Ever since I have started posts this month, I haven’t shared anything much personal. Maybe because there hasn’t been anything interesting… 🙂 One thing I started doing this month is journaling a statement every day. It is basically one question, that needs to be answered in a couple of statements, depending on your state of the day. Even though I haven’t been regular with it, I have stuck to it 80% of the time and can feel how relaxed that jotting down a couple of sentences is making me. I am trying to stick to it and do it on a daily basis from now on. I am seriously thinking of doing a statement and sticking it next to my bed, so that each time I go to bed, I check it and ensure that everything is done. Just trying to emphasis a bit more on my mental health… 🙂
On Saturday, my parents and my sister-in-law landed. They will be around for three months, Alhamdulillah… I have been under a lot of stress the past couple of months, so their coming is such a relief. It doesn’t mean the stress just goes off, but it will leave me with lesser time to actually dwell around it. I feel the lesser time we have to think about things that worry us, the easier it becomes for us to manage it well. Somehow, overthinking always makes things worse and clogs up your thought process. I have been there, and done it, so I know how it feels. I am just excited about the days coming, InShaAllah. My girls are just so relieved that they have their grandparents and maami to spend their winter holidays, and after that, they can come home after school… Somehow, we aren’t in a situation to give them that pleasure, but I am sure as they grow up, they understand why it is so… 🙂
Coming back to business for this month… 🙂 When I was putting up the list of bakes to be made for the Bakeathon this year, one bake was definitely going to be including yeast. How can I ignore something that is considered to be a backbone of baking! Anybody who loves to bake always has their jitters while trying their hand on yeast. But once it gets friendly with you, it surely makes your life easier. Do agree to me on this point… 🙂 I wish I would bake more with this ingredient, hopefully I will! Here are the yeast bakes and makes on the blog already, if interested…
Last year, I had posted the Coffee Cinnamon Rolls for the Bakeathon, and this time I am posting a chocolate version! Rasha loves cinnamon rolls and her constant demand is to bake them. But consider this – I am really lazy to go with yeast bakes, since it means some waiting time, before you can finally finish it off. I must soon try a quick version that will get cinnamon rolls done in an hour or so. Hehe… So this bake was also the result of a continuous “eating of ummi’s head” process that happened at home for a long month. I had pinned up the recipe on the cork board in the kitchen and each time she would pass it, she would retort, “Ummi, why have you put it up when you have no intention to bake it?” :/
So on a Thursday, I did the dough, the proofing and the filling, and left it in the fridge to have its leisurely second proofing. The mistake I did was I chose a very small pan to fit in the rolls. I should have taken an 8 inch brownie pan instead. I felt so lazy to change them, so I just kept them all snuggling to each other. 😀 I woke up a little early, and that too with an alarm on Friday (who does that on a weekend???) and pulled out the rolls to come at room temperature. I baked them and they were ready, fresh and hot, just in time while the HD and the girls woke up. Rasha finished half the pan, I must say. She loved it so much! HD was like, “Don’t give her so much sweet!” But then I hardly bake these days, so I allowed her to enjoy the rolls by herself.
There is one thing with baking with cocoa powder and yeast. The rolls weren’t as fluffy as a purely all-purpose flour baked rolls would be. I was reading that the alkaline nature of cocoa powder slows down the action of the yeast, making the bake slightly denser than usual. It explains the way the rolls ended up looking at the end. But whatever said and done, I didn’t have even a piece remaining from that bowl, so I guess it’s an awesome bake. 🙂 Off to the recipe…
And if you remember the board that I used in the Batata Vada post, this is the flip side. Isn’t it pretty? <3
Deciding to participate in the Bake-a-thon 2018 actually helped me clean up some of my to-do list. One of them was definitely this flan cake or magic cake, as it has been called in some places. Whoever came up with this fantastic idea needs to be patted at the back. When you want cake and pudding together, but don’t want to make it in several pans, all you do it is bake them together and let the magic happen! The base is a normal chocolate cake, and the top is a creme custard, duly topped with a caramel topping.
Now what happens? Here we apply a little bit of our chemistry knowledge. Haven’t you heard of density? Yes… so since the density of the cake batter is heavier than that of the flan batter, in the process of baking, the cake magically moves up and the flan pushes itself down, giving this beauty of a dessert! Science is amazing, isn’t it? I never liked science in school and that explains why I ended up being a commerce student throughout. 😀
My only advise to all of you if you want to bake this is to either use a neat bundt pan, which doesn’t have too many designs or curves, or to make it even more easier, to use silicon bundts so that it would come off clean. The mistake I did was I used a flowery bundt pan for this and I had a tough time pulling it out clean. 😀 That is why you can see some untidy patches on the flan. But definitely that didn’t impact the taste, just saying… 🙂
You can make the flan with chocolate flavors too, but I feel then you wouldn’t be really able to enjoy the lovely brownie like cake at the bottom. The eggy flan and the chocolate cake makes it an amazing combination. With the caramel topping, I found it a bit sweet, so next time if I do make it, I may end up skipping that process. If you also wish to skip, the only problem is that you wouldn’t have a pretty golden brown top to the cake. All in all, it is an amazing bake and a delicious one to have as a treat too… Off to the recipe…
Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Grease a 6 cup bundt pan really well on all sides. Keep a large deep pan ready and settle the bundt pan in it.
Prepare the caramel first. Heat the sugar and water, swirling it till it boils and becomes an amber shade. Squeeze in the lemon juice and switch off.
Pour into the prepared pan and allow it to cool slightly.
Then prepare the cake. Whisk together ingredients from sugar to salt in a bowl.
Beat the wet ingredients till well combined. Pour into the dry ingredients and fold in till moist.
Spread the batter on top of the caramel sauce.
Whisk all the ingredients under "for the flan" vigorously till mixed well. Use only a whisk. Pour over the cake batter carefully.
Place the bundt pan into the large pan.
Pour hot water into the pan upto half of the bundt. Carefully slide into the oven.
Bake for 60 minutes till skewer comes out clean. Take out the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Cool in the fridge for two hours. To release, run on some hot water, tap the sides and push down onto a plate. Slice and serve.
You can use dulche de leche (DDL) as base instead of making the caramel. You can even omit this step. To make the whole dessert as chocolate, you may add two tablespoons of cocoa powder into the flan batter.
There are always recipes that thrill us to the core, that we can’t wait to post them. 🙂 I guess there is no better time that post it during this Bakeathon! The Easy Fudge Brownies have always been a hit with many who have tried, but those brownies don’t have chocolate and butter melted, which I always feel is the essence of a brownie. Most of us have our own brownie preferences, and I have loved every brownie recipe I have tried.
My most favorite one is this fat-free brownies – if you haven’t tried them, I urge you to try them as they are really fudge like and melt in the mouth… But this recipe also deserves its own place…
I have always wanted to have a fudge brownie recipe on the blog. But the amount of recipes on the internet is quite scary. I went through several of them, which were labelled as “the best” and put down my own notes. Most of the recipes were very similar, with some difference in the butter and chocolate quantities, more or less the same flour rations, etc. I took a mishmash of all the recipes and tried. I would have loved a cracked top but didn’t get it, explains that I stopped whipping the eggs just short. But yes, the brownies had a lovely crust and should I mention of how fudgey they were? Just have a look at the pics!
I made these when I was going to see my friends and whatever I packed, just disappeared. My girls were totally behind me to make them again, so I decided to treat them with these by baking half the recipe over this weekend. The box was wiped off within two days. They just kept nibbling it off without even a thought about tomorrow! Off to the recipe…
With due permission from Valli, I decided to move yesterday’s Bakeathon post to today, since I didn’t want it to clash with the MFB post. I somehow don’t like the idea of having more than one post a day, though I have done that a few times in the past, but not with a full heart. This time, I made sure I asked Valli and as soon as I got the OK, I just went ahead with scheduling the post on the next day. 🙂
The recipe today is an amalgamation of a lot of factors – leftover bread getting stale, wanting to finish a bottle of Nutella nearing expiry date and then not liking the bottle of chocolate flavored Horlicks that I had bought. Horlicks is actually my cheat meal. Especially with nights getting quite chilled now, I always wish for a warm drink before going off to the sleep. Most of the time, it ends up being a small mug of hot water, with a tablespoon of Horlicks stirred in – yes, without the milk and sugar, just to lower the calorie. 😉 But then, the first trial of the chocolate one and it didn’t run well with me. Though, let me tell you a secret – it tastes much better to be eaten off the spoon rather than as a drink! 😀 I hope my mentor isn’t reading my posts – she will get it why I have not been losing weight now… hehe…
Bread pudding is something I make constantly when I have guests or when I need to give away. It is easy to make and easier to please too! I was actually worried while I tried this recipe – would it be overtly sweet? That was my main concern. Nutella is a sugar bomb, everybody would agree, and even Horlicks has sugar in it. As I baked it, I was praying in my mind that the level of sweetness was fine for my family. I had a cousin over for lunch when I baked this. B and he finished off half the tray. The girls had their little share and the remaining was sent off to HD’s staff. I hadn’t send them anything since long and this was a relief for them.
I had a spoonful and found it slightly over-sweet, but for those who love the maltedness of Horlicks and spoonfuls of Nutella, then this is an ultimate bread pudding. Especially with the climate getting chill by the day, I feel that warm puddings like these are apt to keep those sweet cravings after lunch or dinner satisfied. If you love them classic like me, then this bread butter pudding should do the trick! Off to the recipe…
Sandwich two slices of bread with one tbsp of Nutella. Chop them into squares.
Toss the bread with the butter and spread in a baking pan.
Whisk together the milk, condensed milk, cream, vanilla and Horlicks and bring the mixture to heat - do not boil. Take off the heat.
Break the eggs into a bowl. Whisk them well. Pour a little of the hot mixture and whisk till done.
Add back into the mixture and whisk well. Keep back to the heat.
Cook till the mixture thickens. Pour over the bread and let it soak for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes.
You can make this dessert eggless by replacing the eggs with 3 tbsp custard powder or corn flour, directly whisked into the milk mixture and cooked till thick. Pour over the Nutella stuffed bread and bake as usual after the soaking time. It is not necessary to use chocolate flavored Horlicks! Use any malted drink powder of your choice - Boost, Bournvita, or even normal Horlicks will work.
The tenth of the month means it is time for the Muslim Food Blogger challenge. This month, the theme was something of so much interest to me. I had put up the theme with so much excitement, but somehow my mood slid and I struggled to put this post together. I can’t express how sad it makes me feel… 🙁
This month, we chose to cook from an Islamic nation and the country in question is Iran/ Persia. I love Iranian food and I have mentioned it in a few of the posts covering some of the recipes in that cuisine. I had planned to cook a few recipe, bookmarked them, printed them, bought the stocks… alas, somehow my mood just didn’t work and I had to settle for a simple recipe. At least I am happy that I am able to participate…
Iran or Persia has one of the richest history in the world, with their influence running through many many parts of the world. I have no mention of their food – it excites me and enthralls me to the core. Since I have already mentioned it before, I am not going to dwell around it. So let’s concentrate on this super simple salad that I bring along today.
Salad Shiraz is said to have originated in the Shiraz province of Iran. By the way, my nephew’s name is also Shiraz. 😀 The main ingredients in this salad is cucumber and tomatoes, and the major flavors are the mint and the lemon juice. It is a very forgiving salad to say the most. You can make it any way you want. More cucumbers? Please proceed. Less tomatoes? Of course, that’s fine. More vegetables? Add in some chopped capsicum or lettuce leaves. More herbs? Chop in some cilantro or parsley.
The recipe I have here is very basic and made to the taste of my family. They love cucumbers and loathe tomatoes, so I have used accordingly. Usually dried mint is used, but I have used fresh mint as available. I used limited lemon juice since we don’t like it too sour, but normally this salad is more on the sour category. I took the liberty to add some olive oil to add a little fat, and salt and pepper for seasoning. All in all, an easy salad for you when you have no clue what to make for salad! 🙂
For the time being, I feel it’s a good break from the brown colored pictures floating on the blog. 😀 Off to the recipe… and do not forget to check the other Iranian recipes attempted by my fellow bloggers in the below linky tool!
Hazelnuts are pretty expensive nuts, just like pecans and pine nuts. That’s why it is something I never buy. The only times I have bought some pecans were to bake these cookies and these ones too and I treated it like gold. I buy pine nuts only when I know I have to be using it for some recipe, and that too, I buy so little that I invite a stupid look from the fellow at the counter. 😀
It so happened that I was walking towards the vegetable aisle when a box of hazelnuts stared at me. I looked at it, wishing I could buy it and then looked at the price. I re-looked at it again. And again. And again. I couldn’t really believe my eyes. The next thing that happened was that the box landed up straight into the trolley. Once the box reached home, since I had no immediate plans to do anything with it, I placed it directly into the freezer. I then conveniently forgot about its existence till recently.
I pulled out the box and roasted all the hazelnuts. Majority of it went into making some homemade “Nutella”, which I will share sometime later, InShaAllah. The rest were packed into a box, with me thinking of doing a cake or muffins or cookies. Finally I landed up making some biscottis, since I was craving to bake some since long.
I don’t think I need to mention how delicious the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts are. When I used to eat a lot of chocolates, mine would always be the one with hazelnuts – this one being my favorite, which I could eat the whole in one sitting! This biscotti was just as good as the chocolate hazelnut bars! I made mine double chocolate, ie. with cocoa powder in the dough as well as bites of dark chocolate in between, intermingling with the bites of hazelnuts – bliss!
I adapted the recipe from here, but the way of making it was inspired by Martha Stewart. I had taken the Netflix one month free subscription, which I cancelled as soon as it closed onto one month because it was so addictive! Especially at night when I was supposed to be sleeping after a long day, I would just watch series after series and then waste almost an hour of my sleep time. 😕 Actually, my thought of baking biscottis was pushed when I watched an episode of Martha Bakes where she was baking with chocolate. While making the biscotti, she had made the dough in the food processor, and that meant I didn’t have to do any extra chopping or cutting, and didn’t have any other bowl to wash. 😉
The only problem with biscotti is the double baking – so you need to be patient till you can take in a bite. These were amazing with a cup of no-sugar strong black coffee. I can’t stress enough on that. One glug of coffee, one bite of the biscotti and you are in foodie heaven. 😀 It was really amazing. If you do land up with some hazelnuts on special price like I did, then I urge you to make these – ASAP!
¾ cup hazelnuts, roasted and deskinned (refer notes)
75 gm cooking dark chocolate
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a tray with baking paper and keep ready.
Add ingredients from hazelnuts to salt in a food processor. Blitz for a couple of minutes, just till combined.
Add in the eggs, vanilla and milk, and blitz till the dough comes together.
Sprinkle some cocoa powder and put the dough in it. Bring it together till smooth and then shape into a log.
Transfer to the tray and bake for 30 minutes.
Take out, transfer carefully to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes.
Slice into biscotis and keep on the tray. Bake each side for 7 minutes.
Cool completely. Enjoy with a cup of coffee and keep rest in an air tight container.
To roast and de-skin hazelnuts, preheat oven to 150 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts on a sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Take out and empty the roasted hazelnuts into a kitchen towel. Roughly rub them for the skin to come off. Take off the deskinned hazelnuts. A few with skin is fine, though too much would cause bitterness.
Linking it to Valli’s Bake-a-thon 2018 event, in which you are going to see 13 chocolate treats from my side…