Stained Glass Cookies – Christmas Special

Stained Glass Cookies – These pretty looking cookies caught my eye few months ago during my usual “blog inspiration” search. I knew instantly they would feature as my Christmas special recipe on the blog. And, here they are.

stained glass cookies

The cookies are nothing but sugar cookies with a colorful center of crushed sugar candies. The soft cookie melts in your mouth leaving a hard, crunchy candy center to bite on. Unlike other cookies, this one is quite adventurous on the palate.

christmas ornament

To make the cookies more Christmasy I have flavoured them with cinnamon powder, which explains the light brown tinge. They make good edible ornaments too.

star cookies

While I chose the flower shape to make my cookies, Nabeel made Stained Glass Cookies using his favourite smiley cutters. The star shape in particular. I think it looks so pretty and fun. Glad Nabeel is getting creative with food : )

The recipe is Basic Eggless Sugar Cookie Dough which I have shared earlier in this recipe –  Halloween Finger Cookies

christmas cookies

Stained Glass Cookies – Christmas Special (Basic Sugar Cookies flavoured with Cinnamon)

Ingredients
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup butter, cold
½ teaspoon Vanilla essence
1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon powder
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Milk, if required
Colored Sugar Candy – approx 1 cup (I used Poppins. Fox candy also works well)

Method
Step 1 – In a dry bowl, place butter and sugar together. Cream them using a whisk.
Step 2 – Beat the mixture, till light and fluffy.
Step 3 – Add in the vanilla essence, mix.
Step 4 – Carefully fold in the flour, cinnamon powder and baking powder, mix gently to make dough. Use a spoon or two of milk, if required.
Step 5 – Rest the dough in fridge for 10mins before shaping.
Step 6 – Divide the dough into 2 parts and roll them out, one by one, into 1/4inch thickness.
Step 7 – Use any shape cookie cutter but ensure you have 2 sizes available in it.
Step 8 – Use the larger cutter and cut out cookies. Then use the smaller sized cutter and cut out the center. Place the cookies on a lined or greased baking sheet.
Step 9 – Crush same colored sugar candy and carefully place it in the centre hollow part of the cookies. If you wish to use the cookies as Christmas Tree Ornaments then make a hole in them before putting to bake. Refer to this image 

stained glass cookies 2
Step 10 – Place the cookies in a hot oven which has been pre-heating for 10 minutes at 180 C. The cookies should bake in about 15 minutes.
Step 11 – Remove from oven and cool the cookies.

Hope you enjoy making and sharing these cookies as much as I did. You can also try out the below listed Christmas Special Recipes.

Santa Crunch
Yule Log 
Edible Christmas Tree Decorations – Post 1 & Post 2

Connect with me on TwitterPinterestInstagram Facebook. Follow the blog to get recipes right in your inbox!

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

 

Advertisements

Pista Badam Biscuits

Here’s a recipe I learnt more than a decade ago and finally tried for Diwali this year. Pista Badam Biscuits are those typical melt-in the mouth kinda Indianised cookies loaded with nuts and with a hint of saffron, sold commonly at local Indian bakeries.

pista badam biscuit

The recipe is off my bakery journal from my IHM days. I prepared the biscuits during one of my third year practicals and since then have been a fan. However, I have always craved for the biscuits and quickly bought them but never made them. This year I don’t know what motivated me to dig out the journal from one of my cartons kept in the loft and try it for Diwali. I thoroughly enjoyed baking the cookies and thinking about the lost days of college life, especially the ones spent sweating out in the kitchen.

indian cookies

Pista Badam Biscuits

Ingredients
3 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoon ghee
5 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoon milkmaid
1 cup flour (maida)
1/4th tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder
1/4th teaspoon saffron strands or yellow colour
½ teaspoon pista essence
Slivered almonds and pistas, for garnish

Method
Step 1 – Whisk butter, ghee, sugar, milkmaid, cardamom powder, yellow colour, pista essence together well.
Step 2 – Add flour and mix well.
Step 3 – Bind together, to form dough. Refrigerate for 30minutes if the dough is too soft to roll.
Step 4 – Roll and cut into a shape of your choice. Place on baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 25min.

Top with slivered almonds and pistas.

Connect with us on TwitterPinterestInstagram Facebook. Follow the blog to get recipes right in your inbox!

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Mini Peanut Butter Cupcakes

peanut butter cupcakesThe cupcakes are basic and light with chocolate beautifully complimenting the peanut butter flavour. 

And so, Nabeel is currently enjoying his summer break in full swing, ensuring I am on my toes 24 hours, or at least till he is awake. His constant needs to play, eat, read, and have fun sucks out all my energy and time. I am enjoying no doubt, but the everyday dilemma of “how to keep him busy? is tiring me completely. This year am adopting “no summer class” policy (hope to stick to it till the end) which means all me time will be converted to only mommy time..phew!

peanut butter cake

So, yesterday, we spent time in the kitchen baking cupcakes…something both of us thoroughly enjoy. We baked these cutsie mini cupcakes flavored with Peanut Butter and slathered with chocolate. Peanut butter gained entry into my kitchen for the first time and soon it was used in a baking recipe…something I generally do with all my new found ingredients :-).

We spent our evening snacking on these beauties while watching our 100th session (no exaggeration, really) of Kung Fu Panda.

cupcakes

Heading to the park now, please find this simple recipe of Mini Peanut Cupcakes, below. I adapted it from here.

Do try them with your kid..super fun and messy too 😉

chocolate frosting

Mini Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Makes 24 mini OR 12 regular sized cupcakes

Ingredients
Refined wheat flour – 1 cup
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
Salt – a pinch
Creamy Peanut Butter – 1/2 cup
Butter – 1/3 cup
Castor Sugar – ½ cup
Eggs – 2 nos
Vanilla Essence – 2 drops
Milk – 3 tablespoons
Melted Dark Chocolate – ½ cup , for the frosting

Method
Step 1 – Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Keep it aside.
Step 2 – In a bowl, put peanut butter, butter and sugar together using an electric beater till fluffy and white in colour.
Step 3 – Lightly mix in eggs, one by one. Add Vanilla essence.
Step 4 – Fold in the dry ingredients with a light hand.
Step 5 – Mix in milk to adjust the batter consistency.
Step 6 – Pour the cupcake batter in moulds and place in a pre-heated oven at 180 C for 25 minutes, to bake.
Step 7 – Once the cupcakes have risen, remove and cool before serving.
Step 8 – Top the cupcakes with melted dark chocolate.

Connect with us on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram & Facebook. Follow the blog to get recipes right in your inbox!

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamon-rolls

Cinnamon is my favourite spice to use, when it comes to baking and these Cinnamon rolls have been on my to-do list since long. Having enjoyed them at many breakfast buffets during holidays the urge to bake them at home had just been growing. Finally, when I managed to get cream cheese I knew what it would be used for…to dress my homemade Cinnamon Rolls. More so, one of my favourite bloggers made these recently and I had to follow suit 🙂

Cinnamon Rolls are a favourite breakfast item in the US, equally enjoyed in Europe and other parts of the world, made famous mostly by the popular chain of cinnamon roll outlets, Cinnabon. Cinnabon is now in India and Indian’s sure love their cinnamon rolls.

breakfast-rolls

Cinnamon rolls are commonly baked and that is how I cooked them. But, they can also be cooked by deep-frying, similar to doughnuts, so if you are a doughnut and a cinnamon roll fan then you have a chance to enjoy the best of both at the same time.

cinnamon-rolls-with-cream-cheese-icingWe enjoyed the cinnamon rolls for breakfast (obviously) and my boy enjoyed licking off the sinful cream cheese icing the most.

If you are in love with Cinnamon Rolls and would like making them at home then follow this easy, from scratch recipe that yields melt in the mouth rolls. The icing can be prepared using only icing sugar and water in case cream cheese is not easily available.

Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients 

For the dough
Flour – 140gms
Egg – 1 nos, beaten
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Melted Butter – 2 tbsp
Yoghurt – 2 tbsp
Active Dry Yeast – 1 tsp (5 grams) mixed with 2 tbsp luke warm water
Salt – a pinch

For the cinnamon layer
2 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp brown sugar
½ to 1 tbsp cinnamon powder (depending upon how mush cinnamon you can take)

For cream cheese icing
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp milk
Few drops of vanilla essence

Melted butter, for greasing and brushing

Method
Step 1 – To prepare the dough, activate yeast in luke warm water. Cover and keep aside till the mixture turns frothy.
Step 2 – Sieve the flour in a bowl, add in salt and mix well.
Step 3 – Mix in the remaining dough ingredients, including yeast mixture and knead to form pliable soft dough.
Step 4 – Cover the bowl with a muslin cloth and let the dough double in size. It will take approximately 1 hour for the dough to proof and rise.
Step 5 – Once the dough has risen, remove it on the kitchen platform and punch out the air.
Step 6 – Roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly about 7 x 4 inches.
Step 7 – For the cinnamon layer, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon powder well. Apply melted butter over the dough and spread the cinnamon mixture evenly, over it.

cinnamon-roll-layering
Step 8 – Roll the rectangle tightly, lengthwise. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 equal cinnamon rolls.

cutting-rolls
Step 9 – Take an 8 inch round cake tin and grease it with butter. Place the cinnamon rolls in it with cut side up. Cover the rolls with a damp muslin cloth and let them double in size.

proofing-the-rolls
Step 10 – While the rolls proof, pre-heat the oven to 200 C.
Step 11 – Once ready, pop the rolls into the oven. Rolls should take about 40 to 50 minutes to bake. If you notice the top of the rolls browning then cover with a piece of foil to prevent further darkening.
Step 12 – Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and brush with melted butter, if you like. Keep aside to cool before pouring the cream cheese icing.
Step 13 – To prepare the icing, mix all the ingredients vigorously to a smooth mixture. Pour over warm cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.

cinnabon

Connect with us on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram & Facebook. Follow the blog to get recipes right in your inbox!

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Halloween Finger Cookies

Last weekend, as a part of the #WeekendCookingProject Nabeel and I baked some cookies..real creepy Halloween cookies.

spooky-fingers

Halloween is few days away and the buzz created by the infinite Halloween events organised across the city encouraged me to have a little celebration of our own. It was also a good way of introducing this spooky festival, of witches and ghosts, to Nabeel.

halloween-finger-cookies

We picked up the Basic Sugar Cookie Dough from here and set off! This cookie dough has eggs but I have also shared (below) a tried and tested recipe of Eggless Cookie Dough, in case someone is not in mood for eggs or probably has run out of them.

Shaping and giving the final touches to the finger cookies was what Nabeel enjoyed the most and of course, serving them to his frightened friends. He introduced the cookies to them as “my mom’s fingers” and the terrified beings came running to me in order to cross check. How innocent! 🙂

fingers

Making Halloween Finger Cookies is pretty simple and the end results looks like a real work of painstaking art. They make a wonderful decor too if you don’t find them appetizing enough to eat 🙂

So, get set for Halloween by trying out these simple finger shaped cookies.

Halloween Finger Cookies
Makes 15 to 20 finger cookies

Ingredients
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup butter, cold
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon Vanilla essence
½ teaspoon baking powder
Milk, if required
10 to 12 Almonds cut into half
Any Red colored, Jam or sweet sauce

Method
Step 1 – In a dry bowl, place butter and sugar together. Cream them using a whisk.
Step 2 – Beat the mixture, till light and fluffy.
Step 3 – Add in the vanilla essence, mix.
Step 4 – Carefully fold in the flour and baking powder, mix gently to make dough. Use a spoon or two of milk, if required.
Step 5 – Rest the dough in fridge for 10 mins before shaping into fingers.
Step 6 – Divide the dough into approx 15 to 20 parts and shape into cylinders, they should be unevenly thick.
Step 7 – Place the shaped cookies on a greased baking tray and then stick a almond halve (skin side down) on the top end, to work as nails. Make wrinkled skin marks using a knife, look at your fingers for inspiration 🙂

unbaked-finger-cookies
Step 8 – Place the cookies in a hot oven which has been pre-heating for 10 minutes at 160 C. The cookies should bake in about 15 minutes.
Step 9 – Remove from oven and cool the cookies.
Step 10 – To give the final look, carefully pull out the almond and put a blob of the red jam or sauce in the cavity. Place the almond back, pressing it gently so that the blood oozes out. You can also paint some blood over the other areas of the finger to make them look bloodied and creepy.

halloween-treats

Happy Halloween!

Connect with us on Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook. Follow the blog to get recipes right in your inbox!

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Garlic Breadsticks – Dominos Style

The popular Garlic Breadsticks from Dominos are a favourite of Nabeel. We always end up ordering their dry, chewy, zero topping pizzas for the greed of breadsticks (because they don’t deliver unless you order pizzas). So, one fine Saturday afternoon when Nabeel yearned to dig into some hot breadsticks from Dominos and they refused to deliver (just) the breadsticks, we decided to bake our own breadsticks. With time in hand and internet to the rescue I read through a few Dominos Garlic Breadstick recipes, and then finally devised my own recipe to try. In sometime we were relishing freshly homemade garlic bread sticks – Dominos style while watching Po do some Kung Fu 🙂

img_20161015_154549

The breadsticks are usually enjoyed along with a cheesy dip but since we were in no mood to make one, we decided to stuff the breadsticks with some cheese and make up for the absent dip. It was wonderful biting into homemade cheese burst breadsticks. If you prefer plain breadsticks then do not fold the dough sheet as suggested (step 9), in that case you will end up with 2 sets of 8 breadsticks. We used garlic cloves but garlic powder works wonders too, that is what is used by Dominos.

img_20161015_155331

Nabeel baked bread for the very first time and looking at Nabeel’s cooking interest, I have now decided to dedicate Saturday’s for cooking with him. It’s going to be our own #WeekendCookingProject .

Stay tuned for more real mommy and child cooking sessions on the blog.

img_20161018_152122

Dominos style Garlic Breadsticks
Makes 1 breadstick loaf (as shown in the image) Approx. 8 stuffed breadsticks

Ingredients
3/4th cup – flour / maida
1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
Mixed Herbs or Pizza seasoning, as required
Pepper powder, as required
Cheese (of your choice) – cheese spread, parmesan, processed, etc, as required
Melted butter, to brush
Method
Step 1 – In a bowl, mix yeast, sugar and water together. Keep it aside and allow the mixture to froth.


Step 2 – Once the yeast is all frothy, add the flour, salt and oil to the bowl and mix well. Let all the ingredients come together to form dough.


Step 3 – Remove the mixture on a clean working counter and knead well to form soft, pliable dough. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and keep it aside till it doubles in size. This would take approximately 25 minutes on a hot day.


Step 4 – Once the dough has doubled up, remove on the working counter and punch it to remove all the trapped air. Knead for 5 minutes to get back to normal size.


Step 5 – Take a baking tray and grease it with oil.
Step 6 – Roll the dough into rectangular shape, to fit into the tray.


Step 7 – Place the rolled dough on the tray and try to even it out.
Step 8 – Brush some melted butter over the dough. Spread chopped garlic, herbs, salt and cheese on one half of the dough.


Step 9 – Fold the dough, seal and tuck the edges well so that they don’t open up during baking.
Step 10 – Make deep marks using knife to get the breadstick shape.

Step 11 – Brush the top of breadsticks with butter, sprinkle herbs and some pepper powder. Keep the dough aside to rise, for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 12 – Meanwhile, set the oven temperature to 200C and let it preheat.
Step 13 – Place the breadsticks in the hot oven and bake for 25 minutes or till the top turns light brown.


Step 14 – Remove the bread sticks from oven and brush with butter. Serve hot.

img_20161015_154604

Connect with us on Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook. Follow the blog to get recipes right in your inbox!

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Demystifying the basics of bread making & WHOLE WHEAT BREAD LOAF recipe

basic of bread making

** Long post alert! Prolonged scrolling time 🙂 **

I am back after a 4 month long hiatus. Not that I was happy to be away but the situation had me tied up completely, leaving no time to blog. However, in these 4 months I have had a whale of a time thinking of, and sometimes whipping up few new recipes, draft posts of which are waiting to be published that I promise to share asap.

Today’s post is all about breads and the technique behind them. Also sharing, a lovely Whole Wheat Bread Load recipe, which has taken up a lot of my R&D time, but has been worth it, in the end.

Nabeel and I love white sliced bread and it used to make up for our quick breakfast every other day, hmm..well, till a few months ago. The day I learnt about the zero nutrition and negative health effects processed factory made breads have I decided to slowly discontinue them in my routine. It was not easy to eliminate bread completely from our lives and therefore I was constantly looking for recipes and inspiration to bake my own healthy bread loaf. Finally, after lot of reading and some unsuccessful kitchen attempts I found the formula to make the perfect Bread Loaf.

whole wheat breakfast bread

Baking is more science than art! And within it baking, bread is one of the most difficult things to create if you don’t know the science behind it. Once you understand the theory then there is no stopping. Based on my understanding of this science, I am sharing with you a few bread basics that you need to keep in mind before you attempt making any breads. Hope it gives you an idea of what is added when and why.

whole wheat bread slice

Demystifying Bread Making

1) Good bread is the result of good gluten formation. Gluten is nothing but the stringy texture of dough you achieve when wheat flour is mixed with proportionate quantity of water and kneaded well. So the bottom line is knead well to reap well 🙂
2) Refined flour or Maida produces better gluten in comparison to Whole wheat flour. That explains why most bread products use refined flour. This however, is changing thanks to bread improvers, additives, gluten flour, etc that is used by bread manufacturers. They help give a good texture to the product but are totally zero on nutrition.
3) It is possible to bake bread using whole wheat flour, just DON’T compare the end result with a refined wheat flour product. A whole wheat bread is denser and heavy on the stomach but much nutritious than any other bread.
4) Yeast, fresh or dry plays an important role in bread making. It helps in fermentation which gives the airy texture to the bread. Active dry yeast is easily available and much stronger then fresh yeast. Both are interchangeable in a recipe, fresh yeast is always double of active dry yeast and similarly dry yeast is half of fresh yeast quantity.
5) Sugar is the food for yeast, it helps yeast grow. While salt is the birth control measure of yeast :-), it helps keep the yeast from over multiplying which might cause the bread to crack and collapse while baking. Thus, salt is added only after first fermentation so that sugar can help the yeast grow during the first round and then salt controls it during the second.
6) Yeast requires warmth to grow but it dies at 60 C so always use luke warm water (NO hot water) to make the solution.
7) Yeast products to be baked at 200 C and over only. Since, the yeast dies at a low temperature the high temperature helps cook the bread fast retaining the air pockets even though the yeast has stopped producing them. This gives the texture to the product.
8) Always cool down freshly baked bread before slicing it.
9) Remember the more you practice the better you get at baking breads. Initial attempts might be unsatisfactory but they will help you understand the techniques well.

whole wheat bread loaf

Whole Wheat Bread Loaf Recipe
Makes 1 (6×3.5×3.5 inch) loaf

Ingredients
320 grams Whole Wheat flour
15 grams or 1 tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
10 grams or 2 teaspoon Honey or Sugar
150 ml lukewarm water
15 grams or 1 tablespoon homemade ghee or Butter
5 grams or 1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons (approx) Sesame Seeds
Melted ghee or Butter

Method
Step 1: First make the yeast solution by dissolving yeast and honey in the lukewarm water. Set it aside for 15 to 20 minutes or till the solution froths.


Step 2: Meanwhile, measure the flour and empty it over your working counter. Grease your loaf tin with oil and keep aside.
Step 3: Make a well in the flour pile and pour the frothed yeast solution in it, carefully.

flour well
Step 4: Bring the flour together and mix. Once the yeast solution has been mixed take some water and start kneading. You might need approx. 150 ml to 200 ml of water to make the dough.

mixing dough
Step 5: Knead the dough well by stretching and pulling it. The secret to well baked bread lies in the kneading of its dough. Refer image to understand how to knead properly.

how to knead bread dough
Step 6: Once you achieve smooth yet firm dough, round it up neatly and place aside covered with a moist cotton cloth or muslin. Let the dough rest till it doubles in size (first fermentation). The time here varies depending upon the temperature but it should be anywhere between 20 to 50 minutes.

bread dough texture
Step 7: To check whether the dough is ready lightly press it with fingers, the feeling is same like when one touches sponge. Turn the dough and look for web like formation at the bottom (refer image).


Step 8: Using your palm, cream ghee or butter and salt together on the counter.

salt and fat mixture
Step 9: Literally, throw the fermented dough over the mixture and punch it to release all the air trapped within it. Lightly knead and shape into a rectangular log with the sides neatly tucked in. The log should be slightly smaller than the loaf tin.

punching bread dough
Step 10: Place the dough inside the loaf tin and gently press using fingers to cover the corners. Cover the loaf tin with a cloth or muslin and set it aside to double in size (second fermentation). This fermentation will take anywhere between 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the room temperature. The hotter it is faster the fermentation.


Step 11: Switch on the oven and set it at 220 C. Once the loaf has doubled in size, uncover it and brush it very gently with some water. Sprinkle sesame seeds and press them lightly on the loaf so that they stick to it. Let the dough remain for 5 minutes.

second fermentation
Step 12: Once the oven is hot, place the loaf tin on its center rack. The loaf will take around 40 to 50 minutes to bake.

Step 13: Remove the loaf and immediately brush it with melted ghee or butter. Take the loaf off the tin and keep it on a rack to cool. It is important that the loaf is removed from the tin and then cooled.

freshly baked bread loaf
Step 14: Slice and serve the bread only after cooling it completely.

whole wheat sandwich bread

Nabeel enjoying the bread

Connect with us on Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook. Follow the blog to get recipes right in your inbox!

Till then, Love Being a Mommy!