Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Chocolate Cake

 After celebrating the Women’s day with Zebra Cake, I didn’t bake a Cake. I was waiting for an occasion to bake a cake. My son asked me for a cake after a successful Mega Cookie project. I also got a reason to bake a Cake !

Now, what cake……Being a Chocoholic, what else ………I go with Chocolate cake.

Can’t resist further……………here are the ingredients for chocolate cake   :  2 cups All Purpose (AP) flour (240g)    ;    1 1/2 cups sugar (300g)      ;1 teaspoon baking powder     ;        1/2 teaspoon baking soda     ;     1/2 teaspoon salt     ;   2 eggs    ;  1 cup milk (240ml)          ;      1/2 cup butter (120g)         ;    1 teaspoon vanilla    ;   2 ounces of baking chocolate     For Chocolate Icing  :  Whipped cream -250 ml     ;   Icing sugar -   3 tsp     ; Vanilla essence -1 tsp ;  melted   (semi sweet) Chocolate chip  -150 gms

Combine the dry ingredients with your kitchen aid using paddle attachment. Add small cubes of butter slowly while the mixer running. Run the kitchen aid until the batter appears grainy with a sand-like texture to it. Slowly add the milk, and the vanilla. Then add the eggs and chocolate, and mix until combined.

Grease 23 cm round cake pans, at 350ºF  (180 ºC) for 30-35 or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack and Cut cake into 2 parts. (horizontally)

Beat chilled Whipped cream gently till soft peaks add icing sugar and vanilla essence to the cream in a bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form……. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy, like butter.

Keep whipped cream fridge for 1 hour. Take 1/2 cup of whipped cream spread it on base of the cake and again keep it fridge for 10 to 15 min.

Fold the melted chocolate on left over cream (don’t mix it) folded it with spoon in upward & downward motion till chocolate should fully coated. Spread the chocolate on to top layer of the cake.

Also, spread into sides nicely use all chocolate icing keep it in fridge for 30 min then with teaspoon swooped down to make patterned. Keep it in fridge serve it chill.

I am sure, you love it.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Mega Cookie Project.

Two weeks ago, my husband colleague asked the possibility of baking 2 Kgs of Butter Cookies! Since we are nuclear family, I never used to bake in large quantity and like to bake fresh and often. (Also to keep my blog live).

In general my volume of baking is around 500 – 600g in all aspects. I should also say that, though my Kitchen aid is capable to do up to 2kgs   but, my All in one (Electric) Oven is not big enough to bake 2 kgs for sure.

So, I left with my cooking (range) oven, which is Gas  based.  I never used that because, not confident about the temperature.  As you may aware, Electric oven are very obedient (thanks to the Electronics!) you can control very precisely the temperature. Also, the heat dissipation throughout the Oven will be equal (thanks to the Circulation system!)

For this mega project, My electric oven is not going to work out because, I need to bake  5 – 6  (sessions) times again and again and each session may last up to 40 – 45 min. ( about 5 Hrs !) also, the dough needs to be preserved for long to maintain the consistency.

These all are the challenges……..But, want to take. Everything can be handled, except the Oven. Hence decided to go with gas Oven (no other option left) want to familiarize with Unknown gadget.  Couple of trial and error got a “feel” of it.

Confidently, started the project with extra thinks like gloves, apron and cap, which I never used them before! My husband and son commented that, I look like a professional Chef ???!!! After Few Clicks (to remember) I entered into my First Mega Project.

After 3 hrs………………………I baked exactly 2.160 Kgs of Butter cookies. (1 Kg with Nuts and another with praline)

I quit happy with the texture, all even shape / size and the taste.  This given lot of confident and satisfaction on "Volume".

This Mega Task,would have been not possible without my family support.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Flaounes - Cyprus Pastry

Flaounes (plural of Flaouna) are Easter and Ramadhan food of Cyprus. Basically it’s a (Hard) Cheese filled pastry garnished with sesame seeds.  – This is what Wiki says.

I never tried this before; this is my first attempt on Flaounes for We Knead To Bake #16. Thanks to Aparna for introducing the new recipe and the recipe source from

The Making process split in to two, the Dough making and Cheese filling Process.

The Ingredients to make dough,   2  1/2 cups of  All-purpose flour    ;    3/4 tsp  - instant yeast    ;    3/4 tsp  - salt   ;  1  1/2 tsp  - sugar   ;   1 – egg   ;   1/4 cup  - milk   ;   60gms of butter (melted and cooled)    ;    1/4 cup  lukewarm water   ;   Oil, for greasing bowl and rolling dough

The Ingredients  For filling,   1  of cup grated cheddar cheese    ;     1/4 cup grated  Mozzarella cheese   ;   1/3 cup - crumbled paneer (Indian Cheese)    ;   2 tsp All-purpose flour    ;   1/4 cup - semolina    ;   1 tbsp  - fresh mint    ;   1/2 tsp  - red chilly flakes (optional)   ;  3/4 tsp  - baking powder    ;   1 to 2 tbsp milk   or   1  - egg (optional)   ;   1 tbsp flour + less than 1/8 cup milk (for sealing paste)  ;  1/3  to  1/2 cup sesame seeds  ;  A little milk for brushing 

Dough Making process, Add the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, into the bowl and pulse a couple of times to mix. Whisk together the egg, milk and melted butter in a small bowl and add it to the flour. Knead, adding just enough water, till you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough which is just short of sticky. Add water/ flour as necessary to get this consistency of dough. Too much flour will spoil the texture of the pies.

Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, turning to coat it well. Cover with damp cloth and leave it for about 1 to 2 hours or until it is double in volume. Once it has risen, deflate the dough by pressing it. Then place it in a container (the dough will rise so use a large enough container) and cover loosely and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight. (the purpose to keep in fridge  is to make the dough easy to handle and shape because it has butter in it).

Cheese filling making process, Mix all the ingredients for the filling, except the milk (or egg if you’re using it) with a fork. Add the milk only when its ready to use the filling. The filling should be somewhat like a stiff paste

To shape the Flaounes, Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces lightly oil your work surface and rolling pin. Then roll each piece into a 5 to 6” round. The round of dough should be thinner rather than thick. If it is too thick you will have a very “bready” pie, but make sure that your round of dough is not too thin to support/carry the weight of the filling.

Spread the sesame seeds on a large plate and place the round of dough on it, in the centre, and press down lightly. This makes for an easy way to coat the Flaounes with sesame seeds. Now place the round on your working surface and put one portion of filling (about a tablespoon) in the middle of the round of dough and spread it lightly, leaving about 1” free at the edge. 

Fold the two opposite edges over the filling leaving the centre exposed. Now fold over the other two edges as well so you have a square pocket with the filling showing at the centre. Press down the sealed points with the tines of a fork.

Use the paste of flour and milk (or beaten egg) to seal the flaps of dough well. Press down the sealed points with the tines of a fork. It is important to seal the pies well or they will open up during the second rise/ baking. 

Place the shaped pies on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving 2 to 3” between them, and let them rise for about 40 minutes. Just before baking them, brush the sides (dough part) with milk (or beaten egg) and bake the Flaounes at 190C (375F) for 25 to 30 minutes till they’re done, golden and the cheese filling is puffed up.

I not only enjoyed baking(making) these Flaounes, also by eating!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Coconut Macarons


Want to make very simple Macarons, as my previous macarons was widely accepted and good hit on the hit counter.

Yes, Coconut Macarons.  But, in south india, its widely called Coconut biscuit. (Though it’s pretty close to biscuits but falls under Confectionery group. because, of egg white and no Flour used in the recipe)

Those who were in their teen’s during 80’s, they know about  these biscuit and love it too. In 80’s the bakery’s are getting popular in urban’s and their evening specials are Coconut Macarons (biscuit) and Puff.  I am a fan of both.

There are lot of memories attached to this Coconut Macarons, I am sure, everyone will a story behind to say.

The Ingredient’s  are  :      2 Egg Whites      ;      1/2  Cup Sugar      ;      1 ¼  Cup Desiccated Coconut      ;   1/2 tsp Vanilla Essences.     ;   Salt to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar, vanilla essence and salt until frothy. Add coconut and mix to combine.

Using ice cream scoop, scoop the coconut mixture, place 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheet (macaroons will not spread during bake)

Bake, in the Preheat oven of 180°C until lightly golden (But, I wanted brownish color, so kept little longer. i.e.  35 to 40 minutes) don’t forget to rotate baking sheet halfway through.

Allow it cool for some time (it will be easy to remove from the baking paper) and transfer to wire rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Whole Wheat Croissants

Back again with one more Whole Wheat Recipe. But, this time it’s a Pastry. Yes, Whole Wheat Croissants.

The recipe source from . Chef David, is one of the best Pastry chef and he is my favorite and inspiration. Here, I just copied not only his recipe and making techniques, also the making description (Text)

Croissants are Crescent shaped Pastry, quite popular in French bakeries and believed Austria is its origin. Croissants, takes an important place in the continental breakfast.

Though the Croissants looks bit complex to make but, isn’t hard. Making Croissants is a two days process. I mean, the dough should be made one day before and the following day the dough get the crescent shape and baked.

Let me take the ingredients list ……….. 1 1/4 cup(s) of bread or all-purpose flour ; 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour ; 2 tsp of Active dry yeast ; 2 tbsp of sugar ; 2/3 cup of warm milk ; 1 1/4 tsp of Salt ; 160gms of unsalted butter (cold and cubed)

Day 1 : In a bowl, mix together the white and whole wheat flour and set aside. Mix yeast, milk and sugar and keep it in a warm place till it become foamy.

Add one-third of the flour mixture in to Yeast mixture and blend well. Add rest of the flour and the salt, and stir until all the ingredients are combined. Knead the dough on a lightly floured counter-top a few times to bring it together into a cohesive ball, but do not over knead.

Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Day 2 : Put the cold butter in the bowl and whack the butter with a rolling pin, turning it a few times, until its cold paste Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and place the butter in the middle. Enclose the butter and shape it into a 4- by 3-inch (10 by 8cm) rectangle. Chill the butter for 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough on a lightly floured counter-top, so it forms a diamond shape with four flaps – two on top, two on the bottom, leaving the dough raised a bit in the center

Unwrap the chilled rectangle of butter and place it in the center. Fold the flaps over the butter, sealing the butter completely, and whack the dough with a rolling pin to flatten it out. Roll the dough into a 12- by 9-inch rectangle.

Lift up one-third of the left side of the dough and fold it over the center. Then lift the right side of the dough over the center, to create a rectangle. Take the rolling pin and press down on the dough two times, making an X across it. Mark the dough with one dimple with your finger to remind you that you’ve made one “turn”, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for 45 to 60 minutes.

Do the next turn of the dough the same way, rolling and folding the dough again, making 2 dimples with your finger in the dough, and then chill it for another 45 to 60 minutes.

Do the last turn and folding of the dough and let it chill for an hour. (The dough can be chilled overnight at this point, if required)

To shape the croissants, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Unwrap the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured counter-top until it’s a 12- by 9-inch (30 by 22cm) rectangle. Trim the edges off with a sharp chef’s knife and cut the dough into 3 rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally, making 6 triangles.

Take one triangle and roll to lengthen it to 11 inches (28cm) long. Starting at the wide end, roll the croissant up toward the point, not too-tightly. Set it point-side-up on the baking sheet and roll the rest of the croissants the same way. ( I filled the croissant with 1 tsp of custard. You may try with butter, Jam, Chocolate, Cheese etc)

Cover the baking sheet with a large plastic bag (such as a clean trash bag), close it, and let the croissants proof in a warm place until the croissants are nearly doubled and puffed up, which will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours the originally recipes says use egg wash for brushing but I used full fat milk.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC.) Bake the croissants for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat of the oven to 350ºF, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned. Some butter may seep out during baking, which is normal.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Nutty whole wheat bread

It’s not just an Another Bread !  Though, I posted few bread(s) earlier, it’s quite different from those.

The difference is not in the making process. It’s in the ingredients. As the name suggests, it’s full of Seeds and Nuts. Which results in, enriched vitamins, minerals, and Good fats (Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).

Here, we use Buttermilk instead of Milk. This also changes the taste of the bread. So, the combination of Flour, seeds, Honey and Buttermilk, gives a totally different taste. Hence, this Bread stay away from the “other” bread(s).

The Ingredients required are   ¾ Cup of Butter milk (Leban)    ;   ¾ cup of Bread flour    ;   1 ½ cups of Whole wheat flour   ;  ½ cup of mixed nuts (sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, flax seed, walnut)     ;   ½ tsp Salt    ;   1 tsp Honey     ;   1 tsp Butter   ;  2 tsp Yeast  ;  ;  3-4 tsp of olive oil 

Making Process,  heat the butter milk for 80° to 90°c  add salt, honey ,butter, and yeast . Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up.

Now slowly add  1/4 cup bread flour, then 1 cup  of wheat flour into yeast mixture and knead till the dough is soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable. (it shouldn’t be sticky).  You may add a little extra flour, if the dough is sticky. But, only little as is necessary.

Now, time to add the Key Ingredient, The Nuts. Add them and mix well with the dough, Shape it into a ball and coat liberally with Olive oil and keep it in the bowl. Do not forget to cover the bowl with damp cloth. Leave it for an hour or till the dough raise to almost double in volume.
Dust the work surface with flour. Deflate the dough; shape it into a loaf shape and place it in the grease the loaf tin. Cover the loaf tin again with damp cloth and allow the dough to rise for an hour.

Bake at 180ºC (350F) for about 30 to 40 minutes (in a pre-heated Oven) or until it is done.

Using the bread Slicer, slice in the desired thickness. Trust me; you can eat it just like that, without Jam or butter! – A COMPLETE, HEALTHIER break fast