Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Coffee Walnut Cookies

The first time I made these cookies was late one Saturday night when we were watching movie after movie and I suddenly felt like munching something! Went into the kitchen during a couple of commercial breaks and Ta-Da! It was ready! Had used the food processor then and it was such a breeze to bake them! And well, the batch I baked that night got over even quicker ;) But i did have more of the cookie dough saved up in the fridge, which I baked again a couple more times and they didn't last long enough either, to take some decent pics!

Being coffee lovers that we are, we literally fell in love with these cookies. But then the amount of butter that goes into it restrained me from making them quite often :). But then it is Okay to indulge once in a while, right? Some solace is that it is also loaded with healthy fat from walnuts. So made another batch of these recently and made sure we get some pics this time!

I had bookmarked this recipe from Suma's Cakes and More, which is originally from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert. It is a breeze if making in a food processor; making it by hand is not very tedious either. And the best part is the dough can be stored in the fridge as logs for a few days and when needed, all the work needed to be done is pull out one log, cut it into discs and bake! 

Since it makes quite a huge batch, this is a blessing, rather than having to make all the cookies at once, and rolling them on palms! I chose to make rather small cookies and got about 25-30 cookies from each log and there were 5 logs! Shared them with friends also, after devouring them enough. The cookies also stay fresh for quite a long time - about a month in an airtight container, that is if you can resist it that long! 

Coffee Walnut Cookies

Preparation time: 15 min (if using food processor; slightly more if making by hand)
Baking time: 10 - 17 minutes (See below for details)
Makes: ~100 small cookies / 50-60 medium ones

All Purpose Flour – 2 cups 
Walnuts – 1 cup (roughly chopped)
Sugar – 3/4 cups
Salt – 1/4 tsp 
Unsalted butter – 3/4 cup ( 170 grams) / chilled and roughly cut up (I reduced it by 2-3 Tbsp and added some milk instead)
Milk- 1.5 Tbsp (Added this to replace part of butter; not needed if using the entire amount of butter)
Instant coffee- 3 teaspoons (Divided use, original recipe has fresh ground coffee beans)
Coffee Essence – 1 tsp (skipped this)
Vanilla Essence - 1 teaspoon
Coffee beans –  to put on top (I didn't use this)

  • Put the walnuts, flour, sugar and salt if using, in the bowl of a food processor and pulse till the walnuts are finely ground. (If not using food processor, do this step in batches in a mixie jar.)
  • Pulse again with 2 teaspoons of coffee till well blended. (If not using the food processor, continue with a hand mixer or even by hand in a large bowl). 
  • Add chilled butter and pulse again till breadcrumb like mixture forms (or mix with a large fork)
  • Add the coffee extract and vanilla essence; pulse just until the dough begins to form lumps around the blade. (Mix the dough together either by hand mixer or even by hand till it roughly comes together.)
  • Take out the mixture; pull together to form a dough; add milk if you feel there is a need for binding; knead briefly to make it smooth. 
  • Roll into logs (I made 5 small round logs) wrap in cling wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To bake the cookies:
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C / 375 degrees F.
  • Take logs out, slice 1/4″ apart. I made them thinner as I wanted smaller cookies. If slicing as 1/4 inch, they spread out more too.
  • Push a coffee bean firmly in the center of each cookie, if using. 
  • Roll the edges of a few in the remaining coffee if you wish. 
  • If the cookies do not get a good round shape when sliced, just shape it holding it gently but firmly against your palm.
  • Place the cookies slightly apart on ungreased pan and bake.
  • If making small cookies or using milk in place of butter, they get done in 9-10 minutes. If making larger cookies or using the entire butter, they take about 15 to 17 minutes.
  • The edges will be slightly starting to brown, and the cookies will still be soft when done. They get crisp once they cool.
  • Cool completely and store in air tight container or just finish off a batch... nothing like warm cookies just out of the oven ;)

  • The first time I used a food processor and the next time made the dough by hand. If making by hand, make sure you mix pretty fast before the butter starts to melt due to your body temperature.
  • Replacing part butter with milk didn't change the taste much.
  • I baked the 5 logs in 3 batches, just when needed - they stayed in fridge for 3-4 days and were fine.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Banana Split Icecream

I've become so lazy to clean the house these Days, I'm surprised at myself! But have been doing other things - things that I love, so some consolation! Well, i have Always hated cleaning, though i like the house to be clean :D
And this poem i came across on FB a few Days perfectly describes me! And I seem to have taken it quite too seriously that the house was in a big mess. And I had to clean it lest we had to run away elsewhere!!
And so started the boring task of cleaning.... and after a couple of minutes I was hungry! Yeah... Another excuse, you say? Huh.... My Eyes went to the lone banana lying on the table and just as i was about to grab it and eat, my head started dreaming of a banana split icecream! Ahhh... I wanted it NOW!
But then i exercised some restraint to wait till i finished the cleaning before indulging in a plateful of sinful icecream. And it really worked! I finished the cleaning in the shortest possible time, took a shower in just a couple of minutes and ran to the kitchen to fix up that plate! Ahhh... miss the Corner House in namma Bengaluru.... This is no recipe as such, but a wonderful way to indulge!
In its classic form it is served in a long dish called a boat. A banana is cut in half lengthwise (hence the split) and laid in the dish. There are many variations, but the classic banana split is made with scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream served in a row between the split banana. Pineapple topping is spooned over the strawberry ice cream, chocolate syrup over the vanilla, and strawberry topping over the chocolate. It is garnished with crushed nuts, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries [Wiki]
This is no recipe as such, but a wonderful way to indulge! Feel free to pair up any flavor of icecream that you like and any topping you fancy... and enjoy!

Banana Split

(For one serving - Scale up as you wish)
One long banana
Scoops of ice Creams - Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry - I used Chocolate bits, Strawberry and vanilla
Toppings - Chocolate sauce, Strawberry sauce (I didn't have patience to make a chocolate sauce, so used nutella instead!)
Pineapple pieces - a few - i used mango instead
Chopped toasted nuts - Walnuts, cashews, peanuts if you fancy

  • Split the banana into two, lengthwise and Place on a serving platter
  • Scoop out one scoop of each icecream
  • Top it with one of the toppings on each of the icecream scoop
  • Sprinkle with the chopped nuts
  • Wait no longer to indulge!! Enjoy!!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Basil Tawa Pulav

Another quick recipe from D for a weekend lunch... He is so resourceful in the kitchen that i can't stop admiring! What do you do when the kadai/pan is needed for cooking lunch but it is in the sink unwashed after the breakfast? Of course wash it and use it, right? In case of D, he uses the tawa instead :D And churns out an even better tasting tawa-pulav!

And what do you do when you feel like having a pudina peas pulav, but there is no pudina in the kitchen? Postpone it till you get pudina? Nope! Use the basil that is lying in the fridge instead... that will turn into an all new dish - Basil pulav.
And combine the two together, you have this flavorful, quick and easy Basil tawa-pulav!

This one is from the archives, from the last summer but i'm posting it now that again inspired by the raining of fresh basil in the veggie markets.

Here's the recipe...

Basil Tawa-Pulav

Preparation time: 15 min 
Cooking time: 15 min
Serves: 3-4
Source: D's experiment

Fresh Basil       - 1 small bunch, cleaned and chopped
Green Peas       - 3/4 - 1 cup
Cooked Rice    - 3 cups (preferably Basmati)
Cooking oil      - 1 Tbsp; Used olive oil
Cumin seeds    - 1 tsp
Cinnamon        - 1” stick, broken into 4-5 pcs
Cloves              - 4-5
Ginger             - 1" cube, grated/ chopped fine
Garlic - 1-2 cloves, chopped fine
Green chilies   - 2-3, adjust according to taste
Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp, adjust according to taste
Salt                  - ~3/4 tsp or as per taste

  • Heat oil in a pan.. err tawa :) and add cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves
  • After half a minute, add grated ginger, garlic, slit green chilies and peas. Sauté for 1-2 minutes
  • Add chopped basil and sauté till just the rawness disappears
  • Sprinkle some salt, pepper powder and mix
  • Mix in the cooked rice thoroughly, add more salt if required and fry the rice for a few minutes on the hot tawa
  • Serve hot, optionally with any raita
  • Make the rice with a little less water so that the grains are separate
  • Can add onions as well

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ridgegourd-Peel Chutney

When it came to cooking, our grand mothers never threw off the peels, seeds and rinds of so many veggies. They probably knew it that these 'wastes' do contain many nutrients and fiber  in some cases more than the actual veggie or fruit and can be put to better use than dumping it into the trash. And so some very good, amazing tasting delicacies were churned out, disguising the main ingredient so well that everyone who ate it would love the taste and not bother to know what has gone inside!

The same was carried over by my mom and MIL as well and thus it continues with me too! The list is endless, with chutneys made from veggie peels/seeds, dosas with rind of watermelon, methi stalks (recipe soon to follow), gojju with jack fruit seeds, and so on. 

One of my favorites till date is the chutney made from ridge-gourd (heerekai) peel. Mom usually made tovve (dal) with the ridge gourd and the peel was used to make chutney, as an accompaniment. That used to be one of my most favorite meals! She used to make sure that the chutney is ground just a few minutes before meal time so that the roasted lentils that went into it were still crisp in the chutney and gave a nice texture when mixed with hot rice with a spoonful of oil or ghee!! What a combination!!

So, next time you are about to throw off the peel, stop and turn it into a nice delicacy! Here's the recipe...

Heerekai sippe / Ridge gourd peel chutney

Preparation time : 5 min
Cooking time : 5 min
Serves : 4 -6

Heerekai / Ridge gourd peel - from 1 big or 2 small ones - don't peel too much, just the outer ridges would do
Coconut - 1/2 cup, grated
Dry Red chilies - 5-6, depending on taste
Chana dal / Toor dal - 1 Tbsp
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Tamarind - a small marble sized ball
Coriander and Curry leaves - 1-2 sprigs each
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste

For Tempering:
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - A few sprigs
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Hing/asafetida - a pinch

• Roast chana/toor dal, red chilies, curry leaves in a tsp of oil till the lentils change color
• Add the peel to it and continue roasting till the raw smell is gone from the peel
• Let it cool slightly
• Grind the above with all other ingredients, adding a little water. Do not make it into a fine paste - a bit of texture gives a better tasting chutney
• Transfer the ground chutney to a serving bowl
For tempering / tadka:
• Heat the oil in a pan, add mustard and allow to splutter
• Add curry leaves and hing
• Garnish the chutney with tadka

• Do not make the chutney too smooth – a little coarse consistency will give a better taste
• Can use chana dal / toor dal or even urad dal or a combination of them
• The chutney tastes good with dosas, rottis too.