2-bite marshmallow pops!


If you are ever hosting a baby/bridal shower and need to make a quick party favor, try this one. Even if you are not, and want to engage your kids in a fun family culinary session this summer, this idea still works great. Takes 20 minutes to make a batch of 20 and uses simple ingredients that live in the pantries of most households with kids. Add your own wrapping touches and you ‘ll have one of those fancy hand-made-personalized gift type deals, for a fraction of cost! Tried this for a shower recently and these sweet treats a hit with kids and adults alike.

You will need:

Marshmallows ( Giant ones are better)

Chocolate chips ( meltable semi sweet or dark chocolate chips, I love the Ghirardelli dark ones!)

Sticks ( The ones from the craft isle or small straws will also work)

Rainbow sprinkles ( The best about this recipe per my 7 yr old!)

 

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Gently pierce a giant marshmallow into the end of a stick/straw. While you are doing that, get a double boiler (with steam) started to melt the chocolate chips in. As the chocolate melts, dip the marshmallow half way through into the molten goodness, spinning it gently so all sides are evenly coated. Roll the chocolate covered mallow in the rainbow sprinkles. You could use a block of thermocol to make the sticks stand upright, if you don’t have one on hand, just lay them on wax paper and let  it dry for 10-15 min. Have fun dipping and drying! Wrap them in your own fancy way, add favor tags etc, etc.. or enjoy as is!!

Kesar kulfi


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Kesar kulfi

 

A sweltering hot day in summer always calls for a cool sweet treat to beat the heat! This is one easy recipe that can be put together in 10 minutes, provided you have the right ingredients on hand. Having seen this being made a few times now ( by my husband who owns the recipe), I can guarantee this will be a party favorite.

 

Ingredients: ( Makes about 15 small cups of kulfi)

 

Condensed milk – 1 can 14 oz

Evaporated milk – 1 can 28 oz ( Whole milk is obviously better, but you can use 2%, just to be a lil guilt free!)

Almonds- ½ cup, about 4 oz ( You can use slivered or sliced ones)

Unsalted pistachios – ½ cup, 4 oz ( optional)

Saffron threads 1 tbsp

Cardamom – 4-5 shelled

Whole wheat bread – 2 slices ( Yes, bread is the secret ingredient in Kulfi to bind everything else and give it the texture)

Whipped cream – 2-3 tbsp ( Cool whip works best)

Plastic Cups – 4 oz

Ice cream sticks

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Blend all the above gently in a blender till the nuts are crushed well. Pour into small 4 oz cups. Refrigerate for about 2.5 hrs in the freezer. Insert ice cream sticks when it is about semisoft in consistency and let if freeze for a couple more hours. After cooling for about additional 3 hours, these irresistible goodies will have lick me written all over them!

 

 

 

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Date and almond rolls


I don’t know about you readers but I need my daily fix for dessert after lunch. And yes, it is always after lunch..Considering my big sweet tooth, I can’t afford to have desserts with butter, sugar and all the good stuff in them 😉 So typically my after lunch dessert varies from a piece of dark chocolate, cranberries, raisins, dried apricots etc. Date rolls are also perfect for satisfying these cravings for sweets! They also make a good snack ranging from 50-60 calories a piece and they are so easy to make!

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Ingredients :

1 box of Mejdhool dates(3.5 lbs) cut into thin pieces

1.5 cups of almonds

1 and half tablespoon of ghee

1/2 cup grated dried coconut

 

In a thick bottomed wide vessel, add ghee and dates and mash the mixture till the dates breakdown and mix together. After they are mixed well, add the almonds and stir.  Remove from heat and allow to cool, till they can handled.  Shape the mixture into logs. Spread the dried coconut on a plate and roll the logs over the coconut ensuring they are well coated.  Refrigerate for 4-5 hours and then cut into rolls.

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Rasmalai – The quick and easy way!


Rasmalai

This one is for my husband who happens to have a big sweet tooth and a birthday tomorrow! When looking for a hearty but non ghee consuming Indian sweet recipe, I stumbled upon this easy cheesy recipe.  Instead of going through the endless process of curdling milk to make paneer, then straining it multiple times and fervently hoping that it would turn in to the exact firm consistency, this one is a sure fire way to make sure your Rasmalai will turn out good.  All it takes is 10 minutes of prep time and about 45 minutes of oven time. Here’s the recipe to make this delectable sweet in a jiffy!Image

Ingredients:

Serves 6-8

Ricotta cheese 1 large tub – 30 oz 850 g( Whole milk tastes better than the part skim I used of course!)

Half and half – 1 qt

Sliced almonds 2 tbsp

Saffron strands 8-10

Cardamom powder ½ tsp

Sugar 3-4 tbsp

Method:

In a cheese cloth, roll the Ricotta cheese and strain away any excess water.  You may choose to leave the cheese in for about an hour or so, if you absolutely want all the water out.  Mix in about 2 tbsp of sugar into the cheese and blend it well. Then pre heat the oven to 350 deg for about 10 minutes.  Place the cheese in an aluminum tray for about 30-40 mins. Check if a tooth pick comes out clean to make sure the cheese is done. You can spoon the cheese into a muffin tray as well if you want a round shape to the Rasmalai.  Once done, let the cheese cool and using a cutter, make it into small pieces.

In a small pan, bring 1 qt half and half to boil. Add the remaining sugar, saffron strands and cardamom powder. Then add the sliced almonds. Pour this over the cooled cheese. Refrigerate and serve chilled!

Kesar Badam Halwa


Nothing can go wrong when the goodness of sugar, ghee, kesar and badam come together! My fondest memory of badam halwa is at MTR restaurant in Bangalore where we would crave for this dessert which would come in delicately wrapped parchment paper with the aroma of  warm fresh ghee wafting through the air. If you have a spouse with a sweet tooth like me and are looking to make some easy dessert with a long shelf life, this one is perfect!! The only downside to this recipe is that you have to remember to soak the almonds overnight. But the effort is worth it as you can store small batches in the freezer, thaw and heat when needed and it still tastes as good as fresh!!

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Ingredients: Serves about 8

2 cups raw almonds

2 cups of hot water to soak the almonds

1.5 cups sugar

3/4 cup ghee

10-15 filaments of saffron

10 cardamoms powdered

1 cup whole milk

Method: Soak the almonds in boiling water overnight. Peel the skin of the almonds  after about 12 hrs. Use ½ cup warm whole milk and soak the saffron overnight as well. Then using whole milk, grind the soaked-peeled almonds and saffron into a smooth paste.

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In a heavy bottomed pan, add1/2 cup of ghee and slowly stir in the kesar- badam (almond- saffron) paste. Then add the sugar. At first the paste will appear liquidy in consistency. As the milk content begins to evaporate, the paste will begin to solidify.  Add the remaining ghee and stir well. Keep stirring till the paste starts to separate from the bottom of the pan.  This is the part that can be tricky, for there is a thin dividing line between when the badam is cooked vs when it is overcooked! When the paste starts to separate from the pan, add the finely powdered cardamom and give it one final stir. Let it cool. Serve warm.

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PS: If your badam halwa gets over done, do not worry. Keep stirring for one more minute and then pat it out flat in a ghee greased tray to make delicious badam burfee!!

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Nutella glazed banana nut bread


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This is my very first attempt at baking with Nutella…had heard and seen so many baking recipes which use Nutella that I had to try this over this holiday season. And I must say, Nutella is very addictive indeed! The nutty aroma of the hazel nut and the bolder flavor of the chocolate makes for a perfect combination!

Instead of mixing the Nutella with the batter, I decided to go light and glaze the Nutella on top of the bread.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 ripe mashed bananas

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 vanilla extract

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup Whole milk

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup Nutella

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In a mixing bowl, blend together the above mentioned ingredients. Then melt the Nutella in a bowl using the double boiler method.( Heat water in a larger bowl and let the steam from the boiling water melt the Nutella in a smaller bowl). Mix in the nuts to the batter. Then using a spoon drizzle the melted Nutella on top of the batter in concentric circles. Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Serve warm!

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Pineapple Kesaribath


ImagePosting this recipe on the special occasion of Varamahalakshmi Pooja, which is a very important festival in Southern India. For people from Bangalore like me, pineapple Kesari bath brings fond memories of special occasions like weddings and Sathyanarayana Pooja where this dish is routinely served. It is a quick and easy to make recipe.

Ingredients: Serves 4

Rava (Sooji)- 2 cups

Water – 3 cups

Sugar – 1/2 cup

Ghee ( Clarified butter ) – 1/2 cup

Pineapple chunks – 1/2 cup

Cardamom ( Elaichi ) powder – 1 tsp

Cloves – 2 small finely crushed

Saffron ( Kesar ) – 6-8 threads soaked in warm milk for an hour

Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Toast the cashew nuts and raisins till the nuts turn golden brown. Set aside the roasted nuts and in the same pan, dry roast the rava till you can smell the aroma. Do not let the rava turn brown.

In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup sugar and pineapple chunks and stir until the pineapple chunks become soft. Then stir in the roasted rava gently into the pan, taking care not to form any lumps. Add 1/2 cup ghee while continuosuly stirring. Once the rava is cooked, add the soaked saffron, elaichi powder. Top it off with the roasted nuts and raisins. Serve warm.

Chocolate Mousse


It’s the holiday season, which means it is time to indulge in food and calories don’t count!

I have an insatiable desire for chocolate and my husband has the greatest sweet tooth! So, this dessert is a great way to make us both happy! It is a very simple recipe and if you have the right ingredients, it takes 20 minutes to make.

Like they say, better ingredients, better pizza…better chocolate, better mousse. I like organic dark chocolate ( Newman’s own 54% semi sweet dark chocolate is I what I chose).

Heavy whipping cream – 1/2 quart

Butter – 1 cube of 3″

Sweet condensed milk – 2-3 tbsp

Espresso coffee powder – 1/2 tsp

Eggs – 5

Vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp

berries Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

Small serving cups – 2 oz

1. In a bowl, beat the egg yolk and white well to a dripping consistency.( Adding a pinch of salt helps.)

2. Break the chocolate bar into small pieces. Add the chocolate pieces, butter,1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp condensed milk into a bowl. Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler.( Boil water in a container and place another container that fits snugly over this and place the chocolate and butter in this, so the chocolate melts from the steam generated by the boiling water in the bottom container.) Stir to make sure there are no lumps in the chocolate. Allow it to cool. Then, add 1/2 tsp of espresso coffee powder.

3. To the whipped eggs, gently fold in 2 cups of whipped cream and whisk well. Then fold in the cooled chocolate adding large spoonfuls at a time. Once all the ingredients evenly mix, spoon into small 2 oz serving dishes. Refrigerate for 3-4 hrs. Garnish with berries over a pick and sweet cream or chocolate shavings.

Fruit Chaat


There are very few recipes that make zesty appetizers as well as delightful desserts and this is one such simple and healthy one. With low glycemic index fruits, pro digestive ingredients such as cumin, mint and healthy nuts to add some crunch, one couldn’t ask for more.
This is a recipe that my friends and I used to love eating from a humble little shop on a rundown street near our medical college in the hot days of summer. The original version only had freshly diced fruits with a dash of salt and pepper on it, but nonetheless tickled our taste buds!! I have tried to improvise it with some more fresh ingredients,usually available at most of our homes all the time.
Fruits, any of your choice…to keep it colorful and juicy, I used red grapes, chunks of pineapple, watermelon, banana, green apple, orange. You can also add papaya, kiwi fruit, peaches etc…
Dressing :
Fresh mint leaves- handful
Fresh ginger 1″ grated
Fresh lemon 1/2
Fresh ground pepper 1/2 tsp
Fresh cumin powder 1/2 tsp
Black salt powder or chaat masala 1 tsp
Orange juice 1/2 cup, about 4 oz
Toss these ingredients into a small blender/food processor and grind them into a paste by adding a little bit of orange juice ( instead of water) each time, until you reach a dripping consistency. If you want to do it the traditional mortar-pestel way, that works great too.
Drizzle the dressing over the cut fruits evenly and gently toss them so all fruits are well coated with the dressing. Refrigerate immediately for about an hour. For added crunchy nutty taste and texture, garnish with walnuts and roasted salted almonds!
Makes a great starter or the perfect end to a delicious meal.
Tip: You can sprinkle the chaat masala and black salt right before you serve so the fruits don’t lose all their juicy water content to the excess salt.

Pal Payasam / Rice Kheer/


Pal Payasam is my all time favorite dessert. Tastes especially good when served chilled. Pal means milk in Tamil and Payasam means kheer or pudding. Use jaggery made from dates if you can find them in your grocery stores and you can notice the difference in taste. I used normal cane sugar for this recipe because i didn’t have any dates jaggery on hand.

Ingredients : Serves 2

1/2 or 3/4  litre milk. I used 2% milk. Full fat makes it more delicious.

2 teaspoons basmati rice

3 tablespoons of sugar

A pinch of cardamom

Almonds and Pistachio slivers for garnishing

1 teaspoon ghee/ clarified butter

Wash and soak the water for a couple of minutes and drain it. Take a thick bottomed pan or vessel. Heat the ghee. Add the rice and fry it for a minute or so. Then add the milk and sugar. Once the milk starts to boil over, reduce the heat. Let this simmer till the rice cooks through and the milk has reduced and thickened. The more it reduces, the tastier it is! Garnish with almonds and pistachio.

You can multiply the same quantities for more number of people. This kheer doesn’t need too much sugar. It is a good idea to use less sugar in the beginning and later adjust the quantity depending on the taste.

Serve hot or chilled.