Oats & Dates Squares / Bars

When I was asked to participate in the A to Z recipe challenge, a challenge initiated on Facebook Group, I was wondering what could be my recipe, that too starting with the letter ‘D’? Date was something, that I thought about right from the beginning, but was not sure of something interesting with dates. Then, all of a sudden, I got reminded of this recipe, of bars or blocks, made of dates and oats.

These days, oats is a common feature in the breakfast, having a high nutritious and health value. And I could use it in a completely new avatar in this recipe; this thought made me super excited. Luckily the oats and dates bar came out pretty nicely, quite like the way I thought. Now, I am pretty pleased to live up to the challenge. I hope you will love this crunchy bites with the falvaour of dates.

“Oats & Dates Squares / Bars” is my contribution to the A to Z recipe challenge for the month of November. Letter “D” is the challenge for this month and I choose Dates as the key ingredient of my recipe.

Oats & Dates Squares / Bars

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Spiced Chocolate Muffins

Muffins have always been a treat for my tongue and frankly I don’t need any occasion to bake a bunch of fresh muffins. So far I shared with you some interesting recipes of muffins like the apple – cinnamon muffins and fig – almond muffins which were bit experimental too. Even the savoury ones like the spicy – chicken muffinsharb muffins with smoked cheese were slightly unorthodox in the muffin family. This time, I’ve decided to turn traditional and share the recipe of much adored chocolate muffins which are however loaded with spices and chocolate chips. A bite in the muffin and one gets swayed away by the sweetness of chocolate with a pinch of spices.

Spiced Chocolate Muffins

Spiced Chocolate Muffins

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Apple & Cinnamon Muffins

Apples although being healthy, are not among my favourite fruits. As a result, few of them were left in my fruit basket for long. To finish them off, I thought of an idea to transform them into baked apple in the form of muffins. As an add on, caramelized sugar topping mingled with the flavour of cinnamon enhanced the test many folds.  A must try for those who don’t like apple just like me, however equally passionate to bake 🙂

Apple & Cinnamon Muffins

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Love Bites (Heart shaped Red Velvet Cupcakes)

Love bites, the name given by me to these little heart shaped red velvet cupcakes, is sultry and serene. Don’t you think ? These super soft, spongy token of love can be a surprise for your loved ones on any special occasion, it may be your marriage anniversary, valentines day or any memorable day to cherish. I borrowed the recipe of Red Velvet muffins from Joy of Baking and moulded them into heart shaped cupcakes. Vibrant red colour can also be kids’ favourite, so just give it a try.

Love Bites (Heart shaped Red Velvet Cupcakes)

Love Bites (Heart shaped Red Velvet Cupcakes)

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Walnut & Cinnamon Blondies

Blondie, with a startling resemblence with chocolate brownie, is a rich, sweet desert bar. However, here the chocolate flavour of brownies is missing and which is often replaced by vanilla essence. The source of dark brown colour of blondie arises from the brown sugar used in its preparation. Mostly the rampant use of various nuts enhance the taste of blondies. Unlike brownies it can not be prepared without baking. No more information for now, rather lets go straight and direct to the recipe 🙂

Walnut & Cinnamon Blondies

Walnut & Cinnamon Blondies

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Chocolate Chips Cookies

The aroma from the kitchen makes everyone, around you, curious and tempted about what you are baking :), that is the joy of baking :P. Freshly baked cookie, now, get preference over the market bought one since I started preparing them at my own. After getting success in my earlier few ventures, Chocolate TemptationsBuckwheat flakes & hazelnut bites, French Macaron filled with Chocolate Ganache, now I have become more confident :). Though this time tried much simpler and basic one, still I bet you guys will love this. Here is the recipe of very well known “chocolate chips cookies”. 🙂

Chocolate Chips Cookies

Chocolate Chips Cookies

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Pecan Chocolate Brownies

Perhaps we are all familiar with the name Brownies. They are flat, square shaped dessert blocks, brown in colour, hailing from USA. The texture of brownies is somewhere in between cakes and soft cookies and these fudgy or sometimes cakey brownies can be made with or even without baking. It is often enriched with different nuts, chocolate chips and other ingredients and served with ice cream, whipped cream or powdered sugar sprinkled atop.

Here I present  the baked version of brownies which is made with melted chocolate and pecan nuts. Enjoy the super delicious pecan chocolate brownies with a hot cup of tea.

Pecan Chocolate Brownies

Pecan Chocolate Brownies

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French Macaron filled with Chocolate Ganache : Valentine’s day special

Macarons are colourful and cute looking French sweets or cookies. The preparation of macarons is based on meringue (from egg whites and castor sugar), almond flour and powdered sugar. Different food colours or gels are often used to give them the attractive and pretty look. Various fillings like chocolate ganache, buttercream, lemon curd, jam etc., are used to sandwich two cookies together.

When I saw them for the first time, I was highly impressed and taken aback. In fact their look invited me more than their taste. Since then I often thought of preparing it but took a long time to try my hand. It is my first attempt to make the macarons and I try here to adapt a simplified approach. I don’t use any colour and choose the simple chocolate ganache for filling.

Though I prepared these cookies two month back, I choose today for posting its recipe as the day is very special for all of us. On the eve of Valentine’s day make these prettiest cookies for your loved one 🙂

Almond Macarons filled wit Chocolate Ganache

Almond Macarons filled with Chocolate Ganache

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Sugar Cookies for Christmas

On the eve of Christmas the old Santa sneaks into our home secretly and drops beautiful gifts. When we wake up in the morning, we find them everywhere, a new day starts with surprise, joy and hope. It makes our life blissful. Hope this Christmas brings the gift of peace and tranquility in all of our lives.

On this occasion, I share a jar of sugar cookies with my friends. They are sweet, full of colours and made on cute little Chirstmas trees. Wish you all a merry Christmas !!!!

Sugar Cookies for Christmas

Sugar Cookies for Christmas

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Fig & Almond Muffins (Eggless & Butterless)

I heard quite a few times from my blogger friends on baking without butter and egg. I always wondered how can one make cakes without these two key ingredients. This time I tried to find the answer myself by baking muffins without either butter or egg. To my surprise, they turned out to be quite satisfying, still having the fluffiness like normal muffins. Must admit, missed the flavour of butter in the muffins, which otherwise were pretty good. Hope the eggless bakes would be a nice option for vegetarians or vegans who do not want to remain deprived of the baking wonders.

Fig & Almond Muffins

Fig & Almond Muffins

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Buckwheat flakes & hazelnut bites

By each passing day, I am turning more passionate about baking. To get a good end product in baking, correct measurement of the ingredients, right consistency of batter or dough, proper temperature etc. are the key factors. So when I measure the ingredients in my small weight machine, combine them and then bake them in oven, I feel that I am carrying out my experiments in Chemistry lab. To some extent it reminds me of the colourful college days, although I dearly miss my friends and professors. 🙂

Today I am sharing a recipe of cookies made from buckwheat flakes. Here I should admit that my intention was to prepare oat cookies. However by mistake, I bought buckwheat flakes instead of oats. First I thought to return it, although later refrained from that and made an experiment with buckwheat. Worth to mention that being gluten free, buckwheat is good for health. Initially, I was little worried how the cookies will taste, but the doubt disappeared when it got loads of appreciation from our guests. Do try this recipe and enjoy. 🙂

Buckwheat flakes & hazalnut cookies

Buckwheat flakes & hazelnut cookies

Ingredients for 30 pieces :

  1. Unsalted butter/margarine – 175 gm, + extra for greasing (I used butter)
  2. Brown sugar – 225 gm. (I used muscovado sugar as it was in my stock)
  3. Egg (beaten) – 1
  4. Milk – 4 tbspoon
  5. Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  6. Almond extract – ½ teaspoon
  7. Hazelnut – 115 gm.
  8. Plain flour – 115 gm.
  9. Buckwheat flakes – 225 gm.
  10. Ground allspice – 1½ teaspoon (or, Cinnamon + Nutmeg + Cardamom ⇒ ½ teaspoon of all powders)
  11. Bicarbonate of soda – ¼ teaspoon
  12. pinch of salt
  13. Sultans/Raisin – 150 gm. (I used raisins)

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

Procedure :

Chop the hazelnuts finely.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Blend in the egg, milk, vanilla and almond extract until thoroughly combined.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, allspice, bicarbonate of soda and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Mix in the buckwheat flakes, raisins and hazelnuts.

Batter

Batter

Put 30 rounded tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto greased baking sheets, spaced well apart to allow for spreading. Transfer to a preheated oven, 190ºC/375ºF, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

Before baking

Before baking

After baking

After baking

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool before serving.

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee. 🙂

 

Chocolate Temptations

This is my first attempt of making cookies at home which turns out really great. Me and my husband, both are huge fan of chocolate cookies. This is the prime reason to prepare ”chocolate temptation” first, although there are few more recipes of various cookies in my small baking book.

After eating the cookies for the first time, when I was in Kolkata, I fell in awe with them and since then always prefer them to biscuits. I was on cloud nine to find a lot of cookies recipe in my baking book and vow to try my hand with them and bring them to you via this blog.

Chocolate temptation

Chocolate temptation

Ingredients to serve 24 :

  1. Plain chocolate – 365 gm.
  2. Unsalted butter – 6 tbspoon + extra for greasing
  3. Strong coffee – 1 teaspoon
  4. Egg – 2
  5. Brown sugar – 150 gm.
  6. Plain flour – 225 gm.
  7. Baking powder – ¼ teaspoon
  8. Pinch of salt
  9. Almond extract – 2 teaspoon
  10. Chopped walnut – 100 gm.
  11. White chocolate – 40 gm.

Procedure :

Put 225 gm of the plain chocolate with the butter and coffee into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat until the chocolate is almost melted. Stir the liquid chocolate until smooth and let it cool down to room temperature.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl until fluffy. Whisk in the sugar gradually until thick. Stir the liquid chocolate into the egg mixture until combined.

Shift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, mix well and stir into the chocolate mixture. Chop 85 gm. plain chocolate into pieces and stir into the dough. Stir in the almond extract and chopped walnut.

Put 24 rounded dessertspoonfuls of the dough on a greased baking sheet. Leave enough space between the small dough balls as they will be double in size after rising.

Cookies dough ready to go into the oven

Cookies dough ready to go into the oven

Now bake in a preheated oven, 180ºC for 16 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

My cookies after baking

My cookies after baking

To decorate, melt the remaining chocolate (plain and white) in turn, then spoon into a piping bag and pipe lines onto the cookies.

After decorating with plain & white chocolate

After decorating with plain & white chocolate

Note :

  1. You can use other kind of nuts instead of walnuts.

Lemon butterfly cakes

Small bites – muffins, cupcakes, biscuits and slices – have a very special appeal, perhaps because they have a delightfully self – indulgent, ‘just for me’ feel about them!

Pretty and gorgeous look of cupcakes push me up to bake them. Top of these can also be decorated in a number of ways.

This is a recipe of simple lemon cupcake, top of which resembles like a butterfly. Children love small bites, so they will be thrilled to find a treat in their school lunchbox. I am sharing this recipe specially for my friends who are adorable mom to their children.

Lemon butterfly cupcakes

Lemon butterfly cupcakes

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes :

  1. Self – raising flour – 115 gm.
  2. Baking powder – ½ teaspoon
  3. Soft butter/margarine – 8 tbspoon
  4. Caster sugar – 115 gm.
  5. Lightly beaten egg – 2
  6. Milk – 2 tbspoon
  7. Finely grated rind of ½ lemon

Lemon filling :

  1. Soften butter – 6 tbspoon
  2. Icing sugar/powdered sugar – 175 gm.
  3. Lemon juice – 1tbspoon

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

Procedure :

Put 12 paper baking cases in a muffin tin, or place 12 double – layer paper cases on a baking sheet.

Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter/margarine, sugar, eggs, lemon rind and milk and, using an electric hand whisk, beat together until smooth. Spoon the batter into the paper cases (1 tbspoon in each paper case).

batter in the paper cases before baking

batter in the paper cases before baking

Bake the cupcakes in a preheated oven, 180°C for 15 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown.

Cupcakes after baking

Cupcakes after baking

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. As my muffin tin can bake only 6 cupcakes at one go, I had to repeat the process with the remaining batter. Here are my 12 cupcakes. Try to distribute the batter evenly in the paper cases as you can see in the picture below that my batter is not distributed evenly. Also the tops do not come out exactly even after baking, however that doesn’t make any difference.

12 cupcakes

12 cupcakes

To make the filling, put the butter in a bowl and beat until fluffy. Shift the icing sugar, add the lemon juice and beat together until smooth and creamy. Make sure that sugar is completely homogenized with the butter.

When the cupcakes are cold, use a serrated knife to cut a circle from the top of each cupcake and then cut each circle in half. Spread or pipe a little of the buttercream filling into the centre of each cupcake, then press the two semicircular halves into it at an angle to resemble butterfly wings.

Decorating the cupcakes

Decorating the cupcakes

Now you are ready to serve the delicious and pretty lemon butterfly cupcakes. 🙂

Cupcakes are ready to be served

Cupcakes are ready to be served

Note :

  1. Since my oven is just a OTG oven which is much smaller than the modular ones, 180°C is the correct temperature for me. If you have a big one then set it at 190°C and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
  2. Scrape off only the rind of the lemon. Do not remove the pith, otherwise it will be bitter.