Friday, August 31, 2012

Mocha Walnut Bundt Cake - And A Break...


Coffee, walnuts and chocolate - they have a way of worming their way into my baking wish list! The trio in a marbled bundt cake - irresistible! Flip through Dorie Greenspan's Baking - From My Home To Yours and this cake is sure to charm you into baking it! A rich batter of dark chocolate, ground walnuts and coffee swirled through a vanilla walnut batter. A drizzle of chocolate sauce over the slice adds to the charm. A slightly but pleasantly dense cake with a fine crumb . The chocolate and coffee part, if you ask me, was even better! 

I have to admit, I am not always lucky marbling cakes. Turns out Lady luck was on my side this time around, may be I can marble cakes after all! One way of doing this is placing alternate spoonfuls of batter in the pan and then running a skewer through it to give a more marbled effect. First spooning all of the batter of one color into the bundt, then the other batter on top, then swirl will give a ginkgo pattern. Amazing! With marbled cakes, you will hold your breath till you cut the cake and see what pattern has emerged -  its never the same! Amazing!

 Mocha Walnut Bundt Cake , From Dorie Greenspan's 'Baking - From My Home To Yours'.  I have halved the original recipe and baked in my small 6 cup bundt pan.

Watch this video for tips on preparing a bundt pan and unmolding it properly.

How to melt chocolate


How to grind nuts for baking

  • All Purpose Flour - 316 grams / 2 1/4 cups - grams (please refer note) 
  • Finely ground walnuts - 1/2 cup 
  • Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature  - 226 grams / 8 oz /1 cup (please read note) plus
  • Unsalted butter at room temperature - 28 grams /1 oz / 2 tablespoons / , cut into 4 pieces ( to be used for melting the chocolate)
  • Bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped - 3 ounces / 84 grams
  • Hot or cold coffee (can also use plain water)- 1/4 cup
  • Finely ground instant coffee or  instant espresso powder - 1 teaspoon ( I have used heaping 2 teaspoons, for full recipe as I used hot water)
  • Sugar - 350 grams /1 3/4 cups ( I use super fine)
  • Eggs, at room temperature - 4 large / 192 grams
  • Pure vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
  • Whole milk ( I have used 2%), at room temperature- 1 cup


GETTING READY: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350°F. Grease a 9 - to 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan with special attention to the nooks and crannies, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. 
Sift together the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder, and salt twice. Set aside. Break the eggs and put them in a bowl, whisk lightly, weigh, set aside.

Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter, chocolate, instant coffee and hot water in a pan of barely simmering water (watch video above). Remove the bowl from the heat. Set aside. You can also melt using a microwave. 

Have another medium sized, clean and dry bowl ready. You will be mixing the chocolate batter in this. An extra spatula and a thin long skewer to swirl the batter.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl ( I used my hand mixer, speed 2), beat the remaining 1 cup of butter and the sugar at medium speed for about 3 minutes – you’ll have a thick paste; this won’t be light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. The mixture should look smooth and satiny. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients and the milk alternately, adding the dry mixture in 3 portions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients).

Scrape a little less than half of the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and, using a rubber spatula, stir to blend thoroughly.

If you want to go for the gingko pattern, scrape all of the white batter into the pan and top with the chocolate ( I have put the chocolate first). If you want a more marbled pattern, alternate spoonfuls of light and dark batter in the pan. When all the batter is in the pan, swirl a table knife sparingly through the batters to marble them.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes ( I baked the small cake for 50 minutes), or until a thin skewer inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean and the vanilla part is a nice golden brown. Transfer the Bundt pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding ( I use a plastic knife), then cool the cake completely on the rack. I play safe, cool for almost 1/2 to 1 hour.

Please note:

Flour - Dorie measures flour using the dip and sweep method, which weighs 140 grams /5 oz per cup.
Walnuts - I have first ground chopped walnuts and then measured. I have then ground it with some of the flour in the smallest jar of my mixer before proceeding.
Butter - To get the butter to room temperature, take it out of the fridge, weigh and cut into cubes and keep it on your counter. The butter should not be too soft or oily - it should be pliable but still cool to the touch, that's when its ready to use says Dorie.

I am going to be taking a short break from blogging - just stealing time for myself! A few of my blogger friends have been kind enough to guest-post for me during this period. So stay tuned for some fabulous treats coming up! Please do visit my space, leave your much awaited comments or drop me a line at suma dot rowjee at gmail dot com for any queries or just to say hello! Would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crispy Baked Onion Rings

                  There is no love sincerer than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

As a passionate foodie, the above quote makes me nod my head, as a weight watching and (weight-gaining foodie), the quote makes me sigh! Love for food leads to the constant quest to make food taste better while trying to reduce the impact on the bathroom scales, wishing that I can have my cake and eat it too! Double sigh!!  While I do love eating deep-fried food once in a while (who doesn't?), I do not love these enough to make an effort to make these at home. Thankfully my mind and my taste-buds both welcome baked versions of the usually fried snack/dish as much as the deep-fried ones. And when baked / low fat versions come close to the taste of deep-fried counterparts, its difficult not to like them! I love Low Fat Potato Wafers   and Masala Peanuts, I keep making them at least to show folks that its possible and now found these baked onion rings! The Baked Onion Rings on Ayeesha's blog looked super inviting and had to be tried! Am glad I did - Crisp, satisfying onion rings to go with your cuppa - as you watch the rain pouring...

A simple, really easy recipe which can be put together really quickly if you have cornflakes and bread crumbs on hand ( I normally don't have either at home). Perfect for feeding 2-4 people, but may not be a great idea to bake in batches for a larger crowd. The onion rings are dipped in a batter of egg, flour, buttermilk and seasoning, dredged in a mixture of processed bread-crumbs and cornflakes. Baked on a hot, oiled baked sheet, these give you about 10 onion rings for about a tablespoon of oil! In my opinion, low fat versions cannot taste the same as deep-fried, at best can only come close - and I am content with that. So allowing that margin will leave you happier when you try these..

Recipe as on Taste Of Pearl City, original recipe from Martha Stewart. The original recipe has more cornflakes, Ayeesha has used less. More cornflakes gives a more coarse mouth-feel whereas less gives a smoother taste, I liked using equal parts of cornflakes and crumbs as Ayeesha does.

  • Cornflakes - 1 Cup ( Martha Stewart uses 1 1/2 cups)
  • Plain dried breadcrumbs - 1 cup
  • Egg -  1 large
  • Low-fat buttermilk - 1/2 cup ( I used 3 parts yogurt, 1 part milk)
  • All-purpose flour / Maida - 1/4 cup
  • Cayenne pepper - 1/8 teaspoon
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper - to taste
  • 2 medium sized onions sliced into rings about 1cm thick (reserve the smaller rings for another use)
  • Olive oil or Vegetable Oil - 2 tablespoons


  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C / 425 degrees F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with half a tablespoon of oil or more ( depending on the size of the tray and the number of rings you can fit in. I used a 6x10 tray, could fit about 10 rings, used 1 tablespoon oil in all) Keep aside. Have another large plate ready to place the crumb coated rings in. Do not  place the rings directly on the tray as its imperative to have the tray hot when you place the rings.
  2. In a food processor, pulse cornflakes and breadcrumbs until fine crumbs form, then transfer to a  bowl. Take some of the mixture in a tray. As you dredge the rings, the mixture tends t clump, so you are better off using part of the mixture at a time. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, flour, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Dip onion rings in egg mixture (letting excess drip off) and dredge in cornflake mixture; place on a large plate. Pour oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and heat for 2 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and tilt to coat evenly with oil. Arrange onion rings on the sheet.
  4. Bake for about 8-10 minutes on one side till golden, flip the rings, then add another 1/2 tablespoon oil ( to help the dryish looking top halves of the rings bake better), gently tilt the sheet to coat the rings with oil. Bake until the rings are golden brown another 8-10 minutes. Watch carefully after 6-7 minutes as they turn to burn pretty fast.
  5. Serve hot. These crisp up as they cool. Do not store as they taste best eaten as soon as they are made.

Please note : The cornflakes are the kind meant to be deep-fried, typically used in savory mixtures. Called makai ka chiwda, you will find them in most super markets and smaller provision stores too. Do not slice the onions very thin as they shrink as they bake. Do not worry about the amount of onion or crumb mixture or batter, you will be left with excess of these. So its only a matter of slicing another onion.

The crumbs did not coat the rings perfectly and am sure you have seen prettier onion rings, but these taste good! I shall be making these again, thanks Ayeesha for sharing this keeper of a recipe!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Congress Kadalekai - Spicy Peanuts, Iyengar Bakery Style!

Congress Kadalekai – Super spicy, roasted and de-skinned groundnuts neatly packed and sold in most bakeries. Redolent of the smell of hing, curry leaves generously thrown in, this is an ever popular snack in South India. Have you ever wondered why it is called as Congress Kadalekai? I have no idea! All I know is that it makes a terrific snack and a wonderful  accompaniment to your cup of coffee or tea. Hubby loves these peanuts and doesn't miss an opportunity to buy a packet of congress kadalekai whenever he happens to park within walking distance of  a good Iyengar bakery. Often when we wait for our turn at the billing counter of the super-market, he disappears saying he will be back in 5 minutes. I know without asking that he has gone to buy that packet of peanuts and some buttermilk. More often than not, they are very spicy and he does not get beyond eating a small handful as he can’t eat spicy food to save his life! 

This is a super simple recipe, the shelled peanuts are roasted and de-skinned, then split  into halves - the time consuming and laborious part, specially if you need to make this in large quantities.  From then its just a matter of heating a little oil, adding spices and the split peanuts. Honestly, I would normally not have even made an effort to make these at home if hubby had not sighed a little too loudly not being  able to savor one of his favorite snacks - thanks to the generous usage of  red chilli powder.  If you are like me and never even gave a thought about making these at home till today you may want to read the recipe. You may fancy a variation in the taste or you could make your own congress kadalekai if its not available where you live!

Now, there are a couple of more tasty ways to eat these peanuts. Sandwiched between buttered buns and even in your South Indian Style salad - gaadi chaat style. For the first time when I saw the congress kadalekai bun, my reaction was something which the bakery guy would not have loved to see. Weird, I had thought. Then a bite, then does taste good after all! The soft bun, the butter, the spiciness and crunch of the peanuts. If you have never eaten this before, you must try! 

Peanuts – 2 cups
Oi l - 2 teaspoons
Hing – A generous pinch
Red chilli powder – heaping 1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste, mine is less spicy)
Curry leaves –  a few
Salt – to taste
Sugar – A tiny pinch

Dry roast the peanuts in a skillet over low heat. Be careful as you do not want them to brown. Cool. De-skin, then split them into two. Heat the oil in the same skillet. When hot, add the curry leaves and the hing.  Turn off the heat. When the oil cools to warm, add the red chilli powder. (If you add it when the oil is hot, the chilli powder will burn resulting in a terrible taste and unappealing color) Add the sugar and salt, tip in the peanuts. Mix well. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

You must pop some in your mouth when you carve something spicy or as you watch television or read a book. Why, you don’t really need a reason, do you?  If you have never eaten a Congress Kadalekai bun, you may have just another excuse !

Thursday, August 9, 2012

No Knead Nutella And Orange Rolls (Eggless)

I am guilty of overdoing the chocolate bit here. Dark Chocolate And Orange Biscotti and then Almond Brownies. Now Nutella and Orange Rolls. I could have been smart and said I am going to be doing some kind of a chocolate extravaganza on my blog. But I guess its only a little too late. Where is my time-machine when I need it?

You see, a chocoholic has little choice when she wakes up one day to realize her jar of chocolate hazelnut spread expires in just a few days. Unthinkable to waste all that chocolate, I can see you nod your head in agreement. A crying shame if a blogger doesn't take this opportunity to 'make' a post ( we all agree on this as well of course). 

So for starters, I make these easy easy rolls which need hardly any hands on time. The perfect thing as I had just enough time to make the dough the previous day, just enough time to shape the rolls and bake them first thing in the morning.

When Ree Drummond has tried 4 variations of the 'evil rolls', I can surely put another variation here. The ever popular Nutella and some grated orange zest in soft, sweet yeasted rolls. Hope this is forgivable. Greatest horror of horrors, I have had no time or opportunity to bake anything new (deliberation delayed this post), but thankfully have had just enough time to copy paste the text from Cinnamon Rolls. Hope this is forgivable as well.

Please follow my page on Facebook for updates on new videos for beginners in baking, every Monday! Click here to subscribe to my You Tube Channel. Click to subscribe now!

If you are new to working with yeast, please make sure you use good yeast and use it right. Here is my video on yeast and proofing it. 

Ingredients for dough :

Milk - 1 cup / 240 ml ( I used 2%)
Sugar - 1/4 cup / 50 grams
Vegetable Oil (or any flavorless oil) - 1/4 cup
Instant yeast (Or active dried yeast) - 1 1/4 teaspoon
All Purpose Flour - 260g (2 cups)  plus 33g (1/4 cup) Divided use
Baking powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Baking soda (scant, i.e, a little less than, just below the rim of the spoon) - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - 3/4 teaspoon

Grated Orange zest - 3/4 teaspoon

For the filling: When you spread the Nutella, do remember that the dough is sweet too, so not do use too much. Toasted nuts will help temper the sweetness and up the yumm factor as well.

  • Nutella or any chocolate hazelnut spread - 3 tablespoons (alter to suit your taste)
  • Lightly toasted and chopped walnuts/ hazelnuts - 3 tablespoons ( optional but recommended)

Procedure: First things first - Mise en place. Measure out all your ingredients and keep them ready.

  • Mix milk, sugar and vegetable oil in a pan, preferably one big enough to mix the dough in too, less cleanup later. Scald (heat until just before boiling) the mixture. Leave to cool for 45mins to an hour. The milk mixture must be lukewarm at the end of this period. In case you leave it for longer, just warm it till its lukewarm.
  • When the mixture is lukewarm, add the instant yeast. (if using active dried yeast, leave it for about 5-10 minutes till frothy and then carry on). Whisk in the orange zest, make sure there are no clumps of it.
  • Then add 260 grams of flour to the mixture. Stir to mix with a spatula, you will get a batter that's quite sticky. Cover and let the batter sit for 1 hour or till double. Mine took an hour. It may take lesser time if its warmer.
  • Mix the 33 grams (1/4 cup) flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this to the flour mixture in the pan. Mix till everything comes together. It will still be very sticky. You could make the rolls straightway or refrigerate the dough. I would not attempt handling the sticky mass at this point of time. Chilling makes it easier to handle. So transfer it to a large box, close the lid loosely. The box must be large enough to allow the dough to more than double and still have some space left over. You don't want a mess in your fridge when you wake up! Divide dough into half, refrigerate and use separately if you can bake only one small tray at a time.
  • When ready to make the rolls, before you even take the dough out of the fridge, get the below things ready. 
  • Line your baking tin with parchment and grease the sides. I used a 9'' square tin and a smaller tin as I baked simultaneously in the microwave and OTG. You could also bake two separate batches, taking out only portion of the dough at a time. Have your silicon brush, soft butter, rolling pin, sharp knife or dough scraper, extra flour ready. Flour your work surface with enough flour. This being a sticky dough, it would otherwise be impossible to roll out. If you take the dough out first and then spend time on this, your dough will lose the firmness and will not be as easy to handle.
  • Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape. I rolled it out into a 17'' x 11''rectangle aprox. This will be quite thin. Dust the dough and work surface with flour when necessary.
  • Spread Nutella evenly and sprinkle the toasted nuts.
  • Start from the opposite end of the dough, roll the dough neatly in a line towards you. Roll as tightly as possible. Pinch the seams to seal.
  • Using a sharp knife or bench scraper (a bench scraper works really well for this), cut into1 inch thick slices and arrange in your pan(s). Place them spaced apart.
  • Cover with a greased aluminum foil (not that they will rise vertically, but if the foil touches the dough, you want to be safe), let the the rolls double in size. This again took about 50 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degree F towards the end of the rise time.
  • Bake for 20 -25 minutes until golden brown or till the temperature on your instant read thermometer reads 200F.  Don't forget to watch them as they really swell as they bake!! The rolls in my OTG were done in 25 minutes, whereas the ones in the microwave took about 5-8 minutes longer. 
  •  Brush the rolls with melted butter for a softer crust. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then completely on the rack.
  • If you are new to baking breads, do read the below posts for better success rates!.

    Know Your Yeast
    Basics About Yeast Breads

These rolls go to Susan's Yeast Spotting