Archive | April, 2013

Egg-less Chocolate Loaded Mousse

30 Apr

A very common notion is that eggless desserts never taste as good as the ones with egg. Well, it can be true in some cases but not in all. There are some recipes that will never be the same without eggs but then there are those that will turn out just as good without compromising on the taste and texture. One such recipe is that of the ‘mousse’. A chocolate mousse is a classic dessert, a popular choice with all age groups and it works well with different taste buds. Here is an easy recipe of an eggless chocolate mousse

Ingredients

80 gms dark/cooking chocolate

400 ml fresh cream

40 gms caster sugar (or to taste)

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon custard powder

2 teaspoons Gelatin

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Step 1

Make chocolate ganache by mixing 200 ml fresh cream with 80 gms of dark chocolate on a double boiler. Once the chocolate has blended well with the cream, let it cool and refrigerate it.

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Step 2

Whip the remaining 200 ml cream with an electric whisker until it thickens. Instead of whipping the cream you can also use 200 ml of whipped cream directly. Place it in the fridge once whipped.

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Step 3

You can replace eggs with a custard mix. Heat ½ cup milk and add 40 gms sugar in it and stir continuously till the sugar melts. In a small bowl add very little milk to 1 teaspoon of custard powder to ensure the consistency is smooth and no lumps are formed.

Now add this mix to the milk and sugar on the stove and stir continuously till the mix thickens.

You can replace this custard mix with eggs in any mousse recipe.

Quick tip : Try to use a non-stick vessel while making this mix because custard mix tends to stick to the bottom

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Step 4

Now mix the chocolate ganache, whipped cream and custard mix together.

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Step 5

Add 2 teaspoons of gelatin to 20 ml of luke warm water. Stir continuously. Once it has mixed well, add it to the rest of the ingredients

Quick Tip: Replace Gelatin with Agar Agar if you wish to make this recipe vegetarian.

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Gelatin mixed with luke warm water

Step 6

Place the mix either in glasses or silicon moulds and let refrigerate it for atleast 4 hours

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Serve it chilled with some choco chips or any other garnish 🙂

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Chocolate & Fresh Fruit Tarts

23 Apr

People often associate desserts with something they eat after a meal, post lunch or dinner. How about making something that you can munch on at any time of the day? (yes, I know that’s dangerous for the weight watchers ;)) Here is a simple recipe of a Chocolate & Fresh Fruit Tart, best suited for a tea party!

For the sweet paste

Unsalted Butter – 60 gms

Icing Sugar – 30 gms

Flour – 125 gms

½ an egg (medium sized)

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For the Chocolate Ganache

Fresh Cream – 100 ml

Dark/Cooking Chocolate 40 gms

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Fresh seasonal fruits, cut aesthetically

Step 1

Get started with the chocolate ganache first. On a double boiler, mix the fresh cream and chocolate together until the chocolate has melted completely. Let the ganache cool and let it refrigerate.

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Let the chocolate blend in with the fresh cream completely

Quick Tip : The ideal chocolate ganache should be refrigerated over night, but if you are not able to plan your dessert so much in advance, an hour or 2 will also do.

I also know a lot of people who refrain from making chocolate ganache because ‘double boiler’ sounds like a complicated technique. But it is really quite simple. You can use any container you have at home and pour water into it. Place another container on it that sits well. Ensure the water in the lower container does not touch the container on top. That’s it, your double boiler is ready 🙂

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Simple, home-made double boiler

Step 2

To make the sweet paste, mix the flour, icing sugar, unsalted butter and egg together until you get a dough like consistency. Do not over knead.

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Step 3

Press the dough into the tart moulds. Ensure the dough is not too thick and to get an even tart, press your thumb into the tart mould in upward direction. Once it is evenly placed, cut the extra dough from the top edges with a knife.

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Step 4

Place the tart moulds in a pre- heated oven and bake at 180 degree C for 20-25 mins or until the tarts turn light golden-ish. Don’t let the tarts turn brown.

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Step 5

With a piping bag and a nozzle with swirls, pour in the chocolate ganache into the tarts once the tarts have cooled.

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Step 6

Now place the fresh cut fruits on top. To beautify this further, drizzle some icing sugar with a strainer on the tarts

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Voila, your tea time treat is now ready!

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Cupcake paradise in Hyderabad – Labonel!

19 Apr

Tucked away in a cozy little corner on a busy street of Banjara Hills in Hyderabad is a cupcake paradise, called ‘Labonel – fine baking’.

While in the city on work, a colleague took me there and mentioned they make some of the finest cupcakes. Being the dessert-o-holic that I am, I was all set to indulge. My colleague remembered the place from his last visit and took us right into the bakery which is otherwise difficult to spot, because there are no prominent sign boards, it is infact inside a high compound wall of a residence. Well, such is the popularity of the place! It does not need any sign boards or directions but naturally draws people there 🙂

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Though they have a variety of cakes, cupcakes and brownies, being a die-hard chocolate fan I went straight for the chocolate cupcake which is displayed on their trail table. There’s a piece of almost everything they sell on the trail table, so you can taste it before you buy it which I thought was a great idea.

I got myself an assorted box of mini cupcakes which had chocolate, red velvet and vanilla cupcakes. I found it difficult to start eating them because the packaging was so beautiful, I just did not want to destroy it. But then again, the cupcakes looked even more tempting!

Packaging

Perfect packaging

My first observation and what I loved about the mini cupcakes – there is no compromise on the rich, creamy icing. I have often eaten cupcakes with very little icing which has left me a bit disappointed. But despite the generous portion of icing, I give full points to the chocolate cupcake for not being overly sweet. The sweetness quotient is perfectly balanced with rich dark chocolate used in the icing.

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Mini Chocolate cupcake

The red velvet cupcake was amazingly moist, just the way it should be and the fresh cream cheese frosting made every bite perfect.  Though I found the vanilla cupcake a little too sweet for my taste buds, it is perfect for those who do not mind their desserts a little too sweet.  Even with the sweetness, the vanilla cupcake was full of flavor and did not disappoint.

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Mini Vanilla Cupcake & Mini Red Velvet Cupcake

With no compromises on packaging and ingredients, the pack of 16 mini cupcakes justifies the cost at Rs 650.

The quick stop at Labonel was definitely worth the time and effort! If you live in Hyderabad, or if you are visiting the city, don’t forget to grab a box of Labonel goodies.

Age No Bar!

16 Apr

I’m starting the ‘passionate bakers’ series on my blog by featuring a women worth looking up to, not only because of her successful cupcake venture, but also because of her humility with which she bakes and keeps her customers happy. I hope the features in this series inspire all the budding bakers…

I remember when I first visited Cupcake Noggins in Koramanagala, what caught my eye was the super cute pink sign board and the youthful interiors. The gorgeous cupcakes and innovative flavours added to my belief that this place HAS to be a brain child of an early-20 year old someone.

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Out of curiosity, I went on their website and to my surprise found out that the lady behind this lovely place is Mrs. Leela Thomas who recently turned 66! What made her start this venture over a year ago at the age of 65? How does she compete in this competitive industry and how does she keep up with all that is happening? I visited Mrs. Leela to chat about all this and more…

‘Passion’ makes the world go round..

I stared at Mrs. Leela after hearing her first statement! With a smile on her face she effortlessly  said “I’m not passionate about baking”. In my head, I had a million questions for her already, but the first one – then how do you do it everyday!? With the same smile on her face she added “I’m passionate about making people happy and baking is one of the things I do to make people happy”. She was never a baker in her earlier days but loved to cook for people around her. It was this passion that kept her love for cooking alive and today lead to this successful venture.

Even at the age of 66, Mrs. Leela spends  over 8 hours in the kitchen. She says, all the hard work in the kitchen feels worth the effort after seeing and hearing words of encouragement from her happy customers.

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Mrs. Leela John of Cupcake Noggins

Learning to make cupcakes…

Mrs. Leela recollects that back in the days it was extremely difficult to find a perfect recipe. With no internet and people unwilling to share their ‘secret’ recipes, for the longest time she could bake only two or three different types of cakes. She had never even heard of a cupcake or tasted one until her daughter; Shema showed her a picture and the recipe about 2 years back. She recollects “Once I tried the first cupcake, I just felt that grace fell into my hands and I did not look back”. I believe her when she says that, because her cupcakes are truly divine!

She keeps herself updated on the latest flavours with regular updates from her daughter and grandchildren who surf the internet often and give her constructive feedback on her baking.

An advice to young bakers…

If passion is all you feel for baking, do it as a hobby but not as a business!  Mrs. Leela speaks from all her experience and tells me “Passion alone can create a pass-time but not a successful business. To turn your passion into a successful venture you need to be extremely organized and professional.  You should be ready to serve your customers with all humility and treat them as king. At the same time you need to be practical about scaling up your business. One cannot do everything alone and you should have enough help with you”. She tells me that Cupcake Noggins would have never happened if her daughter and grandchildren hadn’t encouraged her and lent their help to this venture.

Her dreams for Cupcake Noggins…

Though Cupcakes have always been the bestseller at Cupcake Noggins, Mrs. Leela is now experimenting with many other recipes, especially Cheesecakes which have received phenomenal response. She plans to add more products to the menu with her undying quest for innovation and trying out new recipes.

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Some of the delicacies at Cupcake Noggins

Being a baking enthusiast myself, it was a humbling experience to meet this graceful lady. If you live in Bangalore and haven’t tried her cupcakes yet, I strongly recommend that you do:)

Mangoes+cheesecake = complete happiness!

11 Apr

One of the reasons I love cheesecakes is because you can do so much with them! You can pretty much make a cheesecake with every possible fruit. Now that its mango season, why not try a mango cheesecake? Imagine biting into the creamy goodness of a cheesecake  with the natural sweetness of fresh alphansos? Imagine no more, get baking with this simple recipe 🙂

Ingredients

2 large Alphanso mangoes

1 packet  of digestive biscuits

400 gms cream cheese

40 gms unsalted butter

Caster or granulated sugar (to taste, but approximately 75 gms)

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Step 1

Crush the digestive biscuits well and mix it with unsalted butter. Ensure its mixed well and layer it in the baking tray. 1/3rd of your baking tray should be covered. Put the baking tray in the fridge for atleast half an hour for the biscuit mix to set.

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Crushed biscuits mixed with butter set in the baking tray

Step 2

In a bowl mix the cream cheese, sugar and one mango. Ensure this is mixed well and the mangoes have blended into the cream cheese mix.

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Step 3

Pour the cream cheese mix on the biscuit layer and bake it in the oven at 180 degree for 15 mins.

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Its set to go into the fridge

Step 4

Once you pull the cheesecake out, let it cool and then let it set in the fridge for atleast 8 hours.

Step 5

Once it’s out of the fridge, top it with fresh mangoes..in whichever shape and size you like 🙂

It’s really that simple! Your mango cheesecake is ready!

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Citrus Goodness – Lemony Cupcakes

4 Apr

I know a lot of people have been fretting about summers (which includes me sometimes) but then there’s a bright side (literally) to summers. A good dose of citrus goodness can make the summers extremely refreshing and enjoyable. One such treat is the Lemon Cupcake. Try this simple bake which can be relished as an evening snack or even an after-meal dessert or just pick it up at any time of the day.

Ingredients (makes 6 cupcakes)

60 gm flour

70 gm caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

20 gm unsalted butter

60 ml whole milk

1 small egg (if the size of the egg is large, use only half of it)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the frosting

150 gm icing sugar

25 gm unsalted sugar

15 ml milk

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Freshly chopped kiwis (optional)

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Step 1

Mix the flour, caster sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and butter together with an electric whisker until it is finely combined

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Ensure the lemon zest is fresh

Step 2

Pour in the milk and mix with the electric whisker until it forms a smooth paste. Add the eggs and mix again, but do not over mix

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Step 3

Pour the mix in a cupcake cup and place it in the over to bake at 180 degree C for 25-30 minutes.

After 25 mins insert a toothpick and check if the toothpick comes out clean. Take the cupcakes out if the toothpick comes out clean once done and let them cool.

Step 4

For the frosting, mix the icing sugar and butter with an electric whisker until combined. Now add the milk and lemon zest and mix again.

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Step 5

Once the cupcakes have cooled, place the frosting on the cupcakes (either with a knife or icing bag). To decorate, I chose to use fresh kiwis because they complement the lemony flavor very well. You could use more innovative ideas 🙂

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* do not add more lemon zest than mentioned in the recipe or the cupcakes will become bitter.

The fusion Strawberry Cheese-Cup-cake!

1 Apr

Two of my all-time favourite desserts are cheesecakes and cupcakes. When people ask me what I would like to bake for them I often find myself confused between cupcakes and cheesecakes. I finally found a solution this time when I tried out a new recipe – Strawberry Cheese-Cup-cake! It’s a simple fusion of a cupcake and cheesecake. Here’s the recipe

Ingredients (makes about 6 cupcakes)

60 gm flour

70 gm caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

20 gm unsalted butter

60 ml whole milk

1 small egg (if the size of the egg is large, use only half of it)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

6 strawberries, chopped finely

For the frosting

65 gm mascarpone cream cheese

150 gm icing sugar

25 gm unsalted butter

6 strawberries

2 digestive biscuits, finely crushed

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Step 1

Mix the flour, caster sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract and butter together with an electric whisker until it is finely combined.

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Step 2

Pour in the milk and mix with the electric whisker until it forms a smooth paste. Add the eggs and mix again, but do not over mix.

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Step 3

In the cupcake cups, place the chopped strawberries and then pour the cupcake mix on top of it.

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Step 4

Place it in a pre -heated oven and bake at 180 degree C for 25 -30 mins. After 25 mins insert a toothpick and check if the toothpick comes out clean. If it comes out clean, your cupcakes are done. Take the cupcakes out once done and let them cool

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Step 5

Time to make the frosting! Mix the icing sugar and butter together with the electric whisker until combined. Now mix the cream cheese and whisk again (ensure you do not whisk for too long or it will become runny).

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Step 6

After icing the cupcakes, place the crushed digestive biscuits and a strawberry on top.

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That’s it, your fusion cheesecake-cupcake is done 🙂 You can try the same recipe with other popular cheesecake flavours such as blueberry, Oreos etc.

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