Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quick Rasmalai | Diwali Recipes #diwali

I know I've been gone for a while.In fact,this month has seen the least number of posts on this blog and I apologize profusely to all those unanswered mails and comments.Please bear with me till the weekend and hopefully,I'll be back with a bang by November :)
Quick Rasmalai
Blogosphere all over the world is filled by Diwali sweets and snacks and though I haven't cooked up anything this year as yet,I couldn't let the festival go without a sweet recipe here.I'm posting a much loved sweet Rasmalai,which I tried last year for Diwali and my friends were not let in on the secret that it was an instant version,shhh!

As is the norm,I always make a batch of Gajar ka halwa and Gulab Jamun for distributing to friends and family.Last year I made Rasmalai as well and all of our friends couldn't stop beaming about how hardworking and meticulous I am when it comes to Homemade Diwali sweets.Of course,they don't know that carrot is grated in the food processor,gulab jamun is made with a trusted ready-mix and rasmalai is a cheat's version,ha!
Quick Rasmalai
I am all for homemade versions and all that but when something is readily available and 'good',why not try it?

Traditionally,Rasmalai is made using curdled milk,which is then rolled into small balls and flattened and then cooked in a sugar syrup.Then it is added into a reduced milk syrup and chilled before serving.This version uses ready-made Rasgullas from the can and the 'ras' is made quickly using condensed milk.I love it!

Happy Diwali!
Quick Rasmalai Quick Rasmalai
Recipe source - MyJhola


Rasgulla - 1 large can[around 15-17]
Condensed milk/Milkmaid - 1 can[400gms]
Milk - 1.2 litres
Saffron - a few strands,soaked in warm milk
Crushed cardamom - 1 tsp


Quick Rasmalai 
In a thick bottomed pot,heat together milk and condensed milk for 5-7 minutes.
Quick Rasmalai 
Squeeze out the syrup from the rasgullas and mix into the milk mix.
Add saffron strands and cardamom and let it infuse for about 3-4 minutes.Switch off flame and let it cool down to room temperature.
Chill and serve.
Quick Rasmalai

Top 5 Diwali Sweets on Easycooking

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vanilla Bean Scones | Easy Baking Recipes

Rich,buttery scones served with clotted cream and fruit preserve along with tea,tell me who hasn't read about these in Enid Blyton's books?Our childhood was filled with memories reading about foods like these but it was only a while back I tasted a 'real' scone on our trip to UK.Apart from the regular agenda we had for the tour,I clearly had two things in mind-taste real scones from any quaint cafe and get hold of some real good quality Bitter Orange marmalade.Gladly,I could tick both things off. 
Vanilla Bean Scones
The first one I had was on the flight and believe me,I was floored.Petite scones,buttery and full of flavour paired with some clotted cream I felt like I already reached London:).For a few days I didn't find any place where I could taste these again and then out of the blue,just like I'd wanted,got these at a small roadside cafe.Though not a fan of combining sweets and tea together,I gladly gulped down my big cup of tea and polished off the scones and the fruit preserve.

Ever since,I've been wanting to try these at home.Recently a dear friend gifted me an old book which has some really priceless recipes for bakes and frostings and I decided I don't have to look around for a trusted recipe anymore.The recipe is for a plain scone which can be customized according to our choice-adding candied fruits,dried fruits or even chocolate chips and flavouring with orange zest or cinnamon.Choose your pick!
Vanilla Bean Scones
I stuck to good ol' vanilla by infusing the milk with some vanilla caviar.Very badly wanted to add some raisins or dried cranberries,but then there's always a next time:)

Vanilla bean Scones


All purpose flour - 2 cups
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Butter - 50 gms
Egg - 1 beaten
Milk - 1/3 cup
Vanilla bean caviar - from 1/2 a vanilla bean OR 1 tsp Vanilla extract


Grease and line a cookie tray.Preheat oven to 230C.
Mix the vanilla caviar into milk and let it infuse for about 5-7 minutes or until you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
Vanilla Bean Scones 
In a mixing bowl,mix together the dry ingredients starting with flour,baking powder,salt and sugar.
Vanilla Bean Scones 
Add the butter and rub it in the flour using a fork or your finger tips till the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Vanilla Bean Scones 
Add the beaten egg and milk and mix till the dough comes together.
Vanilla Bean Scones 
Turn the dough into a floured surface and gently flatten the dough to about an inch using your hand or a rolling pin.I decided to roll the dough into a round shape.Using a sharp knife or a dough scraper,cut the scones into 8 equal wedges.Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheets each one almost touching each other.Brush the top with milk or beaten egg.
Vanilla Bean Scones 
Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until well risen and firm.
Slide in one piece,on a wire rack and cover with a towel.Leave to cool and serve with clotted cream(or butter),fruit preserve and black tea.
Vanilla Bean Scones
  • The original recipe calls for self raising flour,but I used plain flour and baking powder.
  • Do not over work the dough as it develops gluten in the flour and which would not yield tender and flaky scones.Stop mixing the dough just when it comes together as a mass and not a smooth dough ball.
  • Using cold butter is a very important step as it ensures the butter remains solid and does not melt as you assemble the dough.
  • Keep an eye on the baking time as it can easily go from baked to over baked within a matter of few minutes.As soon as the scones come out of the oven,place the scones on a wire rack and cover with a thick kitchen towel,this would introduce steam back into the scones which would keep them soft.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

I always thought there were only a few brownies which were different from each other.Of course,there are so many recipes for brownies and each one comes out different(even if ever so slightly)from one another.I'd say now that,there are brownies and there are Cheesecake brownies-yes!Not being a fan of cheese cakes did not deter me from trying out these brownies and thank god for that!Rich brownie batter swirled with a cream cheese mixture and baked till done,it just cannot go wrong I say:)
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
I don't know why but making cheesecakes has never been part of my culinary experiments.Primarily because both me and Ajay are not so fond of it and the amount of cheese which goes into it makes me shudder.For the same reason,cream cheese was an ingredient I never gave much thought to.

Recently,a friend urged me to try a Cream cheese pound cake and I got myself a block just to try that recipe.Somehow it never happened and I started looking for recipes other than cheese cakes for which I could use the cream cheese.Saw this ever-so-simple recipe for brownies in Marcy Goldman's A Passion for Baking,one of my favorite baking books.
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
The procedure is not very different from a marble cake.Cream cheese is mixed first with eggs,sugar,vanilla and flour which makes for the cheesecake mix and a basic brownie batter is made next.Swirl both the batters and bake and Voila! gorgeous looking brownies are ready.These taste great warm and even better chilled.
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
Recipe source - A Passion for Baking


For the cheesecake topping

Cream cheese,softened - 180 gms / 6 oz
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Egg - 1 large
Vanilla - 1 tsp
All purpose flour - 2 tbsp

For the brownie batter 

Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup / 100 gms 
Semi-sweet chocolate - 7 oz / 200 gms ,coarsely chopped
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Instant Coffee powder - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 1/4 cups
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Eggs - 3,large
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Baking soda - a pinch
Salt - a pinch


Preheat oven to 180C.Grease and line a 9' square brownie pan.
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies 
In a medium bowl,using a spoon or a wire whisk,blend together the cream cheese,sugar,egg,
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies 
vanilla and all purpose flour.Set aside.
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies 
Melt together the butter and chocolate in a microwave proof bowl at high power for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes.Mix in the cocoa powder and coffee powder.
Let it cool to almost room temperature.
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies 
Whisk in sugar,vanilla and eggs until smooth.
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies 
Fold in flour,baking soda and salt to make a smooth batter.
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies 
Pour the batter into the prepared tin.Add the cheesecake topping in dollops on top of the brownie batter.Using a butter knife,make deep swirls so that you get a contrast of batters.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the brownies seem just set.If they look set and the cheesecake part is not wet,they are done.Cool in the pan for 1 hour and then refrigerate before cutting.
These brownies are best kept refrigerated and are good served gold or warmed a bit.
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
  • The original recipe calls for 8oz of cream cheese.But I used one block of Brittania cream cheese which is 180 gms and approximately 6 oz.
  • The recipe calls for the brownies to be baked in a 11 by 7 rectangular pan but I stuck to my regular brownie tray which is a 9' square tin.
  • As the recipe says,it is tough to see if the brownies are baked through.I touched the center of the brownie and it appeared set and the cheesecake batter was also cooked and did not jiggle.
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