Dessert

Fancy Marshmallows

Have you ever met someone from your past and suddenly felt like some missing pieces of puzzle fell into place? Or have you ever went to a new place, a place you have never ever been before and thought you belonged? Have you ever wondered why things happen in a certain way and why we meet certain people and not the others? Do you ever wonder about how many secrets the Universe is holding.

The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing – Socrates

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This 5 minutes recipe is pretty much the best I have in my arsenal when I am faced with hungry kids and little time. I am sure almost every Mom knows this recipe but I was thinking if I could just bring a smile to one Mom’s face with this recipe, it’s going to be worth it.

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Ingredients:

  • Marshmallows 1 dozen
  • Candy Melt 1 package (I used Wilton)
  • Cookie Sticks about a dozen
  • Sprinkles 1 tbsp each stick
  • 3

Directions:

  • A handful of Candy Melt makes about 8 sticks.
  • In a microwave proof bowl, pour the Candy melts and microwave at 50% of power. First about 2 minutes and then add 45 second intervals. Between each interval, mix and check consistency. It should be pour-able consistency.
  • If the consistency is thicker than desired, you can add 1 tsp of Canola oil or Grape seed oil for each handful of Candy Melts.
  • In the meanwhile, push the Cookie stick through one Marshmallow each about half way through. Make sure it holds the S’more.
  • Once Candy melt is ready, hold each Marshmallow with the end of the stick over the Candy Melt bowl. With a Tablespoon, pour the Candy Melt over each S’more until all sides are coated properly.
  • Once coated, sprinkle the Sprinkles on top as desired. This is totally optional. If you are using pretty colored Candy melt, forgo this step or you can use colored sugar too.
  • Dry the marshmallows either on a rack or making it stand upright in a glass, stick end down.
  • You can also place it in the fridge for fast drying.

Enjoy.

Xoxo

Amita

Banana and Pineapple Cake

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Summer is not yet here and Spring seems to be hiding. Temps are so down that we had to get our winter coats out again. I wanted to get at least bit of tropic in our lives. Here is a Banana Pineapple Cake.

The cake is going to give almost equal Pineapple Banana flavors. If you like more Banana flavor than Pineapple, reduce Pineapple to 8 oz and increase Bananas to 5.

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Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour 3 cups
  • Granulated Sugar 2 cups
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda 1 tsp
  • Eggs 3
  • Bananas ripe 3
  • Pineapple crushed 12 oz.
  • Canola Oil 1 cup
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • Garnishes – Walnuts, Coconut, Powdered Sugar
  • Optional ingredients – Coconut or Walnuts ½ cup. Do not use both together.

 

cake cooling vibran folidge

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 .
  • Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray. I used a large one and also made six small ones. It does taste better when made just into a larger pan because it holds the moisture better. The smaller ones dried out a bit within a few hours.
  • In a stand mixer, mix Flour, Sugar, salt and Baking soda.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs first. Then add the Pineapple and mix.
  • Add Bananas and mix.
  • Finally, add walnuts or coconut flakes (optional – see note)
  • Add this mixture to the dry ingredients slowly while mixing with spatula. Run the stand mixer at its lowest speed just for a couple of minutes and if the mixture is not blended, mix with spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake for 55 minutes. Check to see if tooth pick comes out clean. If not, bake for another 5 minutes. For me, 55 minutes were enough.
  • Wait for 10 minutes before turning out.
  • Let cool before adding garnishes.

Note: If you would like you could add only ½ cup of either Walnuts or Coconut flakes. And mix as noted above.

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Pistachio Almond Financier

Does the name sound weird to you? It did to me at first. This French delicacy was known as Visitandine until it became popular in Paris Financial Stock Exchange as it was easy to store in coat pockets without being damaged. Another story says that the traditional shape resembles a bar of gold hence the name. The second story won’t go with my cakes because I used a Tea cake mold instead of the original financier mold.1

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Ingredients:

  • All purpose Flour 1/2 cup
  • Almond meal ( flour) 1/2 cup
  • Ground roasted Pistachio 1/2 cup
  • Pistachio roasted and chopped 2 Tbsp
  • Butter 1 stick or 8 Tbsp
  • Granulated Sugar 1 cup
  • Salt Himalayan 2 pinches
  • Egg whites 4 plus 1 yolk
  • Baking Powder 1 tsp

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Directions:

  • Roast and grind pistachios to a fine powder. If you do not have shelled pistachios, it takes a while to shell them so plan accordingly.
  • In a small sauce pan or a butter warmer, heat butter on low to medium heat. Do not stir. The butter will begin to brown. Remove from heat and let cool
  • While the butter is heating, spray Financier mold or Tea cake mold. I used this pan.
  • Either in a stand mixer or in a large bowl, whisk Egg whites. Add Salt and Sugar and whisk. If using stand mixer, use medium to high speed. Set aside.
  • Pour the butter through a strainer and set aside. I simply used a tea strainer since I do not have a dedicated one for baking.
  • Add Pistachio flour, Almond meal, All purpose flour and Baking powder to the Egg mixture. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for about 4 hours.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 °F.
  • Pour about 1 tsp of batter in each mold. Batter is slightly sticky so use two spoons.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them become slightly warm so that they are not hot anymore.
  • Remove the cakes from the cake pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar and chopped Pistachios.

Enjoy.

 

 

Persian Love Cake

This beautiful creation has an equally enchanting story behind it. A girl fell in love with a Prince and she made this cake to charm the Prince. This Cake now serves as a symbol of undying love. The cake is filled with aromatic Persian flavors. It is infused with Cardamom and delicate Rose scented Frosting. 

The cake itself appears to have two separate versions. One is Almond meal based and another is Angel food cake. I went with Angel food cake variety as I like the lightness of it.

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I made this cake for one of our Valentine’s themed parties. In February, all the parties seem to have the same Valentine’s theme so our Valentine’s day stretches a whole month long.

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Ingredients:

Cake:
  • Cake Flour 1 cup
  • Granulated Sugar 14 Tbsp or little less than a cup
  • Baking Powder 1 1/2 tsp
  • Salt 1 pinch
  • Eggs 3 separated yolk and whites
  • Canola Oil 1/4 cup
  • Water 6 Tbsp
  • Cardamom seeds whole from 5 cardamoms
  • Lemon zest from 2 large Lemons
Frosting
  • Whipping cream 2 cups
  • Powdered Sugar 2/3 cup
  • Rose Water 1 1/2 tsp
  • Saffron Threads 2 pinches
Candied Rose Petals
  • Petals from Roses about 20 small
  • 1/2 cup powered Sugar
  • Egg white from 1 large egg

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Photograph by: Abhijit Bhatwadekar

Directions:

Make the Candied Rose Petals the night before making the cake.

Beat the egg whites in a bowl. Using pastry brush, brush the petals on each side with egg whites. Sprinkle the sugar on each side and let dry overnight on a drying rack.

To make the Cake,
  • Preheat the oven to 325ºF. 
  • Cover the bottoms of 2 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with cooking spray
  • In a large bowl, mix Cake flour, Baking powder, Salt and 1/2 of granulated Sugar. Keep aside.
  • In a different bowl, whisk Egg yolks, water, Canola Oil, Lemon zest and Cardamom Seeds.
  • Add Egg yolk mixture to the dry flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Do not over mix. Do not use stand mixer.
  • In a stand mixer, beat Egg whites until soft peaks form. Start at a medium speed and then turn to faster speed.
  • Mix Egg whites into the Flour mixture. Again, mix it with spatula and do not use Stand mixer.
  • Divide the mixture into 2 Cake pans and bake for 22 to 25 minutes.
  • When done, take out and let them cool in the pans for at least half hour before turning out on cooling rack.
  • Let cool completely. Wrap in the plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for couple of hours to make frosting easier.
Frosting
  • Divide the Heavy cream. Take 1/2 cup in a microwavable bowl. Add Saffron and microwave for 40 seconds. Mix and keep in the refrigerator to cool.
  • In a stand mixer. beat remaining cream, Powdered Sugar and Rose Water until soft peaks form.
  • Add the cream with Saffron once chilled and beat thoroughly.
To Assemble,

Place first cake on a platter, spread Whipped cream in a smooth layer. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining Whipped cream on the top and cover the sides. Top with Candied Rose Petals and Pistachios if desired.

Enjoy.

xo.

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Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

 

Sesame cookies

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On Makar Sankrant, one of the favorite festivals of Maharashtrians, traditionally a sweet is made out of Sesame seeds and Jaggery. Since almost everyone makes this sweet, I figured I should try something different this time. Sesame Cookies were on my list of recipes to make since last year. This was a perfect occasion to post them.

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Although the Festival is over, if you have leftover sesame seeds that you don’t know what to do with, give these a go.

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Ingredients:

Makes about 20

  • Bread Flour 1 1/2 cups
  • Almond Meal 1/2 cup (optional – Substitute with All purpose Flour if you don’t have it)
  • Sesame Seeds 3/4 cup
  • Butter 1 Cup (at room temperature)
  • Granulated Sugar 3/4 cup
  • Eggs 1
  • Confectioner’s Sugar to sprinkle
  • Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
  • Almond Extract  1 tsp (Optional – Substitute with Vanilla Extract)
  • Baking Powder 1/4 tsp
  • Salt 2 pinches
  • Milk – any type for dipping – 1/2 a bowl

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Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius)
  • In a bowl, mix Bread Flour, Almond Meal, Salt and Baking Powder and keep aside.
  • In a stand mixer, Cream Butter. Add Granulated Sugar to Butter and mix on medium for couple of minutes.
  • Add Vanilla and Almond Extract and Mix for 30 seconds.
  • Add Egg and mix for another 2 minutes.
  • Now start pouring the dry ingredients very slowly while Mixer is on lowest setting.
  • Stop once every while to let mixer do its work
  • Once you finish pouring, let the mixer run on medium setting until dough is formed.
  • Take the dough out and knead for a minute if you can and feel that it needs to come together.
  • Set up a station with dough. a small bowl of Milk and a bowl of Sesame seeds.
  • Make the dough in equal pieces of flattened disks about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Dip each disk in the Milk and then roll into Sesame seeds to completely cover with Sesame Seeds.
  • Place on a cookie sheet and bake on the middle rack for 17 minutes. Do not let the sesame seeds brown.
  • Once out of the oven and slightly cooled, sprinkle with Confectioners Sugar.

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Pear , Mango and Almond Clafoutis

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Autumn and Spring always create a battle of sorts in my mind. I am never sure which one to pick as my favorite.

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Spring represents a new beginning but then Autumn is so comforting. It’s the season when we plant to flower bulbs so we can enjoy the flowers come spring. Autumn also means all harvest foods, Apples, Pears, Pumpkins and squash they all represent comfort which is what I really seek at this time. Living in the Midwest also gives me the opportunity to enjoy the riot of colors nature plays in October. The entire town is colored in earth tones.

5These moments of beauty last for such a short time, never to be repeated. I see some remnants of the summer gone. Like this last flowers and a single apple still holding on in my backyard.

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In one of my last posts, I presented you with Pears with Mascarpone cheese. This time is yet another dessert, a French one at that. Clafoutis originated in Limousine region of France. The dessert is usually made from whole Cherries. When the cherries are baking, the pit releases Almond like flavor, giving Clafoutis a distinct taste. Pear Clafoutis  is a variation. I add Almond meal and Almond essence to give it a different taste and also because I love adding nuts to almost everything. Not to mention I am a big fan of Almond milk.

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Ingredients:

  • Pears 2 small cubed
  • Mango 1 medium cubed small
  • Eggs 3
  • Cake Flour ½ cup
  • Sugar granulated ½ cup
  • Almond meal ¾ cup
  • Milk ¾ cup any type is fine
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • Almond Essence 1 tsp
  • Butter unsalted 6 Tbsp (almost melted and cool)
  • Salt a pinch
  • Demerara sugar 2 Tbsp (to sprinkle)

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Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • In a stove to oven skillet, add ½ Tbsp of butter and saute chopped Pear for 2-3 minutes on a slow flame until half cooked. It should be still a bit crunchy. Take it off the flame. Add the cut Mango and Keep aside.
  • In a stand mixer bowl, beat the butter at high speed for 45 seconds.
  • Add the eggs and beat at medium speed for 1 minute.
  • Add the Sugar and beat for another minute.
  • Add Vanilla Essence/Extract, Almond extract and Salt and beat for a few seconds.
  • Add Almond flour and Cake Flour slowly and continue beating until mixed.
  • Add Milk and make sure the mixture is pancake batter consistency. If it is not, add a bit more milk but it’s unlikely you will need more milk.
  • Pour this mixture over the fruit and sprinkle with Demerara Sugar.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes.
  • This dessert must be served warm and tastes even better with a dollop of whipped cream or Vanilla ice cream.

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Sauteed Pears with Mascarpone Cream

Saturday and Sunday were cloudy and rainy days. This whole late summer it has been raining a lot. In one way I like it because my garden likes it.

On Sunday afternoon when the light breeze was flowing and the rain stopped just to take a breather, the girls and I decided to get out. I wanted to take a look at the garden and see if I could take some pictures before the leaves turned.

 

The kids needed to get out and play a bit and check on their fairy house, Nobody was in the fairy house which was slightly disappointing, yet again. I did take a few pictures of the greenery, ripe and full, almost bursting to color but then we all simply ended up playing tag. Anushka has her own version of tag which almost always leads her directly to the road whether or not anyone is following her. We all end up chasing after her before she can get into trouble.

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As soon as we were back inside, I wanted to light the fire to make the house cozy but it wasn’t that cold yet so I put the kettle on the stove. Then I made this quick yet elegant afternoon pick me up of warm roasted buttery Pears with a dollop of Cream and Pistachios. I paired it with a warm Darjeeling tea in the afternoon. We had it again for the dessert that night and this time we paired it with a light white wine. Don’t judge. On a rainy day, this was a perfect afternoon.

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Ingredients:Pears 2 medium size
Butter 1 ½ Tbsp.
Heavy cream or Half and Half 1/2 cup
Mascarpone Cheese 1 cup
Rose water 1 tsp. (or substitute with 1 tsp of Vanilla essence)
Maple Syrup 3 Tbsp.
Pistachios a handful per person shelled and roasted

For this dessert, it is essential that you find almost ripe but still firm pears. Preferably organic. The dessert is based on the taste of Pears of their own. I used rose water since me and N both like the scent of rose water however if you are not so inclined, it is perfectly fine to use good Vanilla essence.

Directions:

In a saute pan, melt the Butter and Saute Pears, in batches, if your pan is small and keep aside.
In a stand mixer, using the whipping attachment, whip the Heavy cream at high speed for about 2 minutes. Add the Maple syrup, 1 Tbsp at a time.
Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl and add half of the Mascarpone cheese. Whip again at high speed for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides and add rest of the Cheese. Whip again until peaks form.
Remove in a bowl and keep aside until ready to serve.
When serving, in a dish, serve a few pieces of the pear, on a side, add a dollop of the cream and top with generous amount of Pistachios.

You can make the cream for about 2 hours in advance. If you keep it longer, it might fall flat.

Enjoy.

xoxo.

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