Thursday, December 23, 2010

Something Different

Fruit Cake With Cocoa

I have always wondered how a fruit cake with cocoa would taste. Every Christmas I would plan to make it and then forget all about it. Choclate Fruit Cake materialsed this year and it is as delicious as the traditional fruit cake. A Blessed Christmas to all my friends and family and am sure you will enjoy this recipe.

The Recipe

1 ¾ cups self raising flour; ½ cup cocoa; 1 cup caster sugar; 1 tsp. baking soda; 125 gms mixed, chopped fruits(tuiti fruiti, cherries, raisins and very little candied peel); 125 gms. butter at room temperature; 1 cup curds; 2 eggs.

Sift flour, cocoa, soda and sugar into bowl. Add mixed fruits and toss well. Melt butter in heavy based sauce pan , remove pan from heat and cool slightly. Add yoghurt and eggs and mix well. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring with wooden spoon till well combined and smooth. Spoon into greased, prepared pan (20 cm deep tin) and bake in pre heated oven at 180C for 50 to 60 minutes or till done. Cool in tin for 5 minutes. Turn out on rack and further cool. Slice and serve with wine on Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gourmet Christmas Macaroons

Just Chocolate

Christmas would be incomplete in our household without macaroons, so decided to make chocolate ones this Christmas. According to Ranita they are very addictive and I agree. She spent the afternoon eating all the dark, gooey, nutty chocolate macaroons and before she realised it finished one whole container. Try them and see for yourself. Become a gourmet!

The Recipe

500 gms sugar, 150 gms cashew kernels or bits, 18 cardamoms (seeds only), two large egg whites; a pinch of salt; 3 tbsp cocoa powder.
Blend sugar, salt, cocoa and cardamom in blender. Place in mixing bowl. Add cashew kernels and mix with spatula. Add egg white a little at the time until the mixture becomes a dough like consistency. Discard unused egg white. If too sticky add more sugar. Break off pieces and place on baking tray 2 inches apart(see photo) Preheat oven to 350 F or 200 C. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until done. Remove and cool. Serve as a dessert after dinner or transfer to airtight container. Subsequent batches take less time, so watch macaroons carefully. Guaranteed favourite for any special occasion.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Goodies

The Week Before Christmas

The week before Christmas is a time of cleaning and cooking and baking. Everyone comes up with their favourite recipe and we join together to make the Christmas eats. I am a traditionalist at heart and have been making the same items every Christmas, come what may with a few new ones thrown in each year.

This year the Christmas Goodies include the following:

Brandied Fruit Cake (for Ranita)
Macaroons (for Serita)
Kalkals (for Ranita)
Sooji Ladoos (for me)
Beaten Rice Mixture (for all of us)
Masala Cashewnuts (for Nehru)
Masala Groundnuts (for Nehru)
Christmas Brownies (for friends)
Plain Fruit Cake (to give away)

My fruits for the cake are soaked well in advance and the cake made in late November. Visit my blog for the recipe. This year I made my fruit cake in the shape of bells using a tray bought by Ranita.

Cashew macaroons have been a hot favourite with us ever since I got the recipe two decades ago and this year I decided to make a different kind of macaroon as well called Siennese Macaroons.
For Cashew Macaroons view my earlier entry

The recipe for Masala Cashewnuts/Groundnuts is on my blog

Will put up the recipe for kalkals later and for plain fruit cake follow the same recipe as Brandied Fruit Cake omitting the alcohol.

The recipe for mixture can be viewed at

This year I made Siennese Macaroons too. They are tiny delicious morsels of baked marzipan and absolutely irresistible. I found the recipe years ago while browsing through a book at Bristish Council and scribbled it on a scrap of paper.

The Recipe
(Make the day before you want to eat them because you need to dry them out before baking).

1 large egg white; pinch salt; 225 gms. powdered sugar; grated rind of 1 lemon/lime; 1 tsp. almond essence; 250 gms almond meal; 250 gms almond bits;; icing sugar for dusting.

Mix all ingredients in bowl. Add egg, little by little until like dough. Roll out on board dusted with icing sugar to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out desired shapes using icing sugar over your hands if too sticky. Use up all the dough and place on lined tray. Dry overnight or for 8 hours hours. Preheat oven to 140C and bake 20 minutes or till done. This can take more or less time depending on your oven. The macaroons should be pale and slightly cracked. Cool. Dust with icing sugar and hide away because once tasted, will be finished in one sitting.

Mummy's Sooji Ladoos

Another melt in the mouth recipe is the Sooji Ladoos my Mum used to make every Christmas. Loaded with calories and too scrumptious to be passed over, it is one treat we indulge in every year. This is the time to eat, drink, be merry and maintain your weight effectively.

250 gms fine sooji; 250 gms wheat flour; 1/2 cup ghee; 250 gms caster sugar; 5 cardamoms, powdered; 2 tbsp almonds or cashew bits; 2 tbsp black raisins.

Roast sooji & wheat seperately in a non stick pan using 1 tsp ghee for each until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to bpwl. Mix the ghee and sugar and add to the sooji-wheat mixture. Add the cardamon powder and mix well with a wooden spatula. Throw in the raisins and nuts. Mix thoroughly again. If too dry add more ghee. Form into ladoos and store in air tight container. Serve on Christmas Day and expect your guests to ask for another.

May the Spirit of Christmas abide with you throughout the coming year and may you be blessed with health, wealth and happiness.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Is Coming

Easy Brownies

Christmas is Coming and wherever I go I see signs of the hustle and bustle of Christmas- decorations, Christmas trees, people shopping, excitement - and it is time to make my Christmas list and to plan how many cakes to make. I usually get my ingredients from the cake speciality shops well in advance so that I can start my Christmas baking on time. Brownies are one of the easiest and most appreciated Christmas gifts and so I plan to make a lot. Of course a large number will be reserved for the girls and the latest addition to our family, Tigger the beloved and well spoilt tabby cat. So people, put on your aprons and start baking.

The Recipe
100 gms flour; ½ tsp. baking powder; 30 gms cocoa powder; 112.5 gms. margarine or butter; 140 gms. powdered sugar;2 large eggs; 1/2 tsp. vanilla essence; 37.5 gms. chopped nuts(either walnut, cashew, almond or groundnut).

For the Icing: 110 gms. icing sugar,sifted;, 30 gms. soft butter; milk to mix; vanilla or peppermint essence.

Topping: 60 gms cooking or milk chocolate(either white or brown or a combination of both). Marzipan Holly Leaves and Berries for decoration.

Grease and line the base of a 20 cm / 8 inch pan with baking paper, so that the paper extends over two sides.
Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa onto a baking sheet. Set aside. Cream sugar and margarine till light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla essence. If the mixture starts to curdle, stir in a little of the flour mixture. Fold in the remaining flour and the nuts. Pour the mixture into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven 175C for about 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Allow to cool. Make the icing by combining all the ingredients to a spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cake. When set, melt the chocolate in a bowl over gently simmering water. Drizzle over icing. (If using white and brown chocolate, melt the white first and pour over cake at random. Follow with brown. Take a toothpick and gently run through both colours to create a marbled effect). Place the marzipan leaves and holly berries on top. Insert greeting card. Place in cake box and gift it to a friend.

NB: For Marzipan Recipe see my earlier entry in April 2010 Easter Treat