Sunday, November 29, 2015

Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

I love simple recipes,recipes that take minimum time and are nearly foolproof to be embraced by the beginners at baking as well as experts who find it hassle free. I had a coffee morning at my place last week for a bunch of lovely ladies and since there were lot of things on the menu (you will find a picture of the spread too incase you are curious;), I wanted a simple non-chocolatey cookie but also not just a plain cookie. These cookies were made in real quick time and while they were baking, the caramel was made. I garnished it with sea salt which is quite different and salty and relatively expensive than normal table salt. The kick it adds to really sweet things is unmatched. I am loving this new ingredient and trying it with different recipes. Will post you more about this but for now a recipe of cookie that needs no rolling, cutters or cookie pressers.

Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
adapted from Kevin and Amanda


For Cookies:
Unsalted butter 2/3 cup
Castor sugar 1/2 cup
Egg 1
Vanilla 1 tsp
All-purpose flour 1 1/2 cup

For Caramel:
Brown sugar* 1/3 cup
Butter 1/4 cup
Whipping cream 2 tbsp
Sea salt a few pinches

* I used dark brown sugar hence the color, you could use light brown as well


1. To make cookies, beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in a bowl until creamy.
2. Add in flour and beat at low speed just enough to mix.
3. Make 1.5 inches ball and place them on parchment lined cookie sheet making sure there is room for spreading.
4. With back of a round small spoon like I used my measuring spoon or you could use your thumb to make indentation on every cookie.
5. Refrigerate for 1 hour atleast and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 C for around 12 minutes, rotating half way in between. Refrigeration is necessary for minimal spreading.
6. Make the indentation again as they might have risen up after baking.
7. Make caramel by melting sugar and butter together. When the mixture starts boiling, simmer for a minute and take it off the heat. Add cream and mix. Cool before filling 3/4-1 tsp in each of the cooled cookies.
8. Sprinkle sea salt and enjoy!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Brownies Bottom Butter Cakes

A few months back I had a small party of our friends with "Back To School Theme" . I was hosting it and we had ordered kids meal for food. What should be the sweet I asked myself. This recipe which I had seen at Rasa Malaysia was lurking around in my mind for quite a while. As expected it turned out really well. Moreover the size and appearance of these mini heavenly treats perfectly suited the school lunch theme, only they wanted some more.

I know, I know what you must be thinking. I have finally blogged after a long while. Yes but this time I vow to stick around. Need your prayers for lot of things I have in mind for this blog. I hope you keep coming back and I get the much needed support. I would also like to hear your comments on what you would like to see in this space.

Browine Bottom Mini Butter Cake
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia


For Brownies:
Dark chocolate (I used 62%) 5oz
Butter 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar 1/4 cup
Egg 1
Flour 1/4 cup

For Butter Cake:
Butter 1/2 cup
Castor Sugar 1/2 cup
Eggs 2
Flour 1 cup
Baking powder 1/4 tsp
Milk 3 1/2 tbsp

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Lightly grease the muffin pan.
3. First make the brownie batter by melting chocolate and butter over low heat.
4. Add in brown sugar and stir until mixed.
5. Mix in egg and then finally fold in flour.
6. Place a tablespoon of batter in prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven for 5 mins.
7. Make the butter cake. Beat butter and sugar.
8. Add in eggs one by one.
9. Sift flour and baking powder.
10. Add into butter mixture alternating it with milk in three steps.
11. Spoon about two tablespoons of batter onto brownies and bake again for 15 minutes until set.
12. Cool, and remove from muffin tray and drizzle with  melted chocolate if desired.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Perfect Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

Enough said in the title. Yes, they are "The" Vanilla Cupcakes. I am very happy as I write today's post. Its not an easy claim. Vanilla cakes and cupcakes are the trickiest of genre. Oil, shortening, butter or mix of them, all purpose or cake flour, yogurt, milk or buttermilk, egg yolks egg whites or whole, reverse creaming or traditional butter and sugar creaming method, I have tried them all. From white velvet to yellow to white cakes and cupcakes, nothing came out the way I wanted them to be. Moist, tender crumb well risen, nice rounded tops, pronounced vanilla flavor and not so sensitive that if baked for an extra minute, goes dry.

Also, one of the perks is that it is one-bowl method. I will give the well-deserved credit to Lindsay of LifeLoveandSugar who posted this amazing recipe. Thanks Lindsay. 

The Perfect Moist Vanilla Cupcakes


All purpose flour 1 2/3 cup
Castor Sugar 1 cup
Baking soda 1/4 tsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Butter (room temperature) 3/4 cup
Egg whites 3
Vanilla essence 3 tsp
Milk 1/2 cup
Sour cream/Yougurt 1/2 cup

Buttercream Frosting

Butter 1/2 cup
Shortening 1/2 cup
Icing sugar 4 cups
Milk 1/4 cup
Vanilla essence 1 tsp



1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin tray with paper liners.
2. Whisk all the dry ingredients together.
3. Add in all the wet ingredients and mix with hand beater on medium speed until just smooth. Don't over beat.
4. Fill in the cases with an ice cream scoop or with 1/3 measuring cup.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just done.


1. Cream butter and shortening until fluffy and light.
2. Add in rest of the ingredients and beat well until smooth.
3. Frost the cool cupcakes with piping tip 1M from wilton.
4. Top with sprinkles if desired.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Healthier Starbucks style frappuccino

I personally don't like milk's taste. As a kid, I always drank with some kind of milk flavoring product. I am still the same plus starbucks is everywhere here. Something needs to be made at home with fewer calories.The whopping calories in its decadent frappuccinos makes them an occasional treat. I tried this recipe at home and it turned out pretty awesome. I saw somewhat similar version at Chocolate covered Katie but I wanted it to be chocolate. So here is a very nice substitute for summers when you want to sip a nice cold glass of milk in this form.

You can try substituting soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk, once I tried with coconut milk substituted for half the normal milk and it turned out more creamier with a slight hint of coconut. But mind you coconut milk is high in calories than regular full fat milk. The blending process makes it thick and frothy and you will not notice much, the loss of creamy richness. For the sake of blog beauty, I went a step ahead and added some whipped cream and chocolate fudge sauce.

Healthy Mocha Milkshake

Serves 1
Preparation time - 5 minutes


Milk 1 cup
Cocoa powder 1 tsp
Drinking chocolate* 1 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Coffee 1/2 tsp
pinch of salt
Vanilla essence few drops
ice cubes few


1. Blend everything in blender till thick and foamy.
2. Pour in tall glasses and serve immediately.
3. Top with whipping cream dallop and chocolate sauce if desired.

*I use Cadbury's drinking chocolate but if you dont have it, add 1/2 tsp of additional cocoa and 1 tsp of sugar.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A traditional Pakistani sweet dish - Split Gram Fudge

Though I had written this post a while back but due to some technical reasons, I lost the draft. Searching for words and then framing them can be sometimes a painful task specially when you are already lagging behind. Writing should come as a flow and in my humble opinion cannot be crafted. I have been a little out of touch with my reading agenda. The other day, when I was visiting a book store, I seriously felt my heart dropped. So the reading and writing (read frequent blogging) has climbed up in my to-do list and hopefully I am able to keep up to it.

Coming back to today's recipe, this is one of my favorite Pakistani sweets. Its made up of very few (high fat) ingredients and you are going to hook to it. Its main ingredient is Split Gram, also called Split Bengal Gram. It is boiled, ground and made into a fudge. 'Halwa' is the traditional Urdu word which we use in Pakistani cuisine to what is commonly known as fudge. My little research revealed that Halwa/Fudge is popular among all parts of the world. It can be of different types, like made from carrot, pumpkin, almond, walnut etc.

Split Gram Lentils Fudge / Chanay ki daal ka halwa

Split Gram Lentils 250 gm soaked for 6 hours
Sugar 250 gm
Clarified Butter or Ghee 3/4 cup
Milk 1/2 litre
Green Cardamom few crushed and few whole
Almonds and pistachios blanched and sliced
Saffron few strands

1. Drain water from the soaked lentils. 
2. Boil milk and add lentils and saffron.
3. Cook on medium heat till the milk dries and lentils are tender.
4. Cool and blend with little water if required. There should be no lumps.
5. In a separate pan, heat clarified butter or ghee. Add cardamom and then add lentil paste.
6. Fry for 15 minutes till light brown on slow heat, stirring continuously.
7. Add sugar and continue to fry until it forms a ball and fat is separated.
8. Remove it in a lightly greased square/rectangle dish and sprinkle nuts. 
9. Allow to cool before cutting diamond shaped pieces.
10. They keep well in a air tight container for upto a week.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fluffy Pancakes for breakfast or lunchbox

Ok, I need more time. Time management is not working. There's lot needs to be done when time permits. Its quite difficult to find time to blog your favorite recipes between home, kids, work and winters. Meanwhile I will post some quick and super easy recipes which are worth trying for busy moms who are struggling to feed all natural and healthy to their kids. 

I have not been a breakfast person for most of my life but as I became a mom, I knew this was not right. Like as they say, "By the time you realize how great you mum is, you have your own nagging daughter." Rightly so, when my daughter said that mum you don't make pancakes like khala (maternal aunt) does. Right so here it is the recipe of pancakes you cant go wrong with them discovered by my sister through Joy of Baking.


Flour 1 cup
Sugar 2 tbsp
salt 1/4 tsp
Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
Egg 1
Milk 1 cup
Butter melted 2 tbsp

Complimentary adornments : fresh fruits like strawberry, chocolate sauce, maple syrup, butter and nuts


1. Mix in dry ingredients.
2. Lightly whisk all wet ingredients.
3. Mix wet into dry ingredients with a gentle stir to incorporate all ingredients but don't beat else it will become chewy. There may be a few lumps left. Check the consistency, you may want to add a few tablespoons of milk.
4. Heat a non-stick pan and brush it with melted butter. I use a kitchen towel too.
5. Put 1/4 cup of batter and cook over medium heat for 2 mins. When the bubbles appear on top, flip them and cook for another minute or so.
6. Serve immediately with your choice of topping.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bread Sticks - a crunchy snack

My daughter loves bread sticks. Not only now but since she was a baby, she used to use them as a teether. She still loves them and when the other day while doing groceries, she picked a pack from the store, I was tempted to try them as I am a little freak when it comes to bakery or pre-packaged product. I don't use organic products but I try to make maximum things at home and avoid junk food altogether. 

The recipe credit goes to Betty Crocker via my sister who had tried it before and she sent me a picture of the recipe. In my opinion, your normal pizza or bread dough would work if the process is followed as mentioned in this recipe. Interesting fact I came to know when I sent it to my Egyptian neighbor and friend that in French it is called Patton Salee. Ideal for soups and salad or just to munch,here goes the recipe.

Bread  Sticks

Granulated yeast 21/2 tsp
Water (luke warm) 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp
Olive oil 1/4 cup
Sugar 1tbsp
Salt 1tsp
Flour 2 1/4 cup
Egg 1
Cumin/Sesame/Nigella seeds 1 1/2 tsp

1. Line the baking sheets with parchment or baking paper or grease well. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
2. Place yeast, 2 tbsp water, sugar in a mixing bowl.
3. When becomes frothy, add 2 cups flour, salt,oil and rest of the water.
4. Mix till it comes together.
5. Using dough hook or palms of your hand, knead the dough for 5-8 minutes till smooth and elastic using flour if sticky.
6. Make the dough into a long roll and cut into 32 equal pieces. To make equal size, cut the log into half and then each piece into half till you reach 32.
7. Roll thinly using your hands on a lightly floured surface.
8. Place them on baking sheet and let it rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.
9. Brush egg white on top and sprinkle the seeds.
10. Bake for about 15-20 mins. until golden brown.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Easy and delicious Chocolate Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta can be classified as the most easiest yet luxurious dessert. It cannot only be prepared in a jiffy but has several options to play with.Flavors, toppings, layering and unmoulding all can be done with it. It also contains very few ingredients. the idea is to combine cream with your desired flavors and some other add-ons. Ideal for summer brunches and dinners, plated individually, it can attract quite a many oohs and aahs.

This time I have tried the chocolate version which is the favorite flavor of my kids all the time. The younger one is the one who persuades me to make something sweet and chocolaty. So here is my dark chocolate panna cotta, with the recipe adapted from William Sonoma website.

Chocolate Panna Cotta (slightly adapted from William Sonoma website)
Heavy Cream/Half n half 1 3/4 cup (you can also use 1 cup milk and 3/4 cup cream or vice versa but the result will be less luscious nontheless tasty)
Gelatin unflavored 1 1/4 tsp
Salt a pinch
Sugar 2 tbsp
Dark chocolate 2 ounces [I used with 62% cocoa]
1. Take 1/4 cup of cream and sprinkle gelatin over it. Wait for 5 minutes until it blooms and heat just enough so the gelatin melts. You can do it on a water bath or microwave but for a few seconds only.
2. Take the rest of the cream and add sugar, salt in it and let it boil. 
3. Pour over chocolate so that the chocolate melts while stirring.
4. Add in the gelatin mixture.
5. Pour in 4 lightly greased ramekins or one large dish.
6. Chill for atleast 3-4 hours before serving.
7. If you wish to unmould it, then put the base of the ramekin in hot water for one minute. Loosen it with a running knife and invert on a serving plate.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ma'amoul - a traditional Arabic filled shortbread cookie

Ramadan is upon us Alhamdolillah and we are enjoying every bit of it. As many of you may be aware that it the sacred month of fasting for all the Muslims around the world. The schedules get tighter due to religious activities, specified meal times and this year it is coupled with kids vacations and heat wave in Middle East. Many festivities and traditions are associated with it like feeding poor people, enriching your souls, giving more charity and in practicing self-control. 

But body needs food and that too good one. In this post I am going to share a very nice recipe of a stuffed cookie called Ma'amoul which is very popular in Middle East. Residing in this part of the world, I want to take the opportunity to learn its diversified cuisine. Ma'amoul, generally said to have its origin in Lebanon but it is equally popular in the entire region and particularly in this month. My grandmother who lived in Iraq for quite sometime used to make a different version of this cookie. This recipe is a slight adaption from my grandmother's recipe and from my Egyptian friend and neighbor. Many recipes you will find with semolina, however I did'nt had much success with that. So here is more simplified and quite easy version of this wonderful cookie with added homemade goodness.

Its filling varies like walnut, pistachios, figs etc. but I have used plain dates. Traditionally, they are prepared using a mold as pictured below.

Date Ma'amoul


Flour 2 1/2 cup
Butter softened 1/2 cup
Shortening or clarified butter 2 tbsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Egg 1
Caster Sugar 1/2 cup
Black Nigella seeds 1/4 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Milk to bind

Soft Dates 8-10
If your dates are not soft, you can try soaking in hot water for sometime. Mine were sweet enough and did'nt need any added sugar

Powdered Sugar to dust

1. Remove pits from the dates and make paste using food processor.
2. Combine all the ingredients except milk.
3. Start making a dough adding milk gradually until a smooth soft dough is prepared.
4. Take the wooden mold and dust with flour so the dough does'nt stick in its grooves. 
5. Put a small piece of dough according to your mold size. A simple guide is that you take the same size as it fits in the mold.Then you press your fingers to make space inside and place the date mixture. The dough that has come out from the sides , use it to close the cookie.
6. Tap it gently on the working surface to take out the cookie. Place on an ungreased baking tray.
7. Bake in a pre-heated oven at about 350F for 20 mins until golden brown.
8. Dust with icing sugar. These cookies keep well in an airtight container.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Zesty Lemon and Juicy Strawberry Trifle - perfect for summer

Today I am going to share a very nice crowd pleasing recipe which you can prepare a day in advance for the big dinner. It has several steps so it can be broken down into phases. It has lemon pound cake, lemon curd, strawberries, whipped cream and candied lemon slices.
For Pound cake, you can use any of the recipes I posted before here and here. In the first one, you might want to add some lemon zest and couple of tablespoons of lemon juice. Or if you are tight on time, you can use any purchase any prepared ones.
When its at room temperature, cut it into thick slices. If not using right away, wrap and put it in air tight box.

For soaking the cake, you will need a simple sugar syrup in the ratio of 1:2 (sugar:water), Boil both of them until sugar dissolves, cook and store in a bottle. You can also use a mild juice like pineapple.

They are very easy to prepare and extremely pleasant to eyes, not to mention looks quite impressive and professional. You can go to Marth Stewarts' website to get the recipe here.

Whip around 1.5/2 cups of cream with around 1/2 cup of icing sugar and a few drop of vanilla essence. Make sure you follow the basic rules of whipping the cream that is to chill the bowl, beater blades and cream. Whip till fluffy and double in volume. Do not overbeat else it will curdle.

Use fresh strawberries preferably as I find frozen/tinned ones too soggy. Wash, hull and cut them into halves, bigger ones into quarters. Put them in a strainer and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar to drain off excess liquid. I used around 1 cup of strawberries but then any amount you fancy will be fine. That is the beauty of the trifle.


Beware, this is a very tangy curd and if you wish, you can use 3 lemons instead of 4. I will be doing that next time.
Egg yolks 6 large
Sugar 1 cup
3-4 lemons, zested and juiced
Butter 1/2 cup

To make the lemon curd: Bring a pot of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a metal or glass heat-resistant bowl and whisk until smooth. Set the bowl over the simmering water, without letting the bottom touch, and continue to whisk. Keep working-out that arm and whisk it vigorously for a good 10 minutes, until the curd has doubled in volume and is very thick and yellow. Don't let it boil. Remove the bowl from heat and whisk in the butter, a couple of chunks at a time, until melted. Refrigerate until the custard is cold and firm.

Read more at:


1. Take a Trifle bowl or any big transparent bowl so that the layers are visible.
2. Place a layer of sliced pound cake.
3. Brush them with simple sugar syrup. 
4. Spoon a layer of Lemon curd.
5. Top with strawberries.
6. Smooth whipped cream with a spatula. 
7. Repeat steps 2-6.
8. Decorate it with candied lemon slices.

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