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
‘Pie’ is nothing but a baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry.
I recall to share a few posts on tarts ( Fruit Tartlets, Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets, Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlets, Caramelized Lemon Tart ) in the past. Pies, which fall almost in the same category of tarts, but with a lid, are pretty interesting baked items too. Here I share with you the recipe of a savoury pie filled with mutton and cheese which also happens to be my first ever post on pie.
‘Mutton & Cheese Pie’ reminds me my good old days in Utrecht, Holland, where I got exposed to different kinds of baked items. Quite a few times I tested the savoury pies in small street-side baking shops there for which I grew an instant linking. It has been almost 4 years since I am back from Europe and after such a long time, finally managed to try one of my favourites among those pies, by my own. However, as a substitute of lamb meat, I used mutton along with Cheese, the latter being an addition and innovation from my side. One can skip adding cheese at will, since simple mutton pies are also pretty delicious.
It always feels nice to be back to baker’s block and post something or other on baking. Off late, what attracted my attention is the spongy cake covered with white cream and red dust on the top sporting a damn tempting look, people are going gaga over. A bit of research revealed that the red dust is not coming from bit root, as I thought, but from simple red food colour which made life easy. The USP for this cake is cream cheese frosting which is a break from usual butter cream or whipped cream used for cake icing and which also brings in an interesting flavour. It can lighten up any occasion many folds which was also a motivation for me to bake it for my marriage anniversary.
Red Velvet Cake
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 muffins, harb 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
These days, as we get flooded by baking recipes of so many varieties across the genres, I assume the simple, sober and plain chocolate cake still holds a special place in our heart, bearing the charm of past. Over the last few years, I also tried to put together different cake recipes in the blog, from lovely carrot cake to celebrated black forest and from the lip smacking cheese cake to addictive mocha. And then thought to get back to the roots, to the story of the simplest chocolate cake. Apart from the usual ingredients of baking, I need a good dark chocolate strip with just a bit of vanilla extract and that’s all.
Just wish to remind however, that a bite of this simple chocolate cake can turn lethal with a dose of caffeine. And of course, coffee etiquette has to be kept in mind, particularly when you are travelling. I came across of all these facts and figures through this fascinating blog, Med Cruise Guide which you would find superbly exciting. Bon voyage to the land of coffee with a pie of chocolate cake.
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
After a substantial gap, I am back to what I love most in blogging, that is to post a new recipe on baking. Here comes the one called “Mocha Layer Cake”, a beautifully garnished cake with the falvour of both chocolate and coffee. As the name suggests, this is an assemblage of separate baked layers, in fact three, which come together drenched in coffee cream. With the grated chocolate giving the top terrain rather a rugged look, I must admit that the Mocha Cake is one of the most lovely looking cakes, I have come across. With a great taste, Mocha can be a smash hit for the coffee lovers who can not afford to miss their favourite flavour in a cake.
Mocha Layer Cake
Any form of chocolate cake is a pure fantasy to me where I like to immerse from time to time. In past, I have shared with you the recipe of Chocolate fudge cake which was much appreciated. Here I come up with a cake which is even more richer in chocolate and thus regarded naturally as “rich” chocolate cake. Instead of using cocoa powder, in this recipe I have melted the chocolate and butter together which provided the silky richness. Even while baking the opulent aroma can be felt. I wish you to try this preparation to share this piece of joy.
Rich Chocolate Cake
Many a fortnights back, I shared with you the recipe of home -made thick crust pizza with bell pepper, bacon and loads of cheese (link). Here I am back again with the story of another pizza, a bit different from its predecessor. This time it is a veg pizza with no meat, but with mushroom and onion as add on. It is a bit different in another aspect too being a thin crust which means the pizzza base is much thinner almost like a roti. Actually, if you really ask me, I must admit having a soft corner for the thin crust ones which gives a really light feeling with the bite. In fact in authentic pizzerias, across Europe and particularly in Italy, I found that they really mean Pizza by thin crust and prepare the base rolling and tossing the dough by hand. Another point to mention here regarding the cheese. I have always been skeptic about choosing the right kind of pizza cheese in India. However, I am pleasantly surprised by the Britannia cheese which is amazingly good and served as a great topping. So as the winter is in its fullest, make your own pizza with all the colours and play innovative with corns, broccoli, tomatoes and whatever you like.
Thin Crust Veg Pizza with Mushroom, Bell Pepper, Onion & Cheese
Pound cake traditionally refers to a cake in which the main four ingredients (flour, butter, sugar & egg) are present in 1 pound each. However a cake with the said ingredients in 1:1:1:1 ratio can also be called a pound cake. It is a very simple recipe and an ideal one for beginners in the field of baking. Since it requires very few basic ingredients, mostly available at home, it can be prepared any time. I have used handful of cherries, nuts and currants for this recipe which are although completely optional. Go for this recipe of pound cake and I am sure you will be satisfied with the super soft and fluffy outcome.
Pound Cake with Cherries, Currant and Walnut
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)
I just love to have cheeses without looking at my weight meter 😛 . While returning from Europe I brought a large chunk of Cheddar cheese which I bought from cheese factory in Netherlands. I utilize the cheese in many a dishes, one of my favourites among those is the ‘savoury curried bites’. These are basically savoury biscuits with richness of cheese and flavoured with spices. It highly satisfies ones need for tasty teatime snacks.
Savoury Curried Bites
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
When vanilla and chocolate blend playfully, swirl together and make a painting of white and brown, you know that marble cake is on its way to be born. Not often, what you bake, looks gorgeous. However, for marble cake, it does best. You slice the loaf and the true art is revealed with the curvy strikes of vanilla and chocolate. Taste is unbeatable too. Happy me to share with you.
Slices of Marble Cake
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 Temptations, Buckwheat 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
Sometimes the name of the dish sounds so soothing to your ears that you are drawn spontaneously to it. And then if you discover that the dish is even more fascinating than the name, it is literally called then ‘icing on the cake’. Tarte Tatin is however not a cake, but a delicious french tart which can be made of seasonal fruits. The french word ‘Tarte Tatin’ means an upside down pastry in which the fruit is caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked. Here I have used Pears in the Tarte Tatin which can be replaced by any juicy fruit of your choice. However the traditional Tarte Tatin is made of apple, which you can try of course.
Pear Tarte Tatin
Earlier I shared with you one of the loaf recipes with banana and chocolate as main ingredients (Banana & Chocolate Loaf). Today, I am absolutely delighted to present the recipe of loaf made with date and walnut, perhaps two of the most well known dry fruits. Those of you who are bored to have the same old American white bread or even the brown breads in breakfast, will love it. A couple of layers of date in the middle with the pieces of walnut all over the loaf slices is quite extra ordinary. A bite in the loaf with naughty walnuts playing between the teeth and sweet dates sticking to you tongue, makes your day !!!
Date & Walnut Loaf
Ingredients to serve 10 :
- Unsalted butter – 175 gm. + extra for greasing
- Pitted dates (chopped into small pieces) – 225 gm.
- Grated rind and juice of orange – 1
- Water – 50 ml.
- Brown sugar – 175 gm.
- Egg (beaten) – 3
- Wholemeal flour – 85 gm.
- Plain flour – 85 gm.
- Baking powder – 2 teaspoon
- Walnut (chopped) – 55 gm.
- Whole or half walnut – 8
Grease and line the bottom and end of a 900 gm./2 lb loaf tin.
Place the dated in a pan with the orange rind, juice and water and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring, or until a soft puree has formed.
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then sift in the flours and fold in with chopped walnuts. Spread one-third of the mixture over the bottom of the prepared loaf tin and spread half the date puree over the top.
Repeat the layers, ending with the cake mixture. Arrange whole/half walnuts on top.
Ready to go into the oven
Making the layers with date
Bake in a preheated oven, 160°C/325ºF, for 1-1¼ hours, or until well risen and firm to touch.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Turn out, peel off the lining paper and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve in slices.
You can also decorate with orange zest.
Loaf slices are ready to be served
I have found in the cocktail parties people craving for appetizers with their drinks if they find them even a bit out of the usual. Sadly in most of the in-house parties, the snacks are the same age old ones, bought from the shops and heaped on the plate. It must have been very interesting if the appetizers are also home made like the food following, just out of the oven, light, less oily and devoid of any artificial flavour. Well well, the present recipe satisfies all of them and comes up with a mind blowing snack which fits in apt for the cocktail parties. If you are ready to put in the extra effort, having the extra amount of Cheddar cheese in your kitchen, no body cant stop you making your guests ga ga over these delicious bites.
Spicy Cocktail Bite
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
If you are looking for a sophisticated, impressive yet easy to make dessert then Fruit Tartlets can be one of your choices. As we know tartlets are the miniature form of tarts which consists of two parts, one is crunchy shortbread crust and the other is creamy savoury or sweet filling. Obviously fruit tartlets will be topped with any of our favourite fruits. I always got tempted to find those fruit tartlets topped with all the possible colourful fruits while passing by the bakery shops in Europe and apprehended that those should be very difficult to make. But I was wrong. After trying my hand on them, I can vouch that tartlets are very easy to make and taste absolutely yummy 🙂
Delicious Fruit Tartlets