Sunday, July 29, 2012

Seedy Crackers -Crazy for Crackers Daring Bakers Part II

Seedy Crackers...were not seedy enough for me.
This is the part two...Daring Bakers challenge "Crazy for Crackers".
I made both lots together,only this set of crackers needed a dip something like hummus or a salad or some thing wet to accompany it...that was what caused the delay.
As a result ,three days on, most of  the crackers have been cracked and very few remain...So just because I had to take the photos, I boiled the chickpeas and tried to get down to the business of making the hummus.The chick peas became hubby dears lunch and my crackers were left begging for more.
Desperate situations call for desperate measures...

Hung Curd and cream...with salt and pepper...Light ...as a bird...while I was making these Seed"y" crackers,I was wondering why they needed so many seeds.
Where and what is the analogy...do we begin to eat like birds and keep our appetites tiny?or what??
Any way Part II

Blog-checking lines:Our July 2012 Daring Bakers' Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers!Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged us to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.
I love sesame seeds...in any form,and when I munched into these crackers, I realised that the poor poppy seeds are lost ...no taste(maybe the seeds were not that great)I know what I am going to do...I'll replace the poppy seeds with sesame...and maybe sweeten the crackers with jaggery..there is no rule that says that crackers cant  be sweet can they..I remember some years ago...Britannia had thin biscuits in the name of "Til Gud"...


These were so simple to make...
It will be criminal if you do not try them...
And listen to Shah Rukh Khan try to show that he has retained his youth!!!


for the 


Seedy Crackers -Crazy for Crackers Daring


 Bakers  Part II...


you need


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup poppy seeds
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
a little more than 1/2 cup water to knead


I used the spice mix from the other set of crackers , topped some of these crackers...and the taste was "cracking"...forgive the pun!
This is the chili I used...already loaded with garlic.
Food processor...
Flours,baking powder, salt, seeds and ...
The olive oil...
Process.
Now add the water as needed to make a hard dough.
I cling wrapped the dough and waited two days...for a window in time.
The recipe said use a pasta roller...but we in India can roll out dough  thinner and better  than a pasta roller.
I cut the dough into eight balls.
And rolled them into thin ,thin ,thin rounds...the shape was not exactly round though.
On half I sprinkles the spice mix from the previous crackers.
Oven on at 450F/220C and hot!
The big discs, two at a time...let them firm up.It took something like 7 minutes, Keep an eye open and check. We have unsteady voltage supply here in Ranchi...
Just bring them out and cut them into sectors.
Just like pizza slices....much , much quicker than rolling and cutting the dough.
Pop a large number of the cut crackers into the oven to crisp up...This took about 9 minutes, I did take the tray out and turn them around once.
Bake with teh help of your olfactory glands-You'll know they are done ,when you can smell the sesame seeds toasting...and they break like shards of glass in your hand.
Let them cool, before you store them, and the beauty of these seed"y" crackers...you can crisp them up any time.
Hummus did not happen in my house, but  a mayo based salad would be awesome too...
Limitless possibilities with them crackers...


Maybe a dietitian can tell us...these are low cal right??
Whatever...


Try them out, super easy and super light....


So what are you baking now ???
+

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oregano, Pepper and Cheese Crackers Daring Bakers July 2012


"How do they taste? They taste like more.”

- H.L. Mencken



Its that time of the month again...when scales seem to be tipping, from left to right...
This one or that one??
This one is more tempting...and then sweet child opines...I WANT THIS! So problem partly solved...One option decided..
but daring bakers offers so many options that it is difficult to make up one's mind.
Same problem this month too...
So I post the one that I photographed first.
Ta Da....
Crazy for Crackers-Oregano, Pepper and Cheese Crackers.
Crackers!
AAND in your face....

Something light, that bursts with a bang in your mouth and tastes divine...and fresh!
In this weather,crisp and tasty is great!
Accompanied with the bite of mustard, or the zing of salsa, and a hot cuppa-tea or coffee ,is up to you.
And supposedly low in calories.
At least they are lower in calories than all your traditional snacks that we love with the rains in India, and away from the dangers of the re heated oil etc.

Baked fresh and at home...
How cool is that?
I worked with a metal ruler to maintain the same size and uniformity...
These were made super quick.

Blog-checking lines:Our July 2012 Daring Bakers' Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers!Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged us to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.


The recipe is obviously Dana McFarland's.(I used half the recipe, so the weird looking quantity's)
I was a little frazzled (as usual) and baked two types of crackers together. Something weird had to happen, and it did!
The topping for these crackers landed on the second...though no cracker lost out on any of the flavours.
You can add the spice mix over these...or not.
I know that I will not be opening a store bought packet of crackers soon. How about you???
Wanna try???
The original recipe called for Pepper Jack cheese...I used cheddar, for reasons of convienience!

for the

Oregano, Pepper and Cheese Crackers Daring Bakers July 2012...

you need

1/2 cup +1/3 cup flour
1 1/8 cup grated cheese...pepper jack or chili john cheese's don't live in Ranchi..we live with the Cheddar Variety.
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup warm water.

Spice mix
Mix 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and Cayenne pepper/Kashmiri mirch.

I made the dough a day early and popped it in the fridge...was too pre occupied to bake on Monday or Tuesday. So Wednesday was my date with the oven....we had voltage and power outage issues here. Every time the wind blows a little , a tree falls to its death and we mourn its loss with a power cut!
That puts paid to all our plans!

So Wednesday was a good day...
fingers crossed till the end.

I worked with the food processor, hands are good too.
Flour in, Grated cheese in.
Salt, pepper,basil and oregano added.
I put in some fresh  fennel ...just for the heck of it.


Pulsed, the oil added.
Now time for the water. The recipe called for 1/4 cup, I used a little less than half. The dough came together, 
I brought it out onto cling film and then covered it and popped it in the semi freezer.

The dawn of Wednesday...every thing looks bright and chirpy, the squirrels are out drinking in the bird bath and the poor doves are pecking at whatever the ants left them.

Oven on at 170C/340C.
The dough cut into four parts and rolled out to 1/8 th inch thick.
Working with a ruler, straight lines....
Collect all the scraps and re roll them...if you throw them, like sweet child so sweetly suggested....you'll end up with very few crackers!
Into the oven, 15 minutes later, flip them over and pop them in again...
And ready...
Yum!
Let them cool a bit...and crunch, munch and crrracunch!
You can store these for a few days(if they stay, that is), and if they go soggy on you , pop them into the oven to redress their grief over the weather.
We welcome the new every month and this time, as always lllllllloooooooooovvvvveeeeeee the challenge.

Easy ....is the best way to describe this...

Try this...and dare to be a baker.
Cheers!


So what are you baking today???

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lady Bird Cake Happy Birthday Vidisha


Lady Bird Cake Happy Birthday Vidisha
Another day, another fancy birthday cake.


I love the power in my hands, the power to spread the smiles and see the wonder in the eyes of the little girls.
Today it was a little lady bird for a little girl...who reacted with absolute pleasure...glee would be a better way to describe her reaction. Must say, in my own selfish way...I wonder what reaction would Sanskriti, my amazingly vociferous niece have, when she will see something like this.
Little girls are so easy to please...one tiny cake, with a lot of colour and frosting.
Ah...the vicarious thrills of having little girls...
My maternal instincts come to fore mostly when confronted by my blood...or blood of my blood, so it is a little difficult for me to express any kind of affection to someone else’s child, but when I saw the little Vidisha’s reaction...it really warmed my heart. So worth the effort of making baking the cake and frosting it.
This cake was for friend Rashi Thapa's little girl who turned 2 years old.
Sweet child loved the lady bird series of books when he was a small baby. His favourite was Billy Goat Gruff. I remember, he was not yet 3 years old, and he read the book out to a friend of mine, who proclaimed sweet child to be a child prodigy. It was only after I revealed that he could read it in his sleep as he was so fond of the book, did she relax.
One major reason that lady bird is my favourite bug!
And I wanted to make one ....this seemed like perfect timing.
I made an egg free chocolate cake in a terracotta dish, lined with AL Foil. And all my fears were laid to rest when the cake unmolded into a near perfect hemisphere.

For the


Lady Bird Cake –Happy birthday Vidisha...


You need

1 hemisphere shaped chocolate egg free cake (recipe coming up next)
225 gms or 1 cup unsalted butter – used Amul butter
3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence or ½ tsp peppermint essence
2 tbsp warm milk
Red food colouring
Black/Chocolate Crown Food colouring
½ cup dessicated coconut
½ tsp green food colouring

The cake had to be transported via car...so I  had to keep the the grass to a minimum, for all other purposes,  the bug could have walked away...lolzzz

The cake was made in a terracotta handi....I wanted a hemisphere.
And I got a henisphere.The recipe and instructions for the cake are here.
Now for the buttercream frosting.
Butter...soft!
Into it goes the sugar(sifted).
Add to this the hot milk, vanilla and /or perrermint essence.
And now , separated the frosting into 3 bowls...
Then the colour...frosted over the body...the face I stuck on for covering with the black frosting.
Wilton Black made the frosting bitter, so I melted chocolate and mixed it into the buttercream....no time for a ganache.
The eyes were frosted with white...and then polka dots ...
And Brown m&m's  for the beady eyes,,,
After the legs and feet..
Dessicated coconut  tinted green ..

If this was not going for a car ride, I would have covered the whole board....
All beady eyed and beautiful, the bug was demolished quick...predators pounced..the kids and ladies loved the cake...the birthday party was FUN!
The bug reminded me of Harry Potter's Potion Class...
This egg free Chocolate Cake had a different texture and taste....
will be posting the recipe here....

Try it, the baby was enthralled...she wanted to pick the cake up and play with it...not just eat it.
Totally worth the effort!

So what are you baking today???

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rose Almond Kulfi


Rose Almond Kulfi
Kulfi is nothing but Ice Cream Desi style. The being, the love poured into the Kulfi while it is made. No eggs, of course...
The Kulfi maker is totally slaving over the dish which has the milk boiling away to thicken and make the creamiest and delicious Kulfi. It is imperative that you know...sweat and blood are mixed in this “double double toil and trouble, cauldron bubble “quite literally...
 So it is better for your queasy senses that you try out this Kulfi at home. Minus some one’s sweat and blood...because the cauldron will be bubbling for a long, long time.
No pictures here, except those of the final product...only because we were attempting to recreate my mum’s recipe in a large ...as in huge quantity. This was to cater for almost 6 dozen people and in all the rush and confusions, photographs were the last thing on my mind.
The Kulfi turned out super fantastic and different. Perfect for this weather and as a perfect antidote for a heavy lunch.
What cools you better than roses???The aroma and the actual petals...
 FYI roses are really great for digestion and for cooling your system...that is why they make “gulukand” (which is something like a preserve made from rose petals.)
I added dried rose petals to the Kulfi, just as an experiment...got the idea from Mr Jiggs Kalra himself(he resides on my bedside table...in one of the tomes...Prasad Cooking with the Indian masters.) yes, currently on my bedside table is this book and an old tottering , torn tome by Jeffery Archer.

No wonder my dreams are never restful...Technicolor and full of smells.
I catered for 75 servings, but am toning the recipe to cater to 15 servings.
For the

Rose almond Kulfi...


You need
3 litres whole milk (full cream)
1 tin /400 mils condensed milk (milkmaid is synonymous)
200 Gms- or less   sugar
10-15 green cardamom
20 Gms or a fistful of dried rose petals
50 Gms almonds
1 tsp corn flour (optional)
1 tsp rose essence/ 2tsp rose water
½ tsp Kewra water

Its best to make this Kulfi when you are in a benevolent mood...remember patience and a lot of love are needed to make something like this. Any dithering and you can burn the milk...which will make it totally unpalatable.
Possession of a slow cooker will be a blessing at this stage...even an induction cooker is great. If not, the humble LPG will have to do.
Avoid any wooden/silicone spatulas here...they transfer flavours of the past dishes they have encountered. Stick to stainless steel ladles.
Put the milk in a heavy bottom pan on the heat. Once it comes to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer stirring frequently till it reduces to approximately half.
If the best way is the same way as we make rabri...for more instructions, check it out here.
Once three litres has reduced to anywhere between 1.5 to 1.7 litres, coarsely crush the almonds and put into the boiling milk.
The consistency of the milk should be like cream by now.
Grind half the sugar and the green cardamom to a fine powder and sieve the powder to get rid of the fibrous part of the cardamom. You now have the seeds powdered without the headache of peeling the pods.
Stir the sugar, cardamom mix into the milk and taste. Add some of the remaining sugar. Keep the sugar a little light; you are going to add the sweetened condensed milk too.
If you are going to add the corn flour, mix it in a tsp of cold milk and pour it into the Kulfi, stirring till it boils. You can omit the corn flour, if this is for a fast.
Turn the flame off now and add the rose essence or rose water.
Cover the Kulfi and let it cool.
One it is cool, taste for sugar, and pour in only as much milkmaid as needed. You may add the whole tin...but only if you think it is needed.
Bring out your hand blender and blend the Kulfi, the errant bits of malai/ thickened creamy milk will dissolve and the crushed almonds will make it even creamier.
Just a few churns will do it...
At this stage if you wish to, add more slivered almonds.
Wash the rose petals and put these in. Stir well, adding the Kewra water.
Kewra water counters the sweetness of the rose petals and lends a very royal touch to the Kulfi.
Unmoulded and sliced...
And cut up..

The main difference between an ice-cream and a Kulfi is the air. Ice-cream has air in corporate into it and Kulfi does not.

Serve this Kulfi with a few rose petals or with faluda...
Thin noodles made of corn flour...
That we leave for another post.
You wont believe the aroma that was wafting from the kulfi and the rose petals....
Try it!
Enjoy the taste of the Kulfi...it will take you back to the olden times...
So what are you baking today???

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Doughnuts Plain and Simple and Some with Chocolate Glaze

Doughnuts and coffee...awesome combination.
And if it is raining, even better! 
My memories of doughnuts are of my mum making loads of them...when I was little ...she hardly ever dunked them in chocolate though...
But always sweet and encrusted in sugar!
And then I wonder why I love sweet....
After the onslaught of Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee's books on my delicate emotional balance..I needed some succor.
The emotional pain that the women bear in  her books is so, so, much ,that it sort of rubbed off on my normal cheerful self ...and I found myself in tears watching the new movie Cocktail...egh!(ps Cocktail stars Saif Ali ,Deepika Padukone and a newbie.)
Totally not happening!
 I have been debating with myself...should I read  50 shades or should I not read...after all that self deprecating literary fiction...I Totally NEEDED the trash.
They just fell into my lap...neighbour lent them to me....so that omitted the mental battle,and after the 50 Shades Freed(the last of the three!), the only thing I need an answer to is..."Whats the big deal????"
OK, it is trash...so many grammatical errors...and literal freedom-I mean new words constructed without a reason...
Well Whatever!
All I know is that I am ready to face the world all over again...and I wont be crying after watching a soppy scene on celluloid soon!
So Doughnuts!
The rains are playing hanky panky with our plans..never a dry evening and the days are sunny and sticky and humid.Had the cycle been the other way round, life would have been so much more beautiful!So we are stuck indoors.
If only ,is not an expression I live by...I'd rather attack from the front.
With no intention of toiling over the hot stove making something yummy...I decided on Doughnuts!
Plain are quite boring , so we dunked them in chocolate "almost" ganache.
Result...awesome!
This is my mums recipe...of yore!!!
Leaning tower of goodness here!
So easy , you don't need any special equipment or tools...just a small amount of yeast and you are ready to go.


for the

Doughnuts Plain and Simple and Some with Chocolate Glaze...


you need


3 1/4 cups plain flour
2 1/2 tsp dried yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup or 60 gms butter
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
3-4 cups vegetable oil to deep fry


for the Plain Sugar Doughnuts
Tip 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon powder or lemon zest into a Zip Pouch and keep aside.(I used cinnamon)

for the Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts-"almost" Ganache
100 gms semi sweet chocolate 
2 tbsp cream
2 tbsp sugar

This is the yeast...cute bottle.
Mix the yeast in 2 tbsp warm water, if it froths up after 5 minutes use it. else , discard and start afresh.
Place the flour, the salt, sugar , cinnamon and butter in a big bowl and rub the butter into the flour.
Now the egg yolks.
Knead with the yeast and the milk(keep warm).
Knead for a couple of minutes too let the gluten stretch and rest covered in a warm place to double.
OK , rested and doubled....now for the rolling.Roll a small portion of the dough gently with the help of some flour to 1/2 cm thickness. I don't have a doughnut cutter, so a steel glass and a mini cookie cutter did the trick.
Roll out all the doughnuts and place the oil to heat.If you inhabit cold climes, you may need to let the doughnuts rest and prove/double in size a while, but this place is HOT!
The small centres I left as they were...tiny snack.Munchkins!!! That baby Sanskriti adores..(The small centres are called munchkins...keeps the dough soft as you are not rerolling and handling the dough unnecessarily....and the small lill munchkins are apt for tiny hands.)
Almost Ganache...the stuff in a microwave safe bowl...nuked at half power for 2 minutes.
And that gives you a glossy dip...
Yup...no pic of the dipping, but when Kanchan and I get together...its too much ,to not talk.
Once the oil is hot...three doughnuts at a time. Lift them up like neonates(new borns...)...and gently slide them in...you want that shape.
Fry on a low flame...all puffed up and golden!The one on top is the rerolled doughnut.Roll out, cut and fry....till all the dough is used up. The munchkins ,we fried last-all together.
Wait 2 minutes and throw into the zip pouch and shake...
For the special some...wait 2 minutes and then dip in the ganache and place on a platter and sprinkle some coloured sprinkles...
The doughnuts need to cool a bit or the almost ganache just slips off.Sprinkle.....
Eh Voila!
Warm doughnuts taste the best....with or without the coffee...
And  the lill Munchkins...
Go ahead and try these at home...Indulge!

So what are you baking today????











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