Chocolate covered Sugar Cookies

A cup of tea upon arrival at a country house is a thing which I, as a rule, in particularly enjoy. I like crawling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere or leisured coziness

P. G. Wodehouse

cookies and tea1

My feelings exactly for the Winter. As temperatures have cooled down, the warmth in the house is cracked up, fireplace roaring and something baking in the oven. I wish I could look over our little village and see the puffs of smoke from all the chimneys.

c2

I have come to rely on this recipe for any occasion where it needs me to make cookies with different shapes or frosting.

c3

 

There are some recipes which taste excellent but you can not exactly retain the shape and you are stuck with no frosting or there are  cookies that run out of shape. Not anymore. This recipe will give you a perfectly shaped cookie every single time.

cookies and tea1

I almost always frost my cookies with elaborate designs but this time I simply do not have the patience for making various colored frostings and then making elaborate designs. So I present, Chocolate dipped shortbread cookies. If you do not want to use chocolate colored chocolate by all means use white chocolate. You can either add some color to the chocolate or leave it as white and sprinkle with nuts as I did.

c4

 

The cookies themselves are infused with Lavender essence. If you don’t have it, use Almond essence or use lemon zest. If you don’t want any of these, simple increase the amount of Vanilla essence and voila. Super simple recipe and amazing looking cookies.

Makes about 2 dozen medium size cookies

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour 2 cups
  • Butter unsalted 15 Tbsp or a little less than 1 cup
  • Powdered Sugar 1 cup
  • Vanilla Essence 1 1/2 tsp
  • Lavender essence 1 tsp (or substitute with Almond essence or Lemon zest)
  • Egg 1 beaten
  • Salt a pinch
For the Chocolate part:
  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars 4 counts of 1.55 oz
  • Whipping cream 2 to 3 Tbsp
For Garnish
  • Roasted and chopped Pistachios
  • Equipment
  • Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
  • Sauce Pan and small pan ( I used a stainless butter warmer)
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Cooling rack

cp1

Directions:

  • Beat the Egg and keep aside.
  • In a stand mixer, beat the Butter. It’s important that the butter is at room temperature. Make sure to scrape it out and beat again couple of times.
  • Add the Egg, Vanilla essence and the other essence of your choice. Beat for another couple of minutes until well combined. Scrape and mix again for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the Sugar and beat until well combined.
  • Add the Flour and Salt. The mixture will become a soft dough. Once the dough is formed, take it out and knead gently with your hands. Make a soft round. Wrap tightly in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half hour or up to two days.
  • When you are ready to roll out the cookies, remove the dough from refrigerator and let it rest out on the counter for 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spread some powdered Sugar on the surface and roll out the dough. You can make it as thick or thin you want. I always make it about 1/6 inch thick. Depending on how thick your cookie is, the baking time will vary.
  • After you roll the dough, cut out any shapes you want using a cookie cutter.
  • Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the cut out cookies on the Parchment paper.
  • Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or up to 15.
  • Bake for 11 minutes.
  • Remove and let it cool before dipping in the Chocolate.

clavender

You can cover the cookies with a plastic wrap and resume the chocolate dipping part next day if you would like. I know the process can get overwhelming.

  • Fill a large saucepan with water about 3/4th full. Let it come to boil.
  • In a smaller pan, pour the whipping cream and let it warm through.
  • Add the Chocolate pieces a few at a time and stir constantly.
  • Keep adding the chocolate and stirring until all the Chocolate is melted. If you feel the Chocolate is too thick, add another spoon of Whipping cream.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Take the cooling rack and place either parchment paper or any other paper under the cooling rack to catch any flow over  chocolate underneath. This will just make your Kitchen little less messy.
  • Take each cookie and spoon the chocolate over it gently. Cover as much of the cookie as you like and place on the cooling rack to settle.
  • Once all cookies are covered in Chocolate, garnish with pistachios.
  • If you would like them settled, quicker, place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

 

Super simple and Healthy Couscous Salad

1

On Sunday it was unseasonably warm. We had Chocolate Chip pancakes for breakfast and went for a walk. Still clad in warm gear, mind you but not shivering in the cold. I hoped I won’t get a call from Office asking for some urgent questions to be answered. My wish was granted until we got back home. The girls wanted what they think is a gourmet meal of Mac and Cheese so it was just me and the hubs. I put together this salad. So simple and healthy and yet so colorful and flavorful.

On another note, how is your holiday planning going? Are you hosting any lunches/dinners? I am spent late Sunday night menu planning for couple of parties that I am hosting this month. Such a glorious month this is and everyone seems to be a wee bit happier.

2

Ingredients:

For the Salad: Serves 2

  • Couscous uncooked 1 cup
  • Water as per package instructions to make Couscous
  • Red Onion per taste or 3 tsp per person
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Cucumber cut small pieces 1 cup per person
  • Red Pepper cut small 1/2 cup per person

For the dressing

  • Olive Oil 2 Tbsp
  • Lemon Juice 1 Tbsp
  • Honey 1/2tsp
  • Salt and Pepper per taste

3

Directions:

  • Prepare Couscous per package instructions. Let it cool slightly.
  • Mix all the Dressing ingredients.
  • Mix Couscous, Cucumber, Red Pepper and Red Onion.
  • Drizzle the dressing on top and mix.

Enjoy.

xo

Marshmallow Mousse

7

And another birthday around our household. It’s crazy how fast these kids are growing up. They change so fast too. I see Annika to be such a mature child now and so hungry for knowledge and always curious. This birthday she didn’t want a cake. I think we have too much cake in the house, almost one every weekend. So I made this super fast Marshmallow mousse. It is sooo easy to make. It’s ready in about 30 minutes. It has this sweet chocolaty taste and you can literally go crazy with colors. Annika’s favorite is blue so I used blue.

Continue reading

Three layer cake and a recipe for Meringues

 

ck2

Early this morning I woke up to a dense fog, intermingling of hot and cold. As I walked through my usual forest preserve , there was a stillness in the air.  The air heavy with anticipation, waiting for the adventure ahead, the hustle and bustle of the coming week. As I stood there just for a second gazing at the stream almost disappearing in the fog, I remembered something I had read somewhere, “If you want something that you never had, you must be prepared to do something you have never done before”. I will leave you with that thought and the recipe for the Meringues.

Continue reading

Lemon Bars with Walnuts

I promised on Insta that I will post this recipe last week but the week came and went by even before I realized. Last week we had our last Diwali party so now it does seem like Diwali is over. Now on to Thanksgiving preparation. What are your plans for Thanksgiving? What recipes are you looking for? My brother might be visiting this year so I am going to have to get the guest room ready and meal plan for a few days. I mean, meal plan on top of my my already existing crazy meal plan excel sheets.

bar2

I had posted a recipe for Lemon Bars a few months ago. I simplified it even further but keeping the same taste.

bar1

l1

Ingredients:

Base

  • All purpose flour 1 Cup
  • Almond meal 3/4 Cup
  • Sugar ½ Cup
  • Egg Yolk 1
  • Butter 1 stick salted cold and diced in small pieces
  • Baking powder ½ tsp
  • Vanilla essence ½ tsp
  • Almond extract ½ tsp

Lemon curd 1 ¼ cup recipe is here or you can buy readymade in any regular grocery store

Topping

  • Sugar preferably dark brown such as Turbinado 3 Tbsp
  • Walnuts toasted 3/4 cup

bars.jpg

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 x 11 glass oven proof pan with parchment paper. If you do not have parchment paper, use cooking spray and flour lightly. If you use a smaller pan, that is fine, the only thing is the bars will come out thicker. 
  • To make the base. Mix both the flours, sugar and baking powder in a Stand Mixer at slow speed.
  • Add the butter little bit at a time and keep mixing moving the speed to a bit higher.
  • Add the egg yolk and vanilla and almond essence and keep mixing until mixture comes together in a ball.
  • Take it out and knead using your hands in a plate or on the kitchen counter. Keep aside.
  • Toast the Walnuts in the oven for about 6-7 minutes or on a stove top. If you are toasting on a stove top, make sure to stir frequently to avoid burning and use a low flame.
  • Press the base mixture gently and evenly all across the prepared pan creating a base layer. Spread lemon curd on top of the base layer.
  • Top it with Walnuts and finally with Sugar.
  • Bake for about 28 -30 minutes if you like the bars on the soft side. If you like the crust little hard and browned, keep it for another 2 to 3 minutes. If you know how your oven likes to behave, please do change these oven times to appease the oven God.

enjoy!!  xoxo.

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Confidant

bar2

Carrot and Yogurt Salad/Carrot Raita

CARROT BR2

 

There are some days when you crave just simple and flavorful food. Something easy to make and no messy clean up. We had a Girl scout camp on the week-end. Although we didn’t stay overnight, the activities were enough for me to get up late on a lazy Sunday. I spent a long time wondering what would be the easiest dish to make for lunch. Finally around 11, I decided to go with a simple Vegetable Pulav and this Carrot Raita. Raita needs only a few ingredients and can come together no almost no time at all.

Continue reading

Warm and Silky Zucchini Soup with Coconut Milk

s1

Chicago is getting really windy and cold. Every time the summer comes, I forget all about Winter and it’s bitter cold winds as if I have never seen the snow before. Then the wind hits in late October or November and I wonder, how did I forget this? The cold days are not all bad. My favorite thing to do on Sunday afternoons is just sit by the window looking at the frosty grass and the red berries still hanging on to the Crab Apple trees drinking cups and cups of hot soups and hot tea.

Continue reading

1 2 21
%d bloggers like this: