Tag: chocolate

June Daring Bakers’: Battenberg Cake

Being Indian I hate wastage. Of any kind. One of the reasons why I gained weight when I came to US (besides, the cliched that I got married) was that I was so used to finish everything on my plate, whenever we went out to eat, I ended up finishing the ridiculously huge portions of food served in restaurants here. Since we stay 4 hours away from all restaurants, doggy pack or to-go was not an option,  and since I had the habit of not wasting, I ate everything. That’s why this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenged proved to be double the challenge it was.

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

I have missed the last two challenges. Although I did a part of the April challenge, I could not get it posted because I was busy with my in-laws visit. Hopefully I should be able to post the recipe soon. ( I seriously have huge backlog!)

Now, I have been eyeing this cake- the Battenberg cake for a while now, ever since I was introduced to the Great British Bake Off cookbook. I don’t have it yet, but amazon’s site has a preview of the book and in that they show pictures of the cake. Since then it’s been on my mind. So when I saw this month’s Daring Bakers challenge, I knew come hay or sunshine, I would make it.

And make I did. Not one but two.

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Welcoming a baby with Cake and other great ideas!

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August Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Candylicious!

I am warning you before you start reading- this post is going to be long and its going to be sweet- very sweet!

There’s going to be chocolate.

Lots of it.

There’s going to be tragedy.

Plenty of it too.

And there are going to be cavities!

You bet! A lot of that too!

This is the exact kind of post my dentist would disapprove of.

And that is exactly why, my friends, dentists and I could never be friends!

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

The challenge this month was to try our hand at bonbons, truffles, chocolate bark, pate de fruits, honeycomb and any other candy we would like to make.

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Oreo & Peanut Butter layered “Cakelets”

Barring a few little frustrating events that happened, yesterday was a good day. It started with the wonderful news that my parents’ Canadian visa got through just a day before their flight. Had it not, they would have been with me this weekend, but at a cost of losing a few hundred dollars in flight cancellation, re-booking, etc. My mom’s parents and her brother stay in Canada and my parents’ plan was to first visit them and then come visit me. They have a ten year US visa but they needed a Canadian Visa. Never thinking that their Canadian Visa would pose any problem, they had booked their tickets some time back. But the Visa did cause a lot of last minute panic, and only a day before their flight to Canada did their passport arrive with the Canadian Visa stamped.

Happy with the news and excited that my parents will be visiting me two weeks from now, I left for the baby shower we were throwing for the mommy-to-bes. It was a triple baby shower and all three of the ladies are having boys, that too only a week apart from each other!

It was a fun filled baby shower with great food. We, bunch of ladies, could open a great restaurant with all the talented cooks we have. On the menu was  chicken enchilada, olive  mozarella salad, linguine pasta, homemade bread (which was really good), olive, pickle n ham on a stick, (taking a break to breath and wipe off the drool) BLT sandwiches, pakodas, jello snicker rice krispies, chinese noodles, lettuce and french dressed avocado and my contribution lentil samosas and mini oreo sandwich “cake”.

After a great time catching up and seeing the three mommy-to-bes tear up after opening their presents, I was back home to Target greeting me as soon as I opened our gate.

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Recipe Swap: Triple M Sandwich Cookies- Molasses, Masala & Marshmallows

About two weeks back I stumbled upon Christianna’s site, and not only did I find a great blog, I also found out about this thing that she has going on, called the Recipe Swap.

The idea for the Recipe Swap was born out of a Vintage cookbook find by Christianna. Christianna decided to make her own recipes inspired by those in the cookbook. She also got a bunch of talented bloggers in on the idea and now, the recipe swap has been on for eight months, each month the bloggers dishing out absolute delights that showcase their creativity.

I am thankful to Christianna to let me be a part of this really talented group and to push me into being a little more creative every month!

Do visit the other Recipe Swappers: Dennis, Toni, Christianna, Alex, Lora, Lindsay, Mari, Crissy and Lauren, Pola, Jamie, Claire, Shari, Joy, Monique, Linda, Priya, Rachel, Alli, Katy, Emily, Krissy and Jaclyn. In case you want to know a little more about everyone and the Swap do visit the swap page.


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Alfredo Sauce (With Fettuccine) for July SRC!

When V and I had gone to Ogden, Utah, for a week, we ate at this restaurant called Jasoh. I don’t remember now what V ordered, but I had ordered this alfredo fettuccine served with mushrooms and duck, topped with a chocolate gastrique. It was sooooooo good!

A gastrique is a reduction of vinegar and sugar brought to light caramelization, to which a little stock is added. It is a base to which many other ingredients, or just a few, can be added to form a sauce. It is generally used to create a sweet and sour sauce.

This was the first time I had eaten something savory that had chocolate in it and was really happy to have been adventurous enough to try it! I really wanted to try cooking the chocolate gastrique on fettuccine alfredo, but never got around to doing it.

So, when I was given “From Apples to Zucchini” for my this month’s SRC assignment, I was glad to know Pam had a recipe for Alfredo sauce. I had to give Pam’s recipe a try!

In From Apples to Zucchini, Pam focuses on recipes that feed her family responsibly, with as much nutrition as possible.  She takes great pride in remaking recipes to be healthier, lower in fat and calories than the original, just to prove that healthy doesn’t mean boring and tasteless. The discovery of this site couldn’t come at a better time- I have resolved that this time I am going to take my weight loss program seriously and I have a feeling Pam will be of great help!

Her version of the alfredo sauce is considerably less in fat than the actual version and still tastes great. Its an easy recipe and V and I enjoyed eating it. I also made the chocolate gastrique to go with it but was not as successful- of course, with some tweaks I made it good enough but not like how I had it at Jasoh. And since there were so many afterthought additions, there is no recipe that I can write here today.

Although the gastrique recipe is still a work in progress, Pam’s alfredo sauce recipe is a keeper! Its an easy recipe and as Pam points out its really light in calories as well!

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Chocolate cupcakes with Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache

“Johnny, Johnny
Yes, papa,
Eating sugar?
No, papa
Telling lies?
No, papa
Open your mouth
Ha! ha! Ha!”

It’s my dad’s birthday today!

Yup, while the whole of America celebrates their Independence Day, we, the Chauhan family, celebrate my dad’s birthday.

My dad’s name is Johnny. It’s actually Jasvinder. Johnny’s the name that his course mates gave him. I can totally imagine my dad as the boy in the rhyme. He was a chubby kid, lost weight during his NDA days, but then put it back on, later in his life and weighs quite a lot these days. (Don’t worry Papa, I am not telling anyone how much you weigh)

Its not that he doesn’t exercise. Oh! Poor thing! he exercises and tries so hard, but like me, he has this love affair with food that he just can’t break. Unlike me, though, he doesn’t snack, but, when he eats his meals, the portions are pretty big. The main damage though, happens when he is invited to someone’s house for dinner. He is every hostess’ dream- he will for sure be going for seconds and as a result ends up putting on weight!

He loves food. Loves trying out new stuff. If its raining outside, he will always tell my Mom, wishfully, to make pakodas (fried Indian goodness and of course,fattening!)

He also needs something sweet after every meal. Its his way to know that the meal is over.

This time when I was in India, I taught him how to use the bread machine. So, these days he loves making his own bread, and then eating it too!

I have never seen my dad sick (touch wood!)- barring this one time when he had a slight fever and cold (and of course when he had his ejection). Seeing him unwell I had tears- I guess one always thinks of their dad’s as invincible and don’t realize they too are normal human beings.

And of course, like any daughter, I think my dad is the best (no offense to everyone else’s dad). I’m of course, biased but had I been an outside spectator and a judge of my dad as a dad he would have got top marks for the job he does!

You tell my dad that something is to be done, even if you just mention it casually to him, and though you might forget, he for sure would remember and do it for you. Something he gets from his father. My grandfather is a really efficient man and so is my Dad. Every wish of ours has always been their command.

He has always given me whatever I have asked for, and remarkably, not making me a spoilt kid in the process. He, along with my mother, has kept both my brother and me grounded and I will always be thankful to them for that!

I am really proud of him. Hope one day I can give him the same feeling too- of being proud of me!

He is my guide, my mentor, and my hero.

Happy birthday, papa.

Wish you many many more healthy ones!

This one’s for you!


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Daring Bakers’ May 2011 Challenge: Marquise on Meringue

Anything that can possibly go wrong, does!

-Murphy’s Law

Well, earlier it was just a feeling but after today, I am positive that I am jinxed.  Seriously, there’s no other explanation for what happened today or actually what happens every time there is something important.

I have been using my kitchen for the past one year without ever encountering any problem. Everything has always worked out smoothly. Everything was working smoothly even yesterday.But the day before I am going to have 9 people (make that 11 including me and Vikram), not only do I have a sprained ankle to deal with (which makes it difficult for me to stand for more then 10 minutes at stretch), a dog to sit for, lunch and dinner to cook for 11 people, besides cleaning and getting the house ready for them, but amidst all this I also land myself a broken stove.

Well actually it did not break, but at the time it sure seemed to me that it did. Our kitchen’s power got cut off and that’s why none of the appliances in the kitchen were working- including the refrigerator- which shutting off in this heat is a disaster in making. To top it all, our housing people could not do anything as it was a problem with the city’s lines- some problem with their transformer. And just when I thought things could get no worse, the whole house’s power decides to go. Now this kind of stuff happens in India and had I been there I wouldn’t be like Why me!Why me! But….

…But this is America and the power never goes off here! So yes, you can’t blame me to think that I am jinxed. Seriously there is no other explanation. And trouble doesn’t happen to me in single folds- I was ok with the dog sitting- I love dogs, so it wasn’t any trouble for me. I was also ok with the sprained ankle- it hurts but its manageable- I would probably get it checked if it doesn’t improve. But, no way am I ok with no power in the kitchen. That’s too much for me deal with when I have so many people coming to my house. Two days before the least of my worries was how are we going to manage with one bathroom for 11 people and today I just couldn’t stop counting my problems.

Anyway, such is my life! Things got on track after a few hours of turmoil. I am late again for posting this month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge (though I had almost finished writing about the challenge yesterday and would have posted it had things gone more smoothly). Out of three challenges that I have completed, two have been posted late! I am one of the worst members ever! But each time I had valid reasons. Once I was traveling and this time, well you all know the story! The fact that I was able to complete this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge is good enough for me. And am so glad I did. V loved it. In his exact words: “I like this DB thing you have got going. I get to eat such wonderful things – names of which I have never even heard before!”

 The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

The compulsory components for this challenge were the Marquise and the meringue. The tequila caramel and spiced nuts were optional. While I could do the caramel (thank god I did because it tastes great!), I did not have time nor the energy to make the spiced almonds as well. I left the challenge for the last minute as I could not find dutch-processed cocoa any where, and finally used normal cocoa- which according to me worked out fine, though I have nothing to compare it to. Plus, I had too much on my cards to complete each optional component. But I will be trying this dessert again and will be trying all the components to make it the outrageously decadent dessert its supposed to be.

Note: I have given the ingredients for half and quarter recipe as well which were given to us by by Audax Artifex. I made only a quarter of the recipe. Read the rest of this entry »

Carrot cake Truffles or Life’s lessons from a failed recipe

“I beg your pardon,
I never promised you a rose garden.
Along with the sunshine,
There’s gotta be a little rain sometimes.”

So I screwed up! Who doesn’t, I say! I think mistakes are important to not only learn but to accidentally tread onto something you might have overlooked. This is my story of how my mistake turned into something really good!

I had planned to make cupcakes for this week’s Office Thursdays.  Since we were out of town on V’s birthday (which was on the 9th), I wasn’t able to bake a birthday cake for him. For the uninitiated V loves carrot cake (carrot cake and my mango kulfi are the only two desserts I have seen him asking me to make). So, I thought I’ll make carrot cake cupcakes – V would also get to eat them plus he can take some for his office!

Now, when I was in India, my mom had made these whole wheat carrot cupcakes. My mom always made an amazing carrot cake but she got this equally good recipe for whole wheat carrot cake from a sweet lady named Sanu. I loved the whole wheat versions- more so because they were whole wheat! So I decided to give this new recipe a try.

I do not know what went wrong- was it too much baking soda, or was it too much oil or did I fill the pans too much- but the cupcakes fell and then they crumbled when I tried taking them out. Some survived, but most didn’t.

Now, I could have sat there- mourned the disaster. I could have wondered, sitting with my cake crumbs and could have analyzed what I did wrong. But I didn’t. Instead, I made these- White and Dark Chocolate Dipped Carrot Cake truffles! And, boy, were they a treat! While making them, this is what I realized and here I am sharing life’s lessons learned from a failed recipe! 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

MINI CHOCOLATE BURGERS

It was a dreadful car ride. I had that feeling- the kind where you know there is doom at the end of the journey. But it had to be done. If not now, it would be too late.

So there I was standing outside the place. I stepped inside- my feet almost ready to run away. But, like I said, it had to be done. So I was there, waiting…waiting with knots in my stomach.

He called me in. He was dressed in white like an angel- but I knew he had the tools of the devil hidden away. He made me lie down. Asked me my name. Did a litle small talk – yeah! like that would ease my nerves!

Then it started. That blinding, in-your-face light. That dreadful noise- the noise that send shivers down your spine. Oh! how I hate that drill and oh! how I hate these dentist visits!

***Update***
Voting at Kitchen Corners is now open! Please go vote for these if you like the recipe!

Well I have not blogged for a while. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking. On the contrary, I have been cooking a lot. But, because of the much hated dentist visits (the very long sittings there and the trauma that goes with them), and cooking for the party my parents had at their house, I have been too busy to blog.

Now, for the above mentioned party I had made “chocolate fondant cake”. It was a disaster. It was nothing like what Raymond Blanc described them to be- and I ended up with mini chocolate cakelets, which I paired with a chocolate sauce and a scoop of ice cream topped with nuts- and thankfully everybody loved it- phew! Saved!

I had some chocolate sauce left from the “chocolate fondant” episode. I was going through my daily serving of tastespotting and saw a burger and the idea of chocolate burger came in my mind. (This is inspite of my dentist repeatedly telling me to stay away from chocolate- I can’t help it, dear dentist, I try but chocolate and I share a bond that just can’t end like that).

I thought for a while and thought cookie would be a perfect idea to sandwich a chocolate ganache to look like a burger.

I thought of entering this for KC April Cook off- the theme – crazy chocolate creations. To make the cookie “bun” completely chocolatey, I used white chocolate- not as chips or chunks but completely melted in the cookie dough batter. So, for the “bun”, I decided to use wheat flour and replaced the oil, milk and sugar (that generally goes in a cookie dough batter) with white chocolate- well isn’t that what white chocolate is made of ! (White chocolate is primarily cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla) Of course I was a little worried about the ratio of the three ingredients in the chocolate compared to what  generally comprises a cookie dough batter and it might change the result of the desired cookie. But they turned out great. I used cinnamon but feel fennel seeds powder or cardamom powder would go better with the white chocolate.

For the “burger” I used the chocolate sauce, that had been kept in the fridge (it solidified a bit in the fridge and was more like a refrigerated ganache). And on top, to replicate sesame seeds, I used some finely chopped cashew.

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