Baked Churros

That’s right! Baked, not fried.

I’ve been wanting to make a baked version of these insanely addictive treats for quite some time now. My mom absolutely loves them and I so wanted to bake her a batch while she was here, visiting us. But every time we went out to eat she would skip the entree and order a plate of churros for herself. I did not want to double up on those calories so I kept delegating this recipe to the bottom of my baking to-do list.

Then I found the perfect motivation. I made a batch of Smitten Kitchen’s Hot Fudge Sauce. This stuff is indeed the bomb. I want to put it over everything! And what goes better with chocolate sauce than churros?

I mean, just check this out!

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It’s easy to make – half an hour from beginning to end – and it’s something you can easily whip up for company. Best part is, no special equipment needed. Just a saucepan, spatula and some elbow grease!

Let’s get started

Yield – 24 Churros each 4 inches long

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/3 cup
  • Large eggs – 3 (at room temperature)
  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup (If using salted butter leave out salt from the dry ingredients)
  • Light brown sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Granulated sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Vanilla extract -1 tsp
  • Granulated sugar with 1 tsp of nutmeg or cinnamon for dusting finished churros – 1/3 cup

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 F or 205 degree Celsius
  • Add butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt (if using) and water to a medium sized saucepan and place it on medium heat. Stir occasionally till the sugars and butter melt completely
  • Let the liquid come to a boil and then take it off the heat
  • Add in the vanilla extract and flour to the hot liquid and stir vigorously till a smooth dough is formed and it begins to gather around the spatula
  • Make a well in the center of the dough and and the first egg. Stir vigorously again till the egg is completely incorporated. It takes a couple of minutes. You will see the dough getting smoother and shinier after the egg is mixed in
  • Mix the other two eggs one at a time stirring thoroughly after each addition. Here’s a visual guide. The image on the right was taken after the three eggs were added

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  • Fill the dough into a piping bag fitted with a wide open star tip and pipe the dough in straight lines on a parchment lined sheet tray. I piped them about 3.5 to 4 inches long

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  • Spray or lightly brush the piped dough with oil. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes
  • When done the churros will be crisp and golden brown on the outside and will slide around easily on the tray
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes
  • Take granulated sugar and nutmeg (or cinnamon) in a wide bowl and mix. Toss warm churros in the sugar till they are lightly coated. Serve!

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Notes – These churros are best eaten fresh, right out of the oven. You can dip them in any sauce of your choice – melted chocolate, salted caramel, fudge – all work great! If you want to make these churros in advance, cool them and store in an airtight container. Just before serving, warm them in a preheated oven at 350 F or 180 degree Celsius for 5 minutes and then toss them in the sugar – nutmeg mixture 

Recipe adapted from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt

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Fig Loaf

When your toddler refuses to get within 10 feet of anything that even remotely resembles a berry or dried fruit, you grumble a bit, blame it on her daddy's genes and then, if you're like me, you get baking. I find loaf cakes are excellent for camouflaging all kinds of those 'too healthy to eat' ingredients that your toddler and/or husband actively avoid. That's how this Fig Loaf came to be.

It's extremely easy to make. It goes excellently well with tea or coffee and it makes a great breakfast too! I like it lightly toasted with some chocolate spread and sprinkles on top. Now tell me that didn't entice you!

This recipe requires you to make a fig puree or 'jam'. You then add this puree to the batter which gives the loaf cake its pure fig-ey taste. It is a simple process that takes about 10 minutes start to finish.

If you want to forget about the loaf cake and just settle down with a bowl of this and a spoon, that's okay too. I won't mind.

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Baking soda – 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Egg – 1 large
  • Oil – 1/3 cup (Any neutral oil will do. No olive oil)
  • Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup (Can increase to 1 cup for more sweetness)
  • Buttermilk – 1/4 cup
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 1/3 cup
  • Chopped dried figs – 1 heaping cup
  • Brown sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp

Method

First we make Fig Puree

  • In a small saucepan combine figs, brown sugar, lemon juice and vanilla essence and cook over medium low heat. Once the sugar has melted add the water to the figs and cook them down, stirring occasionally. Make sure the figs don't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn
  • Once the figs turn mushy and begin to break down, take the pan off the heat and allow to cool. Puree the fig mixture, using very little water if necessary, to form a chunky 'jam'. Set aside

Now onto the bread

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 degree Celsius
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside
  • In another bowl whip the egg using a hand blender till it turns frothy
  • Add the sugar to the egg and whip till the mixture becomes very pale and fluffy. This takes 2 to 3 minutes
  • Now add the oil and the fig puree to the egg-sugar mixture and whip till it is thoroughly combined
  • Next add half the flour mixture and whip briefly to combine
  • Add in all the buttermilk and whip again
  • Add the remaining half of the dry ingredients and whip till it is all incorporated
  • Using a spatula gently mix in the chocolate chips and make sure there are no streaks of flour in the batter
  • Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan till it is 2/3 full
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, check on the loaf cake. If the top is too dark, tent the loaf pan with foil and continue to bake till it is done. This ensures that the top doesn't burn while the cake bakes
  • The loaf cake is done when a tester inserted into it comes out clean or with very few crumbs attached.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack
  • Gently invert the pan onto the cooling and let the cake slide out and then allow it to cool completely

NOTES – I used a 7.5×3.5×2.5 inches loaf pan and had a bit of batter left over that made 3 small cupcakes. Every oven is different. Keep an eye on your loaf cake after the 30 minute mark to make sure it doesn't over bake. Store the loaf cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Then store it in the fridge.

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 This recipe is based on the Fresh Fig Bread recipe over at thespruce.com

  

Double Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti has always been popular. With me. I found it puzzling then, that I had not bothered to dedicate even a single post to the perfect coffee companion. The situation had to be remedied.

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I intend to bake a batch every few weeks in the name of recipe testing and if I’m able to hold on to them long enough to take a few pictures, I intend to blog about them too!

I was so excited with the way this batch turned out that I immediately invited a couple of friends over for a session of coffee and taste testing. Huge success!

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When, after downing a couple of biscottis each, they showed no signs of slowing down I grew alarmed. I had to snatch the tray out of their hands and escort them to the door. HA! That saved the day and this blog post.

It’s super simple. Just cream butter and sugar together, add the eggs and whip until fluffy.

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Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips and mix just until combined. Shape into a log and bake.

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 Cool and then slice the log.

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Bake again till done. Don’t let the double baking scare you. It’s easier than it looks.

Make it but don’t invite any friends over. At least not the first time.

Ingredients

  • Salted butter at room temperature – 6 tbsp (If using unsalted butter add 3/4 tsp salt to the dry ingredients)
  • Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Vanilla extract – 1/4 tsp
  • Instant coffee powder or strong brewed coffee – 1 tsp
  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/4 cup
  • Almond flour – 3/4 cup
  • Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips – 3/4 cup

Yield – 20 cookies

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 175 degree Celsius
  • Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs in one at a time and whip well after each addition
  • Mix the instant coffee powder with a teaspoon of water and add it to the sugar-butter-egg mixture along with the vanilla. Whip briefly to combine
  • In a separate bowl add the all purpose flour, almond flour, cocoa powder and baking soda and combine with a fork or whisk
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in three batches mixing well after each addition
  • Fold in the chocolate chips using a spatula
  • Line a cookie tray with parchment paper or foil or a silpat mat. Dump the dough onto the tray and shape it into a log approximately 12×4 inches
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. The log will develop cracks on top and should be firm to the touch
  • Cool the log on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Carefully slice the log at an angle into 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices. You’ll get approximately 20 slices. It is okay if the insides are still a little soft
  • Transfer the slices back to the cookie sheet carefully. Place them cut side down in rows and bake in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake again for another 5 minutes until the slices are firm
  • Transfer them onto a cooling rack to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container

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Recipe adapted from the chocolate biscotti recipe at Chocolate Chocolate and More

The Best Oatmeal-Choc Chip Cookies Everrr!

So I sat down to (finally) begin my carrot cake blog post. You know the little adorable mini-loaves I posted on Instagram almost a month ago? I was so smitten that I promised on multiple social media platforms to post a recipe as soon as I could put the loaf down to take a breath. I mean, I meant well and truly wanted to share the recipe with the whole wide world (not that the world was missing a carrot cake recipe but one more definitely doesn’t hurt right?) I told all my friends about it and bragged and bragged…..

Yeah….about that. I had a complete and total brain-fart *sigh*

I couldn’t locate the original recipe. I looked and up and down my browser history and finally found something that was vaguely familiar but then I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember the tweaks that I had made. So I gave up the quest and turned instead to the mother of all comfort foods – COOKIES!


Now this is more of a review, or a tribute if you will, to the original recipe. I went completely out of character and followed the recipe without changing a thing! Okay confession – I did pulse the oats a little bit, just a tiny little bit to make it more toddler friendly but that’s it!

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Perfect distribution of chocolate chips!

It’s like this. When a recipe like has 90K re-pins on Pinterest you just don’t argue with it. You stop whatever it is that you’re doing or plan to do, prop your iPad up on its stand and follow every word of the recipe to a ‘t’ to whip up an insanely awesome batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

The only painful part of this recipe is the chilling time the dough needs. I always overcome this difficulty by making a batch at night, shoving it in the fridge and promptly going to bed. Waiting is much easier when you’re sleeping AND you get to eat cookies for breakfast!!

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Ready for some? Here goes

Ingredients

  • Old-fashioned rolled oats – 1 and 1/2 cups
  • All purpose flour – 3/4 cup
  • Baking soda -1/2 tsp
  • Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips – 1/2 cup You can up this to 1 cup for more chocolaty goodness!
  • Salted butter – 1/2 cup or 1 stick You can use unsalted butter. Just add a pinch of salt to the dry ingredients if you do
  • Light brown sugar – 1/2 cup packed
  • Granulated sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tbsp
  • Large egg – 1

Yield – About 24 to 30 depending on size

Method

  • Pulse oats in a food processor briefly just until the large grains have been broken down a bit. Be careful not to grind it to a flour. You want the cookies to have enough texture
  • Combine oats with the flour and baking soda in a bowl and whisk to mix
  • In another bowl beat the egg, sugars and vanilla extract with an electric mixture until it turns light and fluffy and increases in volume. This takes about 5 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl in between
  • Add the dry ingredients and beat briefly just until combined
  • Add the chocolate chips and beat on low speed for about half a minute. I used half a cup of mini chocolate chips because that’s all I had. I’m sure 1 whole cup of chips will be even more divine!
  • Using a tablespoon measure, measure out the cookie dough and roll it into a ball in your hands. Flatten it slightly and place it on a greased tray or cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover the cookies with a clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. I left a batch in for 6 days and they were just fine
  • When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit or  176 degree Celsius
  • Place chilled cookies about 2 inches apart (they do spread) and bake for 12 minutes until they begin to brown at the edges. You can bake them for a few minutes more if you want firmer cookies
  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool. They’ll firm up further after cooling.
  • Store in an airtight container or freeze

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All done! Now rejoice at the thought of having a jar full of these beauties on your counter 🙂

Adapted from http://www.averiecooks.com – http://www.averiecooks.com/2014/11/the-best-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

Double Chocolate Nankhatai

When you’re craving a cookie that is chocolatey and rich but all you have are a whisk and a bowl, coffee time can get pretty tough. I mean, sure there’s a lot you can do with a whisk, or so I’ve heard but I did not want to risk an injury whipping up butter and sugar. So I poked around the internet a bit and found this fantastic recipe just begging to be tweaked.

Five ingredients, a bowl, a whisk and in about 20 minutes you’re done. If you’re feeling a little fancy you can even hide a surprise inside these cookies.

  
The pictures are not that great but the cookies definitely are! 

This recipe makes 10 cookies

                                                                

Doesn’t it look delicious? Let’s get started!

Ingredients

  • Salted butter at room temperature – 4 tbsp 
  • All purpose flour – 1/2 cup minus 2 tbsp
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tbsp
  • Powdered sugar or caster sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Baking powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Hershey’s milk chocolate drops – 10 Optional

You can use unsalted butter. Just add a pinch of salt to the flour if you do. Ghee is another sunbstitute for butter that works well here

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius 
  • Whisk butter and sugar in a bowl for about 5 minutes till the sugar is well incorporated and the butter begins to look a little pale
  • Add the rest of the dry ingredients and knead gently till it comes together. The dough will look a little crubmly but it should be soft to touch and should not be sticky 
  • Form balls of dough a little smaller in size than ping pong balls. The cookie balls should be smooth and crack free.
  • Make an impression in the cookie with your thumb and press one milk chocolate drop into the centre. Gently roll the cookie back into a ball making sure the chocolate drop stays in the center
  • If you don’t want a chocolate centre skip the previous step. 
  • Flatten the cookie balls gently, not too much though and place them on a cookie tray lined with  parchment paper or greased foil. Make sure you place them about 2 inches apart
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 12 minutes
  • After 12 minutes take them out of the oven. Rest for a couple of minutes. Then try to nudge a cookie gently with a spatula. If it moves easily the cookies are done. If the cookie doesn’t move easily put the tray back in the oven for 2 more minutes and check for doneness again
  • Be very careful not to over bake these cookies. The chocolate colour makes it hard to tell if they’re burning around the edges
  • Cool the cookies completely on a  wire rack
  • Store in an airtight container 

  

Can you spot the tiny hand trying to grab one 😉

Sweet & Spicy Almonds – Dark Chocolate Bark

Strictly speaking this cannot be called a recipe post. It is a two-step process with an oven time of about ten minutes and that’s it. Roast almonds, pour melted chocolate on them and you’re done. The wait time is a true test of endurance though. This bark takes about 3 hours to firm up.

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The molten chocolate poured over shiny glazed almonds looked so tantalising that those three hours passed in total agony! I made constant trips to the refrigerator – poking, prodding, touching, lifting (spot the fingerprints and knife wounds in the picture above!). Turns out, you cannot will the chocolate to harden. It is stubborn and temperamental and will take its own sweet time.  So I suggest you make this at night, just before bedtime and let it set overnight. Easier on you and better for the chocolate too.

Sweet and Spicy Almonds recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon

Ingredients

  • Whole raw almonds – 2 cups
  • Honey – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
  • Maple syrup – 1 tbsp (can be substituted with honey)
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder (cayenne) – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Sea salt or rock salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Dark chocolate (at least 60%) – 350 to 400 grams

Method

  • Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius.
  • Add almonds to a big bowl. Pour in honey, maple syrup and vegetable oil. Add the red pepper flakes, chilli powder and salt and stir thoroughly until the almonds are evenly coated.

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  • Looks gorgeous doesn’t it? Now, if you haven’t already wolfed them down at this stage, line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the almonds on the tray in an even layer. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. After the initial 5 minutes stir the nuts around on the tray and continue to bake. Keep a close watch! Nuts tend to burn very quickly. Mine were toasted perfectly in about 12 minutes.
  • Allow the almonds to cool completely. Leave them on the tray till they are cool and the syrup has formed a nice hard glaze. The almonds will form delicious little clusters.
  • When the almonds are nearly cool, melt the chocolate in a double boiler – a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir the melting chocolate gently, making sure the chocolate doesn’t come into contact with any water at all. Once it has all melted, take it off the heat. Line another baking sheet or brownie pan with parchment paper. Break up the almond clusters and spread about two-thirds of the almonds on the sheet. Pour the chocolate over the almonds and try to spread it out as evenly as possible using an offset spatula or a flat knife. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on top of the chocolate and gently press them down with the spatula. Sprinkle sea salt over the chocolate.
  • You’re done! Well almost. Refrigerate till the chocolate is set hard. This takes about 3 hours. After the nearly interminable wait, when the chocolate has finally set, break it up into chunks either with a knife or by hand. If breaking it up by hand, avoid getting your fingerprints on the chocolate by placing a layer of parchment on it first. Keep this almond – dark chocolate bark refrigerated.

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If you, like us, have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this should last you a couple of days. If you are blessed with greater self control it should be good for about a week to ten days.