Thursday, 20 July 2017

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Cookies haven't been my best bet when it comes to baking. Scroll through the blog and you'll see I don't have too many recipes for cookies. So rest assured the ones I've put up here are definitely fail proof and this one is no exception. This recipe for fruit biscuits has been an absolute winner and so has the recipe for melting moments. I can vouch for them and they are my go to recipes when it comes to making cookies. 

I haven't had much luck with cookies, apart from the recipes I just mentioned, so I'm a bit hesitant to try making more of them.  Though the recipes have been simple, I've gone wrong with texture mostly, though I got to say, they've always tasted great. So no trouble finishing them up really. But then, the joy in baking is that you always have hope that a new recipe will work. How beautiful is that. So this recipe has been an absolute ray of hope in that sense.





I'm not a big fan of Oatmeal for breakfast. I know it's healthy and all, but they haven't got me yet. So it kinda feels good that I can sneak them into baking some goodies. I've used multi grain oats in this recipe. Somehow they seem more cool and I bet they add a tad more crunch, but you can go with regular oats. I can't fool you here, saying these are low cal, coz I doubt they are. Yes they have oatmeal, but they also have sugar, peanut butter and flour. In my limited knowledge of healthy eating, these don't make it to the top of the list. But what these cookies are, are absolute joy, easy peasy, fail proof, a mix of crunchy and chewy and a totally good idea on a Monday afternoon. 



The cookie dough is fairly simple to make, apart from being fairly tempting to eat, even before you bake it, so I suggest you get it baking asap. It uses both brown and regular sugar, and I wouldn't skip or replace either. I also used a general doze of vanilla because I love vanilla, I really do. With the peanut butter, I used crunchy, because if there is peanut butter in the house it's always crunchy. Sorry creamy, you are nice too, but crunchy is crunchy. 


The cookies will seem a bit soft when they have baked for the specified time but don't worry they crisp up as they cool down. You also don't need to line your baking tray with baking paper, because the butter in the dough will do, to keep it non sticky. So less prep, yayyyyy.

I don't know how long these will stay good, coz a batch of these don't take too long to go down, but I'm guessing they'll do perfectly fine in a cookie jar for at least a week, if not more.


Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 30

Ingredients :
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

180 gm butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups oats
2 tbsp peanut butter

1. Start with preheating your oven to 175 C. 
2. In a small bowl, sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, toss in the butter and sugars and beat till creamy. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat till  just incorporated. Add the oats and peanut butter and beat till it blends in.  
4. Add in the flour mixture in 3 parts, running the beater on low, till the dough comes together. 
5. Using a small sized ice cream scoop, you can place rounded tablespoons of dough, on the tray, slightly apart, giving it space to bake and expand. 
6. If you want to skip the ice cream scoop, use tablespoons to roughly shape the dough and flatten slightly with your hand as you place the dough on the tray.
7. Bake the cookies for 20 -22 mins. Leave them to stand in the oven for 5 mins after they've baked and then transfer to a wire rack to cool them down. 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Chocolate Fudge Cake

You can never have enough chocolate cake recipes. OK, let me be fair here, I can never have enough of them. I don't really know about you. Being the obsessed baker, I am on a continuous hunt for new recipes to try and also just looking for any excuse at all to bake. I could just bake whenever I wanted, but then I'd have to eat it all, by myself and pile on all the calories. Can't do that....... anymore. Already done that, boo hoo.
So what was my excuse this time? A lunch invite from a friendly neighbor. I wasn't going to show up empty handed, I mean I was taking my 10 month old in tow (ha ha), but I went hands full, literally. (Note to self, carrying a 9 inch cake  in one hand and a baby in the other, even if for 7 mins can be very challenging. Use the baby carrier next time) After looking at my million bookmarked recipe, I just couldn't be more sure that a chocolate cake seemed a safe bet. This recipe is from one of my favorite bakers, Mary Berry. I love this woman. Everything about her.

The recipe uses the simplest method for making the batter. Really, could hardly get any simpler, specially for a cake that uses butter. And the fudge icing follows suit. Super simple, super yum. I'm done selling this recipe.




Chocolate Fudge Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp hot water
175 gm butter, softened
175 gm castor sugar
3 eggs
175 gm flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

For the icing:
50 gm butter
25 gm cocoa
2 tbsp milk
150 gm icing sugar

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease and line a 9 inch round cake tin with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa and hot water and keep aside.
3. In a large bowl, measure out the rest of the ingredients for the cake . Using a cake beater, mix the ingredients on  medium speed for about 2 mins. Add the cocoa mixture and beat again for a minute.
4. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for about 45 mins. The cake is ready, when the surface is springy to touch and the sides of the cake have slightly shrunk.
5. While the cake is baking, get started on the icing.
6. In a saucepan, ,melt the butter on a low flame. Add the cocoa powder and cook the mixture for 1 minute, till it is combines well.
7. Take the pan off the heat and add the milk and icing sugar. Stir well till you get a semi runny consistency. The icing will thicken as it cools down. If the icing is too thick, add a little more milk. Keep the icing aside to cool till it gets to a spreadable consistency.
8. Once the cake has baked and cooled down, take it out of the tin and place on a cake board.
9. Generously pour the cooled icing on the cake and smoothen and shape using an offset spatula. If the icing has thickened, gently heat the icing till it loosens a bit.
8. Serve on it's own or if you want to go the extra mile, a scoop of vanilla ice creams makes the perfect accompaniment.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

(Healthy) Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins








I've got to be honest here. I've been a snob about healthy baking, for all my adult life. I don't know where it stems from , but probably because a lot of my healthy baking adventures have not ended on a very nice note. Healthy baking has for me, a lot of times turned out to be bland, chewy, hard and nothing to rave about. All that has changed now, for better, for good. This recipe has been nothing but short of a miracle. It has no flour, no sugar, no oil and I'm so tempted to say no calories, but that would be a lie. But, but , but, it's definitely a healthier muffin than most you've had or made. Also, these taste great, and yes the kids will love em too. Tried and tested. Dear recipe, where have you been all my life?

So the great part about this recipe, apart from the million things I already told you about , is that you can make the batter in a blender. So big big thumbs up on that. It was super easy to make , and yeah once you have your ingredients ready and measured, it's just a matter of mins. Might be a great recipe to try together with a little kiddo, so all baking mamas, hope you heard me. I know that, coz I baked this with my 10 month old crawling around. Never too young to get them interested in cooking, is it?, specially em boys.






The recipe uses no flour, but oatmeal instead. I agree, I was a bit worried about the batter baking right at all, but it totally did. I used quaker multigrain oats, coz that's what I had lying around in my kitchen. That shouldn't lead you to believe I eat oats regularly, because I don't, in fact I've never tried them. This is from hubby's stash. Also, I prefer using crunchy peanut butter to creamy, in recipes that use peanut butter, even when it says creamy. So I did, even for this one. Turned out just fine and probably put in an extra crunch, but if you have creamy peanut butter lying around or that's what you prefer, go right ahead. Also, bananas. The recipes uses bananas, so don't throw away those over ripe bananas. They're just what you need here. I'm beginning to see, how these muffins are like a meal by themselves. Sound like a perfect Sunday morning breakfast deal.




So go ahead and give this recipe a good try. I'm so glad I stumbled on this recipe on Brendid. I can't wait to try out some more healthy recipes, specially ones that use readily available ingredients. God knows, I couldn't go hunting around for almond flour or applesauce.



Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins
Makes 15

Ingredients:

2-3 bananas , mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 cup milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups oats
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda


Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. This batter will make 12 jumbo sized muffins, or about 18 if you use regular sized liners.
2. Start by blitzing the wet ingredients. So toss the bananas, eggs, honey, milk ,peanut butter and vanilla into the blender. Blitz till it looks well mixed.
3.In go the oats, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Blitz again till it comes together and looks like a cake batter, although coarse.
4. Mix with a spatula in between to make sure the batter is evenly mixed.
5. Put a scoop full of batter in each paper cup, that is about 3/4 full in the liner and bake for about 30 - 40 mins.
6. These muffins are perfect on their own and devilishly enjoyable.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Fruit Biscuits








I first tasted karachi bakery biscuits during my 2 year stay in mumbai. I had a lovely  hostel roommate , from Hyderabad, who faithfully showed up with a box of these crazy good biscuits each time she returned from her hometown. I remember rationing them to eat, so they would last for the week Got to say, that was one of the tough challenges of my life back then. Seeing a box of these anywhere these days brings a smile on my face, and then knowing I can have a box of them all to myself, makes me feel like I won the lottery. It was only natural these biscuits made it my food bucket list.

So about that food bucket list of 2016 , there are some other things I've successfully marked off the list and haven't made the time to update here. I promise to get on to the job soon.  I'm calling them fruit biscuits, because they taste like karachi bakery biscuits but not like karachi bakery biscuits. Yeah, I know. These taste nice and fruity, are addictive and are almost there. The only way I  thought they were different from the bakery biscuits , were that they weren't as flaky. I'm contemplating increasing the ratio of butter the next time I try making these.  That being said, these taste great and are super easy to make, and with a cake beater in your hand, take hardly any time to make. I would make them over and over again, without a thought, Oh wait, I've already been doing that.


So here goes. 

Fruit Biscuits(Karachi Bakery Biscuits)

Ingredients :

113 gms butter/1 stick of butter/ 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp pineapple essence
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp pista essence
3 tbsp milk
1.5 cups flour
4 tbsp custard powder. I used this one
1/2 tutti fruitty

1. Start with beating the butter and sugar. Make sure the butter is at room temperature. 
2. Toss in the pineapple, pista and vanilla essence, followed by the milk. Beat to mix.
3. In goes the flour and the custard powder. The mixture will make little clumps but may not come together yet and that's ok.
4. Lastly, add the tutti fruity and mix well , using a wooden spoon if you like, in place of the beater. 
5. Divide the dough into roughly 2 equal parts. 
6. Take one portion and bring it together using your hands, and roll into a log. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate. Repeat with the other portion. 
7. Let the dough chill in the fridge for atleast a couple of hours. 
8. When you're ready to bake the biscuits, pre heat the oven to 170 C. Take out the dough and cut into little rounds of equal thickness. Place on a baking tray and bake for about 18-20 mins. 
9. The biscuits will crisp up as they cool down. Store in an airtight container. 




Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Baked Chicken Wings

So another easy peasy one here. Nothing much to do, but rest assured you'll have some dainty looking delicious wings on your plate for dinner. This is one of those 3 steps dishes. Lemon Pepper Chicken is another of my favourite 3 steps dishes.
So the 3 steps here are ;
Step one : You toss the wings in some seasoned flour
Step two:  Put those wings in the oven to bake, for about 40 mins, while you sip on some wine, take a shower or go for a walk, entertain your guests. (Yeah !!!Really!!!)
Step 3: Toss those wings in a pan with a couple of sauces. Tada!!!!! We're done!!!!

If this sounds like a perfect weekday menu item, it sure is. Just as much it sounds like a perfect dish to serve while you have friends coming over. Geez this dish is kinda versatile. Pefecto!!!!!
I used a combination of barbecue sauce , honey and chilly sauce, but I am so sure, these wings will taste great with just about any combination of sauces. I'm thinking terriyaki, mustard and honey, chilly and soya, siracha. The possibilities seem endless. Good luck then!!!! Let's get baking.




Baked Chicken Wings

Ingredients :

1 cup : Flour
1 Kg   : Chicken wings ( cut into 3 pieces)
1 tbsp : Grated garlic
1 tsp   : Paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

4 tbsp : Barbecue sauce
2 tbsp : Honey
1 tbsp : Chilly Sauce

1. Pre- heat the oven to 200 C
2. Wash the wings, drain the water and keep them aside.
3.Mix the flour, salt and pepper, grated garlic. Toss the wings in the flour mixture till well coated.
4. Place the wings on a greased oven tray. Bake the wings for 45 mins, flipping them once around the 20 minute mark.
5. In a pan, toss in the sauces. Add the baked wings and mix together till the wings are coated well.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Banana Butterscotch Pudding

This recipe for banana butterscotch pudding seemed too easy to be true. Honestly, I found the method a bit weird too. Read on and you'll know why. With all the uneasiness around the recipe, I still went ahead to try it out, without thinking twice, in fact, I baked it twice, two batches for a lunch we were going to. The only reason I wasn't jittery about it, is because it's a Rachel Allen recipe and I love Rachel Allen. Scroll through the baking section and you'll find quite a few Rachel Allen recipes. Date bars and Peanut blondies are couple of my favourites.


This batter takes just 10 mins and a whisk to make. Sometimes that's the best part of a recipe, that it doesn't need an electric beater, which means less cleaning and who doesn't love that.
This is a kind of odd recipe. For starters, it uses 3 tbsp of baking powder. That does sound like a lot, in fact that's how much I'd use in  a month of baking. Put your doubts aside and use it all though, 3 whole tablespoons of it, coz Mrs. Allen said so. The butterscotch sauce for the pudding is the easiest part of the recipe and it goes into the oven dolloped all over the batter to bake. Yup, you heard that right. Once the pudding batter is ready and in the dish, make the sauce and then gently pour it all over the uncooked batter. You'll see the pudding slowly bubble up, ( and your heart skip a beat) making place for all the sauce. It'll look like a lot, but it will settle down all at the bottom when you bake it.
And like all warm puddings, this goes great with vanilla ice cream!!!!! Butterscotch ice cream? Even better!!!!! You can make the pudding in advance, even a day. Making the pudding a bit in advance lets the pudding soak up all the sauce, and if served immediately, you probably will have a runnier sauce to serve. Both options seems equally enticing. So I wouldn't worry too much about it.


Banana Butterscotch Pudding

Ingredients :

For the pudding

125 gms flour
3 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 bananas
85 gms butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
175 mls water
2tbsp golden syrup


1. Preheat the oven to 180 as you get started on the pudding.
2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and sugar. Keep aside.
3. In another bowl, using a fork , mash the banana, beat in the egg, stir in the butter, milk and essence.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk it till you find no lumps. Use a spatula to give a god final stir.
5. Pour the batter in a baking dish. I used a 9 inch round  ceramic dish.  Set this aside as you quickly make the sauce.
6. Mix the ingredients for the sauce and bring to a boil . Pour the sauce gently over the pudding batter.
7. Bake the pudding for about 45-60 mins. When the pudding is ready, the top will be spongy to touch.
8. Serve warm with ice cream. 

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Perfect Birthday Cake

Ok.... So ever wanted to make that one pretty, perfect, sparkly cake that you can whip up quick, bake with no fail and dazzle the kiddos at a party.?? I'm posting a recipe for just that. Yes, you can thank me later, but for now, keep reading.
Honestly, it doesn't much to make a beautiful birthday cake. A lovely vanilla cake, some delicious frosting and a bowl of sprinkles will do the trick. You got to trust me, this cake will be appreciated just as much by adults as kids will. There's something about a cake covered in sprinkles that screams out HAPPY!!!!! This recipe is the usual butter, sugar, egg, milk  ,flour kind. For the frosting I used Whipped Vanilla frosting, but,  if you're big on chocolate,  you can use even ganache, which by the way is the easiest and only frosting you really need to know. Works wonders in so many ways.

I loved the idea of using a whole mix of colours for the sprinkles, but if you want to stick to a single tone, I think that'll look pretty as well. Think shocking pink!!!!! oooohhh. I've put pictures of both cakes, one with ganache and the other with the vanilla frosting and no I won't tell you which I like more, but got to say they both look very pretty. Of course, the gems add an extra pop of colour and cuteness





So here goes :

Vanilla Birthday Cake :

For the cake :

226 gms/2 sticks of butter
2 cups castor sugar
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract.

For the frosting:

1 cup non diary whipping cream
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

If you plan on using ganache, you can find the recipe for ganache here

A bowl of sprinkles for decorating the cake.


Method:

For the cake:

1. Like all good cakes, start with beating the butter, and keep going till the butter is fluffy. Add in the sugar, little by little, and beat till the butter is creamy.
2. You've heard me say it before and I'll say it again, add the eggs, ONE by ONE, just until they combine with the butter mixture.
3. Beat in  the vanilla essence. Sift the flour with the baking powder and baking soda into a bowl.
4. Add the milk and flour in parts, starting and ending with the flour.
5. Pour into a greased and lined 9 inch round tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180 .
6. The cake is done, when the sides have left the pan and the top of the cake is springy but firm.

For the frosting:

Beat the cream and sugar till the frosting forms stiff peaks. Mix in the vanilla.

To assemble the cake :

1.Place your cake on a cake base. Smear a little bit of icing on the base, before you place the cake on it,  so your cake stays in place.
2. If you are refrigerating the cake and want the cake to be a tad more moist, sprinkle some simple sugar syrup on the cake.
3. With an icing spatula, spread the icing, first on the top of the cake, then cover the sides. Flatten out the top and the sides, and don't worry about getting a super neat finish, coz the sprinkles will do that for you. You see why this is a great cake!!!
4. Place the cake over a large bowl that's filled with sprinkles. Scoop up a handful of sprinkles and toss them on the cake, starting on the sides and then covering all around and the top of the cake,  holding the cake over the bowl, to collect all the extra sprinkles. (Note: it's no fun cleaning a counter or floor full of sprinkles) and VOILA the cake is ready!!!!!!
5. You can pipe out little borders or stars on the cake and decorate with birthday candles or gems.