2014 | Forks N Knives

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Sunday, December 28, 2014




Final post for 2014! It has been a great year, celebrated a year of being married to an amazing man, decided to blog, travelled a lot...everything i could ask for and much more..I thank god almighty for all of it!!
I wish everyone a very Happy & Prosperous New Year!!

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies-- Cutest cookies ever..for bidding adieu to 2014. Serve them at your new year eves party, every single guest shall be floored by its beauty!!


Start by creaming room temperature butter and sugar. Add one egg at a time and beat no more than 3 minutes on a medium speed.

Add red food coloring and beat again till it blends completely.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder. Blend then well.  Transfer to a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for no more than 3 hours.

Make balls out of the dough using mini icecream scoop or just spoon, roll in powdered sugar, tap off the extra powdered sugar and line in a baking sheet. Bake at 350F for no more than 12 minutes. I baked exactly for 11 minutes, allowed it to cool in baking sheet for 10 minutes and transfer into a wire rack for another 15 minutes. These cookies stay fresh for 4 days at room temperature in an air tight tin, else you can always refrigerate.




Ingredients:

All Purpose Flour- 2 cups

Baking powder- 1tsp

Baking soda- 1/2 tsp

Cocoa powder- 1/2 cup

Eggs- 2

Red food coloring- 2 tbsp

5 tbsp  unsalted butter

1.5 cups sugar

Powdered sugar(confectionary sugar) for rolling.

Method:

Preheat the oven at 350 F(180 C). Cream room temperature butter and sugar.  Beat one egg at a time. Add red food color. Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder. Mix well.  Transfer into a glass bowl and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for no more than 3 hours. Make small balls, dip in powdered sugar, tap off excess and arrange in baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and bake for 9-11 minutes. Allow it it cool.

viola!!!

Once again, Happy New Year everyone...have a great year ahead!!

Christmas fruit cake/plum cake/black cake/jamaican cake

Friday, December 26, 2014




My first post for December and maybe the last one for this year ( i do have the plan for writing one more recipe though)....

Its been really long since i posted something, but since its december,i cannot keep quiet anymore. How beautiful the city looks??  I am so so so much in holiday mood, my home is lit up,i have a small beautiful tree gazing at me in all its glory,and the entire kitchen has an aroma of a freshly baked fruit cake.

This cake is my best christmas cake yet. After many trials and errors,i have zeroed in on this recipe. I took inspiration from the jamaican version and the traditional fruit cake recipe. All my fruits were soaking in dark jamaican rum called as Myers(probably the best you can use for fruit cake,second being old monk) for about 2 months,usually they do it for a year(you can soak it even 24 hrs before,if short on time). Its dark, intense and gives an excellent flavour to the cake. I have used molasses( treacle/browning) instead of making the caramel syrup,which is usually done in Kerala Plum Cake.

Lets get baking!!


These are the ingredients needed. Eggs, butter, brown sugar, fruits soaked in rum, plain flour, baking soda, salt, cinammon, nutmeg, molasses, walnut powdered, vanilla extract.( ignore the honey,he just came by!!)


The above one----" He is the Man!!!"


Cream butter and sugar. In case anyone forgot ;
                                        if( butter == room temperature)
                                             println("mixing is heaven");
                                         else
                                           println("irritation and trauma for me");

Thats the magic of room temperature butter above! Smooth and easy, i whisked it with my hands.

Add four eggs seperately and mix together gently. Donot worry about the curdling, it will be taken care off, in the below steps.


Add the molasses and vanilla extract.



Mix in the fruits into the mixture. Checkout how plump and juicy they are!!

Sift and add flour, soda, mixed spice powder ,walnut powder(almond meal can also be used) and salt. Gently fold in the mixture, batter will be heavy and it will take up lot of space, thus use a wide bowl for mixing.

That is how it looks after mixing.


Line parchment paper in baking pan in bottom as well as cover around the cake tin, this helps in even baking and also prevents burning of the cake and also if the cake rises ,this lining helps in holding it.

Bake at 350 F( 180 C). I baked the small loaf for exactly an hour and the cake for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Many people overbake this cake, at times as much as 3-4 hours, which in turn makes it very hard as it ages.

Cool it completely in a wire rack for atleast 30 minutes or till it cools completely. Make small holes throughout with a sckewer and feed rum once in week. Wrap the cake in a cheese/muslin cloth and then aluminum foil or parchment paper and keep it in an airtight tin. This cake should be good at room temperature for a month or two, else you know how to refrigerate!!!!

Check out my mini christmas tree, this is our first xmas after moving to Boston, and my first ever decked up tree!!!


Ingredients:

1.5 sticks of butter(175 gms)

4 eggs(room temperature)

salt 1tsp

1.5 cups brown sugar( as per taste)

mixed spice 1.5 tsp

vanilla extract 1tsp

10-15 walnut powdered(optional)

1 cup of rum

1.5 pounds of mixed dried fruits like raisins, candied peels, etc

All purpose flour- 4 cups

Molasses- 2tbsp

Baking soda- 2tsp

Method:

Preheat the oven at 350F. Cream butter and sugar. Mix 4 eggs separately and whisk together. Add vanilla essence and molasses. Add all fruits and mix gently. Add flour, baking soda, salt, mixed spice, walnut powder, gently fold together. Bake for around 1 to 1.5 hrs. Keep checking the done ness of the cake after an hour by inserting a sckewer,especially in the center, if it comes out clean,cake is ready to be taken out and allow it to be cooled COMPLETELY before cutting,as cooling further firms up and bakes the cake.The entire mixture had fit a mini 7 " loaf and a 11 " cake pan. Cake was heavy, atleast 2.5 pounds!!



Sunny Sunflower Spinach Pie | Spanakopita

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
I have no clue how to start, can we just admire the above beauty for  some time???

I wasn't thinking about preparing any spinach pie, i just opened my fridge for the nth time and saw a bunch of spinach staring straight at me. Bang on!! Within a few minutes i was all set to go. This pie,apart from being real pleasing to the eye, tastes pretty good too...my husband isnt much fond of sweet baked items but if its something like this,would be finished in a matter of few minutes..

Before we get baking, as beautiful and difficult it looks,it isnt,having some amount of patience will really help though...:D

Start by preparing the dough. This is like an all purpose dough, can be used for pizza, bread and anything which calls for it. I have used a mix of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour.

Place some flour in a bowl,create a well,add some olive oil,sugar,dry yeast,luke warm water and mix,should be little runny,cover and let it rise for 15 minutes. Make sure water is just warm and not hot,yeast gets killed and doesnt get activated.

This is how it will look after 15 minutes,now add the remaining flour and knead into a soft dough. It takes 10-15 minutes by hand.

Allow the dough to rise for an hour and knead it again. Leave it for a second rise, i left for an hour more.

Meanwhile steam or boil some spinach and squeeze the water, add ricotta cheese,spices,egg yolk,bread crumbs and mix well.

Divide the dough into two portions and start rolling it in a circle. Now i have tried capturing all steps,see if you guys can understand it. Start by placing the spinach as shown in the picture.

Place the second rolled circle on top and pinch at all sides with fork and cut extra uneven dough. Place either a coffe mug,a glass or a bowl at centre and apply little force to create a circle.


Cut sides with a sharp knife.


Now just pinch the cut edges.


Give the egg white wash. Sprinkle some poppy seeds and pine nuts at centre.



Bake for 30 minutes or till it turns brown.



Now who will not  be impressed with this??? I managed to shock to everyone!!


Ingredients:
For Dough:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 packet dry yeast
warm water
pinch of salt
2 tsps olive oil
1 tsp sugar

For filling:
A bunch of spinach
2 green chillies
ricotta cheese
seasonings
turmeric powder
cumin seeds
garam masala
bread crumbs 5 tsps
1 egg yolk

Method:

Mix all pupose flour with warm water,yeast ,salt ,sugar and olive oil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Add whole wheat flour and knead the dough well by hands for atleast 12-15 minutes. Allow it to rise for 30-45 minutes or till it doubles. Knead the dough again and allow for second rise. Divide the dough into two circles. Steam or boil spinach,squeeze out the excess water,add ricotta cheese,seasonings, all masalas,egg yolk,bread crumbs and mix well. Place the mixture as shown in the picture and follow rest of the steps. At last give an egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 30 minutes or until brown. 

Traditionally only spinach and cheese filling is used,but being an indian adding some masalas is my birth right!!

Enjoy!!







Swan Cream Puff

Sunday, October 5, 2014
I have been wanting to bake these from a very very long time. Frankly speaking, i had no guts to do this. Being a novice baker,this is like a far off dream for me. Nevertheless,am glad i tried this.

I make it a point to share all these pictures with my mom who is back in India and even for her , all of this is a schock!! So much so that she asks me ,"Is it really you or rakesh cooking them??" "Rakesh sirf khaata hain!!!"(He only eats),i almost yell back at her.





Trust me, this only looks difficult, anyone can make them and with just few basic ingredients. Baking something fancy looking is just not in my baking collection. I just feel i dont have the hands and fingers  required to make fancy looking goodies. I have tried my level best to click pictures while making them.

Start by melting butter along with water.



Add the flour and sugar.


Within 30 seconds,it starts coming together. After a minute turn off the flame and allow to cool for 5 minutes.


Add one egg and start mixing together. By now you will be pretty sure that you have messed it up,but please dont panic,keep mixing,it will come together in 5 minutes and resemble like baby food and some how i missed that pic!!


Now transfer it to a piping bag or a plastic bag and make a nozzle at the end. Start by making the body of the swan. Appy full pressure and squeeze out some dough tapering towards the end.


Make the neck by squeezing out 'S'.


As always,i forgot to tell you guys to preheat your oven at 425F. Start by baking the body first and halfway put the neck inside the oven. As soon as they went inside the oven i kept on staring at them. Nothing happened for the first 5 minutes and i was damn sure,this is going to be a disaster. I went away from kitchen just to be back 5 minutes later and booom,the body had puffed up and was changing color. While there were 12 more minutes for it to be done ,i put the neck inside the oven.

Take the neck out after 12 minutes and allow the body to cool further with the oven door ajar.(I know,one of the neck got burnt!!!). Once the body cools,after - minutes,cut of the top part,it will be hollow inside.


Further cut the top part from center into two. These will be our wings.

Now since this is a cream puff,am gonna fill it with some cream and also some chocolate surprise. Some people even fill with custard.




Insert the neck at the center of the cream and place wings at side.

And boom....Its ready..how simple was that?? Please make sure you present this with lot of drama to your beloved ones and also make them feel it was a rocket science mission,atleast i did so.....

This is best served chilled. Do the filling after the body cools down and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.


Ingredients:

Cream Puff Dough(enough for about 3 swans)

1/4th cup water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
pinch salt
1/4th cup flour
1 egg
Whipped cream
Chocolate syrup(optional)

Method:

Start by melting butter and water. Add sugar,flour and make a dough like structure. Add an egg and mix well,dough will become sticky,transfer it to a piping bag. Start preheating your oven at 425F. Squeeze out the bodies and bake them for 25 minutes. Squeeze the neck and put them inside the oven while 12 minutes are remaining. Take the neck out afetr 12 minutes and leave half door open for the body to cool further. Cut off the top part,further cut the top part into two for wings. Once it cools for 10 minutes gill the body with whipped cream and chocolate,place the neck and wings and Boom...Edible swans are ready!!






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