January 30, 2013

Mini dinner roll burgers

Make it a mini burger game day! There is probably a ton of finger food around, and this is just the right size, with the same ingredients as a wholesome burger, only smaller.

What you need: Makes 12 small burgers
1/2 lb ground turkey
1/2 lb ground pork
1 egg
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional)*
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs to add to the meat, and 1 cup to roll in.
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 tsp lime juice
Salt to taste
3 cheese slices each cut into 4 squares
1 cup of pickled cucumbers
1 cup of sliced tomatoes
1 cup thin strips of red onion
1 cup of lettuce torn into small pieces
12 dinner rolls, split horizontally

In a large bowl, mix the meats, egg, fenugreek, cilantro, lime juice, chili garlic sauce, crumbs, pepper and salt, Mold them into 12 meatballs of equal size. 

You may make these a day ahead and chill them. When you are an hour away from serving it, flatten the meatballs to make patties. roll them in a plate or graham cracker crumbs. Place them in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. 

While the burgers grill, prepare the dressing. As soon as they are done, place the cut up mini cheese slices on them. The patties are hot enough to melt the cheese.

Butter toast the top and bottom of dinner rolls. Assemble the bottom rolls with spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, and onions. top it with cheesy meatballs. Cover it with the top half of the dinner rolls. Hold it all together with picks or mini skewers. Serve warm. Enjoy!

*   I personally love the aroma of dried fenugreek leaves, they add a whole new dimension to burgers. You can find them fresh or dried at the Indian/ Asian store.

Light and crunchy taco dip

Here is a light and crunchy taco dip that has no bean or meat. It is easy to put together. Make individual servings or a large bowl of colorful layers. Buy individual dips or make them at home, then layer them and serve it on a platter.

What you need: Makes 6 little cups or a medium bowl of dip
2 cups chunky salsa, homemade or
1 cup guacamole
1 cup chile con queso (melted cheese and chili dip)
1 cup ranch dip
1 cup sev (crunchy Indian lentil vermicelli) or mixed cheese, grated
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 cup red onions, diced
1 cup cilantro finely chopped
6 little plastic cups
A bag of tortilla chips

Spread a layer of chunky salsa as the base layer in the plastic cups. Top it with guacamole. Then a layer of con queso, and ranch dip. You can make these cups ahead of time and chill it a day before. Then an hour before serving, sprinkle a layer of crunchy sev or grated cheese. Follow that with tomatoes, onions and cilantro.

Top it off with a tortilla chip and place it in a platter filled with tortillas. Enjoy!

Football cake pops

Go a step further and make game day cake pops that kids and adults will adore!

What you need - Makes about 30 pops
1 box of your favorite cake mix, and the other things mentioned on the box to bake the cake.
8 oz of raspberry or apricot jam
Lollipop sticks or mini skewers
Sheet of waxed paper.
Styrofoam bed or sheet
2 lb chocolate candy melts
1/2 cup of white chocolate candy melts

Bake the cake as the instructions say on the box. Cool it completely. You can just leave it in the baked pan. Crumble it with your bare hands (better still, give this to your little kids, they will enjoy it!) until it is in fine crumbs.

Add in the jam and mix well yet gently, kneading until you can roll it into a ball, and extending two opposite ends to resemble a football. If you think it is not moist, add some more milk. Place them on a plate, wrap a plastic wrap around it and let it chill in the fridge for an hour.

Now melt the chocolate candy melts in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until the liquid is warm and smooth, or use a double boiler in a hot water bath. 

Run the lollipop sticks or mini skewers through on end and set it nearly all the way.

Dip the cake end of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate/candy and turn, to coat them evenly. Stick the coated pops on Styrofoam, do this to all the cake balls and let them set in a cool place.

Melt the white chocolate and and pour them into a plastic bag. Decorate the pops with white lines to resemble a football. let it set. Devour. Enjoy!

Game day platter ideas!

 Here are some fun game day platter ideas.

Try these make ahead mini dinner roll burgers.

Football cake pops that please kids and adults alike!

A light and crunchy taco dip that's a breeze to to put together, and light in calories :-)

January 14, 2013

Coffee cream cupcakes in chocolate shells.

A traditional tiramisu it is not. Neither is it made of expresso and rum soaked ladyfinger cookies nor built up with layers of mascarpone. This is my little invention of cupcakes soaked in coffee and coffee liquor, and topped off with coffee liquor cream. The little divine dessert is placed in dark chocolate shells for added flavor and taste. Now all that is left is some drooling, and devouring :-)
What you need: makes 12-14 cupcakes
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Soaking syrup:
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 Tbsp coffee liquor
1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp instant coffee powder
1 tsp coffee liquor
1 and 1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream cheese
2 Tbsp confectioners sugar
pinch of salt

For the chocolate shells and garnish:
12 oz bag Dark cocoa candy melts
cupcake paper cups or cup molds
Dark chocolate shavings

To make the shells:
First melt the cocoa candy according to instructions on the bag.  Pour the melted candy into the molds or paper cups about 1/3 full. Use a kitchen brush to paint the melted chocolate up the sides of the mold.

Cover the sides completely so that no light can be seen through the shell. Freeze them for about 10 minutes. Remove and coat the molds a second time, to make the shells thicker. Refreeze for an hour. 

Remove and peel the paper off from the shells . Place them in an air tight box and freeze until you are ready to use them. 

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven at 350 degree F. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat eggs with the sugar and vanilla until light yellow  and the volume has tripled.

Pour the flour mixture into it little by little folding it in gently. Once it is all added, fold in in by hand gently.

Microwave the butter until it is a warm liquid. Now very carefully pour the liquid into the egg and flour mixture. Pour it in small amounts as you fold in with a spatula. 

Line the cup cake holder with paper liners, and pour the mixture to about 1/3rd full. Bake until the cupcakes are slightly golden around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

Remove the paper liners from the cake and place the cakes into the chocolate shells. Make the coffee syrup by adding the coffee powder, sugar and liquor to hot water. Mix well. Poke the cupcake with a fork a few times so it can absorb the syrup.

Pour a spoonful of warm syrup on the top. Place the cake filled shells in the fridge while you prepare the icing.

To make the icing:
Sift together instant coffee powder, salt and icing sugar. Set aside.

Take a large bowl and throw in a tray of ice cubes and a cup of cold water. In a smaller bowl, add in cream cheese, sour cream and whisk until smooth and creamy. 

Add in the whipping cream and sifted sugar. Add a spoon of coffee liquor. Whip the entire mixture on low for about 5 to 7 minutes until it forms soft peaks. Transfer the cream into a piping bag and pipe them generously on the cupcakes. 

Garnish with chocolate shavings and/or cocoa powder. Chill them until they are ready to serve.  Enjoy!

January 7, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Cookies

Roll up chocolate cookie dough and stuff them with caramel chews, and the most delicious caramel filled gooey chocolate cookies are born. Always serve them warm for the best taste!

What you need: makes 24 large cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of regular salt
24 caramel chews

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Sift flour, salt and baking powder; set aside.

Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer.

Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll the dough into balls and place 1 chocolate-covered caramel candy in the center of each dough ball. Form the dough ball around the candy and roll each in sugar.

Place on un-greased baking sheet and compress slightly with the bottom of a dry measuring cup.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The cookies will look undone. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

I have sprinkled white sugar on them, as my kids love it that way. If you desire, you may sprinkle a few crystals of kosher salt  on the cookies before sticking them in the oven. Enjoy!

Eggless Almond crescent cookies

These cookies were first introduced to me by a nice aunt, Yeshoda aunty, she had got me a handful of cookies religiously wrapped in foil. they were the most amazing, and delicious almond cookies I have ever had in my life. The recipe she sent me through her daughter was measured in grams. I tried to do my best changing them into cup measurement. they rock...tahnsk so much aunty!

A very simple cookie to put together and it just melts in your mouth, did I mention the aroma that fills in the home while it bakes? a must try!

What you need: Makes about 24 cookies, depending on what size you make, 2in. length
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely powdered blanched almonds
1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
vanilla sugar to dust; I improvised with cinnamon sugar
pinch of salt

Whisk the flour, powdered almonds and salt together. 

In a bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add in the flour and almond mixture a little by little until completely blended. Roll it into a soft dough.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven at 325 degree F. Make little balls of uniform size. Then shape them into elongated cylinders with your palm and curve them out on a baking tray.

Place the cookies an inch apart on parchment paper.
Bake at 325° for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Let stand for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool. Dust with vanilla sugar or cinnamon sugar before serving.

Store them in an air tight container, stays good for up to a week. 

Almond coated cookies

What you need: makes about 25-30 cookies
1 cup flour
1/2 cup finely powdered blanched almonds
1/2 cup unsalted butter,softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of salt

Almond coating:
2 egg whites
1 cup sliced almonds

In a bowl, cream butter, sugar and almond extract until combined. Add the flour and the almond powder; mix just until its starts to form a dough. 

Cover, and chill in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into even little balls.

Lightly whip the egg whites and pour into a shallow dish. In another plate, add the sliced almonds. 

Dip each ball in the egg whites, and then in the sliced almonds. Gently press the almonds a little flat onto the parchment paper.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are a golden brown. Transfer them on to a cooling rack. 

Cool completely and store them in air tight container. It stays fresh for up to a week. Enjoy!

Jam sandwich cookies

What you need: makes about 24-28 cookies - so about 14 sandwiches
2 cups flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup fine or confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 cup of mango and cranberry jam or any other jam of your choice

In a bowl, sift flour and salt; set aside.

Whisk softened butter, vanilla and sugar on low until light and creamy about 2 minutes.

Flatten the dough, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour so they are nice and firm enough to cut into desired shape. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Use a 2 inch cookie cutter and cut out cookies, then for half of them, cut out little holes using mini cookie cutters or the rear end icing tips.

Place the cookies about an inch apart on on parchment covered sheets.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned on the edges. Cool them completely on a wire rack.

To make the sandwiches, place cookies with center cut-outs on a wire rack and dust the tops with fine sugar.

Add a dew spoons of jam or preserve in a cup and whisk them well so they are easy use.

On the bottom surface of the full cookie spread with about 1/2 tsp of jam.  Place the cut-out cookie on top and gently press them down, making sure not to smug the sugar.

They remain the freshest for about 2 days. You may also choose to store the cookies, and then make sandwiches just before they are served.  That way the cookie will have a longer shelf life. Enjoy!

Eggless butter cookies

They are the most simple, melt in your mouth cookies.

What you need: Makes about 20 cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
pinch of salt
1 cup melted or clarified butter

Sift the flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt together; set aside. 

Cream the butter and sugar until they are well combined. Pour in the flour mixture and knead it with clean hands. 

If the dough is crumbly, add a few teaspoons of milk to bring the mixture together.

Divide the dough into 20 portions and mold them into balls. 

Place them on a greased tray or parchment paper and bake them in a preheated oven at 350 degree F.

After about 8-9 minutes, depending on how well your oven was preheated, the cookies will brown on the edges.

Remove them and cool them completely.

You may store them for up to a week for maximum freshness.

Chocolate peppermint cookies

What you need:  makes about 24 cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter,  at room temperature
2 eggs
4 peppermint candy canes, smashed (about 1/2 cup)

Heat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time on low speed.

Drop rounded spoons of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them 2 in. apart. Bake, rotating the position of the pans halfway through, until cookies are puffed and set, 8 to 10 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, sprinkle the candy canes crumbles and press down very gently.

Remove the cookies on a wire rack and cool completely. Refrigerate until set, and store in an air tight box to seal in the freshness. Stores and stays well fro up to a week.

January 3, 2013

Fondant and cake toppers

Frosting and Glaze

Breads, Pies and Puddings

Bread and brandy pudding
A little twist to the fregular pread pudding with brandy soaked raisins, yum!

Mini meat pies
These little pies make for warm, delicious appetizers or dinners on cold,lifeless and snowy nights.

Lattice pie crust
I made this for a mini pie, you may do the same for a larger pie too.

Sweet Raisin Bread
This is a soft bread that will your house the same way, with the sweet aroma of raisins and fresh bread.

Mini desserts and cupcakes

Mini cranberry oreo cheesecakes!
These mini cakes are just the right size for guilt free dessert indulging over the holidays. It is by far the easiest, mess free, and fool proof mini desserts I have ever made.

Coffee cream cupcakes in chocolate shells
This is my little invention of cupcakes soaked in coffee and coffee liquor, and topped off with coffee liquor cream. The little divine dessert is placed in dark chocolate shells for added flavor and taste.

Cherry pineapple cupcakes
Here are cupcakes sandwiched in pineapple tidbits, pineapple syrup and cream, then topped off with loads of cream, and garnished with a cherry, voila!

Football cake pops
Cakepops moulded to the shape of mini footballs, a fun treat for kids and adult football fans alike.

Alive and kickin green cupcakes
These green cupcakes are to remind you of summer and bring a smile to your face.

Black forest cupcakes
All you crave in a black forest cake, only mini sized.

Caramel coffee bites
Coffee cake bites topped with a thick caramel glaze.

Cupcakes in a cone
Buttermilk cupcakes with sour cream chocolate frosting.

Chocolate and cream cupcakes
These chocolate and cream cupcakes are truly lip smacking, can get enough of desserts, and if you are a chocolate fan, then its a sin not to make them and feel what I mean!

Chocolate mug shot cake in 5 minutes!
Not the traditional cake recipe, but a fun and quick dessert when you dream about eating a warm chocolate desert at that moment!

Eyeball cake pops
Cake pops are amazing, no matter which way you look at it, and they are bit sized just for you :-)

Do it yourself cupcake tower
A cupcake tower you can make from scratch.

Choco cupcakes with mint frosting
Tiny little giraffes and monkeys and lions adorn these little cupcakes for a little boys birthday.

Lavender cupcakes
Regular cupcakes decorated with lavender colored fondant and pink roses for a girlie birthday treat :-)

Lemon on lemon cupcakes
Love lemon? then this is for you.. lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting and sprinkles.

Little fruit volcanoes
A cute little science experiment that your kids can catually eat. Baby bundt cakes stufed with fruits and frosting.

Mini fruit tarts
These tarts will sure brighten up a gloomy day.

Plum and white chocolate cupcakes
Fresh sliced plums and white chocolate disguised in warm cupcakes, a great combination.

Pinkie pink cake pops
Its pink alright, very pink, a pretty treat for a pretty girl.