Friday, April 26, 2013

Coffee Cupcakes | Easy Baking Recipes

Coffee Cupcakes
It's been a while since I posted any sweet-bake on the blog.I haven't been baking much too,just few breads and cookies,that's all.Main reason being the dreaded one-d.i.e.t.Now that I am posting a sweet bake does not mean that I am off the diet,of course;).Inspiration to bake these cookies came from my amma who saw a similar cupcake recipe on Vanitha and urged me to try it.

When I went through the recipe(Lakshmi Nair's look & cook series on Vanitha),it looked strikingly similar to my go-to and ever-favorite cupcake recipe.Not only that,with the same amount of butter,I could make more cupcakes,so that was a relief,I could share it with friends.Shared calories:)
Coffee Cupcakes
Though I love coffee and coffee flavored desserts,I haven't really ventured into adding more coffee in my bakes,so why not make a start with this one?The cupcakes,no doubt,taste excellent(even if I say so myself)on their own but the coffee,oh the coffee,elevated it to a different level.If you like coffee,you'd sure flip on this one.

These make for a great tea-time(or coffee-time?)snack and can be served plain.I had some leftover whipped cream ganache in the fridge,which refused to whip,by the way and dripped all over the cupcakes,making it moist and creamy on top.So either way,it tasted great.
Coffee Cupcakes
Coffee Cupcakes 
Recipe idea - Lakshmi Nair;Original recipe here


Flour - 2 cups
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Butter – ½ cup ,100 gms
Sugar – 1 ¼ cup
Milk - 1 cup
Eggs - 2
Instant Coffee powder - 2 tsp


Preheat the oven to 190C. Line or grease the muffin pans.

Coffee Cupcakes-step1 
Sift flour,baking powder and salt 3 times. Keep aside.
Coffee Cupcakes-step2 
Cream butter and sugar well.
Coffee Cupcakes-step3 
Add eggs one by one and beat well.
On low speed, beat in flour mix and milk alternatively in 3 lots.
Coffee Cupcakes-step4 
Mix in the coffee powder,do a taste test and add more if you like the coffee flavor to be stronger.
Coffee Cupcakes-step5 
Fill each muffin pan to ¾ th depth, and bake for 20-22 minutes till done.
Remove from muffin pan immediately and cool on racks.
Makes 18 muffins.
Coffee Cupcakes
  • The icing or rather the glaze I used is a whipped ganache,the recipe is here.
  • I baked these cupcakes in the otg,but the top didn't brown much after baking and I wanted a golden brown top.I baked the cupcakes on Broil mode for 2 minutes and got the desired colour.
Update-I accidentally added a picture from the Torcetti post among the step by step pics,sorry for the mistake.Have rectified it.Thanks Malvecka!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Torcettini di Saint Vincent ~Sugar Crusted Twisted Cookies from the Valle d’Aosta | We Knead to Bake # 4

Torcettini di Saint Vincent
I was a bit amused and happy when I saw this month's bake at 'We knead to bake!'.It was not a bread but a cookie which involved the same process of baking a bread-yeasted dough,rising and prooving but a cookie,not a bread.As always,this almost seems like a pattern now,I was among the last ones to try it in the group.I don't know why I kept delaying,this is one easy recipe and a delicious one at that too.

Torcettini are smaller versions of Torcetti (meaning small twists), and these pear/ teardrop shaped twists are made of a dough of flour, yeast and butter which are shaped and then rolled in sugar before being baked. These biscuits are synonymous with the town of Saint Vincent in Valle d'Aosta, a small mountainous region in North-Western Italy, even though they’re well known throughout the Piedmont region as well.(source Aparna)
I chucked the food processor this time and made the dough with hand since the quantity was little.The dough came together very well,silky smooth and shiny and puffed up quite well too.I baked two batches simultaneously in the Microwave as well as the OTG and the only visible difference is the colour.The ones in the OTG have crisped up and browned well than the ones in the MW.I love the taste of the browned cookies with an extra bite to it,so kept the MW batch in the OTG on the broil mode for 2-3 minutes and voila,got the same look and texture.

The cookies are a bit puffy with a soft interior and a lovely brown crust.Reminded me of those little heart biscuits though these are way less sweet.They pair well with cold milk,hot chocolate,coffee or tea are a delicious served warm.
Torcettini di Saint Vincent
Torcettini di Saint Vincent
Recipe source - Aparna ; (Adapted from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri)


1/2 cup warm water, about 110F
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lime/ lemon zest (replace with orange zest for the chocolate version)
40gm unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
about 1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies


Torcettini di Saint Vincent 
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, in a small bowl and keep aside.
Torcettini di Saint Vincent 
Put the flour and the salt in the food processor bowl (or a largish regular bowl if kneading by hand) and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is well mixed and the flour-butter mixture looks powdery.
Torcettini di Saint Vincent 
Add the lime zest and work into the flour using your fingertips.
Add the yeast-water mixture and pulse till it all comes together as a ball. Do not over process or knead. Place the ball of dough in a oiled bowl, turning it so it is well coated with the oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise quite a bit.
Torcettini di Saint Vincent 
This dough does not really double in volume, but it should look “puffy” after about an hour or so. When you pinch off a bit from the top you can see the interior looking a bit like honeycomb. Press down the dough and deflate it, wrap it in cling warp and refrigerate it for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.
Torcettini di Saint Vincent 
When ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and lightly roll it out into an approximately 6” square. If the dough feels sticky, scatter a little sugar on it. Using a pizza wheel cut the dough into four strips of equal width. Cut each strip into 6 equal pieces, by cutting across, making a total of 24 pieces. The measurements are not very critical in this part because this just makes it easier to have 24 equal sized bits of dough, as compared to pinching of bits of the dough.
Torcettini di Saint Vincent 
Roll each piece into a pencil thick “rope” about 5” long. Sprinkle a little sugar on your work surface and roll the “rope” in it so the sugar crusts the dough uniformly. Form the “rope” into a loop crossing it over before the ends.
Place the Torcettini on parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2" between them. Leave them for about 20 minutes or so till they rise/ puff up slightly. Torcettini di Saint Vincent 
Don’t worry, they will not “puff up” much.
Bake them at 160C (325F) for about 25 minutes till they’re a nice golden brown. Cool the cookies completely, on a rack. Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature. This recipe makes 24 biscuits. 
Torcettini di Saint Vincent

Crispy and crunchy cookies which taste great on their own,If you like chocolate flavored torcettini,remove 2 tbsp all purpose flour and add 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder and proceed with the recipe.Skip the lemon zest and add oranze zest along with instant coffee powder for added flavor.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mint Chutney Sandwich with Cheese and Cucumber | Easy Bread Recipes

Mint was never really a favorite herb of mine.Part of the reason why i disliked it was because I had tasted more of mint flavored products than the real deal.So whenever the mention of mint came,I started getting a toothpaste/mouthwash smell,gross right.But all it took to change that was the small herb garden in our balcony.
Mint Chutney Sandwich with Cucumber & Cheese
Something like,fruit of your labour?I started liking mint and thought of ways to introduce it in our menu.Ajay has been reminiscing a lot about the mint sandwich that his amma made during their picnics and outings.I've been thinking to make a sandwich for a while too for the blog so what better way to incorporate both ideas than this one.

I had planned to make the sandwich from scratch,starting with the bread.I am still stuck in a Hokkaido Bread hangover.But I knew the sandwich idea might get postponed so got a packet of brown bread and set out to make the chutney.Mint chutney is quite versatile too-smear it on a bread or even dosa and add it to raita or pulao,having a bowl of mint chutney in the fridge can really give you new recipe ideas,believe me!
Mint Chutney Sandwich with Cucumber & Cheese
Mint Chutney Sandwich with Cheese and Cucumber


Bread - 6
Cheese slices - 3
Cucumber - 1 big,thinly sliced

For the chutney

Mint leaves - 1 bunch,cleaned and chopped
Green chilly - 1
Ginger - 1' piece
Coriander leaves - 1-2 tbsp,chopped(optional)
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Juice of half a lime
Salt to taste


Mint Chutney Sandwich with Cucumber & Cheese 
Blend together to a smooth paste the ingredients given for the chutney.
Mint Chutney Sandwich with Cucumber & Cheese 
If not using immediately,store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated.
Mint Chutney Sandwich with Cucumber & Cheese 
Smear the mint chutney on the bread slices.Keep sliced cucumber on top,add salt and pepper to taste and top with a cheese slice.
Mint Chutney Sandwich with Cucumber & Cheese 
Cover with another bread.Repeat with the rest of the bread slices.
Chill the sandwich for 25-30 minutes for a refreshing and delicious sandwich.
Mint Chutney Sandwich with Cucumber & Cheese
It tastes great toasted too-just butter the outside part of the bread and toast on a hot tawa or a sandwich maker until golden brown.Perfect for kids' lunchboxes or even as a tea-time snack.

P.S- I've used brown bread,you can of course use any bread of your choice!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Good ol' Cold Coffee!

Remember my summer adventures with my brother in this post,where we used to whip up glasses of Tomato juice on our own?Well,I am adding this one to the list as well,as something which started out as a flop but as time flew by,we mastered the technique of making the best ever cold coffee[according to us,at least!]
Cold Coffee
To put it plain,cold coffee is just that- chilled milk+sugar+coffee+lots of ice.But many things can go wrong even when the recipe is as simple,well I am speaking from experience here;).Main thing is the coffee you use,I use instant coffee powder and it works well.When added in right proportions,filter coffee decoction can work well too.You add too much and the coffee will turn out bitter and ruin the effect,so add less first and do a taste test before adding further.

Cold Coffee


Sugar - 1 tbsp
Instant coffee powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilled milk - 1 cup
Hersheys Chocolate syrup - 1 tbsp(optional,but highly recommended)


Cold Coffee-step1 
Into a blender[or a shaker]add all the ingredients and blend/shake well till everything gets mixed and the coffee turns frothy.
Cold Coffee-step2 
Serve chilled.

Cold Coffee

Monday, April 15, 2013

Malli Chammanthi ~ Roasted Coriander Chutney with Coconut | A guest post by Nags of Edible Garden

Nagalakshmi or Nags,as she is popularly known as,who blogs at Edible Garden is not stranger to the blogging community.In fact,when I started out,hers was one of the blogs I looked up to(still do!)and get inspired.So when she offered to do a guest post for this humble space of mine,I was doubly delighted.Without further ado,here's the recipe in her own words.

Malli Chammanthi - Roasted Coriander Chutney

First of all, a huge thanks to Divya for giving me this opportunity to share a guest post on her site. This is my second guest post - I don’t do many of them, clearly - but I am happy to do it for Divya who is one of the first people to completely wow me with a post back in 2009 when she featured many dishes she cooked from my site all in one post.

This malli chammanthi is special to me for a number of reasons. It holds many memories, the best one being many train rides and lemon rice packed in banana leaves. Amma always made this to go with lemon rice and I just love that combination. Even today, if I make lemon rice, I always make this chutney to go with it. My chithappa’s wife Vimala aunty makes the best malli chammanthi in our family, in my opinion. She makes a generous mound and I often request for it when I visit them in Alleppey. Maybe the coconut is sweeter in my dad’s hometown, who knows.

There’s nothing radical or different in this chammanthi. It’s the usual suspects with a generous amount of roasted coriander seeds. Always roast the seeds fresh and use the freshest coconut you can find. Mine is usually about 2 weeks old but it still works, still brings back those lovely memories. Oh, and if you have a dusty old ammikkallu in your backyard, use it for this chammanthi. You won’t regret it.

Malli Chammanthi


Fresh grated coconut - 1 cup
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Shallots/ulli - 3
Garlic - 1 clove
Red chillies - 1-2
Tamarind - one small piece
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Salt to taste


Heat the oil in a pan and add the coriander seeds
On low heat, roast them until the colour lightly changes and the seeds begin to turn fragrant
Add the shallots, garlic and red chillies. Roast for a few seconds until the shallots begin to char and the chillies turn shiny
Turn off the flame and add the coconut and tamarind. Stir well to combine
Grind to a smooth chutney consistency with salt. Don’t add water
Goes great with rice and rasam or lemon rice.

Thank you Nags for the sweet gesture :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

5 Payasam Recipes for Ugadi / Vishu

Hope everyone is gearing up for the dual celebrations of Ugadi,Vishu/Tamil New Year.Check out some easy Payasam recipes for adding a sweet something to your festivities.

An easy recipe for Paalada Payasam

Gova Kanya Paysu/Cracked Wheat Payasam

No Ugadi is complete without Madganey/Moong Dal Payasam/Pradhaman

So is this lip-smacking Kadala Parippu Pradhaman for Vishu!

Last but not the least - Semiya Payasam,quick,easy and delicious!

Wishing everyone who celebrate a Happy Ugadi/Vishu/Tamil New Year!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Aah Chocolate - Sanjeev Kapoor | Cookbook Review & Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits Recipe

Many kids from our generation grew up seeing Sanjeev Kapoor and Tarla Dalal's cooking shows on TV,now there are many shows and too many chefs to count.Khana Khazana,one of the most popular shows on Zee TV was a much awaited show for us.Even though,then we didn't know the basics of cooking,it was a pleasure watching this 'homely' looking chef who kept talking and smiling as he cooked.
Aah!Chocolate-Cookbook Review
My recipe diary has at least 30-40 recipes of his,all scribbled down while watching his shows.So when MySmartPrice offered me his latest book 'Aah! Chocolate' for review,I couldn't wait to lay my hands on it.Sanjeev Kapoor is one of the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine today.Khana Khazana,his cookery show on Zee TV was telecast non-stop for more than 17 years!

"Forget falling in love,I would rather rise for Chocolate"
Aah!Chocolate-Cookbook Review
The book does full justice to the name,with full of chocolate-based recipes,how-to ideas to work with chocolate,making chocolate decorations from scratch and fusion ideas to include chocolate in an Indian sweet menu,this one truly is a chocoholic's delight.Plus when the author says this book is a compilation of chocolate recipes which he's been working on for a while now,you know this book is for keeps.
Aah!Chocolate-Cookbook Review
Notes on Chocolate,where it comes from,how it is made and factors affecting the quality of chocolate makes for an interesting read.The author also provides tips on how to store chocolate and how to melt it with detailed instructions.

The recipes are neatly indexed - Beverages,Breakfast,Cakes and Pastries,Mousse and Cheesecakes,Chocolate Making,Tea-time snacks,Desserts,Mithai and Garnishes.The pictures are gorgeous too considering how difficult it is to shoot a chocolate-based dish.
Aah!Chocolate-Cookbook Review
I thought for a while before attempting a recipe from the book as it was a difficult choice.Should it be Chocolate Lassi,an innovative recipe combining the Indian yogurt drink with melted chocolate or then some Chocolate Granola Bars with the goodness of Muesli and honey or Millionaire Chocolate Brownie with a note from the author saying you will feel like the most privileged person on earth after having a bite of these brownies!Finally decided to try these simple and popular Shrewsbury biscuits with a chocolate twist.
Aah!Chocolate-Cookbook Review
Shrewsbury biscuit is a classic English dessert named after Shrewsbury,the county town of Shropshire.It is made with a dough which contains flour,sugar,butter,egg yolks and lemon zest.Kayani Bakery in Pune is very famous for their popular Shrewsbury biscuits and it seems they bake about 200 kilos of these a day and they are almost always sold out!Any recipe which is innovated with a chocolate can never go wrong in my opinion,so Chocolate Shrewsbury biscuits it was!
Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits
Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits


Butter - 1/2 cup/100gms,softened
Caster Sugar - 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoon
Egg yolks - 2
Vanilla - 2 tsp
Flour/Maida - 1 1/2 cups
Zest of 1 lemon
Chocolate chips - 1/4 cup


Preheat oven to 180C. Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits-step1 
Rub the lemon zest into the caster sugar till the sugar turns moist and fragrant.
Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits-step2 
Beat the butter till soft and mix in the lemon-sugar.Beat well.
Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits-step3 
Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix again.
Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits-step4 
Now add all of the flour together and knead softly till you get a smooth and shiny dough.Cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate for 25-30 minutes.
Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits-step5 
Divide the dough into equal portions and shape into small balls,flatten with your palms and sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
Arrange the cookies on a baking tray keeping sufficient distance between them.Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Store in airtight containers.
Chocolate Shrewsbury Biscuits
I was apprehensive of adding eggs to the cookie dough(that too,yolks!)as I have never done that before.I always choose to make my cookies eggless.But believe me when I say these cookies do not taste eggy at all.I think adding the lemon zest is the trick here,also the use of good quality vanilla.Having said that,I feel the eggs can easily be substituted with a tablespoon of milk or so to bind the dough together.

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