Baked Goodies · Desserts · Healthy Recipes

Healthy whole-wheat Dark Chocolate Cookies

Healthy whole-wheat dark chocolate cookies

Homemade cookies are the best. Everybody will agree.Ever since I have started baking cookies at home I just cannot seem to make myself eat any store bought biscuits or cookies. There is an absolute block in my head regarding this. My entire tin of biscuits filled with the good old Marie biscuit and cream crackers are just sitting and getting stale.

 Nobody even gives them a cursory glance these days during tea time.   Also, there is a lot of pressure on me (most of it self-inflicted) to focus on healthy baking and curtail the use of refined flour and sugars. Keeping this in mind and my sporadic chocolate cravings I came up with the recipe for this chocolaty and scrumptious and healthy cookie made totally from scratch.

It is super easy to make too and requires only 4 to 5 ingredients. These cookies are the result of a crazy midnight baking session which I go through once in a while. They are a bit on the less sweet side because everyone at home like their baked goodies to be lightly sweetened. You can easily alter the amount of sweetness to your liking.  

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Chilling Time: 30 minutes

Baking Time: 16 to 18 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 8 heaped tbsp Whole-wheat Flour (60 gm approx.)
  2. 5 heaped tbsp Dark Cocoa powder (40 gm approx.)
  3. Softened Salted Butter 75 gm
  4. Date Palm Jaggery(patali Gur) 4 tbsp
  5. Milk (optional)
  6. Butter Paper
  7. Baking Tray

*White Chocolate Button/ Chocolate Chips (absolutely optional)

Only 4 basic ingredients

Method:

  • Start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, and baking tray ready.
  • Cream the softened butter with a handheld mixer or a whisk until it is fluffy and the colour of the butter changes. It will take you around 7 to 8 minutes at low to medium speed and longer if using a whisk.
Creamed and whipped butter
  • Mix in the jaggery with the creamed butter and keep mixing at low speed.
whipped butter and jaggery
  • In a separate bowl sieve together the whole-wheat flour and the dark cocoa powder
  • Now mix the flour-cocoa mix into the creamed butter jaggery mixture until combined and forms a dough. You may add some milk if required.
flour-cocoa mix and butter…the dough forming process
  • Eventually, use your clean hands to bring it all together and form the chocolate cookie dough
  • Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film or aluminum foil and put it into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
cookie dough
  • After 30 minutes take out the cookie dough and form smaller balls from it. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hands and form small disks of about ½ cm thickness.
  • Make designs on the cookies with the help of a fork according to your liking. I was helped by my hubby in the cookie designing bit and they did turn out to be very very pretty. You can use white chocolate chips also if you desire.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180O C. Arrange the cookies on a paper lined baking tray with at least ½ a cm gap between them as the butter in them tends to make them spread while cooking. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes’ till baked through. The cookies might seem to be a bit soft when you take them out from the oven but they get crispier as they cool down
  • Your easy, yummy, chocolaty, buttery and healthy whole-wheat cookies are ready to be enjoyed with a delicious cup of coffee or with tea or just like that when you are feeling a bit moreish.

P.S

1. Patali Gur or Date Palm jaggery holds a very special place in my heart and it is one of the winter delicacies that I absolutely adore. It has a wonderfully rich and smoky flavour which can easily be used as a sugar substitute. I love to use it in my desserts but if you find it difficult to get your hands on you can easily use raw unfiltered honey or any other sweetener of your choice.

2. Creaming the butter until soft and buttery is an extremely important step as that gives these cookies the perfect texture.

3. If you do not have a cookie tray/ baking tray please do not worry. Neither do I! The hack that I use is I just cut my butter/baking paper into a round shape and place it directly on the microwave ovens turntable. Voila! Your baking tray is ready to be used.

Baked Goodies · Drinks and Beverages · Random Thoughts

Things You need to Carry for the perfect Day Trip #SuperBloggerChallenge #Instacuppa

Day trips are the best! Everyone will agree. What is there not to like? You don’t have to take leave (plan it on a weekend), it gives the boost that is required to survive in between those treasured vacations, they are not expensive (no hotels to be booked!) and the reasons are endless.

No Day Trip worth its mettle is complete without a list of goodies and must have items that are absolutely mandatory for making the Day Trip reach fabulous levels of perfection. I take making lists very very seriously. Anything I do is initiated with me sitting down with my favourite diary and a pen and jotting down some list or the other. I am absolutely religious about it!

Here I will share some ideas which according to me are a must for any Day Trip.

1.Edible Goodies.

Yummy! No outing is complete without a series of lip smacking munchies which are easy to eat as well as carry. Sorry , no butter cream frostings on your cupcakes for this one!

a. Unfrosted but very very yummy muffins/cupcakes.

Blueberry White Chocolate Muffin

b. Any loaf cake cut into easy to eat slices.

Orange Cranberry Loaf Cake


Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

c. Cookies-both savoury and sweet and easy to pop into your mouth.

Three Ingredient Cookie


d. Nuts and dry fruits

Nuts and Berries


e. Chocolate/Fudge

Dark Chocolate Fudge


The basic idea is it has to be easy to eat as well as easy to handle!

All the recipes for the above goodies are available on my Home page. Feel free to check them out.

https://deliciousfoodwithginia.wordpress.com

2. Beverage of your choice

The best idea if you are health conscious is to carry green tea of your choice in a Vacuum Insulated Thermos Travel Mug/Thermos or a bottle like this one. You can read more about my thoughts on Green Tea here. https://deliciousfoodwithginia.wordpress.com/2019/02/10/tea-and-me/

https://instacuppastore.com/products/instacuppa-thermos-bottle-1000-ml-double-wall-thermos-flask-vacuum-insulated-stainless-steel-retains-hot-and-cold-temperatures
This Thermos Bottle can be used to carry any beverage of your choice be it hot or cold.

You can also try a travel mug like this one from Instacuppa for green tea or coffee. Its great for single use. https://instacuppastore.com/products/instacuppa-vacuum-insulated-coffee-tea-travel-mug-470-ml-sipper-lid-with-filter-silicon-grip-black

Instacuppa vacuum insulated Travel Mug

https://instacuppastore.com/products/instacuppa-vacuum-insulated-coffee-tea-travel-mug-470-ml-sipper-lid-with-filter-silicon-grip-black
https://www.amazon.in/InstaCuppa-Insulated-Stainless-Infuser-Thermos/dp/B07L5Q98CC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?m=A3CTHNKRKDG7ON&s=merchant-items&ie=UTF8&qid=1549268701&sr=1-1&keywords=travel+mug+with+infuser&linkCode=sl1&tag=eterheal03-21&linkId=79f96e1ebd0e39b7c2e6d160a243a5c8&language=en_IN

3.A small stash of first aid and emergency medicines if you are traveling with children and elderly parents.

4. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat if there is any of sun damage to your skin. Lip balm and a compact is also a must for some mild touch up. My favourite sunscreen is a bit expensive but definitely works wonders.

5. A good camera or a phone with a good camera for capturing wonderful moments of your trip. Please don’t forget the phone charger as well as phones these days are notorious for getting discharged at the blink of an eye!

6. Portable Bluetooth speaker to listen to songs of your choice on the way to your destination or at any place you wish.

7. Tissue papers and wet wipes to clean your hands and in to use in any emergency food spills.

8. Hand sanitizer because I absolutely love to have clean hands.

9. I always carry some fennel or some ajwain seeds to keep at bay any sudden bouts of nausea or digestive issues while travelling. So my handbag always has a stash of ajwain and I am happy to distribute it to everyone around me!

I hope you will find these things to be helpful when you are planning your next day trip. Do let me know much fun you had!

This article as a part of SuperBloggerChallenge2019 conducted byHealthwealthbridge.comAllaboutthewoman.com and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2019 is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

https://allaboutthewoman.com/green-tea-detox-bottle-to-brew-perfect-cup-for-weightloss/

https://healthwealthbridge.com/can-you-touch-people-with-leprosy-leprosyfreeminds/

Baked Goodies

Easy Milk Loaf

One of my resolutions for 2019 was to learn how to bake bread and get over my fear of yeast. Ever since I purchased my oven a packet of Active Dry Yeast was a permanent resident in my fridge as I was sure that I would be making a loaf of bread very soon. That was just less than two years back. In those two years I have made numerous cakes but just could not gather the courage to start handling yeast. That first packet of yeast I gifted to a friend when I relocated back to my hometown.

After many other life-changing events again, I bought a new packet of yeast and still, that fated moment did not arrive for me to start baking bread. But ever since keeping it in my resolution list I was hell-bent on achieving this skill. I will have to confess that before this recipe there have been three epic fails in which I am sad to say I had used recipes from big names in the baking world. I am sure it was a combination of something that I was doing wrong and some misinformation’s in the recipes.

I was very disappointed even though my hubby was a big sport and he was equally appreciative of all the nearly rock hard loaves of breads that I have made during my failed adventures.  He ate them all with a smile on his face!!

Now I was beginning to doubt myself and nearly gave up on my quest for baking a soft fluffy loaf. Once I thought maybe the problem is with the yeast or maybe it’s the temperature and so on and on. Then like a gift from God, there was a post in a baking group on Facebook, (Home Bakers Guild) which attracted me a lot. I followed this recipe with some modifications of my own. My previous three attempts gave me some idea about where I may have been going wrong.

Thanks a lot to Bhavana Raghunandan for her fail-proof bread recipe which helped me fulfill my dream of baking my own bread.

      Most of the previous recipes, I realized gave the wrong proportion of liquid or the wrong temperature of baking. Also, the exact timing of kneading the bread is the single biggest factor which can make or break your bread. This recipe gave some very important tips like covering the loaf with a wet cloth before slicing the bread which was a lifesaver. I will be giving all my tips and hacks with explanations at the end of the recipe.

My milk loaf recipe is a bit different from the original recipe but I am happy to say we were super duper happy with the outcome! I finally conquered my fear of yeast and bread baking and we enjoyed one of the softest and fluffiest milk loaf ever!

One piece of advice that I would like to give to all my friend is please do not be intimidated by the process. Unlike what everybody says please do not follow any recipe blindly. In case of bread dough, you have to feel the dough rather than using the exact quantity of liquid that has been mentioned. As anybody who has made dough for chapati/roti or Indian flatbreads will be knowing we never use a fixed quantity of liquid. You have to feel it that the dough is now just ready. For that, you add the water/ liquid bit by bit. Not in one go, please.

The rest of the tips I will give at the end of the recipe.

If you have any questions or fears, please do reach out to me for help. I will surely help you in your journey of bread baking.

And I am really very sorry that I do not have step by step photos or ingredient photos  but I promise my next bread recipe will have many photographs.

Preparation time: 30 minutes.

Rising Time : 90 minutes

Baking Time: 30 to 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cup All-purpose Flour (200 gms)+ extra flour for dusting
  2. ½ cup hot water
  3. 1 ½ tsp Active Dry Yeast
  4. Fresh Cream ½ cup
  5. Salt (to taste)
  6. 2 tsp Brown Sugar(or to taste)
  7. ¼ cup Raw Organic Honey
  8. 3 tbsp Melted Butter
  9. Clean Muslin Cloth
  10. Loaf Tin

Method:

  • Baking is always easier if you start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
  • The first step is to measure 1 ½ tsp of Active Dry Yeast and put in a bowl. Mix 1 tsp of brown sugar with the yeast.
  • Now you need hot water to activate or proof the yeast. Now the million-dollar question is how hot should the water be? There are many websites which define the exact temperature of water for ideal proofing of the yeast but that is of no use if you do not have a kitchen thermometer. So I will tell you the easiest hack for ideal water temperature. Boil the water and then cool it to a temperature at which you can just dip your finger comfortably. Since yeast is a living organism you do not want to kill it with too hot water but too cold water will also fail to wake up the sleeping yeast cells. Mix the water(1/4cup) with the yeast and sugar mix and stir gently. Then let the mixture be as it is for 10 to 15 minutes when you will see the mixture has become frothy. This indicates your yeast is now ready to be used.
  • While you are waiting for the yeast to proof, in a large bowl mix the flour with salt and sugar.
  • In a smaller bowl take the fresh cream and add the honey. Add some water to dilute the cream honey mixture to a slightly viscous texture.
  • When the yeast is ready, add it in the flour and mix with your hands. (Please do not forget to wash your hands very well)
  • Add 2 tbsp of molten butter into the flour mix.
  • Add the honey and cream mixture bit by bit and form a dough. It is very important to add the liquid in small installments and not all in one go as otherwise, your dough may become too sticky and difficult to manage.
  • Also, the amount of liquid required to form a proper dough is dynamic. It depends on a lot of varied factors. So please don’t pour in all the liquid at one go. It is very similar to how we make dough for chapatti.
  • Knead the dough for 15 minutes when you will see magic in front of your eyes and the dough will transform into a soft, silky and pliable dough. You will understand that the dough is done when it can be rolled into a ball.
  • Grease a bowl with butter and keep the dough ball in it for the first rise. Brush a bit of the remaining cream mixture on the top surface of the dough and cover with a moist clean muslin/cheesecloth. Cover with a larger bowl and let the dough rise for at least 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour you will see the dough has risen to nearly double its size.
  • Remove it the dough from the bowl and put it on a plate. Gently punch the dough to release the air and knead gently for about a minute to make the dough smooth. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin and then tuck in the side edges and shape into a shape of your choice. You can make a rectangular loaf, an oval loaf any shape that catches your fancy. I made a round and slightly flattened loaf.
  • Put the dough in the greased loaf tin and again cover with the bigger bowl and wait for the second rise. This should take around 30 minutes’ time.
  • After 30 minutes your bread dough is ready to be baked. It will rise again and become soft and pillowy and beg you to just poke in a finger but please don’t do that.
  • Preheat the oven to 180o C.
  • Brush the top surface of the dough again with cream honey mixture and bake for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • While the bread is baking your house will be filled with the heady aroma of freshly baked yummilicious homemade fresh bread. This, in my opinion, is one of the best smells in the world!
  • After 30 minutes open the oven and your bread will be a wonderful golden brown colour with an even better aroma. An easy tip to check whether the bread is baked all through is tap the bottom of the loaf and if it gives a hollow sound then your bread is ready.
  • Remove the loaf from the tin. Brush the top crust with cream-honey-water mixture and again cover the bread with the moist cloth for 3 to 4 hours or even overnight before slicing the bread. Then slice the bread and toast it or have it just the way it is with butter or fruit preserves or in a sandwich.

P.S

1. I have realised from my journey that bread baking is more about feelings than about measurements (I know this sounds crazy but it is actually true). You will feel it when you add the right quantity of liquid and the dough just the just right consistency.

2. Kneading the dough with love and patience is a very important part of this recipe and so is proofing the yeast.

3. Covering the dough during the rising process helps to prevent the dough from drying out.

4. Milk brushing after the bread is baked and covering with the moist cloth helps to soften the crust of the bread and makes slicing the bread very easy. Please do not skip this step.

5. Before baking the bread you can sprinkle any raw seeds (poppy, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin) or rolled oats on the top surface of the loaf which will give the bread a very professional look.

Baked Goodies · Desserts

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

3

One of my best friend from school was in town and I was super excited about meeting her after nearly 2 years. She and her hubby were invited for lunch at our place on a weekend and my brain was working overtime about the goodies that I was going to make for them. I really wanted to try out a new flavour combination for the cake I was going to bake. After a lot of thinking I zeroed down on lemon and poppy seed which seems to be quite a popular combination amongst the bakers. Also, I came across a new term on Instagram called “The Naked Cake”. I was extremely intrigued by this term and decided to do some research. It turns out that I have been consistently making stark naked cakes as by definition it is a cake without or barely there frosting.

(https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-a-naked-cake-and-why-is-it-naked-244010)

(https://www.stylesweetca.com/blog/2016/1/6/how-to-make-a-naked-cake)

I persistently make extremely simple and rustic cakes and avoid fillings and frosting just so that I can eat my cake with minimum guilt. So I was super happy to know that the cakes that I make are part of a trend!

Recently a new niggle some worry has cropped up. My allergy to egg yolks has reared up its ugly little head. For past few months, I had been ignoring it but a recent flair up made me realize that I really need to take it seriously. So I decided my cakes will be made only with egg whites henceforth. (as far as possible).

For some time now I was thinking about making healthy baked goodies as after last year’s job-related relocation to my hometown I gained some unwanted weight. So now there is a constant clash inside my mind between my urge to bake and the urge to lose weight. So I decided I have to find a middle path so that my passion is not curtailed and I can lead a healthy life as well. Also according to psychologists for people whole love to bake for others, the process is a stress reliever and it can help ease the presence of sad thoughts.  This article explained a lot of things which I guess I already knew but had never thought about extensively.

(https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/baking-for-others-psychology_us_58dd0b85e4b0e6ac7092aaf8)

Now back to the lemon poppy seed cake. I have used some alternative ingredients in this recipe and tried to cut down on the butter and used olive oil instead. Instead of using only all-purpose flour I have added some oats flour which gave the cake a different texture. The crunch and taste of the poppy seed is very unique and I was a bit apprehensive about the overall resulting taste. Luckily the combination of fragrant lemons and the nutty flavour of the crunchy poppy seeds gave this a cake a very different but yummy flavour.

The lemons that I have used in this recipe are special as they are organic and homegrown and gifted to us by a senior colleague at a recent office picnic. So the heavenly fragrance of these lemons has added an extra dimension to this cake. You can use any type of lemon and lime as you want in your recipe only adjust the quantity of lemon juice you add in as all lemons are not equally tangy.

 I have added a simple lemon glaze on top of the loaf cake which gives an added tangy kick and a super shine to this scrumptious flavourful cake. Now I am really looking forward to trying out new flavour combinations and adding a healthy twist to my cakes. So now my friends please read on to know my version of Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

Preparation time: 20 minutes.Baking Time: 30 minutesIngredients:
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour (100 gms)
  • ½ cup Oats Flour (50 gms)
  • 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
  • 2 tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • ½ tsp Baking soda
  • ¾ cup Brown Sugar + 2 tbsp powdered sugar (for the glaze)
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • Lemon Juice (3 tbsp.)+ 4 tsp(for the glaze)
  • Lemon Zest of 2 lemons for the batter +1 lemon’s zest for the glaze
  • Melted Butter 3 tbsp
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ cup fresh yoghurt
  • Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, loaf tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
  • Oil/melted butter for greasing the loaf tin.
  • deliciousfoodwithginia1.jpgMethod:
  • Baking seems to be a less formidable task if you start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
  • Grease the loaf tin with melted butter or oil. (I used a loaf tin but you can use any type of cake mould you want)
  • Sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda together and mix in the oats flour in a large dry mixing bowl.
  • Mix the lemon zest and the poppy seeds with the flour mixture
  • Beat the egg whites with a hand-held electric whisk till light and fluffy and add in the brown sugar bit by bit. It takes around 4 to 5 minutes with an electric one and around 10 minutes with a manual whisk.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the yoghurt with a fork and mix it in the beaten egg whites and keep on whisking at a low speed.
  • Next mix in the melted butter, lemon juice and whisk to have a foamy and light mixture.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180o (I use a microwave oven in the convection mode)
  • Now add the flour mix prepared earlier into the egg white mixture bit by bit and keep on whisking at a low speed.
  • Add in the olive oil when your cake mixture will get a pourable and smooth texture. Be careful not to overmix the batter. If the batter is too viscous you can add some milk.
  • Now pour the batter into the grease and bake at 180oC for 25 minutes. At this point test the middle of the cake with a toothpick or a cake tester and if it does not come out dry bake for 5 more minutes.
  • When the cake is baked perfectly, take it out of the oven/ let it cool down and demould.
  • Keep the fragrant lemon loaf cake on a cooling rack and prepare the glaze in the meanwhile.
  • Now as with any other cake the waiting part will be very difficult as the smell of freshly baked cake is very tempting and there is a great urge to cut he cake and eat it immediately. But it is better to wait for a while as if you attempt to slice a cake which is too hot you might end up breaking the cake and you will not get neat slices.
  • To prepare the glaze mix 2 tbsp of powdered sugar with 4 tsp of lemon juice and mix until the sugar is dissolved and you have a shiny and tangy lemony glaze ready to be drizzled on the top surface of the loaf cake. You might have to add some extra lemon juice if the sugar does not dissolve and mix vigorously.
  • Drizzle the glaze onto the cake and grate the lemon zest on the top of the cake and enjoy your yummy, tangy, nutty super soft and moist Lemon Poppy Loaf cake.
  • 2(1).jpgP.S
  • You can leave out the poppy seeds if you are allergic or if it is not easily available but if you can do try this flavour combination as the nutty flavour and the crunch really enhances this loaf cakes overall flavour range.
  • If you want to make this cake totally eggless then you have to add more yoghurt but I have not tested that substitution as of yet so cannot say how exactly it will turn out.
  • 1(1)2.jpg
  • Baked Goodies · Savoury

    Stuffed Chicken Roast


    As far back as I can remember in my cooking and baking days I was always fascinated with the idea of cooking a whole chicken! In my teenage years, it was during the Durga Puja Festivals one year when I had planned on making the famous Mughlai dish the “Murgh Mussallam” which literally means “whole chicken”. As everyone will remember in those days’ information was not as easily available as now. So it took a lot of effort in my part to search for a do-able recipe but due to some unfortunate turn of events, I never got around to making it.

    Fast forward 10 years and it was my first job posting in Jaipur, Rajasthan where a sweet neighbor of mine had gone to a great deal of trouble to prepare Murgh Mussallam for a New Year house party and I observed her labouring over the whole chicken for quite some time! And how we ate at that New Year’s party is a different gastronomical story altogether! Now I’m back to my hometown Kolkata and it was the festive month of December when my past urge to cook a whole chicken returned with a gusto. This time I was very determined to not only bake the whole chicken but stuff it too! So my search for the perfect recipe began.

     I found that the internet is flooded with lots of information and recipes of stuffed roast chicken but I could not find the one which suited me perfectly. I took a different approach and began to make my own recipe. In this journey, I have been inspired by several recipes on different websites including ChristinasCucina(https://www.christinascucina.com/rosemary-citrus-roast-chicken-overnight/) and Allrecipes(https://www.allrecipes.com/). This recipe can be divided into three main parts the marinade, the stuffing and the main process of baking/roasting the chicken. This is a fairly simple and easy recipe but it requires some pre-planning and lots of patience!

    I made this much awaited stuffed chicken roast as a pre-Christmas treat on the weekend before Christmas. Now it might seem to be a fairly intimidating dish to pull off. But believe me when I say this you will simply blow people away with the awesomeness of this golden and crispy skinned chicken with soft juicy meat and stuffing which is great to eat even by itself! The most important thing that is required on this recipe is Courage. If you have that you will just sail through this recipe and your family will be kissing your hands and licking their fingers!

    Preparation time: 30 minutes (excluding overnight marination time)

    Baking/Roasting Time: 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min.

    Ingredients:

    For the Marinade you will need:

    1. Juice of 1 orange,
    2. Juice and zest of 1 Gondhoraj* Lebu/Lime,
    3. Juice of 1 lemon,
    4. Slices of Gondhoraj Lebu/Lime,
    5.  8 to 10 cloves of peeled garlic,
    6. Salt (To taste)
    7. Freshly crushed black pepper (To taste)
    8. Dried rosemary (1 tbsp)
    9. 1 whole Chicken (1 kg) with the skin and its innards cleaned.

    For the stuffing you will need:

    1. Butter=75gm
    2. Bread Cubes=4 cups.
    3. 1 medium-sized red onion chopped.
    4. 2 sticks of leek /spring onions 5 to 6 chopped.
    5. Fresh Button Mushroom’s 8 to 10 diced.
    6. 6 to 7 Walnut’s chopped
    7. Dried Cranberries
    8. Chopped celery and coriander leaves = 1 sprig of each
    9. 1 egg
    10. ½ cup milk
    11. 1 Dried Bay Leaf/ Tez patta
    12. ½ tbsp Brown sugar
    13. Salt (To taste)
    14. Freshly crushed Black Pepper (To taste)

    Other Ingredients

    1. Butter Cubes 1 cup(100gm)
    2. Melted Butter or olive oil 1/ 4 cup for basting
    3. Honey 2 tbsp
    4. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, roasting tin/tray
    5. 1 piece of thick bread end.

    Method:

    • Start by first washing and cleaning the chicken thoroughly. Be careful that you wash the inner parts and the skin very well.
    • Then pat dry the chicken with a paper towel.
    • Take a large bowl (glass/ plastic) and mix all the ingredients of the marinade i.e the orange juice, gondhoraj lebu/lime juice and zest, lemon juice, crushed garlic pods, salt, pepper and rosemary.
    • Coat the chicken with the marinade. Pull the skin slightly and push in few pods of crushed garlic below the skin randomly. In the inner cavity of the chicken put the lime/ gandhoraj lebu wedges and crushed garlic pods and make sure the marinade is well coated in the inside as well.
    • Seal the bowl with cling film and put into the refrigerator at least overnight. I marinated the chicken for 24 hours. Do not forget to turn the chicken over at least once during the marination period.
    • When you are ready to roast the chicken remove it from the refrigerator at least 2 hrs prior to cooking it. Remove lemon/ lime wedges from the inner cavity.
    • Rub butter cubes on the entire outer surface of and push in few of the cubes underneath the skin.
    • For the stuffing, melt butter in a pan and add the bay leaf. Add the chopped onions and fry till translucent. Then add the mushrooms, leek, celery and cook at high flame until soft. Mix in the bread cubes and fry. Beat the egg and add it into the mixture at a low flame and mix well. Add the milk and increase the flame and keep stirring. When the mixture is dry add the chopped walnuts, cranberries, salt, pepper, and chopped coriander and remove from heat.
    • It is important to remember that you should not cool the stuffing and spoon it directly into the cavity of the prepared chicken.
    • You can sew the cavity of the chicken shut with twine or a thick thread. But I used an easier hack. Just wedge the end tough piece of bread at the opening of the chicken cavity pushing in the stuffing. Don’t worry if it is a bit loose.
    • Sprinkle some salt and freshly crushed black pepper on the chicken.
    • Preheat the oven to 400°F or 230°C.
    • Place the chicken on a low rack over a roasting tray and bake at 230°C for 15 minutes.
    • Then reduce the temperature to 375°F or 180°C and bake for 1 hour.
    • It is important to remember that in every 15 minutes have to baste the chicken i.e brush the entire surface with the remnant marinade and melted butter. This will help to keep the chicken soft and moist.
    • At the 45 minute mark turn the chicken around to get even browning of all the surfaces

    • For the last basting of the chicken, you can mix some honey with the melted butter and brush the chicken with the mixture. This will give the loveliest caramelized golden brown roast chicken ever.
    • After 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes the chicken will be cooked thoroughly.
    • Carve the chicken with a sharp knife and serve with toast(optional) and roast potatoes
    • At the end, my roasted chicken had caramelized golden brown crispy skin with very juicy, tender flesh and yummy scrumptious stuffing inside.
    Baked Goodies · Desserts

    Blueberry White Chocolate Muffins

    It was the countdown week before Christmas and I was playing with flavor combinations in my head to try out for muffins. I wanted to make these muffins in my brand new fun shaped silicon muffin moulds bought from one of my after office New Market sprees.

    My husband loves blueberries and bought a packet of dried blueberries online to surprise him. Then there are these white chocolate and dark chocolate buttons available online which I love to use in my baked goodies. Voila! My blueberry white chocolate muffin recipe was born.

    In my earlier days of baking when I had just discovered this wonderful hobby, I was in school and was intoxicated on the tales and stories of Enid Blyton. Thanks to her delicious description of food and an over-active imagination I was fascinated with exotic ingredients like berries, high-quality chocolate, fancy baking tools etc.

    I was very wistful as these ingredients were not at all available in Kolkata in those days and I dreamt of the day when I would be able to bake with them. My days of yearning are finally over now! With the opening of the world of online shopping, I feel all the ingredients that I dreamt of being only one click away. This gives me a sense of immense peace and happiness.

    One fine winter evening after returning from work, I decided I will bake the much awaited blubbery muffins today. So I began to gather all the ingredients and started baking with a strong determination to make the loveliest blueberry muffins.

    These muffins are scrumptiously golden and dotted with juicy, dark blueberries and golden white chocolate buttons. I confess they are a bit sinful as I have used some cream in the batter instead of milk. But once in a while, you can get away with these things!

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 cup White Flour (100gm)
    2. ¼ cup flax seed powder (25 gm)
    3. 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
    4. ½ tsp Baking soda
    5. 3 eggs
    6. Vanilla Essence (few drops)
    7. Sugar (1/2 cup)
    8. Melted Butter 80 gm
    9. Yoghurt 2 tbsp.
    10. Cream ¼ cup
    11. Dried blueberries (15 to 20)
    12. White Chocolate buttons
    13. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, hand whisk/electric whisk.
    14. Silicon Muffin moulds and paper muffin cups.
    15. Oil/melted butter for greasing the muffin cups.

    Method:

    • Keep all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
    • Line the silicon muffin moulds with paper liners and grease them.
    • Mix the flour with the flaxseed powder, baking powder and baking soda.
    • Melt the butter.
    • Crack open the eggs in a deep bowl and mix with sugar.
    • Whip together the eggs and sugar mixture with a handheld mixer till light and frothy.
    • Add in the melted butter and vanilla essence and keep on mixing.
    • In a separate bowl take the yoghurt and with the help of a fork whip it till it becomes smooth and there are no lumps.
    • Pre-heat the oven at 180C.
    • Then when the egg mixture is frothy add in the flour mix and fold in with a spatula.
    • Add the beaten yoghurt and cream to the cake batter and mix in with the spatula.
    • Be careful not to over mix the batter but all the ingredients should be well combined.
    • Add the white chocolate buttons and the blueberries reserving a few for the topping.
    • The mixture will not be pourable.
    • With the help of a spoon put the batter into the muffin moulds. Dot the top of each muffin with the reserved blueberries and chocolate buttons.
    • Put the muffins into the preheated oven to bake for 20 minutes.
    • After 20 minutes check the centre of one of the muffins with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean, then the muffins are done. If not, then bake for 5 more minutes
    • Your scrumptiously yummy, blueberry white chocolate muffins are ready to be enjoyed with your friends and family. You can trust me that these muffins taste as good as they look!

    P.S

    1. **All ovens are unique the timing might vary accordingly. So feel free to adjust the timing according to your ovens nature.
    2. The quantities that I have mentioned will make around 5 to 6 muffins.
    3. The sugar quantity can be reduced if you like your desserts on the less sweet size but the quantity of sugar I have mentioned in the recipe is optimum for this dessert.
    4. To make these muffins a bit less sinful, you can swap the white flour with whole wheat flour, the cream with skimmed milk and the white sugar with powdered jaggery/honey. But I just can’t compromise with the butter.
    5. The flaxseed powder not only gives these muffins a delicious nutty flavour but add to the health quotient of any of my baked goodies.
    6. I guess I will be coming up with a healthier version of this recipe some times soon.
    7. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this cake in the comments section.
    Baked Goodies · Savoury

    Easy Yummy Savoury Muffins

    Easy Yummy Savoury Muffins

    I have a full time 9 to 5 job and I reserve minimum effort for breakfast as I am a zombie in the morning.

    Yes…as all my friends and family know I am anything but a morning person. Whenever there has been any such situation in which I am required to get up very early mysteriously I have been spared. I guess there is a lot of power in prayers!
               Now, this healthy, savory, veggie-filled whole-wheat muffin can be made at any time of the day but somehow in my head, I was hell-bent on making it for breakfast! I pinned an egg-white and veggie healthy muffin on my recipe board for the past one year but never got around to making it.

    So in my December baking spree, I decided I have to make something savory and remembered the egg white muffin recipe. To make the muffins more filling I have recreated the recipe in my way. It is a very easy recipe and other than the chopping part it takes only 10 minutes to put together. Yes! You heard me right I did say 10 minutes!
    As luck would have it, my helper, Pinky was late that day and we got up late. I was running around like a headless chicken but the night before I had washed the vegetables and kept them ready to be chopped in the morning which helped a lot.

    So after having our daily dose of seasonal fruits, I got together all the ingredients and my hubby was sweet enough to chop the veggies into perfectly immaculate little pieces!

    To be honest I have made very few savory baked items and I was very nervous about the outcome.
    So after putting the muffins into the oven for the baking fairies to perform their magic, I rushed to take my bath and get ready for office. After 25 minutes when I came into the kitchen, I found these golden muffins dotted with a rainbow of colored veggies waiting patiently in the oven to be gobbled up.

    Frankly, these muffins are superbly filling, yummy, tasty, healthy and as a bonus look absolutely perfect. I am already thinking of ways in which I can change the ingredients and make a wide variety of savory breakfast muffins. They taste good by themselves or you can try some ketchup on the side as well.

    Preparation time: 15 minutes**
    Baking Time: 25 minutes**

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 cup Whole-wheat Flour (100gm)
    2. ¼ cup flax seed powder (25 gm)
    3. 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
    4. ½ tsp Baking soda
    5. 2 Egg white + 1 whole Egg
    6. Melted Butter 100 gm (equivalent to a ¾ cup of butter cubes)
    7. Skimmed Milk 1/4 cup
    8. Spinach (8 to 9 leaves), Red Bell Pepper (1/4), Yellow Bell Pepper (1/4), Green Onion, Onion (1), Coriander Leaves (to taste).
    9. Salt and Pepper to taste
    10. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, cake mould/tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
    11. Muffin mould and paper muffin cups.
    12. Oil/melted butter for greasing the muffin cups.

    Method:
    • I started by washing the veggies the night before and keeping them ready to be chopped in the morning.
    • Then keep all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
    • Chop all the veggies i.e spinach, bell peppers, onion, green onion and coriander leaves into small pieces.
    • Line the muffin mould with paper liners and grease them.
    • Mix the whole-wheat flour with the flaxseed powder, salt, pepper, baking powder and baking soda.
    • Melt the butter.
    • Beat the egg whites and egg with a handheld mixer till light and frothy.
    • Add in the skimmed milk, butter and keep on mixing.
    • Pre-heat the oven at 180C.
    • Then when the egg mixture is frothy add in the flour mix and fold in with a spatula.
    • Mix in the chopped vegetables.
    • The mixture will not be pourable.
    • With the help of a spoon put the batter into the muffin moulds
    • Put the muffins into the preheated oven to bake for 25 minutes.
    • After 25 minutes check the center of one of the muffins with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean then the muffins are done.
    • Your yummy, healthy, veggie muffins are ready to be gorged as a special treat for breakfast!

    P.S

    1. **All ovens are unique the timing might vary accordingly. In this recipe, the vegetables tend to impart some moisture to the batter while the baking is going on. So feel free to adjust the timing according to your ovens nature.
    2. If you want you can add in some grated cheese to the batter but even without cheese, these muffins turn out pretty scrumptious.
    3. The quantities that I have mentioned will make around 6 muffins.
    4. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this recipe in the comments section.
    Baked Goodies · Desserts

    Easiest Three Ingredient Cookie

    Easiest Three Ingredient Cookies

    I was thinking about baking some cookies for a very long time. But with the onslaught of pictures of Christmas cookies and cookie challenges on Instagram, I was very intimidated. Also, in the process of making cookies, there is an extra step which involves chilling the dough. This step really puts me off and makes me feel lazy. But drooling over all the yummy cookie pictures online, I did some extensive research on the “Science behind Making Cookies” and so this recipe was building in my head for the last few days. Anyhow, it was a weekday night and there was some raw chicken waiting in my sink to be washed and cooked into a wonderful, yummy gravy with some pureed spinach, and I suddenly decide that tonight is the night to make these cookies. You have to believe me that it took me exactly 15 minutes to get this cookie dough ready and in the fridge to chill!

    My husband and my mother were like excited children when the first batch came out of the oven in all their golden loveliness. My sister has already coordinated the process of how I am going to bake the next batch of cookies and get them couriered to her! So, my friends, I will now tell you the recipe of the easiest three ingredient cookies in the world and believe me even if you are a novice in baking, these cookies will definitely turn out to be perfect. They absolutely melt in the mouth, crispy and golden pieces of heaven…….

    Preparation time: 15 minutes.

    Chilling Time: 30 minutes

    Baking Time: 16 to 18 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 ¾ cups Flour(175gm)
    2. ¾ cup powdered brown sugar(75gm)
    3. Softened Salted Butter 1 cup.(100gm)

    *Chocolate Button/ Chocolate Chips

    Method:

    • Start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, and baking tray ready.
    • Cream together the softened butter and the powder brown sugar with a handheld mixer until it is fluffy and the colour of the butter changes. It will take you around 7 to 8 minutes at low to medium speed.
    • Now mix in the flour into the creamed butter-sugar mixture until combined and forms a dough. You might have to use your hands at some point to bring it all together, but in that case, do not forget to wash your hands well.
    • Roll the dough into 2 logs of about 1-inch diameter. Wrap each log in cling film or aluminum foil and put it into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
    • After waiting for 30 minutes and getting other work in the kitchen done, take out one of the dough rolls and unwrap it.
    • With a sharp knife cut the dough roll into cookies of the thickness of your choice. ¼ inch thickness was the magic number for me.
    • Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Arrange the cookies on a baking tray with at least ½ a cm gap between them as the butter in them tends to make them spread while cooking. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes till crispy and golden.
    • If you decide to use chocolate chips, you can use the second roll of dough and cut them similarly and top them with the chocolate chip. But remember to press gently, as otherwise, the cookies will crack.
    • At 16 minutes your cookies will be baked, but they will be light in colour. If you want the golden colour you have to give the cookies 2 more minutes but under supervision.
    • When both the batches are baked, your easy, yummy, buttery, golden medallions of heaven are ready to be enjoyed with tea, coffee or just by themselves.
    Baked Goodies · Desserts

    Orange Cranberry Loaf Cake

     

     The smell of fresh juicy oranges and the aroma of freshly baked fruit cakes is synonymous to me. Now my problem is I plan to make at least two to three new types of baked goodies every day but alas there are only 24 hours per day! I have a full-time job which is highly tasking and add to that the normal pressures of planning and running a household. Luckily for me having a very supportive family helps me a lot in all my creative endeavors.

                  Anyway leaving aside all the rambling, there are nearly 101 things that I plan to bake this festive season of Christmas! I had been dreaming of this orange cake for a fortnight now and finally a bit of Sunday evening baling resulted in this glorious, shiny, yummy, aromatic orange cranberry loaf cake.

                 Actually, I had planned on making an orange loaf cake but recently I had heard my sister’s podcast on the health benefits of cranberries(Google podcast) and had ordered a packet immediately. So, as I was assimilating all the ingredients to start putting together the cake I noticed the shiny new packet of Cranberries. And lo and behold my recipe was changed to an orange-cranberry loaf cake.

                 The ruby red cranberries dotting the shiny golden surface of my loaf cake truly enhanced its beauty as well as the taste!

    Preparation time: 20 minutes.

    Baking Time: 25 to 30 minutes

    Eating Time: 5 minutes (LOL!)

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 ½ cup Flour (150gm)
    2. 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
    3. ½ tsp Baking soda
    4. ¾ cup Brown Sugar + 2 tbsp white sugar
    5. 3 Eggs
    6. Fresh Juice of 1 big orange
    7. Zest of 1 orange
    8. Vanilla Extract
    9. Melted Butter 150 gm
    10. Yoghurt 2 tbsp
    11. Dried Cranberries 3/4 cup
    12. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, cake mould/tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
    13. Oil/melted butter for greasing the cake mould.
    14. Parchment/Baking Paper.

    Method:

    • Start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
    • Line the loaf tin with parchment paper and grease it with melted butter or oil and keep it ready.
    • Sieve the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together and mix it in a large dry mixing bowl.
    • Melt the butter. I microwaved it for 30 to 40seconds in a glass bowl.
    • Take the yogurt in a small bowl, add the white sugar and whisk with a fork till the yogurt has no lumps.
    • In a large mixing bowl crack open the 3 eggs and add the brown sugar. Whip it with a handheld mixer or a whisk till light and foamy. It will take around 4 to 5 minutes at medium speed for the hand-held mixer.
    • At this point, you will need to pre-heat the convection oven to 180o C.
    • Add the melted butter to the egg mixture and continue to whip.
    • Add in the yogurt and combine.
    • Then add the orange juice which after mixing will give the egg mixture a wonderful orangey aroma and a golden sheen.
    •  Add the sieved flour mixture and mix with a spoon till the mixture is smooth.
    • Add the cranberries and the orange zest in the end and combine.
    • This batter is a pourable and liquid batter.
    • Now quickly pour the batter into the paper lined and greased cake tin and scatter some of the cranberries on the top.
    • Put the cake into the pre-heated oven and bake for30 minutes.
    • After 20 minutes check the cake with a toothpick in the center and if it comes out sticky bake it for 10 more minutes.
    • Then when the cake is baked completely remove it from the oven and let it cool a bit before removing from the loaf tin.
    • Now your orange cranberry loaf cake is ready to be sliced and enjoyed by you and your family!
    The Batter

    P.S

    1. The best thing about this cake was the shiny golden top surface and the heady aroma of oranges within. Its glaze was so perfect that I did not even think of putting any kind of frosting or drizzle on top for decoration. These type of cakes are best enjoyed with tea or coffee though even by itself it is absolutely moreish!!
    2. If you don’t have a loaf tin, you can easily change the cake tin type according to your liking.
    3. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this cake in the comments section.
    Baked Goodies · Desserts

    Lemon White Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    IMG-20181206-WA0006 (2)

    The winter months are three fun-filled months in our family as the month of December kick-starts all the birthday celebrations. It begins with my mother’s birthday in the very first week of December. I was planning to bake her birthday cake myself as I have been on a baking spree these days and tapping into my inner baker!

              I asked my mom what flavor cake she would like for her birthday and on giving her three options to choose from i.e. chocolate, vanilla or lemon, she chose the lemon. Now, this was happy news for my hubby as he is not a big chocolate fan. (Sigh!) Anyway now I started planning the recipe and began foraging for the ingredients. Mom’s birthday was on Sunday and we went for a day trip to an eco-tourism park on Saturday(Pics posted at the end of this post). So I had to make the cake on Sunday itself which was a challenging task as all the other weekend chores had piled up like a mountain.

              Anyway, after a lot of fighting with my inner lazy demons my proactive self took over and I managed to put together this birthday lemon cake which tasted very scrumptious and yummy. Mom was happy, hubby was happy and so automatically I was happy with the overall outcome. So now I could have my cake and eat it too!!

    Ingredients:

    1. 1 ½ cup Flour (150gm)
    2. 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
    3. ½ tsp Baking soda
    4. ¾ cup Granulated Sugar + ¼ cup powdered sugar
    5. 4 Eggs
    6. Lemon Juice (2 ½ tbsp.)
    7. Lemon Zest of 2 lemons for the batter +1 lemon’s zest for the icing
    8. Vanilla Extract
    9. Softened Butter 150 gm (equivalent to 1 cup of butter cubes)
    10. Cream Cheese 100 gm
    11. Fresh Cream/Whipping cream 2 to 3 tbsp.
    12. White chocolate buttons/chips 15 to 20 nos.
    13. Milk ½ cup
    14. Mixing Bowls, mixing spoons, cake mould/tin, hand whisk/electric whisk.
    15. Oil/melted butter for greasing the cake mould.
    16. Parchment/Baking Paper.

    Method:

      • Start by keeping all the ingredients on your work counter and all the mixing bowls, spoons, whisk etc ready.
      • Line the cake tin with parchment paper and grease it with melted butter or oil. (I used a round springform tin but you can use any type of cake tin) and keep it ready.
      • Sieve the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together and mix it in a large dry mixing bowl.
      • Take the butter and granulated sugar in a deep bowl and beat with an electric mixer for approximately 4 to 5 minutes till soft and fluffy. (you can use a handheld whisk also but then you have to beat the butter and sugar for a longer time). The texture and colour of butter will change i.e it will become lighter in colour and soft and fluffy in texture.
      • Then add in the eggs and vanilla extract and keep on mixing at medium speed till the mixture becomes homogenous. When the eggs are added to the whipped butter there is a chance of the butter curdling a bit but then you have an option of beating the eggs separately and then mixing it with the whipped butter. In both cases, you might be scared by a bit of curdling but just be brave and carry on with the mixing.
      • At this point, you will need to pre-heat the convection oven to 180o
      • Add the sieved flour mixture and mix till the mixture is smooth.
      • Mix in the milk and combine to make a pourable batter. Add the white chocolate chips and mix.
      • Add the lemon zest and lemon rind in the end and combine.
      • Now quickly pour the batter into the paper lined and greased cake tin and put it into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
      • After 20 minutes check the cake with a toothpick or a cake-tester in the center and if it comes out sticky bake it for 10 more minutes.
      • While the cake is baking prepare the cream cheese frosting. Mix the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, fresh cream/ whipping cream, powder sugar and whip with the electric beater till soft peaks form.
      • Now when the cake is baked perfectly, take it out of the oven/ let it cool down and remove carefully from the tin.
      • Keep the fragrant lemon cake on a cooling rack and wait patiently to decorate with the glorious cream cheese frosting.
      • Now, the waiting part will be very difficult because the smell of this cake is very tempting and you will feel a great urge to attack the cake with a knife and gorge on it! But my advice to you is that be patient because the frosted cake will taste even better.
    • When the cake has cooled down spread the frosting on the top of the cake and smoothen with a knife to make it pour over the edges just a little bit. Grate the lemon zest on the top of the cake and enjoy your yummy, tangy, super soft and moist lemon cake.IMG-20181206-WA0009 (2)IMG-20181206-WA0006 (2)

    P.S

      1. Instead of lemon, I have used a special type of lime called Gondhoraj Lebu in this recipe which has an out of the world citrusy fragrance. But lemons will do equally well and you can customize with any local type of lime or lemon available in your part of the world. Just be careful while grating the zest that you don’t reach the white portion of the lemon rind as that will impart bitterness to the cake
      2. If store bought cream cheese is not available, then you can easily make it at home. All you have to do is make some cottage cheese by curdling milk with lemon, separate the cheese and blitz it in a blender with some milk till smooth and creamy. This substitute is an old favourite of mine since the days when Cream cheese was not as easily available as now.
      3. We personally like our desserts to be a bit less sweet side and the sugar quantity is according to my taste. You have the freedom to increase the sugar content a bit if you prefer things on the sweeter side.
      4. You can leave out the white chocolate if you want but I really loved the combination of lemon and white chocolate.
      5. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me anything about this cake in the comments section.