Saturday, November 28, 2020

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream


Cupcakes are such a fun treat to make as they bring smiles on the faces of children and adults alike. I made these cupcakes as a thank you for my neighbor and I really liked the rich taste of the added dark chocolate coming through. The original recipe calls for vanilla frosting but I found it too sweet (I don’t like buttercream at all) and added some cocoa powder to adjust the sweetness. 

These cupcakes are delicious  and can be eaten without the frosting as well. 

Recipe - Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients - Makes 12 Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes

85 Grams (3 ounces) Dark Chocolate (70%) finely chopped
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
6 Tbsp Sunflower Oil
2 Eggs
2 Tsp White Vinegar 
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence 

For The Chocolate Frosting
1 Cup Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp Vanilla Essence
1 to 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
A Pinch of Salt

Make The Cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350 Degree Fahrenheit (180 Degree Celsius). Line a 12 cup cupcake pan with liners.
2. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and mix well. place in the fridge for 20 minutes or completely cool.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. 
4. Add the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla essence to the cooled chocolate mixture  and whisk till smooth.
5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared liners. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes until the cupcakes are firm to touch.
6. Cool Completely on a wire rack and frost.

Make The Frosting

1. Whip the butter on high for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar, salt and cocoa powder. 
2. Increase the speed to high and add the vanilla. Whip till fluffy for 2 minutes.
3. Add the heavy cream and mix well. 
4. Fill into piping bag and frost into desired shape. (I used a 1 M tip for the swirl).

The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days. 

Happy Eating!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sticky Buns

 


Sticky buns are a close cousin to the glorious cinnamon roll. While the latter will always hold a special place in my heart, the Sticky Bun is hard to beat with its gooey caramel and nut topping.

The dough is fairly simple and comes together quite easily. The original recipe calls for Bread flour but I used All Purpose Flour and got good results. I made half the recipe and got 8 small buns for Latif and I to polish off in 2 days.

Recipe SourceBrown Eyed Baker

For the Dough
1/4 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
2 1/4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (At Room Temperature)
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Small Egg (Slightly Beaten)
1 /2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Instant Yeast
1/2 Cup + 1 Tbsp Whole Milk (At Room Temperature)

For the Cinnamon Sugar
3 1/4 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
3/4 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon

For The Caramel Glaze
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (At Room Temperature)
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1/4 Cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

Method
Prepare the Dough
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the sugar, butter and salt and whip for 2 minutes on medium speed with a paddle attachment.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat till smooth.
3. Add the flour, yeast and milk and mix till the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and mix for 10 minutes till the dough is elastic and slightly tacky. Alternatively you can knead by hand if you don't have a dough hook. You can add more flour if the dough is too sticky and difficult to handle.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough ball to it. Cover and keep in a warm place to rise until double in size (approximately 2 hours).

Prepare the Glaze
1. While the dough is rising, whip together the butter, sugars and salt with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the corn syrup and vanilla. Whip till light and fluffy, around 5 minutes.

Assemble the Rolls
1. Transfer the dough to a counter lightly dusted with flour. Roll it out into a rectangle of about 9x13 inches. Sprinkle the granulated sugar and cinnamon evenly all over. Roll into a spiral from the long side. Cut into 8 equal pieces.
2. Take a 9 inch round pan and transfer the glaze to it. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts all over. Place the dough rolls cut side up in a flower pattern.
3. Cover loosely and allow to rise for  75 - 90 minutes or until double in size and touching each other.

Bake the Rolls
1. Pre heat oven to 350 degree F/ 180 degree C.
2. Bake the rolls for 35 - 40 minutes or until golden brown. If your pan is not high enough place a baking tray underneath to catch the bubbling caramel.
3. Invert the buns to a serving platter and enjoy after 20 minutes.

Happy Eating!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Pistachio Shortbread

 


Shortbread is one of those biscuits that is so simple in its looks but super big on taste. I love it for its unapologetic buttery taste and crumbly texture. Though I had bookmarked this recipe since a long time I finally got a chance to make it this Eid. To say that it is an easy recipe is an understatement. All you need is very good quality butter and some flour and sugar. The pistachios kick it up a notch and makes it perfect for gifting.

Recipe Source - Not Quite Nigella

Ingredients

210 Grams Butter (Salted)
90 Grams Caster Sugar
230 Grams All Purpose Flour
60 Grams Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Pistachios

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 Degree F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  3. Add the two flours and mix until just combined. Gather into a dough and divide in two halves. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes just to make it easier for rolling.
  4. Flour a rolling mat lightly and place one of the dough halves on it. Roll it out into a large rectangle (approx 1/4 inch thickness). Press the pistachios into the dough and cut into small squares or desired shape. Lift the squares gently and place on prepared tray. Repeat with the other half and place on second baking tray. 
  5. Bake for 20 minutes (do not let the biscuits brown) and remove on a cooling rack. Cool completely then store in an air tight container.
TIP - I like to roll out my biscuits between two sheets of parchment paper. This way they don't stick to the rolling pin and makes the transfer easier.

Happy Eating!!

Monday, September 7, 2020

Mom's Apple Cake from Smitten Kitchen



My love for apples is well documented on this site with my favorite Apple Pie, a Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake, an Apple Crostata, Apple Pie Cupcakes, and lastly some Apple Shooters. This cake is another apple dessert that has joined the list of favorites and though I have made it many times I always forgot to photograph it for the blog. I finally made a smaller version and decided to post it here. Not only does it taste amazing, it is super easy to put together. The smell of cinnamon wafting through the air while its baking is an added bonus.

The original version from Smitten Kitchen makes a beautiful bundt style cake and is great for a crowd at a picnic or tea time. The quantities below are for a small loaf sized cake; perfect for two (or one apple crazy person like me).

Ingredients

For the Apples
3 medium apples
1/2 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
2 1/2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

For the Cake 
1 1/4 Cups + 2 Tbsp (180 grams) All purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup (117.5 ml) Sunflower Oil
1 Cup (200 grams) Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp Orange Juice
1 1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence
2 Large Eggs

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degree F or 175 Degree C. Grease a small loaf pan with butter and keep aside.
  2. Peel and chop the apples in small pieces. Toss with the cinnamon and the 2 1/2 Tbsp of sugar. 
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In another bowl mix together the oil, sugar, orange juice, vanilla and eggs.
  5. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan and top with half the apples. Scrape in the remaining batter and top with rest of the apples.
  7. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes till a tester comes out with crumbs attached.
  8. Cool completely before unmolding. 
Happy Eating!!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Strawberry Pudding Shots

A simple and quick dessert recipe that tastes a bit like cheesecake and a bit like an icebox cake. You can switch it up and use chocolate rolls with coffee and nuts or any other fruit like mango, cherry etc.

Recipe - Serves 4

Ingredients

6 squares Kiri Cheese or 100 Grams Philadelphia cream cheese (at room temperature)
6 small packs or 1 large roll of Americana Swiss Rolls Vanilla Flavour (any other brand will also do)
1 Sachet Creme Caramel Powder
1/4 Cup Thick Cream (e.g. Nestle or Puck)
1 Cup Chopped Strawberries
Additional Strawberry slices for garnish

Method

1. Put the cream cheese in a big bowl and beat till fluffy (about one minute). Add the creme caramel and cream and mix well. 
2. Mix in 1 cup chopped strawberries and beat till the strawberries are blended but not pureed. 
3. Slice the Swiss rolls in smaller pieces. Take four small cups or one 6x6 glass Pyrex. Place half the sliced cake pieces at the bottom and top with half of the pudding mixture. Repeat with the cake and pudding. Garnish with sliced strawberries. 
4. Chill in the fridge for an hour before serving. 

Happy Eating!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Pistachio Rabri Delight



I have a confession to make. I do not like mushy food. There. I said it. You know when you want to eat something good and you take a bite but it turns all mushy in your mouth. Ugh! Oatmeal is the biggest culprit here. Unless it is filled with nuts or mix ins I just cannot eat plain oatmeal. Same goes for desserts like Umm Ali or soggy bread pudding. So, when I wanted to make Shahi Tukda I knew that the bread had to remain crisp for me to like it. This is what I came up with: a layered version which doesn't soak the bread in sugar syrup so they remain nice and crisp. I added some condensed milk to the rabri to give it that extra sweet punch and really loved  the outcome. I would say it is heavily inspired by Shahi Tukda but it is not quite the same thing and that is why I have renamed it. 

Recipe - Serves 18-20

Ingredients
For Rabri
1 Litre Milk (Full Fat)
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Pinch Saffron

For Bread Base
10 Slices White Bread or Milk Bread
1/2 Cup Ghee

For Garnish
Sliced Pistachio
1/2 Cup Powdered Pistachio

Method
Make the Rabri
1. Place the milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to simmer and keep cooking the milk till it is reduced to half the quantity. Keep stirring the milk in intervals. A skin will keep forming on the top, keep moving the skin back into the milk. 
2. Once the milk is reduced, add the sugar and condensed milk. Mix well and adjust sweetness according to personal preference. Add the saffron. Turn off the heat and cool completely.

Prepare Bread Slices
1. Cut off the sides of the bread slices and cut each slice in half. 
2. Brush each slice with ghee (like spreading butter on bread). Apply ghee on both sides of the slice.
3. Heat a large frying pan and toast the bread slices on a low flame. Make sure they turn crisp but do not burn. Toast all the slices and keep aside.

Assemble the Pudding
1. Take a 9x13 baking dish or pyrex. Pour 1/3 of the prepared Rabri on the bottom. Place 10 pieces of the bread in a single layer on the rabri. Pour 1/3 of the rabri on the slices. Repeat the layers with bread and the remaining rabri. 
2. Garnish with the pistachio powder and slices.
3. Place in fridge for minimum of 4 hours. Serve chilled.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Brownies and Caramel Cheesecake Trifle



We had company over for Eid this time and I decided to make this dessert as I wanted something easy but eye catching. This trifle is a decadent mix of cheesecake and brownies that is easy to make and serves a crowd. This is a rich dessert so a little goes a long way. There are three different layers at play here: Brownies, Chocolate pudding and Caramel cheesecake (no bake). You can go all out and make everything from scratch (brownies, pudding and caramel) but I had to save my sanity  (on account that I was cooking Prawn Biryani, Rara mutton, Pineapple Upside Cake and Seven Layer Bars) and decided to use the packaged stuff. Either way, this turned out great and at the end of the night we had an empty trifle bowl. 

P.S: My cousins said it tasted like the Cheesecake Factory's 30th anniversary cheesecake. Hurray!

Recipe 

Ingredients
1 Pan Brownies (9x13) Cut into 2 inch cubes
200 Grams Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Caramel
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Packet Instant Chocolate Pudding (e.g. Jello or Dr. Oetkers) or 2 Cups homemade chocolate pudding
2 Cups Chilled Milk (If using homemade pudding omit this)

Method
Prepare the Layers
1. Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and keep aside.
2. Place the chocolate pudding mix in a medium bowl and add the 2 Cups milk. Whisk and prepare according to package directions.
3. Add one cup of the whipped cream and mix to combine. Keep aside till needed.
4. In a separate bowl, place the cream cheese and beat till fluffy. Add all but two tablespoons of the caramel and mix well.
5. Add the remaining whipped cream and beat till combined. 

Assemble The Trifle
1. In a trifle bowl, add half the chocolate pudding mixture and spread evenly at the bottom. Then add half the brownies. Lastly, add half the cheesecake mix and level it. Repeat all layers.
2. Finish with a drizzle of the two tablespoon caramel.
3. Place in fridge for minimum of 2 hours. Serve Chilled.

Happy Eating!