Vanilla Button Wafer Cookies – Eggless, Simple and Irresistible

It was good to get a breather . Don’t remember the last time I had a weekend where I could actually have a cup of tea and sneak in a few moments that did not involve schedules and lists – of any kind . DH and yours truly are Yin and yang when it  comes to tea – a dash of sugar in one and absolutely none in the other one . Ginger shining through in one and no thanks on the other. Cardamom with a heavy hand on one and not so fast on the other hand. But for the 30 minutes, it was middle ground for tea and absolute serenity. Accompanied by absolutely ” melt in the mouth vanilla button wafer cookies”. Oh these were so good . Had to try this out because I wanted to make something for a dear old soul who would not eat anything with eggs in it.

These were buttery, crispy , absolutely melt in your mouth with vanilla not overpowering and keeping the flavor subtle but classy. I like those kind .  And I suppose now that these were such a hit , I would be experimenting a bit more – on the flavors .

INGREDIENTS:

  • Unsalted Butter: 1/2 cup 
  • Fine All Purpose flour : 1 and  1/4 cups
  • Powdered / Confectioner’s sugar : 1/2 cup
  • Fine Granulated Sugar: 1/4 cup
  • Salt: 1/4 tsp.
  • Milk : 1/4 cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract : 1 Tbsp.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer cream the butter and sugar till you get a light fluffy mix. It should take about 4-5 minutes. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl so all is incorporated and you do not have butter stuck high on the paddle.
  4. Add the quarter cup of milk and vanilla extra extract and make sure it is whipped in well.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl sift the flour and salt together.
  6. Add the flour to the creamed mix and fold  gently. Only till incorporated. DO NOT OVER MIX.
  7. Fit a pastry or piping bag with a large round piping tip. The dough is very very soft and pliable . Almost like very sturdy buttercream. So you should be able to pipe it out easily.
  8. Pipe about an inch diameter circles onto the baking sheets. These do not spread very much so an inch space between then should do.
  9. Bake for 16-18 minutes. You are looking for golden brown on the bottoms and around the edges. It is very easy to over bake, so keep an eye.
  10. Let it cool on the pan for about a couple of minutes (the cookies set further on the baking sheet ) and then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely and store it in air tight container.
  11. This makes about 60-65 one inch button cookies. Lasted about a couple of days  hours at my place.

NOTES:

  • Creaming is absolutely essential otherwise you will not get the desired consistency. If you think your white granulated sugar is a little big on the crystal size, pulverize it once before creaming. I would not use brown sugar here, because the molasses content in the brown sugar will make these soft.
  • Over mixing will produce tough cookies. The texture is crispy, absolutely melt in the mouth because of the high butter content. There is a fraction of caramelization as well and you can feel it in the taste.
  • Are these sweet? Yes. Overpowering? No. Could you reduce the sugar content? Possibly. I would probably experiment the next time by increasing the flour content and adding a couple of tablespoons of milk to ease out for the texture, keeping the butter and sugar content the same.
  • I honestly felt the vanilla extract was just perfect. You need the taste subtle not overpowering and this will make it a wonderful addition to a pudding or in ice cream. Would this work with wheat flour? Possibly but you will need fine milled whole wheat pastry flour for this. And definitely work on the ratios to get the texture.

 

 

Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Banana Bread (with chocolate chunks)

A.. La.. One more Banana bread for the files. The bout of flu was pretty bad which meant I spent nearly a week and half playing nurse maid for the kiddos. The got sick in a cascade fashion.The weather here in NC was the most undecided – switching between “spring weather welcoming new life” to “hibernating winter chilly weather”. And Flu viruses had a field day and found  new victims at my place, I suppose.  Which naturally resulted in a lot of fruits getting underutilized. No smoothies as well as soups ruled the day. So, there I had 6 forlorn bananas looking at me. Like, asking when they would be put to good use.  And I had a whole box of mismatched chocolate chips – ranging from big old chocolate chunks to mini chocolate chips. All the way from Super dark with 85 % cacao to semi sweet 65% cacao. Nearly 2 cups worth. But then again what’s a little bit more to cheer up my kids. And since I had some lovely neighbors who helped me out during the mad rush of the last 10 days, they got some nice chunky slices too. All in all , 6 bananas , 2 loaves and quarter of one left .

Some would say I was procrastinating or rather procrastibaking. A million jobs, but I had to bake ! Whoever came up with the word, was a sheer genius who understood the therapeutic aspect of baking. And online ordering of groceries. And the magical power of 10 min power naps. But if someone could still let my nutty lab know that flying leaves in the wind, trash trucks, delivery trucks, people working in the yard, AT and T servicemen yada, yada, yada are not threatening and there is absolutely no need to warn or bark her head off to keep me out of harm’s way. Or you cannot play with everyone coming your way. That works as well. It would be wonderful if she doesn’t go bonkers, but then again it would not be Maya.

Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Banana Bread ( with chocolate chunks)

The recipe itself is pretty simple. I just about emptied the contents of the fridge to make this and you can never really go wrong with Banana Bread. It is  quite simple. You can dress it up or keep it earthy. Indulge with cream cheese or simply warm it and have it with a cup of tea. Or coffee. Or Milk. Have it for breakfast or as dessert. You get the point, it is absolutely versatile.I doubled this recipe and made 2 loaves. I had a few thankful friends who rewarded me with a thumbs up for this .The vegan and other options are listed as well in the notes and through the recipe.

Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Banana Bread ( with chocolate chunks)

Ingredients:

  • Bananas : 3 , mashed to yield roughly 1 cup or a bit more. It does not have to be perfect!
  • Sugar : ½ – ¾ cup ( I used Turbinado sugar. Use the ¾ option if you like your bread a bit sweeter )
  • Eggs : Large,2.(Use flax substitute for vegan option . See notes)
  • Greek Yogurt : ½ cup  ( Vegan option : Use silken tofu. See notes)
  • Vegetable or Olive oil : ¼ cup ( You can use melted butter for richer taste)
  • Whole Wheat Pastry Flour : 1 and ¾ cup .( See notes for options )
  • Baking powder : ½ tsp.
  • Baking Soda : ½ tsp.
  • Salt : ½ tsp.
  • Cinnamon : a pinch ( optional )
  • Nutmeg : a pinch ( optional )
  • Chocolate chips : ½ cup
  • Toasted ,broken Walnuts : ½ cup ( optional )
  • Pure Vanilla Extract : 2 Tsp.

Method :

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 F . 
  2. Grease and  keep aside the pan of choice.I used an 9 by 5 inch loaf pan as this works well as a loaf bread.
  3. Mash the bananas with a fork and keep aside. A few chunks of the bananas is what makes this bread a bit rustic. Do not pulverize the bananas. Or alternately using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer mash the bananas.
  4. Add the eggs or flax egg substitute, vanilla extract and whisk well. Add the Greek yogurt or its substitute, sugar, melted butter if using or oil , cinnamon and nutmeg if using .
  5. In another mixing bowl measure out the flour and add the salt, baking soda and  baking powder and whisk it well.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet one and mix only until incorporated. Do NOT OVERMIX.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and reserve some to garnish on top and stir in the nuts if using reserving some likewise to garnish the surface.
  8. Bake  at 350 F for about 45 min- 60 min or until a skewer inserted in comes out clean.Keep checking after 38 min.
  9. Let it cool in the pan for about 10 min and slide out gently to finish cooling on the rack.
  10. Slice thick chunky slices . Eat plain, with cream cheese , or anyway you want .

Notes :

  • Egg substitute: 1 Tbsp. flax seed + 3 Tbsps. of water –  pulverized well will yield a homogenous mass equivalent to 1 large egg.
  • Greek Yogurt substitute: 1: 1 switch of blended silken tofu + a dash of lemon juice to give the tartness.
  • Butter substitute: Canola oil / olive oil. 1 :1 substitution works perfect.
  • Granulated sugar switch : Raw Turbinado sugar or jiggery
  • Flour : whole wheat pastry flour is the best substitute for All purpose flour.  If you do not have it and have only normal whole wheat flour, I would use 1 and ½ cups instead. It is quite dense.  Or you can alternate 1 cup of whole wheat flour and ¾ cup of all-purpose flour.
  • If you think your bread is browning too quickly and the middle is still squiggly and squishy, cover it with aluminum foil and return to baking.
  • Can I make muffins out of this ? Certainly. Should yield 12-14 muffins, baked for about 16 min or so.

 

Have I baked using these substitutes ?

The short answer would be an unequivalent “Yes”.  My observations though :

  • Using jaggery has given me a more denser and squishy loaf because of its wet nature.  Also I had better results with using store bought jaggery powder as 1 : 1 switch then pulverizing my own. I would assume that the commercially powdered jaggery was a bit more dry and hence worked better.
  • Olive oil worked just fine as a substitute.
  • Silken tofu also worked fine. Add in a Tbsp. or so of lemon juice to add in the tartness of yogurt. But I personally would look and choose the non GMO version of it. Make sure you blend it well before adding. You will not be able to blend it after adding it. Though unconventional, applesauce has work in a cinch too. The texture would be different a bit though.
    Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Banana Bread ( with chocolate chunks)

 

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

Welcome back ! Well that was more of a shout out to self. It certainly has been ages since I ventured back to this special place. And I bring to you one of the finest creations to grace this page to begin my re-entry back into blogging. Not that I ever stopped making goodies. It was just the photography and recipe and all..

How would you like a wonderful vanilla pound cake with fine tender crumb? The fragrance entices you so wonderfully ( my lab , Maya refused to leave the oven unattended while it was baking )  and then you have these rivers of cinnamon swirl around in them. Fantastic. Moist, tender and heavenly.

 An absolute autumn’s delight  of a cake this one. A gorgeous tender crumb vanilla pound cake with ribbons of sweet spice cinnamon sugar and cream cheese glaze. This was such a hit a dinner party that I decided to make it again – this time just for my hungry kids !

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

Serve this warm with a dollop of ice cream if you must. But, I say a steaming cup of coffee , espresso or tea is the best accompaniment for this. A warm inviting slice of heaven and  a steaming cup of energy accompanying can take on a motley crew of teenagers, room parent work, PTA, gymnastic classes, robotics, slightly neurotic dog  and a full house at home and more. Bring it on !

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake

 

Ingredients:

Cinnamon sugar :

  • Granulated sugar : 2/3 cup
  • Fine ground cinnamon : 3 Tbsp.
  • Fine ground nutmeg : A pinch

Cream Cheese Glaze :

  • Cream cheese : 4 Tbsp. ( at room temperature )
  • Confectioner’s sugar : 1 -1.5 cups(depending on how sweet you like your icing)
  • Pure vanilla extract : 1 Tbsp.
  • Milk or Cream : 2 Tbsp.+ as required to thin the glaze or icing.

Vanilla Pound cake:

  • Unbleached All purpose flour : 3 cups
  • Unsalted butter at room temperature : 2 sticks/ 1 cup/ 16 Tbsp.
  • Salt : 1 tsp.
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp
  • Eggs, large, room temperature : 6
  • Granulated sugar : 2.5 cup
  • Heavy cream or whole milk : 4 Tbsp.
  • Sour cream  : 1 cup
  • Pure Vanilla Extract : 2 Tbsp.

Instructions

Oven and Bundt pan preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  • Generously grease with softened butter and then dust with flour your 10 cup Bundt pan and set aside. Please do take your time to grease and flour the pan. (If you are using an intricate Bundt pan, then please ensure that all nooks and crevices are well accounted for. There is nothing worse than baking a wonderful cake which stubbornly sticks to the pan.)

Making the cinnamon sugar:

  • To make the cinnamon sugar, whisk all the ingredients listed in a small separate bowl and keep aside until ready to be used

Baking the pound cake:

  • In a large mixing bowl whisk the  all purpose flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  • In a bowl your stand mixer, fit in the paddle attachment and cream the sugar and butter. This process will take about 4-5 minutes. Stop intermittently and scrape the sides of the bowl so all the side splatter butter and sugar get creamed as well. I used the medium-high speed setting on my mixer.
  • Add the cup of room temperature sour cream and mix well.
  • Add in the vanilla extract and milk / cream and mix well.
  • Turn the speed of the mixer to low-medium and add in the eggs 1 at a time. Please ensure the eggs are at a room temperature. And add them one at a time. Take the time to make sure each egg is mixed well. Do not worry if you think there a slight split in the batter. It will all come together when you add the flour. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as required to make sure you have a homogeneous mix.
  • Once the eggs are all added , add in the flour and mix until just combined. It should just take you a minute or so . DO NOT OVER MIX. Fold the batter by hand gently once or twice to ensure the flour at the bottom is mixed well. This is a heavy batter, so make sure you get to the bottom of the  bowl.

Layering and baking the swirl pound cake :

  • Scoop in about 1/3 of the total batter into your Bundt pan. Layer about 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar mix and pat gently if needed.
  • Next add in the other 1/3 of the batter. I always found that scooping out tiny dollops of the batter , thereby covering the entire cinnamon sugar layer is a better option than trying to layer large amounts of batter. You can always sort of ” join the dots of tiny blobs of batter” to give an even layer as much as possible. Gently tap the pan on the counter to even out. Do not go crazy out banging , then you will have a “cinnamon dispersed” cake and not a “swirl” one.
  • Add in the other 1/2 of the sugar and layer with the remaining 1/3 batter similarly.
  • Gently tap the Bundt pan.
  • Bake at 350 F/ 50-65 minutes. Check with a bamboo skewer (the inserted skewer comes out clean) to ensure cake is baked through.

Unmolding the cake.

  • Remove the Bundt pan with cake from oven and cool it in pan for about 10 minutes. Gently run a knife along the edges to loosen the cake. Be very gentle as you do not want to go slicing the cake at the ends.
  • Cool another 10 minutes or so in the pan itself. Rushing the process can sometimes ruin your labor love and you might have a partial cake unmolded.
  • Then gently invert it out on a wire rack over a stand and cool completely.

Glaze/ icing the cake:

  • Using your mixer cream the sugar cream cheese heavy cream or milk, and vanilla extract on high using a whisk attachment. Thin it out more if you would like to pour out the glaze or keep it thick to pipe it out in pastry bag.
  • Glaze when very slightly warm or you can wait until it is completely cool to pipe out the cream as well.( Mine was attempted by an eager elementary school kid )

Slice and enjoy heaven on earth !

Cookie Butter &Toffee Bits Ice Cream – No churn, Eggless, Quick

Blazing away at 100 F, we are expecting thunderstorms in NC. And the wisdom tooth decides to show yours truly who the boss was. Flared up and enduring nagging pain was not how I thought I would be spending a Friday ! Nope definitely not fun and unplanned for.

Cookie Butter &Toffee Bits Ice Cream

And while A1 has a packed schedule , A3  learns to work on his team skills and to compete in the swim team. A winner by attitude  more than by numbers is what I would like for him to pick up this summer.

Cookie Butter &Toffee Bits Ice Cream

A2 weasels her way out of gym practice and her doe eyes plead for a summer treat as she fans herself to get some respite against the warm weather. And while we toss about if it would be a berry cheesecake ice-cream, or mango ice cream or cookies and cream one, she pounces on a Speculos butter in a jar and wants to know if we could make one with it.  

 

Cookie Butter &Toffee Bits Ice Cream

 

Creamy with crunchy bits, sweet and with a hint of cinnamon the Speculos cookie butter ( or Biscoff one) is for those indulgent days at home – weekends,  celebrations or pick me up. Pair it with fresh whipped cream  and some condensed milk and you have wonderful creamy, soft serve ice cream ready to drool for! Add in some  crunchy Heath toffee bits and its a perfect combination . Just 5 ingredients and you are on your way to create a fantastic and bowl licking summer treat. It’s quite irresistible as licked fingers hold a testament to this at home. Go on, enjoy !

Important Tip : Please make sure your whipping cream, the mixing bowl and whisk is quite chilled to begin with. I recommend leaving it in the refrigerator overnight .

Prep time : 15 min  

Freezer time : 6 hrs. – overnight  

Serves : 8-12

Ingredients:

  • Heavy whipping cream : 2 cups
  • Speculos / Biscoff cookie butter : 1 cup
  • Sweetened condensed milk : 7 oz. or  1/2 tin
  • Pure vanilla extract : 1 Tbsp.
  • Heath crunchy toffee bits : 1/2 cup

Method :

  • In your well chilled mixing bowl, add in the 2 cups of heavy cream ( chilled) and start by whisking on slow ( so you do not splatter your walls) and increase to high speed whisking to yield soft peaks.
  • Add in the condensed milk , vanilla extract and whisk it very well and then add in the cookie butter and whisk it well again so the final result has a soft peak consistency.
  • Add in the toffee bits, gently stir it in and pour it into freezer safe bowl. Make sure the container can be covered air tight and let it freeze for atleast 6 hrs to overnight.
  • Serve in dark chocolate dipped waffle bowls, cones , with or without sprinkles or eat it straight out of the container on a grueling day !

Cookie Butter &Toffee Bits Ice Cream

Happy Summer !!!

Baby Corn Masala (Gravy style)

It was supposed to be a small remodeling of the kitchen but it put mine out of commission for nearly a couple of months. What’s that saying about humans making plans and the gods laughing on it?  

Sprinkle  in extra chaos of spring break – before , during and after, some 4 year old chores and AP exams and prep for A1 . Then add in some gymnastics meet schedules for A2 and spring soccer for A3 – complete with game schedules, make ups , thunderstorms and more( we won the last game – yay!), I just think we were lucky to just have plain simple fare to fill the bellies.

Add to it a missing contractor. Just when we thought we should put out an APB ( I did contemplate it for a whole min – I promise !) for this chap , he shows up . Yippee ! Now that work is almost done, I can get back  some of the sanity that was in short supply during these couple of months  !!! . And therefore on an impoverished day , canned baby corn come to the rescue. This was got in the hope that some day it would inspire me to make MSG – less version of it from a popular Indo- Chinese fusion restaurant that draws in hoardes near my place.

Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)

This is such a simple and delicious fare that you can add your own twist to it and it still works out handy. A friend of mine sampled it on the day it was made and had nothing but good things to say. Serve it with a wedge of lime, add a dash of cream to make it extra special. Serve it with basmati pilaf, hot phulkas, laccha parathas or fried rice. You just cannot go wrong with this.

Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)
Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)

Of course the main reason why this could be made in 15 -20 min or so is because we pan cook the tomatoes and onions before grinding them to a paste. And also we use readily available dry masala powder to shorten the process time.

Prep time : 5-8 min  Cook time : 8 -10 min Total time 15 -20 min

Ingredients :

  • Canned baby corn : 2
  • Onions : 2 ( diced)
  • Tomatoes : 2 ( diced)
  • Green bell pepper : 1 ( chopped into big pieces)
  • Cashew/ Almonds : 10 ( broken if possible)
  • Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
  • Crushed Kasuri Methi : 1 tbsp.
  • Chopped fresh Cilantro : 1/4 cup
  • Garam Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Kitchen king Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Kashmiri Mirch powder : 1 tsp.
  • Red chili powder ( spicy ) : 1/4 tsp. + adjusted to spice tolerance
  • Optional : 3 Tbsp. light cream, for serving
  • Flavorless oil : 2 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp.
  • Salt : to taste
  • Water : 1/2 – 3/4 cup

Method :

  • Drain the baby corn of the liquid in the can , wash well with cold water , cut into smaller pieces about an inch long or so and keep it drained in a colander. The idea is to get rid of the brine as much as possible.
  • In a heavy sauce pan or wok, on dry heat roast the cashew or almonds until very warm or slight brown and set aside.
  • In the same wok add the 2 Tbsp. of oil and  fry the onions and then the tomatoes in sequential order for about 5 -6 min so you are left with a very thick stew. The purpose is two fold – one is to cook the onions and tomatoes so the raw edge of the veggies are wiped out and the second purpose is to hasten the cooking process of the gravy. Remove and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil in the wok and add in the cumin seeds and once it sputters add in the chopped bell peppers and sauté till it retains the texture but almost cooked. Say about 3 min or so.
  • Now add in the chopped baby corn and stir it in.
  • Add in the Garam Masala. Kitchen King masala and chili powders and a tsp. of salt and stir for about a min or so.
  • Grind the roasted cashews / almonds and then the sautéed onions and tomatoes with about 1/2 a cup of water till you get a thick gravy. It was about a min in my Vitamix.
  • Add this to the vegetables and let it boil for about 5 min or so. You will see the change in the color a tad bit . Taste for salt. Add in the crushed Kasuri  Methi , stir again.
  • You will have a very thick stew with slightly crunchy bell peppers and tender baby corn !
  • Serve hot garnished with fresh cilantro ! Add a dash of lime or drizzle in some heavy cream and your kids will lick their finger tips !!
Baby Corn Masala (Gravy)
Baby Corn Masala (Gravy) served hot with steaming peas pulav!

FAQ:

  • Can I use frozen baby corn? 

I wish I got those here  in these parts of the world. Definitely would be my preferred choice over canned ones. Follow the instructions on the pack for cooking directions or if there are none, I would thaw and then dunk in boiling water for about a min.

  • What if I do not have the Kitchen King Masala or Garam Masala on hand?

Simply adjust the quantity of one for the other  or use whole masala in their place. Of course it requires additional time of roasting and grinding.

  • Why do you need both the chili powders?

One is of low heat and gives a vibrant color and  the other adds the heat.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

A3 wanted blueberry muffins. Lemon blueberry muffins. In the last days of winter ! You get the picture. I think he was bit impatient for spring to arrive and to play soccer. But NC weather was such a tease ! Gloomy skies, bare trees, dark clouds and not a ray of sunlight.  Who could blame the poor kid for wanting his own bit of sunshine?

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

 

In any case a tub of sour cream begged to be used before the expiry date and since the fresh blue berries did not  cause me an arm and a leg or to play Rumplestiltskin with my first born, a tub meandered its way home from the store. A bag of fresh Meyer lemons and armed with some butter, I has to try these prize winning sour cream lemon muffins from this site with of course a couple of minor switches and few more adaptations.

They are so tender,  utterly soft pillowy ones. I have adapted the recipe ever so lightly to yield the tang of lemon muffins with its citrusy flavor and these are simply irresistible. So good and so perfect and huge plus they are not overtly sweet cupcakes masquerading as muffins. Lovely domed tops as well. Go ahead , raid your pantry and make these . You will not be disappointed.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Prep time : 15 min   Baking time : 22-24 min  Yield : 12 muffins

Ingredients:

Flour : Sift and Mix 

  • White whole wheat flour : 1/2 cup
  • All purpose flour , unbleached : 1 cup
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.

Dairy, Sugar, Egg : To cream

  • Unsalted butter at room temperature : 1/4 cup
  • Granulated or organic cane sugar : 1/2 cup
  • Large egg, cage free : 1
  • Reduced fat Sour cream/ Greek yogurt : 1 cup

Citrus: Meyer Lemons

  • Juice of 1 big lemon or about 3 Tbsp. of lemon juice
  • Grated lemon zest : 1 Tbsp.
  • Pure lemon extract : 1 Tbsp.

Produce : Berries 

  • Fresh blueberries : 1 cup, tossed in about 2 Tbsp. of flour ( If using frozen, use unthawed only please.)

Topping : Mix thoroughly

  • Lemon zest , grated : 1 Tbsp.
  • Granulated sugar : 2 Tbsp.

Method :

  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  • Line your muffins pans or grease them  if preferred. Set aside.
  • Measure and sift the flour, salt, baking powder and soda in a separate mixing bowl and set aside. Alternatively you can whisk it thoroughly.
  • Cream the room temperature butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy using a hand/ stand mixer. Add in the egg and mix until blended well. Next add in the sour cream or yogurt , followed by lemon juice , zest and extract and mix well.
  • Stir in the  flour mix into the creamed  mixture just until no streaks remain. DO NOT over mix or you will have a tough muffin on your hands.
  • Next gently fold in the  blueberries. If using fresh berries, toss  the rinsed and patted dry berries in about 2 Tbsp. of flour. Shake off the extra flour and gently fold it. If using frozen , use the unthawed frozen ones directly.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or measure , distribute it into the prepared cups.
  • Combine the ingredients listed under topping, and sprinkle some on the top of each muffin.
  • Bake for about 22 minutes or so until  just lightly browned.
  • Cool in the pan for about 5 min and then cool on the wire rack.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Slice and eat warm or cold, simple straight or with a dab of  jam. Breakfast or after school. You simply cannot go wrong with these melt in your mouth tender lemony blueberry muffins ! Go ahead grab one while it warm and you can polish it off very adult like with a cup of coffee as well.

Recipe source:  Adapted

Chunky Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

How would you like some big – fat – wholesome – crunchy and crispy on the edge and chewy in the middle wheat – oats  and toasted nut – Chocolate chip cookies? Drooling ?

Fresh cookies baked with hint of cinnamon and some milk chocolate as well . And did I day they have reduced sugar. Definitely a worthy contender to the list of wholesome options. And not to mention the kitchen smelled heavenly . Definitely christmassy in spring theme , I say !

This was to have been published a couple of weeks ago. But let’s just say my Macbook decided not to cooperate and a whole bunch of my photos just poofed up in thin air !

Chunky Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Lots of adventures aside, this recipe needs to be up as the cookies are long gone  and kids are clamoring for more. And I would love for you all to try it as well.

 

IMG_0722_edited-1HChunky Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Gorgeous, big fat near bakery style cookies with crunch of nuts, hint of cinnamon and sweetness of milk chocolate balanced by semi sweet chips. Crispy, yet chewy oatmeal wheat cookies – served with a glass of milk and a big smile !

 

Prep time : 20 min

Baking time :  10-12 min

Cookies about : 24 -36

 

Ingredients:

Sift and Mix :

  • White whole wheat flour : 3/4 cup
  • Unbleached All purpose flour : 3/4 cup
  • Baking powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking soda : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon ground : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.
  • Quick cooking oats : 1 cup

To cream :  ( Ingredients at room temperature)

  • Unsalted butter  : 1 and 1/2 sticks or  12 Tbsp.
  • Granulated sugar : 1/4 cup
  • Packed dark brown sugar : 2/3 cup
  • Pure Vanilla extract : 1 Tbsp.
  • Almond extract : 1 tsp. ( optional)
  • Large , cage free egg : 1
  • 2 % milk : 2 Tbsp.

Additions for the final cookie base :

  • Milk chocolate chips : 1 and 1/4 cups
  • Semi sweet chips : 1/4 cups
  • Toasted and chopped walnuts and almonds : 1 cup

Instructions:

  • Pre heat oven to 375 F.
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. Clean up would be a breeze.
  • Sift and mix all the ingredients listed under order. Add the quick cooking oats  at the very final stage and then given a thorough mix.
  • Cream the butter well initially. Say for about 3 minutes.Then add in the sugars and cream for another couple of minutes to yield a fluffy creamy mass.
  • Add the whole egg and mix it in thoroughly and then add the vanilla and almond extracts and the couple of tablespoons of milk and mix till blended again.
  • Now add in the flour-oats combination mix. Just mix until no streaks remain . Do not over mix.
  • Finally fold in the chocolate chips and nuts for even distribution.  Fold it in please. Again DO NOT over mix please.
  • Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon scoop, scoop out portions of the cookie dough and place about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake at 375 F for about 10-12 min so edges are browned crisp , but centers remain chewy. Or if you prefer you can make it crisp entirely too. I made a combination of both.
  • Remove and cook on baking sheets for about 5 min. Remember they do continue to cook on the sheets, so change them out to wire racks after that to cool down.

Chunky Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe is a minor adaptation of the original one from  Nestle site.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

It is a gorgeous day and looks like winter is on its last legs in NC.  Who wants to do a boatload (make it loads) of laundry, check things off the work checklist, shop, cook and drive around for a gazillion pickups and drop offs.. Right ! We sure can dream on, can’t we?.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Meanwhile reality sinks in and work beckons and just for the lark of it , I think this week calls for something special. Why so, you may ask ? Why not ? I reason . It’s special cause we want it to be , cause we feel like it and cause I am singing Pharell Williams “Happy” song.  A3 theorizes that un-birthday , birthday celebrations are cool. Therefore , mom has been summarily hinted and pleaded alternatively, to pretty please plan and throw  a “surprise” one. No amount of  A1 and A2’s reasoning that one cannot really plan for one’s “surprise” party holds water. A3 promises to promptly forget he asked for one as long as he is promised his special day. LOL. I love this kid’s reasoning !

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

I kind of agree. I guess if you really want it, then you should go for it. While the event still  has a few more weeks ( atleast 12 weeks ) to go into, I am pretty sure A1,2 and 3 will be thrilled to have a slice of this freshly baked cinnamon swirled bread . Hand it over with a tall glass of milk and wholesome fruit  to go with it. Yum ! After a long day of school and before the gym practice and meet, this is a welcome treat for them.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread: 

A welcome treat, especially after a grueling day for the kids. Flecks of cinnamon in the batter will greet you along with a ribbon of cinnamon sugar smack in the middle. Vanilla enhances the flavor subtly and you have a moist crumb when you slice the bread. If only you can wait until its cool enough to slice !

Prep time : 15 – 20 min   Cook time : 45-50 min   Serves about 10 thick slices.

Ingredients:

For making the batter base :

  • Unbleached All purpose  flour : 1 cup
  • White Whole wheat flour : 1 cup
  • Salt : 1/4 tsp.
  • Baking Soda : 1 tsp.
  • Cinnamon powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Unsalted Butter : 8 Tbsp. / 1/2 cup
  • Packed Brown sugar : 1/4 cup
  • Granulated Sugar : 3/4 cup
  • Egg, large, cage free : 1
  • Pure vanilla extract : 1 tbsp.
  • Buttermilk  : 1 cup or Milk , 2 % : 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. of Vinegar or lemon juice

For the Sugar swirl : ( whisk ingredients till combined well )

  • Granulated sugar : 1/4 cup
  • Cinnamon Powder : 2 tsp.

Method:

Note: please bring all the ingredients to room temperature before baking. The only exception for me is the vanilla extract which I take it out just when I start creaming the butter and sugar.

  • Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 by 5 inch bread loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, scoop out  the 2 cups of flour and add salt and baking soda along with cinnamon and whisk very well to ensure thorough distribution. Alternatively sift it all together in a bowl.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in your stand / hand mixer till pale and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and whisk it till well combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract and whisk again.
  • Add the buttermilk if using or if not add the vinegar to room temperature milk and set aside for a couple of minutes and use.
  • Whisk well till combined thoroughly.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix till combined.
  • The batter would be thick and fluffy.  Optional : you can add cinnamon chips now in the batter if using. 

Layering the batter and baking :

  • Add half of the batter to the  prepped pan and smooth it.
  • Now add 3/4 of the sugar – cinnamon mix as a layer and gently pat a couple of times to get it to stick to the batter.
  • Now add the rest of the batter as dropfuls and smoothen it to get a layer like a sandwich. The reason to add as dropfuls and not add in one heapful is because this is such a thick batter , if you drop them in spoonfuls distributed along the pan length , then it is simply a matter of joining the dots.
  • Now add the reserved 1/4  of the sugar cinnamon mix on the top and pat down to let it stick.
  • Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or so or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove, cool and then slice.
  • Serve warm !

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

 

 

 

Adapted from redflycreations and allrecipes.

Kale and Spinach Masala Vada(i)

What’s your indulgence on a cold miserable day? NC brought out in full spate some miserable and grumpy days to the boot. Nagging cold weather accompanied by some rain and a weather that could not decide between holding onto winter and hopping aboard the spring train. Yikes !

Now imagine a day where the sun refused to peek out and the bare branches of the trees formed a sticky silhouette to temper the gray dull skies. The weather even managed to incite my boisterous and slightly neurotic lab to snooze . And quite a vent hugger she was. The warm draft of air from the heater vent provided the perfect huggable carpet spot for her and I could hear her stretching and yawning.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

I would have loved to take out that raggedy brown blanket, stretch out on the recliner with a hot cuppa and indulge in a book. Any book. But since kids would arrive from school and look forward to something that could perk them up.

Kale and Spinach Masala (Vadai)

 

So a hot steaming cup of chai it is and a plate piled with piping hot and steaming baby kale and baby spinach masala vada(i). Chockful of these and the lentils provide much of the protein and flavors of fennel and ginger and garlic. Seriously folks, you would be missing out if you do not make these.

Kale and Spinach Masala ( Vadai)

A   plate piled high with piping hot, crispy, golden brown masala vada(i).. packed with kale and spinach and spiced with those flavors that make it extra special – protein packed indulgence and hot steaming cuppa to  make it even more better. It’s ok to indulge once in a while and it sure calls for it today !

Now what’s your excuse and what’s your indulgence?

Soaking time : 3 hrs   Prep time : 15 min   Cooking time : 25-30 min  Pieces : about 30 

Serves a hungry lot !

Ingredients:

Pulses and Cereals: Soaked for about 3 hrs or so.

  • Dry split Channa dal : 3/4 cup
  • Dry Toor Dal : 1/4 cup
  • Flax seeds : 2 Tbsp
  • Rice : brown/ white : 2 Tbsp.

Vegetables/Herbs

  • Baby Spinach : 1 cup : chopped
  • Baby Kale : 1 cup chopped
  • Onion : 1 medium size : chopped fine
  • Garlic cloves: 3 : chopped fine
  • Cilantro : 1/4 cup, chopped fine
  • Mint leaves : 8-10, chopped fine
  • Green chilies : 8-10. chopped fine ( adjusted to spice level)
  • Ginger : peeled, 1 inch , chopped fine

Dry Spices: ( preference can dictate the kind of spices added)

  • Fennel seeds / Saunf : 1 Tbsp
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp , adjusted to taste.

Frying:

  • Deep frying in peanut/ canola/vegetable /saffola oil of your choice.

Method:

  • Grind to a thick and coarse consistency the soaked ingredients listed under pulses/ cereals
  • The batter should not be extra fine or smooth but be ground enough to show occasional whole soaked dals with coarse consistency and done so just the little amount of water required. Do not make it too watery or mush, then the vada(i)s will soak up extra oil.
  • Add in all the ingredients listed in spices and mix well.
  • Add in the ingredients listed in vegetables and herbs and mix well.
  • Let the batter rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil on medium high heat.
  • Test the temperature of oil by putting in a tiny dropful of batter. If it floats immediately to the top and is sizzling, you can begin the process of making vada(i)s.

Shaping, Frying the Vada(i)s

  • You can use the flat side of a ziploc bag, dab it with oil and drop 2 Tbsp. of coarse batter, flatten to get a round disc and gently slide it the  oil.
  • Or the method I prefer, is to use my fingers and palms to shape the flattened discs and slide them gently in oil.
  • Fry in medium high heat about 6-8  in batch or so.  The discs are about 2-3 inches in diameter.
  • Fry these in medium high heat to a nice even brown. Do not fry in very high heat. If you do so, the outer layer will get cooked faster than the inner one and it is not something you will relish!
  • Enjoy with a hot cup of tea and the mush awaited book of your choice!

Chunky Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie

Would you like some whole wheat flour and thick rolled oats cookies with goodies which are tart, sweet and crunchy in it ? Oatmeal raisin is an all american classic cookie, but not exactly a favorite here at home. I really wanted to use up the tin of thick,rolled oats that found its way home after a shopping trip in November. Well you cannot really use it all up, but this is a great start and DH can swim in oatmeal whereas A1, 2 and 3 run away at the sight of it. It’s all about the compromise folks..Life is peaceful and oat battleground is calm again. What is it like in your place? do you guys love it? hate it? necessary evil it?

Chunky Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie

Why mess around with the basics eh? But we do what we got to do. And we bake the classic cookies with a minor twist. And who would not like to be done in 30 min flat ( apart from getting the butter and egg to RT ) ? 
And pick one while warm and flip it hand to hand so you can take a bite ? A 3 has just about perfected a neat technique he practices when the cookies are right out of the oven and cooling off on a tray. And we just absolutely would die if it cannot be picked up 🙂

Chunky Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie

Let’s get a rundown on this ..

  • Whole wheat flour : check 
  • Rolled oats : check
  • Brown sugar : check 
  • Goodies : check 
  • Under 30 min : check !!
  • Chunky, Crunchy ,Crispy, Chewy : check 

Prep time : 15 min

Baking time : 16 minutes  

Yield : about 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • White whole wheat flour : 3/4 cup
  • Thick, rolled oats ( not instant) : 1 and 1/4 cups
  • Dark brown sugar : 1/2 cup ( packed)
  • Granulated sugar : 1/4 cup
  • Unsalted butter , room temperature: 7 Tbsp.
  • Large, cage free egg : 1
  • Cinnamon , ground : 1/4 tsp ( optional)
  • salt : 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Chopped, toasted walnuts : 1/4 cup
  • Dried Cranberries : 1/2 cup
  • Chopped Semi sweet or dark chocolate : 1/4 cup
  • Pure Vanilla extract : 1 Tbsp.

Method:

  • Pre that the oven to 350 F
  • Line two baking trays with parchment paper or silpat.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk very well. Add the rolled oats and whisk again.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer ( or if using a hand mixer) cream the butter initially for a couple of minutes and then add the sugars and cream for another 2 minutes. Smooth texture is all that we need
  • Add the egg and whisk till incorporated. Do not over beat.
  • Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon powder and whisk once again.
  • Add the flour and oats mix and fold it in.
  • Add the chocolate bits, cranberries and toasted walnuts and fold again. Note: Fold, not beat it in. Simple gently fold in so they are distributed. Do do not beat th check out of it. You will have tough cookie and not a tender one then.
  • Place spoonfuls ( about 1.5 inch balls/ globes / scoops) about a couple of inches apart  on the lined baking tray. Tip : taller scoops will yield chunkier , puffier cookies.
  • Bake for about 14-17 minutes, till edges turn brown and tops are a pale brown.
  • Let it cool in the baking tray for about 5-8 minutes before transferring to a wired cookie sheet to finish off the cooling process.

Enjoy with a tall glass of cold/ warm milk. Or perfect with a robust tea.

Chunky Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie

 

Gasp ! this is a breakfast cookie 🙂