Eggless Chocolate Cupcake Cake

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After a long gap, I am back to posting again. Starting with a bang with an eggless chocolate cupcake cake. All the cupcakes are arranged to make a rectangular cake – this made it easy for the kids to just pluck one cupcake and eat it ! The recipe for the cupcake is inspired by Tasty Community’s recipe for vegan chocolate cupcake: https://tasty.co/recipe/vegan-chocolate-cupcakes-with-chocolate-frosting

I made 5 batches of the cupcakes to make a big rectangular cake ! Each batch makes 12 cupcakes. I also made 2-3 batches of the chocolate buttercream icing to cover the whole cake.

Ingredients

  • Powdered sugar – 1 cup
  • Refined oil – 1/4 cup
  • Cocoa powder, unsweetened – 1/2 cup
  • All purpose flour – 1 and 3/4 cup
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Rock salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Full cream milk – 1 cup
  • Chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate – 1/2 cup

For the icing 

  • Unsalted butter – 1 cup
  • Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
  • Powdered sugar – 2 cups
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Sprinkles / gems for decorating

Method

  • Basic Preparation
    • Preparing the Cake Tin
      • If your muffin tin is new, wash well and wipe. After this, avoid washing the tin unless absolutely necessary. After use, just wipe and store
  • For the batter
  • I used a kitchen aid stand mixer for making my batter. You can use a blender or mix using a mixing bowl and spatula as well 
    • Sieve the flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Sieve the cocoa powder and keep aside
    • Place the oil in a stand mixer or a large bowl, and gradually add sugar and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy
    • Gently fold in the cocoa powder followed by the flour mixture. At this stage, make a smooth batter using a cut and fold movement to add the flour and blend it with the rest of the batter. Do not beat or stir at this stage as over-handling will make the cake tough in texture. If using your stand mixer use it in the lowest setting for a couple of minutes until everything is blended well
    • Mix in the vanilla essence and milk using a gentle folding in movement
    • Fold in the chocolate chips / chopped chocolate
  • Pouring the batter in the tin
    • Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes
    • Line the muffin tin with cupcake liners
    • Use an ice cream scoop to fill each muffin cup to about 2/3 of the way. The batter should fill up to 2/3 of the tin, leaving enough room for the cup cake to rise
    • Give tin a light tap on table to spread air evenly in the batter and put immediately in preheated oven
  • Baking Instructions
    • Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25-30 minutes. This may vary depending on your oven settings
    • Bake immediately after mixing as close to the center of the oven as possible
    • Avoid opening the oven door for the first 20 minutes of baking
  • Testing Cake
    • The cupcake should pass the following tests :
      • Test by lightly touching the centre of cake when minimum cooking time is up. If no imprint is left, the cupcake is done
      • Pierce a fine skewer in the centre of cupcake, if it comes out clean, it is done
  • Cooling the cake
    • Before you attempt to remove the cupcake, let it cool on a cooling rack
  • Making the frosting
    • In a large bowl or using your stand mixer, cream the butter until it is smooth
    • Sift in half of the powdered sugar and continue to beat
    • Sift in the rest of the powdered sugar and beat again
    • Sift in the cocoa powder and vanilla essence and blend until it is smooth
  • Decorating the cake
    • Let your imagination at play and decorate the cupcakes as you wish to using the chocolate buttercream frosting, sprinkles and whatever you you would like to put on your cake
    • You can even use freshly cut fruits

Enjoy the yummy cake

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Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Apple Cookies

 

img_1606Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Apple Cookies : Yes you saw it right – 4 super yummy and nutritious ingredients packed into this cookie. This recipe is adapted from Tasty’s recipe for Cranberry Almond Cookies : https://tasty.co/recipe/cranberry-almond-cookies

Makes around : 25-30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 small apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter to make the apple puree
  • ½ cup butter (115 g) 
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar 
  • ¼ cup brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup rolled oats 
  • ¾ cup mixed berries – dried cranberries, blueberries and cherries
  • ½ cup sliced almonds

Method

  • Add some brown sugar and 1 tbsp of butter to the apples and microwave for 2.5 minutes until the apples become soft. You can also cook on stovetop until the apples become soft. Keep it aside to cool
  • Grind the apples to a fine paste once cooled
  • Preheat the oven to 160° C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Melt the butter and keep aside
  • Sift the flour along with baking powder and baking soda and keep aside
  • In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, apple paste and vanilla extract until well-combined
  • Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently push the dry ingredients (flour baking powder and soda mixture) against the sides of the bowl and make a well
  • Pour the wet ingredients (butter, apple, essence mixture) into the well. Run the spatula around the edge of the bowl and reach to the bottom of the bowl, pulling dry ingredients over and into the wet ingredients. Stop the process when the batter is well-combined
  • Fold in the oats, the berries and the almond until incorporated
  • The dough should not be too dry or runny. You should be able to scoop up the dough and drop it on the cookie sheet. If the dough seems too dry dribble in some vegetable oil until it reaches the right consistency. If you feel the dough is too sticky to roll, then refrigerate it for 20 minutes. Remember if you refrigerate, do let the dough reach a room temperature before rolling otherwise it may crack
  • Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. You can bake 2 batches at a time or use two baking sheets too depending on the kind of oven you have
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown around the edges
  • Allow the cookies to cool down and then devour the cookies 🙂

 

 

 

Homemade falafel rice bowl

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How about try a different cuisine for dinner – falafel, saffron basmati rice and yummy dips of harissa, tzatziki  and hummus. I have only tasted these things at a restaurant, but it is very easy to make restaurant style falafel, hummus, harissa and tzatziki at home. All my recipes are inspired from kitchn.com. I love the falafel bowl in the restaurant Cava back in the US. It was one of my go to restaurants, I miss it dearly after moving back to India. This was one of the reasons to try out the falafel bowl at home !

  1. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-the-best-falafel-at-home-234559
  2. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-hummus-from-scratch-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-107560
  3. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-cool-creamy-greek-tzatziki-sauce-242609
  4. https://mealplannerpro.com/member-recipes/Cava-Style-Harissa-888142

Falafel Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  •  1/8 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup corn flour or corn starch
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, for frying

Method

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight. Add enough water to cover the chickpeas. The chickpeas will double in size by next morning
  • Place the drained chickpeas, garlic, finely chopped onion, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, coriander and cumin powder, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well to combine
  • Pulse the chickpea mixture in a food processor or blender and blend coarsely. The mixture should form a ball when you place it in your hand
  • Mix the all purpose flour , corn flour with some water and make a thick paste
  • Shape the mixture into balls and roll into the flour paste
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat
  • Gently place 4-6 falafel in the skillet (depends on the size of your skillet) and deep fry until deep golden brown on all sides
  • Drain on a paper towel lined colander and let it cool for sometime

Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 2 large lemons
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves , finely chopped
  • A handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  • Place the yogurt, lemon juice, mint, cilantro, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and combine
  • Grate the cucumber and squeeze to remove the excess water
  • Fold in the cucumber in the yogurt mixture
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve

Harissa

  • 5-6 large tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1-2 red chilly
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  • Bring the tomatoes to a boil and cook well. Peel the skin and puree the tomatoes
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the minced garlic, chilly and pepper and saute for a 1-2 minutes
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and salt to the skillet and stir gently until the ingredients are well combined
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes until you get a thick paste like texture. After 30 minutes, add water/spices to adjust the consistency and taste

Hummus

  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
    • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt, to taste
    • Method:
      • Toast the raw sesame seeds for about 5 minutes, until they are lightly colored (not brown)
      • Coarsely grind the sesame seeds in a blender for 2-3 minutes until the sesame seeds form a crumbly paste
      • Add the oil to the food processor and grind until it reaches a smooth paste like consistency. Add more oil if needed
      • Transfer the tahini to an air tight container until ready to use

Method

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight in sufficient water
  • Cook the chickpeas well and reserve the cooking liquid
  • Grind all the ingredients for the hummus, adding some cooking liquid as needed to make a nice creamy paste
  • Scrape the hummus into a bowl and sprinkle with some more olive oil and cumin powder

Saffron basmati rice

  • 1.5 cups basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • A few cloves
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Mix the saffron with 2-3 tbsp of warm milk and keep aside
  • Soak the basmati rice in water for 20 minutes
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the cloves
  • Drain the rice and fry for a few minutes
  • Add the lemon zest and stir well
  • Pour in the water and bring to a boil
  • Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes on low-medium heat until the rice is well cooked
  • Once cooked, fluff up the rice gently using a fork
  • Drizzle the lemon juice over the rice

Note: The hummus, harissa and tzatziki will last you for more than one serving. So after using them for making the bowl, you can use it as a dip for pita, pita chips or whatever you like !

To make the falafel bowl

Break a few falafel into 3-4 pieces. Combine a portion of rice with the falafel, harissa, tzatziki and hummus. You can also add some tomatoes, onion, lettuce, grated carrot to the rice mixture. Enjoy !

 

Help me brainstorm lunchbox or after school snack ideas ??

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Everyday night : “What should we pack in the snack box tomorrow?”
Sandwich ? Hmm same sandwich with different toppings – well but I have run out of ideas !
Paratha ? Paratha is a good option, but we just gave different types of paratha this week !
Cookies / Muffins ? School thinks they are all junk food, so we have to make it whole grain and top it with fruits
Fruits ? Kid thinks it’s boring to just take fruits
Rice ? To messy for the little one to eat by himself and too heavy for a morning snack !
 
The same conversation happens just one hour before the kid comes home too ! What can I feed him at 4 pm ???
 
Phew ! Is this your everyday story where you struggle to figure out lunch options or after school snacks. Me too !
 
To figure out a solution, I am going to experiment some school snack and after school snack options and put it on my blog. But but I need your help – I need all my followers and subscribers to give me ideas of snacks that are a hit with their kids, after school snacks that are nutritious and a hit with kids. This way we Moms can just go over a huge list of things to make and choose a variety everyday for our kids.
 
Calling on everyone to share recipes. Please feel free to share your recipe / blog links !
I will also target snack box / after school snack recipes for a while on my blog and keep you posted. But this time I would like to hear from you too !

Sesame Seed Nankhatai

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Sesame seeds are considered the oldest oilseed crop in the world. There are amazing health benefits of sesame seeds due to their nutritional content (Calcium, dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitaman E) … Yes I know you are not here to read a wiki page on sesame seeds. So let’s get to the recipe 🙂

I have tasted sesame seed bread, tahini made with white sesame seed, special ladoos made during Sankranti, but I have never tried to include sesame seeds as part of cookies. The credit goes to Amrita Raichand from Mummy ka Magic. I recently saw her Makar Sankranti special episode and got inspired to try these cookies ! These cookies find a perfect place in your kid’s lunch box and go along with your evening chai as well !

Makes : Around 50-60 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white and black sesame seeds
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (maida)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (coarsely powdered)
  • 1/2 cup multigrain flour (You can skip this and add whole wheat flour or just use all purpose flour as well)
  • 1/4 cup full fat milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

  • Place the butter outside for 5-10 minutes so that it reaches a room temperature. The butter should not melt, we just want it to reach a room temperature so that it blends well with the batter
  • Coarsely grind the almonds and keep aside
  • Sift the all purpose flour, wheat flour and baking powder and keep aside
  • I used the kitchen aid stand mixer for making the cookie batter
  • Blend sugar and butter until mixture is light and fluffy
  • Mix in spoonfuls of the flour mixture. At this stage, use a folding in movement, i.e. mix well in one direction so that there are no air bubbles formed. Add the powdered almonds, the milk and mix well to form a dough.
  • The dough should be stiff enough to roll it into balls (almost like roti atta, a little less stiffer). If you find the dough to be very sticky, you can add a little extra flour. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes
  • Make 1 inch balls from the cookie dough and slightly flatten using your palm. Place on a cookie sheet and space them around 2 inches apart
  • Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for around 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown
  • Cool on a cooling rack for a sufficient amount of time. The cookies will be crispy after sufficient cooling time

Enjoy the Nankhatai with hot tea or pack it in your little one’s lunch box 🙂

Oats, Dates and Nut Ladoo

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Try out this delicious and healthy oats, dates and nut ladoo. This is super easy to make and is a good candidate for an energy bar !

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup oats
  • 1.5 cup jaggery
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 cup nuts (You can use any combination – almonds , walnuts, cashewnuts)
  • A handful of pumpkin seeds (Optional)
  • Ghee as needed to saute the nuts / oats and for making the ladoos

Method

  • Heat ghee in a pan and saute the nuts to a golden color. Keep aside
  • In the same pan, saute the oats for a few minutes
  • Grind the dates to a coarse and keep aside
  • Melt the jaggery adding a little water. Strain the jaggery and keep aside
  • Powder the nuts and keep aside
  • Mix the powdered nuts, oats, pumpkin seeds and dates paste with the melted jaggery. On a low flame, mix all the ingredients, and add some ghee until the mixture comes together
  • Once the mixture cools, divide into equal portions and shape into ladoos

Enjoy 🙂

 

Baked Chocolate Yogurt

Baked and yogurt ? Does it even sound right, you might wonder but it tastes heavenly – you might start loving this more than your regular ice cream. I saw a recipe for Baked chocolate yogurt on Mummy ka magic and immediately wanted to try it out !

I used Greek yogurt for this recipe but you can make hung yogurt yourself by draining the whey water.

Mummy ka magic video link in case you want to see the original recipe : https://youtu.be/PPyMBWTF2Q8

Ingredients

  • 140 g Greek yogurt or hung yogurt
  • 100 g condensed milk
  • 100 g fresh cream ( I used fresh cream collected from Milk and curd )
  • 1/4 cup melted chocolate ( I used Amul Belgian Chocolate it tasted yum )
  • Method
    Mix all the ingredients well using a whisk until the mixture is well combined
    Pre-heat the oven to 130 degrees Celsius
    Pour the mixture into ramekins 3/4 full
    For a yummy surprise for your kids you can place a piece of their favorite chocolate inside the yogurt – I placed Hershey’s kisses inside a few of the ramekins
    Bake for around 8-10 minutes. The yogurt will get set just like ice cream
    Leave the baked yogurt outside at room temperature for 30 minutes
      Refrigerate for sometime and serve chilled with some cut fruits

😀

Dive into the baked yogurt and let me know how it tasted ! We will experiment with more flavors soon !