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!

DISCLAIMER:*This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and buy through the link, I will earn a tiny commission on the same. I recommend products which I have used and found good or products I would consider for myself based on recommendations from my trusted baker friends. There will not be any extra cost to you. This commission will help me with me costs of running the channel and bring out more videos for you. Your support will be greatly appreciated.


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.

DISCLAIMER:*This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and buy through the link, I will earn a tiny commission on the same. I recommend products which I have used and found good or products I would consider for myself based on recommendations from my trusted baker friends. There will not be any extra cost to you. This commission will help me with me costs of running the channel and bring out more videos for you. Your support will be greatly appreciated.



Monday, May 7, 2018

Eggless Jaggery Cake Recipe / Jaggery Cake Without Eggs




Jaggery coconut and cardamom cakes which will remind you of Indian sweets. A super easyand quick vegan cake recipe you will find very handy!

Vegan, super moist and very flavorful, these little cakes come together in a jiffy and bake in a flash! You can try the crispy crumb topping which is made very easily in the KitcenAid 
stand mixer. If you have just got your KitchenAid stand mixer, this is the perfect recipe for you to warm up to the machine. The quick and easy cakes allow you to experiment and try out variations.

If you have been meaning to buy a stand mixer or just got a new KitchenAid stand mixer, do check out my previous post How To Use A KitchenAid stand mixer. You can also watch my 
video here.



The recipe for Jaggery, Coconut and Cardamom Cakes is based on Rose Beranbaum’s recipe for Molasses Crumb Cakelets from her Baking Bible. Since molasses is not so commonly available to us here and is also pretty expensive, I tried these with jaggery liquid and loved the results! You can find jaggery liquid at most organic food stores. But if you are lucky enough to find light molasses(Grandmas’s is the recommended brand), you absolutely must try. Do not forget to leave your comment for me!

Here is the recipe. Rose’s recipe makes 48 cakes baked in 4 mini muffin trays, I have halved the recipe. Try it once and double the recipe if you wish as the cakes keep well. You can also watch my video here. 




Ingredients 

All purpose flour / maida   130 grams /1 cup
Caster sugar (the crumb topping will not work well with powdered sugar) 100 grams/1/2 cup
Cardamom powder, freshly ground - 1 teaspoon
Salt - a pinch
Fresh grated coconut 1/4 cup 
Vegetable oil 60 ml/ 1/4 cup
Jaggery liquid or light molasses 60 ml / 1/4 cup
Boiling water 120 ml /1/2 cup
Baking soda 1/4 teaspoon

Method: 

1. Preheat oven to 180C / 350 F

2. Grease two 12-cavity mini muffin tins with baking spray.

3. Fit the Kitchen Aid with the paddle/flat beater attachment.

4. In the mixing bowl, take the all-purpose flour, sugar, cardamom powder,salt and the oil.

5. Mix on low speed (speed 2) until the mixture is crumbly. This happens effortlessly in the stand mixer!

6. Weigh and reserve 40 grams of this crumbly mixture for the topping. Crumble it with your fingers and set aside. 

7. Now add the coconut, the boiling water and soda and mix on low speed for about a minute. The mixture will be smooth and quite thin. Run a spatula around the mixing bowl to be sure the ingredients are well mixed.

8. Take the mixture in a liquid measuring cup and fill the batter about 3/4 full in each cavity. You could also use a spoon, but pouring from the cup is easier and faster.

9. Sprinkle the crumb topping very lightly over the cakes. I find that the crumbs crisp up in my oven when the mixture is fine and sprinkled in a very thin layer. Read note below

10. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

11. Place the tins on a cooling rack and cool the cakes for 10 minutes. Unmold the cakes and place them on the cooling rack top side facing up. Cool completely before storing.

12. The cakes can be stored at room temperature for a couple of days (for a week if not for the coconut).You could also refrigerate them for a longer shelf life or freeze.

Please note: I find that the crumb topping crisps up in my oven only if it is really fine and sprinkled very lightly over the cakes. The topping will remain crisp for a while. But I loved the cakes even without the topping, in fact I prefer the cakes without the crumb topping. Do try and see what works best for you.

Do absolutely try these cakes, am sure you will love them!



DISCLAIMER:*This video contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and buy through the link, I will earn a tiny commission on the same. I recommend products which I have used and found good or products I would consider for myself based on recommendations from my trusted baker friends. There will not be any extra cost to you. This commission will help me with me costs of running the channel and bring out more videos for you. Your support will be greatly appreciated.













Thursday, April 26, 2018

How To Use KitchenAid Artisan 5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer | A Review




KitchenAid is an extremely well-known brand internationally when it comes to stand mixers and other kitchen appliances. Almost a century old name, it is used and preferred by most pastry chefs and bakers across the world. KitchenAid sent me the Artisan 5 Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer* am sharing my experience using it and few more bits of information. You may find it helpful if you are a new proud owner or are considering /deliberating buying a stand mixer.


Do not forget to check the special discount offer exclusively for my readers at the end of the post! You can also watch my video How to Use A Kitchen Aid stand mixer here.


Broadly speaking, KitchenAid stand mixers come in Tilt-head and Bowl-lift models. Made in the USA, these are made entirely of die cast metal, so extremely sturdy and durable. You can choose these from a wide range of more than  15 colors.The stand mixers come with a 5 year warranty on domestic use and 1-year warranty on commercial use. Do refer the warranty document on the KitchenAid website for more details.


The Artisan 5 Quart tilt head model*  is  300 watts power, comes with a 4.8 L bowl. The Artisan Mini model* comes with a 3.3L bowl with 250 watts power. There is a professional 315 watt 4.8L Bowl Lift Model* you could check. Please do read the manual for more technical specifications.The 500 Watt Bowl Lift Model* with 1.3 HP motor is more powerful, comes with a bigger 6.9 L mixing bowl.

There is also a 1.3 HP motor Professional model* which apparently is 60% more powerful,handles small and large amounts of batter just as easily. It has more stability on the counter, comes with a wire guard for increased safety and stability in a commercial environment. These models are for handling heavy loads. Please do read the manual for more technical specifications.






The stainless steel bowl of the 5 Quart has a handle (some bowls don't), which makes it easy to shift, move it around, hold when you transfer the batter or heat the eggs for a genoise. You could also go in for a glass mixing bowl which is available in 3 different glass textures. If you bake extensively, it would make life a lot easier to have an extra mixing bowl and whisk.

In the tilt head models, as the name suggests, you can tilt the motor head back and forth. This makes fixing the attachments easier and gives better access to the mixing bowl.
The Artisan 5 Quart stand mixer comes with three attachments. A paddle or flat beater, dough hook, these are both nylon coated.  The stainless steel wire whip has 6 wires.
The wire whip of the professional model has 11 wires (wow!), the hook and paddle are all steel.


         

You can also check the paddle which comes with a flexible silicone scraper (above)as an additional accessory. While mixing batter or creaming,you will need to stop the stand mixer in between to scrape down the sides. The Flexi-edge beater helps here,so no need to scrape down in between.

Some of the accessories may be different for different models, so be sure you get the right one for your mixer.

The dough hook, paddle and whip rotate in the mixing bowl with a 59 point planetary mixing action, helping ingredients mix thoroughly.


The pouring shield can be fitted on the bowl, helps pour in ingredients and mix without any mess, prevents any  dry ingredients flying into your face as you start mixing. This again is an additional accessory for some models.

The lever on the side of the motor head helps  you tilt and lock or release it. There is the speed control lever with speed levels going from 1 to 10.



The attachment hub  fits more than 10 optional attachments such as the pasta maker, ice cream maker, spiralizer,food processor,grain mill  and others. So apart from baking, you can use the stand mixer for a whole lot of everyday cooking too. Please check the KitchenAid website for more details.

Ideally, the dough hook, paddle and whip should not hit the bottom or sides of the bowl when you run the mixer or they will wear out. It should not be too far away from the bowl either. This is called as beater to bowl clearance. There is this screw is for adjusting the height of the beater if necessary.

       


To fit one of the attachments (paddle, hook, whip),you first need to slide the locking lever to the unlock position, hold it in the unlock position and tilt the motor head. Makes it easy to fit the attachment. When you tilt the head, the lever goes to the lock position automatically, so the head stays tilted. Similarly, to lower the motor head, again unlock and gently lower it. The locking lever will automatically go into locked position. Please remember, the mixer needs to be in locked position when you use it.

Once the motor head is tilted back, we can slip the attachment on the beater shaft, push it up and turn it right to hook it over the pin , much like you would fix a light bulb. To unlock, press the attachment upward and turn left. Then pull it away.

Then  the bowl. Place it on the plate, gently turn it clockwise to lock it into position. Turn counter clockwise to unlock.

Now the stand mixer is ready to use.  It is recommended to start the mixer on the  low speed and then gradually move to higher speed levels. Usually, low speed is used for stirring and mixing, folding in ingredients. Medium speed for kneading, high speed for whipping eggs, cream etc. But please follow recipe instructions always.  Always stop the mixer if you have to scrape the batter down at any point of time.



About the attachments, the dough hook is basically used for kneading dough, for bread, pizza and even atta for making rotis, naan,samosa patti. There may be exceptions though. So follow recipe instructions always.

According to Rose Levy Beranbaum, for dough that is medium stiff, the 5 Quart mixer can handle up to 6 cups of flour to make about 2 loaves of bread without straining the motor.

If you would be mixing dough which is very stiff, then you can mix up to 1.5 pounds of dough at a time. The Kitchen Aid Professional 6 quart she says can handle 12 cups of flour for medium stiff dough. So choose the type of mixer depending on your need.

The temperature of yeast dough rises as it is mixed, so if you bake a lot with sticky dough such as focaccia, you may want to check the ice water jacket attachment useful, it helps to keep the dough at the optimal temperature.



The paddle attachment is normally used to make cake batter and cookie dough. You can also make really good flaky pastry. Stay tuned for these recipes coming up soon!

Sometimes, the paddle attachment is also used for mixing bread dough with a high proportion of liquid(like that amazing flatbread above). Also, if mixing small amounts of dough in the stand mixer, the paddle attachment works better as it reaches closer to the bottom of the bowl. Experiment and stick to whatever works best for you.

The whisk is used when you want to incorporate air, when you whip eggs, egg whites and cream. I have used a hand mixer for a very long time and I can tell you that the volume to which the eggs can be whipped in the stand mixer is something you can’t really achieve with a hand mixer. Not to mention the time and ease with which you can do it.

That volume helps make your cakes and bakes lighter. So making larger batches of meringue, macarons, buttercream, and genoise is a whole lot less time and effort, the end product better when you use a stand mixer.




Mixing speed levels and number in KitchenAid stand mixer as given in Rose's Beranbaum's Baking Bible

Low - Number 2
Medium Low- Number 3
Medium - Number 4
Medium-high - Numbers 6-8
High - Number 10

However, if the volume of ingredients is small in proportion to the mixer bowl, you may need to use higher speeds than indicated in the recipe.




The motor head will feel warm or even hot when you use it for heavy loads or prolong the mixing time. This is normal, not to worry. The machine is very sturdy, easy to use and maintain. It is a real workhorse.

The stand mixer makes the baking process so much easier as the machine takes care of the hard work. As you go, you will find it a joy because you can move on to getting your other ingredients ready, the stand mixer leaves you totally hands-free.  But when you mix stiff dough, the stand mixer may walk on the counter, so do not walk away from the machine.

But of course there will be the learning curve and you will need to figure out what works best for you for various recipes. You can call the KA helpline for any queries and help.
KitchenAid currently has its service center only in Delhi. Do check with the service center for more details on this.




If you are planning to buy the KitchenAid 5 Quart Tilt Head,do definitely check their current offer of the ice cream maker attachment worth Rs.6,500 free on purchase of the stand mixer!

DISCLAIMER:*This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and buy through the link, I will earn a tiny commission on the same. I only recommend products which I have used and found good or those I would buy for myself.

You will be paying the same price as mentioned on the website, there will not be any variation here. This commission will help me with me costs of running the blog and channel and bring out more videos for you. Your support will be greatly appreciated!

More videos and recipes using the KitchenAid stand mixer coming up next, stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

How To Zest Citrus Fruits,Tools & Tips




Using orange, lemon or lime zest in your desserts and bakes gives them that zesty kick and aromawhich can't really be compared! Once you get hooked to this, you will not even want to touch synthetic essence with a 10 foot pole! Here are a few tips for zesting citrus fruit, tools you can use. 


I absolutely love using zest, orange zest in particular. It is not rocket science of course, but it may help to remember a couple of things when you zest citrus fruits. Zest is the outer colored part of citrus fruits. The natural oils in the skin gives that amazingly fresh aroma. 





Lemons have this thicker skin which gives you a generous lot of zest. Use lemons if you can find them as these limes can be stingy. You could also try using sweet limes. I like using Malta variety oranges as the skin is thicker. Of course as much as possible, try to use whatever is recommended or complements the recipe.

Remember to use really fresh fruits for the best aroma. The sad looking one from the bottom of the fridge will not work for sure. Try to use organic oranges, unsprayed ones as we will be using the skin here.  It is important to wash these well and wipe them dry.  Wash with warm water, in case you suspect the fruit is waxed.


Watch the video How To Zest Citrus Fruits



The best and my favorite tool for this is my microplane zester. Gives finely grated zest, with minimal effort,really fast! I would hate if I had to spend unnecessary time and effort for the simple task. You can order this online here in India or in the USA if someone can carry it for you.(usually much lower in price in the USA, be sure to compare)

If your recipe needs you to use both juice and the zest, zest the orange first and then squeeze the juice. If you do it the other way, it will be more pain than pleasure!

So we hold the zester at an angle and go back and forth, try not to use too much pressure as you do this.We need to scrape out just the colored part, not the white bitter pith here. Keep rotating the fruit as you go.


As much as possible, Try to grate it directly above the batter or eggs, where ever you want to use the zest. If you touch this with your hands, you may lose some of the oils here. You will hands will smell gorgeous though! If you grate directly without measuring with a spoon, you would  just have to take an educated guess. Use more rather than less,doesn't really hurt!Always use grated zest immediately. 

I like to whisk the zest with a small whisk into a small part of liquid in the recipe so that it is evenly distributed. A clump of it would taste terrible. 

If you do not have a zester, you can take a really sharp peeler or knife and peel out only the colored part. Then grind it with some sugar in the smallest jar of your processor till the zest is really fine. Remember, this sugar must be part of the recipe ingredients. 





Then we have these other kinds of citrus zesters. One which gives fine zest is good as otherwise you may get strands of it in your mouth unless you strain the batter. Not always pleasant. 

Then this is something you could use to grate out thin longish zest, appropriate for using as a garnish or your cakes and desserts. Check these out here and here. Do note these strands dry in minutes, so best limited to blog and Instagram purposes!

I am not sure if a regular box type cheese grater would work well, it would be difficult to use, the zest not as fine, plus you may injure your fingers. 

Then you could also make your citrus zest powder. I came across powdered lemon zest in Rose Beranbaum's Baking Bible. Take super fine sugar and rub into the zest. Spread it on a plate in a thin layer. and let it feels dry to the touch Let it dry at room temperature for about 12 hours. 
Grind it using a mortar and pestle, strain it using a fine meshed strainer, grind and powder again. Store airtight, you can freeze this airtight for 2 months. She suggests using this as a garnish.




Once you start using freshly grated zest, you will never look at oranges or the peel to be precise, the same way again!


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