Showing posts with label Sweet Treats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sweet Treats. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Persian Love Cookies





Persian sweets and desserts are so visually appealing as well as delicious in taste that I could not help devouring these Pistachio Rose Persian Love Cookies as soon as they were done. I have long been eyeing these cookies on this blog: and at last gathered all the ingredients to make them.

So attractive to behold, soft, chewy and delicious in taste with the fragrance of rose petals that fills your senses as you bite into them. And with the first bite you begin to wonder if you have already fallen head over heals in love with them.  You cannot stop craving for more....... No wonder they are called Love Cookies!!

I followed the recipe almost exactly except for the fact that I didn't have enough almonds that day so combined it with pistachios and the taste was divine. Next time I make them I want to try without almonds and use only pistachios.

Also I did not have pomegranate juice so substituted with berry juice which was sweet and tangy like the pomegranate flavour.


Recipe adapted from heneedsfood.com

Ingredients: 
100 gm Almond meal
50 gm Pistachios ground
110 gm Icing Sugar sifted
80 gm Pistachios finely sliced
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Tsp Green Cardamoms ground
1/3 Cup Dried Rose Petals
1 Egg White
1 Tsp Rose Water


Icing 
1 Tbs Berry Juice (blue berry and raspberry)
6 Tbs Icing sugar































    Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 335 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    2. Grind the almonds and pistachios separately and mix together. Add the sifted icing sugar, nutmeg, green cardamom powder, rose petals and mix well.

    3. Blanch the 80 gm pistachios (soak them in warm water and remove their skins) and slice them.

    4. Now add the egg white and rose water to the dry ingredients (step 2) till the mixture comes together.























    5. Shape into balls and roll them in the pistachio slices, place them on the lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and leave them to cool on a wire wrack.























    6. Mix together the icing sugar with the berry juice until you get a smooth flowy texture. When the cookies are completely cooled, drizzle the icing on top in a zig zag motion with a fork.

    7. Once the icing is completely set, decorate them with rose petals and dust lightly with icing sugar before serving. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    Dum Ka Rote Halwa (Baked Semolina Pudding)































    This is a very popular halwa in Chennai, India well known for its name "Dum Ka Rote". To make this halwa the mixture is first cooked on flame then baked in the oven on low. In olden days they baked on charcoal ovens with burning charcoals on the top and bottom of the baking dish. But they controlled the heat, by keeping it on low. It was baked on low heat for a long time till it became crusty at the top and bottom. The crust is a delicacy and we as kids used to fight for it as it was the best part of the halwa. This halwa is what you would die for as it is so insanely delicious!!

    Basha's Halwa in Chennai is world famous (as he says in this video) and whosoever has tasted it once keeps craving for more. I am dedicating this recipe to one of my readers who was badly craving for it and requested me for its recipe. The recipe for Dum ka rote has been rotating in our family for many years and it is the closest to Basha's halwa I can say. Basha uses only melon seeds as garnish. I could not get melon seeds in the stores here, so had to use some which I managed to save after eating a melon,  therefore, I have used them sparingly. Here is the recipe:

    Ingredients:
    1/2 Cup Semolina (coarse)
    1 Cup / 225gm Unsweetened Khoya
    1 1/2 Cups / 325gm Sugar
    1 1/2 Cup Ghee + 1 tbs
    1 Cup / 115gm Almonds (for paste)
     Almonds and Cashews (chopped for garnish)
    2 Tbs melon seeds for garnish
    1/8th Tsp Saffron
    1 Cup half and half / Whole Milk
    1/4 Cup Whole Milk (for grinding almonds to a paste and for soaking saffron threads)













    Method:
    1. Soak semolina in 1 cup half and half or whole milk till it gets soaked well for 10 minutes.

    2 Cut the Unsweetened Khoya (Nanak Khoya or Bapu ka Khoya) into small pieces and blend them in a food processor till reduced to powder.

    3. Grind the almonds separately in a grinder first to a fine powder then add a little milk and grind to a fine paste with no lumps.

    4. Mix together the sugar, ghee and the ground almonds with the khoya powder in the food processor and pulse till everything gets blended well. Transfer to a bowl.

    5. Now add the soaked semolina and whisk everything with a hand whisk to a smooth thick batter.

    6. Crush the saffron threads in a mortar and pestle, add some warm milk to it then add this saffron milk to the halwa mixture and mix well.

    7. Transfer this mixture to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and on medium heat keep stirring till it comes to a boil and then starts slowly thickening. Do not stop stirring at this stage as it could get burnt at the bottom quickly. Finally when it starts leaving the sides, remove from the stove.













































    8. Grease a baking dish with ghee and pour the thickened halwa into it. Sprinkle the slivered almonds and melon seeds then drizzle the remaining ghee on top and place it in the centre of the oven preheated at 325 degrees fahrenheit.























    9. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the top and the bottom layers start browning and the sweet scented aroma of saffron is filling the air. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature.







    10. The above picture was taken when I made the halwa again for a picnic. This time luckily I found the melon seeds at the Sri Lankan store. 



















    11. As you see in the above picture all the nuts ( I used chopped cashews and almonds) and melon seeds are gathered in the center. This is because this time I changed the baking technique a bit. I used the convection bake (temp: 350 degrees fahrenheit) instead of the regular bake and as it baked all the nuts and seeds came from the sides to the center. Also it got crispier on the sides and center more compared to the previous halwa which got evenly crisp all over. I prefer the convection method of baking for this halwa as it had a beautiful crust and a crispy center just like the basha halwa. And it tasted delicious!

    12. You can decorate the halwa with silver paper and serve it to your guests for dessert. 








    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Zafrani Halwa Pies


    I grew up eating these baked pies filled with almond, channa dal paste flavoured with saffron. It was always accompanied with rice kheer (porridge) which went so well with these pies. I have been craving for these for a long time and wanted to bake them like my mom but smaller in size. At last I tried them out to satisfy my craving. They turned out better than I had imagined. My mom used to make the pie crust with ghee (clarified butter) but I wanted something light and healthy so I followed a different recipe for the pie crust which was light, flaky and good.  For the halwa I followed my mom's recipe

    For the pie dough I followed this recipe from Simple Bites.  I cut down the recipe by half and the halwa I made following the recipe below was just enough to use up all the dough. 

    For the Halwa:

    Ingredients: 
    1/4 cup Channa dal
    1/4 cup Almonds (peeled)
    1/2 cup Sugar
    2 tbs Ghee
    Saffron a pinch

























    Method: 

    1. Soak the channa dal for 30 minutes after rinsing in water 3 or 4 times till the water is clear. Soak the almonds in warm water or microwave them with a little water for 30 seconds. The peels will easily come off.

    2. Boil the channa dal till it gets cooked, let it cool, then grind it to a smooth paste. Grind the almonds separately to a fine paste.

    3. Take a sauce pan and on medium heat add one or two cloves and 2 green cardamoms then add the ground dal and almond paste.

    4. Add the sugar and keep stirring till it thickens then dd the saffron dissolved in warm milk. Stir till the milk gets absorbed and the halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan. Remove and set aside to cool.
























    5. Take the refrigerated pie dough and start rolling it into a fairly thick circle on a pastry board dusted with flour. Cut round shapes with a cookie cutter or a steel tumbler with a sharp rim.

























    6. Place some halwa in each of them, brush the edge lightly with water or egg white and close it in the shape of a half moon or turnover.

























    7. Press the edges with a fork to seal them then brush them with saffron water (soak a few threads of saffron in a tsp of water) to give them a coloured decorative edge.

    8. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 25 - 30 minutes. When they turn lightly golden at the bottom they are done. Remove and cool on a wire wrack and enjoy with Rice Kheer.



    Rice Kheer (Porridge)



























    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 Litres Whole Milk
    1/4 Cup Basumathi Rice
    3/4 - 1 Cup White Sugar
    15 Almonds for garnish
    4 - 5 Drops Rose Essence
    1 Tsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
    2 Green Cardamoms


    Method: 

    1. Boil milk and leave on simmer to thicken for 10 minutes till it reduces a bit.  Wash the basumathi rice 3 or 4 times till the water runs out clear and leave it to soak in water for 15 minutes.

    2. In another pot on medium heat add ghee. Crack the cardamoms a bit to release the flavour then add to the pot followed by the soaked basumathi rice.

    3. Sauté the basumathi rice in the ghee till it dries up a bit, then add 3 - 4 cups of water and let it cook till it becomes mushy on low medium heat. Keep an eye on it so it does not burn after all the water gets absorbed.

    4. Add sugar and the reduced whole milk, cook for some more time on simmer while stirring continuously. When it is of porridge consistency remove and leave it to cool.

    5. Meanwhile microwave almonds soaked in water for 40 seconds on high. When cool peel, cut into thin slivers and set aside for garnish.

    6. Add 4 to 5 drops of rose essence to the kheer, mix well, transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with almonds, chill in the fridge and serve. Chilled Kheer tastes better. Enjoy as it is for dessert or with Halwa pies.



    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    Maamoul Cookies

    Maamouls are what I would call, cookies from Heaven!! They melt in the mouth and make you feel like you are in the seventh heaven. These little goodies, packed with rich nuts, scented with orange blossom water and sweetened with honey are so addicting that you would never want to stop eating them.



























    Here's the recipe.

    Ingredients:
    White flour - 4 cups - 6 cups
    Unsalted butter - 1lb chilled
    Sugar - 1/2 cup
    Salt - 1/4 tsp
    Chilled water - 1/4 cup
    Orange blossom water - 2 tbs
    Maamoul mould

    Method:
    1. Cut the chilled butter into cubes.

    2. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times.

    3. Add the butter and pulse again  3 or 4 times, till the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.

    4. At this stage add the orange blossom water followed by chilled water little by little with each pulse till it forms into a soft dough. Squeeze the dough to check. It should  be soft but not sticky.

    5. Pound the nuts coarsely. You can use different fillings with mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios and walnuts) or just pistachios or just almonds in combination with honey/icing sugar and orange blossom water. You can also use just date paste mixed with orange blossom water. Or dates and mixed nuts with orange blossom water. For the maamoul fillings recipe click here.

    6. Make small round balls of the dough. Make slightly bigger balls of the filling. You can use different moulds for different fillings.

    7. Make a depression in the small rounds of the dough then shape them like a bowl by swirling around with your fingers . Place the ball of the filling in the bowl, close the circle over the filling and smoothen it like a ball. Please note that there should be a considerably thin layer of dough around the filling (not so thin that the filling comes out on baking and not so thick that there's hardly any filling inside). Keep a paper towel handy to wipe your hands each time you touch the filling otherwise the dough would get discolored with your sticky fingers and it would be hard to give shape.





    8. Roll the filled rounds in the flour, dust the moulder too with a little flour then overturn it and tap to shake off the excess flour.

    9. Place the filled maamoul in the selected shape in the maamoul moulder and press it with your palm.

    10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

    11. Now tap the moulder on the edge of the cookie sheet so that the maamoul stuck in the mould falls off on to the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the maamouls.

    12. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Bake the maamouls for around 10 -12 minutes till the base of the maamoul is lightly golden brown. After 12 mins take a flat thin spatula and lift the base of a maamoul to see if it is done. Switch off the oven and leave them inside for 3-4 minutes.  Remove when they look firm at the top and lightly golden brown at the base.



    13. Cool on wire wrack for one hour. Dust them with icing sugar after they cool down completely and enjoy.

    Tips: 

    Do not store these cookies in the fridge. Store them in a cool dry place in an air tight container or cookie jar. They stay fresh outside for 2 - 4 weeks. You may freeze them if you want to store for longer periods of time. But bring them to room temperature before serving them.