Friday, March 23, 2012

Gajar ka Halwa ( Sweet Carrot Pudding)

Halwa is a word used to describe many types of dense sweet confections. There are a lot many different types of Halwa that can be made like flour based ( See my whole wheat halwa recipe), nut based, veggies like squash (Yes! You read it right! See recipe here), carrot (gajar) based....recipe of which I am going to share with you today.

Gajar Halwa is one of the most famous desserts made in North India typically during the winter times because that's when you get carrots in India. Those red carrots are just so delicious and has natural sweet taste. This is the first time I made gajar halwa and I wasn't sure if the halwa made from orange carrots is going to taste as delicious as the one made from red carrots. To my surprise, it came out so delicious and you can't even tell that its made from orange carrots. The color of cooked halwa came out so rich and beautiful too!

For Gajar halwa, carrots are cooked on medium low flame in the milk until they soak up all the milk and then added to it is sugar, nuts, cardamom powder, khoya, ghee and cooked some more and the result is this delicious rich pudding.

Here is the delicious recipe (Click here for the printable version)

6 cups-shredded carrots (Peel and wash before shredding)
3 cups-whole milk
1 1/2 cup-sugar
1/2 cup-khoya (divided)
4 tbsp- ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
15-20- raisins ( soak in water for 30 min)
chopped almonds and cashews

1. In a thick bottomed pan, heat 2 tbsp of ghee and add the carrots. Cook carrots while stirring for about 10 min. The color of carrots will start to change. It will look pale.
2. Add the milk and let the carrots cook in milk on medium-low flame while stirring occasionally until the milk is reduced to half the quantity.
3. Add sugar and 1/4 cup of khoya at this point and let it cook, this time until all the liquid is soaked up.
4. Once all the liquid is soaked, add the 2 tbsp of ghee, raisins, almonds, cashews and cook it while stirring occasionally until the ghee starts to leave the sides. You will see that the color of the pudding will turn darker in color.
5. Switch of the gas and mix in the cardamom powder.

Garnish with rest of the khoya and serve warm.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Choco Vanilla Biscotti

Would it be wise to say that biscotti is man's best friend? Well....I think this statement holds true for the man of my life :) He loves biscotti's and that's the reason I keep baking them and try different flavors every time. As you can see, this time I baked the Choco-Vanilla and it turned out as a big hit with my husband.

Here is the recipe (Click here for the printable version)

1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, sieve together the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer, beat eggs till they are fluffy. Stir in the vanilla essence.
3. Add in the sugar and butter and beat at medium speed until it’s well mixed.
4. Now change to the paddle attachment and slowly add the flour mixture and beat it on medium speed.
5. Now dip your hands in some flour (as dough will be sticky to handle) and transfer half the batter to the greased cookie sheet/baking sheet.
6. Now add the cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of milk in the rest half of the batter and mix with light hands using a spatula.
7. Transfer chocolate batter on the side of vanilla batter, overlapping it. Now shape the dough into a log of 12 inches long and approx 3 inches wide.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until it is firm to touch. (Log will spread during baking)
9. Take it out and let it cool for 10 minutes.
10. On a cutting board cut the log crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4 inch (2 cm) slices. 
11.Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet, cut side down and bake for 10 minutes on each side, or until they are pale golden. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

 Dunk in your favorite cup of coffee and enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Strawberry Cupcakes with Lacy Chocolate Hearts

A big hello to all my fellow bloggers and readers of Zesty flavors. Thanks to all the followers who kept visiting my blog even when I abandoned this precious space of mine.There were lot of other important things that needed more attention and time, therefore the absence. But I am back now and I am going to try to be more regular again. I am yet to peek into all your blogs and enjoy the delicious recipes that you guys made and shared during last few months! Gosh! Can't believe I was away for so long. Happy to be back :)

I baked after such a long time on Valentine's Day to surprise my dear husband when he came home for lunch. Every year on Valentine's day I bake something with heart shape to mark the essence of the day. During first year of my blog, it was the heart-shaped NY Style Cheesecake, last year it was the Red Velvet Cake and this year Strawberry Cupcakes with lacy chocolate hearts. I had seen this recipe on Martha Stewart's site and was thinking of baking it for long. Valentine's day seemed like the perfect occasion. I iced the cupcakes with fluffy whipped cream with some fresh strawberry puree in it. It tasted awesome.

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)

  • 2/3 cup whole fresh strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. Set aside about 2 tbsp of puree for frosting and keep 1/3 cup aside for baking cupcakes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended alternating with milk mixture. Start and finish with flour mixture until just blended.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 20-23 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.
For Icing

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp strawberry puree
Keep the bowl of your electric mixer and whisker attachment in freezer for 5 min before using. Take the cream out of fridge right when you are ready to make the icing. Beat the cream with strawberry sauce and sugar high speed until soft peak forms. Pipe into the cone and keep in fridge until ready to ice the cupcakes.

For Lacy Chocolate Hearts
½ cup semi-sweet baking chocolate chips
Parchment paper

Melt the chocolate chips using double boiler method. Once it cools a bit, spoon into the re-sealable cone and make a small hole on the tip. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet and pipe chocolate into hearts, filling in with squiggles (be sure squiggles are at least 1/4 inch thick so hearts won't break when removed).
Freeze hearts until set, about 15 minutes. Remove hearts using an offset spatula right when you are ready to garnish.

Please your Valentine and your kids :))

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