Baked Apple Roses

Apple roses

Unless you have been under a rock, you must have seen the Apple Roses Video. Its been making rounds on the interwebs. At first I ignored it. Then it popped up in my Facebook Newsfeed again. And again. Till, we had an email from Varun’s school for a bake sale. That day the video which I had ignored for days popped up again. Cut apples, roll them in puff pastry with a bit of jam and bake. The video made it look real easy. I figured I could bake a few dozen of those. I signed up for the bake sale. And even told a couple of mom’s about it. Big mistake. Now I had to make them. And make sure they were edible. And looked good. Good enough for someone to buy them with real $$. So I made the first batch using Manuela’s recipe.They looked ok. Not as good as in the video. But were edible. No one died ūüėČ I decided to make chocolate cupcakes instead. My trusted fallback! Only to find we are out of flour and butter. So I had to make another batch of apple roses. Since we have a ton of apples at home from the trip to the apple farm on Columbus day. Apple roses

This time, I made a few changes:

  1. Didn’t defrost the puff pastry completely. When it was partially thawed, rolled it thinner.
  2. Made 12 sections instead of 6 from one pastry sheet.
  3. Didn’t cut the apples paper-thin but slightly thicker
  4. Cooked the apples for 90 secs instead of 3 mins.
  5. Baked them longer for about 50 mins.

It’s not easy to work with puff pastry but with smaller sections that are not completely thawed,¬†it’s not that hard either.

Voila! Had a better batch of apple roses.

Apple rosesThe real success: People bought them at the bake sale and they were gone in no time. We were sold out! A big deal given that there were dozens of professional cookies/cupcakes/brownies there.

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Give them a try for a fun dessert! Well worth the effort to put it together ūüôā

Whole Wheat Chocolate Mug Cake & Happy New Year!

Chocolate Mug cake

Happy New Year!

I know its 11 days late ( or 12 depending on which side of the world you are on!) but it’s still January. Its first post of the year. And more than date its the intention that counts isn’t it? I sure hope so.

I debated what should the first post of the year be? Quick and Easy chocolate mug cake? Endive and Citrus Salad boats? Or our Christmas trip to Palm Springs? There were couple of soups and salad contenders. But then I thought of starting the new year on a sweeter note.

I have seen mug cake recipes floating around the blogosphere for couple of years now. I never believed that they worked. I thought this is one of those things that work on a blog or Pinterest board but FAIL in real life. I secretly hoped they failed in real life so temptation will not be minutes away.

So here I was last weekend, debating what to make and feed my rather hungry family at 4 pm. Varun wanted something “fun”. He thought about it and told me he would let me know what he wants once he thought about it some more. Vipul wanted something “tasty” but healthy. The only fresh things in our house were some tomatoes, milk and a lone banana.

I turned to my Pinterest recipes inspiration and felt worse. I literally had nothing in the house.

In such a state, cake usually does the trick. But I didn’t feel up to baking an entire cake and then eat it all up.

In that moment, I wondered if mug cakes truly work. Working quickly, I mixed flour, eggs, milk and sugar. A dash of baking powder whisked in and off the cup went into the microwave. First for 90 secs, then another 20 and then another 10. The cake eventually puffed u p over the top of the cup – kindda like a souffle. It collapsed back into the cup as it cooled.

Varun saw me get the cups out and didn’t pay any attention thinking it was tea.

When he saw me eat from the cup, he scrambled over. It cooked like soft chocolate cake. He couldn’t believe that I was eating cake out of a cup. He had a bite and you should have seen his eyes widen as he realized this is something he wants a separate cup of. No sharing business.

Vipul and I shared a cuppa while Varun had his share.

These mug cakes really do work.

It was fun and I fear will be addictive. Something that takes only minutes to “bake” and with endless possibilities. With nutella, vanilla, some cream cheese frosting, or caramel or hot fudge.

I am secretly thrilled at this quick dessert. Hopefully we keep up with salads and other healthy habits to indulge once in a while.

Chocolate Mug cake

Whole Wheat Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe

Makes 1 mug cake

  • 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Chocolate powder
  • 2.5 Tbps Sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. In a 14 oz mug, mix all the ingredients. Whisk well.

  2. Place a tissue in a microwave (to catch spills). Place the mug in the microwave and microwave for 100 secs to 2 minutes.

  3. Take it out carefully (it will be hot!)

  4. Let cool and enjoy!

Mind-blowing Super Easy Tiramisu

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Father’s Day weekend and a weeklong Vipul’s trip to London (read as absence at home) made my heart go fonder. My heart debated should it be JEALOUS (¬†it absolutely was when I saw his pictures drinking beer outside pub’s in London); HAPPY¬†that I get to hog the entire bed, plain UPSET that he gets to be off parent’s duty for an entire week or GLAD that when we go to London, I get to sightsee without kids (as he will be on parent duty as he has already been to the tourist spots).

Finally, his LUCK prevailed. It was Father’s Day weekend, it was not the weekend to be MAD at him or his work travels. His arrival made me forget all the negative feelings (after a jibe or two at him while I saw his pictures from London Eye) and I decided to make it up ( to my own sanity) by an extra large serving of Tiramisu. ¬†Oh, I mean how can I be MAD at him. I ought to make him something special ūüėČ . That’s how this extra large – super delicious Tiramisu was made on Saturday night.

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Seriously this is the best and most easy recipe of Tiramisu possible. It is so freaking easy that I am afraid I am gonna make some next week as well. It’s easy because most of the ingredients are store bought and the only hard part of beating egg yolks and mascarpone cheese is made easy by using an handheld electric whisk.

Leaving it overnight in the fridge makes the flavors meld, the biscuits soften and everything becomes this one big flavor feast that only begs to be had over and over again. It ends the meal on a special note.

It can be¬†doubled easily and made ahead. Be warned, its easy to make and even more easy to have second helpings. And more than one serving, it will dent your summer bikini plans. But with a luscious dessert like this on hand who gives London or bikini’s a damn?

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Tiramisu Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups boiling-hot water and¬†4¬†tablespoons instant-espresso powder ( Alternately make 2 1/2 cups of espresso which is what I used)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons Tia Maria (coffee liqueur) (I use Kahlua, which works well)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup dry Marsala
  • 1 pound mascarpone (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1¬†tub whipped cream ( or use 1 cup heavy whipping cream and whip it till it forms stiff peaks)
  • 36 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers; from two 7-ounce packages)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

1. Stir together espresso ( or hot water and espresso powder), 1 tablespoon sugar, and Tia Maria in a shallow bowl until sugar has dissolved, then cool. Set aside.

  1. Beat egg yolks, Marsala, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or handheld electric mixer until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes.

If whisking by hand it will take about 10 mins of constant beating till the eggs are foamy and double in volume. I figured double in volume is good enough. And it was.

  1. Remove bowl from heat. Beat in mascarpone until just combined. Don’t over-mix.

4. Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly.

  1. Dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into coffee mixture, line bottom of a shallow Pyrex 9 X 13″¬†pan¬†with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows, trimming edges to fit if necessary.Spread half of mascarpone filling on top.

Remember there is no need to grease the bottom of the pan.

 

  1. Dip remaining 18 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over filling in pan. Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with cocoa.

  2. Chill, covered with loose foil , at least 6 hours to overnight.

Serve chilled.

 

 

Orange Sunshine Cake

Orange Cake

It was my mom’s birthday last week and I made her an orange birthday cake.

We have been fortunate to have her visiting us on her recent few birthday’s. Last year, we celebrated in Lonavla – an impromptu gathering of the entire family. Lunch at a popular restaurant followed by fudge and sev while enjoying tea and Labonel’s cupcake’s at Vipul’s house.

Orange Cake

The year before that we celebrated in Hyderabad. We had just moved and they were visiting to help us with the move. This was the best part of moving to India and a part of me regrets that we won’t be there for all family gatherings and functions – definitely not on the spur of the moment!

Since she is here, and loves oranges, she asked me to bake her an orange cake.

Orange Cake

I had made one a few years ago when Varun was still a couple of months old. She remembered that and wanted it again. She even told Varun that I will be baking her an orange cake on her birthday and they both had a countdown till they get to celebrate the birthday and eat the moist cake.

Made from whole oranges, peel, pith and all; it’s a fragrant buttery cake. The cake ¬†is reminiscent of a spring morning – fragrant, buttery and with a soft ¬†sunshine glow.

With orange season ending soon, this is a cake to enjoy the citrusy goodness before it is taken over by spring and summer bounty.

Orange Cake

Orange Sunshine Cake 

  • 1 tangelo orange
  • 3/4 – 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel (optional)
  • 1 cup King Arthurs all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Toppings

  • Whipped cream
  • Orange slices
  • Strawberries

1. Cut the orange into 4 -6 pieces, remove seeds and add just enough water to cover it. Boil covered for about 30 – 45 minutes till softened. Puree the orange. Set aside to cool.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.

Cream the sugar with butter in a bowl, till the sugar is incorporated in the butter. Add eggs one at a time and beat till pale yellow. Add the orange puree and candied orange peel and mix well.

3. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir well.

Add the orange butter-puree to the mix and stir well.

4. Pour this in a well-greased bundt or cake pan.

Bake for 40 minutes till the top is golden brown and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Before serving, top with whipped cream, strawberries and orange slices.

Enjoy!

Semi-sweet Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

The other thing besides Dahi vada, I was craving during last couple of weeks of pregnancy was a good old fashioned pudding. Made from scratch at home with love.

Creamy, chocolately, that leaves a thick drape on back of the spoon that you want to lick.

Puddings are really easy to make. But most recipes call for cream and corn starch; which I never don’t have on hand.

When I am at Whole Foods, I pause at the fresh cream bottles, thinking that I can make a pudding with this today. Those Straus cream bottles are very inviting. In their cute shape, they sit right next to the milk gallons begging to be brought home. And made into pudding.

But at 25% fat ( albeit good fat), I don’t really give into temptation and walk away as quickly as possible.

Recently, I came across a Tyler Florence recipe using whole milk ( which is what we have switched to given the milk powder and other additives in low fat milk), I decided to give it a try.

Low in sugar, this is a healthier version of chocolate pudding that you can otherwise make.

Flour can be used in a pinch as a substitute to cornstarch.

The result was a silky, creamy pudding as rich as the one made with cream.

If you are craving a special treat this weekend, give this a try. You probably have everything you need in your house to make it right now.

Its bound to surprise you with its ease and its taste. And its something you wouldn’t mind your kid indulging in.

Note: 

1. Don’t use fat free or 1% milk for this. The resulting pudding will be thin and you may not like the texture.

2. Don’t skimp on whisking. It will reward with a smooth lump free pudding.

Chocolate Pudding

Semi sweet Chocolate Pudding Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk + 1 table spoon milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 tablespoon flour
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • Vanilla from 1/2 bean, split and scraped ( or 1 teaspoon extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 For garnish 

  • Whipped Cream ( I didn’t use any but sounds delicious)
  • Grated Chocolate
  • Sugar tossed raspberries or strawberries
  1. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the milk, sugar, and the cocoa powder in an saucepan. Bring it to a simmer, over medium-high heat, whisking intermittently to avoid scorching the milk. Remove from the heat and keep aside.
  2. In the meantime, whisk eggs, flour and table spoon of milk, salt and vanilla in a bowl  ensuring there are no lumps in the mixture.
  3. Add a tablespoon of chocolate milk from the saucepan to the eggs. Whisk till incorporated. Repeat with another 2 – 3 tablespoons of milk, adding one tablespoon at a time. This ensures that the eggs don’t get scrambled when added back to the chocolate milk mixture.
  4. Add eggs- milk mixture to the saucepan. Whisk it with the remaining milk and  cook over medium-high heat. Whisk constantly  until pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick, about 2 or 3 minutes more.
  5. Pour the pudding into 4 ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Garnish with chilled whipped cream, raspberries or strawberries or grated chocolate.

Serve chilled.