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.

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

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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Cakes n bakes

Super moist 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

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Cakes n bakes

Mexican wedding cake

Mexican wedding cakes

Mexican wedding cakes also known as Russian tea cakes or butter cookies are very delicious and just melts in the mouth. As butter is the main ingredient, it is very important to use a high quality butter to get a rich taste. Use of any kind of nuts gives a very nice nutty flavor and taste.

Ingredients:

Butter- 1 cup (room temperature)

All purpose flour– 2 cups

confectionary sugar 1/2 cup + 1 cup

Walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts 2/3 cup toasted and powdered

Vanilla extract– 1/2 tsp

Salt -1/4 tsp

Preparation:

Toast the nuts at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes until light brown, cool down before grinding to get a powdered mixture or else you will end up getting a lump. Use a hand mixer or food processor to mix the butter and 1/2 cup of confectionary sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in vanilla extract and mix again. In a separate bowl mix salt and all-purpose flour. Add the flour slowly and mix it completely until incorporated. Finally add the nut mixture and bring the mixture into a dough. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for an hour.

Mexican wedding cake

Preheat the oven to 350°C. Spray the cookie sheet with baking spray or use a  parchment paper. Scoop 1 tbsp or 100 oz of mixture, make it in to a round shape and line up the dough 2 inches apart.

Mexican wedding cake

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges and the bottom just turn light golden brown.

Mexican Wedding Cake

Spread 1 cup of confectionary sugar on a flat bottom. As soon as the cookies are out of the oven, take a spatula and slowly grab the cookie and toss and turn the cookie in the sugar. The cookie should be completely coated with sugar. If you not a sugar person as I am, you can just sprinkle some sugar on top as well. Make sure you cool it completely before tasting it!

Mexican wedding cake

Mexican wedding cake

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Cakes n bakes

Eggless fruit and nut cake

I was a crazy fan of this fruit and nut cake when I was a small kid and I am now too! My neighbor used to never miss making this cake on the occasion of Christmas and I used to never miss going to her house to eat it. She baked it really well and the taste was heavenly. I knew she used to add eggs and little rum to get the flavor and texture. For a long time I wanted to bake this cake but I was looking for a eggless cake specially for my mom who prefers to eat eggless and finally got a good recipe from show me the curry. Frankly, I was never anticipating such an outcome. It turned out so fluffily and perfect. We could just not wait for the cake to cool and were digging in to have our share!

Ingredients:

Raisins, cranberries, tutty fruity or any other glazed fruit- 1/3 cup of each (1 cup total)

Chopped cashew, Almonds, walnut – 1/3 cup of each (1 cup total)

All purpose flour -1 3/4 cup

Sugar- 1 cup

Baking soda-1 tsp

Cinnamon powder-1/4 tsp

Nutmeg powder-1/4 tsp

Salt- 1/4 tsp

Butter-1/2 cup

Water- 2 cups

Vallina essence- 1tsp

Preparation:

Bring two cups of water to boil adding raisins and cranberries or any other chopped dried friut for 10 minutes, closing the lid.

Turn off the heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Add butter and stir to mix it completely and keep aside. Cool it further for another 10 minutes. Mix sifted all purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and salt.

Stir in the dry ingredients into water which has butter, raisins and cranberries. Mix everything completely and finally add chopped nuts, tutty fruity or glazed fruits if any.

Mix it well and pour it into a sprayed bunt cake pan or any regular 12″ baking pan.

Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes depending on your oven. Tooth pick inserted should come out clean when done.

Allow it to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, loosen the edges with a buttered knife, turn it upside down on a cooling rack and cool further for few minutes, before cutting the cake.

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