Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Browned Butter Cardamom Frosting

If you love Cardamom like I do you would love this cake and frosting. Today my friend visited with her two lovely daughters and I made a batch of this cupcakes for them.This was the only one that was remaining, that too because I saved one for Jai as he was not back from work yet. I think that itself tells you how good they were.
A brand new year is about to begin. Hope you are ready for more great experiences and adventures! Happy New Year to you all!
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon cardamom powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well Set aside. Line a cupcake tin with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk brown sugar and egg until smooth. Add in milk, again mixing until combined. Slowly pour in melted butter, continuing to whisk. Add in the flour, soda and salt along with cardamom mixing with a large spoon until batter is smooth.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to liners. Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until tops are puffy and golden, and don’t jiggle when touched. Let cool completely.

Browned Butter Frosting


1/2 cup butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom Powder
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/8 tsp of salt


Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Continue to cook, watching carefully, until butter becomes an amber color (watch carefully to avoid burning as butter changes from amber to burnt easily).  Remove from heat and allow to stand 2 to 3 minutes; do not stir so the solids can sink to the bottom of the pan.  Slowly pour the melted butter into a heat proof bowl, leaving the last 1 to 2 tablespoons of melted butter and the solids in the pan to discard later.  Allow the amber melted butter to set at room temperature 2 hours or until thickened and softly set.
Beat sugar and cardamom into soft, browned butter.  Add 1 tablespoon milk.  Gradually add an additional tablespoon of milk, about 1 teaspoon at a time, until of desired spreading consistency. Add the salt and mix well. Frost the cupcakes after they have cooled down completely.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rolled Baklava

With Christmas around the corner and also to have a treat ready for the unexpected guests who stop by,  I made these delicious Baklavas. Instead of making them the traditional way I made them into rolls . I found this easier to serve and even little ones as old as 3 could eat it with out making a mess. So if you are planning a Christmas or New years party this would be a great make ahead ( I find Baklavas to taste better a day later)  dessert.
Happy Holidays!
2 cups raw (and unsalted) nuts( I used a mix of almonds,walnuts,pecans & pistachios)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 whole cloves ground
1 lb. phyllo dough, thawed
6 oz. unsalted butter, melted

soaking syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 2-inch slices of lemon peel
2 2-inch slices of orange peel
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup honey

 Place 2 cups of the raw and unsalted shelled nuts in the bowl of a food processor with 1/4 cup of sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves. Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Unwrap the phyllo dough and unroll so the sheets lie flat. They should be 13×17 inches. Cover with a damp cloth. Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Set two sheets of phyllo dough on a large clean work surface and brush the sheet  with butter. Stack two more sheets of phyllo dough over the buttered folded sheet (line up the corners). Brush butter over on the stack of phyllo,

Sprinkle 1/3 cup of nut filling along the long edge of the dough stack leaving a little margin at the ends. From the nut end, tightly roll the dough up like a carpet so the nut filling is in the center of the roll. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into equal-sized pieces . Arrange the pieces in the baking dish. Repeat until the baking dish is full. Brush butter over the baklava rolls and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Make the syrup: While the baklava is baking, combine the sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon peel, orange peel, and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 15 minutes. Stir the honey into the sugar syrup and cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat. Remove the peels and cinnamon stick.

Finish the baklava: Have the syrup ready when the baklava comes out of the oven. While the baklava is still hot, pour the syrup over the pastries. Let the baklava cool completely (the syrup will pool at first, then the pastries will soak up the syrup). Sprinkle the remaing crushed nuts over the baklava. Makes approximately 35.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Yesterday was the wedding of Jai's one and only niece. She is very dear to Jai and us and we very much wanted to be part of her big day. But unfortunately, we couldn't make it to the wedding. Jai and Aishwarya were so down and disappointed; so to cheer them up I made a special dinner yesterday and to top it off I had made this chocolaty delight.
Zuccotto is an Italian chilled dessert. It can be frozen, then thawed before serving. This dessert is traditionally made in a special pumpkin-shaped mold (Zuccotto means "little pumpkin" in Italian). This is an easy and  fun dessert to make and it is good. Especially if you like chocolate  this is a dessert for you.

Brownie-1 qty/ Pound cake / sponge cake  
Vanilla Ice cream - 2 cups or enough to fill the cup
Kahlua-1/4 cup
Chocolate syrup/ Nutella-4tbs/ Cocoa powder
Make brownie in a jelly roll pan, or if you want you can use a store bought pound cake or sponge cake. Line a bowl with plastic wrap. Trace the bottom of the bowl and cut it out and use it to line the bottom of the bowl.( If using a pound cake /sponge cake cut  crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice diagonally in half, forming 2 triangles and use the triangles and line the bowl with it). Now cut long strips of brownie and line the sides of the prepared bowl. Brush some of the Kahlua over the brownie or cake lining the bowl. Reserve the extra brownie. Fill the brownie lined bowl with ice cream. Brush the remaining brownie/cake slices on one side with kahlua and arrange them, kahlua side down, over the ice cream, covering the filling completely and trimming to fit if necessary. Cover  Zuccotto with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
Invert the cake onto a platter. Remove the bowl and the plastic wrap.Pour slightly microwaved chocolate syrup/ nutella over or  dust with cocoa powder and serve.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Vegetable Enchilada Soup

Winter is here again. And we are getting some much needed rains in California. There is something with the rains and the general cold weather that triggers in me a heightened level of appetite especially for things spicy. But considering the high calories that I would be consuming for Christmas and New Year season, I wanted to have some control on my cravings. Soups being healthy, filling and comforting, I made a big batch of this veggie loaded enchilada soup. This may not be the typical enchilada soup, as I have added orzo also into this. If you want to go with a more authentic version, you can skip the orzo.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup diced white onion (about 1 small white onion)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy granules rinsed in hot water and drained
3 cups chicken stock/ vegetable stock
1 1/4 cups (or 1 10-ounce can) red enchilada sauce
1 (14-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup Frozen corn
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices (I prefer fire-roasted)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chillies
1/2 to 3/4 tsp teaspoon fresh  ground roasted cumin
1/2 cup mixed vegetables
1/2 cup orzo
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1 teaspoon salt, or more/less to taste
Optional toppings: tortilla chips/strips, diced/sliced avocado, grated cheese, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oil in a large stock over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until cooked and translucent. Add the garilc and saute for an additional minute until fragrant. Stir in the soy granules and cook for an additional minute.
 Add  enchilada sauce, black beans, tomatoes, green chiles,mixed vegetables, corn,orzo, salt and cumin, along with the stock and stir until combined. Continue stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer stirring occasionally so that the soup does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Once it reaches the consistency of your liking stir in the cheese, until combined. Taste, and season the soup to taste with salt.
Serve the soup warm with desired toppings.
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