Baking | Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies … #comfortfood #cookies #eggless #wholegrain

“You’ll never convince me that there’s more to life than chocolate chip cookies”
Charles M. Shultz

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain CookiesEggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies … cookies that are meant to be shared! I haven’t posted a cookie recipe for a while on PAB. Possibly since I don’t make new variations very often, or when I do, I forget to jot the recipe down. Ones that I regularly make are all time favourites like Wholewheat & Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies & these Not Quite Anzac cookies.

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies That morning I was due to meet a sweet girl who was coming in to meet me from halfway across India. I knew she was a vegetarian and I wanted to bake something eggless for her. Cookies seemed a good idea for the coffee morning. I had some Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse chilling in the fridge for her too.

Spring Spring has all but given way to summer. Mornings and evenings are beautifully pleasant; the season inspires like no other. Flowers bloom, fruits spill off bazaar shelves, birds chirp, butterflies zip around. Baking is fun in this weather though baking cookies is fun any time!!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies The cookies came out delicious, even better since they were packed with nutrition and whole grains. I love the idea of adding nut meal to cookies. In my case I have to since the daughter dislikes nuts with a vengeance. She loves cookies with nut meal though!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies I baked another batch soon after as we flew into breathtakingly beautiful Srinagar for a short vacation. It’s always nice to carry a ‘taste of home’ with us. Though Srinagar is known for its little bakeries that dot the length and breadth of the city, my humble cookies were much in demand with the kids too! Srinagar, India ... paradise on earthOne look at the ingredients in the recipe and you’ll see the cookie goodness I am talking about. Almonds, whole wheat, amaranth {my latest obsession}, oats, and honey instead of  corn syrup!  Told you … these are deliciously healthy cookies. Indulgent too!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies Try them. Cookies don’t get simpler than these. One bowl goodness, fun to make, get the kids involved. Do watch them towards the end of baking. Honey in baked goods tends to lead to faster browning. So do keep an eye!

Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies Healthy, fun recipes with amaranth, whole grains, oats {read lots of oats}, unrefined sugars, honey etc have kept me busy of late. I’ve been involved in doing a project for Saffola Oats here in India.

Whole foodShot two recipe videos with the very sweet Michelin Starred Chef Vikas Khanna for Food Food Channel, India as part of the engagement. You can catch the first episode for a Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Gateau {Gluten free} which has been uploaded onto You-tube.

[print_this]Recipe: Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Summary: Eggless Almond Honey Wholegrain Cookies offer deep delicious butterscotch flavour thanks to the brown sugar and butter. Almond meal adds interesting taste, and chocolate chips are thrown in to make another quintessential chocolate chip cookie, this time eggless. These whole grain cookies are nice, chewy if you underbake them a little, and crisp if you bake them longer!  Makes approx 2 dozen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100g honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 55g brown sugar
  • 100g whole almonds {or almond meal}
  • 50g amaranth flour
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 100gm oats
  • 50g chocolate chips {I used dark}

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150C
  2. Run the almonds in the processor with the wholewheat flour until you get a fine-meal.
  3. Heat butter, honey and vanilla bean powder in a pan over low heat till the butter melts. Mix well. {Can do it in the microwave too}.
  4. Add the baking soda, salt and brown sugar and whisk to mix.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to form a cookie dough. The dough will be a little stiff.
  6. Drop tbsp of dough on parchment lined cookie sheets, flatten with the tines of a fork. {I rolled the dough into balls, flattened them slightly with the palm of my hand, and then further flattened them by pressing down with a fork.}.
  7. Bake for approx 20 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Leave to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes {they are quite tender when they come out of the oven} , and then transfer on racks to cool completely.
  9. Thermomix Recipe:
  10. Run the almonds in the TM bowl with the wholewheat flour on speed 7 for 30 seconds to get a fine-meal. Scrape and repeat if necessary. Turn into a bowl and reserve.
  11. Place butter, honey and vanilla bean powder into TM bowl. Heat for 2 minutes at 60C on speed 2 until fully dissolved. Place bicarb into bowl and mix for 5 seconds on speed 3.
  12. Add remaining ingredients and set dial to closed position and mix for 30-35 seconds on interval speed…. then continue as above from step 5.
  13. Note: Since the dough has honey, the cookies tend to brown faster than normal cookies. I use double cookie trays. Keep an eye on them.

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Baking | Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake … & Your Wish is My App #Indiblogger #Nokia #NDTV

“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”
T.S. Eliot

Whole wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake 1Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake … a healthier, whole grain version of an international favourite. The cake was as delicious as it was simple and rather plain in appearance. A healthy makeover, a cake I was inspired to make a while ago with leftover ‘tres leches‘ or 3 milk syrup from a Daring Bakers challenge. Then I had made a much fancier layered Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Mango Three Milk Cake.

Mango Pastel de Tres LechesI forgot to share the whole wheat version until the other day when I was trying to dream up some app ideas for an Indiblogger event I attended. One thought led to another, and also took me back to the Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake which I had forgotten to share as promised.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches But first a little introduction to the event that inspired me to ‘wish‘! It was an interesting evening which launched Season II of the Your Wish is My App meet with Indiblogger and Nokia Lumia. It promised to be an entertaining evening with a live wire bunch of folk on stage. The line up included New York based, Michelin starred celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, TV anchor and  super gadget guru Rajiv Makhni, and someone best known as the father of the Indian gaming industry, Vishal Gondal.

Your Wish is My App Indiblgger NoikaThat it would be entertaining was expected; that it would be side splitting funny, hysterical laughs and packed with madness and mayhem wasn’t. The trio kept us in splits, a 100% engaging and interactive. The crowds loved them, especially Vikas Khanna who wears his heart on his sleeve. The attendance crossed 300 and for a while the stage shuddered under the weight of almost everyone who wanted to be ‘there with the guys’!

Photo courtesy Vj Sharma @ Photo Journey

Photo courtesy Vj Sharma @ Photo Journey

With sound touching the ‘are you crazy‘ levels, it was an entertaining evening of ‘Apps and Blogging‘ alright. Have you ever thought to yourself “I wish there was an app for this! ” was the question asked.

Healthy food makeoverI did have some app-etising thoughts in my head, but very enthusiastic techies present in large numbers overtook my confidence pretty soon. Food bloggers were few, the techie majority hungry for bytes. My ideas just didn’t flow. On the drive back however I suddenly had a head full of possible ‘wishes’ ! Apps that would bring together a local farmer/produce community in touch with buyers … a farm to table app!

fresh pumpkin pureeApps that would encourage the use of local produce, suggest indigenous substitutes for international recipe, and also give a nutritional analysis of a recipe, maybe a possible calorie count too. An app that would make us think differently perhaps, support a local food and farmer community, encourage us to lean towards healthier food habits, and analyse our plates to see what we eat.

Roasted bell peppers
Roasted bell pepper pesto

Why apps? With over 2200 million mobile handsets being sold in India each year, the numbers are only set to grow. With mind boggling numbers of 130 million users who access the internet via smart phones, it only makes business sense to step into apps! Season I at Nokia saw 38000 app ideas being offered, out of which 1200 have already been converted into apps.

Here’s one that would be on top of my wishlist for a food community at large. Since all of us aren’t recipe developers and experimenters, how about an app that offers a healthy alternative to a normal recipe? Not sure if it’s achievable, or if it’s a hair brained non tech idea, but I love the very thought. While I have the time to experiment, substitute, indulge in my hobby / obsession, a lot of food lovers might not be on the same plate.

Healthy food

Maybe call it a Glocal Healthy Recipe App? It would need to offer healthier substitutes for recipes, locally available alternates, a calorie count, nutritional info if possible etc. The idea is to try and stay local even with global recipes, Glocal if you like. That in turn reduces out carbon footprint, makes us support the local farmer and producer community, encourages us to think out of the box; more than anything else, experiment!

Whole wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake Here’s an example of a healthy makeover. This Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake is a whole wheat version of the Tres Leches Cake {or a “three milks cake”}. Incidentally, the basic cake is also a healthier whole grain version of the pound cake. Whole wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake The Tres Leches is a light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk. Enjoy it!

[print_this]Recipe: Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake 
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Summary: Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake … a healthier, whole grain version of an international favourite. Incidentally the base cake is a healthier version of a pound cake too, 100% whole grain. The Whole Wheat Lemon Tres Leches Cake was as delicious as it was simple and rather plain in appearance. You can always dress it up for a special occasion!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus cooling time
Ingredients:

  • 100g butter
  • 150g vanilla sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 200g whole wheat flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 120g buttermilk
  • Tres Leches syrup
  • 1/4 tin condensed milk
  • 1/4 tin evaporated milk {recipe here}
  • 50g low fat cream
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line the sides and base of a 7″ round tin.
  2. Sift the whole wheat flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Reserve.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon extract.
  4. With beater on low add the flour and buttermilk alternately in three lots. 
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes till golden brown on top, and the tester comes out clean. Leave in tin for about 20 minutes.
  6. Overturn the cake out gently on rack, and remove the lining. Turn it back on another rack. Let it cool for about 30 minutes.
  7. Gently put it back in the tin.
  8. Tres Leches syrup
  9. In a saucepan add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove it and let it cool.
  10. Once it is cool, add the lemon essence or any other flavoring you are using
  11. Gradually brush all the milk soaking liquid into all sides of the cake (including the cut surfaces) until all absorbed. Best to rest the cake in the fridge overnight to complete the soaking process.

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Baking | Smoked Indian Chicken Curry / Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh … giveaway to end 2013

“People close to me called me ‘Curry in a Hurry.’
I was moving through life at 100 miles an hour trying to further my career and be a great mom and make everyone happy.”
Ann Curry

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka MurghSmoked Indian Chicken Curry / Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh … a simple slow cooked baked Indian chicken curry that makes life on the table seem somewhat easier. I normally cook curries on the stove top. This time was different, and it worked out quite well. Smoking it added a delicious dimension!

Chicken KormacurryI haven’t posted a curry for ages even though I cook them often, including chicken and lamb korma. I’ve recently done a ‘butterless‘ butter chicken and the feedback was great. Mr PAB even commented saying it was better than buttery butter chicken!! At the time I took no pictures as it was still ‘work in progress‘…

Nirlep Anodized CookwareNirlep contacted me and asked if I would like to review any of their products. With a range as varied as Premium Steel Casseroles to a simple sandwich pan, I left it to them. All I asked for was something I could maybe pop into the oven, since I know they do a stove top range. Not that I don’t cook stove top {read I DO ALL THE TIME}, but the baking blog needed a connect!

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh They sent me a beautiful hard anodized handi, so I grabbed a chicken and set to work. The curry is simple as can be. It’s a simple overnight marination which tenderises the chicken. I cook it on the bone, but you can go boneless too if you like. This time I added green chutney to the marinade, some caramelised onions too. Experiment as you like because you never know what will hit the sweet spot!

Caramelised onionsAs all Indian cooking, this curry works on beautiful ‘andaaz‘, eye balling as it is better known. A bit of this, a dash of that, a few green chillies for flavour, maybe a couple of beautiful red ones too. Mix it all in and marinade straight in the pot, and then throw into a low oven the next day. An hour and a half later, you have CURRY, a nice thick wrapped one!!

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh OR … heat a little clarified butter in the handi / pan {OK you can use oil}, caramelise some finely sliced onions, pick out the chicken pieces from the marinade and cook over high heat to seal the juices and get the pieces beautifully browned. Add the rest of the marinade, give it a quick gentle stir, seal tightly … into the oven again! Of course you could also cook over a very gentle stove top.

Passionate About BakingI have a few idea for the handi. A Basque Lamb Stew, kaali dal, stir fried veggies, Thai green curry, kadhi … all in the pipeline. Maybe a little ambitious but pot bread too. It’s quite cold {read freezing} here these days, so as soon as the weather lets up, it’ll be time to bake bread. Have to keep the yeast monsters happy!

What I love about the Nirlep Ebony Handi / anodized pot…

  • Good quality, feel good pot with a snug lid
  • The handles don’t get hot
  • Heavy duty
  • Convenient ergonomic design which is ideal for sauteing, cooking, heat distribution
  • That it goes from the stove into the oven, and back with ease
  • That you can serve right out of it, fuss free!
  • Easy clean up

So tell me dear readers, what would you make if you had a pot / handi like this? Nirlep will be happy to giveaway a similar pot to a reader of my blog. Additionally, I will add a cookbook from one of my favourite Indian authors and chef Vikas Khanna. He’s a large-hearted, fun, talented guy who is passionate about what he does. I love ‘My Great India Cookbook‘ {one of his 3 cookbooks ranked #1 in India by Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2013}. I figured you might love it too, so I am including it in the giveaway. The giveaway is open to anyone who has an Indian postal address and loves to cook/bake of course!! {Entries close on the 15th Jan 2014}


[print_this]Recipe: Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh 
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Summary: Simple, smoked, delicious Indian chicken curry that can be baked {or cooked on the stove top}. A do ahead marination ensures very little work just before serving. Serve over steamed rice, naan, etc with a mixed greens salad.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Ingredients:

  • 800g chicken on the bone, without skin,{1 whole} cut into 12 pieces
  • 200g full fat yogurt, hung for 30 minutes
  • 3 onions, 1 quartered, 2 sliced fine
  • 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 1″piece ginger
  • 2-3 green chilies {deseed if required}
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tsps green chutney {optional}
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander, chopped fine
  • 2-3 small red chilies, optional
  • Dhungaar / Smoke
  • 1 small piece wood coal
  • 3-4 drops melted ghee

Method

  1. Fry the 2 sliced onions in the ghee until crisp and golden brown.
  2. Grind the quartered onion with ginger, garlic and lime juice to make a smooth paste.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt. Mix in the onion paste, caramelised onions, green chilies, red chilies if using, fresh coriander, stick of cinnamon, green chutney and garam masala. Add salt as required {you can taste it at this time to check}. Adjust seasoning if required.
  4. Now mix in the chicken pieces well, turn into handi / casserole/ baking dish, cover tightly and leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Place the handi/casserole in a bigger empty metal bowl. Place a tiny metal bowl half filled with water on the lid of the casserole.
  6. Place in oven set at low heat and bake for about 1 1/2 hours. Let it sit for a while.
  7. Open and stir gently to get the gravy uniform. Adjust salt if required. Add some more lime juice if you like, maybe some more fresh coriander. Smoke it if desired.
  8. Make a tiny bowl with a aluminium foil. Place a hot burning coal in it and quickly drizzle a few drops of melted ghee/clarified butter over it. The coal will begin smoking immediately. Tightly shut the lid and leave for about half an hour.
  9. Note: Left overs can be deboned and used in wraps {reduce the curry to almost dry}

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