Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Hello to spring… Happy Ugadi…. and peanut butter ‘fudge’

First of all, happy ugadi wishes to everyone.

I know, I haven’t been around for a while. I have thought of you, and written blog posts in my mind… just never got around to writing them out here. What’s been going on here? A lot, and a lot of nothing. I was enjoying the beginnings of spring like anything. I think I may have seasonal affective disorder, because I just cannot handle winter (and our winter is very mild comparatively!). When the weather warmed up, I realized it had been a long time since I felt alive! The trees were blossoming everywhere. Crabapple, dogwoods, pear trees, cherry blossoms. One cute one with lilac coloured blooms (have to find out what kind it is). I even have some fav trees around the neighborhood that I wanted to photograph and share. There is this one perfectly shaped pear tree that is HUGE. I wonder how old it is. I went for a walk with the crab apple blossoms falling around me…  The air smelled so sweet that day. Then the wisteria started coming out. OOOOh I love wisteria. I only discovered its existence 2 years ago. I could go on and on.

But then it got cold again. Most of the blossoms have been blown away by wind and rain and time. And I have no pictures to share.

I’ve also been trying to make some changes. After having some health issues, gaining about 10 lbs over the winter, and doing lots of  reading, I’m dabbling with gluten free/grain free eating and reducing sugar intake, among other things. Ive been walking every day the weather was nice, and want to restart yoga. Oh and getting enough sleep. That is a huge one in my life.

Here is one of the new things I have tried. It is not classic fudge, contains no dairy at all, but you must like the taste of coconut(oil). 🙂

This recipe makes 6 pieces, but you can increase the amounts to 1/2c and 1/4c to make more.

  • 2Tbs coconut oil – use a good quality one with a nice aroma and taste
  • 2Tbs peanut butter (or almond/cashew butter)
  • 1Tbs white chocolate chips (made with cocoa butter)
  • 1Tbs honey

Melt the top three ingredients in a double boiler. Stir in the honey. Mix well and pour into small bowl/plate. Chill in the freezer and then transfer to fridge once it is firm. Cut into pieces and eat cold.

*I may still post recipes that I made in the recent past and photographed which do contain gluten*
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Nutella Chocolate Cobbler (Eggless)

Looks good, but not done yet!

Now, its done!

 

Calling all nutella and chocolate lovers!!!! You won’t want to miss this!

I can’t take credit for the idea… I saw this recipe over at savory sweet life and just had to make it! It totally fulfilled, or maybe surpassed, my expectations. Its very chocolatey and I love that it creates its own hot chocolate sauce! Have it with ice cream, or, with sliced bananas. Yes, it sounds weird but that was delicious! You can also have it as is, of course!

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 6 TBS cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk- I used chocolate almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1+1/2 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350

In an 8×8 baking dish (I did this right in the dish I was going to bake in, one less thing to wash!) mix together flour, baking powder, salt 3 TBS cocoa powder and 1/2c sugar. In a 2 or 4 cup glass measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave. Then add the milk to it, and heat it for 30 seconds or so. Mix together the melted butter and milk, then stir in the nutella and vanilla. This method makes it easier to blend the nutella with the dry ingredients. Pour it into the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Spread it evenly. In a separate bowl mix 1/2c sugar, 1/2c brown sugar, 3 Tbs cocoa powder and spread it over the batter in the baking dish. Then pour the hot water over everything and DO NOT stir! Carefully move it to the oven, and bake for 40-45 minutes.

*Note: it will puff up and look cake like, and seem to be done, but it isn’t yet. Only once it sort of falls and starts to form more of a crust on the top, and when you shake the dish it jiggles only slightly… then its ready.

Might be ugly, but it sure tastes gooood!

Linking with Torvie’s Food palette series: Brown and Aipi and Priya’s Bookmarked Recipes

Happy Bday JF~ Choco Cake w/ Cranberry Cream Filling

I’ve been a little mia lately, but I’m still here! And I’m back with cake!

For this I used the King Arthur moist chocolate cake recipe. Its very light and tender with a deep chocolate flavor. The icing has no pink food coloring, its all natural.

  • 2c K.A. cake flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4c sugar
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/3c oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c milk or buttermilk (I used half kefir and half milk)
  • 1/2c cooled coffee or water
  • 4 eggs

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and sugar. Add the butter and oil and mix in until it looks like sand.

Combine the milk, vanilla, and coffee (or water) together and add it to the flour mixture. Mix for a minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add eggs, one at a time beating well. Pour the batter into pans lined with parchment paper and buttered.

Bake in a preheated oven ( 350 degrees or 325 for convection ovens)  in one 9x 13 pan (34 minutes) or two round 9 inch(28 minutes)… for a thin cake like I did, use a 12x 17 sheet pan, even it out as much as you can and bake for around 10-12 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

  • 4 TBs cream cheese softened
  • 4 Tbs butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2c or more of powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs cranberry jam (I used homemade one, but you can use any flavor such as raspberry, strawberry, etc) warmed up

Beat together the butter and cream cheese. Add in the vanilla and then the powdered sugar until it becomes thick but spreadable. Stir in the warmed jam. We really loved the filling the best!

Cut rounds of the cooled cake out  (I used 3 inch biscuit cutters). Top half of them with the cranberry filling. Top with another round, placing bottom side up. Place on a wire rack over a baking pan. Then pour over the chocolate ganache. Keep in fridge or freezer for a few minutes until it sets.

Chocolate Ganache topping:

  • 1/2c heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2c 60% chocolate (I used ghirardelli)

Heat the cream just until hot, not boiling. Take off the heat and add in the chocolate. Stir it well until it melts and thickens.

I then put some icing into a ziploc bag and snipped off the tip so I can squeeze out little decorations. Add sparkling pomegranate gems.

Sending this to  Priya’s Now Serving -Best Western Desserts

Lemon Ginger Poppyseed Muffins – a little bite of sunshine

On these cold winter days, we need something to perk us up. Put a spring in our step. For me, that is lemons.

The first time JF and I met, we had lemon poppyseed muffins. He commented how those were his favorite, and so, they always remind me of that day. 😀

This recipe has been in my box at least four years. Four years! I had written it down out of a cookbook called Luscious Lemon Desserts. I totally lurrrve lemon!! I saw another popular lemon muffin recipe online, but using just one little lemon… it definitely did not have enough intense lemon punch for me. Lemon flavoring? No way. I did change a few things from the original; less butter, less poppyseed (I like a lot of poppyseed, but wasn’t brave enough to add the whole 3 Tablespoons the recipe called for), cake flour and whole wheat pastry flour, and the addition of ginger, which I think subtly enhances the lemony-ness. Feel free to leave it out if that aint your thing.

  • 1c cake flour
  • 3/4c whole wheat pastry flour (or you can use all purpose flour in total of 1 +3/4c)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 Tbs poppyseeds
  • zest of 2-3 lemons
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 4 Tbs (4 ounces) or half stick of butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • juice of 2 l lemons (I got 1/3c) Meyer lemons are great too!
  • 1/2c milk, room temperature or slightly warmed but not hot
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger (optional)(increase for more intense ginger taste)

Preheat oven to 375

Rub together lemon zest and sugar in a bowl, and let it sit while you finish the other tasks. This will infuse the sugar with the lovely lemon aroma.

Line muffin tins with papers or grease them.

Mix or sift together dry ingredients. Stir in poppyseeds.

Beat together the eggs and sugar. Stir in the butter, milk, and lemon juice. Add the flour mix and stir until it just comes together without overmixing. Its okay if there is a little flour not totally incorporated. This will make for very tender muffins. Just to let you know, when I added the dry to wet, it bubbled up quite a bit due to the lemon juice reacting to the baking soda. Thats fine. If you want to wait for it to calm down, it wont affect the final product either! Spoon into the muffin tins.

Bake for 15 minutes or so. It may still look pale on top. You don’t have to let them turn golden because the pale ones are more moist.

Optional Glaze:

I like the glaze for an extra lemon zing, but its good without too!

Just stir together powdered/confectioners sugar with lemon juice till you get a pourable consistency. A good starting point is 1/2c powdered sugar and juice of half a lemon, depending on how much glaze you like.

I’m linking this to Seasonal Sunday.

Cranberry Walnut Blondies

I needed some type of sweets to take to a party. Thinking back, I remembered one of the best cookie bars I ever made. It was these coconut blondies from Brown Eyed Baker. I wanted to use the ingredients I had on hand, and also make it a little festive. So, I threw in some dried cranberries and white chocolate chips in addition to the chocolate and walnuts. They were a hit (people definitely prefer the middles, I found out). Feel free to halve the recipe and bake in an 8×8 dish instead.

Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips (try to find ones made with real cocoa butter and not shortening oils- I recommend trader joes)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325

Butter a 9×13 baking dish

In a small pot melt the butter. Add the brown sugar to it and cook a minute, stirring, until the brown sugar melts completely into the butter. This is what gives blondies the awesome butterscotch flavor! Let it cool before mixing with the other ingredients.

Stir or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl and add the butter/brown sugar to it. Add vanilla. Beat them together well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until almost incorporated, but not completely. Then stir in the cranberries, walnuts and both chips. Do not overmix.

Pour into baking dish and even out with a spatula.

Bake 40 minutes or until the sides are pulled away from the pan and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Do not overbake or they may be dry.

Want a vegan version? Check this out!

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Apple crisp is one of my favorite desserts because its easy, using only few ingredients, and fairly healthy too. Of course, we love to make it less healthy by pairing the hot  juicy apples with ice cream! Hehe. It also makes the house smell fabulous! Usually I use rolled oats for the topping, but since I’m trying to use what I have, I used rye flakes instead. It is still good, but the rye flakes are much harder than oats. Next time I may try to break them up some in the mixie (food processor) first.

Here is what I did:

  • 5 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly (I used a combo of honey crisp, granny smith, golden delicious, and stayman winesap)
  • 1/3 c cranberries
  • lemon juice – 1/2 lemon or less as needed
  • 1 TBS sugar  *You may want to add more if your apples are very tart or you like things more sweet*
  • generous sprinkle of cinnamon
  • generous sprinkle of cornstarch

Topping:

  • 1/2c flour
  • 1/4c rye flakes (or rolled oats)
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar *This makes it mildly sweet. Add another Tbs if you like*
  • 3 Tbs cold unsalted butter (if your mixture is not crumbly, you may need another Tbs of butter)
  • pinch of salt

Butter a deep pie dish and preheat the oven to 375.

Put the apple slices in the pie dish and sprinkle them with lemon juice so they do not turn brown, and I like the tartness the lemon gives also. Toss them around and add the sugar and cinnamon, then the cornstarch and toss around again. Sprinkle the cranberries over the top. Cornstarch will make the juices released from the apples to thicken, and so will the pectin in the cranberries. The cranberries also give another level of flavor which I really enjoyed, especially with the sweetness of the ice cream we had it with.

Mix the ingredients for the topping in a bowl, using your fingers to break up the butter and squish it into the rye/flour making a crumbly texture. You may also use a fork or a pastry cutter for this.  Pour the mixture evenly over the top of the apples in the pie dish.

Place the pie dish on a metal baking sheet to prevent any possible spill overs. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the topping is golden and the apples are bubbling up.

Let it cool at least 10 minutes before eating, but its best while still warm!  Especially with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream!

Sending this to Hearth and Soul and to Decidely Healthy or Horribly Decadent
Hearth n' Soul Blog Hop at A Moderate Life

Barley Sakkarai Pongal

This recipe couldn’t have come at a better time… As you may know, I am on a challenge to clean out the cupboards around here, and looking for uses for barley, condensed milk, among other things including moong dal, dried fruits. Perrrfect.

I saw this at Veena’s and the original recipe which I followed is at Priya’s.

Couldn’t be more simple!

1/2c pearled barley
1/2c split moong dal
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2tsp cardamom powder
ghee
cashews
raisins

Wash well, then pressure cook dal and barley with 3c water for 4 whistles. Release pressure and add condensed milk. Cook a 5-10 mins until thickened. In meantime roast cashews and raisins in ghee. Add to the pongal with cardamom powder.

So yummy!

Click here to read more about Pongal from Lakshmi.

Sending this to Kurinji’s Pongal Feast Event!

Pongalo Pongal! Happy Pongal to all my Tamil friends!

 

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