Go nuts over Nutella Brownies!

Nutella, a brand of sweetened hazelnut cocoa is everyone’s favourite, be it any age. It’s a versatile ingredient, isn’t it? Use it as a spread for toasts, filling for cupcakes, spoonful as it is.. or even Nutella Brownies.

I’m not here to promote it but it’s easier to call a Nutella Brownie a Nutella Brownie and not a Sweetened Hazelnut Cocoa Brownie, right!!! Going nuts over the name.. don’t. Instead, try your hand on these decadent brownies, they are so so so so so delicious that it’s not even funny!

Don’t believe me? Then give it a try now. It’s as easy as i don’t know what..

  • 1 1/2 Cup Nutella
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Castor Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Paste/Extract (use a pure extract pls)
  • 3/4 Cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

That’s about it. Now, let’s get on with making the Nutella Brownies.

  1. Line a rectangular pan (usually used for brownies) with parchment
  2. Pre heat your oven to 180 degree celsius for 15 mins.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt and keep it aside
  4. Melt 1 cup of Nutella over a double boiler or in a microwave (for a 1 min) and add in the butter and mix well
  5. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla for about 2 mins – no point using fancy hand blenders and all. A traditional whisk is just fine.
  6. Pour in the Nutella and butter mixture to the eggs and whisk well.
  7. Add in the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined
  8. Pour in the batter in the lined tin and scoop in few tbsp of Nutella here and there.
  9. Bake this in a preheated oven at 180 degree celsius for 40 mins.
  10. Cool completely before slicing. Whenever you want to serve, just warm it up and drizzle some more Nutella goodness on top… may be with a dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream.

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Isn’t this a piece of heaven? Or rather pieces of heaven. Pls pls pls try this else you will regret it.. Then do not blame me 😉

Will be back with another recipe soon. Till then, keep cooking, keep loving!

Freshly Baked Whole Wheat Bread!

I am a bread fan and I am a working woman. So, when I’m running late, all i need to do is grab two slices, add peanut butter jam or butter and veggies and leave. But, i just can’t ignore the fact that the industry breads (available in the markets) are whole wheat only for the namesake. They use preservation chemicals and loads of color… Plus it’s not whole wheat.

Anyways, I love eating bread. Period. I need no reason to make a freshly baked whole wheat bread for my family and myself. So, here’s the recipe. All you need is –

  1. Whole Wheat Flour – 200 gms
  2. All Purpose Flour – 50 gms
  3. Salt – 7 gms
  4. Water – 130 ml
  5. Milk – 60 ml
  6. Castor Sugar/Regular Sugar – 14 gms
  7. Active Dry Yeast – 14 gms
  8. Oil – 10 ml
  9. Extra Flour for dusting
  • Sieve the dry ingredients and keep aside.
  • Warm some of the water (lukewarm) and add the sugar and yeast.. Let this rest for 10-12 mins until it starts smelling and foams up
  • Add the yeast water, milk and remaining water to the dry ingredients and need a soft dough.
  • While making the dough, if you feel the dough is tight.. Add little more water.
  • Once the dough comes together, topple the dough onto your kitchen surface $dusted with some flour) and knead for a good 10 – 15 mins (use the heel of your hands to knead and pull back the dough with your fingers – this basically releases the gluten in the flour thereby making your bread soft).
  • Ball it up and leave to rise in an greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a cling film. Let the dough rest for 45 mins in a warm area.
  • Uncover the dough and knock back to release the air inside. Add the oil and knead again.
  • Grease your bread mould and dust it. Tap outwards and remove extra flour. Roll the dough into a nice ball (close to the shape of the mould) and place it in the bread mould so it fits rights in.
  • Brush the top with oil and cover with a cling film and leave the dough to rise for 45 mins in a warm area.
  • Just before baking, brush some milk on the dough and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for 20-30 mins or until the surface is golden (I used middle rack)
  • When you take out the bread from the oven, brush some butter on top.
  • Leave for 10 mins and then take it out of the mould and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Use a serrated knife to slice the bread.

It’s comforting, homely and undeniably delicious. Ohh.. and the smell of freshly baked bread is a trip to heaven !

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Bread 1.jpg

PS: you can even add sauted onion + spices/ fried garlic pieces + Italian season etc to make a flavoured bread.

The recipe might seem tedious but it’s not. Trust me and give it a shot. Happy Baking guys!

Tea and Cookies anyone?

Ajwain a.k.a. Bishops Weed or Carom Seeds is a very popular spice and is used widely in daily cooking. It is known world over for its benefits and soothing effects to our body.

These tiny granules smell like thyme because it contains Thymol, an essential oil present in Carom Seeds. However, the taste is sharp and pungent. A touch of Carom Seed in any dish and the flavour is enhanced. And by touch i mean touch, really! An ounce extra and the taste will change completely.

I usually add Carom Seeds in my morning paranthas (fried flat bread) or to cookies. I love my afternoon tea and i always need something to go with it. A bite or two curbs my hunger pangs and keeps me going. What better option than Carom Seed Cookies.

 

Here’s my recipe.

  • All Purpose Flour (sifted) – 2 Cups
  • Clarified Butter – ½ Cup (you may even use regular unsalted butter, about 100 gms)
  • Confectioners Sugar – 1.5 Tbsp
  • Carom seeds – 1 Tsp and little extra to sprinkle on top
  • Salt – 1/2 Tsp
  • Baking Powder – 1/2 Tsp
  • Milk – 50 ml or as required to form the cookie dough
  1. Take a large bowl. Add sifted flour and baking powder, confectioners sugar, carom seeds and salt. Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly so the Carom seeds are well distributed.
  2. Tip in the Clarified Butter and mix well using your fingers. At this points, the mixture should resemble crumbly and just about to come together.
  3. Add 2-3 tbsp milk at a time and mix well. If the dough seems dry, then add 1-2 tbsp milk and mix. Knead with light hands just until the dough comes together. Cover the dough and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven at 180 degree Celsius – do this when you start the cookie cutting process.
  5. Sprinkle some dry all purpose flour on the counter top or on the surface you wish to roll the dough on. Place the dough on top and roll out until ½ cm thick. Just before finishing the rolling process, sprinkle few carom seeds on top and give it a light roll so as to stick the seeds to the cookie top.
  6. Cut the cookies using a a cookie cutter or even a glass.. i like a variety of shapes and so i used my flower shape cookie cutter.
  7. Place the cut out cookies on a greased and dusted baking tray. Ensure that they are placed at a distance.
  8. Place the cookie tray in oven (in the middle rack) and bake for about 12 – 15 mins until golden brown. Since, all ovens our different, temperature and timing may vary. To keep your cookies from burning, keep an eye on your oven at intervals.
  9. Once baked, open the oven door and let your cookies cool completely. Take them out of the oven and store in an airtight container.

I know it is not time for my afternoon tea. But still, I’m off to munch on my cookies.. see ya!

To my life long Valentine.

I was a typical girl who believed in love, friendship, celebrating days just because it is a “cool” thing to do. And also because, the entire world was doing the same. 

When i got married, my thinking and my ideologies changed. Valentine’s Day was just 4 days after my wedding. Mine was a love marriage and so, i was expecting lot of surprises and celebrations. It was a usual lovey dovey morning.. I had filmed the entire day in my mind – surprise bouquet of flowers, chocolates, cake cutting, gifts etc. Nothing of that sort happened. It was a simple yet enjoyable evening with friends, movie and dinner night out. 

On returning home, i asked my husband why he did not wish me “Happy Valentine’s Day Sweetheart” and why he didn’t shower me with gifts and love all day long.. after all, it is the day of love! He just said one thing.. “Babe, i do not want to show off my love for just one day.. I want to keep the love and spark going for 365 days and for years to come.” He won. And honestly, i am more than happy to lose myself to a man who loves me for who i am. 

I’ve been married for 4 years now and things have only changed for better. Anuvrat (my husband) had been travelling entire last month and returned day before yesterday. To surprise my better half (actually, my best half)… i baked him his favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes – moist, rich flavour and dense red color. The cupcakes were fluffy and delicious with “to die for” cream cheese frosting.

 

Here’s the recipe for 24 mini cupcakes, you will need.

  • 117.5 gms Self Raising Flour
  • 7.5 gms Cocoa powder
  • 125 gms Castor Sugar
  • a pinch of Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Butter Milk
  • 135 gms Butter
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Red Food Color (the food color qty varies as all colors and gels have different intensity)
  • ¾ tsp Cider Vinegar
  • ¾ tsp Soda Bi Carb

For Cream Cheese Frosting, you will need.

  • 120 gms Cream Cheese
  • 75 gms Butter
  • 420 gms Icing Sugar (sifted)
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. Line the mini cupcake tin with liners and pre heat your oven at 170 degree Celsius 
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, castor sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Add eggs and butter to the flour mixture and whisk well
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter milk, food color and vanilla extract. Add this red liquid to the flour mix. Beat well for a minute or so on high speed. Scrape down the sides and mix again. 
  5.  In a small bowl, add cider vinegar to the soda bi carb and pour this fizzy mix to the red velvet batter. Beat well for a couple of seconds or until thoroughly mixed
  6. Scoop the batter in pre lined cupcake tin and allow them to bake at 170 degree Celsius for 22 minutes
  7. Take them out when done and allow them to cool completely

While the cupcakes are baking, make your frosting. This way you will not waste a minute on delaying the eating part! 

  1. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 or 2 mins. 
  2. Add the icing sugar in parts and keep mixing on low speed.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and scrape down the sides with a spatula
  4. Whisk the frosting another minute or two and keep in the fridge

Time to assemble the cupcakes.. Fill in your piping bag with the frosting. Use the star nozzle to create beautiful swirls. Red Velvet Cupcakes look ridiculously pretty with the delicate cream cheese swirls and they taste so so good.

 

 

 

Make these cupcakes for all your loved ones. Spread happiness and celebrate love all year long!

Bread Feast for Dinner

Focaccia is one of my favorite Italian Breads! You can bake it in no time. Tons of herbs and toppings, gives you tons of flavour. A wonderfully easy recipe, i usually end up making Focaccia and Soup when my husband’s not home for dinner (which is almost everyday, not that i’m complaining) or when I’m too lazy to cook! 

A big bowl of Tomato Basil soup and a Focaccia all to myself… gives me a great sense of comfort. 

 

Here’s the recipe. You will need:

  • 250 gms Refined
    Flour 
  • 5 gms Salt 
  • 5 gms Sugar 
  • 1 gm Improver   
  • 7 gms Fresh Yeast   
  • 15 ml Olive
    Oil/Garlic Oil 
  • 150 ml Water   
  • Kosher
    Salt as per taste
  • Freshly cracked Black Pepper 
  • Herbs 
  • Toppings (any topping will do – sun dried tomatoes/dried veggie mix/onions/olives/jalapenos/dried garlic/caramelized onions etc. This completely depends on your taste and how experimental you want to be with your bread). I go wild when i cook 😉
  1. Sieve the refined flour, salt and improver together.
  2. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in water and make a dough. Rest the dough for 10 mins.
  3. Add oil (you can even use garlic oil, gives it a great flavour) to the dough and knead with the help of knock back process. Cover and keep aside for proving.
  4. Lift the dough ball and place on a greased and dusted pan. 
  5. Now, dock the dough with oily hands and press them towards the corners, just how we make a fresh pizza. 
  6. Add herbs like rosemary, fresh oregano, chopped basil, thyme, chilly flakes or any herb of your choice.
  7. Add toppings – I used the dry vegetable mix that got from Turkey. You can read my blog and you’ll know which one i’m talking about. 
  8. Add Kosher salt and crack some pepper on top. Bake in a pre heated oven at 175°C for 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Finish it with a drizzle of extra virgin Olive Oil, cut into wedges and serve warm. 

 

Focaccia makes a great bread for sandwiches. You can even serve it as a starter with some Hung Curd and Cheese dip at your party. Load it with cheese and broil till the cheese melts and… your cheesy pizza is ready, one to die for. I’m telling ya.. be careful! 

 

Hope you will try out the recipe and leave your comments. After all, blogging is all about learning from new people, new experiences, everyday. 

One a Penny, Two a Penny, Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns

One a penny, two a penny…

Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns!

I took this nursery rhyme literally and baked these lovely buns. Traditionally
spiced with Cinnamon, these are sticky glazed fruit buns with pastry crosses. 

To make 10 average sized Hot cross Buns, you will need.

  • ¼ Cups Refined Flour
  • Tsp Salt
  • Tbsp Dry Yeast
  • Tbsp Castor Sugar
  • ½ Cup Luke Warm Milk
  • 30 Gms Butter
  • ½ Cup Tutti Fruity (Candied Papaya)
  • Tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • Tbsp Sugar for the glaze
  1. Sift the flour, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in luke warm water with a tsp of sugar. In a separate bowl, dissolve
    the remaining sugar in a little water. Add both mixtures to the sifted flour
    and mix.
  2. Add the luke warm milk, a little at a time, till all of it is incorporated into
    the dough. Add butter and knead till the dough is soft and smooth. Cover
    with damp cloth and set aside till it doubles in size.
  3. Preheat the oven to 240 degree Celsius. Grease a baking tray and line it with
    some parchment paper.
  4. Knock back the dough and add the tutti fruity. Shape into 10 round buns,
    marking a cross on the top with the back of a knife. You can also cut very thin
    strips of dough and place them in a cross shape on top of the buns.
  5. Place on the greased tray and set aside to rise for another 15 mins. Bake for
    15 mins, till well risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven. 
  6. To make the glaze, mix the sugar with 1 tbsp of water and heat gently till the sugar
    dissolves. 
  7. Brush the buns with the glaze immediately on taking them out of the
    oven.

 

Slather the buns with butter and serve with a cup of hot tea! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did making it!

Bran Muffins – Breakfast Satisfaction

The French call it “Moufflet”, the Germans call it “Muffe” and the Americans call it
“Muffin”! An individual bite sized quick bread, can be sweet or savory, you can bake it with a lot of options.

I have a full time job and like all of us I’m busy meeting the deadlines, and later completing household chores and attending to my family. Many days there’s hardly any time to prepare a good breakfast. And breakfast for me is the most important meal of the day. I want my day to start with healthy yet delicious food! 

Wheat bran muffins with Cinnamon and Raisin, a cup of hot tea and I’m ready to take to take on the world. 

For about 16 Muffins, you will need:

  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 135 gms melted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 cup butter milk
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degree Celsius. 
  2. Line the muffin mold with muffin cases and grease with some butter
  3. Mix together the melted butter, brown sugar and raisins. Whisk well for about 5 mins. Add the egg and beat with the whisker for another 5 mins.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl. Add the wheat bran and Cinnamon powder, mix well.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter and mix well. Add little butter milk at a time
    and mix well. Adjust the consistency so the muffin batter is lumpy. These will
    give you dense muffins, just the way it should be.
  6. Spoon the batter in the greased cases – fill up to 2/3rd of the case leaving space for the muffins to rise. Bake for 15 mins at 180 degrees and
    the lower the temperature to 150 and bake for another 15 mins. I always play safe cause I have no control over my OTG. You never know when it starts acting funny 😉
  7. Once cooked, turn off the oven and take them out once they have cooled off, dust with some icing sugar and garnish with raisins. 

I usually make these muffins at night, so I can get those extra 30 mins to sleep!

 

 

Work or no work, healthy bran muffins are always a thumbs up for me! And muffins, we all know, can brighten anyone’s day.