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 !!!

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

An absolutely  packed schedule just before the winter break sets in. There are days and then there is today 

So while the going gets crazy , the crazy get going ??

The breakfast was bit of a dud ..Cold winter morning , not freezing but still cold enough for you to want to pull in the blankets closer. You might want to reach out for the warm toasted bread and dab of butter. Or a warm cinnamon roll. But not a single loaf of bread was baked and we were all out bread, cinnamon rolls, hot and tasty dosa or anything nice – according to the kids.

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

It was the second last day of school before winter break sets them free. And the kiddos are to be out for a long time and were fed fig bars(tsk tsk ) for break fast – all natural very good ,stone ground wheat and natural fig in it .But it was not exactly a cold morning choice ! Sigh ! Even the apple oat smoothie did not soften the wounded eyes of A2 ( A1 was more preoccupied with his gazillion tests in school today ) . And mom decided to make an after school treat.( Sucker for those wounded eyes , me thinks! )

A1 and A2 are a huge fan of samosas ! I mean honestly what’s not like about it – there’s all sorts of spiced laden veggies in a pastry dough which is usually fried.  And mom kind of relented( guilty of momism) and made a quick batch of – samosas . With whole wheat partially ( I cheated ) and BAKED it ! Corn and potatoes and carrots and so much more bring the burst of flavors and fresh mint/ coriander chutney – I need chai now !

Not very labor intensive. It was done pretty fast.

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

 

Time for prep : 30 min      Resting time for dough : 30 min  Shaping and filling : 15 – 20 min

Baking 25-30 min        Yields : 12 -14 pieces

 Ingredients :

For the stuffing:

  • Large potatoes : 3 nos.( boiled and mashed roughly )
  • Onion : 1 , diced fine
  • Sweet corn : boiled : 1/4 cup
  • Mix of peas and carrots : 1/4 cup
  • Oil : 1 tbsp.
  • Red chili powder : 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam masala : 1 tsp.
  • Chaat masala : 1/2 tsp.
  • Cilantro : chopped : 1/4 cup
  • Salt : 1 tsp + as required
  • Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.

For the dough:

  • White whole wheat flour  : 1 cup
  • All  purpose flour : 1 cup
  • Ajwain/ Carrom seeds : 1 Tbsp.
  • Oil : 3 Tbsp.
  • Water : as required
  • Baking powder : 1/4 tsp.
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp.

Method :

For the dough :

  • In a wide bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients first and whisk well to ensure even distribution of salt and baking powder.
  • Add the oil and mix thoroughly so the dough now resembles fine crumbs.
  • Now sprinkle water ( DO NOT ADD EXCESS WATER. SPRINKLE LITTLE BY LITTLE ) and bring the dough together to form a very tight dough. It has to be tight dough. Do not knead it excessively. We do not  want to form gluten in the dough and then you will have stretchy outer covering instead of a flaky one.
  • As soon as the dough comes together to form a ball, keep it covered for about 30 min. It is important to rest the dough.

For the filling:

  • In a wide skillet or fry pan, add the oil and add the cumin / jeera seeds and let it sputter. Add the onions and fry well. Subsequently add the  boiled and mashed potatoes, boiled corn and peas and carrots . I microwaved the frozen peas and carrots and then corn for a couple of min each to aid the cooking process.
  • Add the salt and then spice powders  listed and mix well. Do not mash it too much
  • Add the fresh chopped cilantro, stir once and take it out to cool.
  • After cooling divide it into 12 – 14 portions depending on the number of dough pieces.
  • If you have excess left , then it makes a great sandwich filler.

Making the samosa:

  • Pre heat the oven to 350 deg F
  • Fill a small cup with water and keep aside.
  • After the dough has rested for 30 min, knead it once to get a smoother one. Divide it into about 6-7 portions.
  • Roll out each portion into a big circle. Try to keep it on the thinner side.
  • Slice it in the middle to form 2 semi circles.
  • Now using the tips of your finger wet the  edges of the semi-circle.
  • Bring the edges together so it overlaps to form an open cone and seal the edges .
  • Fill the cone with your stuffing and seal the third side as well by wetting the line edge of the dough.
  • Repeat for the rest.

Baking the samosa:

  • Arrange the triangular pastries on a single layer on  parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Brush with a dab of cooking oil on the surface.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes in the pre heated oven.
  • The increase the heat to 375 F and bake another 10-12 minutes.
  • You will have flaky and crisp shell with spiced filling inside.
  • Serve hot with chai and green chutney.

 

Baked Mixed Vegetable Samosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Bundt Bread – Eggless , Whole Wheat and Delicious !

I had sorry looking bananas on the table. These were nearly on their way to the graveyard and dangerously on the edge to attract fruit flies – in November. In any case there were four of these and I swear they were brought in from the store not long  enough. Usually , I do not have left over bananas. Between the kids and a perpetually hungry labrador, nothing much gets wasted . Maya , my black lab practically salivates when she sees bananas. I still cannot understand her fascination for the fruit. In any case, these 4 escaped the regular crowd at home and their rapid progression from green to yellow to near black was a lesson on natural advancement.

Banana Bundt Bread - Eggless , Whole Wheat and Delicious !

My first thought was my very favorite – the banana cake one.  Light airy, porus. But I was faced with a near empty pantry…No eggs or self rising flour. No condensed milk. Barely few scrapings of APF. You get the picture…

But I did have white whole wheat flour. Oh how I love these. So here we go a quick and easy recipe for banana bread. It can yield 2 loaves or you can do what I did – bake it in a Bundt pan. I used the 10 cups one.

Banana Bundt Bread - Eggless , Whole Wheat and Delicious !

Ingredients :

  • White whole wheat flour : 2 cups
  • All purpose flour ( APF, unbleached and unbromated) : 1 cup
  • Ripe bananas : 4-5
  • Brown sugar : 1.75 cups ( you can make it 2 if you would like )
  • Unsalted butter / Canola oil : 1/2 cup
  • Baking soda: 2 tsp.
  • Buttermilk : 1 cup
  • Pure Vanilla extract : 1 Tbsp.
  • Salt  : 1 tsp.
  • Chocolate chips : 1/2 cup – your choice. Mini, caramel, dark , toffee, cinnamon etc.
  • Walnuts : Optional : 1/4 cup, chopped roughly

Method:

  • Pre heat your oven to 350F.
  • Dry Flour Mix: In a separate bowl, add 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of APF and whisk it very well. Add 2 tsp. of  baking soda and 1 tsp. of salt and whisk it very well again. You want to ensure thorough distribution of the baking soda. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment mush the bananas. I should have measured it , but I suppose would yield atleast 1.5 cups of smushed bananas.
  • Melt the butter or you can use canola oil , add it to the banana mix. Add in the brown sugar as well and 1 Tbsp. of vanilla extract.
  • Add the butter milk next and paddle whisk it lightly.
  • Now add the dry flour mix to this and mix until just combined.
  • Add the chocolate chips and nuts if using and mix once. Do not over mix.
  • Grease and parchment paper line a couple of  9 by 5 loaf tins  and distribute the batter evenly. Or  grease a Bundt pan and distribute batter in it.
  • Bake for about 40 min ( +/- 3 min ) . Tooth pick inserted in should come out clean.
  • If baking in a Bundt pan, let it cool in the Bundt pan for about 15 minutes , before you invert it to cool on  a cooling rack.
  • Slice when completely cool .
  • Optional : dust with some powdered sugar before serving.

Notes:

  • This  bread will be of a slightly denser texture owing to nearly completely portion of whole wheat flour. Using APF entirely will make it light and airy .
  • You can substitute the chocolate chips to just nuts or use in combination.
  • You can also add 1/3 cup of dark cocoa for chocolate bread.
  • Adding cinnamon would be awesome too.
  • Instead of dusting it with powdered sugar, you can opt for a sugar glaze as well.
  • If you do not have butter milk, you can make your ow. To one cup of milk add a tsp. of white vinegar. Just let it stand for about a 3-4 minutes and you can use it.
  • You can also use sour cream/ greek yogurt in combination with milk instead of 1 cup of butter milk.

Banana Bundt Bread - Eggless , Whole Wheat and Delicious !Banana Bundt Bread - Eggless , Whole Wheat and Delicious !

Printable Version :

[yumprint-recipe id=’26’] 

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread (Wheat)

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

This post has sat in drafts for a very long time. I have no clue why it took that long but all is well… Been  a bit scatter brained , but that’s not unusual either. The usual activities of soccer and gymnastics and the seasonal prep of FRC begins. Maya, on the other hand has been the most unburdened of the lot as she explores the backyard like a new-found babe – after days of rain and blah weather , the sun gods decide to shine on us . You could see this gorgeous streak of black, shiny fur dashing about as she chases squirrels that have peeped our after a couple of weeks. And she makes the most of it. Streaking about or snoozing in the sun. She does make me en her sometimes ! Abundant energy and abundant love .. always .

Gorgeous day and I realize, I have about a dozen drafts – nope, honest not kidding, atleast a dozen drafts sitting in the folder waiting for their turn in the sun. And I shall oblige to the best of my ability.

Been to Panera bread? It’s like this secret joint for all bread lovers to unite . Much before the active baking bug bit me ( quite honestly it has not been too long, but lets just say for timeframe sake barely 18 months or so)  their neatly arranges loaves of bread and near tumbling brown fresh-baked ones from the basket were so inviting and tempting for me. Almost irresistible that I would inevitably come home with a couple at least. Well they are now too, albeit now, I use my discretionary powers and bring a couple more of the new ones as well to try their flavors. LOL! One of their creations would be this Jalapeño cheese focaccia bread – a tiny piece of marvel with generous pepping of fresh jalapeño peppers. Yum –  O ! It’s like a sirens call for A1. He could never resist it and could polish a couple if not for mom’s “look”.Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

Been wanting to try something akin to that one for sometime , and also wanted to incorporate fresh garden grown herbs in it. While I believe this was originally baked way back in early 2014 when I was starting out to look at yeast and not turn the other way ( been in the drafts folder too long ), baked it a couple quite a few times after that with ever pleasing results !

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

And here we go….

Prep time : 20 min 

Dough resting time : 60 – 75 min  + additional 25 min

Bake time : 25-30 min

Ingredients

Bread:

  • White whole wheat flour : 2 cups
  • All purpose flour : 1 and 1/4 cups
  • Brown sugar : 1 and 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt : 1 and 1/4 tsp.
  • Garlic salt : 1/4 tsp.  ( optional, but recommended)
  • Instant yeast : 2.25 teaspoon/ 1 sachet
  • Olive oil : 2 Tbsp.
  • Very warm water : 1 and 1/4 cup

Topping:

  • Fresh garlic cloves : 8-10
  • Fresh mint : About 1/4 cup of leaves
  • Fresh Cilantro : 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • Jalapeño Peppers, green fresh : 2 – 3 big
  • Red chili flakes : 1 and 1/4 tsp.
  • Olive oil : 3 Tbsp.

Directions:

Preparing the Dough:

  • If using a stand mixer, I initially like to attach the paddle attachment and mix everything and then switch to the dough hook for kneading.
  • Add both the flours, salt and sugar and whisk well. Add the dry instant yeast (Since we are using the dry instant kind, we do not need to activate it. However if you are unsure, then proof the yeast in the warm water with sugar.)
  • Add the  2 Tbsp. of olive oil, then the very warm water and mix it well.
  • Switch to the dough hook and now knead it very well till you get a smooth dough. The dough is very soft and smooth. Not overtly sticky. If required add a tbsp. or so of extra APF to bring it to the desired smooth consistency.
  • Oil/ Grease a container . Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm place until it doubles in size ( 60-75 min). I simply spray the container of my mixing bowl and let it rise in it.

(Tip : During winter times/ colder weather , turn on the oven initially for a few min. When it hits a temp of say 150 F, turn it off. Once you knead the dough, place it in the warm oven for about an hour. It will help in making the dough rise faster.)

Preparing the Herb, Jalapeno Pepper & Garlic Spread:

  • In a toaster oven, line a baking tray with aluminum foil . Arrange the  cloves of garlic and jalapeño and drizzle about a 1 Tbsp. of oil and roast it on high. Mine hit the maximum at 450 F, so I used that setting for about 8 min or so.
  • You want these roasted well and not blackened, so do keep an eye out and prep according to the toaster oven.
  • Let this cool for a bit. Add these along with the fresh herb mix  and remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil, pulverize in a food processor / blender to from a coarse paste.
  • Add the chili flakes, mix, scoop and set aside. This will form the top layering for the bread.

Prep and Baking:

  • In about 60 min or so, the dough would have doubled in size. Gently deflate it.
  • Prepare a heavy baking tray by lining it with baking sheet or parchment paper. Generously  mist/ spray/layer it with olive oil.
  • Dump the deflated dough onto it. Using your hands work it to form a nice rectangle / oval, about an inch or so in thickness.
  • Cover it so it is prepped for the second rise where it will rise a bit more for about 25 – 30 minutes to yield a slightly puffy look.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Once the dough is ready, using 2 fingers gently poke all over the surface of the bread. You are forming indentations and not tearing the bread dough apart.
  • Using a pastry brush if desired, spread the herb, and spicy pepper mix on the surface.
  • Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until it is nice golden brown on the top. Do not over bake please.

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

To serve:

  • Serve warm bread with a drizzle of olive oil /herb oil. Best eaten warm.

Go ahead, the focaccia bread is warm , inviting and I bet it’s a siren’s call for you too.

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño & Herb Focaccia Bread ( Wheat)

Guava Ice Cream – Eggless, Quick and Creamy

Guavas – these gorgeous tropical fruits ! I can never resist them and if I do see them in the grocery aisle , a a pound or two is bound to sneak home. Eat them raw with salt and chili powder . Eat them ripe just like that. Red or white , it does not matter , but if I see them they come home :-)..

Guava Ice Cream - Eggless, Quick and Creamy

While this season though the hunt for it is yet to begin ( I hunt in the grocery aisles .. Please !) and I don’t’ seem to have ventured out on the weekends to the  farmer markets, a trip to the regular grocery store got me this – frozen guava pulp. Simple pleasure of life. Plus it was unsweetened. Gorgeous and begging to be made into something exotic or rather something that reminds  me of my mom’s creations..

 

 Delicious Guava Ice cream with just three ingredients that makes it super creamy without eggs and  can be made in a jiffy. And also no ice cream maker. I have not been impressed enough to justify plonking 50 bucks for the occasional treat ..

 

Ingredients:

  • Frozen guava pulp ( goya) : 16oz ( thawed for use)
  • Heavy whipping cream : 1 pint / 16 oz
  • Sweetened Non fat Condensed milk : 14 oz can

Before whipping the cream ensure the contents as well as the mixing bowl is well chilled . This will get you to whipped creamy stage faster and also hold it firmer.

If using the KA stand mixer, ensure the wire whisk and the bowl is chilled well for a couple of hours.

 Procedure :

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer if using ( or a regular hand mixer can be used ) attach the wire whisk and proceed to whip the heavy cream to nearly stiff creamy peaks. Start on slow speed and bring it to higher speed for about 4-7 minutes. By now you should have very creamy and stiff peaks formed. Take care not to harden it and create the sweet cream whipped butter from it . You do not want it.
  • Add in the condensed milk and thawed guava pulp.
  • Change to flat beater and mix it again for about 3 minutes until they are mixed well. You will see a thick creamy mass. It is fine.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowls and pour into a freezer safe bowl. Close tightly  to prevent any crystallization.
  • Should set in about 4-6 hrs.

Thick, luscious creamy guava ice cream is ready to be indulged in !

Guava Ice Cream - Eggless, Quick and Creamy

Notes :

  • You can use whipped cream in place of the heavy whipping cream if you are pressed for time.
  • Guava combines with some great flavors as well. Try it as a combination of mango – guava ice cream too.
  • Want a dash of chocolate? Just add your favorite flavoring on the top.

But as for me – and A1.2.3.. This is just perfect ..as it is !

 

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Masala Wheat Buns – Eggless and Delicious !

Well, this is going to be a fairly short write up to the post. A pretty hot spring day . And not a great day for yard work as discovered in the mid day sun. As also discovered the penchant for white noise in the background while got down to the list of things that had to be done.  A broken Netflix connection did not bode well when I had a gazillion things to catch up on and so missed my badly translated movies. So while things were happening simultaneously and also struggling with a setting on the camera ( I hate to read the manual – and it’s an oxymoronic nature of mine which rouses it head on certain things), this was done to welcome the kids back from school. And add a watermelon cool slushie to this, you have a winner and a filling one at the least.

Stuffed Masala Wheat Buns

 Notes:

  1. Have extra filling? Make a great sandwich filler or Quesadilla filler for you.
  2. Don’t want potatoes? Well add anything you want – Paneer, cheese, mixed veggies , corn etc. Any and all of these will work.
  3. Don’t have white whole wheat flour, use your regular atta or roti flour?
  4. Masala : just mix and match what calls your fancy on that day.!
Baked and perfect
Baked and perfect

On to the actual works now 🙂

Ingredients:  Makes 12 fairly large buns.

For the buns:

  • White whole wheat flour : 1.5 cups
  • All-purpose flour – unbleached  and unbromated : 1.5 cups
  • Ajwain or Carrom seeds : 1 tsp
  • Kasuri methi : 1 tsp. ( crushed well)
  • Salt : 1 tsp
  • Oil of your choice : 1/4 cup
  • Brown sugar : 1 tbsp.
  • Rapid rise / Instant dry yeast : 2.25 tsp. or 1 packet
  • Milk + water : 1 cup (  3/4 cup milk + 1/4 cup water , very warm)

Sprinkling topping :

  • Sesame seeds: 1 tbsp.
  • Spray oil – Misto or Pam
  • Dried Parsley leaves or fresh cilantro if using : 2 Tbsp.’

For the filling :- 

  • Boiled potatoes : 2 medium, mashed a bit
  • Peas and Carrots : 1/2 cup frozen, thawed out
  • Red onion : 1 medium, diced finely
  • Jalapeno peppers : 2 chopped finely
  • Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp.
  • Garam Masala : 1 tsp.
  • Pav Bhaji masala : 1 tsp.
  • Salt  : 1 tsp. adjusted to taste
  • Oil : 2 tbsp.
  • Fresh chopped cilantro : 1/4 cup
  • Notes: The masalas are optional. You can always  add red chili powder only or add another masala of your choice.

Method:

Making the dough:

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer or your mixing bowl, add the flours, the salt and sugar and whisk  very well. Add in the  Ajwain/  Carrom seeds and dried fenugreek leaves ( kasuri methi)  and instant yeast and mix well.
  • Add in the oil and mix well.
  • Now add in the very warm water and milk mixture and knead to a very smooth dough.
  • Cover and let it rest for about an hour or until it doubles  in  volume.
  • Meanwhile make the filling.

Filling/ Stuffing for the Buns:

  • Pressure cook/ steam 2 medium or large potatoes and cool and mash them.
  • In a wok or fry pan, add in the 2 tbsp. of oil and when it warms up add in the cumin seeds. These will sizzle and sputter.
  • Add in the diced green chilies or jalapeno peppers and sauté them well.
  • Add in the chopped red onions and sauté till tender .
  • Meanwhile defrost the frozen peas and carrots and add it to this and stir in well till semi cooked.
  • Add the salt and the masalas and the mashed potatoes as well.
  • Mix and cook until the spices are distributed thoroughly. You do not want a mushy mix, but just enough till they can hold to the stuffing.
  • Toss in some chopped cilantro.
  • Optional : Add a dash of lime juice for a slight tangy flavor.
  • On cooling, make about 2-3 inches globes of these. 

Making the Buns:

  • Once the dough has sufficiently risen, gently deflate it and roll it out and portion 12 globes out of these. These will be fairly on the larger size. You can always go smaller but just ensure you have equally proportioned the fillings to it.
  • Cover it with a cloth and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Take one of the dough balls out and roll it out on a slightly floured surface to a thick circle. Keep the filling in the center and wrap it with the dough. Pinch the seams so there is no gaps. Repeat for the rest.
  • Let it rise on a greased  baking tray for another 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile pre heat to 375 deg F.

Baking:

After 20 minutes when the stuffed dough balls have slightly risen, spray the oil mist or pam on the surface of the globes, sprinkle the sesame seeds and herbs.Bake for about 20 minutes till golden brown.

Spicy enough?
Spicy enough?
Pretty globe
Pretty globe

Verdict:

These were totally amazing. The were a beautiful brown and perfectly baked. Gorgeous on the outside and soft crumb holding the filling.

Here’s a pictorial on it ..

Spiced Herbed Bread – Whole wheat with fresh herbs and spices!

I think I just might have the “pracrastibaking”  affliction seriously. You know the kind, when you have to do a ton of work but actually end up miraculously baking .. Yep that very kind. I had a laundry list of things to do, along with the laundry. A1 was back from his trip, DH back from his . A2 had a ton of things that had to get sorted and washed and somehow ended up debating the merits of washing in cold water and electricity with me. Yes, I know we are like that. A3 could not find his one sock. Nope, we did put both for washing but somehow ended up having only one.Yikes ! We have a sock eating monster in the house. And it eats only one from each pair. Why not both? Beats me! I often thought I had only real live monsters that gobble up the food I put on the table. Actually 3 very much discerning ones ( Bitter gourd gets a bit of persuasion from me to eat)  and one with a tail that can eat anything. Plastic, paper, cloth and her food. I suppose puppy phase and all!

Spiced Fresh Herbs Whole Wheat Bread 

So while waiting for the  A/C repair man to show up and the stuff to finish up in the laundry, I was doodling around when some thing struck me. We had no bread in the house.Disaster.

Since, I was pretty much stuck at home and waiting for things to happen, ended up having a mental dialogue with my kitchen aid.. The shiny green thing seemed to speak to me. Either that or I was having caffeine withdrawal !

Dough ready to be baked !
Dough ready to be baked !

 Well whatever , but the urgent need for bread in the house cannot be dispensed with, especially since I having a talk with the Kitchen Aid!

Isn't that a pretty loaf?
Isn’t that a pretty loaf?

 This is such a simple and basic recipe.. You can dress it up, pair it up with cheese , stuff it with potatoes , make a cream cheese swirl or so much more..

Ingredients:

Basic Bread Ingredients:

  • White whole wheat flour : 2 cups
  • Bread flour / All purpose flour : 1 + 0.5 cup added as needed
  • Milk 1% or 2 % : 1 cup
  • Butter / olive oil : 1/3 cup
  • Brown Sugar : 1.5 Tbsp.
  • Salt : 1 tsp.
  • Instant Yeast : 1 packet /2.25 tsp.
  • Fresh lime/lemon juice : 1 Tbsp.

Herbs and Spices:

  • Fresh chopped cilantro : 1/4 cup
  • Fresh chopped Mint : 1/4 cup
  • Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.
  • Ajwain/ Carrom seeds : 1 tsp.
  • Red chili flakes : 1/2 tsp.

 Method:

  • In the  mixing bowl of your stand mixer or any mixing bowl,  add the flours , sugar, yeast, salt and dry spices and whisk it very well until it is thoroughly distributed.
  • Add the fresh herbs as well now and whisk it in .
  • Add the chopped butter if using to the cup of milk and microwave till it is very warm. Usually a minute or so. The milk is very very warm but not boiling hot.
  • Add the juice of fresh lime usually one half of it or about a tbsp. of it. And let it stand for a minute or two. Do not worry when the milk protein separates.
  • Add the milk and knead it very well till the dough is smooth.
  • Let it rise undisturbed for an hour until it doubles.
  • Once it doubles in volume, take the dough out gently deflate it and roll it to form a log.
  • Pinch the seams and place it seam side down in a greased 9 by 5 loaf pan.
  • Cover and let it rise for another 20 minutes or so.
  • Slash the top of the bread with  a very sharp knife or a pair of scissors. About an inch deep and 2 inches in length. This accomplishes 2 things – aesthetic is one and the other is these gashes will let the steam out while bread is being baked. It will prevent the loaf from splitting on the sides
  • Pre heat the oven to 375 deg F.
  • Bake for about 35 -39 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when tapped.
  • Cool before slicing. You should have an awesome crust and a tender crumb.
  • Toast or simply eat it warmed with a dollop of butter.
sliced and diced !
sliced and diced !

Wheat shortbread cookies ( Nankhatai) with Cranberry and Pistachios

I swear I do not know if baking is therapeutic. I seem to do these things when I have million other things going.. When I do seem to find a bit of time ,I usually reach for a book. Though the latter does not seem to be happening lately. I am falling behind on catching up with some great novels. I used to be a bibliophile? Notice the past tense? Sigh ! Maybe these will put me in the mood to catch up on some reading, movies and music.

Wheat shortbread cookies ( Nankhatai) with Cranberry and Pistachios

 

A seemingly blah day can be perked up with these dainty Shortbread cookies or  Nankhatai made with wheat? Yes of course! Made with wheat and some goodies in it as well.

Improvised my old recipe on a lark and it seemed to work ..

These are some gorgeous melt in the mouth cookies. The only problem, they’re so melt in the mouth that you do need to hide the cookie tin away !

Wheat shortbread cookies ( Nankhatai) with Cranberry and Pistachio, with just a hint of oranges and saffron!  Lovely!

Wheat shortbread cookies ( Nankhatai) with Cranberry and Pistachios

Wheat shortbread cookies ( Nankhatai) with Cranberry and Pistachios

The amazing bend of flavors works so much in their favor and these are truly met in the mouth. As a big plus, I used soft brown sugar . Now this provided the extra  dimension and some crunch. If you can only taste this, I tell you would be absolutley taken in ! And if you do plan on selling you house this is a great smell to entice your buyers ! Fresh baked cookies.. Can it get better than this?

This is a tweak from my other Nankhatai recipe

Prep time : 15 min  Dough resting time : 30 min

Bake time : 14-16 min  Yield : 20 cookies

Shelf life : Minimal with 3 tykes in the house ( 1 week)

Ingredients :

  • White whole wheat flour : 1/2 Cup
  • All purpose flour : 1/2 Cup
  • Unsalted Butter at room temperature : 1/2 Cup = 1 stick
  • Salt : A tiny pinch ( to enhance the flavor) ( 1/4 tsp.)
  • Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp.
  • Fine soft brown sugar : 1/2 Cup
  • Saffron strands : a generous pinch, slight warmed and crushed well to be mixed
  • Chopped raw Pistachios : 1/8 cup
  • Chopped dried Cranberries ( craisins) : 1/8 cup
  • Pure orange extract : 1 tsp.
  • Zest of orange : 1 tsp. ( optional)

 Garnish: ( Optional)

Raw Pistachios : fine chopped, 2 Tbsp.

Method :

  • Cream the butter and  sugar in a big mixing bowl. Cream it well until the sugar granules are nice and invisible in it. The creaming is essential to get the texture and ensure proper baking too. In the case of brown sugar, you might still see tiny flecks of it.
  • In an another bowl, whisk together sifted whole wheat flour and all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, crushed saffron. Whisk it well to aerate it and to ensure even distribution of the soda and saffron.
  • Add the dry mix into the creamed mixture. Add the chopped nuts and cranberries as well mid way into binding the dough to ensure even distribution.
  • You should be able to form a soft pliable dough. Honestly you should not need any liquids to bind this dough and this will be  a super soft one. ( Yep, it’s loaded with butter)
  • Refrigerate it for say 30 min. ( I believe this would make crisper cookies)
  • Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pinch out small globes from this and make  nice smooth cookie balls. Indent  with  the flat side of the fork to lend it your touch. Place it about 2 inches apart from each other to ensure good baking and breathing space.
  • Garnish with chopped nuts (Pistachios in my case ).
  • Pop it into oven and bake it for about 14-16 min
  • I baked  mine for 17 min, because we love the crispy-crunchy-melt-in-your mouth kind of cookies. These have a nice caramel color. Careful do not over bake them or burn them !
  • Let it cool on the wire rack .( And if you do not keep an eagle eye, a few of them would be sampled right away)
  • Store in an airtight container

Wheat shortbread cookies ( Nankhatai) with Cranberry and Pistachios

Enjoy!

( Now please excuse me – a cup of Ayurvedic tea  is calling my name!!! )

Eggless Cinnamon Braided Bread

My little tyke, or rather my littlest tyke is a Ninja who decimates sugar ! He loves sugar, cinnamon, bread and did I mention sugar again ! I have the whole spectrum covered at my place – from zilch sugar to feed me sugar! On the Sunday when I had a bit of baking bug in me, I made key lime muffins and this. The cinnamon roll version of this was awesome and I always wanted to try my hand at this.This is a pretty easy version and it was a cinch to make it. Looked a mighty fine sight and was so flaky too.

  Swirls of cinnamon running in tasteful little veins and tied up in a pretty little bread – On second thoughts though, on baking, the braid turned not so little but remained super flaky, moist and so so soft..

 It was so good that I did not bother to glaze it. Was perfect and reminds you of interlocking cinnamony flaky croissants.

Eggless Cinnamon Braided Bread

 Prep time : 30 min

Resting time total: 70 min or so 

Baking time : 35-40min

Ingredients

For the dough: 

  • Unbleached, Unbromated All purpose flour : 2.5 cups
  • Baking powder : 1/4 tsp
  • Baking soda : 1/4 tsp
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp
  • Warm milk : 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp.
  • Lemon Juice : 1 Tbsp.
  • Vegetable oil : 1/4 cup
  • Butter melted : 1 Tbsp.
  • Instant Dry yeast : 2.25 tsp. ( 1 sachet)
  • Sugar : 1/3 cup ( used soft brown Sugar)

Filling:  

  • Soft brown sugar : 1/2 cup
  • Fine ground cinnamon powder : 1.5 Tbsp.
  • Room temp or softened butter : 3-4 Tbsp. ( softened or at RT)

The glaze: Optional , I did not need this.

  • Powdered sugar : 1/2 cup
  • Milk : 2 Tbsp.
  • Pure Vanilla extract : 1 tsp.

Recommended: 

Brushing the dough with 2 Tbsp of milk before baking

Method:

Making the dough:

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer add the sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry instant yeast to this and mix thoroughly with a whisk or paddle mixer.
  • Add the dough hook attachment and on low mixing speed add the oil and butter mix, followed by the milk + sugar+ lemon juice mix.(In a small bowl, mix milk with sugar and add the lemon juice and add to the flour. It’s ok if the milk slightly curdles. It works good.)
  • Knead well until you get a nice smooth dough. Let the dough rest in warm dark place until it doubles in size. Depending on the temperature and weather conditions , it might take anywhere from 35 min to about an hour.
  • Once it has risen sufficiently, take out the dough on a greased counter top. Gently deflate it and roll it out to form a big rectangle. Mine was a good couple of feet in length.

Making the cinnamon sugar filling and baking:

  • Mix the softened butter +sugar + cinnamon to have a wet filling.
  • Spread the mix on the rectangle and make sure you get as much to the edges as possible. Pat gently so it sticks to the roll.
  • Now roll gently from the longest side and make a tight toll. Pinch the seams and ends. Slice it vertically in the center.
  • You will now have exposed veins of the cinnamon butter running through the dough.
  • Lay both of strands lengthwise and pinch one end of it together.
  • Braid it overlapping each other and exposing the cinnamon strands.
  • Loop it around and tuck the end under the dough to form a circular piece where you cannot see either of the ends.
  • Grease a baking sheet / parchment paper and lay it over  baking sheet.
  • Lay the braided roll gently over greased sheet on the baking tray. Cover with a greased saran wrap and let rise for another 20 min.
  • Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Brush the dough with 2Tbsp of milk using a pastry brush to give the nice glaze after baking.
  • Bake 35+/- 5 minutes. Keep an eye to just bake it  nice golden brown.
  • Take out from the oven and dive in when they are warm!

Eggless Cinnamon Braided Bread

Glaze/Topping:

If you do decide that you want the glaze, whisk the ingredients listed under the glaze or topping section and drizzle over your baked braided bread.

Quick and Easy, Eggless Cinnamon rolls !( with Icing / Glaze)

I had an itch to scratch! I happened to look at one of those shiny, glossy magazines which had a spring makeover done to a house and fell in love. Not with the labor , but with a near perfect shot of a gleaming white kitchen with huge SS appliances and bright green apples. And along with the apples was also placed a strategic shot of huge mug of Joe and an entire basket of cinnamon rolls. I could only imagine the fragrance of fresh baked rolls wafting through the kitchen! Now while I dragged my 3 A’s in the seemingly endless process of de cluttering and re-organizing, I had to scratch the itch. And so was born this need to bake fresh cinnamon rolls for the kids. Made fresh and more likely to bribe them to do the work 🙂

Jostling for space
Jostling for space

Absolutely wonderful and easy to make cinnamon rolls that are not very doughy and it’s a cinch to make. And also an upshot, they are not the extreme sweet kind and provide the right flakiness in the baked rolls. Go ahead take a big bite, you will reach for another one pretty soon.

 

Prep time : 30 min 

Total resting time: About 70 min or so

Baking time : 16-20 min

Makes 15-16 rolls

Ingredients

For the dough: 

  • Unbleached, Unbromated All purpose flour : 2.5 cups
  • Baking powder : 1/4 tsp
  • Baking soda : 1/4 tsp
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp
  • Warm milk : 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp.
  • Lemon Juice : 1 Tbsp.
  • Vegetable oil : 1/4 cup
  • Butter melted : 1 Tbsp.
  • Instant Dry yeast : 2.25 tsp. ( 1 sachet)
  • Sugar : 1/3 cup

Filling:  

  • Soft brown sugar : 1/2 cup
  • Fine ground cinnamon powder : 1.5 Tbsp.
  • Room temp or softened butter : 3 Tbsp.

Icing/glaze:

  • Powdered sugar : 1/2 cup
  • Milk : 2 Tbsp.
  • Pure Vanilla extract : 1 tsp.

Method:

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer add the sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry instant yeast to this and mix thoroughly with a whisk or paddle mixer.
  • Add the dough hook attachment and on low mixing speed add the oil and butter mix, followed by the milk + sugar+ lemon juice mix.(In a small bowl, mix milk with sugar and add the lemon juice and add to the flour. It’s ok if the milk slightly curdles. It works good.)
  • Knead well until you get a nice smooth dough. Let the dough rest in warm dark place until it doubles in size. Depending on the temperature and weather conditions , it might take anywhere from 35 min to about an hour.
  • Once it has risen sufficiently, take out the dough on a greased counter top. Gently deflate it and roll it out to form a big rectangle. Mine was a good couple of feet in length.
  • Take a pastry brush and spread the softened butter on the entire rectangle.
  • Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon and spread the mix on the entire area covered with softened butter. Pat gently so it sticks to the roll.
  • Now roll gently from the longest side and make a tight toll. Pinch the seams and ends. Slice it in the center. Now slice each log again into 7-8 wedges each and place on a greased baking pan.
  • Cover the rolls and let rise for about another 20 minutes. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake 16 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye to just bake it golden brown.
  • Take out from the oven and dive in when they are warm!

Icing  / Glaze:

Mix all that is listed in the Icing/glaze prep section and pour over the rolls when they are warm.

Circles of cinnamon sugar
Circles of cinnamon sugar

These are near perfect! Dig in! Seriously, Just dig in !

Just before being gobbled up
Just before being gobbled up