Category: Continental

Chocolate Truffles 

Chocolates are the ultimate indulgence for me…food wise! I usually refrain from the temptation and stick to more healthier options if craving desserts. But the festivities do call for something indulgent, don’t you think so?! 😉 Besides, nobody says no to chocolates and as expected, my hubby does love them too☺️

Chocolate Truffles  How to make chocolate truffles Perfect chocolate ganache recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas recipes

So the last from this Christmas is going to be these delicious, sinful Chocolate Truffles. I can go on eating them all in a go if I weren’t afraid of putting on a pound with each bite😜 nope….can’t take that risk.

Making this recipe doesn’t call for any thermometer or any other fancy gadget. It’s just a bit of eyeballing the situation…and you’re all set. Obviously for that one needs to master the art of making the perfect ganache. I will share exact recipe for the same in grams (use a weighing scale), if you follow the measurements correctly, you will end up with the most luscious and shiny ganache ever. Either use this ganache to fill within a cake or to dress a cake. Make truffles if your like me, or simply pour over favourite Brownie and indulge your tastebuds!

I prefer keeping them simple and hence just rolled these beauties in some good quality unsweetened cocoa powder just before serving.

Chocolate Truffles  How to make chocolate truffles Perfect chocolate ganache recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas recipes

Here are a few variations you can use to decorate your truffles. 

Funfetti/ sprinkles/ edible shimmer powder: After the ganache balls have set well in the refrigerator, just roll each ball in some funfetti/ sprinkles or edible shimmer powder. It is one of the easiest things to do and kids particularly enjoy them. These are easily available in any store that specialises in bakery and decorative goods. (I personally prefer Arife, as there is a huge variety of each of these things)
Chocolate: This is a very common option, melt some Chocolate chips of a cooking chocolate bar, let it come to room temperature and then dip the set ganache balls in the chocolate and let them set for about 15 mins in the refrigerator.
Nuts: I love the nut encrusted truffles. Crush any nuts of your choice in a bowl (I prefer pistachio for it’s beautiful green and pink hue) and coat the set ganache balls in the crushed nuts. They look pretty and add a whole new flavour dimension. Hazelnut or walnuts too make for an excellent choice.


Now for what you can add within them, in terms of flavour. 

Liquor: Fruity liquor (raspberry, coconut, lemon, strawberry, etc) or even something like rum/ whiskey, etc can be added to the ganache mixture once it has cooled down a bit and just before you begin making the ganache balls. If you add the liquor when the ganache is too hot, the alcohol will evaporate and there won’t be much flavour left behind.
Essence/ extract: Almond extract or the good old vanilla is always such a lovely flavour.

Let’s learn an easy and precise recipe….

Yield: 10 large truffles

Equipment: a saucepan, a heatproof bowl, parchment paper/ baking paper, a small scoop of a tablespoon, measuring spoons/ cups.

Ingredients:

170 gms bittersweet dark Chocolate (morde)

5 tbsp heavy whipping cream

21.26 gms unsalted butter (1.5 tbsp approx)

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Cocoa powder as needed to roll these truffles (I used Hershey’s)

Method:

Heat water in a sauce pan, once it’s boiling gently, place a heatproof bowl over the sauce pan in such a way that the bowl does not touch the water below (double boiler).

Place chopped chocolate, cream and butter into the bowl and let these melt slowly.

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Once the chocolate has melted into the butter and the cream, take the bowl off the double boiler and gently mix everyt with a silicon spatula for a minute. Do not over mix. Once the mixture comes to room temperature, add vanilla extract, mix and refrigerate for two hours.

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If you refrigerated it for longer, then let the ganache become slightly soft before rolling it into balls. I used a tablespoon to measure the ganache and rolled them into balls and the quickly rolled every ball into the cocoa powder. Refrigerate until they need to be served/ packed.

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Make sure the ganache is not runny, it needs to be firm when being rolled into balls. Ensure you use a good quality cocoa powder as that adds much flavour. Alternately, roll in icing sugar if you wish to avoid cocoa.

Chocolate Truffles  How to make chocolate truffles Perfect chocolate ganache recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas recipes

These are so tempting…it’s hard to resist really😜 I’d love these as Christmas gifts too….so I am sure so will your loved ones!

Chocolate Truffles  How to make chocolate truffles Perfect chocolate ganache recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas recipes
One of the easiest things to make for the last minute prepping…☺️

Love,

Shreya💖

Adapted from my baking addiction

Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake

Everyone is baking Christmas cakes, some boozy, some not so boozy…filled with nuts, preserved fruits and a whole lot of warm spices. Amazing aromas and delicious tasting cakes sure mean Christmas 😋

Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake How to make an orange cake Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

A traditional Christmas cake is moist, very moreish, filled with rum or whisky soaked dry fruits and preserved fruit peels. These are soaked for over a month or so in advance to incorporate the flavours of the alcohol into the ingredients. These cakes are often served as a large round cake or even at times as petit fours. They could be served as a naked cake, just dusted with some icing sugar. One could even cover them in marzipan or ice them with whipped cream and then decorate them with Christmas embellishments. They all look so pretty! ☃️🎄

Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake  How to make an orange cake Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

However, I have never baked a boozy cake or even a traditional Christmas cake for that matter. I first thought I’d soak all the  fruit peels and dry fruits in some orange juice with some whole spices but I wasn’t quiet sure when would I get to actually bake the cake. So I changed the plan and this worked out really well.

I decided to bake a warm and hearty Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake. Some simple and fresh ingredients transformed into this gorgeous cake. I must admit it did turn out better than I had thought. 😊 And the texture was perfect, moist crumb and not very dense.

Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake How to make an orange cake Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

The addition of Cranberry gives the cake a bit of tartness in every bite that compliments the citrusy notes from the oranges very well. If you wish you omit the Cranberry here, do that or you can replace them with some colourful tutti Frutti or even chopped nuts. I added some warm spices here, feel free to omit them too if you wish. This recipe makes for an excellent summer cake with just the orange flavour or replace Orange juice with some lemon juice.

Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake How to make an orange cake Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

Let’s start…

Yield: a 7″ round cake.

Equipment: an electric whisk, 7″ cake tin, a large mixing bowl, a medium sized mixing bowl, a silicon spatula, cooling rack, baking paper/ parchment paper, measuring cups/ spoons.

Ingredients:

2 cup all purpose flour (Maida)

1+1/2 cup powdered sugar

4 nos. large eggs

1 stick/ 100 gms unsalted butter @room temperature

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground clove

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup dried cranberries

icing sugar to dust the cake

Method:

Preheat the oven @180’c. Line the base of the tin with parchment paper/ baking paper and grease and dust the sides well.

In a medium size bowl, seive together the flour, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Set it aside. Dust the cranberries with some flour and set them aside.

Next, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. I used an electric whisk and it took me about 3-4 mins of whisking. Now add one egg at a time and whisk the butter and sugar mixture with the eggs until light and fluffy once again.

Now, add the seived flour mixture and milk in the egg-butter-sugar mixture alternately and fold the mixture with a silicon spatula. Do not mix with a heavy hand else all the air whisked in the eggs will escape. Then add the orange juice and the cranberries. Mix well.

Pour the batter in the tin and bake @ 170’c using the lower heating rods/ coil for 60 mins approximately or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Note that every oven works differently so keep an eye on the temperature and the duration of the bake.

Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake  How to make an orange cake Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

I prefer baking my cakes low and slow, low temperature takes longer to bake the cake but ensures it rises well without any cracks on the top.

Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake  How to make an orange cake Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and cool it on a rack for 15 mins in the tin, then unmould it and cool it for a further 30 mins. Dust the top with some icing sugar. Slice it and serve. This cake keeps well for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

I used these spices, you can choose any spices of your choice.

Spiced Orange and Cranberry Cake  How to make an orange cake Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking
Hope you will bake this soon, it’s easy, alcohol free and absolutely delicious! 😀

Love,

Shreya💖

 

Gingerbread Man Cookies (eggless, no molasses)

Christmas 🎄✨is so close and all I think about is what all I wish to bake for it😋 There’s plenty to be done…I have already finished doing a fair bit in whatever little time I have between so many things…I almost thought I’d have to skip it this year!

The one thing that was on my mind were these gingerbread man cookies!! ☃️☃️ I’ve had these cookie cutters for ages now and i was itching to put them to good use 😂 I mean, I did bake gingread cookies last year too but just regular round ones and hence didn’t even post them on the blog…not to forget, I had baked them for New Years!! Lol!! Well, there’s a good reason being a bit tardy…..will come to that shortly.

Gingerbread man cookie recipe Eggless no molasses gingerbread cookie recipe How to replace molasses in gingerbread cookie recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

Don’t they look crisp, all nice and crunchy!? Well that’s precisely why I didn’t mind waiting for an entire year to share the perfect recipe for an egg free, molasses free version of these cuties. I had tried a couple of recipes last year (I had more time then I guess to keep experimenting)…anyways I didn’t enjoy them as they had egg and also called for molasses. I found all the ingredients easily but maybe it was the flavour that wasn’t quite right. Or maybe it was me..I did something…I don’t know! Those cookies looked great even as a typical round, flat version but obviously they lacked the snap and crunch in every bite.

After hunting for another version which would be eggless and molasses free, I did stumble upon a great keeper of a recipe!

Gingerbread man cookie recipe Eggless no molasses gingerbread cookie recipe How to replace molasses in gingerbread cookie recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

The texture of these gingerbread man cookies is just how it’s supposed to be, crunchy and keeps fresh for upto 2 weeks in an airtight container. They have wonderful snap of them and the aroma…well it’s smells like Holidays in my home 😍 These best part, no electric heater or whisk is needed, no fancy equipments either…just make the dough and roll it out, use a cookie cutter of any shape you like, a star or some Christmas trees or even little mittens if you get hold of them. Bake these and ice them or enjoy them just like that.

Do read the recipe carefully before starting out. Also keep all the ingredients ready on the work surface, it will save you time and you will definitely avoid missing out anything important.

Also note that every oven works differently so please monitor trhe temperature and the baking time as per your oven. 

Yield: 16-18 cookies (I used medium sized cutters and rolled the dough a bit thick)

Equipment: a heavy bottomed saucepan, a wired whisk, measuring cups/ spoons, a large mixing bowl, cling wrap, cookie cutters or knife (if you’re going for simply square or rectangular cookies), baking pan, parchment paper/ baking paper, cooling rack.

Ingredients:

1+1/4 cup all purpose flour (maida)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 cup milk (you may need a bit extra)

2 tbsp corn syrup (use honey if you can’t find corn syrup but I have not tried honey in this recipe so far)

a few golden or silver sprinkles to decorate the gingerbread men cookies (I ran out of icing sugar🙄😑)

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, seive together the flour, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and the baking soda. Set these aside.

Now, place butter, corn syrup, milk and sugar in the sauce pan and turn on the heat. Let the butter melt and the sugar dissolve completely on a low flame while stirring it continuously with a wired whisk. Once the sugar has melted, turn off the flame. Let the mixture cool for just 5-7 mins but not more as it thickens because of the corn syrup.

Gingerbread man cookie recipe Eggless no molasses gingerbread cookie recipe How to replace molasses in gingerbread cookie recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

Next, add this butter and sugar mixture into the sieved flour and spices. Mix well using the whisk. The dough will come together very easily, if not add just 1/2 teaspoon of milk and bring the dough together. If needed only then add a few more drops of milk. If you add too much milk, the dough will turn out to be extremely gluelike and won’t hold a good shape. 

Now, wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 10-15 mins. Please do not refrigerate the dough for longer as it will become too hard to roll out.

Gingerbread man cookie recipe Eggless no molasses gingerbread cookie recipe How to replace molasses in gingerbread cookie recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

Preheat the oven @ 180’c.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it between two sheets of cling wrap, dust it with very little flour and roll it out to a thickness of 4 mm approx (I like them thick, you can roll them to a thickness of 3 mm too). Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut them out.

Gingerbread man cookie recipe Eggless no molasses gingerbread cookie recipe How to replace molasses in gingerbread cookie recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas bakingimg_6212

Line a baking pan/ tray with parchment paper or baking paper and place these cookies a little apart from each other on it. Push  the sprinkles in place where you want to make the eyes and smile for the gingerbread man. Or else do an icing later. The sprinkles won’t melt while baking or fall off later.

Tip: roll and cut all the dough at once because this dough gets a bit sticky. If you have a small oven and can bake only 10 cookies at a time, keep the remaining cut out cookies on a plate in the refrigerator until you have to bake them. Please do not freeze the dough, it will become rock hard and will not come to a good texture to roll them later.

Bake the cookies @180’c for 13-14 mins using the lower rod for the first 11 mins and the upper and the lower, both rods for the last 2-3 mins to ensure a good colour. (My cookies cracked a bit as some of the sugar wasn’t melted well , but they still turned out crisp and didn’t spread much).

Keep an eye while baking them. Cool them on a cooling rack. Click here to learn how to make and use eggless royal icing to ice and decorate any cookies.

So it’s the corn syrup that replaces molasses and makes these cookies crisp.

Gingerbread man cookie recipe Eggless no molasses gingerbread cookie recipe How to replace molasses in gingerbread cookie recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking

Making this is a lot of fun and you can also include your kids while rolling the dough or icing the cookies later 😚

Love,

Shreya😍

Adapted from art of dessert.

Veg Kung Pao Noodles

It’s very rare that I share an Asian inspired recipe here on the blog. It is not that I don’t make them at home..it is usually made for dinner (I don’t shoot in the evenings)and on days when it’s made for lunch, I love it too much to even wait for a minure to set up a shoot and click! No, not happening!! 😜 Hahha!! Common, everyone would agree with me when I say that Asian food tastes best when piping food. Straight from the wok to my plate…👌🏼

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But yesterday was a different story, night before the last we had enjoyed Veg Hakka Noodles with Schezwan Paneer. And as always we enjoyed it so so much! We prefer a lot of veggies in our Hakka Noodles and some spicy sides for a complete meal.

Sooo… I ended up with a bowl of boiled noodles. I immediately knew what I wanted to do with them😉 I loozed around in my refrigerator and found that I had all the necessary ingredients to make a quick Veg Kung Pao Noodle bowl for my lunch the following day!!

Veg Kung pao noodles with paneer  Polkapuffs recipes  Shreya tiwari recipes How to make Kung pao noodles at home

If anyone is wondering what is Kung Pao or Kung Po exactly, it is nothing but a quick stir fry of chicken (I didn’t use chicken here), some sauces and chillie pepper/ bell peppers. They have peanuts too….but I have replaced them here…this is my version, I like to play a lot with Asian recipes. There is always room for subbing. Almost every Asian restaurant or any other restaurant that selves Asian fold these days, includes their version of Kung Pao on their menu. It’s a hit among adults as is with the kids. Keep it spicy or mild, it’s really upto you. I usually order a veggie version with some fried rice if I am in the mood for a light meal. Since I had the left-over noodles, I simply tossed everything together to make a Veg Kung Pao Noodle Bowl 😉 You can also replace noodles with some boiled rice too.

You can use any veggies of your choice, any protein of your choice (tofu, chicken or some other meat) and the sauces too can be of your choice! I tend to keep it more Indo-Chinese, so you can imagine how delicious this is going to be! Let’s start…

Yield: serves 2

Equipment: a large wok, a non-stick pan, measuring spoons/ cups.

Ingredients:

2 cup boiled noodles (follow the instructions on the cover to cook them, make sure they are al-dentè)

100 gms cubed paneer (Indian cottage cheese. Substitute these for chicken, prawns, beef, pork, boiled eggs or tofu)

2 tbsp cornflour

1 tsp rice flour

salt to taste

black pepper powder to taste

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp red chilli sauce

1 tsp green chilli sauce

2 tsp vinegar

1 tsp Schezwan sauce

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper

1/2 cup sliced yellow bell pepper

1/4 cup sliced green bell pepper

2-3 tbsp sliced green onions

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

9-10 nos. cashewnuts

5 tbsp oil

Some slived green onion to garnish

Method:

In a bowl, mix paneer cubes, rice flour, corn flour, salt and black pepper powder together. Keep it aside for a minute or two.

Keep all the veggies ready as well.

Veg Kung pao noodles with paneer  Polkapuffs recipes  Shreya tiwari recipes How to make Kung pao noodles at home

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan. Place all the floured paneer pieces in oil and shallow them on all sides until brown and crispy. Remove them from the oil and drain them on some kitchen paper. Set that aside for now. Fry the cashewnuts in the same oil. Remove from the oil and drain on some kitchen paper. Set that aside too.

Heat the remaining oil in a wok, add spliced green onions and ginger garlic paste to the oil once it’s hot. Sauté these on high flame for a minute or two. Then add the sliced red, green and yellow bell peppers. Season with some salt and black pepper powder. Toss these for a couple of minutes. Then add the ketchup, soy, schezwan, red and green chilli sauces along with the vinegar. Mix well. Now add the paneer cubes and the fried cashewnuts. Toss once again. Next, go in the boiled noodles and a tsp of oil if necessary.

Veg Kung pao noodles with paneer Polkapuffs recipes Shreya tiwari recipes How to make Kung pao noodles at home

Make sure everything is coated well with all the sauces. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve hot.

Veg Kung pao noodles with paneer  Polkapuffs recipes  Shreya tiwari recipes How to make Kung pao noodles at home

Irresistibly yummmmm!!! What more could I ask for on a winter afternoon…some comfort food and then a long snoozzzzeeee😂

Love,

Shreya💗

 

Chocolate-Dipped Cinnamon Biscotti

Biscotti is a traditional Italian cookie which requires the dough to be shaped as logs, baked until done, then cooled a bit, sliced and baked again until crispy and crunchy! A perfect companion to your coffee. There’s no other way to describe it except – too good! 

Yes, if I may say so myself…this recipe is a keeper. Don’t hunting for other recipes of biscotti because you won’t need one if you try this recipe☺️ This has become my go to recipe for biscotti for the past year or so…and I bake them often!

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

You can obviously make out how crunchy these are, but definitely not in a bad way! They are crunchy and yet very enjoyable. I will point a few basics that I learnt from this recipe after failing with a couple other recipes in the past.

Essentially, eggs are the only wet ingredients that are added to any biscotti recipe but adding butter or oil can make them richer with obviously a much better texture. This recipe called for oil too but I somehow didn’t like the after taste and hence skipped it after the first trial.

Eggs, yes I have used 1 and a 1/2 egg here…don’t be surprised. I always make half of what this original recipe specifies and trust me, the 1/2 egg is very essential (I realised that too with some trial and error) so do not miss that. However, if you’ve decided to half my recipe, I am not sure how the egg factor will work out! Or probably, ping me later and I will definitely come up with a way for you to do that too ☺️ Else, just use a really small egg.

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

When I talk about my favourite flavour in a biscotti, I will always say Cinnamon! Else, you can even keep it simple by adding adding just vanilla extract, or if you like nuts, add some sliced pistachios or almonds in the dough. However, if you’re using almonds, do toast them slightly to avoid ending up with soggy nuts. The original recipe calls for brown sugar but I have always used regular castor sugar and I am perfectly happy with the flavour! We, my hubby and I love the flavour of dark chocolate hence, I have dunked these biscottis in some melted chocolate once they had cooled off completely. 😋

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

Making biscotti takes time, it’s the baking twice that takes time and not making its dough. Getting the dough together is a quick mixing job, then this dough needs to be shaped into logs of deliciousness and then bakedonce…and another time too!! 😉

I have added a lot of step by step pictures as always …so you’re pretty much sorted! I don’t think you’ll have a difficult time going forward with it 😊

Yield: 12 cookies

Equipment: a rolling pin, cooling rack, baking tray, a large mixing bowl, a large serrated knife, parchment paper, measuring cups/ spoons, weighing scales (I have used it to measure everything to the last gram)

Ingredients:

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe  Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

131 gms all purpose flour (maida)

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

100 gms castor sugar

30 gms cold and cubed unsalted butter

2 nos. eggs (follow my tip on this)**

1 tbsp milk (for the egg wash)

30 gms dark chocolate (morde) + 1 tsp butter – for dunking

Method: (I am using step numbers, there’s a reason, so follow the steps carefully)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon powder, salt and sugar.

2. Add cold and cubed butter into the flour and sugar mixture. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the flour mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Set it aside.

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas bakingimg_5861img_5862

3. Now in a small bowl, whisk one egg. Now remove half of the whisked into another bowl (Save the half whisked egg for egg wash).

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

**Add one whole egg to the second bowl in which you have transferred half of a whisked egg. Now whisk this one and a half egg together. Add vanilla extract to the whisked eggs and whisk again.

4. Now add the whisked mixture of eggs and vanilla extract into the flour and butter. Use a large silicon spatula to mix until everything is well moistened but do not over mix.

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

5. Now, sprinkle some flour in a large plate or the working surface. Place the dough on this floured surfaced and knead well for a few minutes. But keep enough loose flour around as this dough is super sticky so you’ll continuously need to dust the surface and your palms too.

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

Dont worry about the dough even if it looks too sticky, it will all come together in a few minutes.

In the mean while, preheat the oven at 160’c.

6. Shape the dough as shown below and place it on a parchment lined baking tray. I had dusted the parchment paper with some flour too.

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

7. We had set aside 1/2 a whisked egg aside, add 1 tbsp of milk to it and whisk again. Use it to Give an egg wash to the shaped dough.

8. Bake this shaped dough at 160’c for 20-25 minutes using the lower heating element. In the last 5 minutes of the baking time, turn on the upper heating elements to give a good colour to the top of the biscotti.

Leave the oven running at 140’c.

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

9. Now, let this cool for about 15 minutes but not completely cold. Using a large serrated knife, cut it into 1.5 inch wide slices. Place them on the parchment lined baking tray as shown below.

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe  Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

10. Bake the sliced biscotti on the first side for 7-8 mins. Then flip them over to bake the other side for another 5 mins. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before enjoying these crunchy treats with your favourite cuppa! 🤗

11. If you wish to dip them in chocolate too, melt together 30 gms of dark chocolate with 1 tsp of butter over a double boiler or in a microwave. Once the biscotti has cooled completely, dip one end of each biscotti in the melted chocolate, let them dry and then they are ready to serve! You can dip the entire biscotti in chocolate too, no one will judge you 😁

Biscotti recipe Cinnamon biscotti recipe Chocolate dipped biscotti recipe Polkapuffs recipes Christmas cookie ideas Christmas baking

These stay crunchy and fresh in an airtight container for about a week or so.

These can be amazing edible gifts this Holiday Season! 🎄🎁☃️

Love,

Shreya💗

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Rose and Pistachio Cookies

It just dawned on me last weekend that Christmas is very close🎅🎄☃️❄️🎁…yeah, overload with the emoticons…but can you blame me…. this is the only time around the year that I can actually use them😂 LoL!! Anyways…so Christmas…what do you guys do for Christmas?! I’d love to know….I mean, in India, there is no snow in most parts of the country and all…but still I love the Christmassy air around me…probably my Convent days remind me of carols and decorations and parties…☺️🎉🎊….I wish I could make a snowman outside my porch and have a beautiful snowfall on Christmas Eve….

Rose and Pistachio cookies Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking Christmas cookies Rose and Pistachio shortbread cookie recipe Eggless shortbread cookie recipe

Anyways….that wish will have to wait..won’t it, now?! So the husband was travelling last week…and I obviously had a lot of time on my hands…besides, I knew he’d love coming home to something sweet and delicious…made by yours truly! What better than some exotically flavoured cookies to go with his tea!?

We really love freshly baked shortbread cookies…they are crisp, mildly sweet and the perfect base recipe to experiment with a ton of flavours. And that’s exactly what these Rose and Pistachio Cookies are all about.

Some of my readers wanted to know a little bit about a traditional “shortbread” when I had shared the recipe for my Almond Shortbread Cookies earlier this year….they could be great for your Christmas Cookie box too. They make for an ideal gift as well.

First baked in Scotland in 1736, shortbread is very popular around Christmas, the English refer to it as a biscuit, cookie for the Americans is traditionally made with 3 parts all purpose flour, 2 parts butter and 1 part sugar. Although, modern recipes even call for cornflour which gives a more stable texture to these cookies. However, it is added when you are making an eggless version, cornflour helps in keeping the shape of the cookie.

Shortbread is always baked at a low temperature until it’s very slightly golden around the edges…crumbly when just out of the oven but sets and becomes firmer as it cools down. It can be shaped as one prefers, round or square or simply hand rolled and pressed down with the tines of a fork. I personally like the scallop-edged ones☺️

Rose and Pistachio cookies Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking Christmas cookies Rose and Pistachio shortbread cookie recipe Eggless shortbread cookie recipe

The best part about these cookies is that they have such a mild fragrance of rose, you’ll almost miss it…not at all overpowering and then comes a welcome crunch from the Pistachio slivers….a perfect fusion of Mediterranean flavours with the old world charm of these very English biscuits 😀

Yield: 12 medium biscuits

Equipment: electric whisk, measuring cups/ spoons, baking paper, rolling pin, cookie cutter or knife, mixing bowl, baking tray, cooling rack, cling wrap.

Ingredients:

1+1/4 cup Maida  (APF), plus some extra to dust while rolling the dough

1/2 tbsp cornflour

1/4 cup+1 tbsp castor sugar

5 tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 tsp rose water

2-3 tbsp Pistachio slivers

dried rose petals to garnish (optional)

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until the sugar combines completely with the butter and the mixture turns white and very fluffy, took me about 3-4 mins of whisking on high speed setting.

Next, add the rose water, cornflour and maida (APF) to the sugar-butter mixture and whisk once again until everything is combined well.

Wrap the cookie dough in some cling and refrigerate for 30 mins or put it in the freezer for 20 mins.

Rose and Pistachio cookies Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking Christmas cookies Rose and Pistachio shortbread cookie recipe Eggless shortbread cookie recipe

Preheat the oven at 160’c for 10 mins. Line a baking tray with baking paper and dust it with some maida (APF).

Once the dough is set post refrigeration, dust the dough with some maida (APF) and roll it between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 3 mm. Sprinkle the pistachio slivers and rolls once again slightly to ensure that the pistachio slivers are embedded into the dough.

Rose and Pistachio cookies Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking Christmas cookies Rose and Pistachio shortbread cookie recipe Eggless shortbread cookie recipe

Now, cut them into any shape of your choice. If using cookie cutters then dip them into some maida (APF) before using them to avoid unevenly cut cookies.

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Place the cut out cookies in the refrigerator for another 20 mins or in the freezer for 10 mins. Then bake @ 160′ c for 12-15 mins or until the edges turn slightly golden. You have to use only the lower baking element for the first 10 mins and then turn on the upper heating elements in the last 5 mins to give a little colour to the top of these cookies. (Note: every oven works differently so please keep an eye while baking these cookies).

Rose and Pistachio cookies Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking Christmas cookies Rose and Pistachio shortbread cookie recipe Eggless shortbread cookie recipe

This how they look fresh out of the oven. They crisp up as they cool. Let them rest on the warm baking tray for 10 mins then transfer to a cooling tray for them to cool completely.

Rose and Pistachio cookies Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking Christmas cookies Rose and Pistachio shortbread cookie recipe Eggless shortbread cookie recipe

This is what the base of the cookies looks like post baking and cooling completely. These can now be stored in airtight containers or cookie tins. They remain fresh and crisp for around 3-4 days.

Note: the cookie dough can be frozen in a cling wrap for upto a week. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight, keep in room temperature for 10 mins and then roll, cut and bake them as per the above recipe. This recipe uses cornflour, it is very reliable as it stops the cookie from spreading too much as does the refrigeration. So please, follow all the steps correctly and you will have a perfect cookie☺️

Rose and Pistachio cookies Polkapuffs recipes Christmas baking Christmas cookies Rose and Pistachio shortbread cookie recipe Eggless shortbread cookie recipe

My hubby loved these flavours, as did I. You can use this recipe as the base and incorporate any flavour of your choice.

Love,

Shreya💗

Adapted from wallflower kitchen.

Brownie Muffins

Brownie…..isn’t that one word enough to make you reach out and grab a piece and then turn around the other way, all by yourself and not share with anyone! Mind you…grab a large or probably even the largest piece if possible. Happens with you?! A lot?! LoL😂 Then these Brownie Muffins are for you my friend. Err…not these ones though..you got to make your own!😜

Reason….because these were made just for my hubby..celebrating his birthday! 💖😘🎂 with these chocolaty, super fudgy and gooey brownies! Who says you must have a cake on a birthday with candles???! We have these brownies and a peck on the cheek😍

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He loves them! They are morish…slightly crisp on the top and soft within. I have just sprinkled them with some slivers of chocolate…..you can choose not to or maybe dust these with some cocoa instead. Or even keep them plain. This is kind of my go-to recipe for brownies, you can make a large brownie too, need not bother with making Muffins at all. But as I said you get a whole muffin to yourself, right 😜!

Anyways…let get started..

Yield: 6 large brownies

Equipment: a large saucepan, a heat resistant bowl, a sieve, a large mixing bowl, electric whisk (or manual), muffin tray, muffin liners, cooling rack, a rubber spatula, measuring cups/spoons (I have used a weighing scale to measure everything in grams)

Ingredients:

56 gms dark chopped cooking chocolate (I use Morde)

56 gms unsalted butter chopped roughly  (approximately 1/2 cup)

28 gms maida (all purpose flour)

18 gms unsweetened cocoa pwd

75 gms fine castor sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 nos. large egg

Method:

Pre-heat the oven @180’c for 10 mins.

Keep chopped chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl. Place water in the saucepan to boil. Once it comes to a boil, place the heat proof bowl with the chocolate and butter on top of the sauce pan. Let the chocolate and butter melt together, stir it a couple of times with a rubber spatula. Once it’s melted, set the bowl aside and let it cool.

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Next, beat the egg and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture into the eggs. Whisk once more. Then sieve in the cocoa powder and maida into the eggs. Add the vanilla extract too. Fold the mixture gently with a rubber spatula. Do not over mix the mixture.

Line the muffin tray with liners and fill each portion with the mixture upto 3/4 th capacity. Bake them at 180’c for 18-20 mins. Once baked, insert a toothpick in the centre of a brownie, it must come out with moist and gooey crumbs. That’s it, the Muffins are ready. Cool them on the cooling rack for a few minutes. Serve them warm with a scoop of ice cream or just enjoy them plain.

Brownie Muffins recipe How to make fudgy brownies Polkapuffs recipe for brownie Easy homemade brownie recipe

Don’t these tempt you…😁 Also try my eggless nutties brownie.

Love,

Shreya💝

Cheesy Vegetarian Quesadilla

I am always up for Tex-Mex! Are you?! 😁 I had shared Cheesy Veg Tacos last year….just like the ones we enjoy at Taco Bell. My hubby loves them…just as much as he loves these veg quesadillas which taste better than the ones you get at your favourite Tax-Mex joint 😉 

How to make veg quesadillas Polkapuffs recipes Recipe for Mexican quesadillas

Whenever we visit Chilies, our favourite for Tex-Mex or even TGIF…quesadillas are definitely ordered..veg or non-veg, they are so crisp and flavourful! Cheesy..yes but that’s just a necessity. It holds the quesadillas together and adds that tartness in every bite 😀

How to make veg quesadillas Polkapuffs recipes Recipe for Mexican quesadillas

There can be many options for fillings in veg or non veg..I make different versions of vegetarian fillings…each better than the other….😁😁

I personally like the ones with roasted veggies and lots of chillies. But I made these one’s as per my hubby’s choice of veg fillings. If you’re waiting to try these then don’t, you are bound to love these flavours. Mexican food is very close Indian flavours and they too use a lot of spices like cumin, paprika, garlic and lots of chillies!! Perfect 👌🏼👌🏼

Let’s see how…

Yield: serves 2-3

Equipment: a non-stick pan, measuring cups/ spoons, a wok, a plate.

Ingredients:

3 nos. readymade tortillas (or even homemade thick paratha/ Indian flatbread)

Filling:

1/2 cup sweet corn

1/2 cup chopped green capsicum

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/2 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp oil

salt to taste

1 tsp cumin powder

1+1/2 tsp red chilli pwd

1 tsp fresh cream

1 tsp lime juice

1/4 tsp dried thyme

Cheese as required

Method:

Heat oil in the wok. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté for a few mins. Next, add the corn and capsicum. Season with salt, red chilli pwd, thyme, cumin pwd. Mix well and cook for 5-8 mins on low flame. Turn off the heat, add cream and lime juice. Mix well and set aside.

Most of the Tex-Mex food is served with Pico de Gallo (a salsa) and some sour cream.

Ingredients for Pico de Gallo

1/2 cup each of finely chopped tomatoes & onions.

salt to taste

1/2 tsp chopped coriander leaves

1/2 tsp finely chopped green chillies

1 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

Mix all the ingredients together and set it aside to serve.

How to make veg quesadillas Polkapuffs recipes Recipe for Mexican quesadillas

To assemble a quesadilla:

Follow the pictures below

How to make veg quesadillas Polkapuffs recipes Recipe for Mexican quesadillasHow to make veg quesadillas Polkapuffs recipes Recipe for Mexican quesadillasHow to make veg quesadillas Polkapuffs recipes Recipe for Mexican quesadillas

First, place the cheese at the bottom, then the filling and then more cheese on top. Then fold it in half as shown above in the second picture.

Heat the pan on low flame. Place the filled and folded quesadilla on the pan. Press down slightly and toast on both side until brown and crisp. You can use oil too but I do not use any.

To serve:

Cut each quesadilla into 2 or 4 pieces and serve with Pico de Gallo and sour cream along with some wedges of fresh lime 😀

How to make veg quesadillas Polkapuffs recipes Recipe for Mexican quesadillas

This is the brand of tortilla that I use. Also, learn to make Tacos here.

Love,

Shreya💕

Eggless Wholewheat Cardamom Cookies | Elaichi Biscuits

Chai and biscuits…have become chai and cookies. The English biscuits have been taken over by chunky cookies all the way from the West! I am not complaining…I never have tea…so the cookies over biscuits dilemma has never haunted me🤗

But my hubby loves his tea…it’s no secret. Although he is not a biscuit or cookie loving kind of a guy…he does like them once in a blue moon…and on that lucky day, he can clean out the tin! 😂

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Store bought cookies are not his kind…he finds them too sweet and the Maida (all purpose flour) makes it way too heavy. I agree…these are precisely the reasons why even I don’t like indulging in them too often. Also, these cookies or biscuits are often made with Dalda (vegetable fat) which isn’t the healthiest choice. Though they are very crisp but definitely not our choice.

So these atta biscuits (wholewheat cookies) were one of the earliest things I learnt to bake for my hubby back when I got my oven! There were few hits and many more misses 😂😂😂😂 I had burned bases to rock solid cookies which wouldn’t come off from the tray…though they were lined with parchment paper! Sometimes, they’d spread so much and turn into a congealed mass…LOL! 😜

But you learn..make your own mistakes and then understand where you went wrong. I referred to so many recipes all over the place just to make a good wholewheat cookie. Finally, almost over a year ago I was able to stick to a recipe where I was happy with each aspect of the result…. It was crisp, perfectly cooked and did not spread much. Just the way I wanted.

It took me almost over an year to bring them to my blog for you as I always bake these at night and clicking pictures isn’t possible then or even if I bake them during weekends, my hubby starts eating them warm off the baking tray! There’s hardly any left for me…forget clicking them 😁

I am going to share a few tips here that I learnt in the process of learning to bake these atta cookies ..

* the very first trial with making these atta cookies was inspired by a recipe I saw in some magazine at my Mom’s place. It had used butter obviously, but I used oil to make it healthy. The result was a congealed mass on the tray even after baking for 25 mins. It simply spread.

* next, after a few hits and misses, I tried them using ghee (clarified butter). They tasted decent but felt a little heavy for our palates. They were crisp but became soggy on the second day. They too spread but not too much. Not satisfactory.

* finally I thought of trying with unsalted cooking butter as per the original recipe but I changed the proportions as per my choice and used just the basic ingredients. By this time I’d already baked the exact same thing over 7-8 times. So I was able to judge the texture and the quantity on sight. Also, extensive research online made me understand the value of refrigerating the cookie/ biscuit dough. It helps. Big time! Using butter does make it crisper and the end result is what you see in the pictures here. The cookies/ biscuits do spread. It will. But it is minimal and gives you perfect looking cookies. These cookies stay fresh and crisp for upto 3 days in an airtight box. (My experience, it never lasts longer than that as I always make a small batch)

Hope you have gone through the tips above before we begin the actual recipe.

Yield: 12-14 small cookies

Equipment: (no fancy equipment is ever used for this, remember I was learning to bake with basic things at home) a wired whisk, a large mixing bowl, a small bowl, baking tray, parchment paper/ baking paper, a cooling rack, measuring cups/ spoons, as small pan, a weighing scale if you have one would be excellent.

Ingredients:

1 cup wholewheat atta (ashirwaad select atta)

75 gms unsalted butter (approximately 3/4th quantity of a 100gm. I used a weighing scale here)

6 tbsp powdered sugar (add more or less as per taste)

1/2 tsp cardamom pwd (Elaichi pwd)

1 small pinch baking soda

Method:

How to measure the atta – fill the cup with spoonfuls of atta. Do not dip the cup into the container with the atta. That way you will always end up with extra atta and the ratio will be wrong.

Seive the atta along with the baking soda once. Set it aside.

Take butter in the pan. Let it melt on very low flame. Once it’s melted, let it cool for 2 mins. Take the butter in a small bowl, then add the powdered sugar and cardamom pwd in the butter. Whisk well to make a smooth mixture.

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Now add this mixture to the sieved atta and baking pwd. Mix it gently and bring it together. This is not like Roti dough so it with crumbly. Let the dough rest for 5-7 mins to absorb the butter. Then gently shape the cookies (takes me 20 mins for just 12 cookies each time). Make sure the shape of cookies is evenly sized and smooth all over. (See the pic above). Place them apart on parchment lined baking tray.

I can make 12 cookies with this quantity, you may have 10 or 14 as well, depending on the size. Once you have shaped the dough, keep them in the refrigerator for 15 mins.

Preheat the oven at 150’c for 10 mins. (Every oven is different so work according to that for setting the temperature and duration for baking).

Take the baking tray out from the refrigerator and place it in the middle of the oven to bake at 150’c for 20-22 mins. They will turn golden on the top and slightly brown at the bottom. Do not bake at high temperatures else the cookies with burn at the base. Once the cookies are baked, keep the baking tray out of the oven for 10 mins on a cooling rack.

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Then transfer the cookies to the cooling rack for cooling them completely. They are soft at first then turn crisp as they cool.

Once completely cooled, store them in airtight box.

How to make wholewheat cookies Wholewheat cardamom cookies recipe Atta biscuit recipe How to make atta cookies Polkapuffs wholewheat cookies

Occasionally, I do like a cup of lemon tea with these cookies! Also, try sugar cookies by me.

Love,

Shreya💝

Slightly adapted.

Penne in Basil and Lemon Cream Sauce

Pasta has to be one of my favourite comfort foods…it just lifts my mood. I can have it in any kind of sauce…or even just a basic tossed pasta salad with some olive oil and some herbs!

Besides, you can do so many variations with pasta…baked cheesy pasta with some veggies is another favourite at our place, my hubby loves it with some garlic bread💖

How to make penne pasta in lemon cream sauce Polkapuffs recipe Pasta in white sauce recipe

I particularly prefer the red sauce for any pasta…but since I also enjoy a citrusy flavour to pasta sometimes, I planned to go with my Lemon Cream sauce which is absolutely delicious for our weekend brunch, it’s a bit tangy and goes so well with penne or even spaghetti for that matter. Since the sauce is cream based, it coats the pasta well…and I chose to add some sweet corn, you can add more veggies or even boiled & shredded chicken or some sliced sausages if you wish.

Let’s begin..

Yield: serves 2

Equipment: a non-stick pan, measuring cups/ spoons.

Ingredients:

1 cup boiled penne pasta (follow the instructions on the packaging)

2 tbsp garlic butter (or regular butter)

1 tsp oil

5-6 nos. black peppercorns

1/2 cup boiled sweet corn kernels

4-5 nos. fresh basil leaves sliced

1 tbsp Maida all purpose flour)

3/4 cup milk

2 tbsp fresh cream

1/2 tsp lemon juice

salt to taste

Dried Italian herbs to taste

Method:

Heat the pan on low flame, add butter & oil. Once the butter melts into the oil, add the peppercorns. Sauté for a minute.

How to make penne pasta in lemon cream sauce Polkapuffs recipe Pasta in white sauce recipe

Then add the flour and sauté for 2-3 mins. Once the roux is ready, add milk and stir continuously to avoid lumps. Let the sauce simmer for a couple of mins while you stir it. Add the sliced basil leaves and corn kernels, season with salt and dry Italian herbs. Mix well. Turn off the flame. Let the sauce cool for a minute or two, add the cream and lemon juice. Stir well. Once again keep turn on the flame on low mode. Then add the boiled penne and toss everything together quickly. Turn off the flame. That’s it, it’s ready. You can add grated cheese on the top if you wish…I don’t. 😊

How to make penne pasta in lemon cream sauce Polkapuffs recipe Pasta in white sauce recipe

It’s a must try recipe…easy and yummy!

Love,

Shreya💝

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