Chocolate Brownie with a Hint of cinnamon and cayenne

There is only one thing the whole world is talking about and that is the Pandemic. It is a scary, crazy time of our lives; the fear of the unknown. The stores have been depleted of hand sanitizers and toilet paper. Interestingly, the baking aisle is also empty; no flour, sugar, yeast or baking powder. Luckily, I had a big bag of flour and atta (whole wheat flour which is used for chapatti/ rotis). Seems like everyone plans to bake when they are ‘social distancing’.

I am now working from home and it saves me the travel time. So more time to cook and bake. For me baking is calming; maybe the same for others; and at this time when we are all cooped up in our houses, we need to do something which calms us down and takes us to our happy place.

Be Calm and Bake On!

Brownies, who does not love brownies. Here is another recipe. This has been adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018653-brownies?action=click&module=Global%20Search%20Recipe%20Card&pgType=search&rank=1

Earlier in the week, I was watching food network and a lady was making mexican chocolate cake. She added some cinnamon and cayenne powder so I thought I would add some to the brownies. They were good; just a hint of spice. It is an unexpected spice at the end when it is least expected.

My boys are back home and the brownies (doubled the recipe) were gone in no time!

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp butter (1/2 cup)
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate (85 gms)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used atta)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (chilli) powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350º F ( 176º C)
  • Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan on low heat. Keep mixing. When chocolate starts to melt, take it off heat. Stir until mixture is smooth
  • Grease an 8 inch square baking pan. Line it with parchment paper and grease
  • Pour chocolate butter mixture into a mixing bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla
  • Add flour and salt and mix. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain. Do not overmix
  • Pour into prepared pan. I added some walnuts to half the pan. This is optional
  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until set and barely firm in the middle.
  • Eat as is or serve with ice cream.
  • Enjoy!

Pumpkin Espresso Cake

I had made this cake in the new year. Lots has happened in this year, especially in the last few weeks with the pandemic, the fear among people and the unknown. The one thing that keeps a lot of us sane is comfort food, cooking and baking. I went shopping and all flours were out. I had white flour and atta flour, used half and half and it was good. I made this recipe again and it hit the right spot. This time I used a bundt pan. It looks fancy and it is truly scrumptious. do try!

Reposting the recipe with some new pictures. If you cannot get canned pumpkin; cook pumpkin in a little water and blend in a blender/mixie.

It is that time of the year – shorter days, colder days. It is time when you you want to wrap a blanket and sit on your couch. It is the time when you want to eat bhajis and pakodas. It is the time when you want to bake. Actually, I like to bake anytime of the year. It is the time for pumpkins and I found this recipe from https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/pumpkin-espresso-bundt-cake-recipe

The recipe used a bundt cake pan. I did not have one so made it in a regular pan. I ate a couple of pieces without the glaze. I was not going to make the glaze. It was good without the glaze. I finally decided to make it and then added the glaze. It elevated the cake to another level. This cake is a keeper.

It freezes well. Everytime I eat a piece, I forget how good it is. The pictures does not do justice. You should try it.

I have copied the recipe from the king arthur website. The link is given above.

Ingredients

Cake

Filling

Glaze

  • 1/3 cup (74g) strong brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (21g) rum, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. To make the cake: Beat together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
  3. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt until smooth and uniform in appearance. Set aside.
  4. To make the filling: Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and espresso powder in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Cinnamon Coffee Crumb Coffee Cake

I have my usual quick dessert recipes which I make often. But at times, I get bored of making the same. This is a new recipe which had some raving reviews from my friends. This recipe has been adapted from Trisha Yearwood’s recipe on Food Network. Though there is quite a large amount of coffee added, the distinct taste is of cinnamon with an after taste of coffee. You could reduce the cinnamon by half if you do not like the taste of cinnamon. This cake was really soft almost like a sponge cake. I made a yogurt honey sauce to go with it, but it was good without the sauce too.

This is a repost. I made this again yesterday and it was delicious.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 225 grams (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar

Coffee Crumb Topping

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • a pinch of salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC)
  • Prepare a 9 by 9-inch baking pan. Line it with parchment paper and butter it.
  • For the cake: Beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat till well mixed.
  • Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • In a small bowl whisk sour cream (or yogurt) and coffee until smooth.
  • Add sour cream mixture and dry ingredients to the sugar-butter mixture and mix well.
  • Pour the batter into the pan.
  • For the crumb: Mix all ingredients except butter. Add melted butter. Mix.
  • Top the cake batter evenly with the crumb topping
  • Bake for 45 minutes till a skewer comes out clean
  • Cool for 30 minutes before serving
  • Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee

Yogurt Honey Sauce

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • Mix ingredients till smooth and serve with cake.

Madeleines

Madelines are these soft, pillowy and buttery little french cakes. They are best eaten the same day which is not a problem when the kids are home. The lemon peel adds so much flavour. They get a little dry after 2 days. But dunk it in tea and take a bite and they taste so good.

You need a special pan for this. I had one pan and bought two more. It is worth getting the pan as it is great to make if you are inviting people for tea or coffee.

They are so easy to make and looks really fancy!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  • Melt butter in a pan and cool slightly
  • Mix flour, salt, baking powder and lemon peel
  • Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for about 3-4 minutes till the mixture is thick and pale in colour
  • Add the butter, vanilla extract and mix
  • Add flour mixture and mix by hand. Do not overmix
  • Cover and refrigerate for atleast 4 hours or upto 2 days.
  • Heat oven to 375ºF (190ºC)
  • Generously butter the pans and dust with flour
  • Place one tablespoon of batter in the middle (do not spread) of the pan
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes
  • Tap the pan and remove the madelines
  • Dust with powdered sugar. I use a tea strainer to dust the madeleines with sugar
  • Serve warm

Rose Cookies and Swedish Rosettes

When I think of Christmas, I think of Rose Cookies. Rose cookies (also called acchappam or acchu murukku- acchu meaning mould) is usually made by the christians in South India. When I was a kid, I would wait for my friends to bring a plate of rose cookies. Of course now it is available year round in stores.

I always presumed this was made only in India. Until I found the mould in Sweden. I also learnt this year that it is made in Mexico and a colleague of Polish descent said they made it in Poland too. I wonder where this originated?

The difference between the Indian rose cookies and the swedish rosettes is the flour and the liquid. The indian version is predominantly made with rice flour and coconut milk and the swedish version is made with all purpose flour and milk. They taste quite different.

These were a big hit. Merry Christmas!

Indian Rose Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • oil for deep frying
  • rose cookie mould

Directions

  • Mix flour, baking soda, salt
  • Beat eggs
  • Mix eggs, coconut milk, cumin and flour to make a batter
  • The batter should be almost like a crepe (or dosa) batter consistency.
  • Heat oil in a pan( 180C/ 360F)
  • I do not have a thermometer but put a drop of batter in the oil, if the batter bubbles and rises to the top, oil is hot
  • Place the mould in the hot oil (This is an important step)
  • Take it out of the oil, dip it in the batter and then back to the hot oil
  • Give it a light tap or use a fork to get the cookie into the oil
  • Once brown, it is done in a few seconds, remove the cookie and drain on a paper towel
  • Store in an airtight container
  • Enjoy!

Swedish Rosette

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk or half and half (I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • powdered sugar for garnishing
  • rosette iron

Directions

  • Combine all purpose flour, sugar, egg and milk and mix well
  • Heat oil in a pan ( 180C/ 360F)
  • I do not have a thermometer but put a drop of batter in the oil, if the batter bubbles and rises to the top, oil is hot
  • Place the mould in the hot oil (This is an important step)
  • Take it out of the oil, dip it in the batter and then back to the hot oil
  • Give it a light tap or use a fork to loosen the rosette into the oil
  • Once brown, it is done in less than a minute, remove the cookie and drain on a paper towel
  • Dip in powdered sugar or sprinkle powdered sugar on top and store in an airtight container

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Sprinkle of Sea Salt

One day, I was sitting at work and craving for some dark, chewy chocolate cookies.I came home and realised that I had no dark cocoa. It had to wait till I go buy dark cocoa. The idea of those cookies stayed in my mind till I made it. It was worth the wait. I made a batch and froze the dough and made it a week later, it was as good. The recipe I usually use are from the Nestle website. But I found this recipe on https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/. There are some really good recipes there. I replaced the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour. I also used almond milk.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour or atta flour
  • 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chips
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda
  • Beat the butter till creamy. Add both brown and granulated sugars and mix well until creamy.
  • Add egg and vanilla and mix well
  • Add the flour mixture, chocolate chips and milk and mix. The cookie dough will be sticky. Cover with aluminium foil and let it sit for 3 hours in the refrigerator
  • Let it sit for 20 minutes at room temperature
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC)
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Roll doughs of balls and place on pan. Sprinkle with sea salt
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.