As the last installment of the chocolate trilogy, I leave you with these chocolate chews. As the name suggests, these are more than cookies. When eaten warm, they taste more like brownies with so little fat. When eaten cold, they are soft and slightly chewy. With so much chocolate, they got to taste great. It took only about 15 minutes to get ‘em into the oven. This easy, but tasty cookie is my entry to Eat Christmas Cookies, hosted by Susan of Food Blogga.
IngredientsSemi sweet chocolate – ¾ cup Butter – 1½ tbsp Instant coffee – ½ tbsp All purpose flour – ¼ cup Brown sugar – ¼ cup Egg – 1 Vanilla extract – 1 tsp Baking powder – ¼ tsp Salt – a pinch Chocolate chips – ¼ cup
Preheat oven to 375F. Melt chocolate, butter and coffee together in a microwave and let it cool. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat sugar and egg together until thick. Whisk the melted chocolate into the egg mixture along with vanilla extract. Gently fold in the dry ingredients. And finally stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop heaped tablespoons of the dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 19 minutes. The cookies cracks on top when they are done. Cool on a wire rack. This recipe yields 8 good sized cookies.
That’s what I would describe my favourite chocolate as, Ferrero Rocher. Its crunchy and creamy, with the right amount of sweetness. Nuts are this month’s theme for Click. I thought, what better way to appreciate nuts than to dip them in chocolate. And that is exactly what Ferrero Rocher is. A hazelnut surrounded by chocolate cream, encapsulated in a crisp wafer sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts.
It is one of those rare occasions that I get to photograph to my heart’s content, without worrying about the results. That’s right, the lovely duo at Jugalbandi have honoured me by inviting to the judges panel. If you haven’t clicked your winning shot yet, hurry, you have only a week left.
For some reason, certain food photographs that I have seen in other blogs, magazines or cookbooks gets stuck in my head like glue, until I try it out at least once. This recipe is inspired from one such photo. An adult chocolate creme that looks and tastes divine. What I liked the most about this dessert is, its neither thick like a pudding nor thin like a drink, but somewhere in between. As a true chocolate lover, I served this velvety dessert with home made chocolate truffles. Overall, this dessert is elegant and easy. Prepare the chocolate crème and truffles 2 days before, refrigerate them separately, bring 'em to room temperature and serve your guests. Now that’s easy entertaining.
As always, I like chocolate slightly bitter and so I have used dark chocolate. But feel free to use semi-sweet chocolate. Also, I noticed that when refrigerated for more than 3 days, the chocolate crème thickens like a pudding. Not that it alters the taste anyway. So serve this at room temperature or slightly warm. Likewise, refrigerate the truffles and serve at room temperature. This dessert is so easy that everything is put together using microwave oven. Adjust the cooking times to suit your microwave. Since chocolate is the star of this dessert, try using the best available quality chocolate.
Chocolate CrèmeIngredientsDark chocolate – ½ cup Heavy cream – ¼ cup Low fat milk – ½ cup Egg yolk – 1 Coffee liquor – 2 tspMethod
Microwave cream and milk together for 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on the sides. Stir in the chocolate and coffee liquor. Stir until melted. Add egg yolk and mix vigorously. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir once and microwave again for 30 more seconds. Pour into serving containers while warm. Cover with plastic wrap or foil to prevent the chocolate crème from forming a crust.
Chocolate TrufflesIngredientsSemi sweet chocolate – ½ cup Heavy cream – ¼ cup Orange zest – ½ tsp Chopped nuts and cocoa powder – for coatingMethod
Microwave cream until bubbles appear on the sides, about a minute. Stir in the chocolate and the zest. Keep whisking until chocolate completely dissolves and glistens. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. When ready, scoop a tsp of the chocolate mixture, roll into a ball in the palm of your hands. Roll either over cocoa powder or chopped nuts. I have used pistachios.
When ready, top one truffle over chocolate crème and serve with dessert spoons. Leave additional truffles on the table and let the guests help themselves.
Later, I found adding a pinch of chilli powder/cayenne pepper to chocolate crème instead of liquor was over-the-top. After the initial sweetness of the chocolate, the chilli powder leaves a slight heat on the back of the throat.
If you don’t want to use egg yolk, use 1 tsp of corn flour in ¼ of water. Adding a tsp of butter to the crème will give it a silkier texture. I omitted it because between the heavy cream and the egg yolk, I felt there is enough calories already.
USDA advises consuming about 1 cup of berries each day to meet the recommended antioxidants daily intake. Reducing free radicals, slowing down cell-aging, reducing the risk of cancer are some of the benefits of regular intake of antioxidants. Hence I make sure I include ‘em in my diet. A handful of fresh or frozen berries in my fruit smoothie everyday takes care of it. Recently, I discovered a new kind of berry - Acai (pronounced Aa-sa-yee). What made it notable was its endless list of benefits.
Acai falls into the category of superfood. These are food categories that have significantly high levels of crucial nutrients and are recommended for a better health and quality of life. If I can get that kind of nutrition from nature, without higher calories and side effects, why wouldn’t I?
Acai berries are the fruit of Acai palm trees that grow in Amazon swamps and floodplains. Now, you don’t have to go that extent to get hold of these mighty berries. The pulp of these berries are sold frozen or powdered in many supermarkets. You can also find them in packaged smoothies, carbonated drinks, flavoured coconut water etc. I find frozen pulp easier to manage. All I have to do is to scoop a couple of spoons into the blender. But they are little bit on the expensive side when bought in small quantities. Recently, Costco has started carrying Sambazon Original Organic Acai pulp (labeled as sorbet) in three single pint containers. Easy to store, easy to use. Taste wise, as the package states, it is more of a rich berry flavour with hints of chocolate.
Acai and bananas are a top class combination. Acai topped with sliced bananas and chopped nuts is my favourite ‘ice cream’ sundae these days. But the real winner is Acai smoothie with banana and few chunks of honeydew melon. You have to taste it to believe it.
So I bought these new tartlet pans. Who can resist tarts after seeing Tartelette’s eye-popping creations. I couldn’t wait to create a fabulous tart. But all the recipes for the tart dough called for at least one stick of butter. As if there isn’t enough indulgence already (all in the name of holiday baking), I searched for a low-fat, more-sensible recipe. I landed on Ellie Krieger’s page. I like her recipes from her show Healthy Appetite. Instead of substituting full fat cream cheese with a low-fat one, she talks about portion control and other sensible ways of eating right. I have tried many of her recipes and am happy with every one of ‘em.
I used her recipe for making the crust, but made the filling with what I had on hand. The original recipe looks equally good, which I plan to try out some day. As said in the reviews, the crust is a bit dry and crumbly. With more butter, it may be one of those melt-in-your-mouth tarts. But, hey, am happy with the recipe as-is. Also, I have used marinated mushrooms from the olive bar, which already had garlic and red peppers. You may want to add these separately if you are using fresh mushrooms. I have used sun-dried tomato pesto, you can use any pesto you have on hand.
This is my first time baking tarts, and the lesson I learnt is, the filling shrinks a little bit after being baked. So its better to slightly overfill them. This recipe makes four 4-inch tartlets that serves two.
IngredientsCrustCornmeal – 2/3 cup Whole wheat pastry flour – 1/3 cup Butter – 2 tbsp Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp Salt – ¼ tsp Water – 2 to 3 tbspFillingRed onion – 1, small, sliced Tomato – 2, firm and medium sized, thinly sliced Marinated mushrooms with roasted red pepper and garlic – 1 cup Mozzarella and/or Boursin cheese – ½ cup Pesto – 4 tbsp Basil – few leaves, shredded Parmesan – 1 tbspMethod
Pulse the first five ingredients in the food processor until the dough form pea sized lumps. Gradually add one tbsp of water at a time and pulse until everything comes together. The dough for the crust can also be done by hand. Transfer the dough onto a working surface and knead for 10 seconds. Divide the dough into four equal parts and press each portion onto a 4 inch tart pan. Transfer the tartlet pans onto a baking sheet, prick a few holes on the crust with a fork and bake for 10 minutes at 350F oven. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for additional 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by sautéing red onions until brown. Sear any other thinly sliced vegetables, if using, on both sides, seasoned with salt and pepper. Slice the marinated mushrooms along with roasted red pepper and garlic. Shred mozzarella cheese.
Assemble the tart by brushing a tbsp of pesto at the bottom. Spread caramelized onions, mushrooms, garlic, red peppers, and other vegetables if any, one above the other. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella and/or Boursin. Place tomato slices on the top. Season with salt and pepper and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
Take the tarts out and let it cool for 5 minutes. The edges pull away from the pan as they cool. Remove ‘em from the mold, grate parmesan over the tarts and garnish with basil. Serve warm with a side salad or flavoured yogurt.
These mini tarts are on their way to The Mini Pie Revolution hosted by Karyn and Ann at The Mini Pie Revolution Headquarters. Ann, Thank you for graciously accepting my tartlets.
Individual sized desserts are attractive, in my opinion. On the table or in a picture, they have an appeal that I find irresistible. They have their advantages too. You don’t have to share it with anyone and enjoy all by yourself. You can even go for a second helping saying that it was too small. At least that’s what I do.
There is a very good reason for this post today. An elation that is to be shared with something sweet. My entry was announced as one of the winners in this month’s DMBLGiT hosted by Zorra, for originality.
Of course, you all chose one of the photos in that series as a winner already. Many congratulations to all the other winners and many thanks to the judges.
IngredientsBittersweet chocolate – 4 oz (about ¾ cup) Butter – 4 tbsp Eggs – 4, separated Sugar – 2/3 cup Vanilla extract – 1 tsp All purpose flour – 1 tbsp Salt – ¼ tspMethod
Melt chocolate and butter together in microwave or in a double boiler. Whip eggs yolks, sugar, vanilla and salt vigorously together for about 2 minutes, until well combined. Combine melted chocolate with the egg mixture. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle flour over the chocolate-egg mixture and add the egg whites. Gently fold everything together until well combined. Butter and flour four ramekins and spoon the mixture into the ramekins. Bake at 450F oven for about 8 minutes, until the top is set. Serve warm or at room temperature with berries and whipped cream. Serves 4.
Lolo at VeganYumYum has a mouth-watering array of small sized desserts. I am a big fan of her creations. This is my entry for JFI-Chocolate, hosted by Deepz of Letz Cook. JFI is Indira's brainchild.
Its raining potato bread everywhere in the blogging world and the temptation was too much. I duly surrendered and set out to make bread from scratch, for the very first time. I have always wanted to try potato buttermilk rolls recipe from this book. So I combined this recipe with Tanna’s recipe and developed my own. The rolls were soft and chewy with a light tang from the yogurt. I am so glad I made ‘em. Served with soup or as a sandwich, potato buttermilk rolls were just right.
IngredientsRusset potato – 2, medium Yogurt – ½ cup Yeast – 2 packets Sugar – 1 tsp Salt – 1½ tsp Butter – 1 tbsp Whole wheat flour – 1 cup All purpose flour or maida – about 4 cups, plus extra for dustingMethod
Peel and dice potatoes and cook in 4 cups of water, until soft. Drain and reserve the cooking water. Mash the potatoes well and let it cool. When the potatoes are warm and not hot, combine with yogurt, 1 ½ cups of potato water, yeast. Leave for 5 minutes.
Add sugar, salt, butter, whole wheat flour and 2 cups of all purpose flour to the potato mixture. Mix well until combined. The dough will be very sticky. Turn it on to the counter and start kneading. Keep adding flour until the dough comes together, about 2 cups. Transfer the dough to a well oiled clean bowl. Cover and let rise for about an hour.
When doubled in size, punch the dough and knead again. Divide the dough into two and reserve one half. Shape the other half into 6 rolls onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise for about 25 minutes. Preheat the oven at 450F. Lightly flour the rolls and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F and bake for additional 20 minutes, until light brown. Cool on a wire rack.
After the dough was done, I feared that it may be too much for just the two of us. I reserved half of it and chose to worry about it later. When the later came and I still had no idea I was a little desperate. Then an idea struck. Anjali of Anna Parabrahma had left a comment on this post, saying that she once made bhature with bread dough. Considering that the ingredients for the rolls were almost the same as aloo bhatura (barring yeast), I decided to give it a try. The bhature were a huge hit. The leftovers were even better. With due credits to Anjali, here is the method for making bhature.
Take the other half, and add equal amount of all-purpose flour. Knead well. Roll out thin small rounds and deep fry. Serve with your favourite curry.
I served mine with Ashwini’s Gobi ka kheema. I have been looking for this recipe for quite some time and this one is spot on. Ashwini, your recipe pleased our palettes just like your pictures delights our eyes.
Phew! Hosting an event is not a simple task. This being the first time, I learnt quite a bit. I was also introduced to many blogs and bloggers. On the whole, it was a fantastic ride from the start, thanks to you all. I was hesitant about announcing Vegan Ventures, not sure how it will be received. But gracious bloggers, as you are, played along well to make this event a success. Bloggers from varying food groups participated with equal enthusiasm. And some of you (Asha, Siri, Sea, Nags, Meera, The Cooker, Sarah, Sia, Mansi, Rina, Latha & Lakshmi) even sent two entries each. A big ‘Thank You’ to all the participants for sending in a total of 56 entries.
Although we (myself and ‘G’) have been vegetarians all our life, the concept of Veganism is quite new to both of us. Up until recent times, we always had thought being Vegan was just about not consuming any dairy, meat or any animal based products. Boy were we wrong.
Veganism is a lifestyle, a choice, a pledge to live free of cruelty to other living organisms that inhabit this planet and to live in harmony with nature. The concept of Veganism does not stop at the table, but extends to every other aspect of our modern lifestyle ranging from cosmetics, medicines etc.
Being Vegan is not an easy task and cannot be taken lightly. It’s a lifestyle, so changes will need to be done gradually in small steps. Cruelty-free living can start at home and in small simple steps
Reducing consumption of dairy, meat & animal based products
Using products that are not tested on animals and those which are not harmful to the environment.
In today’s age, it may not be entirely possible to live 100% free of cruelty. Knowingly or unknowingly we all consume a variety of animal based or derived products. Accepting this fact and increasing our awareness lets us do the best we can. I hope that Vegan Ventures in its own small way, has contributed to spreading this awareness. It was also an opportunity for us to expand our knowledge and awareness of this unique lifestyle. For further reads follow these links – Living cruelty free, Factory farming, Vegan Society.
With that thought, I leave you with a gorgeous array of vegan recipes, each unique and different, as their creators. In addition to the 56 entries I received, you can find 8 of my entries too. The picture below will take you to the gallery.
The entries are in the order in which I received them. If you don’t find your entry or is there a correction to be made, please let me know, I will rectify it. For quick reference, the event logo on the left pane will bring you to this roundup on your future visits.