No Bake | Date & Prune Chocolate Truffles … truffles on a diet don’t get better than this #festivefood

“Life is like a box of chocolates … You never know what you’re gonna get.” Forrest Gump

Date, Prune & Walnut Chocolate TrufflesDate, Prune & Walnut Chocolate Truffles are something I never thought I’d make. Yet a chance FB update sighting a while ago set me on the track. And my, what a great idea. Healthy, delicious, a power house of energy and guilt free indulgence, truffles on a diet don’t get better than this!Date, Prune & Walnut Chocolate Truffles These were fun to make, and so fast track! No bake, no cook, practically no work … almost like instant gratification! I got to step one in a matter of minutes but one bite into it was like, “Ummm nice, but something was missing, not indulgent enough“. Into the fridge they went!Date, Prune & Walnut Chocolate TrufflesThey sat there bugging me the next morning. Thought of adding some dark chocolate to the truffles and running them in the processor again but the task of remaking the little balls bothered me! Seemed daunting for a fast track dessert.Date, Prune & Walnut Chocolate TrufflesNext idea, and it turned out to be a good one. The dark couverture I had ordered reached that same morning. Melted some in the microwave and had such a great time dunking each little ball into luscious, thick, satiny melted dark chocolate.Date, Prune & Walnut Chocolate TrufflesMelted ooeey gooey dark chocolate is strangely therapeutic.  Is it just me? Whatever, but I really enjoyed this part and was rewarded in a while.Date, Prune & Walnut Chocolate TrufflesThese were GOOD! The teen loved them till the junior told her they had dates. “I don’t like them“, she declared, but soon was back digging into the bowl. ‘These are really good,” she declared. “Butter?” … the diet goes on, very conditional though!!  {Note: Thank you Sangeeta for the wooden board above. I ♥ it!}Date, Prune & Walnut Chocolate Truffles These make for good gifts in the festive season. They were a great addition to the Porcelain Buono Decoration Plate Silver from Urban Dazzle. It’s quite reasonably priced too. This was one of the many products I received for review which I shared when I made one bowl cocoa wholewheat almond brownies .Date, Prune & Walnut Chocolate TrufflesAbout the truffles. They have a wonderful texture. You can play around with the combinations since both prunes and dates afford a good sticky base. Don’t like walnuts, use almonds. Don’t like nuts or are allergic to them, use dark chocolate, crystallised ginger, candied peel. Roll them in sprinkles after the dark chocolate has almost set; jazz them up if you like! Urban Dazzle Diwali Range Also, thank you Urban Dazzle for giving me a chance to review your Diwali range. I really love the variety and the quality of stoneware, ceramic, porcelain, drinkware and bakeware. You can see some of the range in my picture up there. I did wholewheat gingerbread men the other day and they looked so HAPPY on the platters, ornamental & ceramic.Panna Cotta 3 waysI also did a vanilla panna cotta in three flavours paired with three dessert sauces – coffee with a dark chocolate sauce, raspberry with a raspberry lime sauce, and saffron with  salted caramel saffron sauce! Then did mini panna cotta in these tiny little white ceramic bowls, three on a plate {The honeycomb plate is from a set my sis sent me from the US. White love!}Urban Dazzle Diwali RangeThe bowls are really versatile. Dipping sauces look great served with them. Else a good extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and queen olives with a sour dough bread served on a matching Mediterranean inspired ceramic platter! So much inspiration

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Baking | One bowl cocoa wholewheat almond brownies … Alice Medrich {#urbandazzle}

“I am endlessly inspired and challenged by ingredients and flavors; the craft involved both in bringing them together and writing about the process.”
Alice Medrich

Cocoa wholewheat almond brownies Cocoa Wholewheat Almond Brownies are a sweet opening to October, plated on the  new Diwali/festival gift collection from Urban Dazzle. Baked out of desperation since I had no good quality baking chocolate on hand, the wholewheat brownies were good unbelievably good!! They are adapted from a recipe by Alice Medrichauthor, dessert chef, chocolatier.Cocoa wholewheat almond browniesAlice Medrich is an iconic baker who changed the way we looked at food, desserts, chocolate and baking of course. She’s written a series of  cookbooks, the latest one Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. Of the 9, Bittersweet and Pure Dessert are two of my favourites. Cocoa wholewheat almond browniesFood weaves a magical pattern. I baked an adaptation of her Orange & Olive Oil Cake in 2008. Some time later I made delicious  Dark Chocolate, Walnut & Craisin Scones from a recipe @ David Lebovitz , another hugely talented cookbook author, dessert maker, ice cream man, story teller. Turned out that recipe was an Alice inspired one too.Caramel cake and sconesIn late 2008, me, a very timid and shaky food blogger in far off North India, virtually met Alice via the Daring Bakers Caramel Cake with Caramelised Butter Frosting. Her Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels was an optional part of the challenge. Those caramels didn’t happen as we were just back from a trip to Sydney where the daughter fell ill with jaundice, was hospitalised …. and what not! Yet, it was another intriguing window into the creative world of Alice Medrich.Did I just forget to mention the Pebbly Beach Fruit Square cookies pictured above? Adapted from her cookbook “Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy: Melt-In-Your-Mouth-Cookies”, these are typical Alice style. Classic, comforting and high on taste. The fruit squares recipe is highly adaptable.Cocoa wholewheat almond brownies

Buono Decoration Plate Silver

So when I craved baking brownies and googled for a cocoa version, one of the first matches was a Medrich recipe. There was no looking further. I experimented with substitutions mainly because of the high-ish butter content. Using just whole wheat flour and almond meal instead of plain flour, they turned out to be brownie heaven – deep, dark, chewy, moist! Importantly, one bowl cocoa wholewheat almond brownies; hand whisked and with minimal clean up! The bell rang while the brownies were cooling off, and it was the new festive Diwali range of products from Urban Dazzle. Seemed like an early Christmas as I got a staggering array of their recently launched festive ware which includes stunning stoneware, ceramics, porcelain and much more.Cocoa wholewheat almond browniesStoneware is right up my street and the colours and texture hold instant appeal, the quality excellent too!  The soothing blue stoneware platter above with a Mediterranean appeal; and cups, mugs, soup bowls all in pretty colours, stuff you can mix and match. The good thing is the almost inexhaustive choice. You feel like grabbing it all. And that’s the good part! If you love it, others will to.Cocoa wholewheat almond brownies Urban Dazzle is quite a dynamic online option. An e-venture based in New Delhi, they are constantly adding aesthetic, stylish and reasonable  kitchen accessories and home decor items. With Diwali around the corner, they promise to take some burden of gifting off your shoulders… though the extensive range promises to overwhelm you with what to choose & what not!You might like these stunning glasses, or a banquet footed platter, chic Borgonovo bottles, pot bellied  jugs and carafesthe variety is endless!A while ago someone inquired about these white ribbed fruit plates that I recently used for the Empanada Gallegas. I got mine all the way from Sydney two years ago. Imagine my surprise when I saw them on Urban Dazzle a few days ago! Raise a toast,  browse the topsellers, … or then just hit the ‘Sweet Spot’!

 

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


No Bake | Dark Chocolate Mousse, Peach Lime Cooler & Stone Fruit Salad …

“Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.”
Jo Brand

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Balsamic Cherry Sauce My love for individual desserts in glasses knows no end, and I loved these glasses from Urban Dazzle the minute I saw them. Stunning and a million ways to use them, my first thought was dessert, maybe chocolate. Soon I proudly strutted Dark Chocolate Mousse with Balsamic Cherry Sauce in these beauties! They complimented each other beautifully … I think it was meant to be!Dark Chocolate Mousse with Balsamic Cherry SauceNice wine glasses said Mr PAB! Do you remember the Urban Dazzle goodies I received a while ago? I was lucky enough to get another lot of glassware to get creative with. This gorgeous set of glasses, goblet like, was something I’d never seen before, yet something I would instantly pick – pretty, versatile, stand out design, good quality glass, fabulous ridge and ever so attractive!Summer Cooler Urban DazzleI have a ‘thing’ for stem glass. I am also very skewed towards traditional glasses, crockery, cutlery etc. Modern design doesn’t normally catch my eye but these Alternato A.P tumblers were different. Functional and neat, appealing too, these are easily my favourite already. Despite being wine glasses, so much versatility!Summer Cooler Urban DazzleThoughts flew through my head when I unpacked them {received them via courier, well packed indeed}. Tiger Shrimp Gamba like from the Leonardo day out at Olive recently! Ooh they would look great! Or a gazpacho … stunning red shining through? Peach Lime Cooler

Summer Cooler Urban Dazzle I did a set of coolers as well, inspired too by the Luigi Bormioli Michelangelo Masterpiece Jug that was part of the parcel. Made a refreshing, full of flavour Peach Lime Cooler adapted from What Megan’s Making. I love the spout and the curves of the pitcher! The crystal clear glass shows off vibrant colours beautifully!Peach Lime CoolerVery artistic! It would look great on a picnic table with  a vibrant punch, ice tea, cooler, or sangria. A true masterpiece of Italian make, this belly pitcher from Luigi Bormiolo is a chic addition to any serving set or barware. Urban DazzleI also did a Wild Indian Java Plum Juice with all its purple goodness, and Raw Mango Panna too. The latter neither beautiful nor vibrant to look at, packs a punch in summer! I have begun using natural raw sugar {khand / bura in India}, palm sugar {gur} or honey for my coolers.Stone Fruit SaladI went on to make a Stone Fruit Summer Salad which was as refreshing as can be. The dieting diva immediately declared that I must make some everyday … I could see myself peeling peaches, plums and mangoes till kingdom came!! The salad – peeled and cut peaches, plums and mangoes tossed in a sugar lime syrup {about 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 5-6 limes} and left to mature for half an hour …nice!Dark Chocolate Mousse with Balsamic Cherry SauceThe cherry on the cake was this Dark Chocolate Mousse with a Balsamic Cherry Topping that got made by default thanks to the power grid failure. My frozen cherries needed to get out of the freezer and be made into something! This was it!Dark Chocolate Mousse with Balsamic Cherry SauceI had a cherry sorbet, pink and vibrant in mind for these glasses. But fate had other plans, and nothing frozen was going to happen in a while. My next best bet was dark chocolate which really pairs well with cherries. I used a similar mousse recipe from the Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake I made in June.Dark Chocolate Mousse with Balsamic Cherry Sauce

So tell me dear readers, what would you use these glasses for, other than wine of course! 

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

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