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“If it’s not 100 per cent pure maple syrup, it can’t be called ‘pure maple syrup.”
Nancy Greene

Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s been forever since I baked cupcakes or muffins. I bake cakes and cookies more often I guess, possibly, lazy me. Yet when Spring comes and summer is round the corner, the first thing I reach out for are these gorgeous cupcake liners a sweet friend sent me. This time I also had on hand a 100% pure maple syrup from Canada.Both the liners and the syrup inspired me to ‘cupcake’ so here we go. These cupcakes are a 100% wholegrain which is what I mostly bake with now.  I also almost always use natural sweeteners and this time I decided to use a pure maple syrup from Canada in the cupcakes. The flavours are subtle but the health benefits quite significant.Maple Syrup an excellent source of manganese and riboflavin {B2}, and a good source of magnesium and a source of calcium, potassium, sodium, copper and zinc. It offers a healthier alternative to regular sweeteners and sugar. You can easily replace white or brown sugar with an equivalent volume of maple syrup. Just reduce the quantity of liquid in the recipe accordingly {for each cup of maple syrup substituted, reduce liquid by a ¼ cup}. An alternative like maple syrup is a great addition to adding flavour and nutrition to food.It has an addictive earthy robust flavour. One sip, then another … and soon the little bottle is empty. That delicious!! Also it’s ideal for vegans. I did a version of granola with the 100% pure maple syrup and virgin coconut oil. Mmmmm! Do tell me if you’d like the recipe.

While using maple syrup is extremely easy in your morning pre-workout or post workout smoothie, I thought I’d try it in baking as well. I used it very easily in this granola I made but before that tried it in cupcakes. The cupcakes are a great on the go healthy snack, a tiffin box filler, and a great addition to the kids birthday party. That they are a 100% wholegrain and use natural sweeteners  cannot be emphasized enough.I am currently working around a #makehalfyourgrainswhole theme. You can too. Before you cook,bake or make something, look at the list of ingredients and see how you can make it better. Make each ingredient count for itself. If it says empty calories, try and work out a better alternative.For instance, for the frosting for these cupcakes I reached out for the bottle of maple syrup to see if it would work. Yes it did! Just simple cream cheese with maple syrup offered a creamy delicious earthy cupcake frosting. It’s simple changes like this that will lead you to a healthier lifestyle. Take a step at a time…

Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Frosting
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Print Recipe
These Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Frosting are moist, chocolaty, and oh-so-satisfying. The frosting uses 100% Pure Maple Syrup from Canada.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 muffins 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 muffins 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Frosting
Yum
Print Recipe
These Dark Chocolate Wholegrain Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Frosting are moist, chocolaty, and oh-so-satisfying. The frosting uses 100% Pure Maple Syrup from Canada.
Servings Prep Time
6-8 muffins 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 muffins 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: muffins
Instructions
Wholewheat dark chocolate muffins
  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Place all ingredients for dry mix in a large bowl and stir well to mix. Reserve.
  3. Place all the wet mix ingredients EXCEPT buttermilk in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk for 2-3 minutes on medium high speed.
  4. Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk in 3 lots. Stir until mixed. Don't overmix.
  5. Turn into 6-8 cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes until done.
  6. Eat as is, warm or at room temperature. Cool completely if you wish to frost them.
Maple cream cheese frosting
  1. Place cream cheese and maple syrup in a large bowl
  2. Whisk with an electric hand beater until smooth. Transfer to piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe over cupcakes.
  3. Sprinkle over maple flakes if desired.
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Wholegrain Buckwheat Orange Chocolate Chippers … the cookies get better and better with each experiment, and these were really really good {if I may say so myself}. I know because they were over before I knew it, and I could see ‘those eyes’ searching for more. And yes of course, I got photobombed yet again.

Impossible to keep this little pup away. Impossible to keep her away. She wants to be part of just about everything, no matter how mundane it might be. Bambi is the cutest little one at 5 months, just slightly less cute than our Coco. Coco is our first love of course.Anyway, back to the food talk. Most of my baking finds roots in the ingredients I have on hand, much like this bread I made not so long ago. It’s a ‘Swirled Everything But the Kitchen Sink Bread’, an interesting concept that encourages you to use anything and everything left over in the fridge. I have yet to share this recipe, but it’s an easy swirled bread, the making of which I shared on Instastories on the PAB Insta handle a short while ago. Most of my recipes are really simple and on the go. Leaves me time to play around with the camera! I took a few different shots of the cookies on different backgrounds, different settings, angles, light etc.

I went on too do a dark moody shot series too. Call me addicted to the camera!!

These cookies also used anything I had on hand. Jaggery, oats, buckwheat flour etc. I shared these Wholegrain Buckwheat Orange Chocolate Chippers there too. Do follow Passionate About Baking on Instagram as I share quick and easy recipes there on and off. Instagram’s a great place to be, so much inspiration and so much creativity.The cookies of course are the simplest two bowl cookies. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. The wet go into the bowl of the stand mixer. Whisk both, mix both, and we’re good to go. Actually that’s just the good thing about comfort food like this. Minimum fuss, minimum clean up, maximum satisfaction.Do bake a batch when you have a little time to unwind. These Wholegrain Buckwheat Orange Chocolate Chippers will be baking before you know it. It probably takes more time just to line out the ingredients. That is one thing I always always do. Makes life simple, and you don’t miss an ingredient. I’ve learnt the hard way of course so I might as well share that tip!

Wholegrain Buckwheat Orange Chocolate Chippers
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Wholegrain Buckwheat Orange Chocolate Chippers come together in a matter of minutes, fuss free and absolutely delicious. That they are 100% wholegrain makes them a winner. Swap the chocolate chips for raisins, maybe add some walnuts, or make them coffee chocolate chip cookies. Either way, these will disappear before you know it! This is pure comfort food.
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Wholegrain Buckwheat Orange Chocolate Chippers
Yum
Print Recipe
Wholegrain Buckwheat Orange Chocolate Chippers come together in a matter of minutes, fuss free and absolutely delicious. That they are 100% wholegrain makes them a winner. Swap the chocolate chips for raisins, maybe add some walnuts, or make them coffee chocolate chip cookies. Either way, these will disappear before you know it! This is pure comfort food.
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Wet Mix
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Place all the dry mix ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix.
  2. Place all the wet mix ingredients in bowl of stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and process for 2 minutes on speed 3.
  3. Add the dry mix and stir with paddle attachment on slowest speed for 30 seconds.
  4. Let the mixture stand/rest while you preheat the oven to 180C {15-20 minutes}
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  6. Place scoops of cookie dough on the parchment, 2 inches apart, 12 on each sheet. Flatten gently with the tines of a fork. {Sprinkle over a few more chocolate chips if you are feeling particularly indulgent}
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are done, light golden brown, and the centre is still a little soft. {Bake further 5 minutes if you like crisp cookies}.
  8. Remove tray from oven, allow to stand for 5 minutes, then cool the cookies completely on the rack.
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“It didn’t matter how big our house was; it mattered that there was love in it.”
Peter Buffett

Gingerbread Garam Masala House – some things in life take long, some miss the date, yet any project made with love is better late than never. I had plans to make a Gingerbread House over Christmas. It was something I have longed to make again for along time. With travel and other commitments it never happened. Until now….In Bangalore in November I chanced upon a billboard from Casa Grande, and it talked about a dream house. An acquaintance had booked one of those and was quite thrilled. Talking to her about her dream home, for some reason this bakers mind connected to a gingerbread house, a dream I had nurtured for long, something I longed to bake again. That set me thinking about how my dream home might be.The elements danced in my head, plans to bake moving forward. First the foundation, or oops main flavours! A recent trip into Old Delhi meant a shifting of gears from ginger to garam masala in flavouring. Such is the power of inspiration. My dream home would have garam masala aromas wafting through it. I often bake my Christmas cake with garam masala, and I can tell you that it is wonderful sweet & warm!Hence I set to work at my first free moment. Can I tell you that building a gingerbread house is a lofty project, needs a couple of hands to help, is an arduous task, yet you fall in love with it once it’s made? Yes, all that and more. 

Drawing the same parallel, so is the home you choose to live in. Make it a good choice. It’s a lofty order to build it together like this Gingerbread Garam Masala House, so it’s best left to safe hands. A good company like Casa Grande a Chennai based real estate enterprise which is driven by a strong belief in building aspirations and fulfilling them. It designs and develops quality livings spaces and operates in niche residential segments like luxury villas and apartments in Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Cochin.Well they take care of all the hard work, quality work, delivering on time all part of the deal, leaving me to take care of my edible dreams. And baking this dream home wasn’t easy by any standard. You need a firm cookie dough to keep it all together, like a good foundation does a dream home. I adapted an earlier gingerbread recipe, made it a 100% wholegrain and smelling sweetly of garam masala. Wasn’t sure my house would stand but here we are. Looks like it came together.It has all the elements I’d like in my dream home. A rustic look, simple lines, sloping roofs, loads of windows that would let in light, and a ton of greenery. The roof is covered with flower cutouts. A few snowflakes too just because it was just Christmas, and just because I love how beautiful they look. And oh yes, how could I forget to mention the beautiful aromas of garam masala cookies wafting through my kitchen.I had real fun putting this together with the daughter. You do need more hands than one to bring together this sweet little home. What would your dream home be like?

Gingerbread Garam Masala House
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Print Recipe
The Garam Masala Gingerbread House is my wholegrain take on traditional Scandinavian Gingerbread House. Sweet, spicy and warm and fun to build, this little dream house is well worth the time and effort!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Gingerbread Garam Masala House
Yum
Print Recipe
The Garam Masala Gingerbread House is my wholegrain take on traditional Scandinavian Gingerbread House. Sweet, spicy and warm and fun to build, this little dream house is well worth the time and effort!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Garam Masala Biscuit dough
Sugar glue
Servings: people
Instructions
Garam Masala Biscuit dough
  1. In the bowl of the food processor, process the chilled butter and jaggery for 1-2 minutes on high speed until you get a breadcrumb like mix
  2. Add the cinnamon powder and garam masala. Stir the baking soda into a 1/4 cup of boiling water Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375’F (190’C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm.
  4. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place. {I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick, cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.}
  5. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
Royal icing
  1. Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.
Sugar glue
  1. Place in a heavy bottom saucepan and simmer over low heat just until the sugar dissolves. Take off heat. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them together. If the syrup crystallizes, remake it.
  2. Note: Please be very careful while working with hot sugar syrup as it can burn the skin.
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