Desserts

Eggless Chocolate Spritz Sandwich Cookies … Tis The Season ……

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Now Christmas cookies are a special treat
The more I bake the more Kids eat
And sometimes They can’t get themselves to stop
And i will wait till they are asleep
And I’ll take the ones they didn’t eat….

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This is that time of the Year when a soft, sweet-smelling aroma has begun to come out of the oven with all the baking going around ..

Lets Celebrate Christmas with this all star light and crispy chocolate spritz cookies which has a rich and buttery flavor . A cookie press has been used to make these cookies …The cookie filling can also be flavored with 1 tsp. of your favorite extract and For adults-only cookies, stir 1 Tbsp. bourbon or rum into filling …

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Eggless Chocolate Spritz Sandwich Cookies …

Total time 1 hr 30 mins
Prep time 15 mins
Bake time 15 mins

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 1/2 cup more if needed
1 cup cocoa powder ( I used special dark )
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cup apple sauce
Frosting of your choice.

Method
Heat oven to 350°F.
In large bowl, beat butter and both the sugars until light and fluffy. ( It took me 6-8 mins in a stand mixer on low speed). Add vanilla and apple sauce….
In big enough bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
Gradually add 1/2 cup flour mixture at a time to butter mixture till all the flour is used , to make a soft smooth dough.
Place dough into cookie press and press cookies onto parment covered cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until edges are browned a little ..
Cool cookies completely on cookie racks ( This is very important )
Apply frosting and Sandwich cookies together once cookies are completely cooled …

White Vanilla Frosting
1 cup powder sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tsp milk

1 In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with a spoon or electric hand mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 teaspoon of milk.
2 Gradually beat with remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, then add more milk, a few drops at a time…

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Have You Soaked Your Dry Fruits For Christmas cake Yet ???

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Have You Soaked Your Dry Fruits For Christmas cake Yet ???

Christmas is just a few weeks ahead and its that time of the year when we need to soak the dried fruits for our yearly fruit cake ..
I have been asked a lot of times on what dried fruits are used for soaking ?? What alcohol to use ?? Can we use something else besides alcohol ?? So this post is especially made to answer all these questions ..

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Traditionally dried fruits are soaked 2 months to 6 weeks in advance and the cake is baked a week or two before Christmas and the brushed with left over alcohol till Christmas .. This helps the fruits to absorb alcohol and give it rich flavor to the cake ..

Now what all fruits I soak …
It really depends upon what type of cake I am making .. Light fruits give lighter color and dark color fruits gives darker color to the cake .. I always use preservative free no artificial sweetener or flavor added fruits ..

1. Some of my favorite fruits for my rice christmas cakes are vine fruits like raisins , sultanas and currents . I use these fruits to give texture to the cake …
2. Dried pitted chopped dates are another of my favorite along with prunes and figs . I chop them all fine ..
3. I like to add some mixed colored cherries ,and other citrus fruits to give that festive look as well as citrus flavor to the cake ..
4. A handful of dried cranberries can also be added for the tartness in the cake ..
5. Last but not the least comes candied ginger for a hint of spiciness …

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Soaking Fruits In Alcohol

Alcohol acts a a preservative for your fruit cake and gives it that buzzy flavor ..
In the past I have soaked dried fruits in Brandy , Rum as well as red wine . Always remember that the choice of alcohol pronounces the fruit cake flavor .. Dried fruits should be completely covered with the alcohol as dried fruits needs to plump up and absorb the liquid .. I shuffle and mix all the dried fruits at least ones a week to make sure that all the dried fruits get soaked and plump up .
You do not need to refrigerate soaked dried fruits ..please make sure to use glass jar for soaking the dried fruits … Please never ever use a metal container as it will react with the alcohol .

NON ALCOHOLIC SOAKERS

For non alcoholic fruit can one can use black tea , orange juice or any other juice of your choice ..
I have used a a mix of black tea and orange juice in the past and loved the flavors ..

For non alcoholic fruit cakes you just need to soak the fruits in a glass container for maximum 2 days … Make sure to refrigerate the juice after draining the dried fruits out .. Left over juice can be used for basting the baked cake later on ..

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Method Of Preparation

Chop all the dried fruits of your choice in small pieces..
Pour in the alcohol or non alcoholic juice of your choice & Mix well .
Put them in an airtight glass jar and soak till ready to use ..
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Click on the link to the fruit cakes I made last year ..

1. Christmas fruit Cake with Rum

https://shailjatomar.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/christmas-fruit-cake-with-rum/

2. Christmas Fruit Cake with Orange Juice …

https://shailjatomar.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/christmas-fruit-cake-with-orange-juice/

3. Brazilian Nut Fruitcake…..

https://shailjatomar.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/brazilian-nut-fruitcake/

Mawa Kesar Modak / Ladoo …

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Mawa is something we most probably need while making Indian Sweets/ Meethai ..
I usually decide to make anything at the very last moment …
It was Ganesha Chaturthi a few days back and as usual I decided to Make Modak and then realized I do not have any Khoya . Called up My Mom and she taught me how to make Khoya using milk powder ..

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Here is the recipe for fresh Mawa Using Milk Powder ..

For 1 Cup Of Mawa You Will need

1 cup whole milk powder
Ghee / clarified butter – 2&1/2 tbsp
Milk – 1/4 cup + a little more ( adjust according to make thick consistency)

Method

In a microwave safe bowl, add milk powder + ghee and mix well.
Slowly add milk and make lump free mixture while stirring well.

Keep bowl in microwave for 1 min. Now take the bowl out stir the mixture and keep it back in the MW for 1 . It will get little thick after two minutes. Stir again.

If you like the color to be a little brown then keep it for another 1 minute in microwave .
Cover and keep the bowl in fridge for 15 mins to cool it down a little .

After cooling it down, kneed it into a soft dough.

FOR THE MODAK OR LADOO

Ingredients

2 tbs warm milk + 1 big pinch of saffron ( ONLY if you are making saffron modak OR Ladoo )
1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar ( adjust to taste )
1/2 tsp cardamon powder

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Mix all the ingredients in Mawa nicely ..
Grease modak mold with little powdered sugar.
Stuff the Modak mold with Mawa mix and press the mold to shape ..
Open the mold gently and arrange this beauties in a plate.

FOR THE LADOO
Mix all the ingredients together and shape them into ladoos .
These Modaks And Ladoos stays fresh for 3-4 days in the fridge ..

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Kheer kadam……

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Kheer kadam is a bengali sweet and is made with mini saffron flavored rasgullas which are then coated with grated Mawa/ khoya and then rolled in milk powder and dried coconut mix ..

I Especially made these Kheer Kadam for Janmashtami
Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm in India in the month of July or August
Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting and staying up until midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have been born. Images of Krishna’s infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes. At midnight, devotees gather around for devotional songs, dance and exchange gifts

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To Make Kheer Kadam We Will Be Needing ..

14-16 mini Rasgullasa drained CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE

2 cups mawa grated
2 tbs powdered sugar
2 – 4 tbs milk
1/4 cup coconut powder
1/4 cup milk powder
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METHOD :
1. In a bowl add grated Mawa, powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons cold milk and make a nice smooth dough.
2. Make balls of the dough.
3.Roll one ball and put the rasgulla in the centre.
4.Seal the edges with the help of your fingertips.
5.In another plate add milk powder and coconut powder and mix well. Carefully roll the Kheer Kadam in the coconut and milk powder mixture.
6. Chill for some time before serving …
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Parwal / Pointed Gourd ki Methai

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This time the theme for Culinary Hoppers “Blog Hop” was Sweets . So I decided to bring one of my favorite Indian sweet “Parwal ki Methai” which is not easily available in sweet shops …
Parwak ki Methai is a traditional sweet which belongs to North Indian especially from the city of Banaras ….. This unique sweet is rich, full of delight and stuffed with khoya & Very easy to make at home ..

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Ingredients
10 OR 200 grams. Parwal Peeled , slit and seeds removed
1 cup Khoya / Mawa
1 1/2 cup Sugar , divided
1/4 tsp cardamom powder optional
1 tbs chopped Almonds optional
1 tbs Pistachios,chopped optional
2 tbs whole Milk powder
1/4 tsp Soda bicarbonate
Saffron a few strands optional

Method
1.To make the stuffing roast the khoya on medium heat till it becomes soft.
2.Add half cup sugar and continue to roast.
3.Add cardamom powder to the khoya and mix.
4.Take it off the heat and add almonds and pistachios and mix.
5.Add milk powder and mix well.
6.Transfer the mixture onto a plate and cool.

FOR THE PARWAL

1.Wash and peel all the Parwals, then slit the parwal length wise and remove all seeds carefully with spoon, it’s shape should be intact.
2.Take water and Parwals in one pan add soda bi carb and boil for 5-6 mins, till they a little become soft.
3.Now remove the Parwal from water with slotted spoon.
4.In another pan boil the remaining sugar with one cup water to make a 1 string sugar syrup.
5.When syrup is ready put all Parwals in it and cook on low flame for 7-8 mins till they become glossy and change color a little
8.Switch off the gas and let the Parwals soak in syrup for 10-15 min.
9.Remove the parwals from syrup & once cool stuff the khoya / Mawa mixture in parwals.
10.Refrigerate for an hour or so before serving ..

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Recipe adapted from Nisha Madhulika as well as Sanjeev kapoor

Do check the recipes by other taletned Culinary Hoppers at the bottom of this post ….…

1. Piyali’s Doodh pulisemolina and coconut
http://mytrystwithfoodandtravel.blogspot.ae/2015/08/doodh-pulisemolina-and-coconut.html

2. Jayashree’ Holigepeanut sweet pancakes
http://www.evergreendishes.com/2015/08/23/shenga-holigepeanut-sweet-pancake/

3. Sonal’ Pista Kalakand
https://simplyvegetarian777.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/pista-kalakand-pistachio-cottage-cheese-milk-cake/

4. Shubha’s Lab-E-Shireen
http://www.shubhaskitchen.com/2015/08/lab-e-shireen.html

5. Swati’s Malabi Milk Pudding
letscookhealthytonight.com/malabi-milk-pudding/

6. Padma’s Boomdi laddoo
http://www.masalakorb.com/traditional-boondi-laddoo/