Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jam Thumbprint Coconut Cookies ( Eggless)





Coconut coconut coconut.......this is driving me nuts.  I think I'm falling in love with coconut.  I am really amazed at the versatility of this great nut. I had known that coconut was widely used in southern part of India but being from the north  my knowledge of coconut usage was very limited. I only knew that it could be used for pooja, coconut oil for oiling hair & ofcourse I used to make the famous Coconut barfi & I always had a hard time grating the dry whole coconut.  On moving to the US I saw this nut being used in varied ways.......coconut milk for soups , shredded coconut for cake decoration, powdered coconut as cup cake topping, coconut icecream, coconut water as thirst quencher ........I think I should stop  the list is endless. During my last 2 visits to India My sister brought me coconut cookies from a local bakery & they were so good that ever since my return I had been thinking of how to make those delicious cookies & finally I saw "Ina Garten  of Barefoot Contessa" bake" Jam thumbprint shortbread cookies "in one of her shows. She rolled the cookies in shredded coconut  & the name "thumbprint" comes from the thumb impression made on the cookies which is later filled  with jam.......hence the name Jam thumbprint. I could hardly wait for the show to be over & I was in the Kitchen knowing this is something I wanted to try.......at the same time I was thinking hard on how to make the cookies eggless & more coconutty.....so I modified the recipe a little & here is my version of these delectable coconut cookies that have become a permanent part of my snack pantry now...........I have added coconut powder to the dough & some baking soda as well . Also instead of the eggwash that the original recipe called for I have dipped the dough balls in milk to make an eggless version.


Ingredients: This will  make around 25-30 cookies

  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1/4th tsp baking soda
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 1/3rd  cup coconut powder/ 1/2 cup more  for rolling in the cookie balls
  5. 1 stick of butter / 4 oz/ 120 gms ( at room temperature)
  6. 1/3rd cup  confectioners sugar ( the cookies are very lightly sweet , the amount of sugar  can be increased acc. to taste)
  7. 1/4th tsp  pure vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 cup of milk 
  9. 2 tablespoons of any fruit jam ( i used raspberry jam)
Preparation:

  1. Mix the 1st 4 ingredients together , flour, soda, salt & 1/3rd cup of coconut powder , keep aside
  2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment  whisk butter & sugar together until light & fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract & mix till well blended.
  3. Start adding the dry ingredients mixing until just well blended , the dough will be very soft.
  4. Transfer the dough to a work surface ....roll into a ball , cover with cling wrap & refrigerate for atleast 15  mins .
  5. Now take out the dough & cut it into 25-30 equal parts ( can be done with a knife), roll each part into a small ball .
  6. Take half cup of milk in a bowl & the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut powder in another bowl .  
  7. Dip each ball of dough in the milk & then roll it in the coconut powder, make an impression with your thumb in the centre of each ball & place  them on a well greased baking tray. (  this time I made the impression  with a 1/4 measuring teaspoon as my thumb starts hurting by the time all the cookies are done)
  8. With the help of a tea spoon or the tip of a knife place a small amount of jam in the centre of each cookie (  can also  be done with a piping bag )
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F & bake for 12-15 mins until cookies are golden at the top. 
  10. Transfer to a cooling rack & let cool completely before  storing them.
 I cannot wait for them to cool completely & generally grab a couple just out of the oven.......ha ha 

Nutella Swirl Cookies ( Eggless)


Nutella.........I was introduced to this heavenly goodness just a few days ago.  Living for 8 years now in NJ I had always seen the nutella jars at the supermarket  but I just thought of it as a spread that could be spread on bread or sandwiched between cookies until I bought my 1st jar few days ago for the Banana stuffed croissant  ( recipe already posted). And for those of you who do not know what Nutella is ( I am saying this coz I myself did not know ) it is a hazlenut spread with skim milk & cocoa  & sooooooo yummy ,better than any chocolate I wud say. And as I keep browsing the net for cookie recipe these days especially cookies that look fresh out a bakery .....I came across these Nutella pinwheel cookies, a simple butter cookie with Nutella slathered on it , rolled & baked......what more could I ask for. I tweaked the recipe a little by excluding the eggs & adding a pinch of baking soda .My husband who is not a big fan of sweets grabs a couple of these cookies as soon as he's back from work  & this makes me all the more happy. With very few ingredients these cookies are a real treat.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  3. 1stick butter / 120 gms ( at room temp.)
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 cup light brown powdered sugar
  6. 1/4 cup nutella 

Preparation:

  1. Start by beating the butter & sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment , beat until light & fluffy.
  2. Mix in the vanilla extract & start mixing in the flour combined with the baking soda. Mix until just well blended.
  3. Transfer the dough onto a work surface, roll it into a ball , wrap with cling foil & refrigerate for 30 mins. to make the rolling & cutting easy as the dough is very soft.
  4. Roll out the dough into a 1/4th inch thick rectangle inbetween 2 cling wraps to avoid the dough from sticking to the rolling pin, now remove the upper cling foil .
  5. Spread the nutella on this rectangular sheet of dough  leaving 1/4 of an inch on all sides so nutella dosen't ooz out when rolling the dough.
  6. Roll the dough into a log starting form the longest side , can also be done with the help of the lower layer of the cling foil....just holding the edges of the cling foil start rolling .
  7. Place the rolled dough log into the refrigerator for another 5-10 mins.
  8. Cut the dough into 1/3rd inch slices with the help of a sharp knife & place them on a well greased baking sheet.
  9. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 mins or until they turn golden brown, let them rest on the baking sheet for about 5 mins. before transferring them to the cooling rack. This recipe makes about 25-30 cookies .
Note: Sprinkle some coarsely chopped hazlenuts on the nutella spread before rolling the dough , I did not coz I wanted some plain crunchy cookies. Next time I will also be trying these cookies by adding some cream cheese.



Friday, July 8, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Macroons( Eggless)






So here comes the recipe for these macroons.......one of the easiest recipes I have come across while I was looking for coconut cookie recipes .  I did see the pictures for these macroons on google but then I also came across the recipe on Sinfoodie.Not only are they good looking but are super delicious as well.  I took them over to one of my relatives house for 4th of july get together & no one was ready to believe that they were home made( I could not believe it myself when they were finally ready)   .So now I have suggestions pouring in that I should start marketing them..........Hmmmmm I like that & so will u.......

Ingredients: This will make about 10 macroons

  1. 1 1/2 cup of shredded sweetened coconut
  2. 100 gms of sweetened condensed milk
  3. 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  4. 1/4 cup melted chocolate for dipping 
Preparation:

  1. Transfer condensed milk into a bowl , mix in the flour until well blended.
  2. Now start mixing in the coconut a tablespoon at a time until all of it is mixed well. If the mixture looks too runny more coconut can be incorporated or if it looks too stiff while mixing in the coconut we can save some coconut  from the 1 1/2 cups. 
  3.  Sprinkle some shredded coconut on to a work surface, now pick up about a tablespoon of mixture with your hands & place it on the shredded coconut pressing it down while pinching it at the top so as to get the shape of a mound. You will get a perfectly flat bottom & since the bottom is now covered with dry shredded coconut it will not stick to the  tray while baking , transfer all the coconut mounds to a baking tray.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 F & bake for 12-15 mins. until the tops look perfectly golden. 
  5. Transfer to cooling rack & let cool completely.
  6. Melt baking chocolate in a small bowl ( can also be microwaved since the quantity of chocolate is too small) & holding the top , dip the bottom of the  macroons in the chocolate so as to cover almost half of the macroon, transfer to another lined baking tray or can even be placed on cling wrap. Refrigerate for about 5 -10 mins for the chocolate to set completely. So here you have very professional looking macroons with the minimalist of ingredients. Enjoy................



Walnut Pistachio Cream Cheese Cookies( Eggless)


I came across the pictures for these cookies on the internet & they looked exactly like that they had come out of a local bakery in India. Since I had cream cheese in the fridge I planned to try them out as part of my Independence day celebration package. After looking at the pictures I  browsed  the internet to see if I could find the recipe & I did. This was an original" Martha Stewart "recipe  for Walnut Cream cheese cookies. But I also had the picture in mind for the cookies we used to get as kids, fresh from a local bakery & they were more of Pistachio cookies as I remember each of those cookies having just 1 or two pieces of pistachios looking through.So I have tried this recipe with some modifications & the result was the picture above.

Ingredients:



  1. 1 cup all purpose flour & 2 tablespoons 
  2. 1/4th tsp salt
  3. 1/4th tsp baking soda
  4. 1 stick unsalted butter ( half cup) at room temp
  5. 2 tablespoons cream cheese  at room temp.
  6. 1/3 cup  powdered brown sugar
  7. 1 tsp pure  vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 cup of coarsely  chopped ,lightly toasted  nuts( walnuts, pistachios, almonds)
  9. 1/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts
Directions:



  1. Sift 1 cup flour, salt & baking soda together in a bowl , keep aside.
  2. Beat the butter & cream cheese  together in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale & fluffy , add sugar & vanilla extract & beat again on medium speed for atleast 2 mins. 
  3.  Reduce speed to low & add the flour  2 tablespoons at a time. Mix until just well combined.Add the nuts & mix again .
  4. Transfer the dough mixture to a work surface , sprinkle with some flour & roll the dough into a ball. ( if the dough is too soft & sticky just sprinkle another tablespoon of flour & roll it in. I did it as the dough initially was very soft & sticky) 
  5. Divide the dough ball into 2 parts & roll each part into a log about 8-10 inches long & around 1.5 -2 inches in diameter.
  6. Spread some finely chopped walnuts on the work surface & roll the logs on the walnuts , coating completely.
  7.  Wrap each log into plastic wrap & refrigerate for  a min. of 30 mins or longer .
  8. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F , now take out one log at a time & cut them into 1/2 thick slices , place them on greased baking sheet 1 inch apart & bake for 8-10 mins.  or until golden around the edges.
  9. Cool on baking sheet for 5 mins & then transfer them to a cooling rack, let cool completely. 
  10. This recipe will make  3 dozen cookies.
Note: I baked the 1st batch on 350 degrees F acc. to the original recipe, but the cookies were done in just  8 mins & the bottom of cookies was very dark brown( almost black)  so i reduced the oven temp. to 300 F for the next batch & the cookies were done in 10 mins & were perfectly crunchy & golden.

Date Nut Spice Cake Loaf



Soooo it's summertime here in NJ & this is  the time we look forward to after the long snowy winter.
Lots of sunshine , outdoor fun, beach , barbeques  so summer time is really fun. Last weekend was the 4th of July ( America's Independence day) , Long holiday weekend, summer, sunshine, meeting friends & family  so it was the perfect time to try some new recipes. Since my husband is not a big fan of sweets or rather I should say that due to some medical constraints he has to keep away from sugar I have to look for excuses to bake something. A lot of recipes & pictures have made their quarters in my head for quiet some time now & what better excuse  could I find to unload my head of some of this stuff so I could make room for  more recipes. So here I  go with 3 recipes for the long holiday weekend. .....

Date Nut Spice Cake Loaf
Walnut Pistachio Cream Cheese Cookies
Chocolate Coconut Macroons

The 1st one  is a "Date Nut Spice Cake Loaf "  a  recipe inspired from 'Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa" . I had seen her baking this bread loaf in one of her episodes few days back & ever since I had wanted to bake it. She had made a bread loaf but I wanted it to be more like a cake so I made some modifications and the cake is sooooo very very delicious.......The recipe has a lot of ingredients & each ingredient contributes to the flavour of this cake  so I would say that have all the ingredients ready before you try it.

Ingredients:


1. 2 cups all purpose flour
2. 1 tsp baking powder
3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
4. 1/2 tsp salt
5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon powder
6. 1tsp ground nutmeg powder
7. 1/4 tsp ground cloves powder
8. 3/4 cup brown sugar ( powder)
9. 2 eggs
10. 1 stick of unsalted  butter ( half cup)
11. 1 tsp vanilla extract
12. 1 tablespoon orange zest
13. 3/4 cup orange juice
14.1 cup deseeded chopped dated
15. 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
16. 1/2 cup raisins

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F, butter the bottom of an 9x5 inch loaf pan & line it with parchment paper .
2.  Sift together 1st 7 ingredients ( flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg , cloves)  Keep aside
3. Soak the dates in a cup of lukewarm water so they become a little soft.
4.  In The bowl of an electric mixer , beat the butter & brown sugar until it becomes light & fluffy ( approx: 2 mins) scrape down the bowl, add the eggs , vanilla & orange zest & beat again until well combined
5. With the mixer on low add the flour & the orange juice alternately to the creamed  mixture & beat only until well combined .  By hand, fold in the dates( strain out the dates from the water before folding them into the mix) walnuts & raisins .
6. Transfer into the greased loaf pan & bake for approx: 50-60 mins or  until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20-30 mins , then turn it out on a wire rack & let it cool completely.

Note: To make the orange zest grate just the yellow part of the  peel of a whole orange & the rest of the orange can be used for the juice , so one big orange is enough for this recipe.