Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Bake it up and bake it down!!!

I am quite fond of chocolate cookies; have even tried my fair share of chocolate cookie recipes but I must confess that they have not all been great.

Cookies, especially with granulated sugar in the ingredients, are certainly high up there on my "Recipes That Scare Me" list. Somehow they usually turn out either too thin, bubbly, dry, or crunchy. Not that I am not getting the science behind this failure; its just that I dont have the patience to cream the butter and sugar properly and dont even let the dough rest in the refrigerator for a while - just because my sweet tooth starts getting mad if I make it wait that long. Sometimes, I feel that when God was handing out patience, I was certainly standing in the wrong line or mustve got frustrated of waiting and left. I am so not a good waiting person and that surely is a reason why most of my dishes never turn out how I want them to.

Anyways, coming back to the cookies, I actually have a whole lot of chocolate cookie recipes bookmarked to try – but the one Ive baked recently was indeed worthy of sharing. Its just sooooo simple and easy that one doesnt need much expertise to make and the result represents exactly what my definition of a perfect home-made cookie is: It should be chewy, a little crispy around the edges but barely done in the centre and above all  - rich chocolaty in flavour.







Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa
1/2 cup  butter, room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 drops vanilla essence
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecan)

Idea adapted from :
http://www.browneyedbaker.com


Preheat the oven to 160 C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.




Sieve together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder in a bowl.





Take a bowl and beat the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Tip: if you feel that the granules are not ready to cooperate with you, try microvawing for not more that 15 seconds and then beat again .









 Add in the vanilla essence and mix.





Start adding the flour mixture. Add half of it first and some milk as well and beat on low speed just until incorporated.





 Add rest of the dry mixture and the milk and beat until combined.





Using a spatula, fold in the chopped white chocolate as well as the nuts. Chill in the refrigerator for atleast 15 minutes.












Divide the dough into 12 portions (for larger cookies) or 24 for smaller ones. Make small balls, place on the lined trays and press down on them to flatten a bit. I made six bigger ones and 12 small cookies!!

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes on the lower support. Rotate the tray front to back, tranfer onto the upper support of the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes.

The cookies are done!!! Tip:  Please note that the cookies are still soft and will get a crunchy texture once cooled outside the oven. DO NOT OVERBAKE!!!!






Let the cookies cool completely on the baking trays.  Remove from the parchment paper. Store in an airtight container.





A glass of cold milk is all you need to complete this luscious treat!!!



Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cheesy Bites!!

After a long long break from blogging and being out of the country, I am finally back in Europe and feeling pretty desperate to start with what I enjoy doing the most in my life, i.e. playing around with food and recipes in my own kitchen.

Not that I was on a cooking break all these weeks. Since entire vacations were spent with family and old friends this time, I had literally been forced to experience one of the unfortunate consequences of writing this blog, i.e. the unlimited list of requests for food recipes along with the live demos!! Even within the family premises, everyone seemed to be waiting for a culinary miracle every evening. But again, it was indeed a lot of fun cooking for the loved ones.

It is actually always a great opportunity for taking chance on new dishes whenever I am at my moms or in-laws. This is the best thing about coming from a family where everyone simply loves food - that they never make you feel down even if it turns out to be a flop. So, there had been a lot of experimentation and research going on lately.

Since not all the ingredients, I am generally used to working with here in Germany, were easily available there, a lot of editing had to be done in order to get the right balance of things. This helped not only in adding several new dishes to my repertoire but also made me vowed to never again make several others without having the proper ingredients on hand. But no need for you to get scared - like always, I shall be sharing my cooking adventures, disasters and escapades with all possible details here on the blog so that everyone can adjust the recipes to fit their lifestyle without having too much trouble.
 

But before I forget, a very warm welcome to all the new readers and a hearty thanks to those who have been repeat visitors even in my abscence. Its been a while since you have seen a delicious entry here but I am back now and will hopefully get a handle on posting about the good stuff that I have eaten/made during the last two months.

One of the quick that I am totally into lately and something, the entire house also fell in love with is the Italian-style nibbles that take almost no effort to make but even less time to disappear.






Cheesy Bean Fritters

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups green beans (fresh/frozen)
1 tbs butter
1 medium sized chopped onion
1/2 cup shredded mozerella
1 egg
75 g cream cheese
1/2 tsp pizza spices
1/4 tsp dried or fresh oregano
Salt and black pepper
Red chilli flakes (optional)
1 tbs flour
1 tbs cornstarch

Blanch the green beans in salted water. Tip: adding few drops of lemon juice will help the vegetables retain their fresh colour and enhances the taste as well. Take butter in a frying pan and fry the chopped onions until soft and translucent. Tranfer the beans and onions into a bowl and place aside to cool.





In a seperate bowl, mix together rest of the ingredients.






Add in the vegetables and fold together using a spoon.






Heat oil in a pan.
Add heaping tablespoon-fulls of batter into the hot oil and deep fry the bites on medium until golden brown on all sides. Dish out on a plate lined with kitchen papers. This will help absorb the excess oil.

Serve immediately with dips of your choice.
Recommended: Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1/4 cup tomato ketchup, 1/2 tsp mustard paste and 1/4 cup fresh cream. Season with salt and pepper.




Buon appetito!