Friday, 27 April 2012

Chocolate Marble Buns

There are times when we set out to do something. Midway through the process, something goes awry and we panic. But eventually we stumble upon something else in the course of fixing the problem and it all turns out good. In the end, we discover something totally new, which we would not have had a chance to discover if everything had gone according to plan. Don't you find yourself in this situation one too many times?

I set out to make chocolate chip buns. The mistake here was, I added the chocolate chips before the first rise, so when I made small balls for the second rise, the chocolate chips melted and formed a marble pattern... Thus this bun was born :)

Chocolate Marble Buns:
1/2 cup(120 ml) milk
1 - 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
2 cups - all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup - oil
1/4 cup chocolate chips


1. In a small saucepan, or in the microwave, heat the milk until lukewarm (about 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C).

2. Add the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir to combine. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.

3. Meanwhile in the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, spices, and salt.

4. Once the yeast is foamy, gradually add to the flour mixture and beat until the dry ingredients are moistened.

5. Add the melted butter and oil and beat until incorporated.

6. With the mixer on medium low speed, with the dough hook, continue to knead the dough until it is silky smooth and elastic.

7. Add more flour if necessary. Add chocolate chips and knead into a smooth ball.

8. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough once, so the top is lightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until it has almost doubled in size (about 1 1/2 - 2 hours).

9. When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down to release the air, and divide into 9 equal pieces. The chocolate chips will melt and form a marble pattern in the dough. Don't overwork the dough at this stage.

10. Form each piece into a small round ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (Place three buns to a row, three rows altogether. They should be spaced so they have enough room to double in size.)

11. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with a nonstick cooking spray, and place lightly over the buns.

12. Place in a warm spot until almost doubled in size (about 60 minutes).

13. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

14. Brush the tops of the buns with the milk/cream.

15. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the buns are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

16. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 9 small buns.

Verdict: These are wonderfully dense and sweet buns; perfect with a hot cup of tea/coffee. Even by itself, it is a great filling snack.

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Golden Yellow Bundt Cake

I now have a Bundt pan… Yippeee! That was my reaction when the silicone bundt pan I ordered from zansaar was delivered to me J

I had already collected a bunch of recipes from the blogs I follow. Making a choice on the first cake to bake in the bundt mold was very difficult ;). So many delicious recipes and that apprehension on trying something new… You understand the feeling, don’t you?

I chose a simple recipe but one that sounded delicious…

Golden Yellow Cake:

Recipe Source: Cakes and More
2 ¼ cup flour
1 ½ cup table sugar
3 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup + 1 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup milk, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

This is the simplest mixing method I have every seen for a large cake. We do this usually for muffins/cupcakes.

In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients together and beat half a minute on slow speed and then 3 minutes on high.

Pour into a prepared (greased and floured) bundt mold and bake at 170 C for 40 minutes or until a fork/skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the top starts browning too early, then cover with an aluminium foil cutting out a hole in the foil for the centre hole.

This is one heavy cake. Inspite of the claims that with ½ cup butter, we make a large cake the butter 
per serving portion is less, I found it way too sweet and heavy. The sugar can be reduced to 1 cup easily and it will taste better.

Verdict: Awesome looking cake and such and easy release from the pan. I was very apprehensive about removing the cake from the pan without it sticking to the sides. I could hardly resist myself until the cake cooled down completely. I used a wet towel at the base of the silicone pan. With the wet towel wrapped around the base and sides of the pan, I slowly loosened the sides of the pan to release the cake. Once I was sure the cake was completely loosened from the sides and bottom, I inverted the pan very carefully and released the mold. The beautiful bundt cake was then displayed proudly to folks at home :) 

The cake tasted very rich and the crumb was too good. As mentioned earlier, the sugar could have easily been reduced by 1/2 cup without impacting the taste.

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Coffee Chocolate-chip muffins

Those irresistible coffee and chocolate cravings. I am getting those too often now. One afternoon it was too much and I decided to make these Coffee chocolate-chip muffins.

2 cups self raising flour (2 cups flour minus 3 tsp; add 3 tsp baking powder. Keep the 3 tsp flour aside)
3/4 cup vanilla sugar or 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup milk
2 tbsp - instant coffee powder
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan on stove-top or in the microwave for 40-50 seconds. Allow to cool.
In another bowl, combine flour and sugar. 
Crack the egg in a medium sized bowl, add milk and coffee. Whisk vigorously until the coffee dissolves.
Pour this coffee mix into the flour and sugar and add the melted butter.
Stir until just combined and fold in chocolate chips. Before mixing the chocolate chips, toss the chocolate chips in the 3 tsp flour removed while making the self-raising flour. The flour coating on the chips will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake moulds.
Full the muffin cups to 2/3 and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Verdict: These are incredible soft and tasty muffins. Quick preparation and awesome taste! If you are a chocolate and coffee fan, this one is a must-have  :)

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Baby-corn Mushroom Masala

I have always wondered how to make mushrooms and baby corn as tasty as the restaurant dishes and what is the magic ingredient that gives the smooth silky gravy and the incredible taste that has a slight hint of sweetness.
It so happened that we had some babycorn one day and we also had mushroom. We rarely have the two at the same time at home. So I decided to make this mushroom baby-corn masala. I was working from home that day and I had some time to prepare dinner, as opposed to the usual quick sabzi route that I have to take on other days. So I set about planning what exactly goes into this gravy and made it leisurely. The end result was amazing. A delicate balance of flavours and a smooth gravy. Hubby was thrilled at the result and enjoyed his dinner after a really long time :). I must admit I have become very sloppy about regular food preparation, I just do the bare minimal to get by. So such occasions are rare ;)

Baby corn - 5
Button Mushrooms - 1 pack (200 - 250g)
Onions - 2 large
Tomato - 1 large
Ginger paste - 1/2 tbsp
Garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp
Amti Masala - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Green Chillies - 3, slit
Butter - 1 tbsp
Mozarella cheese - 1 tbsp (grated)
Lemon Juice - 1 half lemon
Oil - 1 tbsp for frying


Wash the mushrooms in warm water and a few drops of lemon juice. Slit them long. Chop the baby corns.
Chop onions coarsely and tomato lenghtwise.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the chopped onions and green chillies. Fry until the onions turn transparent pink and then add the tomatoes. Fry until the tomatoes are totally mashed and the raw smell is gone. Then add the mushrooms and baby corn, continue frying and add the garlic and ginger paste. Once the aroma is good, add the amti masala and cumin powder. Continue frying for a couple of more minutes. Add a little oil if the masala starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle water lightly and allow the vegetables to cook. 
Once cooked, on low flame, add the butter and mozarella cheese and gently mix evenly. Add enough water to make a  good gravy. If the quantity of vegetables is too much, you could soak 10-12 cashews in hot water and once the water cools down, grind into a thick paste and add. That makes very good gravy. 
Once the pan is off the heat, sprinkle lemon juice. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis.
Verdict: This is a very good combination and you can use your imagination to give any twist to the gravy :) This tastes awesome with rotis.
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Low-fat Banana-Chocolate loaf

To satisfy one of my evening cravings, I made this low-fat, chocolate banana loaf. I took the basic idea from the recipe for Low-fat banana loaf, at joyofbaking. I customized the recipe, added cocoa powder and used whole wheat flour. Here is the modified recipe.

Low fat Chocolate Banana Bread:

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used 7 small bananas)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used demerara sugar)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Low Fat Banana Bread: Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. The original recipe states 180 degrees C. Since I use a convection oven I reduce the temperature by 10 degrees C, from the original recipe. Since this pan is a dark coloured one, I reduced it further down by 10 degrees C.

Grease and line a 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the mashed bananas with the baking soda and yogurt. Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the batter.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt.
Then combine the banana mixture with the oil mixture and then add to the flour mixture. Stir just until all the ingredients are moistened. Mix the chocolate chips in 1 tbsp of flour and mix into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 45 - 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Makes one loaf (about 12 slices).

Verdict: This is a dense and sweet chocolaty bread. Awesome to satisfy a sudden craving, but almost guilt free indulgence :). 

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