Cakes n bakes

Chocolate-Caramel bars

Chocolate caramel bar

My cousin is enamored of baking like me and has tried and tested fair amount of recipes from around the world. He is a good chef and is perfect in what he does. Last year he had brought some home made peach bread and these chocolate-caramel bars. These were the yummiest I have tried so far and hence been wanting to post this in my blog. All thanks to him for sharing the recipe with me!.

P.S. At the end I myself was so tempted to have it that, I never waited it to cool completely and cut them into squares too quickly and hence can see in my pictures that they are not prefect squares 🙂

Makes 24 bars

Ingredients:

All purpose flour-1 cup

Brown sugar- 1/2 cup packed

Butter- 1/2 cup

Pecans- 2 cups coarsely chopped

Flaked coconut- 1 cup

Sweetened condensed milk- 1 14oz can

Vanilla extract-2 tsp

Vanilla caramels- 20 (unwrapped) or 160 gms uncovered morsels

Milk- 2 tbsp

Semisweet chocolate morsels- 1 cup

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

For crust: In a medium bowl, stir together flour and brown sugar. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Chocolate caramel bar

Press onto the bottom of ungreased pan  13X9X2 inch pan.Chocolate caramel bar

Bake for 15 minutes.

Chocolate caramel bar

Sprinkle pecans and coconut over the hot crust.Chocolate caramel bar

Meanwhile for filling : In a small bowl combine unsweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. carefully pour over the pecan and coconut spreading evenly.

Chocolate caramel bar

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling is set. Cool the pan on wire rack for ten minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine caramel and milk. cook and stir over medium-low heat just until the caramel is melted. Drizzle caramel mixture over the filling. Sprinkle with chocolate morsels. Cool completely.

Chocolate caramel bar

Cut into bars.08-IMG_7793

Chocolate caramel bar

Standard
Cakes n bakes, Desserts/Sweets

Baklava

Baklava

Last month, my friend invited me for a potluck party, I agreed and I decided on making Baklava. I had made these before and was comfortable preparing it the second time too.. but here comes the trouble..

Baklava’s were baking and I kept the syrup on stove and forgot to start the timer. BUMMER! Meantime my son started throwing tantrums and had to be with him for a while and completely forgot about the syrup boiling. When I was back to the kitchen, my syrup had crystallized and had to redo the syrup all over again! Thankfully I was ahead of time and prepared the syrup right on time when the baklava’s just finished baking.

All in all, never forget to start on your timer 🙂 Baklava’s turned out nicely and everyone enjoyed eating it!

Ingredients:

1/2 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough

9 ounces chopped nuts ( I used almonds, pistachios, walnuts)

1/2 cup and 1 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup and 1 tbsp water

1/2 cup and 1 tbsp white sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup and 1 tsp honey

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×9 inch pan.
Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside.

nuts

Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work.

02-IMG_5420

Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered.

03-IMG_5421

Sprinkle 2 – 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 -8 sheets deep.

Baklava

Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.

Baklava

Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

Baklava

Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

Baklava

BaklavaBaklava

Standard
Cakes n bakes

Tres Leches cake

Tres Leches cake

A very light and fluffy cake which is soaked in a mixture of milk, condensed milk and heavy cream.. It’s a favorite cake of my two and a half-year old son and I never get tired of baking it. A super delicious cake!

Ingredients:

All-purpose flour-1 1/2 cups

Baking powder-1 teaspoon

Unsalted butter-1/2 cup

white sugar-1 cup

eggs-4

Vanilla extract-1/2 teaspoon

Whole milk or evaporated milk-1 cup

sweetened condensed milk-1 (14 ounce) can

Heavy whipping cream -1 cup

Frosting:

whipped fluffy white frosting- 1 tin (store bought)

Strawberries-4 optional

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.  Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.  Cream butter  and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, beat well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended.

8-IMG_4821

Pour batter into prepared pan.

9-IMG_4833

 Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Meanwhile combine the whole milk, condensed milk and whipping cream and keep aside.

2-IMG_4798

Once the cake is done baking allow it to cool for 5 minutes.

Tres Leches

Poke the top of the cake every half-inch with the long-tined fork, wiping fork occasionally pierce cake several times with a fork.

3-IMG_4803

Pour the liquid mixture over the top of the cooled cake.

4-IMG_4807

5-IMG_4811

Spread the whipped fluffy frosting over the top of cake when the cake is completely cooled. Decorate with slices of strawberries or just leave it plain. Be sure to keep the cake refrigerated, enjoy!

Tres Leches cake

Tres Leches cake

Standard
Appetizers/Snacks, Cakes n bakes

Zucchini parmesan crisps

Zucchini crisps

Winter season always calls for quick and hot starters or snacks in my house and this is one of them. At the beginning I got few batches which got a little soggy. After going through the web, I started preheating the baking sheet too and then started layering the zucchini and they turned perfect and crispy.

Ingredients:

zucchini- 2, medium

olive oil- 1 Tbsp

1/4 cup- bread crumbs

1/4 cup- grated parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp- salt

pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450 degree F. Mix all the ingredients expect zucchini in a bowl.

2-IMG_5253

Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds.

1-IMG_5251

Then dip the zucchini rounds on both sides and layer them on the preheated baking sheet which has been greased with cooking spray.

3-IMG_5254

Bake them until they are brown and crispy for 28-30 minutes and serve immediately!

Zucchini crisps

 

Standard
Cakes n bakes

Simple eggless chocolate cake

Eggless chocolate cake

This is quick and easy recipe for a eggless chocolate cake, all you need are the ingredients, bowl and a spatula to mix it. No need of hand mixer or even eggs to beat!

We had been to Puerto Rico few years back and during our stay we had been to a fancy restaurant where they served the chocolate cake with the richest vanilla ice-cream and chocolate shavings on top plus two mango slices to compliment. It was simply the best combination I have ever had. So tried to mimic the same with this simple chocolate cake and it did not disappoint me at all!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups – all-purpose flour

1 cup – granulated white sugar

1/4 cup – unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp- baking powder

3/4 tsp-  baking soda

1/4 tsp- salt

1/3 cup- unsalted butter melted

1 cup- warm water

1 tbsp- lemon juice

1 tsp- pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup- heavy cream

1 tbsp – unsalted butter, room temperature

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the center of the oven. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients first ie flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt. Once combined, add warm water mixed with lemon juice, vanilla extract, melted butter. Mix until all the ingredients are combined with a spatula.

batter

Add the mixture to a greased 8 inch square pan.

Eggless Chocolate cake

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Eggless Chocolate cake

Frosting: Place the chocolate, butter and cream in a heat proof bowl.

Frosting

Place over a saucepan of simmering water and melt until smooth. Remove from heat and allow it to come to room temperature or pouring consistency.

Frosting

Then pour the frosting over the cooled cake and let stand until thickened.

Eggless Chocolate cake

Have it with a scoop of your favorite ice-cream and mango slices or just simply the cake!

Eggless Chocolate cake

Standard
Cakes n bakes

Coconut cupcakes

Coconut cupcakeCoconut cupcake

Back again after a short break. My brother-in-law is an entrepreneur and launched his product in March. You can click on the below link for more information. http://www.automatic.com/. We were all excited about the launch and I wanted to treat him with something special. So came up with this coconut cupcake idea and baked it. This was just a starter for him 🙂 We had a wonderful dinner afterwards.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup  – all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp -baking powder

1/4 tsp- salt

1 tsp- lemon zest

1/2 cup –unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 cup- granulated white sugar

2- large eggs

1 1/2 tsp – pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

Cream cheese frosting:

2 1/2 cup – confectionary sugar

4 tbsp- unsalted butter (room temperature)

4 ounce- cream cheese (room temperature)

1/2 tsp- pure vanilla extract

Garnish:

2 cups- roasted unsweetened shredded coconut flakes

Preparation:

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line up 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Beat the butter in your electric mixer or stand mixer for two minutes. Add the sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Mix in vanilla extract until soft and fluffy. Add flour and milk alternatively (starting and ending with flour) and mix everything until well incorporated.

Coconut cupcake

Evenly fill all the liners.

Coconut cupcake

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not over the cupcakes.

Coconut cupcake

Allow it to cool on a wire rack. Smear the frosting on the cupcake using a spatula and garnish with roasted shredded coconut flakes on top. (Dip the frosted side of the cake in a bowl containing coconut flakes).

Frosting:

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth (2-3 minutes). Add vanilla extract and beat for a minute. Mix sugar in small portions at a time and  beat well until it forms stiff peaks. Add a tablespoon of milk if too thick or add little sugar if the mixture is thin.

Coconut cupcake

Coconut cupcake

Coconut cupcake

 

Standard
Cakes n bakes

Dark chocolate chip cookies

Dark chocolate chip cookies

Seeing my history of using dark chocolate, I don’t really have to explain how obsessed I am with dark chocolates. I always feel so good about making a fresh batch of cookies. Well these cookies are very similar to the one printed on the bag of Nestle’s Chocolate Chips. I prefer the cookies to be a bit chewy with caramelized edges and hence make use of both brown and white sugar.

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter– 1 cup

Granulated white sugar- 3/4 cup

Light brown sugar- 3/4 cup packed

Pure vanilla extract– 1 1/2 tsp

Large eggs- 2

Salt-1/4 tsp

Baking soda– 1tsp

All purpose flour– 2 1/4 cup

dark chocolate chips– 1 1/2 cup

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree F and line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl,  using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add white and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time making sure you beat well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well.

In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the mixture slowly to the liquid mixture and mix well until no lumps are visible. Add in the chocolate chips and give it a nice stir. If the dough is very soft, refrigerate for an hour.

cookie dough

Using two spoons drop about two tbsp of dough onto the baking sheet. Make sure there is enough spacing between the dough to rise and flatten. Bake for 12- 14 minutes and cool it completely on a wire rack before tasting!

Dark chocolate chip cookies

Standard
Cakes n bakes

Dark chocolate brownies

Brownies

Brownies are wonderful “cakey” or “fudgy” type of dessert which goes superbly well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or just plain…Am I right? I have tried many different type of brownies and this recipe brings me a complete satisfaction in terms of slight crispness on the outside and soft chewy texture on the inside. Addition of dark chocolate morsels gives it a nice chocolatey flavor and no one can eat just one!

Servings- 16 pieces

Ingredients:

All purpose flour- 3/4 cup

Sugar- 1 cup

Salt- 1/4 tsp

Pure vanilla extract- 1tsp

Large eggs- 3 at RT

Unsalted butter- 1 stick or 1/2 cup (cut into squares)

Dutch processed cocoa powder- 2 tbsp

Bitter sweet chocolate chopped- 5 oz

Dark chocolate morsels- 3/4 cup

Preparation:

Pre heat the oven to 350 degree F. In a medium heat proof saucepan, add bitter-sweet chocolate and pieces of unsalted butter.

Brownies

Microwave for a minute or 2 until the mixture forms a smooth paste. (Do not boil the mixture, they have to just melt). Add sugar, pure vanilla extract and mix well. Add in the eggs one by one and give it a quick stir. Now add, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder and salt.

Brownies

Mix until no lumps are visible. Finally add the dark chocolate morsels and stir. Pour the mixture to a 8 inch greased square pan.

Brownies

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Perfect brownies are done when little crumbs stick to the tooth pick when inserted.

Dark chocolate brownies

Dark chocolate browniesDark chocolate brownies

Standard
Cakes n bakes

Chocolate banana nuts bread

Chocolate banana bread

Last week my fruit basket was filled with bananas. Some how my husband and I both shopped for them and ended up with two bunches of bananas at home. So I thought to make use of some bananas by making the bread. Since I had already prepared banana walnut bread, I thought of making chocolate pecan this time. The bananas were ripe enough which was perfect for baking. The flavor of banana and chocolate while baking was irresistible. My 19 month old son was not ready to come out of the kitchen until I   removed the bread out of the oven. He loved having it more than anyone!

Ingredients:

All purpose flour-1 3/4 cup

Granulated white sugar-1 cup

Baking powder-1 tsp

Baking soda-1/4 tsp

Salt-1/4 tsp

Dark chocolate chips-1/2 cup

Pecans and walnut-1/4 cup each toasted and chopped

Unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder-1/4 cup

Unsalted butter– 1/2 cup melted and brought to room temperature

Large eggs-2 at room temperature

Pure vanilla extract– 1tsp

Ripe bananas-3 mashed

Preparation:

Pre heat oven to 350°F. Whisk all the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder) together.

Chocolate banana bread

In a separate bowl mix vanilla extract to lightly beaten eggs, add in the melted butter and give it a nice stir.

Add the mixture slowly to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Now add the mashed bananas, nuts and chocolate chips, mix lightly until just combined . Do not over mix the components.

Chocolate banana bread

Chocolate banana bread

Add the mixture into 9X5 inch loaf pan greased with baking spray or oil.

Chocolate banana bread

Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Chocolate banana bread

Enjoy!

Chocolate banana bread

Standard
Cakes n bakes

chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate cupcake

Well the word chocolate itself is mouth-watering to me! And I bet there are many chocoholics out there. I have tried many versions of chocolate cupcakes and I am very sure I will stick with recipe from now on. These cupcakes are so moist that you feel like having more of it. I had taken these cupcakes for a potluck party at my workplace and it was no doubt a great hit 🙂 All thanks to joy of baking which had this wonderful cupcake recipe which I fell in love with. Just changed the original recipe a bit for my taste buds and here I present the recipe to you all…

Ingredients:

1/2 cup – Dutch processed dark cocoa powder

1 cup – boiling water

1 1/3 cup –  Sifted all-purpose flour

2 tsp Baking powder

1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup – Granulated white sugar

2 – Large eggs

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Frosting:

4 ounces – Unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup Unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/3 cups – Sifted powdered sugar or icing sugar

1 1/2 tsp  Pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F Line 16 cupcake liners and keep it ready. Whisk all the dry ingredients like salt, baking powder and all-purpose flour, keep aside. In another bowl mix the hot water and cocoa powder until smooth and bring the mixture to room temperature.

Chocolate cupcake

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, use a hand mixer or an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in vanilla extract.

Chocolate cupcake

Slowly add the flour mixture until everything is incorporated. Finally add the cocoa mixture and mix everything well.

Chocolate cupcake

Add the mixture to the cupcake liners until they are 2/3rd full.

chocolate cupcake

Bake for 17-19 minutes until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Do not over bake the cupcakes as they will lose the moistness. Remove from oven and cool them on a wire rack.

chocolate cupcake

chocolate cupcake

Once the cupcakes cools,you can smear the frosting on the cupcake using a spatula or if you have a piping, use a large 1M thick open star tip to make the swirls on the cupcake.

Frosting:

Melt the chocolate pieces in the microwave or place the  heat proof bowl with chocolate  on a saucepan of simmering water. Mix it until it melts and forms a smooth texture.

chocolate cupcake

In another bowl beat the butter well, add the powdered sugar and beat again. Mix it until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate, beat until smooth and glossy for about 3-4 minutes.

chocolate cupcake

Smear or add into the piping and decorate the cupcakes as you like!

chocolate cupcake

Standard