Monday, January 16, 2012

Vanilla Banana Caramel Flans

I recently bought this book Small Batch Baking and i"m already in love with it. Thanks to Debby for such a wonderful book. I've already tried most of the recipes from the book with lovely results. This book serves for just 1 or 2 people, just small portions of baked goods. Have you ever tried to measure one teaspoon of an egg or even halve an egg?? This book does and the results are just perfect.  It satisfies the sweet tooth cravings along with saving those large batches of goodies which either gets distributed to neighbors or you end up eating most of it. Perfect for small households, or just whipping up something for the kids when they come home from school. This book delivers small yield recipes for all types of baking.

And now about the flan, this flan is creamy and caramely. Instead of using a full fat cream, this recipe uses half-an-half, i.e., a mixture of one part milk and one part cream. The banana puree adds richness and taste. The flavor is astonishingly intense and makes a sophisticated dessert. Debby says garnish the plate with slices of caramelized banana: cut one or two bananas into long diagonal slices and toss them with a bit of lemon juice. Arrange them on a baking sheet, sprinkle with light brown sugar, and broil or grill until the sugar melts; it will take about one minute.

Makes 2 flans ; Serves 2


  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 very ripe banana (i used a small one)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half (mixture of one part milk to one part cream)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Yolk of 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Boiling water, for the baking dish


  • Two 1-cup souffle dishes or ramekins
  • 1 baking pan

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 deg F (160 deg C). Set aside a baking pan that will hold the souffle dishes. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium-size mixing bowl, and set aside.

2. Pour 1/3 cup of water into a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup of sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Then boil, without stirring, until the color turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the color is a medium golden amber, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and spoon 11/2 tablespoons of the caramel into each souffle dish. Reserve the remaining in the saucepan. Set the souffle dishes aside.

4. Peel the banana and slice it into the saucepan. Add the lemon juice and mash the banana, caramel and lemon juice together with a potato masher or a pastry blender. Add the half-and-half and the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Place the pan over medium high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat, and simmer until the banana is cooked, 1 minute. Then remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture through the sieve, pressing down hard on the banana to extract as much pulp as possible. Scrap off the pulp clinging to the bottom of the sieve and add it to the custard mixture in the bowl.

5. Whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla into the custard mixture, and pour the mixture evenly over the caramel in the souffle dishes, dividing it evenly between them. Place the souffle dishes in the baking pan and pour boiling water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the souffle dishes. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake the flans until the centers are set, 25 to 30 minutes.

6. Remove the baking pan from the oven and carefully lift the souffle dishes from the pan with a metal spatula. Let the flans cool completely on a wire rack. Then cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, 6 hours or overnight.

7. To serve, run a small sharp knife around the inside of the souffle dishes to loosen the flans. Cover a souffle dish with a dessert plate, and quickly invert the flans onto the plate. Pour the caramel mixture remaining in the souffle dish over the flan. Repeat with the second flan. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nutella Fudge Brownies

These small bites are just not enough to satisfy your sweet buds. You'll surely be asking for more and 12 minis will be just gone in minutes. These brownie bites are just made with using 4 ingredients and can be whipped in just 2 minutes. These brownies are fudgy in texture and not too sweet,  just perfect for me and the nuts on top get roasted as they bake and give a wonderful crunch. You'll need mini muffin cups or pan for the recipe. If you are in Bangalore, India you can get these mini muffin cups in General Food Additives.
Here goes the recipe...

Recipe Adapted from Desserts 4 Today: Flavorful Desserts with Just Four Ingredients (USA |India)

Makes 12 Brownies


  • 1/2 cup Nutella Spread 
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped ( i have used walnuts, can use almonds too)


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
  2. Put the Nutella and egg in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add the flour and whisk until blended.
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
  4. Bake until a pick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11 to 12 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

In place of the hazelnuts, switch in one of the following:
* ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon (add with the flour)
* peanuts, chopped, 1/4 cup

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bread Khova Burfi

This is one dessert that is sure to please everyone. Its rich, chewy and the slight crunch from the dry fruits is just yumm.. I'm sure people would simply start guessing the ingredients in this burfi without any clue that bread could be the major ingredient. Recently i had been to my aunts place and she gave me this sweet. The moment i tasted it, i instantly fell in love with it and asked her for the recipe. It was another aunt who has given her the sweet. I am thankful to her for passing on her recipe and for the detailed instructions she gave me for making this yummy dessert.

Khova, which is also called Khoya, Mawa or Khoa which is used in most of the Indian desserts also contributes to the taste of this burfi. This is the first time i've used khoya in my dessert and was pleased with the result. It transforms the taste completely. Bread gives the body or the structure to the dessert and khoya brings the flavor out of it. Khoya is available in any Indian grocery stores or can be even prepared at home.

Here goes the recipe...


  • 1 pound ( approx. 500 gms) soft sweet bread
  • 200 gms khova
  • 325 gms sugar
  • 2 tbsps ghee (clarified butter)
  • few chopped dry fruits as per your taste(i used just cashews and raisins, you can use walnuts, almond too)


  • 1  thick deep saucepan
  • 2 flat griddle (tawa)
  • 1 spatula


  1. Crumble the bread with your hands along with the crust into very tiny pieces. Crumble the khova.
  2. Combine crumbled bread, khova and sugar. Transfer the mixture into the saucepan and on a medium heat, keep stirring the mixture till it all comes together into a solid mass. Add ghee and give it a stir.
  3. Now take out the thick mixture from the saucepan and transfer it onto the griddle. Flatten the bread, khova mixture using a thick plastic sheet or if you are daring, you can use your hands. 
  4. Spread the mixture entirely over the griddle. Sprinkle the dry fruits all over the griddle and press them a little bit into the mixture. And on a slow flame roast the flattened mixture for few minutes till the surface turns golden brown. 
  5. Now you need the flip the mixture and roast the other side too. To do this take another flat griddle and place it frying side down on top of the mixture and hold both handles of the griddle and turn it upside down. Now the dry fruits side mixture will get roasted. Place the new griddle with the mixture on the flame and roast it. 
  6. When both the sides gets roasted well. Remove from flame and allow it to cool completely. Don't worry if the burfi  is still soft, it'll get slightly harder after it cools. Slice into desired shapes and serve.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


There are thousands of varieties of apples in every types, shade of yellow, gold, red, green, ranging from sweet to tart and mealy to crisp. Unfortunately, as is often the case, growers have concentrated on just a few these are among the least interesting; probably the best of the widely grown varieties are McIntosh (even thats become very hard to find) and Golden Delicious. Of course, you'll find the most variety and most interesting apples at local orchards in the fall. And the good news is many apples will keep for weeks in a cool, dry spot, like a garage or basement.

In general apples are divided into three categories; eating, cooking, and all purpose. The chart lists some of the most common and some not-so-common but worth seeking - apples with notes on flavor and texture, and category.

Buying and storing:
All apples should be firm and heavy for their size; avoid any with soft spots. Those that ate less than perfectly firm are best suited for cooking. Store in a cool, dry place, or in the refrigerator for weeks, though some keep better than others. Almost all apple are harvested in the late summer and fall, but wholesalers keep the fruit in reduced-oxygen storage, where they remain in reasonably decent shape for months. But they deteriorate quickly when removed from these special storage conditions, so use apples quickly in winter and spring.

Rinse and take a bite or peel and cut. For peeling, start at the stem or flower end and work in latitudinal strips or around the circumference; a U-shaped peeler is best.
For coring, you have several options. You can remove the core and leave the apple whole by digging into the stem end with a sturdy melon baller and removing it; this leaves the blossom end intact, a nice presentation for baked apples. Or you can buy a slicer-corer, which will cut the apple into six or eight slices around the core in one swift motion. Finally, you can quarter the apple and dig out each piece of the core with a pairing knife.

Apples brown quickly once peeled or cut; to prevent browning, drop them into acidulated water (one part lemon juice to about ten parts water) or white wine or toss with lemon or lime juice.

Other fruit to substitute : Pears

Check out few of my Apple recipes..

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sweet-Hot Spiced Pecans

Believe me, these sweet -hot spiced pecans are very addictive and vegan too. It is crunchy, sweet, spicy and a little salty. Altogether a wonderful crunchy snack. It can be served as a great evening snack with a sip of coffee or can even be wrapped and be sent as gifts. You can easily double the batch and make more if you wish. Trust me, no one can eat just one.

Recipe adapted from Myrecipes

Yield: Makes about 2 cups

1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed or 1 large egg white
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cups pecans

1. In a bowl, mix sugar, cayenne, salt, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, and ground allspice. Whisk together the ground flaxseed, water and oil (Alternately whisk 1 egg white and vegetable oil.

2. In a large bowl take 2 cups of pecan halves. Add in the flaxseed mixture and stir to coat the pecans. Now add the sugar and spices and mix well to coat well.

3. Spread nuts in a single layer in an oiled nonstick baking sheet or simply lay a parchment paper over a baking sheet. Bake in a 300°F OR 150°C regular or convection oven, stirring occasionally, until nuts are crisp and lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Let cool about 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to loosen nuts from pan; cool completely. Serve or store airtight at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kodbale - Spicy Carom Flavored Rings

Kodubale is one of the popular snacks in South India. "KODU" means Horn (like that of a cow) and "BALE" means Bangle. These are named based on their shape. These kodubales are crunchy, hot and tasty. This recipe is slightly different from most of the other kodubale recipes, as i use fine semolina here instead of rice flour which is most commonly used. I suggest you use the finest quality of semolina here. They give a wonderful taste and the initial stage where you grind the coconut, dalia, carom and cumin seeds itself will give you the aroma of the final product.


2 cups fine semolina
1/4 cup desiccated coconut or dry coconut, grated
1/4 cup kadale or Dalia
1/4 tsp asafoetida or hing
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp carom seeds
1/4 tsp jeera
2 1/2 tbsps chilli powder (can reduce according to your preference)
1/4 cup hot oil + oil for deep frying (preferably sunflower oil)


Grind together the coconut, dalia, asafoetida, carom seeds and jeera to form a smooth powder.

Combine the ground powder, fine semolina and hot oil and mix well. Add chilli
powder, salt and combine well. Now add enough water to make a soft dough.

Take about a teaspoon of the dough and roll it on a wooden board with your fingers to form a thin long cylinder, about 4 inches long and thickness of about your little finger. Slowly turn around both the ends together and join them to form a circle (like a bangle) with your thumb and fore finger. Do the same with the remaining dough.

Heat oil on a low to medium heat. Do not over heat the oil or the kodubales would turn raw from inside. Deep fry these roundels of dough. You can add 5 to 10 roundels together depending on the pan you are using. Fry them for 5 to 10 minutes each batch till they turn slightly reddish brown.
Let them cool to take a bite to see if the the kodbales have fried well and they are crispy from in to out.

Enjoy these spicy, crunchy kodbales as an evening snack with a hot cup of coffee.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daring Bakers : Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

Joconde imprime /entremets. A joconde imprime (French Baking term) is a decorative design baked into a light sponge cake providing an elegant finish to desserts/torts/entremets/ formed in ring molds. A joconde batter is used because it bakes into a moist, flexible cake. The cake batter may be tinted or marbleized for a further decorative effect.

This Joconde/spongecake requires attentive baking so that it remains flexible to easily conform to the molds. If under baked it will stick to the baking mat. It over baked it will dry out and crack. Once cooled, the sponge may be cut into strips to line any shape ring mold.

Entremets (French baking term)- an ornate dessert with many different layers of cake and pastry creams in a mold, usually served cold. Think Trifle in a mold vs. a glass bowl.

Equipment required:

Silpat or a silicon baking mat
½ baking sheets or a 13” x 18” jelly roll sheet (rimmed baking sheet)
Mixer (optional)
Offset spatula
Regular spatula
Pastry comb (optional)
Spring form pan
Biscuit cutter (or ring mold, or cut PVC pipe, or whatever else you can think of to use as a mold for individual desserts)
Torte/entremets mold/Springform pan/ Trifle dish (for larger desserts)
Cling wrap
Parchment paper
Gel, paste or liquid food coloring (optional)
Joconde Sponge

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal - *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners' (icing) sugar
¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
3 large eggs - about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
3 large egg whites - about 3 oz/ 90g
2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted

*Note: How to make cake flour:


1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
5. Fold in melted butter.
6. Reserve batter to be used later.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners' (icing) sugar
7 large egg whites - about 7 oz / 200g
1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.


1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
3. Fold in sifted flour.
4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:

1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.
3. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
4. Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
5. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
6. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
7. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

Preparing the Jaconde for Molding:

Video: MUST WATCH THIS. This is a very good demo of the joconde and filling the entremets:

1. Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.
2. Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.
3. Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)
4. Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.
5. The mold is done, and ready to fill.

*Note: If not ready to use. Lay cake kept whole or already cut into strips, on a flat surface, wrap in parchment and several layers of cling wrap and freeze.

Entremet- Filling

It is nice to have a completed dessert so you can unmold and see the Joconde working. Fill with anything you desire. Layers of different flavors and textures! However, it needs to be something cold that will not fall apart when unmolded.

Half of my Cake was filled with French Pastry Cream and another half with Strawberry Mousse.

French Pastry Cream

350ml milk
17 gm / 1 tsp sugar, for the milk
27 gm corn starch
70 gm sugar
55 gm egg yolk
35 gm butter
250 gm freshly whipped cream
6 gm agar agar or gelatin

1. Boil the milk and sugar in a saucepan.
2. Next in a bowl mix the yolks, corn starch and sugar ill it becomes white.
3. Then pour half the boiling milk into the bowl and mix well. Now pour this into the saucepan and heat until it thickens.
4. Take the pan off the heat and add butter.
5. Mix agar agar into the above mixture.
6. Cool the mixture and mix with the whipped cream and fill into the round shaped prepared biscuit.

Mousses, pastry creams, Bavarian creams, cheesecakes, puddings, curds, jams, cookie bases, more cake (bake off the remaining sponge and cut to layer inside), nuts, Dacquoise, fresh fruit, chocolates, gelee.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tapioca Pudding ( Sabakki Paayasam)

Sabakki Paayasam is basically a Kheer or Pudding made out of tapioca pearls or sago. This dessert is perfect finish for any meal. It has a lovely creamy texture flavored with cardamom and saffron and crushed almonds to give a wonderful crunch feel.. Its been one of my favorite childhood dessert!

You'll need the following ingredients..

1/4 cup Sabakki or Tapioca pearls
1/2 tin Sweetened Condensed milk
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
pinch of saffron
A handful of crushed Almonds


In a large pan, fry Tapioca pearls with a teaspoon of ghee( thats optional, its just to give a little aroma) for about 2 minutes on high flame, just to warm it up a little bit.

Pour about 300ml of water and cook on medium to high flame with constant stirring every couple of minutes. Keep adding water if the water gets dried up. It'll take about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient and make sure the entire pearl gets transparent. See that the white part of the pearls disappears. Thats when the tapioca is cooked.

Now add the Sweetened condensed milk along with saffron and cardamom powder and let it come to a boil. You can add a little milk to get the right consistency. And you can even substitute sugar for condensed milk and add more milk instead.

After it has reached the right consistency, take it off the heat and let it cool a little bit.

Serve warm ,cold, or chilled topped with crushed almonds.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge - Sugar Cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

Preparation Time
30 minutes: Making dough & rolling
1 hour min: Refrigeration
8-15 minutes: Baking per tray depending on size of cookies

Equipment Required
- Parchment paper
- Rolling pin
- 5mm guide sticks (optional)
- Cookie cutters or sharp knife
- Baking trays
- Wire cooling rack
- Spatulas
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups/spoons or weighing scale
- Sieve
- Icing bags / Parchment Cones
- Sizes 1 to 5 plain icing tips (2 and 4 being the most common to use)
- Star icing tips (optional)
- Couplers (optional)
- Toothpicks
- Elastic bands

Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies

200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

• Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
creamy in texture.
Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during
baking, losing their shape.
• Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.
• Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.
• Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch)
• Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an
hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and
then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.
• Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.
• Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife.
• Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour.
Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.
• Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.
• Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
• Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.(I baked in a convection oven for 15 minutes on a non-stick baking pan)
Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in
some cookies being baked before others are done.
• Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.
• Leave to cool on cooling racks.
• Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated
cookies can last up to a month.

Royal Icing:

315g – 375g / 11oz – 13oz / 2½ - 3 cups Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
2 Large Egg Whites
10ml / 2 tsp Lemon Juice
5ml / 1 tsp Almond Extract, optional


• Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.
Tip: It’s important that the bowls/spoons/spatulas and beaters you use are thoroughly cleaned and
grease free.
• Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
Tip: There are 2 amounts of icing sugar listed, the lesser amount is good for a flooding consistency, and the larger amount is for outlining, but you can add even more for a much thicker consistency good for writing. If you add too much icing sugar or would like to make a thinner consistency, add very small amounts of water, a few drops at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.
• Beat on low until combined and smooth.
• Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.
Tip: Royal Icing starts to harden as soon as it’s in contact with air so make sure to cover containers with plastic wrap while not in use.

General Baking Tips
• When measuring by volume (cup) always shift/aerate your flour/icing sugar in the container/bag before measuring because it settles as it sits and so you end up with more flour/icing sugar in your cup. I do this by moving the ingredient around with a spoon, whisk or fork.
• When measuring flour or icing sugar by volume (cup) never scoop the flour/icing sugar up with the cup otherwise you compress the contents and this can make a big difference in the amount you’re using. Rather, spoon the ingredient into the cup until level with the top.
• When measuring baking powder or baking soda, always level off the top of the measuring spoon with something flat (like the back of a knife) as these ingredients need to be accurately measured.
• When mixing your ingredients, always follow the recipe instructions, especially when it comes to beating in eggs and flour, so if it specifies to mix until just combined or to beat for 4 minutes, follow the instructions to get best results.
• Unless otherwise specified, always have your ingredients at room temperature.
• It’s always best to invest in an oven thermometer so that you know exactly the temperature you’re baking at then you can also find out if you have cold or hot spots in your oven.
• If you need to rotate your trays midst baking, always allow at least half the baking time to lapse before opening your oven to move baking trays around, this allows time for your baked goods to form a good structure so that they won’t flop.

General Royal Icing Tips
• Keep a damp cloth handy while decorating your cookies so that if you’re switching between different icing bags, you can keep the tips covered with the damp cloth so that the icing doesn’t dry and clog them.
• If your icing tips do clog, use a toothpick or pin to unclog them.
• Always pipe a little bit of royal icing onto a board/paper towel before you begin to make sure there are no air bubbles.
• Remember to always cover bowls containing royal icing wither cling wrap, a damp cloth or sealable lid so that the surface doesn’t dry.
• Don’t store anything decorated with royal icing in the fridge otherwise the royal icing will
become tacky.

1.The cookies tasted great as it is without the icing. With icing, i felt the cookies tasted more sweet.
2. As a whole, it was a lovely challenge. My daughter (3 years old) assisted me in making the cookies and decorating it. It was a lovely experience.
3. I will surely be making it again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ginger Spiced Brownies

This is one of the best homemade brownies i have ever had. Ginger with chocolate is a delicious taste sensation. Here good bittersweet chocolate flavored with pieces of candied ginger is used in a chocolate brownie mixture. Just a hint of spice, plus deliciously tangy soured cream, makes these brownies extra special. The texture of this brownie is dense, fudgy and moist. You just cant stop for one!! Now go-ahead and make them yourself..

Makes 20


200 g, 7 oz. good milk chocolate
100 g, 7 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1 cup sugar, granulated or superfine
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons soured cream *can substitute with full fat yogurt
50 g bittersweet chocolate with candied ginger pieces, chopped (if you cant find them, just add 30 g of choc and 20 g of candied ginger ,separately chopped)

a brownie pan, 8 x 10 inches, greased and base lined


Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Break up the 7 oz milk chocolate and put it in a heatproof mixing bowl with butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of steaming water and melt gently, stirring frequently. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and leave to cool until needed.

Put the eggs and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer or a hand mixer until very thick and mousse-like. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture.

Sift the flour and spices into the bowl and stir in. Mix in the soured cream followed by the chopped chocolate with ginger. Transfer to the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake in a preheat oven for about 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted halfway between the sides and the center comes out just clean. Remove the pan from the oven.

Leave to cool before carefully removing from the pan and cutting into pieces. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.

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