Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Its so cold, cold and really cold......
I need a good cup of hot coffee and hmmmmmm how about some Biscotti, i also need to add color in winters and what better way than adding some in my biscotti. So how about red and green from the tangy cranberries and green from the pistachios.

Biscotti are twice-baked biscuits originating in the Italian city of PratoIt is derived from 'bis' meaning twice in Italian and 'cotto' meaning baked or cooked. They can be made with or without butter but the traditional recipe is made without butter and that's the way i like them.....crisp and low fat.

I made mine with cranberries and pistachios but the combinations are endless, chocolate chip, almond, raisins, nuts all kind ........

2/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pistachios 
1/2 cup dried cranberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs and vanilla on high speed until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the egg mixture and fold until combined.
  5. Fold in the chopped pistachios and cranberries.
  6. Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and roll into a log shape, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) wide.
  7.  Place the log on the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes until firm to touch.Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 5- 10  minutes.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) slices, on the diagonal. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 6-8 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks
(Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking )

Monday, 23 January 2012

Dense Chocolate Brownies

So what kind of brownies do you like dense, fudgey and chewy or cake like ?
Well if your vote goes to DFC ( dense, fudgey and chewy) brownies then your search ends here.

By David Lebovitz

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2  semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts of your choice or health bar bites

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line an 8 inch square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides.  If it doesn’t reach all the way up all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides.  Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with butter or nonstick spray.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly with a whisk over very low heat until the chocolate is melted.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, then the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla.  Stir in the flour and the salt.  Beat the batter vigorously for 30 seconds, until it begins to form a smooth ball.  Stir in the chocolate chips and Nuts or Heath Bar bits.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 30 minutes, until the center feels just about set.  Remove from the oven and let cool.
  6. Cut in large squares pieces and enjoy or crumble on top of Ice Cream


by Dorie Greenspan
These crescent shaped cookies will not fail to impress your friends and family.
You can fill these with different filling like chocolate,cinnamon sugar, nuts, flavored cream cheese........the possibilities are endless

For the Dough
4 ounces Cold Cream Cheese, cut into 4 pieces
4 ounces cold unsalted butter (if using salted butter omit the 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling
2/3 cup Raspberry jam, Apricot Jam or Marmalade
2 tablespoon sugar ( i used brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds)
1/4 cup plump, moist dried currants
4 ounces chocolate

For the Glaze
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoon sugar

To make the dough: 
Put the flour and salt in food processor , scatter over the chunks of cream cheese and butter and pulse the machine 6-10 times.Then process, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds - don't work it so long that it forms a ball on blade.
Turn the dough out, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a disk, wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day. (Wrapped airtight, the dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.)

To make the filling:
Heat the jam in a saucepan over low heat, or do this in a microwave, until it liquefies. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. (Silicone baking mats are great for rugelach.)

To Shape the cookies:
Pull one packet of dough from the refrigerator. If it is too firm to roll easily, either leave it on the counter for about 10 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle. Spoon (or brush) a thin gloss of jam over the dough, and sprinkle over half of the cinnamon sugar. Scatter over half of the nuts, half of the currants and half of the chopped chocolate. Cover the filling with a piece of wax paper and gently press the filling into the dough, then remove the paper and save it for the next batch.
Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges, or triangles. (The easiest way to do this is to cut the dough into quarters, then to cut each quarter into 4 triangles.) Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough up so that each cookie becomes a little crescent. Arrange the roll-ups on one baking sheet, making sure the points are tucked under the cookies, and refrigerate. Repeat with the second packet of dough, and refrigerate the cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking. (The cookies can be covered and refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; don't defrost before baking, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.)

Getting Ready to Bake:
 Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Stir the egg and water together, and brush a bit of this glaze over each rugelach. Sprinkle the cookies with the sugar.
Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until they are puffed and golden. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to just warm or to room temperature.

Apple and Walnut Whole Wheat Bread

Let’s begin with something sweet. Why sweet because this is the first recipe of this blog and in India we have a tradition to start everything new with something sweet.
I love baking and try to come up with healthy recipes, so that I don’t feel guilty every time I indulge.
This is a quick Apple and Walnut Whole Wheat Bread with goodness of oats.

Inspired by Joythebaker
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar (can be substituted with white sugar but as I said healthy baking)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated apples
1/2 cup coarsely chopped apples
1 tablespoon flax seeds (optional)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, divided
Cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, oat flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract.
5. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the grated apples, chopped apples,flax seeds and half of the chopped walnuts.  (Don’t over mix)
6. Spoon batter into prepared pan and top with granulated sugar, cinnamon and the rest of the walnuts.
7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
8. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack to cool before wrapping.
9. I enjoyed mine with a cup of ginger tea.