Monday, December 28, 2009

Gingerbread House for Daring Bakers December 2009 Challenge

Dear All,

Gingerbread House,Christmas

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

Until this month I had only read about Gingerbread Houses in books or either seen them on internet. Making gingerbread house was quite a new and exciting experience due to lack of time and as it was the first time i only used half of the recipe and made a smaller version of the house. Decoration too i have kept simple just using white chocolate and sweet chocolate balls. 

Gingerbread House,Christmas

I have used Y's recipe for gingerbread which is adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice A Ojakangas. Anna's recipe used molasses which is not available here. The dough was quite easy to manage as i halved the recipe. I didn't face any problem of the dough being too dry unlike few fellow DB's mentioned. The texture of the dough was perfect. Not too sweet and not too dry, the flavors of ginger, cinnamon and cloves complimented each other perfectly.

Gingerbread House,Christmas

I used this template for making my gingerbread house. As this was the first time I was trying my hands on making a real gingerbread house and also the fact that i was too scared to try and make a huge house, i halved the recipe and still got enough to make one medium size house, i still have some dough resting in my fridge. Apart from the fun in decorating the house, the gingerbread smelled delicious. The fragrance in my kitchen made made my taste buds dance.

To decorate the house, I have used Royal Icing. This was also the first time i tried my hands on royal icing and i must say I am pretty impressed. Its super easy and dry's off very fast. I would for sure be using royal icing for decorating cookies.

Overall the challenge was lot of fun and a memorable experience!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eggless Low Fat Hot Chocolate Muffins

Dear Foodies,

Eggless Baking,Muffins,Chocolate

Its been quite a while since i last baked anything with chocolate. The baker in me was desperate and it was like a race against the time as my work was keeping me quite busy. Finally my craving got better of me and i decided to give up, but to my horror i was out of eggs as well as cocoa powder, I felt as if my world turned upside down!! No that is not an exaggeration and I am sure the bakers would understand my sentiments. Now i really had to bake something chocolaty, ok so i decided to go for eggless muffins, quick and easy but to go for cocoa powder hunting at 11pm in the night was out of question. I could use some of my dark chocolate which i got from swiss but i just have few slabs left until my next batch comes from abroad and so i guard them with my life!! Argghh.....pacing up and down in my room i saw some hot chocolate sachets of Lindt, do i need to mention what happened next?

My recipe for these low fat, eggless chocolate muffins is inspired from Mandira's recipe for Eggless Chocolate Nut Muffins which i had bookmarked sometime back.

Also I am sending my Jain Vegetable Makhanwala to Think Spice : Poppy Seeds event guest hosted by Rv brainchild of Sunita.

Eggless Baking,Muffins,Chocolate

Recipe yields 6 large muffins
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar (adjust according to taste, if required)
1 1/2 tbsp good quality hot chocolate powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp oil
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Line 6 muffins holders with liners or grease them.
  • Sieve together flour, hot chocolate powder, baking soda and baking powder.
  • Add in oil, milk and whisk properly until everything is mixed properly. I did not use a beater for this, hand whisk is fine.
  • Finally add vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 15 to 18 mins, until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Serve them warm with a cold glass of milk, enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eggless Tutti Frutti Cookies

Dear All,

Eggless Baking,Christmas Cookies,Tutti Frutti Cookies

Christmas is coming very near and baking season is in full swing everywhere. Though we dont celebrate christmas here but i love the season as i get a chance to bake lots of goodies. My friends have started calling me Baking Fairy who spreads baking love all around, now that certainly makes me very happy! I have been eyeing these gorgeous tutti frutti cookies from Sailu's blog from a very long time and finally i got some time last week to create them. My cookies are not as white as her's since i used vanilla flavored custard powder but that doesnt alter the taste at all. These are soft and chewy in the middle with crispy edges. I shared these with my colleagues and everyone loved it, few even mentioned that these cookies are better than ones we get outside, that certainly made me climb high. The recipe is deifnately a keeper and i'll be making them very often.

These cookies are off to Eat Christmas Cookies - Season 3 hosted by Susan of Food Blogga, you can view the round up page here
These cookies are also off to the Cakes & Cookies event by Sara and to EC's WYF Tea Time Snacks event. Happy Hosting gals!!


Original Recipe Source :- Sailus Food
I have made few changes to the original recipe.

Recipe Yields: 14 to 15 cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup vanilla custard powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
tutti frutti morsels for garnishing

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C degrees.
  • Sift together flour, custard powder, baking soda and baking powder in a bowl.
  • Beat together sugar and oil well, add sieved dry ingredients and vanilla essence.
  • Mix well to form a dough, the consistency should be right to roll out the dough into round balls.
  • Incase the dough is too dry and difficult to roll out balls, add in few drops of milk and chill for few mins.
  • Flatten the balls slightly and garnish with bits of tutti frutti morsels, press them slightly in the dough.
  • Place the cookies on on greased tray or line the baking pan with parchment paper. I used butter paper as here i donot get parchment paper, butter paper works fine.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 mins, remove the completely cool them.
  • Once baked after 12 mins, the cookies might appear soft to touch but they will firm up once completely cooled.
  • Store in an air tight container.
Weekend is nearing so wish you all a very happy and relaxing weekend, until then cia!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dudhi Chana Nu Shaak - A Gujarati Speciality (Bottlegourd and Bengal gram curry)

Dear All,


I know I have been away for quite some time, but now I am back!! Taking a break was never my decision, neither was i lazy but right now there is just too much on my plate to handle. December being the month of marriages for the next three weekends i'll be busy attending marriages and other wedding functions. I love all the "rasams and rivaaz" that take place during the wedding, all the colorful decorations, the mehendi rasam and how can we forget dandiya :-) Family functions are also the occassions where all the singles in the family are targetted especially if you have crossed the average age of getting married which is again defined by the society :-((( It just doesnt stop here, even after you get married they'll be behind you to start a family..ah well I can dedicate a whole post on this!!  December is also the month of my birthday, when is it? any special plans? you'll come to know :-)

Lets get back to today's recipe, Dudhi Chana Nu Shaak is very common in every gujarati household. During my school days mom used to prepare this along with Kadhi every wednesday. Dont know what was with wednesday but i remember enjoying it to the very last bite. There is a saying in gujarati "Dudhi khaaiye toh Budhi aave" which literally means "If you eat Bottlegourd than you'll get good brains". The best part is that it doesnt take much time to prepare, you can put everything in the cooker and it will be ready in less than 10 mins, dont believe me? scroll down and try out for yourself :-)


Dudhi Chana Nu Shaak
(Bottlegourd and Bengal gram curry)
Ingredients: Serves 2 to 3
500 gms dudhi, peeled and diced
1/2 cup Chana dal, washed
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
a generous pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 cup of water

  • Heat the oil in cooker, add in  mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric powder.
  • As soon as the seeds start to splutter add in cubed bottlegourd pieces and the rest of the masalas (salt, sugar, red chilli, cumin and coriander powder)
  • Saute for around a min.
  • Now add in the chana dal and water (IMP - Bottlegourd leaves lots of water so be careful while adding water.)
  • Mix well and pressure cook it for 5 to 6 whistles.
  • Serve hot with rotis or chapatis.
Can any curry be more simpler? Do try out and let me know your experience. Wishing you all a very happy and pleasant weekend, enjoy, relax and have fun :-) Till next time tia!!