Monday, October 29, 2018

Motichoor Kesar Pudding. Diwali Recipes


Motichoor Kesar Pudding An embarrassingly simple pudding you can make in just 10 minutes! Using store bought laddoos of course. A simple but delicious saffron and elaichi infused pudding on top of crushed motichoor laddoos garnished with toasted almonds and pistachios. Aren't these just the kind of recipes you need when you have a zillion things to do? Diwali cleaning, shopping, planning those parties, potlucks, regular cooking, home, kids, work - its never ending! But then what's Diwali without homemade sweets and desserts? 

For me it also makes sense to make small servings of desserts light on the palate(if not in calories) when there will be multiple things on the menu. So here comes this super simple dessert. You can of course serve just the pudding and skip the laddoos or even fill the chilled pudding in crisp tart shells if you are feeling upto it. What are you planning to make this Diwali? Do tell me!

Below is my clumsy attempt at video editing, I hope I will eventually get there! :)



Ingredients
Motichoor Kesar Pudding(serves 4-6). Fresh Motichoor Laddoo - 4 Cold Full Fat Milk - 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Kesar - 1 big pinch Freshly crushed elaichi - 1/2 teaspoon Cream(I use Amul 25%) 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sugar - 3 tablespoons (or more to taste) Cornflour 4 teaspoons (or more for a thicker pudding) Soft unsalted butter - 1 teaspoon(optional), Mix after taking pudding off the heat. Toasted almonds and pistachios for garnish 

Method: 
1. Take some of the milk and soak the saffron and crushed elaichi. Let sit for a couple of hours or even overnight in the fridge.
2. Crush the laddoos into the dessert glasses, leaving space for the pudding. 
3. Take the cold milk,saffron milk, cornflour, cream, sugar in a heavy saucepan. Whisk well so that no lumps remain.
4. Whisking constantly, cook on low heat for a few minutes until the pudding thickens and comes to a gentle boil. Cook for a minute more.
5.The pudding will leave a trail when you run a finger on the back of a spoon.
6.Take it off the heat, (add  butter now and mix if using) strain. Pour into the glasses.
7. Let cool completely, wrap cling film and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight. 
8. Top with toasted almonds and pistachios just before serving. 



Monday, October 15, 2018

Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Cake (video recipe)



Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Cake. It's hard not to get tempted to bake one  of those pumpkin things raining all around! May I suggest you give in to the temptation,indulge in a slice of this moist cake fragrant with warm spices? If you have never baked with pumpkin before,let me assure you, it is almost tasteless. It only makes your bake moist and adds some nutrition to it. So you can get those picky eaters to enjoy it as well! Isn't that a win-win?

If you would be making fresh pumpkin puree for the first time, please do check my post and video here. It is a very useful and versatile thing, can be used in both sweet and savory. And I actually liked it better than the canned stuff I tried once. 




This recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Cake is from Rose Beranbaum's The Cake Bible. She calls it Pumpkin Walnut ring. She uses a combination of walnut and safflower oil as it complements the flavor of the walnuts in the cake. The recipe is very simple - simply mixing wet and dry ingredients together. If you have your pumpkin puree ready,your cake will be in the oven in no time. 

Another good thing,this cake keeps well and tastes better as it sits,so great for the holiday season. Without further ado, here is the recipe. Watch me make the cake here. Do not forget to subscribe for more easy recipes and tips!





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Ingredients(at room temperature). Use 6 cup bundt pan, sprayed with baking spray.
Maida - 105 grams plus 20 grams cornflour OR 125 grams cake flour
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon
Salt 1/4 teaspoon
Ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon(make sure you use best quality, fresh spices)
Ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon
Ground ginger (optional) - 1/4 teaspoon
Eggs - 2 large / 100 grams (weighed without shell) OR 3 large egg whites (90 grams)
Brown sugar - 150 grams
Oil - 108 grams
Fresh pumpkin puree - 1 cup / 240 ml
Toasted walnuts, chopped - 1/2 cup

Variation: Skip the spices, add 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and stir in 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate with the walnuts.

Method:
  • Preheat oven to 180C /350F. Generously coat your 6-cup bundt pan with baking spray. Alternatively you can use some ghee and a light but thorough dusting of flour.
  • Sift together the flour, cornflour, spices, salt and baking soda twice. Set aside .
  • In a large bowl,whisk together the sugar, eggs,vanilla and oil (if using). Whisk in the pumpkin puree.
  • Gently whisk in the flour mixture.
  • When most of the flour is mixed, stir in the walnuts.
  • Transfer the batter to the cake tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool on the rack for 10 minutes. Invert and cool completely on the rack.
  • Wrap the cake with clingfilm and let it sit overnight before serving. The flavors meld better that way. Serve at room temperature.
  • Store airtight at room temperature for 2 days,in the fridge for 5 days. You can also wrap in cling film and freeze in an airtight container for 3 months.



Monday, October 8, 2018

Dulce De Leche again - the safe and easy pressure cooker method!




So we are all hooked to that dreamy, sticky gooey wonder-Dulce de leche! I have made it several times in the pressure cooker, immersing the sealed can in water and cooking it. Realized that it is not safe as these cans typically have BPA lining which can get ingested into the condensed milk. Ouch! That takes the fun out of enjoying this irresistible candy. I started hesitating recommending and sharing my blog post and video for making it. I eventually took the video down too. 

But dulce de leche is too good to say good bye to without putting up and good fight and umpteen trials. It is super versatile, amazing as it is and then your creativity is the only limit. Use in mithai, cakes,puddings, desserts and everything you can think of. 

I tried making it in the oven. Found it too cumbersome to get the pan in and out of the water bath without burning my fingers. And then it was not as smooth. The microwave method gave me a really chewy and hardish dulce de leche - what's the fun?. But then I found my answer again in the humble pressure cooker!

It is so simple, you will laugh. And then feel happy that, that is all there is to making the irresistible candy. I wonder what took me so long to look at the obvious solution staring at me since so long!

Let me spare you the long story, here is what worked for me. You can watch the video here. 



You will need a can of condensed milk.I used a 400 gm can of Amul Mithaimate. 

A stainless steel can with a tight screw lid. Remember those days when our grandmothers would use it to take milk, curd etc for journeys? You can get it at a departmental store nearby. 

A pressure cooker. I use my Hawkins 5 liter cooker.

Method
  • Transfer the condensed milk to the steel can, turn the lid such that it is very tight. We do not want water getting into the can.
  • On the outside of the can,mark the approximate level of condensed milk in the can.
  • Take clean drinking water in the pressure cooker (just in case water gets in the can). We need the water level to be up to or above the level of condensed milk in the can. That is we need the condensed milk to be surrounded by hot water during the process. No need to immerse the can in water.
  • Keep a heavy weight on the can ( I use a heavy marble piece). You can use anything suitable and heavy you have at home. This weight helps make sure the can doesn't tilt and fall into the water during all that rattling.
  • Put on the cooker lid. Put the cooker on the gas stove on high heat. Once the steam starts appearing,put the weight on. Lower the heat to medium.
  • Cook for 3 whistles and turn off the cooker. The entire process from start to finish takes 25-30 minutes in my cooker. The time may vary in yours depending on your cooker, the water level , the amount of condensed milk in the can etc. In case you do not get a whistle (or get fewer whistles) in 25-30 minutes, switch off the cooker. The dulce de leche should be done.
  • You can try cooking it for 5-10 minutes longer if you want a more intense flavor and darker color. But do not cook for too long or the dulce de leche will not taste good. 
  • Let the pressure drop completely. Let the can remain in the hot water until the water cools off. This will help cook the dulce de leche further.In case you think you have already overcooked the dulce de leche, remove it from the hot water when the pressure drops. 
  • Once the can cools completely,open it. If the dulce de leche is not very smooth, whisk it or run it in the mixer jar. 
  • Whatever the texture and color, the taste will be great,no worries on that count. Make it once or twice,you will get an idea. 
  • The dulce de leche can be stored in the refrigerator airtight for at least a week. 
  • If you are constantly making this whenever you see a can of condensed milk, and get hopelessly addicted to it, don't blame me. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

No Yeast Quick Pizza - In 15 Minutes!


A quick and easy pizza without yeast, ready in just 15 minutes!  If you have tried home made pizza using yeast you will surely agree that it is something truly amazing. If you  have not tried making it yet, you absolutely must!  Here is the easiest no-knead pizza No Knead Pizza , (video at the bottom of the post) and my favorite Peter Reinhart's Pizza.The latter is  so flavorful that the crust takes the center stage and the toppings just add charm.                                                                                                                               
But then there are times when you don't have the time or energy to make a yeast pizza from scratch. It sure is handy to have a recipe you can whip up even before the kids fight and decide what to order. This no-yeast recipe comes together in a jiffy,  gives you a simple crust which is fairly crisp.

You can watch me making the pizza here. Please do subscribe to my channel for more easy baking videos.  



Details make the difference,so read carefully. You can use your favorite pizza sauce recipe or try this one here. Please avoid sauce from a bottle as I think it just ruins the whole thing. 

Please weigh ingredients for best results.

Ingredients (to make 2  8'' inch crusts)

For the crust

All purpose flour / maida 130 grams / 1 cup
Baking powder 1.5 teaspoons (preferably aluminum free baking powder )
Salt  - 1/2 teaspoon
Powdered sugar - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 2 tablespoons / 30 ml 
Thin buttermilk (Use slightly sour buttermilk if you like the flavor) - 6 tablespoons(1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)

Thick Homemade Pizza Sauce - 1/3 cup (make sure it is not hot or the crust will turn soggy. If the sauce is watery also it will turn soggy)
Grated mozzarella cheese - 200 grams or as needed
( I have used Milky Mist )
Fresh basil leaves

Method 
  • Grease two aluminum pizza pans or normal aluminum plates like the ones  I have used in the video. It is important to use enough oil so that the  crust comes out crisp and doesn't stick to the pan.
  • Preheat oven to 250C or the maximum temperature in your oven.
  • Whisk together the flour, the salt, sugar and baking powder. Ensure they are well combined.
  • In another medium sized bowl, whisk together the oil and buttermilk
  • Add the flour mixture. Using a spatula or with your hands, mix gently to make a soft dough. Knead very gently once or twice if needed.The dough should not be sticky. This is important. If the dough is sticky, your crust will not be as crisp.
  • Divide the dough into two equal portions. 
  • Using as little flour as possible, roll each portion to a circle 8'' in diameter. If you roll it too thin, it will be more of a cracker than a pizza. 
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Be careful as we are baking at a very high temperature and the crust may burn if you bake too long.
  • Spread some pizza sauce on the crust. Too much will make it soggy.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly. Top with basil
  • Bake at 250C for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Do not bake too long or the cheese will turn tough. 
  • Cut into slices using a pair of scissors or a pizza cutter. Serve immediately.
  • Repeat with the other portion of the dough.

Please do try this and let me know how you liked it. And do not forget to try yeast pizza at leisure! 






Monday, September 3, 2018

Emergency Chocolate Sauce Recipe



A quick and easy emergency chocolate sauce for those times when you need a really a good sauce in a flash! No long list of ingredients, you can make it the way you want with what you have at home, make it light or rich. Sounds good? Do read on!

My emergencies are usually when I have a bad dessert craving but don't really want much work. Happens usually post dinner(bad, I know!). Of course those times when kids unexpectedly  land up with friends and they want you to make dessert at moment's notice. And yes when I need a chocolate sauce for a picture for the blog or channel.  I don't know about you, but having an emergency sauce is very important for  me.



Usually chocolate sauce recipes call for a whole  list of ingredients. Alice Medrich, the queen of all things chocolate steps in as the savior. Her super simple sauce is almost a general guide, gives you all the liberty to play around and still end up with a good sauce! One more reason to love the lady! You can use milk or milk plus butter or cream or half milk and half cream. Alice Medrich sauce she uses only milk and no butter for the most intense taste.

You can use the sauce to drizzle over ice cream or desserts or pancakes, waffles or you know just eat it by the spoonful when no one is looking. I also love pouring some of this sauce over ice cream, top with toasted crushed peanuts. Something similar goes by the name Hot Fudge in Corner House outlets here in Bangalore. You could also add crumbled brownies if you have some lying in the freezer.



I would suggest you stick to the proportions below for the best results.  Start with 1/2 cup liquid and use more if needed. You may need more liquid especially if using chocolate with a higher percentage.  Try a small quantity first and see what works best for you.

Ingredients. Chocolate (Bittersweet, Semisweet or Dark) - 280 grams / 28 oz Use one of the below with the chocolate Full fat Milk - 1/2 to 3/4 cup as needed (120ml to 180 ml) Full fat Milk - 1/2 to 3/4 cup (120ml to 180 ml) + 30 grams soft unsalted butter Cream ( I use Amul 25% fat) - 1/2 to 3/4 cup (120ml to 180 ml) Half cream and half milk - Whisk together 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk and 1/4 cup cream to begin with. Add 2 tbsp (30 ml) milk and 2 tbsp (30 ml) cream combined as needed.
  
Vanilla 1 teaspoon

Method: 

Take 1/2 cup  milk or cream or half and half in a heavy saucepan. Add the chocolate (and butter if using). Place it directly in a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate melts and the sauce is smooth.  If the sauce looks too thick or curdled, add more liquid. Take it off the heat, stir in the vanilla if using. 

You can also 'test' the sauce by pouring it over ice cream. If it hardens too much, add some more liquid.

You can also make this in the microwave at 50% power. You will need to microwave for 2-3 minutes. The time will vary depending on the wattage of the microwave and the quantity of ingredients you would be using.

You can refrigerate the sauce for a few days or even freeze it. Rewarm it briefly before using.


Monday, August 6, 2018

How To Make Fresh Pumpkin Puree At Home. Oven, Microwave and Pressure Cooker Methods

                                                                                                                                                            Come fall season and it will literally start  raining pumpkin recipes  - pumpkin cakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pies, puddings - you name it ! Who can resist warm spiced desserts on a cool evening? You can actually smell the aromas of cinnamon and cloves wafting through those inviting pictures,. Its hard trying to resist the urge to get into the kitchen and fire your own oven and start baking one of those. But again,why resist at all?   

                                                                                                                                                   Pumpkin puree is often used in baking and desserts. Don't worry about getting canned pumpkin, I tried using it once, can't say I loved it. Thankfully, it is so easy to make your own puree at home. The humble vegetable adds  moisture, nutrition and texture to dishes,baked or otherwise.Since it doesn't have an assertive taste or smell, it can be so easily disguised in both sweet and savory food, parathas,kheer, soup and more . A mother's dream come true if you ask me!                        

You can bake pumpkin in the oven, cook it in the microwave or even steam it in the pressure cooker. I personally prefer baking it as I  find that it cooks most evenly. Please do try all three methods and stick to whatever works best for u.   I use this variety pumpkin though sugar pumpkins are most commonly used.                                           

                                                                                                                                                                    For all three methods, we need to remove the stem. Apparently the stem gives off a terrible odor and then we can't risk the stem burning in the oven or the microwave.  Wash ,dry and slice the pumpkin into wedges, scoop out the seeds and the fibrous parts. One wedge this size gives me about 1/2 cup pumpkin puree.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To bake it in the oven (OTG or convection mode in microwave) Preheat the oven to 190 C. Wrap the wedge(s) in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until fork tender. Cool completely,scoop out the flesh using a spoon. Process until very smooth. Do not add water while processing unless absolutely necessary. Add only a teaspoon if  needed. Press the puree  through a strainer to get rid of any fibres .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Microwave method: Place the wedge in a glass bowl and cover with a microwave safe plate. Microwave on HIGH for 4-5 minutes or until fork tender. The cooking time depends on the wattage of your microwave Be very careful as even one extra minute can make the pumpkin dry and rubbery, unusable. Sometimes I find that parts of the pumpkin are not cooked well enough, so need to be discarded.  In this case, better to microwave more pumpkin than you think is needed. So  I prefer not to cook in the microwave unless I am in a real hurry.   

                                                                                                                                                         Pressure cooker method Place the pumpkin wedge in a vessel. Do not add any water in the vessel. Cook for about 2 whistles or until the pumpkin is soft. Cool, scoop out the flesh and process. if the pumpkin has left any juices, do not add it to the puree. It will make the consistency thinner. I find that pressure cooked pumpkin is a bit more watery than the oven baked thing. Should work fine for kheer, stove-top puddings, parathas etc. But for baking I would prefer the thick oven baked puree.                                     

You can refrigerate the puree for a couple of days or freeze it small portions. So make your own pumpkin puree, get ready for fall baking!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Eggless Dates And Oats Bars Recipe (With Video)



We may disagree on what these should be called, but am sure we all nod in agreement when I say - nothing really beats homemade stuff, especially when it comes to granola, granola bars etc. They put the store bought stuff to shame , are super easy to make and  you can customize them to your taste.Try these today if you haven't baked your own yet. I am sure you will wonder why you did not make these earlier,I promise you will never buy these again! 

 We love Granola Bars, Double Chocolate Granola, these 3 Ingredient Orange Flapjacks and this Peanut Butter Granola. But who can resist trying out new recipes? I recently tried these Date Bars from Yotam Ottolenghi, choc-a-bloc with seeds and nuts with that Mediterranean touch you find in his recipes. I know you don't mess around with recipes like these, but I reduced the sugar and butter to suit our preference. They are still quite indulgent and gift-worthy, so keep these in mind during Christmas and Diwali.  You can change it to your taste, have fun with it!     



 Here is what I did.  Watch me make these simple bars.Please do not forget to subscribe to my channel for new videos - baking basics, tips and simple recipes for beginners.




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Ingredients 
              
Instant oats (you can use rolled oats if you prefer) 120 grams
Oats, processed coarsely - 80 grams
Pinch of salt
Ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Almonds,toasted and roughly chopped - 50 grams
Sunflower seeds,toasted - 35 grams
Pumpkin Seeds , toasted 35 grams 
Raw cashews, roughly copped 50 grams
Raw sesame seeds  10 grams 
Soft pitted dates , chopped 80 grams ( recipe uses 120g)
Date syrup - 1/4 cup / 60 ml ( recipe uses 75 grams golden syrup)
Caster Sugar  -100 grams / 1/2 cup ( recipe uses 180 grams brown sugar)
Soft unsalted butter  100 grams ( the recipes uses 200 grams)
Zest of one fresh orange
Freshly squeezed orange juice - 2 teaspoons.     

  • Pre heat oven to 170C. Line an 8'' square tin with baking parchment,leaving an overhang. 
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, the processed oats, salt cinnamon. Add in the nuts and seeds, mix well to combine. 
  • Toss in the dates, separate them if they clump up.
  •  In a large saucepan, heat together the butter,date syrup and sugar. We just need t to melt and combine well, no need to boil or heat too much. Grate the zest of the orange and stir in the orange juice,mix well. 
  • Dump in the oats and nuts mixture. Mix with a spatula,making sure all the ingredients are well moistened. The mixture will be crumbly. 
  • Press it firmly into the tin. If you do not press firmly the bars will be crumbly. 
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top turns a light golden brown. Check at 15 minutes, be very careful to not over-bake or the bars will burn. 
  • They will be soft when you remove them from the oven, will firm up as they cool. Let the bars cool in the tin over a cooling rack. 
  • Cut them into squares when they are still soft. Once the bars cool completely, separate the bars and store airtight.  

Looking for something even simpler? Try these 3 ingredient  Orange & Chocolate Flapjacks!


Monday, July 2, 2018

Easy Anzac Biscuits. Eggless Oats & Coconut Cookies(With video)




Cookies with coconut make me nostalgic. No no, my mother or grandmother never baked in their lives! I loved those cookies we would buy at a nearby store. Thick, sweet and satisfying. And then later Anzac cookies made an appearance. Those rugged looking oats and coconut cookies popular in New Zealand and Australia. 

These apparently were sent to soldiers by their families during World War One as they were quite sturdy and kept well for days. Thankfully we don't have to suffer ' super sturdy' Anzacs anymore. We can have some really good crunchy and light ones which happen to keep well and travel well too, thanks to Alice Medrich, one of my top favorite authors!




The ingredients are not hard to source, the dough comes together in no time. She gives the option of using either golden syrup or honey making it sound absolutely fine to use the latter,not a second choice. I love golden syrup,but not easy to find it always,so honey it was!

 As in a lot of her recipes for cookies, you will need to be patient and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or overnight. And then you will be rewarded with some really flavorful cookies. If you bake regularly, you probably have most ingredients at home, so do absolutely try these cookies,you will be glad you did!




Ingredients. Quick Cooking Oats or Rolled Oats( I use quick cooking, Quaker) - 98 grams Unsalted butter,very soft - 113 grams Sugar - 150 grams Water - 1 tablespoon / 15 ml Honey or golden syrup - 2 tablespoons / 30 ml Maida /All purpose flour - 126 grams Cream of tartar 1 teaspoon Baking Soda 1/2 teaspoon Unsweetened dried shredded coconut - 85 gram / 1 cup

Method

1. Pulse the oats in the smallest jar of your processor for a few seconds.You want them coarsely ground but not powdered.

2. Sift together the flour,baking soda and cream of tartar. Whisk in the coconut and oats.Keep aside.

3. Take the butter, honey or golden syrup,sugar and water in a saucepan. Warm on low heat until the butter melts. Take it off the heat.

4. Stir in the flour mixture,mix until well incorporated. This will make a soft dough. Put it on cling film and form two 8''x 2'' logs.

5. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

6. When ready to bake, line your cookie sheet with baking parchment.Preheat oven to 160C.

7.Slice the dough into 1/4'' thick slices.Place the cookies at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 14-17 minutes or until a light golden brown all over.

8. Lift the parchment with the cookies on to the cooling rack. Then transfer the cookies to the rack,cool completely and store air tight. These keep well for at least 2 weeks says Alice.

Make these soon,am sure you will love baking and sending them to family and friends!\\












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Monday, May 14, 2018

Easy Eggless Butter Cookies with 50% Atta!


Egg-free, buttery, easy, 50% whole wheat and adaptable! What's not to love about these tender-crisp delicious cookies? The dough for these cookies is made in just 2 minutes in the KItchenAid stand mixer! 

I absolutely adore Alice Medrich's recipes and and have had success with so many. Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt in Your Mouth Cookies* is one of her books I use ever so often! With this book, you can fill your cookie jar with different cookies every time.

This recipe is from the section for melt-in-your-mouth cookies. One of the surprising revelations here is her method of making butter cookies. While most recipes call for creaming butter and sugar until light and fluffy, she tells you not to! So what according to her does it take to produce good cookies? 

Alice recommends mixing the butter and sugar only until  it is smooth and creamy as this will make the cookies crisp and tender. We do not want to beat the sugar and butter until fluffy as she says the cookies may turn out dry and coarse. Don't I love her even more as this makes the job easier for the baker!



This recipe for French butter cookies is from Alice Medrich, they are called Sable cookies or Sables as they have a delicate sandy texture.
This is an extremely simple recipe with just 3 ingredients, butter,sugar and flour. If you don’t count the salt and vanilla that is. In recipes like this,it is all the more important to use fresh good quality ingredients for best results. Again, details make all the difference,so please watch the video carefully.  




Please weigh the ingredients carefully and line them up on the counter before beginning the mixing process. 

Ingredients

Whole wheat flour / Atta - 112 grams
Plain flour / Maida - 126 grams
Unsalted butter, at room temperature - 198 grams 
Caster Sugar - 100 grams / 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
Pure vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon

Method: 

  • Fit your stand mixer* with the paddle attachment. 
  • Whisk together the whole wheat flour and plain flour thoroughly. Set aside.
  • Take the butter, salt , sugar and vanilla in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat them until smooth and creamy(not light and fluffy)You can also do this with a wooden spoon but making it in the stand mixer is easier and effortless. I mix on speed 4 for about a minute.
  • Add in the flours and mix just until incorporated. This is very important as over mixing will make the cookies tough instead of tender.
  • Scrape the dough on the counter, bring it together. If necessary knead lightly to make sure the flour is completely incorporated. 
  • Divide the dough into 2 parts,place on cling film and form into logs. 
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or even better overnight. This rest is very important as the dough absorbs the moisture and flavors better. Do not skip this step.
  • The dough will firm up quite a bit after overnight refrigeration,it will be easier to slice.
  • When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 180 C / 350 F.  Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil, dull side facing up. Do not grease. 
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the cold dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. 
  • Place the cookies at least 1.5 inches apart.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes or until the edges turn a light golden brown.(If using an OTG, rotate trays half-way through)
  • Once done, lift the foil(with the cookies) and place on a cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely before storing airtight. 
I love these cookies when they have just cooled. Alice says you can store the cookies for a month. 



Variations:

You can try different flavors, but I loved  the plain vanilla ones the best!

  • Add 1/3 cup(1.33 oz) roasted cacao nibs with or without 1 cup chopped raw or toasted nuts to the creamed butter and sugar
  • Add 1 teaspoon crushed saffron strands or powder and 1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom, 1 cup toasted and chopped pistachios.
  • Get imaginative with the combinations of nuts,hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew,pecans,sesame seeds with your fav spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, anything!
Do absolutely try these cookies, this will be a great basic butter cookie dough to have in your repertoire!

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Gougères / French Cheese Puffs - KitchenAid Stand Mixer Series





Gougères or less fancily put, French Cheese Puffs are delicious little bites you could serve warm on their own or with wine. You could also split them and sandwich with your favorite filling. Either way, if cheesy, eggy is your kind of thing, you will love these! All the more, if you make these in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer as it takes care of the hard work for you!

Choux pastry is one of those amazing versatile things you can play around with, sweet or savory like these Cream Puffs and Creamed Corn In Savory Choux PuffsThe baked puffs are best eaten fresh and warm from the oven, but you can re-crisp them if needed. You can also pipe the dough and then bake later when needed( I have not tried that yet) 




It is not really difficult to make choux pastry, but yes, needs to done carefully for best results. You can read a few pointers in my post for cream puffs. Though I have made choux pastry a few times,I would shy away from baking them as you need some muscle strength for it. But now, it is hardly any effort with my KitchenAid Stand Mixer



If you have been considering buying a stand mixer or have just got one, please do watch my video which includes a brief about various models you can buy and using KitchenAid Tilt Head Stand Mixer* stand mixer. You can also read my post here

This recipe is from one of my absolute favorite authors, David Lebovitz. I found this recipe more forgiving than the others I have tried. What's more, David also reassures that deflated puffs are fine too! I would say, go for it! Puffed up or deflated, you will forget all about the shape once you pop one warm puff in your mouth!


Gougères. Recipe from David Lebovitz

Yield: 30 bite-sized puffs
Time needed: 40 minutes, including baking time

Equipment needed

Baking sheet lined with parchment
Heavy saucepan with handle
Strong Wooden spoon
Silicone spatula
Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with paddle attachment
Pastry bag fitted with a wide plain round tip


Ingredients.

Please weigh ingredients for best results, measure carefully. 

Water – ½ cup / 120 ml
Very soft unsalted butter, cut into pieces – 40 grams
Salt – heaping ¼ teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper – ¼ teaspoon or to taste
Onion powder - ½ teaspoon
Flour – 70 grams
Eggs – 2 large / 100 grams (without shell)
plus more if needed
Extra beaten egg, 2 -3 tablespoons, keep this separately
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, minced
Sharp cheddar or Gruyère, grated – 75 grams plus 25 grams for sprinkling on top

Method

  • ·Preheat oven to 220C/425F.
  • ·Mise en place, this is very important.
  • Line your baking tray(s) with baking parchment. Alternatively, use a silicone mat.
  • On medium heat, heat the butter, salt, pepper and water in a heavy saucepan. Let the butter melt.
  • When the water comes to a boil, tip in all the flour and onion powder at once. You do not want the water to keep boiling or the liquid will be lost by evaporation.
  • · Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the saucepan and forms a smooth ball. 
  • · Take the pan off the heat, transfer the dough to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment

  • Let it cool for a couple of minutes. Do not add the eggs when the dough is hot or the eggs may ‘cook’.
  • Starting the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time and then increase the speed to 2. The dough will appear lumpy at first, but it will soon become smooth, this may take a couple of minutes. (You will appreciate the stand mixer more, if you have ever tried doing this by hand, it is quite a workout!)
  • Add a tablespoon or two of the extra beaten egg if neededAt the right consistency, the dough is supposed to stay on the spatula and then fall in a thick ribbon.  I used almost 120 grams of egg.
  • Be careful as you add the egg, too much will cause the puffs to deflate (which is still fine, says the author, they will still taste good)
  • Remove the bowl and stir in the cheese and thyme.
  • Scrape the mixture into the pastry bag. Pipe into small mounds (about a large cherry tomato) spaced about an inch apart. Alternatively, use 2 spoons to drop the mixture. Top each puff with a little of the remaining cheese.
  • Bake at 220C for 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 190C and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until golden brown all over. This is important to avoid deflated puffs, cautions David.
  • For extra crisp puffs, 5 minutes before they are done, poke each puff at the side with a sharp knife. That will release the steam.Bake them until crisp.

These taste best served warm. If necessary, the baked puffs can be re-warmed in a low oven for 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

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