Brown Butter Espresso Brownies

I’m not gonna do a lot of talking here. I mean I could, but it would be very very unfair to keep you waiting to try this recipe. Disclaimer: It’s not for the faint hearted! They are dark and espresso brownies in the truest sense. I hate it when I’m served a coffee dessert which is just over the top loaded with sugar, with literally no hint of coffee in it. I mean, why?! That’s just not doing enough justice to the flavour. I guess I’m getting  a bit too touchy here, lol. Anyhow, I can safely say, I have found my one true love <3. Summing up this roller coaster of a  year with my favourite things. Something tells me I’m gonna be making these very regularly. After all, brownies never hurt anyone right?

I’m very picky when it comes to food, particularly desserts. Well, I guess that’s a given for every baker. You can’t bear to have your shit done wrong. It’s very rare that I find desserts mind blowing. Mainly because balancing the textures & flavours with the right amount of sweetness can be tricky. This applies to me as well. Yes, there are desserts which are yum and good, but then there are desserts which are YUM!  This one falls in the latter category, at least for me. I absolutely love how the brown butter adds such subtle hints of caramel flavour to the brownies. Coffee & caramel are two of my favourite flavours. They taste even better when they are put together! So, you can just guess how amazingg these are gonna be. Okay, too much talking. Let’s do some baking. If you are a true coffee lover, just like myself, you’re gonna LOVE them! No, there’s no keeping hands to yourself here.

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Recipe adaptation: Sprouted Kitchen

 

MAKES: 4 brownies

INGREDIENTS

  • 75 gms salted butter
  • 120 gms coconut sugar
  • 45 gms cacao powder, non alkalised preferably
  • 1/2 tbsp water, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 40 gms multigrain flour
  • 2 tsp espresso powder* (I used Bynemara Estate from Blue Tokai)
  • handful of dark chocolate chips
  • toasted hazelnuts or any nuts of your choice to garnish, chopped (optional)

 

METHOD

  • Grease a small cupcake pan, or a small square tin with butter and dust generously with flour. Keep aside. Preheat oven to 170 C.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter on low heat, swirling occasionally until it starts to brown and smell nutty. It should take about 4 minutes. Keep an eye on it or else it might burn quickly.
  • Remove from heat and immediately add in the coconut sugar, cacao powder, water and vanilla extract. Mix properly until well combined. Let it cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, starting with the whole egg and whisking well after each addition. Stir in the flour and grounded espresso powder, and mix well until no lumps remain, if any.
  • Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin. They do not rise much so you can fill almost to the top. Press few chocolate chips into the centre to give it an extra gooey and molten texture. Bake for 12-15 mins or until the edges are just done.
  • Sprinkle some toasted hazelnuts or any toasted nuts of your choice when just out of the oven. Let it cool in the baking tin for 10 minutes before de-moulding. Serve warm with a big scoop of ice cream of your choice. You can also drizzle some hot chocolate or caramel sauce for extra goodness!

 

Notes:

*- I used 3 tsp of espresso powder because I like mine bursting with coffee. The flavour enhances upon baking so don’t get carried away if you cannot taste the coffee so much in the raw mixture.

  1. You can double or triple the recipe for larger batches.
  2. They stay well up to 3 days at room temperature stored in a container. Just microwave a little before serving. I haven’t tried freezing them but I guess they should stay alright if frozen in an airtight container.

 

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Chocolate Avocado Mousse

We all love chocolate mousse, don’t we? Well, what’s not to love? It’s rich, decadent, smooth and oh so chocolatey! But, what’s even better than chocolate mousse? A chocolate mousse minus the guilt! It’s only unfair to refrain from delicacies like chocolate mousse. Don’t you worry child, I have got you covered. Here’s this perfect recipe for a chocolate avocado mousse to keep that health and waistline in check. Yes, you heard it right! For all the non-avocado lovers, here’s a little solace for you guys. You cannot taste the avocado at all. It only lends creaminess to the mousse, and of course zillion other health benefits. Guess that makes everybody happy now 😀

Of late, I have been very drawn to eating healthy, clean food. I have been experimenting with developing healthier dessert recipes which are just as good as the regular versions. Surprisingly, I’m loving it! I always had a sad opinion about ‘healthy’ desserts because I had never had a good experience with them. Obviously, it makes hell load of a difference when you make them yourself. Here is my verdict: they can be just as yummy, sometimes even better! Hence, I’m gonna be focusing on creating healthier recipes from now on. You no more have to eat your guilt 😀

This is the easiest mousse you will ever find. It literally takes 5 mins to make and requires no chilling time. Just whisk everything in the blender and get your spoons ready to dig in! It’s that quick and easy. The best part is that this is quite a forgiving recipe. You can adjust literally anything according to your taste. Sounds great right? Let’s not be cruel and get started!

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Makes: 1 big bowl or 2 small bowls

INGREDIENTS

  • 75 gms avocado
  • 6-8 tbsp almond milk or soy milk*
  • 50 gms honey
  • 10 gms cacao powder
  • 120 gms good quality chocolate, chopped **

 

METHOD

  • Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and melt completely over a bowl of simmering water (double boiler). Once completely melted, remove from heat and let it cool.
  • Blend avocado and almond milk in a food processor until smooth. Add in the honey, cacao powder and cooled chocolate and blend until smooth & no lumps remain. You can adjust the consistency according to your liking. Pour the mousse in a bowl and dig in! If you want to chill the mousse for a while, cover with cling film and refrigerate. Sprinkle some nuts or berries if you like. You can also top with coconut (or plain) whipped cream or chocolate sauce for extra goodness 😛

 

Note: 

*- Start with 6 tbsp of milk. You can adjust the consistency to your liking. If it’s too thick for you, add more milk. I added 8 tbsp. You can use plain milk as well.

**- You can use any good quality chocolate. I love dark chocolate and hence used 65% dark chocolate by Mason & Co. If you prefer milk chocolate, go ahead. You might have to cut back on the honey a bit.

Make ahead: Because it has avocado in it, it doesn’t stay for very long. It’s best eaten immediately or after an hour if you want to chill it for a while.

 

 

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Choco-Cranberry Brownie Cupcakes (Holiday Edition)

I have come to a realisation of just how much I love brownies. Not just the regular brownies, but the gluten free ones. They are the real deal. They are so fudgey and gooey, oh god! Since, it’s almost Christmas, it would be only appropriate to make these Chocolate Cranberry Brownies, topped with glossy peppermint ganache. Coming to why they are cupcake shaped, I recently bought these fluted mini cake moulds that I couldn’t wait to try. Well, I turned my brownies into brownie cupcakes. Anyhow, they are as good as it gets. They are rich, dense, fudgey and gooey. The best part you ask? They are gluten free, sweetened with coconut sugar and use coconut oil to make them all gooey. You can now enjoy all the goodness, without the guilt. Win win! 😀

I have used organic vegan dark chocolate and non alkalised cacao powder from Mason & Co. and I cannot describe just how amazing their chocolate tastes! If you have never tried their chocolate, please go do so now. I’m not somebody who binges, but I stuffed my face with the last piece of brownie late last night because I just couldn’t not do it. That’s how good they are. I guess it’s definitely to do with the ganache. I love all things peppermint. Growing up, my sister and I absolutely loved After 8. They were thin chocolate coated peppermint squares. No wonder we loved them! Make sure to use peppermint extract here and not spearmint or you will end up with toothpaste flavoured ganache. Nobody wants that now, do we?

With Christmas just 3 days away, these gluten free brownies make for the perfect little treats for your holiday table. They are super quick, easy and so simple to make. Moreover, brownies are the ultimate comfort desserts for a small, warm gathering. You get to jazz this one up into little cupcakes. You can now indulge into all the goodness without worrying about your waistline increasing. So, give these a try and let me know what you think. Happy holidays! ❤

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Recipe adaptation: Cook Republic

Makes: 4 brownie cupcakes 

INGREDIENTS

For the chocolate cranberry brownies

  • 100 gms good quality dark chocolate (min. 60%), chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp espresso powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 40 gms coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 30 gms coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 30 gms almond meal
  • pinch salt
  • crushed nuts, optional

For the peppermint ganache

  • 75 gms good quality dark chocolate
  • 60 gms full fat coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

METHOD

For the brownies

  • Grease a cupcake pan with butter and dust with flour. Keep aside. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • In a small saucepan, mix together the chopped chocolate & coffee and place it over a bowl of simmering water and melt the chocolate until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and cool.
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add in the coconut oil and mix well. Stir in the cacao powder, almond meal, salt and cooled chocolate and mix until combined.
  • Pour the brownie batter into the prepared cupcake pan and bake for 30 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. It’s okay if few crumbs stick to the skewer. Do not over bake them. They are best enjoyed when gooey. Let it cool before de-moulding.

For the peppermint ganache

  • Roughly chop the dark chocolate and place it in a small bowl.
  • In another saucepan, heat coconut cream until it begins to boil. Do not boil. Pour the heated cream over the chopped chocolate and let it stand for 2 minutes without stirring. Stir till the chocolate is completely melted. Add the peppermint extra and mix until you have a shiny ganache. Let it rest for 15-20 mins before piping.
  • Fill a piping bag with the ganache and pipe the brownie cupcakes. Serve warm with a cup of tea or coffee or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Happy eating!

 

 

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Homemade Challah Bread (Holiday Edition)

Phew! What a crazy week it has been! There’s a crazier one ahead. I have tons of work piled up and all I want right now is a glass of wine and loads of sleep. Are you guys feeling the madness too? It’s less than a week to Christmas. Can you believe that? I’m still on the hunt for my ugly Christmas sweater, haha. Anyhow, amidst all this craziness, I couldn’t wait to share this beautiful recipe with you all. I’m at the doctor’s as I write this, since I don’t really have time otherwise. Presenting to you my version of the Jewish Challah Bread 😀

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For those of you who don’t know what a Challah (pronounced as Hallah) bread is, it’s a Jewish braided bread made around holidays or Sabbath. Now, I had planned to make cinnamon rolls over the weekend but I also wanted to make Challah bread, so I just flavoured my Challah bread with coffee and cinnamon to get the best of both worlds 😛  I like to have flavours on the bolder side so that they are literally in your face, but you can obviously go milder on them. This recipe takes the midway. Did I tell you it’s much healthier than the original one? Homemade breads are the best thing, aren’t they? I have used multigrain flour, honey to sweeten the bread and oil to moisten it instead of butter. Plus, there’s coffee and cinnamon. I mean, what’s not to love here? Oh, and obviously it looks super pretty! I have used a much simpler braiding process here so there’s no hassle. You can also make a little wreath out of the bread just like I did, because why not?

Making breads at home can be a bit intimidating, especially when it involves braiding but trust me, it’s really not. All it requires is a bit of patience and you have yourself a beautiful homemade Challah bread. The preparation is super simple and doesn’t really require a lot of work. It’s mostly all yeast’s work. Just be patient and make this on a lazy Sunday morning. I like mine true Indian style. Dipping some warm bread in hot masala tea. Oh yum! 😀

Few points to keep in mind:

  • Use good quality yeast and make sure it foams, otherwise your bread won’t rise.
  • Multigrain flour has a lesser gluten content than all purpose flour, therefore, your bread will not rise as much as it would if using plain flour. However, you can use bread improver if you want but that’s not really necessary.
  • Kneading the dough properly is an important step in the bread making process.

 

Recipe adaptation: Allrecipes.com

 

Makes:  4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 260 gms multigrain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 70 gms organic honey
  • 50 gms vegetable oil
  • 110 gms lukewarm water
  • 1 egg

 

METHOD

  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, espresso powder, cinnamon powder and yeast until well mixed.
  • In another bowl, stir together the honey, vegetable oil and water, egg. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until it forms a dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (This is an important step for the flavour to develop gluten) Form the dough into a round shape. Lightly oil a bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and cover the bowl with a cling film wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 -1.5 hours.
  • Deflate the dough a little and let it rise for another 30 mins.
  • Punch down the dough, knead it a few times to remove some of the bubbles, and cut it into 2 equal-sized pieces. Set 1 piece of dough aside under a cloth to prevent drying out while you shape or braid the first loaf. 
  • Working on a floured surface, cut the 1 half of the dough into 3 equal sizes. Roll the small dough pieces into ropes about 10 inches long. Ropes should be fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends. Pinch 3 ropes together at the top and braid them (regular braid). Pinch the ends together once the loaf is braided and fold them underneath for a neat look. Repeat for the other half of the dough.
  • Place the braided loaves, facing each other on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently mould them to make a semi circle, as to form a big circle. Join the ends of the two loaves with egg wash so that they do not separate while baking. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with a hot cup of tea. 

 

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Panforte (Holiday Edition)

Ciao! Let’s go down the Italian path today, haha. It was only until recently that I got to know about this little gem, and  am I happy?! Panforte (pronounced as PAAN-FOR-TE) is a traditional Italian Christmas dessert which is a cross between a fruitcake and Lebkuchen (honey cakes). It’s a mildly spiced cake with loads of fruits and nuts, aka perfect for Christmas! The texture is almost candy-like with a chewy soft centre. It’s a ridiculously easy dessert and oh SO good! This is the best thing I’ve eaten all week. Yes, it’s that good!

I stumbled upon this gem of a dessert randomly a few days ago and I just couldn’t wait to try this one. It’s been a pretty hectic week and I haven’t had the time to really sit and work on my blog or bake so much. Thankfully, this bad boy is super quick and easy to make, with no advance preparation. I obviously tweaked the original recipe to suit my healthy requirements. I cannot emphasise enough on just how good this cake tastes! I’m not usually a binger, but I cannot stop with this one, especially when it’s packed with all the rich goodness. I have used a generous splash of fort wine here, because why not? That’s just the Italian way. 😛  It’s like the cake of my dreams!

Make this cake NOW and you shall thank me later. Till then, felice cottura! ❤

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Recipe adaptation: BBC Good Food

 

MAKES: 8 slices (5″)

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 gms nuts of your choice (I used a mix of pistachios and almonds)
  • 25 gms candied peel
  • 120 gms dried fruits (I used a mix of dates and apricots)
  • 25 gms multigrain flour
  • 40 gms honey
  • 50 gms coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fort wine (Sherry, brandy or marsala works)
  • icing sugar, for dusting

 

METHOD

  • Grease a 5″ round tin with butter and line with baking paper. Keep aside.
  • Toast the nuts in a dry pan and add to a bowl. Chop and stir in the candied peel along with the flour.
  • Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
  • Blitz the apricots and dates in a food processor, then transfer to a saucepan with the fort wine, honey and coconut sugar. Add in the cardamom seeds, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-4 minutes on low heat, then pour onto the nut mixture. Mix well.
  • Spoon into the tin and bake for 30 minutes. The top will be soft but not sticky.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  • Thinly slice and dust with icing sugar, then serve with espresso! Buon appetito!

 

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Strawberry Chocolate Tartlets (Holiday Edition)

2 weeks to Christmas! Oh my god, are you excited yet? These pictures look so Christmasy, with loads of red and my failed attempt at creating snow haha. I’m gonna keep trying, nevertheless.

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Sharing my next recipe for this festive season are these gorgeous Strawberry-Chocolate Tartlets. Okay, in all honesty, I added a (generous) layer of my mulled wine cranberry compote as the base, and oh goodness! In my defence, I had a big jar lying in my refrigerator. It would only be unfair to not use it. 😛 I sort of made an assortment of tarts. Some with cranberry compote, and rest with strawberry preserve. I’m only sharing the recipe for pure strawberry tarts but if you like to take that indulgence a notch higher, you MUST try some with cranberry compote. They are ridiculously delicious! Dark chocolate and strawberries are amazing together. Dark chocolate, strawberries AND cranberries are even better! I have noticed that the flavour profile develops a bit more after refrigerating for overnight. They tasted even better the next morning. I’m yet to figure out why, but just a tip for you. 🙂

Let’s talk about the tarts. For the health freak that I am, it is only appropriate to make something that I actually enjoy eating. Hence, you can now dig in without the guilt. The shortcrust pastry is made with almond meal and multi grain flour, and uses coconut sugar. I have used coconut cream for the ganache, and it tastes SO good! The strawberries are lightly glazed to remove any bitter tartness and obviously that beautiful shine. Basically, you’re in for a treat! 😀

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MAKES: 2 tartlets

INGREDIENTS

For the almond shortcrust pastry

  • 50 gms multigrain flour
  • 40 gms almond meal
  • 10 gms cocoa powder
  • 30 gms coconut sugar
  • 40 gms chilled salted butter
  • 1 egg yolk

 

For the ganache

  • 100 gms good quality dark chocolate, min. 55% cocoa solids
  • 80 gms coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

For the filling and topping

  • 50 gms natural strawberry preserve
  • 50 gms mulled wine cranberry compote, optional
  • 200 gms sliced strawberries, to top
  • 40 gms simple syrup, to glaze

 

METHOD

For the almond shortcrust pastry

  • Mix butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder and almond meal together in a food processor until the mixture roughly resembles fine crumbs. Add egg yolk and process until combined. Remove from the processor and knead lightly into a dough.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and flatten like a disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for minimum an hour. I refrigerate mine overnight. It makes it easier to work with the dough.
  • Roll out the dough on a flour dusted surface until it is 5 mm thick.
  • Grease your fluted tartlet tins with butter. Set aside. Cut out circles slightly bigger than your tartlets and transfer the circles to the fluted tartlet tins. Press pastry into tins and trim off any excess pastry. Refrigerate again for 30 minutes or until well chilled. (Do not over work the pastry as almond meal makes the pastry softer and more easily breakable. A cold room is ideal.)
  • Preheat oven to 200 C. Place baking paper over the pastries and fill with beans or baking weights. Bake at 200 C for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and bake again for about 5 minutes.
  • Let the pastries cool and de-mould once cool. Store in an air tight container.

 

For the ganache

  • Pour the simple syrup over sliced strawberries and keep aside until you prepare everything else.
  • Roughly chop the dark chocolates and put it in a medium bowl.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat coconut cream until begins to boil. Do not boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate and let it stand for a minute or two before stirring. Stir properly until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir in vanilla extract.  Heat it over double boiler if some chunks are still there. Set aside.

 

Assembly

  • Spread a layer of strawberry preserve or cranberry compote on the base of the tart.
  • Cover the rest of the tart with chocolate ganache. Smoothen out the top with a knife. Top with sliced strawberries. Refrigerate until use. Happy eating! 😀

 

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Christmas Crack (Holiday Edition)

Another one of the festive recipes, yay! How’s the festive baking going? You know you’re on the right track when your kitchen smells just irresistible, haha. It’s been a very hectic week, and I’m still trying to strike a balance amongst everything. Hopefully next week will be more sorted. Speaking of good news, I have another recipe for you guys. This one is SO easy to make that it can hardly be called a recipe. Presenting to you guys, my version of the Christmas Crack 😀 It’s got everything to love. Crackers, toffee, peanut butter and chocolate. Need I say more?

I like making mine with gingerbread crackers instead of saltine crackers and do they taste aaamazing?! Gingerbread crackers elevate these simple treats to such a more flavourful level, combining subtle tones of ginger with peanut butter and chocolatey goodness. And oh so Christmasssyy! If my mum gave me these as a kid, I would be the best kid ever 😛 Sometimes I feel like a 10 year old trapped in a 20 year old body, haha. So, the recipe is fairly simple, and I have tried keeping it as healthy as I could. Because, guilt free desserts are the best! I love this recipe because it’s maximum pleasure with minimum effort. They are super quick to make and definitely a treat for your tastebuds. I topped half with chopped almonds and half with dried cranberries, but you can top them with just about anything you like. Sprinkles, M&Ms, candies, mini marshmallows, nuts, chocolate chips, literally anything!  You need to give these a try right now and you will know exactly what I’m talking about. Happy baking! ❤

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Recipe adaptation: Sally’s baking addiction

 

MAKES: About 12 crack slabs

INGREDIENTS 

  • 10 gingerbread crackers
  • 70 gms salted butter, softened
  • 55 gms coconut palm sugar
  • 3 heaped tbsp natural organic peanut butter
  • 60 gms chocolate chips
  • almonds to garnish, roughly chopped
  • dried cranberries to garnish (optional), or any other toppings of your choice

 

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 200 C. Line a 20x20x5 cm baking tray with a baking paper.
  • Line the gingerbread crackers on the baking tray leaving a bit of space between each of them. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, stir together butter and palm sugar. Put it on low heat, stirring lightly until the sugar has melted. Let the mixture boil for a minute or two without stirring. Keep an eye so that it doesn’t burn.
  • Pour the bubbling toffee sauce evenly over the lined crackers. Bake for 5 minutes.
  • While the crackers are in the oven, melt peanut butter over low heat or in a microwave. Once the crackers are done, spread the melted peanut butter evenly over the toffee. Cover with chocolate chips and bake for another minute so that the chocolate melts. Using a knife, gently even out the chocolate. Sprinkle the chopped almonds or any other topping of your choice. Refrigerate for 4 hours at least.
  • Remove the baking paper and break into pieces. Refrigerate until use.

 

Tip:

  • The flavour develops overnight, so they taste even better the next day. Store in an  airtight container and refrigerate.
  • You can adjust the amount of peanut butter as per your taste. This recipe is very forgiving.

 

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Dark Chocolates Kisses (Holiday Edition)

Festivee bonanza startsssss ❤ I wish my laptop had those cute little christmas emojis, haha. I feel extremely happy writing this, and so excited. I love Christmas, even though India isn’t very big on Christmas. The entire feeling of this time of the year is so warm and happy. This is the first Christmas on the blog and I wanted to make it special, which is why, I’m gonna be sharing festive recipes throughout this month until before Christmas, Yay! Are you excited? I definitely am! 😀

cranberry-sauce

First up on the Festive Bonanza is this sinfully delicious Dark Chocolate Kisses filled with mulled wine cranberry compote. This one literally screams festive! To be completely honest, this wasn’t a planned recipe at all. What I initially had in mind was completely different, more summery and definitely not festive. It was more of an experimentation that I wanted to do inspired by my favourite chef, Grant Achatz. For all of you who haven’t heard of him, please go check him out. This man is amazing! I can talk about how he changed my perspective towards food for hours, but that’s another story. Anyway, coming back to the point, this was more of an instinctive recipe. I had planned to pair the mulled wine compote with white chocolate but fortunately, unfortunately, my white chocolate wasn’t stored properly and that didn’t work out. Therefore, I settled on dark chocolate. Three things great about dark chocolate:

  1. It tastes divine. I love dark chocolate. Like I can munch on 70% dark chocolate all day! (This is the only chocolate I like by the way.)
  2. Tempering dark chocolate is much easier and smoother than white chocolate.
  3. Red wine, cranberries and dark chocolate are a match made in heaven.

That makes everybody happy, right? I always thought tempering chocolate is too hectic and difficult, until recently. Well, anything involving thermometer doesn’t seem easy, does it? Trust me when I say this, it’s super easy. You need to be a bit careful and you’re good to go! Tempering is basically fluctuating the chocolate temperature to align the chocolate’s crystals to make it smooth, silky and glossy. If you’re using silicon chocolate mould, you might even skip the tempering stage if you think it’s too much work. Although, I wouldn’t recommend that. Tempering gives your chocolate a beautiful shine and that amazing cracking snap. But if you aren’t too concerned about shine or sharpness, you’re most welcome to do with just melted chocolate. I usually temper chocolate without a candy thermometer, so you don’t have to worry in case you don’t have one. I have mentioned both the processes, with or without a thermometer.

Too much chocolate, let’s talk a little that delicious Mulled Wine Cranberry Compote. It smells just as good as it tastes! It’s so wintery and warm, tastes SO good with just about anything. I made an extra batch of it to use it later 😛 You MUST make some right away! Trust me, you are gonna be thanking me later. You’re welcome. 🙂

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Important tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your bowls and chocolate moulds are completely clean and free from water. Wipe your chocolate moulds properly to give the chocolate an extra shine.
  • If you’re attempting to make chocolates for the first time, I would recommend using a silicon chocolate mould since it’s easy to de-mould, even if your chocolate isn’t properly tempered. However, it makes scraping off the extra chocolate a bit difficult because it is not sturdy. Hold the chocolate mould properly and firmly. Although a plastic mould is easier to handle, de-moulding can be a task if your chocolate isn’t properly tempered.
  • You always have a pot of simmering water on hand.
  • I like to mix two different dark chocolate compounds, 50% and 70% cocoa solids. It doesn’t make the chocolate too bitter yet has a subtle dark chocolate taste.
  • Making chocolates is a lot of fun and very simple! 😀 It’s really not that tricky. I just like explaining a lot.

Nothing shows love better than homemade chocolates. They make for beautiful Christmas gifts for your loved ones. So share the love, and happy chocolate making! ❤

MAKES: About a dozen chocolates

INGREDIENTS

For tempering dark chocolate

  • 400 gms good quality dark cooking chocolate, 60% min. cocoa solids (I use Cocoa Craft and Morde)

For mulled wine cranberry compote

  • 100 ml cranberry juice
  • 35 ml orange juice
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 13 gms coconut palm sugar (you can use dark brown sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • pinch cinnamon powder
  • pinch nutmeg powder
  • 60 ml red wine (any fruity kind would do)
  • 56 gms dried cranberries

Special equipment

  • Chocolate mould
  • Palette Knife

METHOD

Make the compote first:

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together cranberry juice, orange juice, cornstarch and brown sugar. Simmer over medium heat until it reduces by one-third. It will take about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the ginger, spices, red wine and dried cranberries. Let the sauce cook for about 10-12 minutes until it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. The cranberries will look rehydrated. Mash them slightly using a potato masher. Cook until the desired consistency. Make sure it’s not very runny. Let it cool.

Tempering chocolate- seeding process (With thermometer):

  • Put 2/3 rd chocolate in a clean deep bowl and melt over a double boiler. Do not stir until the chocolate is 2/3 melted. Keep checking the temperature while the chocolate is melting. Do not touch the thermometer to the base of the bowl as it might give you misleading readings. Quickly take if off the heat source as soon as the temperature reaches 48 C. (Make sure the bowl is completely dry and clean. A drop of water and you will end up with seized chocolate.)
  • Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a towel. Add the remaining 1/3 chocolate to the melted chocolate, stirring gently. This will help the chocolate cool and lower the temperature. Keep stirring gently until the temperature drops to 28 C.
  • Put the bowl back on the simmering water until the temperature rises to 32 C. Remove from water and wipe the bowl again. Your tempered chocolate is ready!

Tempering chocolate- seeding process (Without thermometer):

  • Put 2/3 rd chocolate in a clean deep bowl and melt over a double boiler. Do not stir until the chocolate is 2/3 melted. Stir gently once the chocolate has melted. Bring the spatula near your lower lip and dab a small amount on the area below your lower lip.  It should sting a little, not too much though. Take it off the heat source and wipe the bottom of the bowl with a towel. (Make sure the bowl is completely dry and clean. A drop of water and you will end up with seized chocolate.)
  • Add the remaining 1/3 chocolate to the melted chocolate, stirring gently. This will help the chocolate cool and lower the temperature. Lift the spatula up to your lower lip and dab a small amount. It should feel cooler than your body temperature. If the chocolate is warmer than your body temperature or makes no difference, it needs to cool further.
  • Put the bowl back on the simmering water for 5-10 seconds, until it’s just warm enough. Remove from water and wipe the bowl again. Your tempered chocolate is ready!

Assembly:

  • Making the first outer layer: Pour the tempered chocolate quickly into a chocolate mould and swirl it around to coat the mould properly. Invert the mould on a baking paper and let it rest for a minute until all the extra chocolate has drained. Hold the mould properly and using a serrated knife, scrape off the extra chocolate on the mould to give a clean shape. Refrigerate for 5 mins.
  • The filling: Fill the chocolate mould 2/3 with the mulled wine cranberry compote. Refrigerate for another 5-7 mins.
  • Making the last layer: Since the chocolate might have gone out of temper, place it over simmering water to warm for 10-15 seconds. If you’re using a thermometer, the temperature should be at 32 C. Fill the chocolate moulds completely and even it out with a spoon if you have to. Let it rest for 2 minutes. Gently scrape off the extra chocolate. Refrigerate for at least an hour or two. De-mould the chocolates and refrigerate until use.

 

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Almond Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe has been requested by so many of you, and I’ve finally sat down to really write it. I’m sorry for that little delay there, blame it on exams! We can all hate it together now, haha. First of all, hi guys! How have all of you been? I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, with all the gorgeous, flavourful food. We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving here in India, but I’m so thankful to all of you for constant love and support. Thank youu xx.

Are you excited for the festive season? I surely am! We decorated our tiny Christmas tree today, and it’s definitely kicking in now. Yay! This is our first Christmas of the blog and I am going to do a lot of festive baking once exams are overrrr! 4 down, 1 to go. Be ready for all that yumminess coming your way 😀 Coming back to our cookies, oh aren’t they just perfect! I made these as a healthy snack (yes, cookies are my snack!) to munch on while studying. Turns out, before I could reach for the second one, my dad had already finished them all! He loved it so much. He couldn’t believe that they were gluten free, and are only sweetened with honey and a bit of brown sugar. Oh, did I mention they are eggless? I guess we are all happy now!

Due to my recent diet changes, I sort of refrained myself from eating all things dessert. That’s quite a task when you’re a baker yourself. However, that’s also the advantage. I have always liked eating healthy, but I was kind of hesitant to explore the healthier alternatives for desserts, mainly because I had never had a good experience with them. A lot of the places where I tried ‘healthier’ desserts tasted like soap or nowhere close to being called desserts for that matter. Trying out options myself, I have realised that healthy can be just as delicious and satisfying. Why not satisfy your cravings without the guilt? These cookies are the perfect example for that. They are so wholesome yet unbelievably delicious, with all the good things. Perfect with a cup of tea, or coffee. Hope you enjoy. Happy baking! 🙂

Almond cookies.jpg

Almond cookies 2.jpg

Almond and oats cookies.jpg

Just a few points to remember:

  • Do not forget to lower your temperature (like I did). They are extremely sensitive and can burn within minutes.
  • I like to line my baking tray twice just to ensure the bottoms don’t turn black. First with a foil paper and then a parchment/baking paper.
  • Chill the cookie dough for at least an hour to reduce spreading. They will still spread a bit.

 

Recipe adaptation: Passionate about baking

MAKES: 18-20 cookies

INGREDIENTS 

  • 100 gms salted butter, at room temperature
  • 80 gms honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 30 gms brown sugar
  • 200 gms almond meal
  • 100 gms rolled oats
  • 50 gms dark chocolate chips

 

METHOD

  • Line a baking tray with a baking paper. (I like to line twice) Keep aside.
  • In a small bowl, heat butter, honey and vanilla extract over low heat until the butter melts. Mix well. You can use a microwave as well.
  • Whisk in the baking soda and brown sugar. Add the oats, almond meal and chocolate chips to form a cookie dough. It will be a bit sticky. Cover with a clingfilm wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 140 C.
  • Make small balls out of the cookie dough and press lightly with your palm (They will spread and flatten out in the oven so don’t have to press too much). Keep sufficient gap between them, about an inch or so. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. You might want to keep an eye on them just to make sure they don’t burn.
  • Let it cool on the tray for 5 minutes as they are very tender when straight out of the oven. Enjoy with your cup of tea/coffee.

 

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