Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies

You know whats equally delicious than the fabulous combination of dark chocolate and raspberry? It’s switching the dark chocolate out for it’s much controversial and love/hate pale sibling, white chocolate, which when combined with raspberries is the most glorious thing I have ever tried.

The last time I had posted something on this blog/ universe was a blueberry crumble cake after I had returned from my trip to Jordan. So, I thought it only made sense for me to post a recipe now, inspired by my trip to Paris earlier this year, where I had the most incredible, incredible, incredible ice cream at Berthillon. One scoop of the creamiest white chocolate ice cream, topped with a tart, smooth and bright raspberry sorbet.

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White Chocolate Ice Cream topped with Raspberry Sorbet

Coming back to those blondies, which, if you’ve been living under a rock, are essentially fudgey brownies minus the cocoa. These blondies are fudgey and subtly sweet with bursts of raspberry. The blondies when cooked and perfectly tanned taste so wonderfully caramelised.

Don’t be sceptical about working with white chocolate, buy good quality chocolate and since this isn’t really in your face sweet – it will work out well if its your first affair with white chocolate.

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So wait no more, and just scroll down for these fab fab fab blondies.

What you will need:

150 grams white chocolate – chopped

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter – at room temperature

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

This is what you need to do:

Preheat your oven at 180 degrees.

Butter and line an 8 inch square baking dish.

Melt the chopped white chocolate  in the microwave in bursts of 30 seconds. After every interval stir the chocolate with a spatula to make sure it melts evenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

If you’re using fresh raspberries – skip this step. Else, in a heavy bottom pot, place a cup of frozen berries, and turn the heat to medium. Cook this down until the mixture thickens – about 5 and remove from heat – let it cool.

Sift the flour and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Using a stand mixer or a hand held electric whisk, beat the butter and brown sugar together until well blended. It doesn’t have to be all whipped and fluffy, but just make sure its blended well and the butter begins to look creamy.

Next, add in the eggs one by one, making sure the first egg is well incorporated before adding the second one, beatttttt it.

Add in the extracts, mix for another 30 seconds, then drizzle in the white chocolate which we had melted. Once mixed, sift in the flour mix with a spatula until just combined.

Toss in the white chocolate chips (and, the fresh raspberries, if you have them!). And transfer the batter to the prepared tin. If you’re using frozen raspberries like me, put the blondie batter in the tin, and then, using a spoon, put blobs of the raspberry compote about one inch a part, and swirl it with a toothpick (or in my case, a stick of uncooked spaghetti :))

Bake it in the oven for about 30 mins – keep an eye on it – once it started to brown slightly from the top, you want to remove it from the oven.

Cool to room temperature, eat it, and then thank me.

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Blueberry Crumble Cake

I haven’t been inside my kitchen to bake ever since I have gotten back from Jordan.

All of us went on the most mesmerising trip to this hidden jewel in the Middle East. That country is like none other. I think I may have to write a blog post on my trip with all our quirky experiences and top travel tips for the country, and, also to share the amazing photos of the different landscapes that all of us clicked. Yup, adding this to my to-do list.

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Temple of Artemis – Jerash, Jordan
So, the only thing on the trip which was slightly underwhelming was the variety of food on offer. On a ten day trip with 30 meals to eat, we felt exhausted by all the hummus, labneh, fuul, kebab, Mansaf and pita breads on display. Also, since the parents travelling with us were vegetarians, Jordanian food didn’t offer much so in came the average Italian food.

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Blueberry Jewelled Cake with a Golden Toasted Crumble on top!
Anyway, by the fifth or the sixth day of the trip, I was dreaming about this delicious fruit cake I had whipped up just a few days before leaving. So this post is long over due.

My amazing neighbour and one of the official tasters of everything I bake, gifted me a box of blueberries to play around with. I had all sorts of ideas like pies, cobblers, cakes, muffins and jams that I wanted to pull out of my hat. But since I just had this one box, I settled on a Crumble Cake which is a sort of muffin-meets-cobbler cake hybrid. And boy oh boy did this cake vanish in 45 mins after baking and clicking pictures.

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This cake is deal for afternoon tea time, or in my case even breakfast! This is the ultimate fruit cake/non-icing cake to enjoy with a cuppa joe.

The recipe I used is adapted from Laura Vitale’s version of her Blueberry cake.

I basically ditched the sour cream and used greek yoghurt instead, worked a treat! And, I definitely prefer more crumble for that toasted crumbly crunchy texture on top of the cake which just tastes divine without or with (definitely with)  heavy cream!

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You can find my recipe below:

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 butter
  • 2 cups of fresh blueberries

For the crumble:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter

Here’s what you need to do:

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees celsius and place the wire rack in the centre. Line and grease a 9inch spring form pan. Make sure you have a springform pan, you don’t want to turn a crumble cake upside down.

For the crumble:

Dump in all the ingredients of the crumble in a bowl then using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut or break the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside and start the cake stuff.

For the cake:

Before you begin, take two tablespoons of the flour (from the cake batch) and sprinkle on top of the blueberries and toss it until the flour is evenly distributed. This process makes sure that the blueberries don’t sink to the bottom of the cake while baking. Moving on…

In a bowl, sift together the dry ingredients; flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together.

In another larger mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and well incorporated. Add in the eggs one by one, and beat thoroughly until well combined. If you rush the addition of the eggs and don’t mix it well, the batter would split. Not that this will affect your end product, since once you add the dry ingredients at a later stage everything will come together. Nonetheless, whisk it up!

Once both the eggs are mixed in, add in the yoghurt, milk and vanilla extract and mix until the mixture is smooth.

Throw in the dry mix, and fold the batter until smooth and there are no lumps of flour. Tumble in the blueberries and stir well. Don’t stir too much or the blueberries will break.

Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the cake evenly and pop the pan into the oven and bake for about 45-50 mins.

Now the thing with fruit cakes, is that you cant really prick the centre and tell when its done, because since this contains fresh fruit, it releases water and juice which will moisten the surrounding cake crumbs. So prick around without structurally damaging the cake, and once a few inserts come out clean, or slightly moist (and are visibly blue from bluerries), you are good to go and your tea cake is ready!

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Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango is a classic and one of the good asian desserts. Is fried ice cream Asian? Or an American invention? What about those crispy wanton noodles with honey and vanilla ice cream?

Being a complete dessert person myself, I was convinced that desserts didn’t really exist in Thai, Japanese and Korean cuisines. Boyyyy oh boy was I wrong.

On my trip to Bangkok last month, I discovered Sulbing, a korean dessert cafe, which serves a magical bowl that has shaved milk ice with condense milk, fresh fruit, whipped cream and cheese, which is by far the best iced dessert I have had in south east Asia.

Then came the Bake Cheese Tart, a Japanese cheese tart from Hokkaido, Japan which kicks every cheesecake I have ever had’s butt.

Then comes the most soothing coconut sticky rice with mango, which I actually learnt how to make when I went for a cooking class in Bangkok. This dessert gives a great opportunity to celebrate the Indian mango season.

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You can find the recipe that Chef Leez taught me below.

Here’s what you need:

  • 60 gm sticky rice
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream – freshly made goes best with this recipe! Watch a youtube tutorial on how to make coconut cream with a shredder
  • 3/4 tbsp coconut sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 ripe mango

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Soak the sticky rice in room temperature water for 3-4 hours before steaming it. (Read package instructions – The best way to cook sticky rice is by steaming it!)
  • Heat coconut cream over medium heat, add sugar, salt and warm the cream will its steaming hot  – don’t let it boil.
  • Remove from heat, add the stick rice to the bowl of hot cream, cover and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Place sticky rice in a bowl, top it with sliced mango, and top it up with fried moong dal!

Enjoy it with cold mango and hot sticky rice!

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Cherry Sorbet

The best sorbet this summer! 

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Delhi is officially too hot to function. Which also means that the markets are flooded with mangoes, melons and cherries!

But its quite cruel how they only last for a couple of weeks in the market.

Cherry popsicles and Jollyrancher lollipops are my favorite flavours ever!

For the longest time in Delhi, only the tiniest sort of bland cherries were available which were unevenly ripe. UNTIL, cherries from Himachal Pradesh were being sold in Delhi, which resemble small plump plums (perfectly sweet and sour! ) 🙂

So, when my mother decided to buy these beautiful cherries for me, I turned to Mr. Lebovitz for the ultimate Cherry Sorbet. You can find the recipe below.

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Heres what you need:

  • 1 kilo cherries
  • 250ml water
  • 180 gms sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Sorbet-making:

  • In a saucepan, dump in the pitted cherries, water and sugar
  • Steep the fruit in the sugar syrup until they are tender and cooked through; This takes about 15 minutes
  • Remove from heat and let it cool down to room temperature
  • Blitz the fruit and syrup in a blender
  • Mix in the lemon juice in the puree
  • Chill the mixture overnight and churn the next day as per manufacturer’s instructions

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Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

I know I haven’t posted in a while. The procrastinating me has been over thinking what to make and what not to make, and basically didn’t end up making anything. Anyhow, back to business –

I am one of those people who can’t start their day without coffee. Monday through Friday, before I can even bother checking my emails, its a cup of coffee that has come to my rescue over the past two years. Basically, I can’t be approached or spoken to until I have caffeine in my body.

Anyway, so I was going through ‘The Perfect Scoop’ by David Lebovitz, which happens to be my go to ice cream repository, I came across a deliciously sweetened Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream recipe. I had tried a Bubble Tea version of the Vietnamese Coffee earlier this month in Singapore, and that is when inspiration struck.

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While the temperature in Delhi soared to a solid 46 degrees celsius, I decided to make this frozen treat for my family, probably the only form of coffee cool enough this summer.

I made ice cream sandwiches. I baked chocolate sablé, a very short and crumbly biscuit which is super dark-chocolately and not very sweet, and goes very well with this ice cream.

Heres what you will need:

  • 600 gms condensed milk
  • 375 ml espresso
  • 125 ml light cream
  • and heap of instant coffee powder

All you need to do is:

  • In a large bowl whisk together the condensed milk, espresso and light cream until you have a cohesive liquid mixture in front of you. Chill in the refrigerator, preferably over night.
  • Next morning, sprinkle over the instant coffee power and place the liquid in the ice cream maker and churn as per manufacturers instructions.
  • Sandwich it between your favorite chocolate/ vanilla cookies and beat this heat!

Note: This recipe also works as a great no churn recipe. Just mix all the ingredients together and freeze for about 18 hours.

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 Fresh Mint and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

This weekend after what felt like years, I finally got around to digging out my ice cream machine from the storeroom.

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Since the scorching summer is upon us, rather than spending all my time over the weekends in front of an oven that spits out heat at me, I have resolved to making ice creams, frozen yogurts, popsicles and sorbets.

I love mint desserts, everything from peppermint patties, After Eight, Mint Chip ice cream, you get the point. Mint Chocolate Chip is probably my favourite ice cream flavour, with Ben & Jerry’s Half baked coming a close second.

My dalliance with mint chip ice cream started on my annual pilgrimages to the US, when we didn’t have Baskin Robbins in India. I would just eat the ice cream for meals. Thankfully, my palate developed while I was still quite young and moved on to Beyers and the likes. Baskin Robbins now, for me, comes a close second to a dose of icecreamgonebad.

This week, I made mint and chocolate chip ice cream.

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Mint Chip Ice Cream

I went on a witch hunt to find peppermint extract. It was after hours, it had gotten dark and cold before I decided to call off the search parties.

Little did I know, that a FRESH mint ice cream is even more fabulous than the extract stuff! Its delicious and herbaceous, and you feel really good about using fresh ingredients rather than the chemical essence stuff.

The recipe has been adapted from David Lebovitz’ fresh mint ice cream from his book ‘The perfect scoop’.

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Here is what you will need:

  • 250 ml full fat milk
  • 150 gms caster sugar
  • 500 ml heavy cream (Fat content of 30% and above)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 80 gms fresh mint leaves; I chose to remove the stalks, but feel free to keep them on.
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 140 gms semi-sweet chocolate

Here’s how to get started:

Pour all of the 250ml full fat milk, along with the sugar and half (250ml) of the heavy cream in a pot and place it on the stove. Add in the mint leaves and stir till the sugar dissolves and all the leaves are submerged in liquid.

Let the milk steam and once its hot, take it off the heat and let it steep with the mint leaves for about an hour. I had a really beautiful green tint in the milk from the mint, however it isn’t necessary, completely depends on the plant.

Strain the milk through a fine mesh sieve, press down on the leaves with a spatula to extract as much flavour as possible. Discard the leaves.

Place the milk in a pot, back on the stove and let it get hot. Meanwhile, place the 5 egg yolks in a large bowl and keep your whisk handy. Once the milk is steaming, pour about half of the milk into the eggs and whisk like your life depends on it. Once its well combined add the remaining milk, whisk well and then put the egg and scented milk mixture back on the heat, and cook until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Take the custard off the heat, and strain it through a mesh sieve into the remaining 250ml heavy cream. Stir well. Refrigerate till the mixture is chilled – preferably over night. Next morning, churn as per the ice cream machine’s instructions.

While the ice cream is churning, melt the chocolate over a bain marie. Make sure the bowl that you’re melting the chocolate in is free of any water and moisture or your chocolate will seize.

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Once the ice cream is churned, place one third of the frozen custard in a container. Drizzle the melted chocolate over it. Repeat this process three times, till all the custard and the melted chocolate are transferred into the container.

Freeze the ice cream for 6-8 hours and demolish 🙂

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Brown Butter & Salted Caramel Cake

I’ve been told birthday calories don’t count, especially since this was my 25th and I can sense an imminent quarter life crisis. And, since this was my birthday week, I decided to go all out and make the most decadent (and laborious) cake for myself :).

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This cake is  very close to my heart. I have wanted to make this amber delight for a really long time.

I was inspired by a similar version of this cake (except with a butterscotch sauce rather than the salted caramel) from Elma’s a very long time ago. Making it now, reminded me of very fond memories.

I must admit, when I was deciding on which cake to make, I was facing a lot of competition from a Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting. Eventually, I gave in and settled for what I didn’t know at the time, would be the best cake I have ever made, hands down.

Without further ado, I did my research and found recipes online that I felt comfortable with.

So this cake, this very special milestone cake for a milestone birthday is a Brown Butter Sponge and a Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting with a rather generous Salted Caramel Drizzle.

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Brown Butter Salted Caramel Cake
The ingredients listed below are for a multi-layer 9 inch cake. I made a 2 layer 6 inch cake, so all I did was halve the ingredient below. And somehow everything worked out.

What you will need:

For the brown butter sponge

  • 12 ounces salted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsps of baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 2/3 cups of sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean; split it down the centre and scrape the seeds
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk

For the salted caramel sauce

  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 180 grams butter
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1/2 cup water

For the salted caramel frosting

  • 12 ounces cream cheese; at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsps of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of icing sugar

Method:

Brown Butter Cake

First thing’s first, you need to make the brown butter. If you are making the 9inch recipe, please make sure you have a heavy bottom, large pot for melting the butter. When I found this recipe, the author did not issue a very important disclaimer about how much the butter foams up before it turns brown – imagine over boiled milk. So once you have placed the butter in the pot, and turned on the stove, get an ice bath with a bowl ready to go. You will be needing the ice bath to cool down the brown butter once its done, but it is also very handy in case the foaming gets slightly out of hand and you need it pour the hot butter out.

IMG_5198Okay, now, for the brown butter – place the butter in the pot and turn the stove on. You don’t have to keep stirring, but you have to keep an eye on it for a. the foaming (be cautious) and b. to smell the nutty aroma once the brown butter is ready. The whole process lasts about 10 minutes. The milk solids in the butter will start to turn brown and solidify at the bottom of the pan. The minute it starts releasing a butterscotchy aroma, you need to take it off the heat and pour the butter into the bowl in the ice bath.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and line two 9inch (6inch) pans with parchment paper and grease the sides generously.

IMG_5206Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Turn back to the brown butter, once it has cooled around the edges, place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk them together until creamy and fluffy.

Add in the vanilla seeds, followed by the egg yolks, one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Beat in the whole eggs one by one until you the whole mix comes together and is well mixed with significant volume.

Fold in the flour dry mixture, and alternate with the milk, about three rounds of this process.

Once the mixture is folded in and there are no flour lumps, pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the centre is cooked.

Salted Caramel Sauce

IMG_5210So about the caramel, I absolutely loathe dry caramel. Not only does it have a horrible bitter after taste, its tricky to make, there is a high chance of the sugar crystalizing AND its far more temperamental than a wet caramel.

Note: Use a heavy bottom deep pot; the caramel will spit and foam.

Place the sugar and water in a pan. You don’t need to stir it, just swirl the pan once in a while, if needed. Keep an eye on the caramel. Now, many people have different preferences when it comes to the desired level of color/ burntness/ bitterness. I was very fortunate to get to the perfect color on my first attempt.

Keep the cream, butter and salt handy. Note: All the ingredients should be at room temperature; DO NOT add cold cream to hot caramel. IMG_5211

Once you get the perfect colour on the caramel, tip in the butter and stir till its melted through. Remove the pot from the flame and pour in the cream. Be delicate, you don’t want to splash hot caramel around. The mixture will foam and bubble furiously when you add both, the butter and the cream so be cautious.

Once the cream is mixed through, pour the caramel in a separate bowl and leave to cool.

 

Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

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For the frosting, all the ingredients must be at room temperature.
Start with whisking the cream cheese in a large bowl with the softened room temperature butter  and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

Whisk in the salted caramel sauce.

One everything is well combined, sift in the icing sugar, small tablespoons at a time. It isn’t necessary for you to use all the icing sugar, you can adjust the viscosity and the sweetness of the frosting with the sugar, and that’s that.

Whip it up until nice and stiff.

Assembly

Place Cake 1 on a cake board and lather the cream cheese frosting rather generously in the centre. Once its evenly spread, drizzle some salted caramel on top.

Place Cake 2 on top of Cake 1, and spread the frosting all over the cake. At this point, you may want to chill the cake in the fridge for an hour or so.

Decorate the cake with leftover salted caramel and some popcorn 🙂

Belt the cake with a nice cup of Ristretto Nespresso coffee. 🎂☕️

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Strawberry Shortcake

The handicap of clicking half decent food photographs is that you need natural light. Understandably, after stalking numerous blogs, I realised that the only time I can bake and get good quality pictures, is definitely during the day. Which means I can’t cook on weekdays, but this also gives me a schedule for my weekends. I have promised myself a post every weekend.

This week, its strawberry shortcake.

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My sister loves Shortcakes (butterier scones). And since I am constantly trying to suck up to her, this post is for her. I mean she does live across the country from me, and obviously didn’t get to try these which is a shame cause these shortcakes were G.O.O.D.

This recipe isn’t for those people who live in an outrageously hot city like I do. Unless they have a centrally air-conditioned kitchen, which I don’t. So if you’re really committed like I was, your gonna have to constantly dip your hands in ice cold water while making the dough AND chill  it a couple of times to make sure the butter remains cold and basically doesn’t become melted gloop.

Having issued the prerequisite warning, you can find the recipe below.

Oh, did I mention its from ‘How to be a domestic goddess’ by Nigella Lawson? This is the first recipe that I have tried from the book. Nigella more often that not, has her way with eggs, butter, cream and sugar.

Ingredients:

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 325 gms plain four
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 125 gms butter- FROZEN (Amul, why? because its utterly butterly delicious)
  • 1 large egg
  • 125 ml single cream (a small tetrapack works)

The ingredients listed above, are everything you need for the shortcakes. You can really experiment with the fillings. My mother is a strawberries and cream person. I had the leftover shortcakes with lemon curd and lingonberry preserve (my special find in Sweden).

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C; these shortcakes cook really fast.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a large bowl.

Grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients. I had to constantly dip my hands into ice cold water cause the butter would melt in my fingers while grating. If you are living in sweltering heat like I am, you should pop the bowl with the grated butter in the freezer for a few minutes before you rub it in the flour.

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Once the bowl is chilled, using your fingertips, start rubbing the butter into the flour mix till they resemble small crumbs.

 

 

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Crack the egg in the single cream and whisk well. This is the wet agent you add to the flour to make the dough. Start adding the liquid mix into the flour slowly. You don’t need all of it, so keep an eye out and only add the liquid sparingly until the dough comes together. Use a fork to bring the dough together until you can roll it out with a pin.

 

Once the dough comes together, turn  it onto a floured surface and roll it out to a thickness of about 1-2 cm. Dip a biscuit cutter in the flour and make as many shortcake rounds as possible. You should get 4-5 in the first batch. Rework the dough together, roll it out again, and repeat the process until all of the dough as been used up.

Brush the tops with milk and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Place the shortcakes on a silicon pad and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the tops are lovely and golden.

Allow them to cool slightly. Split them down the middle and eat with sweetened whipped cream and strawberries. Or with any other filling of your choice 🙂

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Swedish Almond Cake

The last time I posted on my blog, was in August 2015; the blog expired, and I didn’t renew it. My life hasn’t changed much since then, except for the fact that I want to dive back into the things that I once loved to do for myself. The things I once loved haven’t changed. The happiness that baking brought into my life hasn’t changed, and that is why I am back to Ubereating.

What seems like a lifetime ago, last Christmas, I made a traditional Swedish Almond Cake or ‘Toscakaka’. Which happens to be my favourite Swedish baked good after the Princess Cake. I was traveling to Sweden for work in the Summer of 2015, some time before I went AWOL from the blogging world, which was unsurprisingly, the best summer of my life.

And today, as I resurface from the rock that I had been living under for the last couple of years, I couldn’t think of a better recipe to post as an Ode to my special Scandinavian Summer – A Rather Scandelicious Cake.

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Toscakaka

 Swedish Caramelised Almond Cake

Here are the ingredients you need to make this cake.

For the cake:

  • 75ml buttermilk
  • 75 gms butter – melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 gms castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract – the good stuff
  • 150 gms plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp fleur de sel (regular sea salt is a good substitute; table salt is the enemy)

For the golden topping of the gods:

  • 150 gms flaked almond; I didn’t have flaked almonds, so I hand chopped about 180 almonds, yup, it happened; I had a lot of time on my hands
  • 125 gms butter (salted – Amul is your bestfriend)
  • 125 gms light brown sugar
  • 50 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract; you can replace it with 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees, and grease a 9″  baking pan, springform will be great, if you have it. Its imperative to grease the top well, thats where the all the action happens. Line the bottom of the pan with a greased parchment sheet.

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Place the chopped almond on a baking tray, and bake in the oven until they begin to turn golden. Remove from the oven and keep aside to cool.

Melt the butter in a pan, or microwave it in a cup in bursts of 20 seconds until its melted through. Place the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl; start whisking the eggs with the sugar then add the vanilla extract. Beat the mixture on high speed for 7-8 minutes, until the mixture has doubled in volume and is pale in colour. If you left your whisk, you should be able to drawn an eight over the batter aka ‘The Ribbon Stage’.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate dry bowl. Now this is where you don’t rush the process. Gently seive about 1/3 of the flour mix over the eggs and fold the mixture, trying to retain as much of the air as possible in the egg batter. Once the flour is folded through, add 1/3 of the buttermilk and incorporate well. Repeat the step for the remaining 2/3 of the flour and butter milk.

Once the batter well mixed (and of course, assuming you haven’t managed to knock all the air out of it), drizzle half of the melted butter from the side of the bowl in a constant stream. Mix. Pour the remaining half and mix through; the cake batter is ready. Carefully pour the batter into the lined pan and place it in the oven. The cake should take about under half an hour (25-30 minutes) – keep an eye on it. A toothpick (or a spaghetti stick in my case) should come out clean when inserted in the centre. It’s important that the cake is cooked in the middle, since it has to go back into the oven with the topping and be able to support the weight of all those almonds.

NOW, as if it wasn’t a little complicated already, turn to your inner ninja, and while the cake bakes you need to prepare the almond topping.

For the topping, place the butter, milk, sugar, salt and almond extract in a heavy bottom pan. The mixture should start bubbling and thickening in a couple of minutes. You’re not really looking for a caramelised golden colour since you’re using brown sugar, but just a thickened consistency. As the mixture begins to thicken, add the almonds and stir well. The whole process once the mix hits the heat should be about 5-7 minutes.

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Once the cake is ready and slightly cooled, turn the oven temperature up to 200 degrees and gently ladle the almond topping on top of the cake, try to have as much as smooth top as possible to make sure there is equal distribution throughout the cake.

Place the cake back in the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes until the glaze is dark and bubbling (see below :)) Take the cake out, let it rest for some time, till the edges of the cake and the glaze start to solidify on the sides; you don’t want to remove the springform, and have caramel oozing out from your cake.

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This cake is best eaten warm with vanilla ice cream (I sprinkle the tiniest pinch of cinnamon on top of my vanilla ice cream, it works wonderfully well with the cake).

That’s all for now. Tack! Tack för besöket!

Red Jalapeño Poppers

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My favorite favorite party snack! I have NO idea what restaurants in Delhi serve as Jalapeño Poppers, they’re  basically frozen cheese balls with NO chili in it. This my friend, is the real deal.

And the best part is that the breadcrumbs are homemade, so you can flavor it with whatever you want. Also, don’t remove the seeds from the peppers if you like extra heat.

They’re hot, crispy, spicy, cheesy and gooey all at the same time. I didn’t have any bacon on me at the time I made these bad boys. Fry the bacon and stuff it in the peppers along with the cheeses you use. You can never go wrong with bacon.

So here’s the recipe.IMG_0249-1

Red Jalapeño Poppers

Ingredients:

3 Slices of bread

Salt & Pepper

Parmesan Cheese (for the breadcrumbs)

5-6 Jalapeños

A preferred blend of cheeses. I used cream cheese, sharp cheddar and gouda.

Green onion greens finally chopped

Half a garlic clove

a  handful of Coriander leaves

Flour for dredging

2 Eggs

Oil for Frying

Method:

For the breadcrumbs:

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

Break the bread into chunks and throw it into a blender along with the parmesan and coriander leaves. Blitz it till it resembles breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle the crumbs in a baking tray, and bake it till the bread crumbs dehydrate (about 8-10mins). DO NOT let it brown.

Cheese Blend:

Mix the cheese blend really well together. Finely chop the garlic and add it to the cheese a long with the green onion. Season the cheese blend according to the saltiness of the cheese. Try not to over season it.

Jalapeños:

To prep the Jalapenos, make a T cut in it. Slit it down lengthwise and cut right below the stem area to form a T. Stuff the cheese blend in the peppers. Don’t worry about over stuffing it because the breading will make sure the cheese doesn’t ooze out.

Once the peppers are ready, beat the eggs in a bowl and set it aside.

Spread some flour on a plate.

Dredge the peppers first in the flour, then the eggs, followed by the breadcrumbs. If you feel the coating is too light and wouldn’t stay, then re-dip it in the egg and breadcrumbs again.

Let the peppers rest for 10 mins in the fridge until the coating firms up.

Note: When you fry the peppers, the breadcrumbs will brown really fast, so keep an eye on it, and preferably fry one pepper at a time.

Once Browned, bake the whole lot in the oven at 180 degrees, until piping hot and super crispy.

Belt it.

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