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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

No Bake Brownies

I came across this no bake brownie recipe when looking for ways to finish off the left over graham cracker cookies and condensed milk I had. This fuss-free preparation yields a really delicious treat that tasted more like fudge to my kids. I had halved the original recipe only to regret later when the whole thing was gone in one sitting. 

Source: Here
Recipe level: Easy
1 can of 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 & 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 to 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
* For graham cracker crumbs, either pulse graham cracker cookies to fine crumbs in a food processor or put the cookies into a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin.
* Spray or brush a 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and keep aside.
* Heat the condensed milk and chocolate together in a medium sized sauce pan on medium - low heat, until the chocolate melts and the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
* Turn off the stove and remove the pan from heat. Add the cookie crumbs and half of the walnuts to the pan and mix well to combine. 
* Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread with the back of a greased spatula. Sprinkle the remaining nuts uniformly over the top. Chill it until firm.

This post goes to Blogging marathon #78 under the theme "No Baking Desserts for Lazy Days". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Red Velvet Mug Cake

A mug cake is an easiest and quickest way to create and enjoy a piece of cake, especially if baking for one or two people or when one doesn't need any leftovers. It is also a perfect solution when a sudden craving for something sweet hits oneself at odd hours or to surprise an impromptu guest or to placate a cranky kid. 😊

A mug cake was also an easy solution for this week's blogging marathon theme of 'Baking desserts without using a convection oven'. One can bake 4 mug cakes by the time a convectional oven gets preheated and so it was perfect for the weather we have right now. 

Usually I bake chocolate based mug cakes and was looking for a different version for my daughter this time and found one here. I had to make minor adjustments to the recipe since the batter was too thick. She loved it going by the fact that it got made already 4 times in the past week.

Scant 1/4 cup lukewarm milk 
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar / white vinegar
1/4 cup minus 1 tsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1.5 tbsp. oil (I used canola oil.)
4 - 5 drops of red food color (optional)
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

* Combine milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and leave it aside for about 5 minutes. 
* Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and sugar in a microwave safe mug / bowl. Add the milk-vinegar mixture, oil and food color and mix well.
* Cook it in a microwave for about 70 to 75 seconds.
* Serve immediately with a dusting of sugar if preferred.

This post goes to Blogging marathon #78 under the theme "No Baking Desserts for Lazy Days". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Monday, July 10, 2017

'No Bake' Cakes ~ Eggless Steamed Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are steamed instead of being baked and are perfect for those kitchens without ovens. Or when one is not in a mood to turn on the oven on a hot day and turn the kitchen into an oven instead. Or just when one is in a mood for some moist and fluffy cupcakes without the fuss of baking.
The challenge of the theme I picked for this week's marathon was to come up with baked desserts without using a conventional oven.  I had tried Japanese version steamed cupcakes 'mushi pan' some years ago and so, I knew 'steaming' was one way to go about it. I found a perfect recipe here that yields moist and fluffy cupcakes. They come out so perfect that no one would guess that these were steamed instead of being baked. I made a small batch of 3 cupcakes using a pressure pan and about 1/2 cup sized steel cups as moulds.
Ingredients: Yield 6 cupcakes
3/4 cup minus 1.5 tbsp. all purpose flour / maida 
1.5 tbsp. cocoa powder  
1/2 cup yogurt at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. baking powder 
1/4 cup oil (I used canola oil.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Aluminum foil for covering the cake moulds

* Sift flour and cocoa powder together into a bowl and keep it aside.
* Beat yogurt lump-free in another bowl, using a hand mixer or a whisk. Add sugar and beat again to combine. Add baking soda and baking powder to the yogurt and mix well. Set aside for 5 minutes until the mixture starts to bubble on top. 
* Meanwhile, grease the muffin moulds that are going to be used or 1/2 cup size steel cups. 
* Heat water in a steamer / pressure pan / pressure cooker that is going to be used to steam the cupcakes.
* Add oil and vanilla to the yogurt mixture and mix well to combine. Next add the flour and cocoa powder mixture and gently stir to combine.
* Spoon the mixture to the prepared moulds / cups up to halfway and cover them with foil to avoid condensation over the cake tops.
* Place the covered moulds / cups into the steamer / cooker and close the lid.
* Steam cook on the lowest level for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. 
* Remove the cupcakes from the steamer and let them cool. Gently run a knife around the edges and unmould the cakes.
* Decorate the cupcakes with icing or powdered sugar and serve.

1. Don't use the pressure valve if using pressure pan / cooker .
2. If the water level in the steamer goes down for any reason before the cupcakes are steamed, carefully add some hot water to the steamer and continue steaming. 
3. Filling the batter only up to half of the cups instead of the usual 2/3rds would prevent the cake tops sticking to the foil.
This post goes to Blogging marathon #78 under the theme "No Baking Desserts for Lazy Days". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Brown Sugar Butter Syrup & Gulkand / Rose Petal Jam Sauce

Brown sugar butter syrup is a quick and easy preparation. It is a yummy syrup to use in lieu of maple syrup over pancakes / waffles. For those wondering where the pictures of that syrup are, I haven't posted them. :) I was not happy with the quality of the syrup pictures I took and so, they are going to get updated the next time I make the syrup.

Ingredients for brown sugar - butter syrup:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/8 tsp. vanilla or maple extract (optional)

* Add sugar and water to a sauce pan on medium heat, Bring it to a boil, stirring until the sugar melts. 
* Let the mixture continue to boil for about five minutes and add butter. Stir until the butter melts and add any extract if using. Turn off the stove.
* Serve warm over pancakes / waffles. Refrigerate any leftover syrup and reheat before serving.
I used some of the leftover syrup to prepare an interesting sauce based on gulkand that turned out to be delicious. Even my daughter who detests gulkand could not stop eating it. Basically a jam sauce can be prepared by adding a little quantity of water and sugar, if needed to the jam and cooked until a desired quantity is reached. The gulkand sauce also can be prepared this way, only if you prefer the pronounced flavor of gulkand in the sauce. Somehow I didn't and tried the sauce again with some of the left over brown sugar butter syrup I had and that's what caught my fancy. 

Ingredients for gulkand syrup:
1/4 cup syrup from above 
1/4 cup gulkand / rose petal jam
2 tbsp. water 

* Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan and cook on medium flame, stirring. If the mixture appears too thick, add a tbsp. or more water and cook until the desired consistency is reached. Or add the ingredients to a microwave safe bowl and cook in the microwave in 30 seconds / minute intervals until desired consistency is reached. Please note that this sauce thickens after cooling because of the butter used.
This post goes to Blogging marathon #78 under the theme "Toppings for Pancakes / Ice creams". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Caramelized Banana Topping

This is one of my kids' favorite pancake topping and in fact, it got made twice in my kitchen this week. Sometimes I make a thicker version of this delicious sauce (if i can call it so) and love to slather it on my toast instead of jam. Today, my daughter dumped a spoonful of this topping at the center of a dosa and ate it as a roll. Just as yesterday's peach sauce, this fruit based topping too does not take much time and is simple to prepare. The sweetness and the thickness of the syrup can be controlled. This batch of sauce had a darker hue but sometimes it is on a lighter side.

2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. water
3 - 4 tbsp. brown sugar
1 medium sized banana
2 tbsp. coarsely chopped toasted walnuts / pecans

* Cut the banana into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
* Melt the butter in a pan. Add sugar and water to the butter and continue cooking until the sugar melts and starts to bubble.
* Add the banana slices and cook about 2 minutes on each side.
* Add the toasted nuts and mix well. Turn off the stove and serve warm.

This post goes to Blogging marathon #78 under the theme "Toppings for Pancakes / Ice creams". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Peach Sauce

Here is one easy breezy peach sauce from my kitchen. Fruits sauces are quite simple to prepare and a great way to top pancakes, waffles, ice creams and more. Or even to gobble up a spoonful just passing by as I do sometimes to appease my sweet tooth. One can make use of those overripe fruits lying around in the kitchen to prepare a fruit based sauce. Choose fruits that are sweet so that the quantity of the sugar used in the recipe can be cut.
4 peaches (About 2 cups diced peaches)

1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar * 
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
* The quantity of sugar depends upon the sweetness of the fruits used.

* Peel, core and dice the peaches.
* Whisk water and cornstarch into a paste without any lumps. 
* Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and cook until a desired consistency is reached or until the fruit starts to turn mushy.
This post goes to Blogging marathon #78 under the theme "Toppings for Pancakes / Ice creams". Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.