Baking | Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies … cookie l♥v

“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”
Robert Fulghum

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies 1Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies … Cookies Cookies Cookies. The events of the past week asked for something comforting … the call was for cookies! Last months Daring Bakers challenge was meant to awaken the cookie monster in us, which it did. Sadly,  I never did get down to posting them.

Pistachio & Craisin Cookies Excuses? Plenty and thankfully not too lame. Exams! Then the internet has played truant. The service provider refused to acknowledge the basic problem. A month later, after trying every solution under the sun, they finally agreed to redo the wiring {which is what we asked for in the first place}. Frustrating but true, like so many other things in life. I am happy to be back to blogging with less stress.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies Of late, I’ve been bitten by the brownie monster and it was just  a matter of time before I hit cookie mode. Daring Bakers in November set me off. Made two lots {downgraded from an ambitious 5-6}. Then the posting date passed by with intermittent internet and these poor cookies went into drafts. With the net now up and racing, I thought I’d better get them out before the bells begin to jingle louder. Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt and Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies and Gingerbread Men CookiesWhen the kidlets were younger, December always woke up the cookie monster in me. The jar was never empty. I was always elbow deep in dough {well almost}. My days {and often nights} would go in backbreaking baking, frosting cookies, doing stain glass cookies, hanging dozens onto the tree, making dozens more for the kids, their friends, for orders etc.

Wholewheat Gingerbread Men Cookies 2Then the ‘forever hungry for pretty Christmas cookies’ kids grew up. I fell to easier and more practical cookies to make. I hardly ever do cookies that need dressing up and fussing over. Wholewheat Gingerbread Men Cookies are an exception though; I really enjoy doing these. {Ceramics courtesy Urban Dazzle}

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt Now I consider myself lucky if freshly baked cookies even get a chance to ‘cool completely‘! Before I know it, dirty grubby teen ‘lad’ fingers hesitatingly come forward to grab a few, while the older sister bites gently into them. The two are ALWAYS game for cookies.

Pistachio & Craisin Cookies 1I started off pretty early in November. First out of the oven were Fluted Pistachio & Craisin Cookies. Simple, crisp and delicious with craisins and pistachios adding beautiful flavour. The craisins were orange flavoured, so slight hints of orange teased the palette! Good beginning!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt 3Then I happened to see these chippers on a beautiful blog  Reclaiming Provincial. I instantly knew they were about to happen in the near future, pretty near future. I mentally ticked off everything I loved about them …

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt They are from a book I long to own {read yet another book} Good to the Grain, Kim Boyce. Wholewheat flour only. Brown sugar too. Seemed like a good deal! They certainly were! Watch them as they bake though … they can go from brown to dark brown in a heartbeat.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea Salt 6My cookies didn’t flatten like the ones I saw. Maybe because our Indian wholewheat is heaps different from the American whole wheat pastry flour {I presume the original recipe uses wholewheat pastry flour}. Maybe the egg I used was a tad small. Whatever, but these are darned delicious cookies!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Smoked Sea SaltI did add a drizzle of honey; maybe I could have added another. There’s plenty of time for experimenting because these are good cookies and are going to show up more often! Sorry for the delay in this Daring Bakers post Peta.

Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Pumpkin Pie Tartlets in a Walnut Shell with Spiced Ginger Cream. Happy Thanksgiving!

“Foodie friends – Rosa, Helene, Alessio, Deeba, Vidya, Jamie. Love learning new stuff from you now and then! Whether it be your blogs,inspiring tweets or delicious FB posts. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate and thank you! :-)”
Fahad Khan via FB

Pumpkin Pie TartletHow beautifully can sentiments be conveyed. The lines above are a reflection of everything the inspiring food blogging  community and foodies share with large hearts. It’s a humbling feeling. Two small words like Thank You that can make the day shine! ‘Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate’. Thank you for being here. It’s Pumpkin Pie Tartlets in a Walnut Shell with Spiced Ginger Cream to celebrate the day!

Pumpkin Pie TartletsThanksgiving? There are some days which hold great significance in the Western world yet go largely unnoticed here. Every culture and every country however has a day they hold dear to say thank you for good deeds. For the baker in me, today is incomplete without baking a pie with a pumpkin, an opportunity to use this humble vegetable in a more fun way!

pumpkin puree from scratchAs aromas of pumpkin pie spice waft through the house, the lad will come sniffing the air hungrily. Pumpkin pie? YUM! I think I make this just because of him and his love for pumpkin {in dessert form}.This is also the only way both kids will eat the yellow veggie, rather hungrily devour it! This time of the year drives me to grab some pumpkin and roast it for puree.

Pumpkin Pie TartletsIt’s a humbling feeling to know that such a simple vegetable can give you such stunning end results. Since we are not a ‘pumpkin in the can’ country, the prep is always from scratch  Pumpkin or kaddu is extensively used in cooking on the subcontinent as it is cheap, grows abundantly and is nutritious. It sometimes sneaks into Indian desserts as well like halwa and barfi too.

Pumpkin Pie Tartlets

Adding pumpkin pie spice to puree energises the taste buds into reaching for higher ground, into appreciating how much more worth this humble yellow gourd can be! It’s simple to roast and make your own pumpkin puree, yet I find myself only ‘walking the roast the pumpkin plank‘ every Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie TartletsI wonder why? The Pumpkin Pie Tartlets in a Walnut Shell with Spiced Ginger Cream were really enjoyed by the family. The son gobbled his tartlet in a matter of seconds. Mmmm, these are GOOD!! They are simple to put together. I enjoy doing a walnut tart shell, inspired by the Whipped Strawberry Curd Cream Tartlets with Walnut Shortbread Crust.

Pumpkin Pie TartletsBack to the TG moment. I have to say a big Thank You to Finla for these very charming and ‘so me’ ceramic ramekins she sent me {with ALL the other stuff} when her rockstar hub visited Delhi last month. I’ve been impatient to use them, and this seemed a good time to do so.

Pumpkin Pie Tartlets I love them; the colours and the feel full of rustic appeal. I wasn’t sure they would work well with tartlets. As you can see, luck was my friend {So was parchment paper. For that, gratitude to a sweet reader, now friend, Komal in Mumbai who continues to feed the ‘parchment monster‘ in me}. Big thank you!

Pumpkin Pie TartletsOn the topic of ramekins and parchment paper, a word about pumpkin pie spice. The spice is simple to make at home. It’s a mix of powdered cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. A good blend can be made in the 2:1:1 proportion i.e. 2tsp cinnamon powder, 1 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp ground nutmeg.

Pumpkin Pie TartletsAnd if you are making homemade pumpkin puree, make sure your puree is not too watery. You will not get a nice well set pie. The puree should be thick and can be cooked down if it’s too liquidy. If you add the pie spice to it while cooking down, the flavours will mature well. I added some freshly grated ginger juice to my filling. Nice!

Pumpkin Pie TartletsTo tie up all the warm flavours in the Pumpkin Pie Tartlets, I spiced the whipped cream gently with some powdered ginger. I did attempt to make some walnut caramel shards but the raw sugar did not oblige! Pumpkin, walnuts, ginger, cinnamon …warm, comforting, filling, delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving you beautiful readers. Thank you as always for stopping by! I leave you with a collage of random things that make me happy.

Random 'happy' things

Don’t forget to tell me if you have something special you make with pumpkin!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Almond Digestive Chocolate Squares & Roasted Garam Masala Chickpeas … Diwali / Holiday Baking

“This is my advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun”
Julia Child

Almond Digestive Chocolate Squares & Roasted ChickpeasIt’s Diwali, the festival of lights, India’s biggest festival and one that literally lights up the length and breath of this beautiful country. That this time of the year is hectic seems an understatement; I race to keep up with holiday baking. For today, I went a little sweet and some savoury - Almond Digestive Chocolate Squares & Roasted Garam Masala Chickpeas

LampsOh, I bought some lamps. Actually got these lamps for myself after buying some for Finla {bottom of this post}. Her better half was visiting India for a music fest and I asked her what I could send. Her wishlist had Diwali lamps if possible! I ordered some for her, then got really tempted and got some for ourselves too. I loved the rustic metallic look!

Almond Chocolate SquaresThis is the best time of the year in North India. The nips in the air, winter is beginning to make itself felt. It’s time for soup, for breads, for baking; generally time to tuck into food without feeling too guilty. I was short on time as always yet wanted to bake something. These little squares hit the sweet spot without being too sweet or too buttery. Nice balance of flavours and quick, convenient holiday baking.

Almond Chocolate SquaresThese got made FAST! They’re an adaptation of a simple recipe I’ve had scribbled for ages, passed down by a friend. Of course I added my little twist adding whole almonds to the digestive biscuit base. I love the texture that nuts add. Maybe hazelnuts would work nicely too.

Almond Chocolate SquaresLack of time and I had to fast track. Instead of waiting for the bake to cool completely and then pour melted chocolate over the top, I sprinkled the chocolate chips over the warm bake. Worked well. I do this quite often when I bake Oat Energy Bars. It’s always a happy feeling to see how beautifully dark chocolate melts gently on warm bakes!

Almond Chocolate SquaresNothing like a quick fine slicing of almonds and pistachios over the melted chocolate to dress up the bites. A slicer comes quite handy at times like this unless of course you have the luxury of sliced nuts on hands. I don’t!! Roasted Chickpeas It’s nice to think up something savoury to meet the sweet. Savoury is my weakness! The Philips AirFryer continues to call my name and fuel my imagination with creative ideas. I’ve done roasted chickpeas in the oven before, so thought  that they might come out well in the AirFryer too. Why ever not? Roasted Chickpeas Good idea! Great idea! I do chickpeas from scratch here {we are not a canned chickpea country}. It isn’t cumbersome though does require a little planning like an overnight soak. {At this time I would LOVE to be a chickpea … I’d give an arm and a leg for an overnight soak! Oh my weary bones…} Roasted Chickpeas Once you have cooked chickpeas, toss them in EVOO, then spice them as you like. I did one batch with garam masala, salt and a dash of lime juice. YUM! The second batch was with a mix of garam masala, dried mint, cinnamon, red chili powder and roasted cumin. I’d love to do a garlic or chipotle, or maybe a honey garlic. How about smoked paprika? Roasted Chickpeas These came out CRISPY good from the AirFryer in about 20-25 minutes, a few shakes in between. An oven would do the same job at 200C for about 45 minutes, with some shaking up too.  Both teens had a go at tossing them high in the air and playing catch with the mouth. The dog was obviously HAPPY as she got all the missed catches. She LOVES chickpeas – soaked, boiled and now crispy garam masala too! CocoHope you enjoy these recipes. Both are relatively fuss free and very quick, great additions to the holiday table! Do you have quick fun filled holiday baking recipes that light up your lives? I would LOVE to hear about them! Have a wonderful holiday baking season!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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