional)
  •  10 – 12 pieces cashew nut (optional)

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METHOD:

  • Soak the rice in water for 40 – 45 minutes and rinse it nicey with water several times to remove the starch.
  • Meanwhile put the milk to boil on low flame in a saucepan. Keep stirring it continuously to avoid it from sticking to the botton of the saucepan.
  • Once the milk is reduce to slighlty more than half the quantity, add the soaked rice. Make sure to drain the water and add the rice to the milk.
  • Keep stirring it intermittently and let the rice cook on low flame.
  • Once the rice is 80% cooked and the milk thickens, add sugar to the mixture and stir it.
  • Now once the rice is 95% cooked, add the cardamom powder, saffron strands, cashew nuts, almonds slivers and pistachios and mix it.
  • Remove it from the flame and garnish with dried rose petals. Serve it hot or chilled as you like it!

 

 

Fig and Almond Cake

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Love to eat a cake at breakfast or do you love your tea time with a stumptuous piece of cake? Do not worry because this recipe has got you cravings covered. A simple and delicious cake often needs no introduction. A cake which has been adorning my breakfast and brunch tables these days is a Fig and Almond Cake. It is as pretty as it tastes and darn easy to make!

I must confess as much as I love eating cakes, I am not a bog fan of the frosting and fondants that come along with it. I hated it as a child because it was overly sweet and overpowered the true flavors of the cake and the feeling still prevails. When it comes to my kitchen, I enjoy baking cakes free of frosting. Something which is simple, naked and true to its flavors.

This cake is moist and fluffy. The combination of fresh and dried figs together in the cake is so magical. The subtle cardamom flavors lends an aromatic and spicy nature to the cake. The gorgeous and perfectly toasted almonds on the top adds the perfect crunch to the entire cake. Such simple ingredients yet a pretty little cake that you can never get bored off!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes a 6 inch cake)

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 egg
  •  3/4 cup plain buttermilk (you can use 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup water)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp melted butter, room temperature + extra for greasing the cake tin
  • 1/4 cup granulated brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, for garnishing
  • 10 – 12 fresh figs, cut in circles for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes. Butter and flour the cake tin and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and salt and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix melted butter, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract and keep aside.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixture and fold gently.
  • Add the dried figs to the mixture and fold in until its evenly spread.
  • Transfer the mixture to the cake mould. Now top it with fresh fig slices, sliced almonds.
  • Allow the cake to bake in the oven for 22 – 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done, allow the cake to cool down, garnish with icing sugar, slice it and eat!

Enjoy!

 

Banana Bread Granola – 100th Post Celebration!

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Hello folks! I can’t believe that I have penned down 100 of my favorite recipes and shared my culinary stories with all if you. The love I have got from each of you is completely overwhelming. It is so gratifying to see the blog grow from a single viewer to a community of such amazing people who appreciate my efoorts and my love for food. I can’t thank each of you enough for your unending faith in me.

Coming to the 100th blog post celebration, means something special was cooking in my kitchen. A dish that invokes memories of my first baking experience and has become my family (and definitely my lil one’s) favorite – Quick Banana Bread. However this is not a post about the classic banana brad but something which is healthy, super easy and unquestionably delicious – Banana Bread Granola!

When you feel like munching something, a bowl of this granola with or without yogurt is all you will need to satisfy your hunger pang as well as your sweet craving. The aroma of banana bread flavors wafting through the entire house is therapeutic. The warmth of the spices and the infused banana flavor makes it quite addictive.

Just as we enjoyed this super bowl of granola, make a BIG batch for yourself because I bet this will get over in no time!

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RECIPE

METHOD: (Makes 3 cups)

  • 1 3/4 cups jumbo oats
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 15 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin/melon seeds
  • 1/8 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup (you can use agave syrup or honey)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 medium sized banana, mashed

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 165 C for atleast 15 minutes. Meanwhile line a baking tray with parchment paper and keep aside
  • In a bowl add jumbo oats, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, salt and brown sugar and mix well so that the ingredients are evenly spread.
  • In another bowl add maple syrup and melted butter and whisk it. Add vanilla extract and whisk the mixture.
  • Now add the mashed bananas and mix it well.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients bowl and using a spatula mix it well so that all the ingredients are well coated and evenly spread.
  • Spread the entire mix onto the baking tray and spread evenly. Put it in the oven to bake for 23- 25 minutes.
  • Around 10 minutes into baking, take the baking sheet out and using a fork just mix the entire granola mixture to avoid burning of the ingredients.
  • Put it back into the oven and allow it to bake for another 13 – 15 minutes.
  • Take it out of the oven, fluff it using a fork and allow the mixture to cool down completely. Only once it is cooled will the mixture get crunchy.
  • Store it in an airtight container upto 2 weeks.

Voila!

Crunchy Berry Breakfast Granola

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Say hello to my new breakfast friend – Crunch Berry Granola. Being incredibly summer here, I like my post-workout morning breakfast to be a bowl of chilled yogurt topped with a generous amount of homemade granola. The big beautiful flavors from the granola is a perfect example of yummy and healthy food.

An easy recipe which you can mess around and cook with your lil one. While making the granola, my entire house was filled with a heavenly aroma. The concoction of crunchy toasted granola and the nutty almonds is studded with dried berries and chia seeds and spice mix. The mild sweetness from the agave nectar (Yes, you can use honey!) was deeply satisfying. The textural pop from this homemade granola makes you crave for it during breakfast and even mid day snacking each day!

Seeing my lil one enjoy this granola completely swooned me. Its simple, its comforting and yummier than store bought granola. So just when you thought of going healthy and bringing some variety to your breakfast table, this recipe is at your call and will become your absolute favorite in the kitchen.

Feel free to play with different flavors you love!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 3 cups)

  • 1.5 cups of oats (I used Quaker oats)
  • 35 grams slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup of dried berries (I used dried cranberries and blueberries)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 20 grams unsalted butter, melted and brought to room temperature
  • 45 ml agave nectar (you can use honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  •  pinch of salt (eliminate this if you are using salted butter)

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METHOD:

  • Line a baking tray with parchment/ baking paper and keep aside. Preheat the oven to 150C for atleast 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile mix oats, slivered almonds, dried berries and chia seeds in a bowl and keep aside.
  • In another bowl mix melted butter,  vanilla extract, orange zest, cinnamon powder, salt and agave nectar and whisk it well to ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and with the spoon mix it so that no clumps are formed. I like using my hands and making sure all the elements are well coated and no lumps are formed.
  • Now transfer the mixture on to the baking tray and spread out evenly. Put it in the oven and bake at 150C for 18 -20 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes take the baking tray out and using a spoon stir the entire mixture so that nothing is over done or burnt. Put it back in the oven.
  • Once done take out the baking sheet from the oven. The mixture won’t be crunchy now. Allow it to cool.
  • As the mixture cools, it becomes crunchy. Transfer it to an airtight container and you can store it upto 2 weeks in the fridge.

Happy eating!