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.

 

 

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 !

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.

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 🙂

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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 ..

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!!! )

Sprouted Kala Channa ( Black Chickpeas) Pakora – with Flax seeds and Cauliflower

An utterly delectable and finger licking snack made with sprouted Kala Channa or black chickpeas…. I had a whole bowl of sprouted Kala Channa and was a bit bored of creating salads out if it .. I know …Gasp! Sacrilege !

Alright, I know technically you are not supposed to be tired of it. What with the detox mania hitting everywhere , I feel guilty when I add in an extra drop of oil!

Sprouted Kala Channa ( Black Chickpeas) Pakora - with Flax seeds and Cauliflower

 Tsk! Tsk! what kind of responsible human being am I? Where did “My body is a temple” adage disappear? How could I be irresponsible enough to turn a bunch of sprouted Kala channa into this this this…. Utterly delectable delicacy.

Yes, it is deep-fried!

Yes, you can do it the appe / kuzhipaniram pan.

Yes, you can make cutlets out of this.

Yes, you can add a whole bunch of grated veggies to this.

Yes, you can grind Jalapeños in this to make it spicier.

I chose to opt for deep-frying this. It is an occasional thing at home and such an indulgence on a rainy day is best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea!

 Sprouted Kala Channa with brown rice and a mystery health ingredient ( Nah! No guessing games – flax seeds)! Heaped in with Onion and shredded Cauliflower! Add a dash of this and a dash of that.. And you have wonderful pakoras!.. A cup of tea and you have a winsome combination!

Sprouted Kala Channa ( Black Chickpeas) Pakora - with Flax seeds and Cauliflower

Ingredients:

Legumes/ beans:

  • 1.5 cups of sprouted kala channa (Can be substituted for a mixed legume bunch or simply well soaked and rehydrated kala channa)
  • 0.5 cup of flax seeds , soaked for about 30 min or so . Alternatively you can simply grind it as a powder and add.
  • 0.5 cups of Sooji or Semolina or Rava – Medium kind
  • 0.5 cups of brown rice – soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes. ( Can be substituted for rice flour – 1/2 cup)

Vegetables/Herbs

  • 1 cup of grated cauliflower- steamed for about 5 min in the microwave. You can add it raw too.
  • 0.5 cups of diced onions – finer the better.
  • 4-6 green chillies, fine diced
  • 1 Tbsp. of ginger garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro – chopped fine
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of Mint  chopped fine ( optional)

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

  • 1 tsp of Garam masala powder
  • 0.5 tsp of Red chili powder ( optional to kick up the spice level)
  • 1 tsp of Chaat masala powder
  • 1 tsp of salt + adjusted to taste

 Frying:

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

 Method:

  • Grind to a thick consistency the ingredients listed under legumes or beans except the rava and rice flour of using. If using the soaked brown rice, please do grind it well. The batter should not be extra fine or smooth but be ground enough not to have any big pieces but have enough rough edges to have dimensions.
  • Add the sooji ( and rice flour if using) and mix it well.
  • Add in all the ingredients listed in spices and mix well.
  • Add in the ingredients listed in vegetables an herbs and mix well.
  • Let the batter rest for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the oil on medium high heat.
  • Test the temperature of oil by putting in a tiny dropfuls of batter. If it floats immediately to the top and is sizzling, you can drop the rest batter in batches. Just keep enough room for these to flip around.
  • 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 some great music !

Sprouted Kala Channa ( Black Chickpeas) Pakora - with Flax seeds and Cauliflower