Cinnamon Swirl Wheat Bread – Indulgent Breakfast

I love Cinnamon. Well everyone in our house loves cinnamon. A1,2,3 and of course my furry friend Maya. It’s quite funny to see her eyes glazed with a weird mixture of lust and love and pure adoration when I am baking bread. Her place is right next to the oven door if I gently do not nudge her away. Some day she will be trained . Some day. Man lives on hope and who am I , a mere mortal in the billions around to reject the hypothesis. So in this case hope it is, that an unguarded loaf of bread with delicious swirls on my counter will not tempt my Labrador. Heck ! Why will I even risk it.

Cinnamon Swirl Wheat Bread - Indulgent Breakfast on a weekend!

A gorgeous loaf – shiny and absolutely pretty to look at.. This version of mine has eggs in it.  My middle one, did I mention again burns through a thousand calories a day with all her gymnastics and my older one is prepping for his half marathon. While A1 and A2 actually prep and workout to burn it out, A3 can bounce about the house and burn up more and compete with them.

Cinnamon Swirl Wheat Bread - Indulgent Breakfast on a weekend!

So an indulgent breakfast it is.  With some butter. To make it a little more healthier, I have made this with wheat flour majorly.

If you would like the Eggless versions then please do try these…

  1. Eggless Cinnamon braided bread
  2. Eggless Cinnamon Rolls

You can either of these to the loaf structure. This particular one is adaptation of these two and this one here.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • White whole wheat flour : 2.25 cups
  • All purpose flour : 1.25 cups + 0.25 more if needed in stages
  • Butter : 3 Tbsp.
  • Oil : 3 Tbsp
  • Milk 2% or 1% : 1 cup
  • Active dry yeast : 1 sachet/ 0.25 oz./2.25 tsp.
  • Sugar : 2 Tbsp.
  • Salt 1 tsp.
  • Ground cinnamon: 1.5 tsp.
  • Eggs : 2 ( large, brown, organic)

For the cinnamon filling

  • Granulated sugar or fine brown sugar : 1/3 cup
  • Ground Cinnamon: 2 Tbsp.
  • 1 tsp. of butter at room temperature

Eggwashing the loaf:

  • 1 Tbsp of reserved egg mix + 1 tbsp of milk

Prepping the pan :

  • Softened butter smeared on the pan
  • Or spray the pan and flour it

Kneading the dough, rolling, baking

  1. In a glass bowl warm the milk and 3 Tbsp butter until the butter is melted and it is very war, to touch. Add in 2 Tbsp. of sugar and the active dry yeast. Stir and set aside for about 5 minutes until you see the frothy bubbliness of the yeast beginning to act. This is a very essential step. If the yeast is not frothing, you will need to redo this step.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl mix 2.25 cups of white whole wheat flour and 1.25 cups of all purpose flour ( I use only unbleached and unbromated kind) to make 3.5 cups. Whisk it well.
  3. Add a tsp of salt and a 1.5 teaspoon of cinnamon and whisk it very well again. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer or any big wide bowl which you will you use to knead the dough,  break in 3 eggs and whisk well. Reserve a tbsp. of this to make egg wash later while baking.
  5. Now add in the oil and whisk it well to create a homogenous mix.
  6. Now add the milk + sugar + yeast combo and using the paddle whisk ( if using a stand mixer) and mix it very well.
  7. Add in the flour and gently mix it for a minute or two.
  8. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough very well to a soft and pliable one. Add more flour if it requires but always add in stages and you should not exceed 1/4 cup if so.
  9. Once the dough is really soft and smooth, grease spray or oil a container well. Tranfer the dough, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise to double it’s volume .
  10. Tip: I always heat my oven to about 125 F and switch it off. After 5 minutes. I place the greased and covered container of dough in it to aid in fast rising.
  11. In about 90 minutes or so, the volume of the dough will be double . Once it is double in volume, gently deflate it .
  12. Clean, grease or simply generously flour a work counter and empty out the dough and flatten it into a rectangle to about the width of the loaf pan you’re going to use.
  13. Mix in the sugar and cinnamon reserved under the cinnamon filling mix. Spread the reserved teaspoon of butter on the flattened dough.
  14. Spread the cinnamon sugar mix on the dough and make sure you reach the edges.Cinnamon Swirl Wheat Bread - Indulgent Breakfast on a weekend!
  15. Gently roll the dough, but make sure it is rolled tightly. Roll from the short side please.Cinnamon Swirl Wheat Bread - Indulgent Breakfast on a weekend!
  16. Pinch the seams and the edges closed.
  17. Grease the 9 by 5 in pan with softened butter or spray with grease and dust with flour.
  18. Place the rolled log, seam side down in the pan.Cinnamon Swirl Wheat Bread - Indulgent Breakfast on a weekend!
  19. Cover and let it rise for another 30-45 minutes until it has risen nearly to the edge of the pan.
  20. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 F .
  21. Once the dough has risen sufficiently ( the second rise will not be as dramatic as the first one, but enough to swell to the sides)
  22. Brush the beaten egg wash on the top and sides as much as you can.
  23. Score down the center to release the steam while baking so as to prevent splitting of the sides.
  24. Bake for about 38-40 minutes, until golden brown and shiny and tapped sounds hollow.
  25. Remove , cool, slice and enjoy!Cinnamon Swirl Wheat Bread - Indulgent Breakfast on a weekend!

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti with dark chocolate drizzle !! Perfectly crisp and delicious!

Gosh ! Don’t you just love  Biscotti ? Well I do ! Atleast now. Twice baked goodies of perfection originated in Italy and as American as apple pie, these  find their way into my pantry now more often.

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti With dark chocolate drizzle

There was time it was viewed as dry dust by me. More like saw dust. Hard as rock and bone dry, I was puzzled by it’s universal love. Maybe I had just got a bad batch, I reasoned. But nope after a couple of tries just nodded my head pleasantly and fixed a smile on my face whenever I was offered one, all the while thinking perhaps it was an acquired taste and how not choke on it!  I mean how much can one love those hard as rock, dry as saw dust cookies…. even when dipped into espresso?

Then, I chanced upon these glorious home made treats from a fellow worker. Moist but yet crispy with tons of flavor !  ( Yes, I do realize its quite oxymoronic in its description). She was generous enough to bake me some for Christmas. Rather her mom was a sweetheart ! And then over the years I developed tender feelings towards it. That’s just me, sort of need to crack the science in it.

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti With dark chocolate drizzle

And another version at TJ’s marketed as the soft biscotti caught my fancy. Rather DH bought a tub and we I indulged in it a bit too much over the weeks. Whatever the case, I fell in love. Oh!, not that dewy, butterflies in the stomach kind , my lips are are truthful, but the OMG I can bake this at home kind.

So after much wheedling for the recipe and a few pointers and misfires, this recipe from a friend and mish mashed with the one on Allrecipes site works perfectly!

Crispy and crunchy and perfectly dippable but eminently eatable as a standalone cookie,with a generous combination of lemon and pistachios and with a touch of softness so you enjoy the cookie ! Add a tiny, tiny touch of wow with the gorgeous drizzle of dark chocolate ! C’mon now, what’s your excuse for not reaching out for one ?

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti With dark chocolate drizzle

  • Baking temp : 375F
  • Baking time : About  25 minutes + 10 minutes 
  • Prep time : 15-20 minutes
  • Yield : 24-48 cookies

 Ingredients

  • All purpose flour / APF : 3 1/4 cups/ ( I use unbleached and unbromated one)
  • Canola/Vegetable/Sunflower oil : 1/2 cup
  • Sugar : 1 cup ( 1/2 white + 1/2 brown or all white granulated)
  • Large Eggs : 3 ( at room temperature)
  • Baking powder : 1 Tablespoon
  • Lemon extract : 1 Tablespoon
  • Grated zest of lemon : 2 tsp.
  • Chopped raw pistachios : 1/3 cup ( chopped roughly)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. This recipe absolutely needs parchment/ baking paper. Greasing the sheets with oil or dusting with flour might not really produce the same kind of success.
  3. In a separate bowl mix 3 and 1/4 cups of flour and baking powder and whisk well to ensure they are mixed. While measuring out the flour, just scoop and level the flour. DO NOT make it a packed cup.
  4. In  the bowl of your stand mixer or the large mixing bowl you are going to use, break open  3 eggs and beat together with oil and sugar and lemon extract and lemon zest. Just a couple of minutes will do. You are aiming for a homogeneous mix of all.
  5. Add the flour to this egg- oil -sugar and flavor mix in stages until all incorporated. The dough will be heavy and sticky. DO NOT add any more flour than what is called  for.
  6. Scoop out the dough onto the 2 prepared  cookie sheets by dividing it as equally as possible.
  7. Flour your hands well. Yep I prefer flouring my hands rather than flouring the sheet or the dough. Just dip your hands or dust it well with the flour. Now pat each dough to about 1/2 inch thickness and the length of your cookie sheet. I kept the width of the dough to about 9 inches ( ala the starbucks kind) so it did not extend all the way to the end. But if you keep the width to about 4 – 5 inches then you can form a neat rectangle that extends to the length of the cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes. DO NOT wait too long then the cookie log will harden to a point beyond usability. Using a pizza cutter or a very sharp serrated knife, make 1/2 inches to 1 inch slices thickness.
  10.  Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes on one side.
  11. Then flip it and back for another 3 minutes or so on the other side. Please do keep an eye out. You want these toasted golden brown and not burn to crisp.
  12. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  13. Once cooled very well, melt some dipping dark chocolate and drizzle to create a lovely pattern.
  14. Let the drizzle set and enjoy the fresh baked biscotti with a cup of espresso, latte or like in my case a good cup of tea!

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti With dark chocolate drizzle

Samai Idli – Steamed, Little Millet Cakes

Millets the natural food from the arid areas of southern India found their way into my cuisine over a period of time. This particular one has been used and tried and tested many times. If you are looking for a great way to substitute the rice out of your routine , little millets or Samai or Vrat ka chawal is a great alternative. With a lower  GI than rice, this is a welcome indulgence on breakfast mornings..

Soft fluffy Idlis served with piping hot mixed vegetable sambar ( recipe will be updated for this later )  , coconut mint chutney  and Idli chili  powder ( also known as Molagai podi or chutney powder). True weekend indulgence without alarming calories .

Samai Idli - Steamed, Little Millet Cakes

Ingredients:

  • Samai arisi / little millet / Kutki  : 2 Cups
  • Urad dal / whole or split without skin : 1/2 cup
  • Red poha : 1/4 cup
  • Methi seeds : 1 tsp
  • Toor dal : 1 tsp.
  • Salt : 1.5 tsp + as required
  • Water as required to grind

Pre-Prep:

  • Soaking the millets and pre prep : Soak for 6 hrs – overnight:
  • Wash the millets very well and soak in copius amount of water. Enough for it to be absorbed.
  • Wash the urad dal as well and  soak along with fenugreek or methi seeds and toor dal.
  • Soak the Poha about 20 minutes before you grind the batter. Infact you can soak it just as you start grinding the urad dal.

 Grinding the batter & fermentation: 1 hr + fermentation time

  • Grind the urad dal  and methi seeds and toordal  in your mixer grinder or wet grinder until pale and fluffy. Add water in small quantities while you grind.
  • Scoop out the fluffy dal mix in a wide and deep mixing bowl.
  • Next add the soaked poha and samai millet and grind to a fine grain mix. There is no need to to grind it to a super fine paste. A little grainy structure would yield a preferable texture for the Idlis. So add water as and  when required while grinding.
  • Mix this along with the urad dal batter and add salt . Ensure salt is homogeneously mixed.
  • The consistency of batter is neither too thick or watery.
  • Cover and keep in a warm place .
  • Fermented batter will swell in volume so make sure your mixing bowl can handle the volume.
  • Hot humid weather will  speed up the fermentation process. So it might take anywhere from 7 hrs to overnight for your batter to reach the desired stage of fermentation.

Steaming the Idlis:

  • Grease Idli moulds and keep aside.
  • Using the steamer/ cooker of your choice add the water and heat it well.
  • Stir the batter well scoop ladlefuls on to the prepped idli moulds.
  • Steam for about 7-10 minutes.
  • Turn of the flame, rest it for a minute or two. You should be able to demould it now.

Serve hot accompanied with chutney, sambar and chutney/ Molagai podi.

Notes:

  • This batter makes awesome dosas well. I tried it out and it was really good.
  • Makes about 32-40 Idlis depending on the size of the idli mould. 
  • Fermentation of the batter is essential to maximize the nutritional value of the millet.

Coconut Mint Chutney

An eternal favorite at home this simple chutney made of fresh or frozen grated coconut , roasted channa dal or dalia and flavored with fresh mint is a notch above the usual. The entire assembly is done in minutes literally and you will have one of the best tasting accompaniments ever for dosa or idlis.. Well aware of moderation being the key, this coconut  chutney is perfect when you do not over indulge.

Fresh ingredients bring to the table the flavor that is best described lip smacking !

Grated coconut  ground with fresh mint, chili and ginger and seasoned with crackled mustard seeds and split urad dal.. Now how can you resist it?

Coconut Mint Chutney

Ingredients:

For chutney:

  • Fresh or frozen grated coconut : 1/3 cup
  • Roasted Channa dal or Dalia : 1/4 cup
  • Fresh green chilies – 4-5 ( please adjust according to spice level)
  • Ginger : skinned, 1 inch piece
  • Fresh mint leaves : 10-12
  • Salt : 1 tsp.+ adjusted to taste
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of water

Seasoning :

  • Oil : 1 tsp.
  • Mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp.
  • Split white Urad Dal : /2 tsp.
  • Asafoetida : a generous pinch
  • Curry leaves : 4-6 , torn in halves ( I was out of these)

Method:

  • If using frozen coconut , do bring it to room temp before grinding. Alternatively nuke it in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds.
  • Initially coarse blends the ingredients listed under chutney without adding water. Then add the required amount of water to smoothen out the consistency and to bring it to required thickness.Smooth grinding is essential otherwise flavor is lost.
  • To season it, heat a tsp. of oil in a skillet or fry pan and add the mustard seeds and hing. The seeds will crackle and you can subsequently add the  split urad dal and curry leaves. Allow the dal to brown a bit and scoop everything out and add to the chutney.
  • That’s it . Ready to serve with piping hot idlis or dosa.

You might want to try it with these as well.

Coconut Mint Chutney

Varaitions:

  • You can substitute coriander leaves or cilantro for mint. It would give you a different dimension.
  • Squeezing half a lime will impart tanginess and would be awesome as well.

 

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Good Morning ! Summer seems to be racing by and our days are alternating between packed crazy days and lazy ones.. In all the rigmarole and recent vacations and indulgences not withstanding , a few pounds seems to have crept in and settled rather unpleasantly. And I realized bouncing back to lustrous skin seem to be taking awhile after the milestone birthday. In more ways than one, I guess the body is sending me signals. Well I have received it loud and clear. Need more greens and raw in the system. And I suppose a routine does not hurt.

Green Power Morning Smoothie

The first in this would be this awesome super delish morning green power smoothie.

If you abhor the taste of greens, I promise you will not realize this has so much of it. This is light and refreshing and is full of vitamins and immunity boosting powers. I mean what exactly are you waiting for? I did know  what I was waiting for . This is going to be huge part of my routine from now on.

A refreshing and light green smoothie that sends you a burst of energy and is very energizing on the palate as well. The freshness of lime and zing from the ginger is a definite welcome.

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • Fresh spinach or kale : 1/2 cup
  • Ginger : 1 inch, skinned and sliced
  • Celery stalk : 1 or 2 cut
  • Green apple : 1/4 -1/2 sliced
  • Banana : 1/2 sliced
  • Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cucumber : 1/4 -1/3 cut in slices
  • Wild honey : 1 tsp. ( optional)
  • Lime : 1/2 to be juiced
  • Ice cubes : 2-4
  • Water : 1/4 cup

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Method:

  • Pulverize it all in your Nutribullet or blender of your choice to get smooth refreshing drink.
  • Enjoyed cold and best served fresh.

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Notes:

  • While going raw, please try to use as much organic resources as possible.
  • Wash thoroughly. I repeat wash thoroughly.
  • You can always substitute a few, add more, add some protein etc to this . Personalize it I say!

Enjoy!

Green Power Morning Smoothie

Lime Chili Peanuts – With a touch of honey and oven toasted!

Disclaimer : A super quick post. Still have not gotten around to using my cannon after the vacation. Inertia , I suppose.. So smartphone shots it is !

Well the Masala Peanuts lasted but a few precious hours in the house .. There was still some awesome raw peanuts left and I wanted something with enough spice and zing in it . And I did make it 🙂

Crunchy, and perfectly spiced  with tanginess of lemon with chili flavor in it and just a kiss of honey. Oh this would be totally addictive in the snacking department . Whip up a bowl in minutes and prepare to be amazed..

Lime Chili Peanuts - With a touch of honey and oven toasted!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5 cups of raw skinned peanuts
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice : 2-3 Tbsp.
  • Oil of your choice : 2 tsp ( can increase up to 1 Tbsp. if you prefer)
  • Honey :  1.5  Tbsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.
  • Red Chili Powder : 2 tsp.
  • Garam Masala : 1/2 tsp. ( optional)
  • Hing : A generous pinch
  • Optional : dried mint flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F .
  2. In a large mixing  bowl, combine all the ingredients except the peanuts. Whisk it well. The honey especially needs to be homogeneously distributed in the spice mixture.
  3. Add the raw skinned peanuts and toss it well in this so it well coated. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the flavors and spice have a chance to adhere to the  peanuts.
  4. Line a baking sheet  or tray with parchment paper or  non stick sheet.
  5. Scoop the peanuts allowing the  excess spice mix if any to drain off ( I did not have  to really drain  it or so) and spread them out on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake them for about 15-17 minutes ( oven times may vary so keep an eye)
  7. Let it cool before you dive in.

Options , Variables and Notes:

  • This is one of the most basic recipe. Feel free to add in some flavors and experiment. 
  • Add dried Oregano leaves  or some Italian seasoning mix, Red chili flakes and season for a different take on flavor.
  • Add dried mint leaves, garam masala and season and you would be pleasantly surprised by the Indian twist!
  • Add just honey, asafoetida and Oil along with a hint of ground black pepper and you will be amazed..
  • Always keep an eye out while toasting nuts in the oven. They go from perfectly crisp to burnt very fast.

Lime Chili Peanuts - With a touch of honey and oven toasted!

Quick and No Oil Masala Peanuts – Crunchy, spicy and Irresistible

A very short post. In all honestly did not even take pictures on my Cannon. Cause today was such a day that paid homage to the ” need a vacation after the vacation” kind of thing. After a long and exhausting road trip , and I mean really exhausting, laundry and stuff needed something to munch. But since we had loaded up with enough calories for a lifetime twice over and then some, was not willing to really rack my brain or stretch my time . And then of course a pack of raw unroasted peanuts caught my fancy. We love peanuts here and except for my oldest who treats it like his mortal enemy !! Our road trip introduced us to a particularly unappealing one  – too much vinegar and a crusty outer layer that had us gagging and reaching for the nearest bottle of water. Sigh ! A good masala peanut should have enough coating to give you the crunch but not overwhelm you so you have to dig for the nut !!

This is a spin off of my mom’s take on masala crunchy peanuts. No deep frying.. Just regular microwave option ! Simple and quick made in a jiffy. I would definitely advise to make in smaller batches cause unlike deep frying, microwave method  requires you to ensure the wet coated peanuts are spread out on a plate and cooked in 2 minute intervals.

Quick and No Oil Masala Peanuts - Crunchy, spicy and Irresistible

Preparation Time : 5-7 minutes

Cooking Time : 5-8 min

Ingredients:

  • Raw peanuts with skin: 1/2 cup
  • Chickpea flour / Besan : 1/4 cup
  • Hing : A generous pinch
  • Red Chili powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam masala : 1/2 tsp.
  • Amchur: A pinch
  • Salt : 1/4 tsp.
  • Water : 2-3 Tbsp. 
  • Baking soda : a tiny pinch 1/8 tsp.
  • OPTIONAL : 1 tsp. of oil

Method:

  • Wash the raw, unskinned peanuts very well and drain in a colander and set aside.
  • In a wide mixing bowl, add the flour and 1/8 tsp. of baking soda and whisk well.
  • Add the rest of the spices and mix well again.
  • Add the drained peanuts and toss it well with the flour-spice mix.
  • Sprinkle the reserved 2-3 Tbsp. of water as required and  in stages so the peanuts get coated in spice mix very well and they sort of clump/ adhere together.
  • OPTIONAL : I did not use oil at all. But if you desire to and need an extra crunch, add in 1 tsp. of oil and mix it with the nut – spice mixture.
  • Spread this mix on a microwave safe plate. Spread it out in a single layer as much as possible.
  • CAUTION : Microwave for 5-6 minutes in full power in 2 minute intervals please ! You will burn the peanuts of you bake it at one stretch and you will need to stir it a bit in between intervals.

Verdict: Awesome and crunchy peanuts. I made mine without any oil and it was really crunchy. Optionally you can also add Chaat masala.

Notes and Variables :

  • Microwave cooking power would vary the time but you should generally anticipate it being done in this time frame .
  • Quality of the peanuts and the size – smaller ones tend to crunch up faster so keep an eye out
  • Stirring it in between would keep it from burning of course.
  • Mine was done in about 5 minutes.
  • Adding oil is definitely your choice. Mine was crunchy without any. 
  • Take care so the flour – spice mix coats it evenly. You do want it too lumpy or watery.