Cranberry Jam Shortbread Bars

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What is Christmas without getting your hands dirty in the kitchen and baking some lip smacking desserts for your friends and family. The festive mode is on. Even my social media pages is enjoying the festive cheer. Infact I think my Instagram is on a sugar high! Its loaded with stunning images of some amazing desserts and cookies and I can’t stop drooling over them. Boozy cakes to edible wreathes, gingerbread cookies to cookie boxes, apple pies to cranberry pies – its all there. Yes I feel the sugar overload too but its all about celebration and merry making. In the middle of this cheer, don’t miss out on baking these Cranberry Jam Shortbread Bars.

These bars is everything you would want in your dessert – sweet, tart, earthy and super easy to make. The homemade Cranberry Jam lends a freshness to the whole dessert. Buttery, crumbly, soft and delicious is all what this dessert is about. Perfect for a get together this Christmas. Make sure to make a double batch, because its a guarantee that one batch will not be sufficient. Just when the cookies and pies were getting  commonplace, bake these holiday special Cranberry Jam Shortbread Bars.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 9 bars)

For the shortbread bars:

  • 260 grams whole wheat flour
  • 220 grams unsalted butter, room temperature + extra for brushing the mould
  • 80 grams light brown granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder (optional)
  • pinch of salt

For Cranberry Jam: (Recipe on the blog)

  • 200 gms of cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 120 gms granulated white sugar
  • 3 – 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

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METHOD:

For Cranberry Jam:

  • Wash the cranberries properly. Take the cranberries in a saucepan along with sugar ad water and let it cook on low-medium heat.
  • Keep stirring it occasionally. Once the berries have softened by 60%, take a potato masher and gently mash the entire mixture.
  • Let the berries cook more and it will soften completely and start to thicken.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat, stir in lemon juice if needed and allow the mixture to cool.
  • Once cooled transfer it into a clean, moisture free glass container. Keep it in the fridge until consumption.

For Shortbread bars:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes and butter the baking pan and keep aside. (I used an 8 inch baking tin)
  • Meanwhile beat the butter until smooth and pale. Add granulated white sugar and beat for 40 – 50 seconds until creamy.
  • Now add vanilla extract and beat it for 20 – 30 seconds.
  • Add whole wheat flour, salt and nutmeg powder and beat on low speed until it just comes together. Make sure the clumps are still there and it doesn’t form a proper dough.
  • Transfer 2/3 of the dough to the baking tray and press down evenly. Now using a fork prick the bars and allow it to bake for 15 minutes or until the sides are slightly brown.
  • Once done, allow it to cool slightly and evenly spread the cooled down cranberry jam leaving some gap on the edges.
  • Crumble the remaining shortbread dough on top of the jam evenly and gently press the dough down.
  • Allow this to bake for 22 – 25 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown on top.
  • Once done allow it to cool on the wire rack. While it is sightly warm, cut it into 9 bars of equal sizes. Once it cools down completely, remove it from the baking tray and eat!

Christmas Sandwich Cookies – Dulce De Leche Sandwich Cookies

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Which is your favorite holiday cookie? Is it the Christmas special gingerbread cookies, some healthy oatmeal cookies, everyone’s favorite chocolate cookies or these drool worthy Dulce De Leche Christmas Cookies. December is the cookie month and there is so much excitement in my kitchen about it. Simple ingredients coming today everyday to create some new magical cookie. The latest on the block being these Dulce De Leche Christmas Sandwich Cookies. Totally festive and delicious in flavor. Every since I made a batch of these cookies, I think I have a crush on these. It got over from my kitchen in no time and its no exaggeration.

Buttery and loaded with the goodness of Dulce De Leche, these wonders are the prettiest things to gift this Christmas to your near and dear ones. The enticing smell of the freshly baked shortbreads wafting from the oven to the lip smacking Dulce De Leche, what a winning combo! The beautifully carved out stars, christmas trees in these cookies is surely to take you to Christmas cookie heaven. The fun day is just a week away and it’s time to make these beauties right away.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (makes 12 sandwich cookies

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour + extra for dusting
  • 60 gms icing sugar
  • 220 gms unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup store bought Dulce De Leche (I used store bought Dulce De Leche)
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl, beat the unsalted butter until its smooth and pale. Now add the icing sugar and beat it for 40 – 50 seconds until its smooth and creamy.
  • Now add vanilla extract and beat for 10 – 20 seconds.
  • Add all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and lemon zest and beat it until just combined. There may be crumbs which is completely fine. Do not over beat it.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and bring the entire dough together and flatten it in the form of a disk, cling wrap it and put it in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • meanwhile line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Once the dough its slightly firm, roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter cut out round cookies of 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch height. Transfer it to the baking tray.
  • Now take smaller cookie cutter of different shapes and cut out the center of half of the cookies.
  • Put this baking tray into the freezer for 10 minutes. Once done put it to bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  • Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely on the wire rack.
  • Now take a whole cookie and spread 1 tsp (or slightly more) amount of Dulce De Leche evenly, keeping some gaps on the edges.
  • Take a cookie with some shape carved on it and place it gently on the above cookie.
  • Repeat the same with the remaining cookies and enjoy!

Mayo – Hung Curd Sandwich

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Hello folks! Everything around me looks so festive and merry. The beautifully adorned Christmas tree in every nook and corner of the street, the colorful lights hanging everywhere, the cafes beaming with lots of freshly baked goodies and not to forget the conversations going on everywhere as to how one is celebrating Christmas. Amidst the endless baking going on in my kitchen, I feel I need a small break to make something comforting and simple. Hence we have a Quick Homestyle Sandwich Alert!

Sometimes all I need is a simple sandwich to feel good. Chop some basic ingredients, slather it on yoru favourite bread, toast it and you’re done. I made these Mayo and Hung Curd Veggie Sandwich for breakfast a few days back and it was yummy! Chopped few veggies, mixed it with hung curd and mayo, seasoned it, toasted my bread and my breakfast was done. I felt like a superstar. Save this recipe now because you can use all your teeny weeny leftovers to get this delish homestyle sandwich. No frills, no fancies – only goodness!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4 sandwiches)

  • 8 slices of multigrain bread (you can also use white sandwich bread)
  • 4 tbsp of store bought mayoniesse
  • 1 cup hung curd (you can also plain Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 large onion, finely choppeed
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup corn kernels, boiled and cooled to room temparture
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp freshly parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • Take mayo and hung curd in a bowl and whisk it until combined. Now add onion, bell peppers, grated carrot, corn kernels, chili flakes, parsley, coriander leaves, salt and black pepper and mix it well.
  • Put a gridle pan on medium flame. Meanwhile take one slice of bread and generously fill it with the mixture you have made in the first step. Make sure to leave some space towards to the edges will putting the mixture.
  • Take another slice of bread and place it on top of it.
  • Take a little butter and put it on the pan. Place the sandwich on the griddle pan and let it cook for 1 minute – 90 seconds. Meanwhile lightly butter the bread on the top.
  • Carefully turn the bread over and let the sandwich cook on the other side for 60 – 90 seconds.
  • Once cooked and golden brown on both sides, take it off from the griddle pan and place it on the kitchen top. Diagonally cut it making sure the mixture doesnt ooze out of the slices of bread.
  • Serve immediately with ketchup or as is.

Corn, Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake

 

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Looking for a perfect partner for this winter? We have an answer for you. Look forward! Winters makes me snuggle into cozy jackets and blankets. It makes me feel lazy and I wish if my personal robot could accomplish all my to do list. The struggle starts right from waking up early in the morning and continues till the end of the day where I have gorged on some extra comforting food that I can almost feel the needle of the weighing scale moving no longer by grams each day, but kgs.

Winter calls for some doozy meal makeover to the commonplace dishes. Freshest of produce available in the market, it gives everyone an option to paint their own canvas, create their own paintings. As I mentioned earlier my association with winter food is Soups, Casseroles, lots of dry fruits and lots of cheese! Mum often threw the veggies she loved (which obviously I loathed) into a glass baking container, garnished it with cheese and into the oven. This recipe draws inspiration from her famous Au-Gratin. The creaminess from the white bechamel sauce, the goodness from the winter produce and cheese crust – all ties together to bring a delicious family meal. Just about the easiest and the tastiest thing you can ever make when the weather makes you want to work less.

Chop chop, crank up your oven and enjoy this hearty bowl of awesomeness now!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1 cup corn kernels, blanched until tender (I used frozen corn, you can use fresh too)
  • 150 grams broccoli florets, blanched until tender
  • 200 grams cauliflower florets, blanched until tender
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 40 grams all purpose flour ( you can also use whole wheat flour)
  • 1 1/2 cup of milk, room temperature (you might slightly more based on your white sauce consistency)
  • 1 tsp of dried mixed hers (I used dried oregano and dried basil)
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup processed cheese, grated
  • 1/ 2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • few sprigs of micro greens, for garnish

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes.
  • Take a saucepan on low flame and put in 40 grams unsalted butter into it. Once the butter melts, add 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic and sauté.
  • Now add the flour and keep stirring and cooking the mixture to avoid the flour from burning. This would take about 1.5 – 2 minutes.
  • Now add milk slowly and keep stirring to avoid forming lumps. You can add a 4 – 5 tbsp of water if the consistency is becoming too thick.
  • Bring it to boil on medium flame. Add processed cheese, mixed herbs, chili flakes, sugar, salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Mix well and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile take the remaining butter in a saucepan. Saute garlic cloves, pinch of chili flakes and dried oregano. Now add the bread crumbs and sauté for 30 – 40 seconds and keep aside.
  • Take a baking container. I used a borosil baking tray dish. Put 2 – 3 tbsp of white sauce. Then layer it with the blanched veggies (corn, cauliflower and broccoli) and then pour the remaining white sauce mixture.
  • Garnish with cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese evenly (leaving one table spoon of each aside).
  • Now layer with the panko bread crumb mixture evenly and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
  • Put this to bake for atleast 20 – 22 minutes or until the crust starts to bubble and turns golden brown.
  • Take it out of the oven, garnish with micro greens and dive in!

Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

 

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Hunting for an easy peasy recipe for a non chocolate cookie – these bright buttery cookies are soon going to be your elixir for happiness. While chocolate cookies are almost everyone’s favorite, these lemon – thyme cookies are magical! Shortbread cookies are an epitome of glamour and simplicity. They are fun to make – quite therapeutic and almost like your canvas where you can play around with different flavor combination and make these little heart wonders.

Bright and buttery – these lemon and thyme cookies are perfect additions to your breakfast as well as tea time table. The freshness from the locally sourced fresh lemons and the fragrance from fresh thyme makes you want to go for another bite. Absolutely scrumptious. Minimal ingredients, fool proof recipe and these little indulgent and melt in your mouth cookies are ready in no time.

Share some love with these cookies!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes around 16 – 18 cookies)

  • 1 cup multigrain flour + extra for dusting
  • 113 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 35 grams granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • few thyme leave sprigs, for garnishing

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl beat butter and sugar until they are smooth and creamy. This would take around 40 – 50 seconds.
  • Now add vanilla extract and beat it for 20 seconds.
  • Add in multi-grain flour and salt and beat it on low speed for 40 – 50 seconds , until its just combined.
  • Now to this mixture add lemon juice, lemon zest and thyme leaves and beat it for 30 seconds.
  • Transfer the mixture to your kitchen top. Make sure that the kitchen top is lightly floured. Combine the entire dough mixture. Do not over mix/ over knead it.
  • Flatten the dough mixture into a disc shape, cling wrap it and put it the fridge to chill for atleast 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile pre heat your oven to 180C for atleast 15 minutes. Line your baking sheet with a parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge. Lightly flour the surface. Roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch think circle. Take heart shaped cookie cutter and cut out the cookies.
  • Transfer each cookie to the baking sheet. Garnish it with thyme sprigs. Allow the cookie to bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes or until the cookies are light golden brown.
  • Once done, take it out from the oven and allow it to cool completely and enjoy!

 

 

 

Tomato and Feta Galette

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Looking for an easy and delicious baking project (aka fun) for this weekend – get ready to be smitten over by this Tomato and Feta Galette. Fruit Galettes are too mainstream, a warm savory pie is what you need for these beautiful chilly evenings. Rustic and comfort is what this galette is all about.

I personally love pies, whether it is sweet or savory. However I am kinda lazy in making pies at home. It stresses me out. There are way too many do’s and don’t. I guess I should take up a challenge soon to make pies at home. Nevertheless galettes are the closest and  the easiest free form pies where all the goodness is tucked in together and put into the oven. And now I guess you know why I love galettes. The look absolutely gorgeous. Throw in ingredients you love you are done!

Tomato and Feta Galette is a classic one. The buttery flaky crust, the creaminess of the feta and the tangy-ness from the cherry tomatoes makes you fall in love with it. Try this recipe over this weekend and I bet you’ll love it as much as I do!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 – 9 inch pie)

For the galette crust:

  • 175 multigrain flour + extra for dusting (you can use all purpose flour also)
  • 113 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 – 4 grams salt
  • 4 – 5 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)

For the filling:

  • 1 larger onion, diced
  • 16 – 18 cherry tomatoes, halved or used as is
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 – 10 fresh basil leaves
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • In a bowl take multi grain flour, salt, sugar and mixed herbs and mix it well,
  • Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs. It is okay to see small chunks of the butter.
  • Now add the ice cold water a couple of tablespoons at a time and bring together the dough.
  • Dust the kitchen top with flour and transfer the dough on it. Add more water if needed and bring it together to make a ball. Cling wrap it and refrigerate it for an hour atleast.
  • Once its kept in the fridge for sometime, preheat your oven to 200C for atleast 15 – 20 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Once the dough it chilled, take it out and roll it out to 15 inch circle. Transfer the pastry to the baking sheet.
  • Now place the chopped onion on the rolled out pastry dough keeping around 2 – 2.5 inch gap from the edges.
  • Take half of the feta crumble and sprinkle it over the onion layer. Sprinkle some salt and pepper too.
  • Now layer it with whole cherry tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes or a mix of both. Sprinkle the remaining crumbled feta on top.
  • Fold the edges over the tomatoes gently or make pleats if necessary. Garnish it with a few leaves of basil.
  • Take the lightly beaten egg and using a pastry brush, brush on the folded edges which will give it a nice golden color.
  • Allow it to bake for 25 – 28 minutes at 200C or until golden crisp brown.
  • Once done, transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to cool. Make slices and serve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Toast with Chocolate and Berries

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Some dishes are like a dream come true on a plate. I often dream about it, obsess about it and then try to make my dream a reality. Yes I have been procrastinating my indulgent weekend brunch of French toast for quite some time now. With the nip in the air and overcast skies, its time to enjoy a cozy breakfast/ brunch aka Simple French Toast.

French Toast often reminds me of Fall. Even though here in India we do not witness an official Fall season, I am reminiscing my days in US – the rustling and falling of leaves, the delicious Fall inspired food, warmth of the spices and oh everything suddenly becomes simple yet dramatic. This French Toast is just that.

This doesn’t require bells and whistles to make you fall in love with it. Simple basic pantry ingredients is all what you need. The perfectly golden and fluffy bread, the cinnamon-y flavour, those tender berries and dark chocolate shavings – a perfect start to a lovely morning!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 1 brioche bread loaf, cut into 0.5-0.75 inch slices
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 180 ml whole milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • 1 cup sliced bananas (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate shavings, for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp almond slivers, for garnishing (optional)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, for garnishing
  • maple syrup, for garnishing

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl lightly whisk the eggs using a wire whisk or fork. Add milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and salt and whisk it. Transfer this mixture into a shallow bowl and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile take a flat pan and put it on medium flame. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in it.
  • While the butter is melting take a slice of bread and put soak it in the bowl of egg mixture on either sides.
  • Put the bread on the pan and let it cook until  golden brown on either sides.
  • Transfer it to the serving plate. Garnish with chocolate sauce, chocolate shavings, berries and powdered sugar.
  • Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!