Category Archives: Cookies

Churros

Standard

I love Mexican food, in fact the whole family loves it very much. Sometimes I wonder if I was Mexican in my previous birth, because just as much Indian food, Mexican food is a constant feature in my kitchen.

IMG_7003.JPG

It’s Cinco de Mayo and I love to celebrate it. I never need an excuse to make something tasty, but when it’s fiesta time, it’s so much more fun! Such celebrations remind us that we live in the land of the free where many cultures have blended so well.

Anytime I visit a new place, the first thing I do is visit the local markets. I feel like I can learn so much more about the culture and the people of that country. Sometimes, people outside a country get a very limited view of that country’s cuisine. There were so many things in this Mazatlán market that I had never seen in the US! I ate these amazing churros in that market. They were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the cinnamon sugar that they were dipped in was at the perfect level of sweetness to make you crave for just one more! Ever since I had those churros, I have been meaning to try them in my own kitchen.

IMG_5079

Most of the recipes for churro call for eggs, but the street vendor didn’t use eggs in his dough. So I am taking that vendor as inspiration and bringing you an eggless churro recipe. Seriously, this comes together in an hour from start to finish (including the cooldown time).

Today I am planning to pair these churros with something yummy. When you think of summer, the first thing that comes to mind is ice-cream, right? Today I am making an ice-cream to go with our churros. The contrast of crunchy churros with creamy ice-cream is just yummy.

I make a weekly trip to my local Mexican store and that’s where I picked up a can of ‘dulce de leche’ (which translates to sweetened milk). Dulce de leche is a smooth, gooey goodness that I can eat with a spoon directly from a can. It goes great on your ice-cream sundaes, you can make flan with it and so much more.

Today’s ice-cream is a Dulce de Leche Ice-cream. It is a super simple recipe. Also, just like the churro, this is also an egg-free recipe.

Back to our churros. Typically, churros are a straight stick but today, since I’m planning to use them to make my ice-cream sandwich, I am going to pipe them in a spiral. I have decided to use a gadget which is very common in a Indian household, a chakli/murukku maker. It is used to make many savory snacks as well as fresh rice noodles. I love it because it’s very easy to use and clean. It comes with many discs which help you make different shapes.  I have a video on youtube which show I made it.

18199097_10213191958703007_3017445048061251461_n

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 2  tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup  unbleached all-purpose flour

Oil for frying

For

  • 1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chili powder

Directions

  1. In a small pot, heat  water, 2 tbsp sugar, salt and oil on a medium flame. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.
  2. Let the dough cool down till it’s ok to handle.
  3. While you are piping the churros, heat the oil on low heat. I have used regular vegetable oil for frying.
  4. Now it’s time to pipe out the churros. Since I am planning to make the cookies, I will be making churros with a smaller diameter. However, you can use a pastry bag with a large star tip if you are making big sized churros.
  5. Pipe out 3″ spirals onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I like my ice-cream sandwiches to be bite-sized, so I won’t make them huge.)
  6. If the weather is hot, you can stick these piped spirals in the freezer for a few minutes. This helps the spirals stay together, or you might end up with a long churro in your pan.
  7. Fry the churros until golden brown. Make sure you don’t fry them on high heat, otherwise they will stay doughy inside and burnt outside.
  8. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, ancho chili powder and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in the mixture.

Notes:

  • I made the churros two ways:
    • The ones I fried right after I piped them were soft
    • The one I froze before I fried stayed much crispier

Cardamom-Pistachio cookie

Standard
Cardamom-Pistachio cookie

I am not much of a baker. I love making desserts but baking is another beast which I hope to tame at some point. I make cakes, simple ones and I am always thrilled when they come out good. 🙂 I love trying new recipes if I get some inspiration. I love going to different ethnic grocery stores and looking for ideas, I am always amazed at the various new things I learn each time.

One of my favorite grocery store near my home is a Persian/middle eastern grocery store. Any time I go there, I come back with something new and that starts my experimentations.

It is holiday season and holiday means cookies and cakes and all those yummy treats. I wanted to make cookies but did not which one to pick, they are all so tempting. Traditional chocolate chip, oatmeal resin, Italian biscotti, indian nankhatai, german spice cookie to name a few. So I thought why not a take help from everyone and took  a poll on my facebook page.

And majority of you said that they wanted to see a recipe that is ‘something different’ or with ‘innovative flavors’. I thought of many ideas but somehow this one seemed perfect for the time.

Here I present my first Xmas Cookie ( there are man

Cardamom- Pistachio shortbread with orange blossom glaze

Pistachio-orangeblossom

It stole my heart and the whole house smelt like heaven ( and  a lot like Haleh Bakery).

It is so easy yet looks very fancy and eclectic, you can make the dough ahead of time, keep it wrapped in the fridge. When you want, 15 minutes and you will have fresh batch of cookies.

Ingredients:

Cookie:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup natural unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted, chopped
  • 1 large egg yolk ( you can use chilled milk instead)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom

Glaze:

  • 1  cups powdered sugar
  • 1 egg white ( you can use 1 tbsp milk instead)
  • 3/4 tsp Orange blossom

Method:

  • In a food processor pulse the pistachios, cardamom and flour till the nuts are a little chopped
  • Add powdered sugar and pulse more
  • Add the butter and pulse till you get breadcrumb texture
  • Add the egg yolk/cold milk
  • Keep pulsing till the dough comes together

 

  • Take the dough and roll it into a log
  • Keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours for the dough to harden
  • Slice the log into about 1/4 inch thick pieces
  • Bake for 15-17 mins in a 325F
  • Let it cool completely

Glaze:

Mix all the ingredients to make the glaze.

Assembly

Take the cooled cookies, top with a small amount of glaze, decorate cookies with sliced pistachios, dried rose petals, saffron strands.

img_4936

Coffee-Almond biscotti

Standard

snapseed

This year is supposed to be a El Niño year, which means a lot of rain is expected. We have been hoping that it rains a lot and gives a relief from the drought situation in California. It has rained but not too much, so when this weekend it poured, everyone was super happy.

Rain always makes us think of Pakodas( fried lentil fritters), a cup of ginger tea. Rain makes everything look so pretty. Spring is in the air, flowers everywhere. The wisteria in our garden is looking gorgeous, vibrant with purple chandeliers.

img_5027

It was a very relaxing weekend, we had an amazing lunch at our favorite ethiopian place. They make such incredible food, especially their chicken is cooked so well. We ended that meal with a ethiopian coffee, which is always accompanied with a fragrant herb, ‘rue’. You let the herb seep in it’s flavors in the coffee before you drink it.

img_5028

Talking about coffee, recently my family has been obsessed with coffee. My son has been taking very scientific approach to coffee making. Weighing the coffee beans, freshly ground with handheld steel coffee grinder, water temperature measured by thermometer, even the pour has to be perfect. He looks like Alton Brown every time he makes coffee. He made me a macchiato with a little heart a few weekends ago, so perfectly made.

fullsizerender

On my recent trip to Guatemala, I visited this coffee shop which not only serves amazing coffee but also sells beans from the neighbouring areas. I picked a few pounds from there and we also replicated the same set up at home. It made such an amazing cup of coffee.

IMG_4349I love coffee in many forms whether it is coffee ice cream or Tiramisu or even Tiramisu french toast for breakfast, I love it all. So when we were talking about some cookie to go with the coffee, I decided to make this Biscotti. I love making biscotti for many reasons, you can make it ahead of time, you can make so many variations and they are not fragile so they transport well.

Since I love the coffee flavor, I decided to add it to the biscotti as well.

img_5038

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 stick of unsalted butter softened

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs at room temperature

1 pinch of salt

3 tsp instant granulated coffee

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup of almonds roughly chopped

Chocolate dip

5 oz of dark chocolate chips

crushed almonds or sliced almonds

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt together.

Cream the softened butter with sugar.

Add coffee granules and vanilla mix a little more.

Add one egg at a time while the mixer is running.

Scrape down the liquid ingredients.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time. The dough will be sticky at this point. Keep the dough in the fridge so it will firm up and will be easier to handle.

Take the dough out and divide in two parts.

Form two logs of about 2 inch by 8 inch. Remember this will spread as they bake so dont make them wider than 2 inches.

Place the logs on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Bake for 25-30 mins.

Take it out of the oven and cool for 30 mins.

Biscotti means baked twice. So as the name suggests, we will be baking these twice.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut in 1 inch slices.

Arrange these slices cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake again for 15-20 mins. Remember that these will harden as they cool so be careful to not overcook these.

After baking it the second time, let them cook on a rack.

img_5034

Chocolate sauce

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, heating in the 30 sec intervals, stirring in between.

Dip one end of the cooled biscotti in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with crushed almonds. Layer them back on the parchment paper till the chocolate is solid again.

These store very well in a airtight container.

Serve with your favorite cup of coffee.

 

Variation:

You can skip the coffee granules in the batter, and add 1/4 cup of cocoa instead.

You can also make these with no chocolate or cocoa or almonds in the batter, and add 1 tsp of Anise seeds, 1/2 cup of cranberries & 1/2 cup of pistachio instead.